The Kindness of Strangers

This has been a good week.

First things first: DD’s surgeon worked his magic on her troublesome hip, and she has arisen, like Lazarus from her bed. In addition to being able to walk (with only a small amount of help from her crutches), DD is a rather good photographer, and so she gets the credit for today’s photos.

Last Friday was Perizia Day, so nobody slept Thursday night. The bank’s geometra came to survey the house for mortgage purposes. He came, he saw (for around 5 minutes), and he said it was a “bella casa“, so that was that. Now begins the final paper trail, so that the bank can be absolutely, totally, utterly certain that the house is d’accordo, and that it will neither fall down, nor be claimed by a long lost relative of the original owner during the life of the mortgage. We’re hoping to own the place withing “six to eight weeks” …

Also this week, we met the Irish Accountant, and his Italian wife, who, it turns out, is actually the accountant. We spent a lovely morning boring them to death with our plans for The Olive Hill. They even politely sat through our “1,000 photos of our favourite view” ritual: a routine that has driven many a friend to drink, and something that we now subject everybody we meet to.

This is my current “favourite view photo”

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This Friday was an even better day, as it was the day that I became a Farmer, or, as I prefer to call myself, a Coltivatore Diretto. My CV has had a few twists and turns through the years, something that I have in common with many military spouses. In fact, I have been:

  • a pilot in the RAF
  • a travel agent in Germany
  • an Internet project manager
  • a police administrator
  • a small business owner
  • a riding instructor for people with disabilities in the USA
  • a community liaison officer in Belgium
  • a teacher of English as a foreign language
  • an organiser of equestrian events

Something that military spouses all share is the constant necessity to re-invent ourselves, every time that we find ourselves in a new location. We also move house ALL THE TIME. Our little family has have moved home 14 times in 27 years of marriage, and we are lucky, as we have owned our own home (currently a holiday rental, do click here to take a look) since 2001.

But I digress. Friendly Estate Agent kindly arranged a meeting for us at the Coldiretti (a national organisation for farmers) regional office. We both expected to fill out 1,000 forms in triplicate, dance on hot coals, and then jump through 15 rings of fire, in order to be promised that I would probably be able to submit an application at an indeterminate date in the future. All started according to plan, as we waited patiently(ish) in a busy corridor until 12.30, for our 10.30 appointment. But then something rather wonderful happened. You see, Coldiretti Guy, knows The Olive Hill very well, and he thinks it is a spectacularly fantastic place. His wife’s granny was best friends with the professore who built it, apparently. And so, ColGuy worked through his lunch hour to fast track all the paperwork. Not only that, but having drawn up a rental contract between myself and The Three Sisters (this is Step One of becoming a farmer), he printed it off, (in triplicate) read it out loud to us, and decided there was un errore, and so I should not sign. So he ripped it up, redrafted it, printed it (in triplicate) again, read it out loud (all four pages), and this time decided that there was now only un piccolo problema with it, and so he again advised me not to sign. The process was repeated several times (this should have taken a month at least), until he declared that the contract was up to the job. So now, he will personally obtain my tax code, register me with the chamber of commerce, and the dreaded INPS, and then he will come and spend a Saturday morning at the Olive Hill, in order to show me how best to farm the land. He will book courses for me, he will assist me through the process of going organic, show me where to plant sun flowers, and Managgia! He will even eat the Marmellata Inglese that I made a couple of weeks ago, as long as I promise to label it Confitura Inglese instead …

And, in a nut shell, that is why I love living in Italy. Congratulations if you have read all the way to the end; I will reward you with another candidate for “favourite view”, because, after all – all farmers should have a tractor!


6 thoughts on “The Kindness of Strangers

  1. Great post and look forward to reading more in the future! I have many posts on Italy on my site you may find interesting.

    I started living in Calabria about 18 months ago and as an Australian, it’s been difficult to say the least. Not difficult because of the kind locals but difficult because of the unkind bureaucratic people in the Commune and Questura.

    Let me know if you’re ever down this way so we can catch up for a cafe or Apero 😉


    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my post, and for your kind words! The commune and questura here in Rome would also not get a mention in this post, but as you say, generally, living here has been wonderful so far!

      Liked by 1 person

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