A Windy Day & Turkish Delight 😜

A Windy Day & Turkish Delight 😜

Let me start by saying I have just finished a second course of antibiotics to try and kick a chest infection.  I still have the cough and now thanks to the antibiotics I have a really bad case of wind. 

Nobody was safe from the wind

As we walked to the office of the prefecture I was not only worried about my application for Italian citizenship, but also my precarious medical condition.  I am not sure if my interpreter knew I kept randomly exploding, if she did, she never said anything.

The Office of Sig.ra helpful

The meeting went really well, Sig.na Helpful ( the women in the office) decided I could write a self certificate declaring that when I was a baby in Malta I wasn’t a   Cereal Killer or criminal.

The milk had better be warm today


Sig.na Helpful asked if she could see my original documents, I whispered to Mrs Interpreter that my original documents are languishing in some office in the U.K. and hopefully they will receive the apostille stamp and be back here in ten days.

Sig.na Helpful asked me to sign another self certificate declaring that the photocopies of  my original documents were original photocopies !!! I know I am still trying to work that one out. maybe I lost something in the translation.

I was then asked for the marca da bollo, this is a little stamp that cost me €16. It’s at home I said! 

Marca da bollo

Don’t worry Sig.na Helpful said you can bring it in next week, or nip out and buy another one.  I couldn’t believe my luck, I had been sitting there with my stomach making curious noises and I knew there was an imminent explosion due.

I’ll be right back I said as I ran out of her office, I managed to exit the building before the wind struck.

I drove my interpreter back to her house and then headed off to Cerrina to give an English Lesson.

Because I had an hour to spare I stopped off in a bar for a coffee and a brioche. The bar looked clean and I thought it might be ok to use their toilet.

Turkish Toilet

The hole in the floor

I have lived here ten years and today was the first time I have had to balance above a Turkish Toilet  I think if you have a dress it must be easier, all the women need to do is bunch their dress up under their armpits.

If you are wearing trousers there are a multitude of problems, 1. With your trousers around your ankles it is really difficult to open your feet far enough to squat safely above the hole, 2. Attempting to maintain balance with one hand trying to hold your trousers out of danger while squatting is a nightmare.

Just as I managed to get my balance and my thigh muscles stopped shaking, I heard a click and  the fricking light went out, I was immediately plunged into darkness.

Stupid Light Sensor

Some energy conscious Italian had installed an automatic light switch!!!

Because this is a family rated blog, I can’t tell you the thoughts that ran through my mind or the words that spilled out of my mouth as I nearly tumbled down the hole.

What I will say is, trying to turn the light back on by waving with one hand in the air, whilst  trying to keep your trousers safe and maintain balance, is as easy as riding a unicycle while playing the bagpipes

A talented man

Today my thoughts are with the inventor of the Turkish Toilet and the man who set the light switch to 20 seconds, both of you have a better sense of humour than I will ever have.

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Pecora Nera the Cereal Killer

Pecora Nera the Cereal Killer

I have to tell you I am crying into my glass of wine, I have just received two E mails from the Prefettura in Alessandria, allegedly they are processing my application for Italian citizenship.

The first E mail I successfully translated with the help of Google, it went something like this.

Dear Pecora Nera,

Please come to our office on the second floor,  on the 9th November at 10.30. Bring originals of the documents you submitted on line.

I was so happy I nearly kissed the cat.

Susie Stupid Pussy Cat didn’t want a kiss

And then I opened the second E mail and as Google translated the document, I nearly kicked the cat.

Dear Pecora Nera,

Please apostille stamp your documents and it is necessary to provide your police certificate.

If I kicked Mishmash, she would retaliate by taking a dump in my shoe

After talking to the prefettura (I used my neighbour for this) we found out the police certificate she wanted, should be issued by Malta. Did I mention I was born in Malta and moved to the UK when I was 8 months old?

Pecora Nera the Cereal Killer


Obviously this is going to delay my application. I hope the Maltese authorities are not aware of my juvenile crime spree and will certify I was a good boy for the 8 months that I lived there.

Digging through my mother’s photo album, I found a couple more photos of my time in Malta

Me getting ready for the midwifes visit. She always had cold hands

Taken shortly after I held up the milkman

Another successful raid on the baby food factory


Today I have sent my documents issued by the UK government back to them with a request that they validate them with a rubber stamp.

I have also E mailed Malta to ask if they provide criminal certificates for 8 month old babies.

Citizenship part 1
Citizenship part 2
I am sure there will be a part 3 & 4

Just another average day in Italy

On Monday I received a nice letter warning me that I had forgoten to pay the car tax on my little mini. I think the tax was for 2011 – 2012.  The letter gave me 60 days to pay the tax or I would be charged an additional €7.00 😱 Mrs Sensible gave me 2 days to pay it or face more dire consequences than a mere €7.00

 Every morning she has reminded me once or thrice that the bill is still OVERDUE… 

So this morning I called in at the local post office in Occimiano and tried to pay it, the really helpful woman (NOT), behind the counter told me I needed to fill in the ‘Casuale’, 


Normally you write the bill/invoice  number in Casuale but there wasn’t a bill number so I asked the unhelpful woman if I should write Soris , or Regione Piemonte or car tax? 

She shook her head, and continued to talk to her mother on the phone.

“ok cosa scrivere? ” I probably missed a few words out but I think I said, What should I write? 

She shrugged her shoulders. Of course, I had forgot there is no such thing as customer service in Italy

Google search: Italian Customer Service


With a smile I thanked her for her help and walked out.

Finding a helpful Poste Italiane worker is like finding hens teeth,  for every helpful worker there are at least 23 unhelpful workers. Mind you there are millions of post offices in Italy to choose from.

I decided to try the post office in Terrugia, and the guy was amazing, he filled out the form and took my €270.36. Which means my car is now legally taxed for the year 2011 – 2012. I not sure if I have paid  this years road tax, mind you, it has taken them 5 years to write to me. Maybe I will receive another letter in the year 2022

Ouch ! 🆘😢

Yesterday was a little cooler than normal, the cats were lazing in different parts of the garden and I decided I would find the old hosepipe so I could water my bit of mud that would soon be grass.

Susie Pussy Cat, very beautiful, very stupid


I searched in the garage and behind some boxes and then I remembered it might be in the boiler room.

I tugged the door open and as I reached for the hosepipe, I felt a sharp pain on my cheek, nowadays my reactions are not quiet as fast as they used to be, there was a time I could outrun a wasp. These little blighters managed to sting me once more on my back before I managed to run to the sanctuary of my house.

Last one to sting him buys the beers

As the cats all ran in the other direction, Mrs Sensible heard the commotion and thought at the very least I had amputated my left leg or maybe I had fallen out of the upstairs window.

As she tended my wounds, I pointed out I had only shouted ouch twice, and I had not come screaming into the house, like a cat with its tail on fire.

Wasp nest split in half


I extracted immediate vengeance on the nest with a powerful bug spray. And as you can see, they were extremely annoyed because when I opened the door I managed to split their nest into two pieces.

My neighbour came around (probably because she heard me shout ouch and ouch) and suggested I should recoperate in her swimming pool.

The best pool in miles


Which I did, although I am still sulking with  the wasps

Boys and their Toys 🚜

I had a brilliant idea, I would hire a little digger and flatten part of the garden that has been driving me mad.

When I mow the grass, it normally takes 2 to 3 hours, if the mosquitos attack me while I am cutting the grass, it can take 2 to 3 weeks and I only persevere when it becomes apparent that the cats can’t find their way home through the jungle.

My son mowing the bottom grass

One year I dug over a piece of the garden, to plant tomatoes and vegetables, ok I didn’t actually do the digging Giorgio arrived with his big tractor and dug it over for me, but I did plant the seeds and water them.

Giorgio did the digging


As you can see, the garden had a little slope and it also had holes where I had dug up various vegetables, this made mowing the grass a little dangerous, if one of the mowers wheels fell in a hole… I was doomed.

Cecil, one of the vegetables I grew

On Friday night I wandered down to the local digger hire and enquiried about hiring a little digger.

Me: I need machine one day, how much? (as you can see my Italian is improving)

Owner: Mmm, 100 Euros,  do you have a digger licence?

Me: Ha, you very funny man. I car/truck licence.

Owner: You must have a digger licence.

Me: I dig me garden, not road!!!

The owner sucked his teath and shrugged.

Fealing a little disappointed I drove home, I didn’t really blame the man for not wanting to rent one of his lovely diggers to a crazy Englishman who was wearing flip-flops and had the language ability of a five year old.

At seven a clock I received a phone call.

Hi Peter, how are you? Luigi told me, you want to hire one of his machines, I have told him I know you and he will deliver it to you at 9pm tonight, is that ok.

Me: What! Please you speak me slowly.

Pier: Digger will arrive at 9

Me: FANTASTIC

My new toy

I was so excited when the digger arrived, as I thanked the man, my mind started to wander, I started to wonder how feasible it would be to dig a swimming pool and could I do it before Mrs Sensible realised what I was doing.

I need a swimming pool

I set my alarm for 7:30am and at 8 o’clock I was tentatively driving my new toy down the garden, just as I started to enjoy myself, Pier turned up and shouted “più potenza” (you can use google translate).

He then decided to show me how to dig and flatten my garden properly, I have to admit I had mixed emotions, yes he was doing a fabulous job and he obviously knew how to operate the digger, but I was sat on the side just watching… maybe even sulking a little bit.

Pier and his broken leg


I shouted “Ok, I can see how you do it” and “Ok, let me have a go” and finally ” That hard work can’t be good for your broken leg”

Pier was having none of it, he just smiled at me and waved away my concerns.

I now have a perfectly flat piece of land for the children’s tents next year. Did I tell you about the English Summer Camp I ran last week? I might in my next post, that is if I am not digging a swimming pool.


Have a fab summer

Pecora Nera

Red stripes and shoe laces

I was spending a pleasant afternoon helping some friends taste and bottle  some red wine, when I received an urgent phone call from Mrs Sensible.

The gang of wine bottlers


Mrs S was putting together a powerpoint presentation when horrors upon horrors the program wouldn’t do what she wanted it to do. I didn’t realise there were others like me, who wouldn’t do as she commanded.

I put  my glass of wine down and bade farewell to my friends, and set off rather quickly on my mission of mercy.

Hurtling down the road in my little Mini I spotted a member of our esteemed  carabinieri standing in the middle of the road waving a red ping pong bat.

englishmaninitaly.org

Anyone for tennis.


Using the hand brake,  going down the gears and jumping on the brakes, I managed to stop the car before I ran him over, did I mention I was rushing?

I believe you should always be extra polite to policemen, especially if you have just nearly run them over. I bade him good morning (it was about four in the afternoon) and he asked me if I was a tourist !!!!

Sorry! Why do you think I am a tourist?


Why no kind sir, I live here.

He proceeded to check my documents and when he checked my vehicle log, his demeanor changed,… This is very bad he told me, your car should have had its vehicle check 3 months ago.. 

It took me a couple of seconds to translate his Italian to English and then register the grave problem I was in. I took the document from his hand and read with horror, my car should have had its check at the end of April, we are now in June

The story of my life


I used one of the few Italian words in my vocabulary, mi dispiace, I’m sorry.

He looked at his machine gun wielding partner and gave me my documents back, Today we haven’t seen you, but tomorrow we will….

Did you see him? No, me neither

Thankfully he mimed some of the words to make sure i understood his meaning.

So here I am spending €67 and waiting to see if my little car is still road worthy. 

A nightmare

When the engineer shouted it had passed the emissions test, I did a Mexican wave, he tut tutted a couple of time because one of the exhaust brackets is currently on holiday and one of the tyres is wearing unevenly (I have no idea which) and something about something needing cleaning or changing!! I just nodded and thought I can worry about whatever he is on about another day.

It has passed the emission test


I can’t express how happy I am that my little car has passed it’s test. I do have a small niggling problem, I know two carabiniere are watching out for my car to see if I have had the check done…. 

So I can’t drive wearing my flip flops for a week or two and I promise not to tell anyone that Carabiniere wear boots because they don’t know how to tie laces or that they have red stripes on their trousers so they don’t put them on inside out.

I will leave you with one of my favourite pictures, a carabinieri providing an excellent example of how to dismount from his horse with the aid of a tent.

Utilising a tent to dismount

Life Imploding

I don’t normally whine, but today I am going to make an exception. This little blacksheep’s life started to implode last week.

A life imploding

A life imploding


It all started when I dropped my glasses in the car park of a customers and proceded to drive home wearing my reading glasses.

My mistake became apparent  as the Italian cars looked a little more blurred as they screamed past me going in the opposite direction.

I called the company and they said they had found my glasses, but they appeared to have been stood on…. a couple of times.

They are still good


I always have a back up plan, so I started to wear my contact lenses daily. I normally only use them when I am at the karate class or when I want to wear sunglasses.

The second meltdown came when my right eye started to water, I looked like I had just sat through a sad girly movie and worse still my lens floated around my eye and occasionally   centred itself so I could see.

Mrs Sensible diagnosed me as suffering from either allergy or conjunctivitis, she said she had some cream that would cure the problems with my eye.

Really! I said,

Yes she replied, I bought it for the cat, but it will work on you…..

The third meltdown came when our washing machine decided to self destruct during a spin cycle. Even Mishmash decided to vacate the house, and she isn’t scared of anything, including next doors dog.

Mishmash, one cool cat


After suffering silently, I let Mrs S administer the eye ointment. So far my eye is the same but I have developed a very strange desire to lick myself , I hope I don’t start coughing up hair balls….

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