Friends

Some of you will have noticed comments on posts from a ‘Romana’, mainly in Italian but the last one in English.

Of course I got an email via Facebook shortly after she’d commented asking me if I could understand it, how was the English and what did I think of her opinion?

Romana, was one of the first girlfriends I made in Folgaria back in ’86. A couple of years older than me, she gave off an air of confidence and a certainty about herself that was quite enviable. I found it difficult to think of her as Italian as she has the blondest of hair and the bluest of eyes that you don’t normally associate with the olive skinned, dark haired, passionate Italian.

Not that she’s not passionate mind! Get her talking politics, religion, current affairs and you’ll know immediately where you stand with her and what she thinks.

She is one of those friends who always have the right answer whether you like what she’s telling you or not. Many a time, she has told me her opinion and I have had to begrudgingly agree that she was right even if I wished with all my heart it was different.

She’s the one who sees things as they are. Not allowing herself to be swayed by public opinions and seeing through any veils or mists heading straight for the core of the matter.

Romana was/is a bit of a rule breaker. She divorced her first husband after a couple of years swiftly realising he wasn’t The One and moved later to a tiny mountain village to live with her boyfriend (now husband) which back in 80’s Italy was Against All Of The Rules.

She held her head up high and continued to follow her heart and is still in the same village I left in 2004 living a proud and commendable life, looking  after herself, her husband and their 15 year old daughter. And still not giving tuppence about what the villagers think of her :)

Romana has watched me from the start of my relationship with my ex. She came to visit me in hospital when Thomas was born, we attended each others weddings and we have dried each others tears. We have argued, we have made up, we have laughed at our stupidity and shared each others lives, the ups, the downs and the absurd.

Now our friendship continues via Facebook, email and the odd telephone call and she sends her 15 year old daughter Veronica over ‘To Learn Some English’ for a week in the summer. (I do try to teach her I promise!)

Do you have a friend that has stuck around like she has?

New home on the horizon

Finally we have a buyer and a house to move to in as much as they’ve accepted our offer now it’s all subject to contract ie surveys and long chains not breaking. Fingers tightly crossed everyone!

I was thinking back to how many  moves I have accomplished in my almost 44 years and I was shocked!

Born in London and bred in Brixton, we moved out to Dartford when I was a toddler and then onto Gravesend when I was in 1st year juniors (old timers will know what year that is) I stayed there until I had finished school at 17.

I then moved to Broadstairs to go to the college and after back up to London where I bumped into this awful man. I also bumped into this man who changed my life completely and off I went to Italia!

Even there, we moved from pillar to post, renting places whilst ours was being renovated. I totalled up 8 properties in 18 years. Throw in the odd separation/argument and add on another 5 dwellings.

Then as of  2004 when I returned to the UK I have totalled up another 4 homes including our current home.

22 different houses to call home in 44 years. That’s not a good statistic and I have everything crossed that our next nest will be for a long while, at least while the girls are at school but then I could win the lottery and if so, I’d move to my dream mansion and make it 23. Plus a home in Folgaria, plus a holiday home and a flat in London overlooking the Thames obviously depending how many millions I win :)

That’s an average of 1 house per two years!

marling way

Here’s a photo of the house we have bought, every single room in it needs working on as not to our taste or dated but I’m looking forward to the project and the fact of having a 100ft garden to play with. I want to create an allotment at the bottom to grow my own.

Fabulous news for us and now praying that all goes well with the contracts and solicitors.

House news

Do you remember me mentioning Mr Elliot the other day? Pondering on how he too had been stung in a love story gone wrong? Well he has put an offer in on our place which we’ve accepted, albeit not quite what we were hoping for but it’ll have to do as I can’t wait a minute longer.

Tomorrow, 9.30am, we’ll be viewing a property which we have already looked at time and time again on internet with the intention of buying it too!

Actually we already viewed it last October. It’s owned by a Chinese family who run a local take away and although they asked us to view at 10.30, the bedrooms still had sleeping teenagers in them which didn’t make for the best viewing – in fact we opted for another place back then which we lost shortly after to people in a position to move.

Now they have moved out which is marvellous as it allows us to see the place properly, opening cupboards, checking the windows and looking at the flat roof too. All things you can’t do while the owners are still there.

I am so excited I can’t concentrate today, on anything. I am already mentally decorating the place up, smashing down the odd unnecessary wall and ripping up old fashioned carpets to lay down wooden floors. Oh the fun!

As for the 100 foot garden, I have already constructed a small allotment  down the bottom close to the shed with loads of goodies. The patio needs a good scrub and I can ‘see’ the future flower beds gloriously lining the garden fences full of colour, texture and height.

So after a week of relax chez mum’s and all this excitement happening, I am bubbling over with energy and the will to get on and take on this first major challenge of the year, ticking off one of my ‘must’ do’s’ for 2010 as written on my lifeplan.

We’re into the fourth month of 2010, how are you getting on with accomplishing anything you set yourself on Jan 1st?

An insight to how men feel

broken heartMy latest house viewer, who incidentally has returned for a second viewing, is a man. He is begrudgingly selling his five bedroom detached house after the collapse of his marriage and the past three years of singledom.

That has got to be tough. Having worked for your dream house, obtained it and then only to have it all taken away.

He has been accompanied each time by his partner for a woman’s feel on the place and she is being very positive about our little pad. They’re not moving in together as they both have teenagers who will probably fly the nest one day, for work, university or who knows? Saving their final move for a few years down the line.

He’s a good-looking bloke who you instantly feel at ease with, he was quite jovial as he walked around the house for the first time, glancing in each room. It made me wonder what on earth had happened to his previous relationship? Why had it gone all wrong?

His concerns are majorly for his children which is very touching as although they will continue to live with their mother the 16 year old son will spend every other week with him and their daughter Hannah will visit every other weekend. He wanted to make sure the rooms would be big enough for them to be comfortable.

His budget has obviously been greatly reduced as he’s had to halve any proceeds from the sale of his property with his wife but as any bargain hunter he’s looking for the max.

Our third bedroom is a box room, you can get a single bed and a bedside table/tall cabinet by the side but not much else. Ample for a weekend stay and can be done up nicely to make it even more inviting but Leigh was worried as his daughter’s current room is 17 foot.

I mentioned the fact that Hannah would have a bigger room at her mum’s and the important thing was to spend time with him.

‘Don’t talk about her mum’ he replied with a gutted look in his eye.

Three years down the line and still choking on hearing her name mentioned is sad. I felt sorry for him but I shut my mouth before I stuck my foot in it any further and left his partner to carry on the convincing. I know that hurt and it takes time to heal.

As although in my case it was the man who cheated and I was devastated that is not always the case and this gentle man has been heart broken too.

Sometimes a hurt woman can proceed in life to class all men as evil. I know it took me a long time and many debates with Paul to believe in him and more than anything else trust him and his word. This was a clear sign to me that it’s not always the man who is the wrongdoer and there are many heartbroken men out there suffering just as much.

I hope he does buy my house. He’s second viewing another before he decides and I also hope he finds the happiness he deserves in the future, all this after two brief meetings.

It’s amazing how much we pick up on someone in the shortest space of time.

Outside my front door….

kitchen view

What awful weather we’re having! I wanted to go for a walk with the girls and take some shots to show you where we live but I stayed safe inside where it’s warm and cosy. This photo was taken from the kitchen window yesterday during a rare ray of sunlight.

Please note my Christmas Poinsettia still thriving on the window sill – first time EVER I’ve managed to keep one so long and my chicken from Key West which I have since seen in tourist shops dotted all over the UK and Europe!

sunset

As for outside, I see first of all the estate agents bill boards and then the magnolia tree in the centre, planted by the previous owners and just beginning to bud. I adore this tree and think it’s possibly my favourite, alongside a Weeping Willow oh and this one, a Walnut tree which I can see from the back windows, taken last summer when I spotted these fabulous colours in the sky.

St MIldreds

We live just outside London in North Kent so we’re surrounded by country parks and village pubs. We’re also only 50 mins from the seaside where we spend most of our weekends once the weather permits. Here’s a snap from last summer at the end of the day before packing up with one twin (Bessie) sliding out of the buggy! I love the way the tide turns so dramatically in this part of the world, leaving a hard surface to walk on.

big ben

And I couldn’t leave without a photo of London which is my favourite city in the world. A shot of Big ben taken a few years back now whilst taking my Italian friends on a tour.

These photos are for Tara’s The Gallery week 5 – Outside my front door, please go and have a look at the other entries which are fabulous.

Tara – I promise to sort out the badge by next week! – been a bit manic this week over here x