31 May 2007

I’m noticing lately that my personal central heating system has definitely changed over the years that I’ve been here. Today it’s been around 24 degrees, but I still needed to keep my cardigan on top of my t-shirt whereas even some Italians had just a t-shirt on top. Isn't it supposed to be the other way round - me hot, them cold?

When I see tourists in shorts and t-shirts before July I wonder “Aren’t they chilly?” I never considered myself as someone who felt the cold before, it’s more just a consequence of being in a generally warmer climate for a long period I think.

I’ve been asked many times by Italians why English people go out at night when it’s nearly freezing with no coat on. My only explanation is that the alcohol warms them up but to be honest it’s a mystery even to me. Maybe they don’t have nice coats. Boh. I love to wrap up when it’s cold.

30 May 2007

Little packets of heaven

...This is what these are. An important factor is to have a microwave, which not everyone has here. A quick blast and they come out a little bread-cake with melted chocolate chips in. OMG! Bliss. They're extra good if you have an hard to control sweet tooth like me as they come individually wrapped. That's not to say that I couldn't open two with a little (very little) effort.

If you can't get these where you are, that's a shame, believe me they're YUM!

28 May 2007

O' Mar'

As I had a day off today I planned on avoiding the weekend crowds and having my first trip of the year to the beach. "Oh no you don't!" said Signor Weatherman as the clouds came over and the winds picked up. Still determined to get some sea air, I went to a beach in Bacoli for a walk this morning. It was too windy and cloudy to go in the sea, so I just had a bit of a paddle and breathed in the sea air. So bikini stays under wraps for a while longer (phew :D).

There's nothing more relaxing than being by the sea. I love to watch it when it's rough, still, at night, early morning - always! In this photo there are two islands in front of me. The first one is Procida, whilst the one behind it (with the hill) is Ischia.

It's really blowing a gale outside now!

27 May 2007

Che Munnezz'

Here I am! I've been to my homeland :) Hence my short break from the blog world. Or did you not notice...? :D

I've seen that the rubbish problem (ie, it not being collected) is still in the news. The Camorra is rumoured to be behind the problems, as it is behind most of the problems in Naples. Although the media's reporting would lead you to believe that the whole of Naples is one big rubbish pile with fires burning, the main problems from what I have seen are in the periphery of the city. Certain areas on the outskirts even have an increased death rate because of the rubbish problems (it's not a new problem). In very central areas where more tourists go, the rubbish rarely builds up (for example around Piazza Plebiscito). Whereas in city residential areas it will build up for a few days, but not normally for more. Here's a picture of the bin outside my house today. Tutto tranquillo.

What amazes me in all of this is that no one is encouraged to create less litter, non of the big stores are pushed to use less packaging. Shop owners will wrap you everything and put it in a bag without thinking...

17 May 2007

Why oh why?

This is what I found outside the window at 23:05 the night before last. It's a religious procession, but I don't know for what reason exactly. I was in bed at the time on the verge of sleep and heard the singing so I got up to investigate.

Now, I'm quite open minded about people's religious practices, but do these people really think that gone 11pm on a Tuesday night is the most appropriate time to hold a procession complete with megaphone (notice it on the car at the top of the photo?

Shakes head.

15 May 2007


When we moved into our new apartment about a year ago Telecom Italia connected the phone line and gave us a new phone number. I’m not sure what goes into reactivating an existing line (pressing a button?), but it cost us 150euro. Within time it became evident that Telecom had given us a recycled number, this means that a few times a day we get a call from random people asking for some kind of medical studio. I think they’re calling for a medical practice or a switchboard rather than for one doctor as the request varies. We’ve had a few wrong numbers for a plumber too. The mind boggles. I have thought of having a bit of a joke: “Yes, I am the plumber”, “Yes I am the doctor” etc, but decided against.

Anyway, because we only had a cordless phone which crackles constantly, this weekend we bought a fixed phone. Oh the joy of being able to hear every word the other person says! I quite liked the old fashioned style phones, but because of the problem with the wrong numbers, we opted for one which displays the incoming call number – so the label said. When we got it home we discovered that to have this feature in action you have to pay E1,55 a month to Telecom. Not a lot of money, I know, but it annoys me to pay it because it’s Telecom that caused the problem in the first place, plus add it to the 35euro a month line rental we give them… The new phone has another feature helping us in the fight against wrong numbers and Telecom, which is that it rings only if we get a call from a number in the inserted phone book. Clever, if not a bit extreme, but at least now I don’t have to answer the phone and say “ha sbagliato numero” everyday. And straight away they redial and still get me.

It’s my aim to completely remove the Telecom line one day and just make calls using the computer via our ISP (which is not Telecom Italia). I’m not sure if you can do that, but I’d like to think you can. The only thing that I like about Telecom is their deal of unlimited calls to England for 10euro a month. Apart from this I barely use it. Thieving so-and-sos.

13 May 2007

Oh. My. God.

I was watching re-runs of an old Friends series this morning when it hit me that Janice and Amy Winehouse are one and the same person. Oh. My. God!

Janice/Amy: They tried to make me go to rehab. I said no no no.

Janice/Amy: Where's my sweet Bing-a-ling? I said no no no.

It's Mother's Day en Italie oggi, plus in America, NZ and probably elsewhere too. We Brits celebrated it in March, I wonder why we celebrate it on a different day.

Yesterday, I said to the OH "What can we get for your mum for Mother's Day?" She is a good cook and enjoys cooking so I said (answering my own question) "what about something kitcheny like a nice serving dish?"

OH: "Yes, something for the kitchen, what about one of those things we've got where you put the lettuce in and spin it around"

Me: "A salad spinner you mean?"

OH: "Yes, one of those"

Me: "You want to give her a salad spinner for Mother's Day?!"

Is it just me, or do you agree that you can't give a salad spinner as a gift? I suppose it makes a change from the usual chocs and flowers. What we decided to get in the end was still a practical gift, a new mobile phone.

I just heard that Ilary Blasi (as in Totti's wife) gave birth early this morning. On Mother's Day - good timing Ilary. It's a girl.

12 May 2007

Scratch 'n' Sniff Blog

The Jasmine plant is finally in full bloom! I took this photo this morning. I wish I could blog you the scent of it too. Maybe they'll create scratch 'n' sniff blog one of these days.

10 May 2007

Just a quick moan. Just got in after attempting to do some grocery shopping. I say attempt because most food shops close on a Thursday afternoon so it's near impossible. I do know this, so you could say I shouldn't have even tried, but I was hoping I'd be lucky.

Why do they have to close on Thursday afternoon? Are they so over worked that they need to do that? Just the food shops close though, the other shops close on Monday morning until it gets hot then they close on a Saturday afternoon (because everyone goes to the beach) and open on a Monday morning. Are you following all of this? There'll be questions later.

6 May 2007

Look at him now!

Back in January you may remember (say/pretend you do) that I couldn't bear to put the Christmas tree out into the cold with the other abandoned trees. Eventually I moved him out onto the balcony and look at him now! Despite what I thought, with him coming from warmer climes, he's loving the Neapolitan sunshine. See the new branches at the top of the tree - this is what I've tried to capture in the photos - just in case it's not clear :)

The plant you can see near Christmas tree is Jasmine which is in full bud and is wrapping her branches around the Christmas tree. Because we only have a balcony and no garden, space is limited so they have been forced together. They are now, literally inseparable. Aw.

5 May 2007


I bought a Braun minpimer yesterday. I don't know what minipimer means but as far as I can see it's an hand-held blender. For the inauguration this morning I made a banana and kiwi smoothie (see photo). I used banana, kiwi and a little milk. I think you can add ice too, maybe in the summer that would be nice.

I'm not sure the kiwi option was the best choice - loads of seeds, including the inevitable one stuck in my teeth for hours after. I love smoothies with strawberries. Just strawberry, or strawberry and banana. Must buy strawberries. Any other good fruit smoothie mixes? Dimmi tutto.

Although I eat loads of veggies, I rarely fancy fruit so this is a good way to eat more fruit. I eat loads of tomatoes though, aren't tomatoes fruit? Anyway, I think we'll do some veg pureè with the new gadget and try doing a zabaglione too. I've never had zabaglione but I'd like to try it. It sounds like a Rocky Balboa kind of dessert with raw eggs and sugar being the main ingredient.

2 May 2007


I’ve been watching Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie at Home” series. I know I’m a bit behind the times but I’ve only just discovered it on Sky TV.

If you’ve watched this you’ll know that Jamie spends a lot of time in his garden, raving about the vegetables he’s grown and cooking them.

Inspiration soon hit and off I went to stock up on my own seeds. I’m now waiting for lettuce, tomatoes, spring onions and parsley to grow. (Please let them grow!) I’ve also planted a few bulbs too - fressia and irises. I’ve heard it’s too warm for them now, but I’ll have a go. In it to win it and all that.

It's true that gardening is therapeutic. I don’t have a garden, but I’ve lined up the pots on the balcony and have quite enjoyed digging into the dirt with my hands.

Something which alarmed me about Jamie's prog, but more so the OH, was that Jamie made a pizza and put every ingredient he had to hand on it, then he held it up, like a frisbee and said “look what a great pizza I’ve made.” A pizza isn’t supposed to be like cardboard Jamie! He’s quite a ketchup fan too which would be questioned here. On the whole he does some nice recipes, some of which are very simple, for example bruschetta.

The series is dubbed rather than subtitled. It sounds like the voice-over was told that he has to sound “young and exciting” as he sounds a bit forced into enthusiasm. Can't remember how they translate "pukka".

1 May 2007

Il Ponte

A great Italian invention is the bridge. Not the bridge as in Ponte Vecchio etc - though of course that type of bridge is nice too. What I'm talking about is when there is a public holiday mid-week, for example today it's the first of May - the holiday for workers, so by putting Monday in as a day off you get a four day weekend. Fabulous! This is known as creating a bridge (ponte). Even if you don't have a day off to create a bridge, at least a mid-week hol breaks the week up.

In England all public holidays are on a Monday so there's no bridge building. If I remember correctly Berlusconi proposed for Italy to be this way as so many work days are lost with the Italian way. They did not vote him back in.