Moving Back to England

So we’re all in limbo following the shock referendum and potential Brexit. I say potential as I’m still hopeful someone with a modicum of sense puts a stop to all this nonsense. Now let’s not get political, I voted to stay and that’s all I’ll say on the matter, I’m not here to start a debate or be called a sore loser, just as I’m not here to berate people for voting leave. But the issue has raised many questions both with locals and ex-pats about whether we’ll return to Britain. So I gave it some thought and as the Clash said back in 1982, I asked myself the question, Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Altino

It’s funny when you meet people who’ve recently moved out here, within minutes they will be saying something along the lines of, “I’ll never go back to England.” I’ve been guilty of saying something similar in the past, and I think it’s the excitement of being on your new life adventure that provokes the remark. But a few years down the line when you’re asked if you’ll ever return the response isn’t blurted out as quickly as previously. The reason I think is because the rose-tinted glasses have slipped and your experiences mean you’re able to make a more informed decision.

Castel Frentano

Recently at a barbecue I met some new people who’d moved over about a year ago and we had a conversation about returning to the UK. I said once again that I have no plans to return; well that’s the truth, for the time being. I no longer use the word, ‘never’ as I’ve discovered that there’s no such thing as never. People’s situations change; I’ve known people who moved here and loved every minute only to have circumstances dictate their return.

Another reason for people to return is boredom. I think if you adapt to your surroundings well and you become embroiled in the local lives and customs as much as you can, and of course learn the language, then you’ll have a better chance of remaining in your adopted land. There must be nothing more soul destroying after the warm glow of moving abroad has faded to discover you’re alone and the outside of all that surrounds you. I once met a couple who moved to Italy around fifteen years ago, neither of them speak the language, as a couple they choose not to integrate and they spend a large portion of their monthly expenses buying English products from internet shops. I asked them why they came here and they told me it was for the weather and because they’ve always liked Italy having holidayed here. I pointed out that living here is vastly different than being on holiday, to which they told me for them it wasn’t, as they have a twenty five plan and will then return to England. I asked why, and they told me, “We don’t want to be old here because if something happens to one of us the other will be left isolated. At least back home we can talk to our neighbours.”

Casoli 001

Where I am in my life at the moment means I’d prefer to stay and I don’t have any plans to return to England. I have many, many reasons and I’ll not cite them here as that would be pointless. Suffice to say, if I didn’t have moments of nostalgic desire for what was familiar as a child I’d be a robot, but my life is here in Italy and there’s nothing at the moment that dictates it should change. Besides, you really can’t answer the ‘stay or go’ question with honesty, because, (to close with another musical reference) as the Queens of the Stone Age said in 2002, No One Knows.

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The Parsnip Project Finale

I’ve rather neglected my blog for a while due to my work commitments, I’ve actually been working 7 days a week, as I’m now not only writing for the magazine, but also working with a law firm and estate agent as an interpreter and also looking after their English speaking clients. Now don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining, I’m loving life at the moment.

I do however keep to my 20 minutes a day routine in the orto and have had a brilliant first year following the house restoration. We made 42 litres of passata from our tomatoes, endless pots of soups, ranging from courgette and mint (lush) to Malaysian hot broth. We froze over a hundred olive oil and garlic cubes and so many people received the glut of Dutch cucumbers that everyone was convinced would never grow here, not to mention the many friends and neighbours who thanked me for the excess pumpkins we gave away.

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For those who have followed the parsnip project, here’s the finale. After being told they won’t grow in Italy, and many other reasons why they’ll fail here, I decided to have a go. The first trial followed a French grower’s technique and that failed miserably, so y new technique was fill barrel with compost, let it warm up and chuck in seeds willy and nilly.

So how did it go?

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I harvested this batch this morning, they may not be as big as those in UK supermarkets, but they’ll hopefully be sweet when roasted with a little honey and some chilli flakes. Next year I’ll grow them in a formal row behind the summer veggies ion a plot that I’ve dug out and removed the vast majority of stones from.

Oh those doubters will no doubt now be ordering their parsnip seeds online now.

Click this link to see my Facebook album of 2014 in the orto.