It’s been a stressful start to the year. With our Darling Daughter home from university, and my 50th birthday, it had been our plan to spend Christmas at The Olive Hill.
So we didn’t.
Instead, we had Christmas at home in Rome. Prior to this Christmas, we used to talk about Chinese Water Torture; now, we have added Roman Candle Torture to our vocabulary. It seems that the principle form of entertainment for “yoof” in Rome is to drive their noisy little “Aixam” cars to a local abandoned museum (the one behind our home, for example), and to make enormous explosions using fireworks. After enduring several weeks of this, our nerves were in tatters, and the dogs were refusing to leave the house. So we ran away, for a “Bucket List” break to the Naples area – half way up Vesuvius, to be precise. We didn’t take DD up to the summit however, as it was snowing, and she has been having problems with her hip recently (more of which later), so we went to Pompeii instead. Along with the entire population of the Naples area, and EVERY SINGLE tourist in the South of Italy. Huge mistake. So after tramping around for a couple of hours DD realised that he hip was not just slightly sore, but actually in full blown crisis, and we went home, muttering that we preferred Ostia Antica, actually.
Tomorrow is the final hurdle (that we know of) for the purchase of The Olive Hill: the dreaded perizia, or technical report, done by the bank’s tecnico. Friendly Mortgage Advisor has been in touch to wish us in bocca al lupo, and we remembered to say crepi, so all should be well with that. We expect the surveyor to say that the avocado bathroom suites, and 40 year old windows need replacing, but that has not been stressing us out, oh no sir.
It’s being told that DD’s 21 year old hip needs replacing that has been causing us to lose sleep this week. And being told that in Italian, and having to translate for DD, so that she understands that has REALLY stressed us out. Truth be told, this wasn’t exactly unexpected news, and we were eventually able to talk the surgeon into trying a cortisone shot into the capsule of the hip joint, rather than replacing her hip, as she is very busy, and would like to return to the UK in order to write her dissertation. DD is extremely well traveled when it comes to hospitals. She has been treated in England, Scotland, Germany, the USA, Belgium, Barbados and now Italy. But this was the first time that we had ever been referred to a specialist via WhatsApp, as well as the first time that we have ever turned up to a specialist’s appointment only to realise that we did not know his name! Luckily, our amazing GP, who had already come to do a home visit (“no trouble, I have a scooter!”), also met us at the hospital to assist with everything, as if by magic, for each and every appointment. I love Italian healthcare.
So, what does this have to do with marmalade? Well, last time we visited The Olive Hill, we picked some of the fabulous citrus fruits from “our” trees. So, while DD binge watched Modern Family, and Scott learnt how to prune the nectarine and apricot trees in our tiny Roman garden, I learnt how to make marmalade. It tastes of home grown citrus fruits (obviously), but also of sunshine, contentment, and, most of all, hope. And that’s why henceforth, it shall be known as marmalaid.