28 April 2007

Afternoon giro

A bit blurry but lovely even still. Taken during an afternoon giro today.

26 April 2007


Dear OH made a "gateau di patate" yesterday. It's made with potatoes - not mashed with a normal masher, but put through a device which looks like an item of medieval torture apparatus. You might know what I'm talking about. Might not. Also added are chopped salumi of your choice - prosciutto cotto, salami etc, plus provola and parmesan. An egg is used to bind it together. Add parmesan on top plus bread crumbs if you like, then cook it all in the oven. It's nice flexible recipe and is good hot or cold.

I consider myself fortunate that my OH loves to cook. I enjoy cooking too but to have to cook everyday would become too much of a chore mi sa, so it's nice to be able to share the load.

25 April 2007

Buongiorno a Lei

Something which has confused me from the start in Italian is the formal way of talking to someone, which we don't use in English.

It's basically constructed in the same way as using the third person. So instead of saying "Hai capito?" you would formally say "Ha capito?".

If someone uses it with me I initially think they are talking to someone else and I look around to see who they're talking to, then realise it's *me*!

Yesterday I had to talk formally to someone. RE-SPEC-T was due you see. OH (showing little faith) said I bet you had problems using Lei aka the formal form, and I said "No, I just pretended I was talking to someone else". That makes it much easier. You look at the person you're talking to, but in your head you're really talking to the person next to him.

Che confusione!

Even after years and years of knowing someone some people still use Lei. In some situations I can understand, for example in a work environment. But I've seen it used within the family, from daughter/son in-law to parents-in-law, which I find hard to understand when many years of marriage have passed by. I know it's to show respect, but I find it distancing and so could limit the kind rapport which will develop...Though when you start off with Lei I could understand it being difficult to change to "tu".

22 April 2007


Poppies nearby this morning...

Then in the house...

Happy Sunday!

21 April 2007

Shopping. Warning: This post is ranty

There was an ad on TV for 10% off at Careffour (=big supermarket) this week. Hmmm. The last time I went there we did all our shopping, having followed my carefully prepared shopping list, selected the best vegetables (without plastic gloves on), chose the longest sell by dates and best offers etc etc. Good to go. However, when we got to the checkout, we saw that the queues were *enormous*. After waiting 10 minutes in the queue without moving even *an inch* forward we decided “enough!”. We left the trolley there, muttered a few angry words and went home, foodless. Teach them! - Hard as it was on our empty stomachs.

The business sense there leaves so much to be desired. They never seem to open more than 30% of their tills. Plus the workers at the tills are either on a cannot-be-fired-for-any-reason contract or are the daughter of the owner and so will never be fired either. This means they move at snail pace and just don't care. I’ve worked on a few checkouts in my time and when I did I would get the queue down as fast as possible because I didn’t want the people waiting to start complaining, plus I liked it when my checkout was free. I could show them how it's done :)

DIY checkouts could sort the situation a bit. I'm not sure how they'd go down here though...

You’re heavily conditioned as to when and where you can do you’re shopping here. Saturday morning is to be avoided completely. I look at the deli counter queue and think there’s no way I can join that. Walking back home from work the other day I wanted to buy bagno schiumma at the detersivi shop. A simple task you may think, but again it was so busy and the man is sooo slow in there, so I have to wait until I catch the shop empty. Some of the shops I go in, like the detersivi shop are so small too, packed with boxes, you can barely fit in there. If another customer turns up whilst you’re in there, that’s it, you’re blocked in with no escape.

19 April 2007

Toilet or lavatory? What or pardon?

William (as in Prince) and Kate, as a couple are no more. :( I was surprised to hear about their break up. They seemed so good together. She was good for him, in a grounding normal kind of way. Reasons given for the split vary from him not being ready to settle down, to her family saying “toilet” instead of “lavatory”. Tut tut.

Apparently when Wills was at university he was happy to be amongst the “normal” people. You know, those who take public transport and chew gum, and may even work to earn a living - golly gosh! But since graduating he’s gone back to his old circle of friends who drink £100 cocktails and say “oh yah” a lot. Shame.

17 April 2007


Last weekend we had a family gathering in Florence. Yay! My family came over earlier on in the week, whilst my OH and I met them on Friday. It was much warmer up north compared to the south. I thought it was supposed to be down here where the heat was. I must say though it was the same when I went on my last flying visit to Florence which was in July. It was baking then too.

We walked and walked around Florence. There were so many tourists! The Florentines know how to get the tourists in much better than they do in Naples I must say. On various occasions I had to ask myself where the Italians were…!? Notice the tourists packed on Ponte Vecchio below. Our hotel was not far from there.

On Saturday we went to Siena. Siena is definitely one of my favourite places in Italy. It’s not too big, not too loud and so near to the rolling Chianti hills. Very nice.

The first evening in Florence we ate in a great trattoria called something like Trattoria Roberto. Tourist free, well, that was except for us :) and the menu wasn’t translated either. Definitely my kind of place. The best dish that evening was ordered by my OH and was steak with funghi porcini sauce.

The following night we tried a different place which wasn’t quite as good IMO. There were too many tourists this time, we were rushed out and they didn’t give us proper wine glasses either :(. Gasp!

9 April 2007

Little Easter

Today is Pasquetta, aka Easter Monday, so I and most of Naples went off for a little gita. Lots of people take picnics to use up the leftovers from yesterday's feast, but we just just went out for a few hours in the morning so that we'd avoid the crowds and the traffic coming back at least.

We went to Amalfi. It was a beautiful day and people were on the beach and in the sea already! We didn't stop for long as it was so busy, not easy to park etc. Lots of vigile were giving parking tickets out too - no Easter spirit there.

We noticed that very few people wore seatbelts in Amalfi...Even a man who stopped to a police man for directions was without seatbelt. Gasp!

The first photo below was taken on our way there. The black and green nets are used to cover the lemons. I'm not exactly sure why, but something to do with the amount of light they receive I think.


7 April 2007


I went out on my weekend recycling run this morning. This involves taking all the glass and plastic out and putting it into the big recycling bins outside. Whenever I go there's always other rubbish on the floor near the bins - sometimes in bags, sometimes not, and as I put the glass into the glass bin etc, I can see that others have put none glass things in there. There's always lots of glass on the floor so I have to tread carefully too. I just shake my head, wish more people cared a bit about where they live and continue with my sorting and putting into the right bin.

After that I went out for a Saturday morning giro. There was a time when I would go for a Saturday afternoon giro, but I had to cancel this as it gets so busy that it was anything but a relaxing passeggiata. In time I think I'm going to have to cancel the Saturday morning giro as well. Too too many people unless you're out first thing.

We elbowed and battled our way to buy a few Colomba cakes which we'll give as gifts tomorrow, oh and one as a gift to myself :). Colomba is a popular Easter cake, in my opinion they are Panettone (the Christmas cake) recycled. Panettones are reduced until Easter time when they mysteriously turn into Colombas. This is my theory anyway.

Even though colomba means dove, for a long time I thought that the Colomba cake represented the cross as most of them look like a cross. DOH! But, no surprise considering the name, they actually represent the colomba/dove!

6 April 2007

Good Friday

It's at times like this when I wish I were in one of those four day weekend countries.
Good Friday ain't so good here :( Off to work I go!

Buona giornata a tutti!

4 April 2007

Language Guides

Some words which I have problems pronouncing here, no matter how I try, plus coping strategies in case you have similar problems.

As in the number. Difficult because of the rolling “R” which I can do, but it takes some effort. Coping strategy: If you have to ask for 3 of something in a shop, buy 2 or 4 instead of 3. Hoping they’re not big, expensive or perishables. Trentatre is double difficulty. It’ll be hard when it’s my 33 birthday and I’m asked my age. Hopefully I'll have mastered it by then.

The “gli” is the hard bit. It’s supposed to sound kind of like “glee”. Imagine the problems I have buying 3 bus tickets. The tabacchi’s face fills with confusion thinking “What’s this crazy lady trying to say?”.

It is an English word, but if I say it in an Italian sentence the person will understand every word except that one. Coping strategy: “Andiamo per un caffè” Instead of “Andiamo al bar”

Again that pesky “R”. Again, it may be an English word but you won’t be understood unless you really roll that “R”. Try: “amburrrrrgerrrrrrrrrr. Coping strategy: Choose something else off the menu.

Near impossible to pronounce. It’s a beautiful country place in Tuscany where I went on holiday once. You can say you went “near to Siena”. It doesn’t cause me problems on a daily basis, but imagine if I lived there! One good thing about Napoli: It’s easy to pronounce.

Any words containing “R” in or “gli” are tricky. Double consonants are also a problem as in English you can’t tell the difference if there's one or two, but in Italian you can. Any English words used in Italian must have every letter clearly pronounced/exaggerated, and any “Rs": Roll 'em, roll 'em, roll 'em.

Hope this helps.

2 April 2007


I came back from England yesterday. I had a lovely time. It was warm and sunny for the first few days – similar to the weather here just now, but then it took a turn for the worse, so whilst I had my sunglasses on for the first few days, I ended the week wearing my woolly hat.

I did quite a bit of shopping including: Custard powder, medicines, dental floss, Easter eggs, curry powder, tea, crisps, blow-your-head-off English mustard, chewing gum, clothes (quite a few, but not too much damage done).

I got my OH his first non iron shirt. Woo hoo! I’m so excited about that – for obvious reasons, the main one being that I’m the chief ironer. We’re testing this one out and if it really is non-iron (it just sounds too good to be true) then we’ll be using the others for dusters and shipping the new ones in! OH says you might be able to find non-iron shirts here, but I have my doubts...They might be non iron to the wearer because mamma does them, but I’m not sure they’re non-iron in the true sense. The one I got is around 75% cotton, but they do them in 100% cotton too. Amazing.

Whilst shopping I took a purchase back as I decided I didn’t want it. I went right back in and got my money back. Now if your not in Italy that probably won’t impress you, but if you are in Italia you’ll be left open mouthed I’m sure. The only place they will give you money back here (in my possibly, limited experience) is Ikea, and I think even there you only get credit vouchers.

Like the last time I went back, I found the politeness and customer service very nice and refreshing. I filled in a few of those customer service questionnaires where you have to rate everything about a place including the staff and services, etc. Someone not fresh out of Naples might not have been so generous with the comments, but to me it was all so great! Do those feedback forms exist here? I wonder. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one, or one of those comment boxes where you leave your suggestions either.

I ate loads too...Curry, full English breakfast, etc etc. Yum.