Mrs Sensible and I

I live in Piemonte Italy with my wife Mrs Sensible and my Italian – English dictionary.

Mrs Sensible emigrated to the UK to escape Italy, she then married me and I forced her against her better judgement to return to live in Italy.

The following telephone conversation, took place after Mrs Sensible had returned to Italy. I was still in the UK  decorated our house. The intention was to sell the house and open a B&B in Italy. Unfortunately the UK bank crisis hit and the house didn’t sell.

(Me) Ok plan B I will rent out our house and take any job in Italy.

Mrs Sensible calmly and slowly pointed out my inability to understand or construct even the most basic sentence in Italian.

“You are married to an Italian.

Your two best friends are Italian.

And so far the only words you have learnt are:-

ciao, si, non, cosi cosi (so so)

and non e’ vero (not true).”


“Non e’ vero” I replied.

After 5 years, much to the despair of Mrs Sensible, I am still learning the language. I can now string enough words together  to  sometimes be understood, and when Italians do not understand my version of Italian I revert to finger-pointing and miming.

I will update this ASP (at some point)

Pecora Nera (Italian for Blacksheep)

94 thoughts on “Mrs Sensible and I

  1. I’m about to be in a similar, but opposite, situation to you. I’m an Australian girl who feel in love with a Tuscan man from Florence. He’s currently here in Australian with me, but next year I’ll be making the transition to Italy/Europe!


    • It has to be English, you should see my attempts at Italian. I really don’t know why they have to have masculine and feminine gender words, it is just so difficult. Or why do the words sound so alike, a classic example is pesce pesche or fish and peaches. My local corner shop always looks forward to my visits and the total hash I make of their language.


      • I laughed so loud … remembering how shopkeepers almost lined up to ‘help’ me when I first came to Sri Lanka – before I knew it the shop would be full of people, all talking at once, and laughter was our common language 🙂


  2. It sounds like you and your family are on a never-ending adventure! The meeting of cultures must be enriching and challenging. I just wanted to stop by and personally thank you for following my blog. It really means a lot that out of all the blogs out there, you decided mine was important enough to read and subscribe to. And thanks for liking one of my recent posts. Any feedback you have along the way is appreciated.


    • Thanks for coming over. Mrs Sensible is going to read my blog tonight so I might have to behave for a day or two.

      My lovely wife Mrs Sensible is a teacher so she will spend all night correcting my grammar. Uffa.

      I think i am going to have to send Jennifer a bottle of wine.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hullo, fellow blogger. Homesick and Heatstruck has just been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award and I am now sharing the love… I think your blog is inspiring, well written and thoroughly worth reading, so I have nominated you for the award too: consider yourself a Very Inspiring Blogger! There. Well done. If you would like to accept the award, click on the following link to read the rules and the post in which you are listed: Of course, you don’t have to do anything at all if you don’t want to. No one can make you. Cheerio, and congratulations for receiving the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Keep up the bloody good blogging.


  4. Hi Pete . .great blog – much better than mine which I stopped updating quite a few months ago (although thanks for subscribing), and nobody was really reading it anyway. Good luck.


  5. Ciao ! Ti scrivo in italiano così lo impari un pò 😀
    Pure io vivo in Piemonte, vicino a Novara ed adoro il Monferrato. Vengo spesso in quelle zone a girare in moto e mangiare e bere dell’ottimo vino !

    Bye Bye


  6. What can I say, your wife is absolutely right. Make a real effort to learn Italian asap! It’s an experience unlike any other to be able to converse fluently in another language. I speak four languages, so just take my word for it. Most folks (especially Italians and Greeks, in my experience) will take you much more seriously – as a person and as a friend – once you show a lively interest in their culture and language. Inoltre, la lingua italiana è senza dubbio la più bella del mondo!


  7. Hi, great blog!

    It’s nice to hear that other people struggle with the language too… my biggest problem with Italian is that I can’t roll my Rs. Fortunately, in Piemonte it seems to me that many people have the same problem. Maybe it’s just part of the dialect!? Anyway, it’s the only part of Italy where my speech impediment might actually help!


    • I can’t roll my R’s either. It caused a problem when I tried to order some minced meat at the butchers (carne) and asked for minced dog (cane). The butcher actually though for a moment that the English must eat dog.
      I find I manage by streamlining the Italian language, forget articles they just cause problems eg: the, an a. Just increase the waving of the arms and the finger pointing.

      Also, what is the masculine / feminine nonsense all about. Or formal / informal. It is easier just to use Lei with everyone, or tu. I hope you have as much fun in Italy as I do. 🙂


      • I like the idea of gesticulating more, I may have to try that. We were in a pizza restaurant recently and I made the mistake of ordering a Marinara. On the fifth attempt at being understood I resorted to pointing at it on the menu. The waitress then proceeded to call her daughter over to “hear how the English say Marinara!” I think I’ll stick to something like Salsiccia in future…


  8. Well I certainly hope so….reply that is.
    Just found you and Mrs Sensible, we are also in Piedmont in a wild borgata in the mountains near Bobbio Pellice. If you’re ever out this way drop in my husband can chat away in Sicilian lol.
    I have been married to him for almost 20 years and my Italian is abysmal, just getting the hang of it now.
    Saw you on facebook and loving the drama, PS ditch the diet and relax xx
    ciao lisa


    • Hi Lisa, I will wave this message under Mrs Sensibles nose and tell her that there are other that can’t master Italian.

      How did you find this on Facebook?? I didn’t think it was on. It would be great to meet.

      PN & Mrs Sensible


  9. Really enjoyed reading through your posts! Love the black humor! To be honest, I know that dogs are supposed to do it, but I haven’t actually seen any documentary of dogs chasing cats before. =-) Tanny from Australia/Greenland!


  10. Hello PN !
    Just popping up here to say hello!
    No offence mate! It’s OK with me, once the wording is clarified it’s fine!
    I do love Italy too!!!!
    It is the country of my heart as my mother’s family moved to France in the early ’20s from Conegliano a small town near Treviso….
    Relocating for a while wouldn’t be a problem, might even be a dream come true!
    Take care and my best regards to the lady 🙂


      • Remember Italy like France is a country of Civil Law as opposed to Case Law (Common Law) in the UK. The difference as you probably know is that where Civil Law applies everything has to be written down as a reference (legal codes) but with Common Law there are less texts as the judges “creates” the law by… judging (hence the name of Case Law).
        The obvious consequence is our processes are much slower and the reference to “paper” more important…
        This, I believe, is the major cause for incomprehension on both sides…
        History and Culture again….


        • I don’t know about France, but everything is complicated in Italy.

          When I opened my bank account I had to sign a piece of paper, where I declared that I was not part of the Mafia!!! I wonder how many people actually say “sorry I can’t sign that I am Mafia”?


          • Civil law again… The bank has asked you, You have signed the document, so the bank is not responsible if you lied you have the problem, not them. They can prove you knew about it, they have a paper, so you deliberated lied. Nobody is going to ask a judge for his point of view (Common Law) and will not be able to defend your case (they never told me…blah blah)
            As simple as that…. End of story, you’re guilty.
            Stop thinking the british way as they are not going to change.
            Remember the saying “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”

            When I moved to the UK with a permanent contract from an English company, I went with my boss (and owner of the company) to his bank (Nat West) to open an account… No way! they wanted a permanent address, but when I wanted to rent a flat to have a permanent address the landlord wanted a bank account number… LOL


  11. UK, England, Kent…
    One morning driving from Faversham to my office in Sittingbourne
    A2 (London Road)…08:30 busy road…..
    I get into Teynham, a nice little village. Two cars in front of me, a car stops, indicator on…
    The car wants to turn right into Station Rd (probably going to… the station).
    Nobody moves, time is ticking… nobody moves….
    I have a quick look to my left, the pavement is empty…
    I engage first gear, left indicator on, I slowly start my car, put 2 wheels on the pavement and overtake. The road in front of me is empty (of course it is!) I resume my trip….
    Quick look in the mirror, nobody follows me, I’ve got a smile on my face…

    Can you tell me why nobody follows me? No, don’t tell me because I know very well why…
    One should not do that….
    This concept is alien to me… There is a traffc jam, I ease the traffic, there is not a single pedestrian or bicycle because I checked that, so nobody can be harmed what is the issue then?
    I never did it again because my friends told me I shouldn’t.
    Does that makes any sense to me? Of course not!
    But… In England do as the English do 🙂


  12. Hello and many thanks for visiting my blog and for the follow, I do very much appreciate it and I do hope you like what you read at my ‘cyber’ summerhouse. I certainly look forward to reading more of your lovely blog. I’ve visited Italy several times, but yet to ‘do’ Tuscany one of these years! Have a lovely day 🙂


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    • Learn Italian…… are you crazy? It is the most complicated language I know (or rather don’t know) Anyway I find if I add a vowel onto the end of an English word and speak slowly and loudly they know I want another glass of wine.


  16. I love your story about grumpiness and your drivers licence. If that is all that makes you grumpy , you are doing well .. don’t come back to the UK , you would be worse .. I know, I live with a grumpy English man .. Not actually sure what your name is though , just English man in Italy.. Very odd that you took your wife’s surname .. I like the fact that woman are not required to change their names but children take on the fathers.


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      • Italy seems pretty great. I used to eat bacon sarnies all.the. time.
        Am a vegetarian now but think about bacon and quarter pounders almost every week. Miss them! And guess what…my surname is ‘Bacon’. Oh hey karma, how are you? Ahh thanks for reading my blog!


        • Today I am counting my mosquito bites (if I get any more it will look like a bad case of the measles)
          Bacon as a surname, that’s pretty cool. I like your blog, it is interesting to see what others think of the UK


          • Mosquito bites? Yikes. Mosquitoes prefer O positive blood types, i am told. I think mosquitoes cant tell blood types apart. Am no mosquito expert though.

            Ahh thanks! I do love living here-i learn something every day-either about the UK or myself.

            Your blog is pretty funny. In fact ha-larious. Would love to live in Italy but still working on how to get by in the UK. The struggle is real.


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