It’s funny – I have written about my house and my work but have yet to say anything here about my writing. I currently have 3 novels commenced as ‘works in progress’ but until recently had published nothing.
At the end of March 2012 I decided to experiment with e-publishing and delivered a short story via Smashwords. My short stories are quite different from my novels they’re quirky human interest I suppose whereas my novels are more Thriller/Mystery genre.
Please feel free to download a copy of ‘The Birthday’ using the link below, reviews are welcomed also.
I must apologise for jumping the gun on telling you about the architectural plans before finishing telling you about the rest of my trip to Abruzzo in March! It seems apologies are ‘de rigueur’ at present so I will try to resist my compulsion!
My last Sunday was of course quite hectic with the architect in the morning then a catch up and meeting with an expat in nearby Capestrano where we showed each other our houses. We then had an unscheduled visit to another expat couple who were suddenly setting the table for dinner with us and so it was much later than expected return to the house for a good night’s sleep!
Monday morning the weather turned quite cold and wintery, so with little I could do at the house and no pressing appointments I jumped in the car and went off for an exploration of nearby Santo Stefano di Sessanio a partially restored mountain village. At times it was attempting to snow but managed to avoid any contribution to the piles of snow littering the streets from the month of February.
Here are a few pictures of the town.
On my way back to the B&B I drove via Rocca Calascio and took a few pics there also.
After lunch with Jimmy & Francesca I headed to the Pasta Factory near Rocca Casale called Pastificio Masciarelli. Abruzzo has some of the very best pasta in Italy due to the fresh mountain water which is a key ingredient in all pasta production. I bought a 2 packets for myself to take home and a gift pack for my lovely friends and hosts at Abruzzo Segretto.
Tuesday was another busy day as I first went on a quick excursion to a nearby chocolate factory then headed to Ortona to meet with a friend for lunch. We had a superb 3 course meal and some very nice local wine to accompany it. Lunch consisted of some amazing home baked bread and olive oil, an array of antipasto dishes including mussels & calamari followed by a seafood pasta starring the famous chitarra pasta I spoke of in an earlier post and for dessert a tasting plate of no less than 4 treats each!
Feeling very relaxed and mellow after the leisurely 2 hour lunch I said my goodbye’s and headed north to Pescara to meet with the Architect. Maurizio had decided to rush through the paperwork for me so I could sign the planning permission requests before leaving. On arrival I met his wife and son, his 15 year old son had been called in as translator although surprisingly between google translate and my small understanding of Italian we managed to complete the necessary paperwork in about an hour. I was advised the planning permission for the commune (village) was a simple process but following the L’Aquila earthquakes there was another office that also required consultation and would take up to 8 weeks to complete.
I am so grateful for finding Maurizio to undertake the project – he renovated my neighbour’s house and I was looking to find him originally to complete the restoration but was searching for his details in L’Aquila where he was not. Sometimes things just fall into place – and somehow it seems that my landing in Abruzzo was more than serendipitous!
Wednesday morning I fare-welled my friends and picked up an expat also heading to Fiumincino for a flight. It was nice to have company on the just over 2 hour drive as it made the time go much quicker.
I returned to Beaulieu sur Mer looking forward to the next phase of the renovation process.
I feel guilty and must apologise for my absence in recent weeks! Working on yachts as I’ve mentioned previously is not an easy life. Yes, when it’s good it is very very good but when it’s bad it’s pretty rotten!
This Winter turned into a fantastic opportunity for me in terms of getting the ball rolling with the renovation. The schedule originally was to send the yacht via an ‘express’ delivery service whereby yachts are freighted on a larger ship across to the US. The cost of this service was set to in excess of USD$200 000 and the yacht would be shipped to Fort Lauderdale where it would be painted and redecorated before chartering in the Bahamas.
Due to the process of becoming a commercial charter vessel and time constraints it was decided the yacht would remain in the South of France for the Winter where all upgrades and refitting of the interior would take place.
We were hauled out of the water just before Christmas 2011.
Early January 2012 scaffolding started to be assembled around the yacht in preparation for painting of the exterior. Once the scaffolding was completed this was enclosed providing a tent around the vessel enabling a semi-controlled environment for painting.
The painting took forever and our captain was as is often the case conspicuous by his absence. Much of the time spent in the shipyard has been a waiting game. Often unable to enter the boat for several days while painting and preparation was undertaken. Times like this can be quite trying for those with a work ethic when there is little one can do and the air and the environment is filthy.
Approximately 10 days ago we were put back into the water and we have been cleaning and preparing the yacht for guests later this month. My hands are now cracked and dry, my fingernails have all softened and broken. I am wondering what the season will hold for me as it is likely we will have new crew for the Summer and there is still much to do on board!