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  • Wendy

A packet of Nurofen, half a bottle of calamine lotion and three packets of peas

Updated: Aug 16, 2021

Living in rural Italy has a few challenges, and I know I’ve written a lot about driving here, but that’s because it’s quite…… challenging.

A 4x4 or at least something substantial to get you from A to B in winter is a good idea, but not only that, the potholes are enormous, so something big, strong and resilient is a good idea!

I’ve memorised the location of all significant potholes, so as not to burst a tyre or damage my suspension. Being so low to the ground is quite a motivator. Thankfully, we haven’t had much this year, that’s an added challenge because the potholes fill with water and they could be as deep as a swimming pool….well, I exaggerate a bit.

Wendy Byard - Driving in Italy

The road around the lake which leads from my house has always been the biggest issue. It’s on the periphery of two commune (or councils) and as very few people use it they don’t enjoy spending money to get it fixed. It’s been like it for well over 15 years. Patched up when they have a bit of spare tarmac, it soon washes away when we have tremendous storms. So, to my great surprise when I went shopping this week it was like a racetrack, not a pothole in sight. Overnight they seem to have resurfaced it beautifully. Shrieks of absolute joy. Journeys will be so much more comfortable now. It’s the little things in life that create just as much joy as the big things.

Something else brought shrieks this week, but not of joy, of pain.


There are huge numbers of unoccupied homes, perfect for nest building, but they choose my shutters to build their nests. If it’s not them it’s bats, but that’s another story. Shutters are an essential part of living in a house that faces south. Boiling in the summer, they keep the inside of the house a little cooler, and in the winter they stop the rain from flooding through the old wooden windows. I love the traditional windows and doors, there’s no way I’d remove them for modern alternatives, but all old things bring with them their foibles… the need for sandbags, so shutters are a must.

Until now my shutters have been flung open against the side of the house, but now it’s getting up to around 40 degrees Celsius by midday, they’re shut to try and get some shade. Unfortunately, I hadn’t noticed the huge wasps’ nest on the backside of the bedroom shutter, the one I use all the time when I hang my washing over the balcony in true Italian style. I throw open the shutter and wham, one got me. It might be small but my word didn’t it hurt (that was a translation of the statement which came forth from my lips) Never has washing been so painful.

Two days later, a whole packet of Nurofen, half a bottle of calamine lotion and 3 packets of peas. My hand has started getting back to normal, although it’s still quite fat and looking like a pigs trotter.

This week’s lesson learned the hard way, you don’t have to be big to make an impression.

#abruzzo #livinginitaly #drivinginitaly #wildlife #expatlife

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