I’ve not posted for a while but now is the Summer when I’m sentenced to earning in order to keep my RUIN to PALAZZO project on track!! So here are 2 collages of some of the transformations to date! I hope you enjoy them inside and out !!
I’ve not posted for a while but now is the Summer when I’m sentenced to earning in order to keep my RUIN to PALAZZO project on track!! So here are 2 collages of some of the transformations to date! I hope you enjoy them inside and out !! Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2014View full post
Dreamlife – Truffle Hunting & Pasta Perfection! Almost a year ago I was privileged enough to be part of the inaugural event ‘Let’s Blog Abruzzo’ and was invited to be part of a Blog Tour with Italia Sweet Italia. The first day saw us on a Traboccho preparing local specialities and later dining on them. …View full post
My last visit to Abruzzo ended up being a very short one after I found myself in 2 situations. The first finding a lot more work and costs incurred during my absence that I was not equipped to pay for. The second was the receipt of a job offer for the Summer expected to last …View full post
I am very excited to offer the opportunity of a Writer’s Retreat!! The vision is to offer Fellow Writer’s the opportunity to experience the peace and tranquility of an authentic Italian Village. Offering a self-catering opportunity to seek inspiration and write without the noise of daily life. The space is very quiet and peaceful providing …View full post
I know many of you may think owning and renovating your own home in Italy is completely impossible – and perhaps for many indeed it is. There is a big difference between the romantic idealisation of abstract whimsical dreams and the reality of the act of doing it. I am finding out every day what …View full post
Dreamlife – Truffle Hunting & Pasta Perfection!
Almost a year ago I was privileged enough to be part of the inaugural event ‘Let’s Blog Abruzzo’ and was invited to be part of a Blog Tour with Italia Sweet Italia. The first day saw us on a Traboccho preparing local specialities and later dining on them. Day 2 we awoke relatively early in search of the elusive delicacy TRUFFLES!!
We met two men most passionate about their part of Abruzzo in the countryside near Lentella and their lives here. The Artist and Land owner of ‘Cultura to Natura’ who is passionate about sharing his experience providing tours for School children and also offering a place for Painting and Sculpture, Ettore Altieri. Ettore also collaborates with Italia Sweet Italia for Truffle Hunting, Apperitivo and Pasta Classes.
His friend Walter and his 4-legged friend Fritz are the Truffle hunting part of the equation. We go for a walk in search of the prized truffles. It’s not as early as is ideal and the weather is a little changeable but within a short amount of time Fritz is on the scent of a truffle and starts to paw at the ground. Walter digs gently at the ground with a specially crafted stick and quickly produces a small truffle. We are in the vicinity of a number of oak trees where truffles occur naturally. We find a few more truffles on our hunt and Fritz is rewarded following each find – we learn two small ones were ‘planted’ for demonstration purposes before our arrival in case we were out of luck but the others found were not.
We return to the house and a nicely laid out apperitivo with homemade wine and ventricino (a local hot preserved sausage specialty), cheeses and olives before heading to make the pasta for pranzo (lunch). Ettore’s mother Carla shows us how to make the pasta dough for Spaghetti alla Chittara – a local pasta so named as the dough is rolled through a frame that resembles a guitar to make a ‘square spaghetti’. The spaghetti is then cooked and mixed with the delicately cleaned and shaved truffles that we found earlier and locally made ricotta.
It’s a wonderful day and our meal follows with more homemade goodies; genziano, rattafia and limoncello are offered as digestive as well as cake. For fun, we also try our hands at making postcards from flowers collected in the garden. Sombrely we get into our cars late afternoon after being poked and prodded that it was time to leave – we had such a perfect afternoon it was very hard to leave!
If you have ever wondered about Truffle Hunting and homemade pasta this is a real treat! Get in touch with Fabrizio and you will have a fantastic time without a doubt!!
My last visit to Abruzzo ended up being a very short one after I found myself in 2 situations. The first finding a lot more work and costs incurred during my absence that I was not equipped to pay for. The second was the receipt of a job offer for the Summer expected to last until mid-October with what sounded like a fun crew.
So while my dream was to spend at least a month back home in Abruzzo I had to make a judgement call to ‘take the job’ and get the bills paid. And here I am 3 weeks post departure in Fethiye, Turkey after meeting the boat in Athens, Greece on the 19th April. We started our journey to Turkey on the 26th April travelling Athens to an anchorage by the island of Naxos and the next day to Kos, Greece where we stopped for 5 days due to a bad weather window. Thursday May 1st we headed to Marmaris where we cleared customs and stayed until last Monday when we crossed to Fethiye.
The yacht owner was due to arrive last Wednesday but was delayed so we are now on standby until his arrival.
My last visit to the Port in Athens (Piraeus) was 2010 and there seems to be a lot of new bars and restaurants that have popped up since then and I hope it’s a sign of Greece recovering from it’s financial difficulties – the locals seem optimistic. Similarly I’ve not visited Turkey since July 2010 and specifically Marmaris and Fethiye I’ve not seen since 2008 although not much seems to have changed here at all. It’s early in the season my first yacht job commenced the 20th May 2008 when I boarded a ferry from the Greek Island of Rhodes for Marmaris and our guests boarded on the 7th of June and stayed for 8 weeks! It was after that first trip that we stopped in Gocek and I came to Fethiye for 2 days break before our next guests arrived – we had 2 days to turn around the cabins and prepare but it was great to have time out.
The time on yachts is unpredictable but when we don’t have guests on we try and get a weekend of R&R, but it’s not guaranteed. People assume we do nothing when we have no guests on but the reality is we work every day as yachts require constant maintenance and there are many tasks that are difficult to do when guests are on – either due to the guests demanding crew assistance for watersports, dinner parties or revolving breakfasts, lunches and dinners or because it gets in the way of their holiday enjoyment. So, when they’re not here we clean, polish, fix and prepare for the next arrival and crew always requires feeding so there’s always provisions to take on and meals to plan too as well as weekend food to prepare even if the weekend is tagged as R&R.
I find it extremely difficult to keep in touch with people and to write during ‘boat time’, internet can be unreliable, privacy is more of a concept than a reality and it’s impossible to write in the cramped space of a cabin that lacks the headroom to sit on one’s bunk and write. Despite the ‘exotic’ locations you often find yourself in the odd situation of being neither local nor tourist. Last Med season I was at anchor for the entire time (72 days) despite a period of time without guests and to make matters worse it was a logistical nightmare as our tender was out of commission so I was forced to provision for crew via jet ski which was unbelievable even now it seems like an insane dream!!
My previous yacht job I focussed on saving money for the house renovation and currently that is still my priority so I get out a little to try local cuisines and stick to what I can explore on foot rather than spending money on tourist activities. It seems a few things were miscalculated so the costs are higher than expected. I am very excited at the prospect of offering my home to writers as a retreat. But it does mean further work to be completed as I’ve focussed on getting it habitable for me and the work downstairs will need to be considered further but I’ve come up with a few great ideas so now it’s about funds and planning the space a little more but exciting nonetheless!
I’m looking forward to the day I can sit in my home in Italy and write all hours of the day and night without the constant worry of how much more the work on it is going to cost. I’m looking forward to being able to have friends and family visit me in MY HOME for the first time in my life. I’m looking forward to having MY HOME to come back to after a long day or after an extended work gig. I’m looking forward to being able to be messy, being able to ‘not cook’ or preparing a feast for friends to enjoy with me. I’m looking forward to BBQs in the garden and picking fresh herbs for salads or wandering down to the local cheese maker for his mozzarella or the wineries below for ‘refills’. I’m looking forward to a simplicity that enriches my soul and enables dreams to be fulfilled. I’m looking forward to being driven by creativity rather than the necessity of the traditional work-sleep cycle that is typically dictated by society. To live one must have passions and one must love and everyone’s needs are different in this regard some are traditionally fulfilled, some struggle their entire lives to find personal fulfilment and others juggle a combination of lifestyles and identities to try and satisfy everyone except at times themselves.
Perhaps my absence is now somewhat explained over the coming months as I head in the direction of my dreams. Thank you for sharing the journey with me!
I am very excited to offer the opportunity of a Writer’s Retreat!!
The vision is to offer Fellow Writer’s the opportunity to experience the peace and tranquility of an authentic Italian Village. Offering a self-catering opportunity to seek inspiration and write without the noise of daily life. The space is very quiet and peaceful providing basic local amenities such as local market days, nearby farms and wineries as well as a few very excellent but affordable places to dine.
Ofena lies in the heart of Abruzzo and in Summer is known as ‘la forno’ (the oven) as temperatures can soar during the months of July & August. The accommodation available will be without the luxury of air conditioning but the thick majella stone walls provide natural insulation against the extreme temperatures that can be experienced in this beautiful mountain village. Writers will be able to utilise the retreat for 7-10 days dependent on bookings. Charge to Writers will be nominal (€10-15 per day) to cover Utilities.
Inquiries for the retreat can be made to myself via my email: email@example.com
For those that would like to make a donation towards realisation of the Writer’s Retreat there is the opportunity to make a donation via the website with the paypal link or also via: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/writer-s-retreat#home
The house is transforming from ruin to home magically!!
Less than a year ago this was the view:
I look forward to your support in developing this unique potential!!
Ciao & Grazie!
I know many of you may think owning and renovating your own home in Italy is completely impossible – and perhaps for many indeed it is. There is a big difference between the romantic idealisation of abstract whimsical dreams and the reality of the act of doing it. I am finding out every day what that actually means!
As my ruin completes its final stages of transformation, I am appealing to my followers for a little assistance and in doing so will give part of my self for this. I am not proposing ‘something for nothing’ I am proposing something unique and fun that we can share alongside memories to last us a lifetime!
I am seeking assistance for transforming my ruin into my home and in doing so will open my home to you in return! I propose the following possibilities to you in consideration of a donation to the final stages of restoration.
Option 5 could include cooking lessons at Dreamlifeofmine, framed photos of the project if you are unable to travel to meet me or a framed print of a watercolour painting of the village of Ofena (a friend of mine is a wonderful painter and I’ve convinced him to complete something special for me).
Writer’s Retreat!!! I will also be opening a space to be utilised by fellow writer’s as a retreat during the month’s May to September. An amazing place to experience Inspiration, Tranquility & Meditation in a traditional Italian village!!
These experiences will then be able to be realised from 1 May 2015 and we can start planning catching up and talking about the project in person!!
Have I tempted you? I sincerely hope so – join me in Abruzzo for an unforgettable and unique adventure!!
Ciao & Grazie!!
PS: while this offer cannot include your expenses getting to an from Dreamlifeofmine I will certainly endeavour to help and advise you to find the most economic and comfortable means of getting here! Suggestions are per person – overnight stays are 2 guests maximum although a small child could be accommodated also.