Friday, 20 February 2009

No phone, no internet - a lovely, quiet birthday!!;)

It was my birthday on Tuesday. This is the year I officially start counting backwards, so that must mean I am staying the same age, I think! Still too old, especially when you have a 4 year old that thinks you can, and should do, all the things a much, much younger mum should do, like run without getting out of breath, think that Winx are amazing fashion icons, that kind of thing!

Having said that, I chose an Xbox360 game as my birthday present......So who am I kidding! Finally, finally, I have my hands on a copy of Guitar Hero! Sorry, this game isn't just for teens and men! It's great! Even better when you can attach a mike to the controller and sing along too!!!! Luckily we have a detached house....! Have you ever tried "singing" a Beastie Boys song - don't!! It was huge fun for all of us, even Antonia who can strum along to Oasis on Beginner quite happily, very funny to see as the guitar is the right size for her. She Rocks! (This is terminology from the game, honest.) Alex was the real star being able to play a good few on Expert - good to see his education isn't going to waste.........

We also woke up to find the phone and internet were off. A very kind friend called telecom for me who discovered there was a fault. They told me it would be off until today, Friday! As it turned out they came the very next day and fixed it all. One up for telecom I think! It was actually restful not checking e-mails or doing anything at all to do with the net! One day without was fine, any longer and I think it would be just too much!

I've had my husband and son here all this week for half-term. It ends far too quickly! Alex went to a party in the UK at the weekend before returning here. He goes back early Sunday - too soon! Easter isn't far but it really isn't close enough!

Anyway - tell me your favourite Guitar Hero tracks! And how well you play them...;)!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

The Credit Crunch....

So tell me, are you one of the few NOT affected by this?! I would love to know you, really!

Aside from the all the economic doom and gloom where jobs or lack of are concerned, for those of us not from the Eurozone there are also the effects of the currency fluctuations.

When I arrived here just over 2 1/2 years ago the pound was REALLY strong. At one point it was nearly €1.50 to the £1.00! That made a big difference here. Now all my costs have risen by a 1/3rd! When utilities are still going up this makes a BIG difference! Take my most recent gas bill - it is horrendous as always, but a year ago it cost me the equivalent of £300 less for the same amount in euros! £300!! That's two month's school fees for Antonia, a month's food shopping, you get the idea...

The only thing that stops the pessimism really creeping in is that, this time, I think we are all in this together. If you aren't effected, please, count your blessings! ;)

Sunday, 8 February 2009

It's Raining, Again.....

This February feels like a re-run of last Feb weather wise, with 3 or 4 days exception. Last Tuesday and Wednesday I was sat out in the garden eating my breakfast and reading a newspaper. Not for the rest of the week though! 

I had been told that it rains alot in Tuscany in the winter, but I didn't believe it could be any wetter than Manchester, UK, where I grew up. I was wrong!! It ISN'T wetter year on year, but by season winter is probably wetter if anything. Bizarrely Florence and Manchester share similar geography. Both are on the western side of their countries, one being an island, the other a narrow peninsula. Both have rivers running through them down to the sea, so there is no real barrier between them and the coast which, in both cases, is about an hour away and both are in a bowl of mountains on three sides. What this meant in Manchester and also seems to mean here, is that the cloud and rain blows in from the sea and dumps their load on Manchester and Florence before it hits the hills. Oh, and the mountain range here is the Appenines and the range in the UK is the Pennines. Wonder who thought the name up for the UK range? Hmmm....

Anyhow, it's times like this I wonder what I am doing here, then the rain stops, the sun comes out and I remember! No matter what, I would never get 18C in February in Manchester!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Cadbury Eyebrows (official version)

Okay, this is so funny! First a drumming gorilla now this, what next!!