Fear of the unknown

Another oldie that I’m putting forward for you to have a look at, an important part in my life and thankfully one that worked out well

Part #12 of Josie’s Writing workshop and I have decided to go for option 5 this week …

5. Tell me about a time when you ‘felt the fear and did it anyway’

By the time the spring had sprung in 2004 I had been a single mum for almost 9 months and the truth is I wasn’t coping very well at all. I was living in a smaller village up the road with the children, Thomas then 16 and Megan 14 (not the best ages for dealing with a separation)

I was working in the local tourist agency and I was good at my job. I enjoyed it. I looked after the ‘Foreign Office’ as it literally translates and it was my job to drum up groups to come to Folgaria in the winter for a ski trip. My lunch break was so long I was able to do a quick ski, eat a hot dog at the top of the Martinella ski back down, drive to the office and change in time for opening time. How cool is that?

But, I couldn’t adapt to this new life thrown on me in August 2003.

You see, we lived in a tiny mountain village in the Dolomites. I’d been there for 17/18 odd years and I knew everyone. I knew their parents, children, where they lived, how many pets they had and what they bought from the supermarket, so consequently they knew everything about me.

They knew my ex was living in the family hotel and frequently entertaining the girl he’d left me for. They knew where they’d been last night, how much they had drunk, who had been with them and what they were doing at the weekend. For some reason, they felt the need to tell me these things, as if it was a help to me.

I knew I was drinking more and more at home alone in the evenings to dull the pain, pass the time and just get drunk in order to sleep comatose and dream free till morning and I also knew deep down that my future here would be just like this. I would never lose the title of his ex-wife and therefore never move on.

So I needed to do something.

Move to Trento? Rovereto? Two of the local towns at the bottom of the mountain.

For what purpose?

No, I needed to go back home to the heart of my family, I needed the freedom and acceptance of England. I needed to get away from it all. Be free. But how?

A plan slowly started to form. A job at the Italian Tourist Board in London came up and before I knew it, I was on a flight for an interview.

I ‘knew’ the job was mine, it just felt so right.

I received confirmation via email a week later giving me one month to close down my 18 year life in Italy, move to England, find a house, hand my notice in at work and say goodbye to my friends.

My heart was beating ten to the dozen. It had happened. Everything had fallen into place, it had to be right but all of a sudden I was petrified. My forehead was damp, my breathing was rapid and I felt sick. My armpits were sweating!!!

What if it wasn’t the right decision?

What if this was the biggest mistake of my life?

How would I make friends?


One million and one questions bombarded me and all I could rely on were my instincts which were shouting at me

‘The time is right. It’s the right thing to do. Go for it!’

Tommy decided to stay on in Italy. I understood. No teenager wants to uproot at that age. He would live with his dad in our family home that was being renovated after a fire in 2001. And the pair of us would become frequent flyers.

Megan was torn, of course she wanted to be with me but she too was frightened. She didn’t want to leave her dad or the friends she’d had since nursery school.

She decided to come.

I did it. I followed my heart, listened to my instincts and am here telling you the tale. So don’t be frightened. If it’s the right thing for you it will all fall into place and you must follow and step into your new life leaving the door of your old one to close quietly behind you.

Our new home – day 1

Lounge new home

Welcome home!

‘Sorry. Your front room’s in a bit of a pickle love’

Last famous words from the Phil the removal man.

I can’t have too much of a go at him as they were brilliant seeing as I was alone that day. Paul, not being able to get the day off work due to others on holiday, left Winterscroft that morning at 7am and came home to a new home that day. Weird to say the least.

Phil and his men had Winterscroft completely cleared out by noon, garage and a couple of plant pots too that I shoved on at the last minute. I had dismantled the bed and the cots single-handed, roaming the house with my Phillips screwdriver and an Allan key and feeling very ‘handy Andy’ I must admit. The solicitor had phoned to say we had received our buyers’ money and so it should only be another half an hour for completion.

Brilliant news!

On that note I phoned my buyer, Mr Elliott (remember him?) and arranged to hand over the keys if he could get there as it was all going very much to plan.

The 28th June was a massively hot day, whereas Phil on the day of quotation had told me to leave the kettle and tea bags till last he hadn’t mentioned cold drinks, so I phoned up grandad to do the honors and he nipped out to Morrisons’ for me and cane back with bags of water, coke and soft drinks. Just as well as they were all sweltering in the heat and so was I!

moving home

‘bit’ of a pickle?

Anyway, keys handed over, Phil and his men gone, I made my way round to nans’ where the girls were with my mum, nan and grandad. A light lunch was prepared for me which I woofed down in nano seconds – hungry work being a handy Andy I can tell you! and I waited and waited for my phone call.

‘They’ve all gone to lunch’ (mum)

‘The money has got held up in a queue’ – (Grandad – ex banker)

2.00pm I call the solicitor for info. ? ‘Oh yes, who knows what has happened? You know sometimes there’s just a delay – anyway all over now. (yes, and did you have a nice lunch??? ggrrr)

2.30 I collect the keys = Very Excited Mari :-)

Putting the key in the lock for the first time is quite something. Is this really happening? Will we be happy here? Wonder if the neighbours are looking? Which room shall we do first? Hundreds of questions that went through my mind.

The house was quiet, musty smelling and HOT, I made a point of rushing around and opening every window I could to let some air in.

Now the decor guys, leaves a lot to be desired but that’s part of the project right? I think the tops is the downstairs toilet/shower room which is 70’s vintage – or that’s how I’m selling it for now, grey blue tiles and light blue formica…nice eh?

The entire afternoon was spent unloading the two vans and trying to make some sort of organisation out of pure chaos. the girls were very much left to their own devices in the overgrown back garden until I had an afterthought about sun cream and dragged them inside again much to their dislike.

moving in

Mum trying to make sense of the kitchen

Paul came home to a nightmare and slowly slowly we started to get our new life together. The girls went to bed filthy that day but in clean cots and wearing clean pyjamas (one day won’t hurt!) and we managed to put our bed together before crashing on top of it. Yes, on top as it was far too hot to sleep in it.

And that ladies and gentlemen is the day we moved to Shorne.

House move update

Well it’s all coming to a head right now after 3 weeks of waiting for the others in the chain to get their act together which has been so frustrating. I mean why call up extra enquiries the week we’re supposed to exchange contracts, especially if you’ve had longer than us to get them all done?

Anyway, I have had the solicitor on the phone asking me for available dates and as we’re going on holiday and not back till the 27th we cannot do before then.

Mr Parkinson, on the other hand, goes on holiday on the 29th and is pushing for the 28th! (Mr bloody Parkinson is also the one who’s been faffing about until now -grrr) There’s always one isn’t there?

So the big question for us this morning – can we do the 28th fresh back from Lake Garda? Yes of course I said, thinking it’s going to be a nightmare anyway, let’s just get on with it. To be honest, I’d rather be in my new place unpacking and sorting myself out than here and waiting. So. Bring it on!

I have managed to provisionally book a removal company just now and thankfully I have boxed up most of our stuff so there’s only a small amount of packing to be done to add to the panic of move day morning but on the whole, we’re in a pretty good place.

I will have to inform the gas and electric people today plus Virgin media and maybe the council too?

Who knows?

Anyway, far too busy to be waffling on here that’s for sure.

See you all soon, folks. There will be a couple of scheduled posts coming your way, and if I manage to get on I will say hello from Italia too.

Take care and have fun, Mari xx

The Gallery – Still Life

Who made the selection and who didn’t?

These guys made it!


Another cupboard that has seen a drastic wipe out ready for the house move has been the drinks cupboard and I’m assuming most houses have the same as ours did pre – clear out.

Dregs in a bottle of Ouzo dating back to a lads holiday about 20 years ago – never touched since.

A bottle of Rucolino – untouched – my Italian friends will hold their hands up in horror, but the fact is we just don’t drink it here. Chucked down the sink.

A half bottle of Limoncello, delicious when sipped by the sea on a hot Italian summer night – loses its appeal back home when a cup of tea does just the job.

A bottle of Bum – I kid you not. There is a rum sold by that name in Prague airport. It tickled me pink when I gave a bottle to my brother one Christmas and repeatedly asked people if they’d like some of Dom’s Bum :)

So who made my scrutinous selection? Well the bottle of Veuve, Christmas pressie from Jean waiting  to be cracked open in the new gaff – can’t wait and can’t believe I haven’t already drank it!

Vodka from Warsaw – the real mc coy, delicious over ice cream.

Pimm’s –  the summer is almost here and I love a Pimm’s with all the fruit.

Brandy – for cooking and colds/flu ie in milk with honey.

Irish whiskey – not my favourite this one though.

Port – My other half drinks it but only twice a year (Don’t ask!)

and Gordon’s, one of my favourite tipples is a G + T with ice and a slice.

Have you got any monster alcohol hanging around at the back of your drinks cupboard?

I’m dreaming of Christmas

Today I received my first Christmas catalogue through the post, that is my dreaded ‘C’ word . A certain 24studio.co.uk who I have no idea how they got my address but that didn’t stop me looking through it. Just In Case :)

Funnily enough I have already thought about Christmas 2010 already this year and that happened to be when we cleared out the loft and I came across our decorations, it occurred to me, along with a smile, that I would be putting them up in a new house  this year and there the thought stopped. Phew!

However, I then registered another flash thought a week ago. I was looking at some photos of the new place and imagining where my tree would go. (I know it’s exciting isn’t it!)

Not only that but every year when the sun is beating down and I’m lying on a beach somewhere, my thoughts ALWAYS drift off to Christmas. Likewise on Christmas day when I’m surrounded by my loved ones and about to crack open a decent bottle of red to wash the turkey down I think of the summer and hot days and nights.

It must be because they are both my favourite times of year and things I look forward to on the calendar. So I thought I’d dedicate a post to these thoughts and ask you.

Have you caught yourself thinking of Christmas 2010 yet?