Hello Dear Reader, remember me? I’m the one that used to blog weekly about my little farm in the Sabina hills. Then I blogged monthly, and then the world started turning so fast that I had no time to blog at all!
But here I am, back on my Monday morning commuter train, with a whole hour to sit and to think and to write.
What a month May was.
I know that I drone on endlessly about how busy we are, and how much there is to do, but it’s all true. And so, several months ago we decided to take a “bit of a pull”, and have a little holiday in May.
Worst mistake ever!
With mild temperatures and never ending rain, the farm and the garden decided to go into overdrive. The tomatoes were growing at the rate of several inches per day. Ditto the lawn, the grapes, the grass in the olive grove, etc etc.
And we weren’t there to do anything about it.
Then The Builder decided it was time to start the renovations, on day one of our holiday. This was A Good Thing for all sorts of reasons, but also meant that we had to empty the entire ground floor of the house, and create a “penthouse apartment” on the upper floor before we left for our holiday. Sensibly, we’re doing a two phase renovation. Phase One has us living upstairs, while downstairs is remodeled, rewired, replumbed and has a self contained “granny annex” put in, to become a bed and breakfast room at some point in the future (but no later than 01 June 2019). We will live in the granny annex during Phase Two, where upstairs will be subjected to the same treatment.
We turned our bedroom into a living room, we turned our daughter’s bedroom into our room, we turned the main spare bedroom into a kitchen / diner, we turned the bathroom into a shower room with a kitchen sink, and we turned the box room into a spare bedroom. Because of course, we’re now coming into visitor season.
Having literally moved everything, including the kitchen sink (yes, we carried the fridge and the stove upstairs too), we set off for a week’s holiday in the UK, and had a wonderful time camping in the Peak District with our son, catching up with old friends and colleagues in London, and staying in a real penthouse at our daughter’s hotel near Cambridge. And finally, thanks to a strike in Rome, a night at Luton Airport.
Arriving home 24 hours late, we missed the opportunity to catch up with The Builder, but my goodness he had been busy, and relatively clean, thank heavens, as we had precisely 24 hours to get tidied up and ready for the arrival of “the penthouse’s” first visitors. A lovely weekend followed, exploring new places on the odd occasion that it stopped raining, but we ran away to Rome in time for Monday morning’s demolition work.
Waving our guests off, we returned to Sabina to find that summer had finally arrived. And to an impromptu site meeting, during our Saturday morning lie in! The Builder, The Plumber (who is afraid of our dogs) and The Electrician were all in what we used to call our living room, along with The Electrician’s Friend From America. Our FFA, who is a great guy, lives in the village as well, and recommended The Electrician to us. FFA is nearing the end of his own renovations, and has done many renovations in the past. As his husband is Italian, he speaks not just fluent Italian, but fluent Builder’s Italian, which is really rather wonderful. But slightly unnecessary when he’s talking to us, so I did have a chuckle as I came down the stairs with coffee (a great time filler as I frantically got dressed!) and found FFA and Scott discussing the merits of three phase electricity in Italian …
Site meeting, house and land cleaning, village festa and guest turnround done, we sadly had to return to the UK for the second time in a month, this time to attend the funeral of my wonderful grandmother.
And so we returned to Olive Hill at the end of Week Three. All of the internal demolition work had been completed, the floor had been removed, and the new internal walls had been built. And there was still almost no mess, neither downstairs, nor upstairs in “the penthouse”. Once again, we cleaned, tidied, cleared, and prepared for visitors, but this time in 30 degrees, because summer has finally arrived in Sabina.
Tired but happy, we were so relieved that the worst of the noisy, dirty building work was behind us, and it had hardly been noisy or dirty at all. Right until The Builder knocked on the door Sunday. The Builder is Lovely Indispensable Neighbour’s son, and so he always visits mama for Sunday lunch. We walked through the work done so far, and complimented him on the precision, the tidiness and all round wonderfulness of the work to date. And almost missed the reason for his visit, which was to inform us that the entire back wall of the house would have to be demolished, as it was basically built from crumbling Lego bricks, and would surely collapse if anyone so much as looked at it in an offensive manner…
And so I’m running away to work again. Leaving Scott to deal with the demolition, Bella’s nervous breakdown, and the imminent arrival of two more friends from home.