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  • Wendy

Signora, you've lost your knickers

....... and God Save the Queen

Living in an old house in an ancient village can have its frustrations, one of which is that most things are a bit rotten —roads, buildings, the water main.

When I moved into my little house on the hill, the water and electricity weren't connected; there was no bathroom, kitchen or toilet, just four rooms covered with a dodgy roof.

Thankfully, all the services are connected these days, but living on a very steep hill means the water pressure can go up and down like a fiddler's elbow. The fluctuation in pressure causes the taps inside the house, the filter that keeps stones out of the system, and the pipes themselves great stress.

Two weeks ago I noticed something strange, the road was wet, but we hadn't had any rain for a month. On closer inspection, water was bubbling out of the ground....the pipe had burst; no wonder the water pressure was so low. It was Saturday afternoon. I called the 'guasto' line (the broken line), and a couple of hours later, three handsome Italian men arrived to fix the leak.

Wendy Byard - Living La Dolce Vita

They discussed, stood there, looked, smoked, and then went about fixing it. It took some time.

I offered them coffee and then went about busying myself because I didn't want to start bringing in my washing until they'd gone.

Why? Because in true Italian style, it was hanging over the balcony, and they were right underneath.

It got to 8 pm, and I couldn't wait any longer. I had to get in the washing. I did so well.......but then, to my horror, a pair of purple lacy knickers slipped out of my hand and floated gently to the ground.

The men, who were just finishing their 2nd coffee, looked up and grinned.

"Signora, I think you've dropped your knickers."

Oh well, at least they were decent, not my old baggy M&S emergency pants.


God Save The Queen

Expat communities can be strange. A group of people whose only thing in common is that they speak the same language. Most people wouldn't even look twice at one another if they were back in Blighty.

But, in true Commonwealth style (because there were some Aussies there too), the Queen's Jubilee couldn't go without being marked in some way.

And this was it.....

A huge, I mean huge, Porcetta. Enough for 90 people.

Ok, so it wasn't all English-speaking guests; the local village also attended, which was lovely. Everybody brought something, sausage rolls, scones, Scotch eggs, pork pie, and Coronation Chicken. The tables were loaded.

The Italians had great delight trying all this rather strange food. Some liked it, and others didn't; give them a bowl of pasta any day. But my most wonderful memory from that day is the time I spent in the kitchen with Elda, who I've now adopted as my nonna. Elda taught me how to cut cucumber and shred lettuce. Who'd have thought I'd been doing it wrong all these years?

We made do with what we could find (it wasn't my kitchen). We had to improvise when it came to cooking the pasta because the pot was huge and didn't have a lid, a big problem when you want the water to boil.

We had such fun together, and it reminded me that the simple things in life could be so very enjoyable. This is La Dolce Vita.

If you'd like to experience living La Dolce Vita for yourself, why not sign up for my CIAO BELLA Retreat here in Italy next year!

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