It’s All About Perspective

What a time of it we’ve been having here in Abruzzo lately. Snow came and within an afternoon many towns and villages were cut off, our collection of houses overlooking the valley was stranded for 5 whole days as the lane was impassable; even taking the dog for a walk in the deep snow was a challenge.

IMG_1183

Along with the inconvenience of snow we had power cuts, with as many as 100,000 homes without electricity for days. Water pipes froze, people lost their broadband connections and then came the rain. A deluge of epic proportions that threatened to be second only to the rains Noah had experienced turned the fields into swamps, the lane ran like a river and mud slid onto the now flooded roads.

IMG_1184

During these frustrating times did we moan and complain? You bet we did, when people were able to get onto social media there were angry posts about the electricity suppliers, gripes about how we were sick of snow now and woe is me postings about having to cook dinner on top of the log burner: That one was mine – ironically after posting my moan to Facebook and served up said dinner by torchlight, the electricity came back on just as I was about to eat.

DSCF0587

After the snow had cleared I had clients over to view properties, (which is no fun in the rain). As the viewings with one lady started there were reports of earthquakes near Amatrice where there’d been a devastating one back on 25 August last year. My client told me a woman at her hotel had asked her why she was here in Abruzzo, she told her she was here to hopefully find a house as she plans to move to the area. Her enquirer then asked why she wasn’t worried about the earthquakes*. She told me her response was – “It’s all about perspective. I live and work in central London where there’s more risk of me being a fatality of crime or a victim in a terrorist attack than perishing in an earthquake.” – Brilliant response I thought.

* News companies in the UK have been reporting earthquakes in Abruzzo, sadly their reporting is flawed as the earthquakes occurred in the Lazio region.

So, yes it’s fair to say we’ve endured a lot this year thus far; it has been one of the worst winters in many years. My friend Mario said he remembers a winter where there was bad snow, torrential rain and earth tremors, but seeing as he’s in his mid eighties and his recollection takes him back to being a small boy, they’re frankly few and far between.

So yes let’s put it into perspective, we all moaned and griped about the snow for six or seven days and in the grand scheme of things seven days out of 364 isn’t bad going, that leaves us hopefully with 357 snow-free days. Rain may be unpleasant but there’s many more unpleasant things out there to feel aggrieved about. IMG_1172

There were issues with some electricity pylons being badly damaged by the weight of the snow, and some land slippage, but on the whole Italy is quite good when snow hits; roads are cleared quickly and close-knit communities care for each other.

But sadly this winter has brought tragedy in the form of the Hotel Rigopiano avalanche in the mountain town of Farindola, so putting it into perspective, a day without electricity or a few hours without broadband aren’t as Shakespeare said, the be all and the end all

But will we moan if it happens again – you bet we will, we’re only human after all.

Signs London

During a recent trip to the UK I spotted some signs in London that made me smile and so thought I’d share them with you all.

IMG_2151

The first one is quite boastful claiming they serve ‘’delectable’ ‘tantalizing’ (oh dear with a z) and ‘sumptuous’ food. Isn’t this rather setting themselves up for a fall? I was a little confused by their claim to serve Indian Chinese and the list of countries.

IMG_2153

Another food related sign, this restaurant claims to be specialists in out door caterers not outdoor, and surely if you have a hall isn’t that really indoor catering? And do you think it should have read, we have a specialised outdoor..?

IMG_2140

Apologies if anyone finds this one in poor taste, but there’s a show at London’s Olympia that I’m hoping no one forgets to attend.

IMG_2156

Finally, heaven forbid you’d need these lawyers. I can forgive them the over use of capitals but the spelling mistake means, sorry but if it was down to me I’d be saying, you’re fired.

Italian Idiots

Today I’m afraid my post is a whinge. A gripe. A sounding off. I’m sitting in my living room after coming back from a trip to the local shop to  buy some of their very nice, fat sausages. The trip began very well, the sun was shining and Olive jumped into the car to keep me company. I plugged in the iPod and as Daniel Merriweather sang, Could You, I drove down the lane. The lane down from our house becomes a single track before it travels through the tiny village of Merosci and joins the main strada. I’m driving along, minding my own business when I glance in the rear view mirror to see that I’m being tailgated by a man in an Audi. I assume he’ll overtake me when we get onto the straight, wide part of the road, but no, his bumper still hugs mine. That is until we come to a blind bend and he puts his foot down and overtakes me, narrowly missing the oncoming car he fails to see.

Batcave Young Limbs and Numb Hymns BatcaveYoungLimbsAndNumbHymnsB

I’m driving back and the iPod shuffles, this time a song from my misspent youth plays, Shockwork by Test Dept, from the Batcave album, Young Limbs and Numb Hymns. I liked the Batcave club in London so much I had a bat tattoo on my arm as a memento. The things we do in our youth. I reach the junction for Merosci, indicate my intention to turn left, and look in my rear view mirror just as woman in a Fiat; mobile phone pressed to her ear overtakes me, causing me to brake sharply. I shake my head, not in disbelief but in fury. It’s no wonder the Italians get such a bad press regarding their driving habits.