Sunday, 26 August 2007

Before We Go

So we're off to sunny Spain! Cheesey I know. See you all again soon.

Thursday, 23 August 2007

Summer Time!

I can't believe these photos were only taken a few weeks ago! This week it has been cloudy, grey and wet. I really believe I am back in the UK! Although there it is sunny at the moment, surprisingly.

In the last few weeks we have been trying to visit places we haven't got around to in the 10 months we have been here - hence the photos taken in Siena! Sorry Cristina, next time I will call you!! We were there about 6 hours, enough time for lunch, a visit to the Cathedral and then a leisurely (!) walk back to the railway station. We caught the bus there but really didn't enjoy it so the 20 minute walk to the railway station wasn't a problem, plus the trains run more regularly than the buses ( and they are cheaper!). I had forgotten how small Siena is but that meant we had time to do the things we wanted. We returned with 2 Palio flags which now hang from our mezzanine balcony! We bought Dragon - it's pink and the dragon is female (she has boobs!) - and Tortoise, which is blue and yellow. They look very smart hanging down and give the dining room a mediaeval air, honest ;)!

The weirdest thing that happened is Siena is in the picture below.My daughter insisted that when we arrived we would see Polar bears. As you can see from this window display, she was right!!

One of the things my son wanted to do was visit I Gigli, the out of town shopping centre near Campi Bisenzio in Florence. As it was raining, again, on Monday it seemed like a good time to go. While we were in there we could hear the thunder, by the time we left it was sunny! While we were there we had lunch at an Irish, Spanish, Mexican Pub, like you do in Italy!! We had burgers and hot dogs with fries, not sure which of these countries they were supposed to be from but they tasted good and I did at least have a Sangria :). As you can see below there was a little stage near the restaurant. Wallflower that she is, my daughter could not resist getting up to give us a show! I just know she is going to sing and dance her way through her life as much as she can, whether for a living or not, as long as she is happy!

The longest part of the day was getting the bus there and back, as it is August they are not as frequent and they tend to run late anyway. Our favourite part was Leroy Merlin, bizarre I know. We haven't been in before. My son was drooling over all the power tools and chain saws and my daughter wanted all the wall stickers, I bought a new mop! For those in the UK it is like B&Q or Do-It-All. As I had been led to believe such things didn't exist here I was really surprised at the range of products. It was great ;))! We also hired a trolley with a little car on the front and my daughter rode around the mall in that. It gave Alexander and I a much more peaceful shop. Plus people leapt out of the way when they saw this contraption coming!

The rest of the week has been quiet, a friend came over, we have had a little illness and of course it has rained! Now I am making the last few preparations for our trip to Spain and the UK. I'm hoping to be back in time for the lantern festival for children on the 7th September. Bye until then!

Sunday, 19 August 2007

The Most Popular Blog in the World

After reading that this blog has had over 100 million hits, I decided I should start being a little more regular with my entries. Okay, I can't compete with someone who is popular in China and I can't write in Chinese, but maybe if I was a little more prolific I would attract a few more readers!

I'm not just doing this to get a readership, I do it mainly for fun and as an outlet for my lyrical prose! I've never kept a diary and journals depress me, mainly because I only ever use them when bad stuff has happened!

Did you know that research has actually discovered that journal writers are more depressed than those who don't record their everyday lives? Writing stuff down apparently makes you dwell on it, whereas ignoring it means you forget or get over the bad stuff. Unfortunately it also means you forget the good stuff!

The nice thing for me about keeping a blog is that because anyone can read it - well that's how I have my settings - I self-edit. Sometimes I will vent but mainly I try to keep it interesting and positive, rather than moaning about the bad stuff. It does happen, it's just that I don't feel the need to write about a lot of it here. Most of it isn't relevant to living in Florence anyway or it's too petty to bother with! Like the waiter who tells you service isn't included when it is in Black & White in English on the menu that it is! Like having New Year ruined by idiots throwing air bombs and bangers around. Or the travails of having a 3 year old who thinks she is 18 and can do what she wants, when she wants! Stuff like that! ;))

Anyway, expect to hear more from me! Or is this like all resolutions, made to be broken!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

End of an Era

This is a picture of my children on the flight that brought us out to our new life in Italy last October.

This is a picture of them in Spain in July.

It may not be the best photo for my purpose but I think it is a good one and proof they seem to be enjoying their new life! I can't believe the changes that have taken place in less than a year. My son is now as tall as me, okay, I'm short-ish, so no big deal! He is so nearly a grown-up now yet in the picture taken when we flew over he is still so much a child!

I'm calling this "End of an Era" not because we are moving back to the UK but because this next week is the last time my son will live with us here in Florence other than for his school holidays.

A week on Monday we fly back to Spain for a week then the Monday after that we return to the UK so he can go back to school. We managed to put this off in April but this time he has to go. He has exams to take in May and June 2008 and school is the best place to do any final preparation he needs to do.

I've had a great 10 months here with him while we adjusted to a new country and all that brings with it. My husband is away alot so having someone to talk to on an equal footing was amazing. I don't think I could have done it without him. He is bright, handsome, kind and a joy to be around! I couldn't ask for more in a son - and I know if he ever reads this he will kill me ;))!

Thank you Alexander!

Friday, 10 August 2007

Life Without ADSL!!

What a difference it makes! I talk to my kids, read books and generally have a life;)!

Seriously, since Telecom finally came out and sorted everything out I have been rather glued to it and my favourite websites!

However it does mean I can update my blog.

Us arriving at Malaga Airport.

Since I last posted we have had a holiday in Spain. We stayed in the hills outside Mijas, near Fuengirola. We had a great time going to the beach, in the pool, scuba diving and jet ski-ing, the last two involving only my husband and son! My daughter loved the Sea Kayak my husband has out there. She sat in the front while he paddled her around the Med looking like a little princess! The funniest was when my husband and son spent 30 minutes getting it seaworthy only for her to jump up as they headed off with, "Right, let's get into the boat then!" Luckily my son had a bodyboard otherwise there would have been real trouble!!

I can't really compare the two as here we are in the city and there it was the hills and sea. It was alot cheaper for everything from food to clothes, a meal for 4 costing about €40 in Spain and the same over €65 here in Florence. But the quality of food in the restaurants wasn't a patch on the food here. Everything seems to be deep fried in some way! I had a club sandwich, it came with a fried egg embedded in the top on fried bread! After a lunch of fried seafood it was all a bit too much! Don't get me wrong I love my fry-up's but two in one day was more than my system could cope with! I also discovered a drink called Tinto Verrano. It is wine based but on draft!! It went down very well.

By the end of the week it was good to return to Florence. As we went via Rome and there were delays on the flights it took around 10 hours to get back. We'll be returning at the end of August for a final bit of sun and sea before my son returns to the UK for school. So I have a week in Spain, a week in the UK and then back here - it will be really interesting to see how they all compare!