Casa Dolce Casa: Home Sweet Home

Once upon a time, I had my own business.

It was the perfect business for a military wife and “single” mum – Scott’s service often saw him away from home for weeks, even months at a time. It was the perfect business for an Italophile who had a large kitchen. I worked from home (wherever home happened to be), and prepared infused olive oils, pestos, antipasti and lots of yummy food, all with one key ingredient: Italian extra virgin olive oil. I sold my products at farmers’ markets, food and gift fairs and, of course, online.

The beauty of my little business was that no matter where I lived, I could sell my products. A kitchen, a food hygiene rating, and an internet connection were all I needed.

My company even had a name: Well Oiled: a name that caused much hilarity. When setting up in a new location, it always took a while to make people understand what I sold: in Scotland I had to watch out for the old boys who thought that my chilli oil was whisky, and tried to drink it – in England I was often scolded for making “mint sauce” that was oily, and needed more vinegar! But I generally managed to win people over, and when we moved house for another military posting, customers remained loyal and continued to buy online. It was great!

But then we moved to Belgium, with its crazy bureaucracy and requirement to speak multiple languages. I also had a truly rubbish kitchen there. So I gave it all up and became an English teacher.

The tag line I used on my products was “made by me, at home in my kitchen”.

This is a rather long winded introduction to the fact that as I was making another vat of “stuff with tomatoes” last week, I suddenly realised that even though this is our third summer at Olive Hill, it is actually the first summer where I have lived in a real home here.

Our first year was spent living in the previous owner’s home. We had his furniture, his fixtures and fittings, his interior design taste, and even his pictures on the wall. And he had been dead for over 20 years!

And then we moved upstairs, where we lived for 8 months while downstairs was a building site …

And then we moved downstairs for seven months, while upstairs was a building site …

The “door” to the building site upstairs

But now, I finally live in a Real Life H . O . M . E .

So I put pretty little hats on my homemade chutneys, and gave them to people who didn’t know what chutney was. And that reminded me that Once Upon a Time, my UK based customers didn’t know what pesto was.

And that got me thinking …

And then I remembered Italian bureaucracy.

And I laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

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