The more astute among you (who am I kidding…) might have noticed that I was slightly angry when I wrote my last post. I hid it well I think, but there was a definite undertone of frustration there.
Five days later, the same problems still exist. We haven’t chosen a builder (though we have set in motion a process that it least makes it feel like we might be moving forward with it), Italians still have, and still share, their opinions on everything and I still don’t have a camera.
But, despite this, I feel better now. A lot better.
As soon as I posted my last blog (in which I actually didn’t mean to come across quite as down as I perhaps did) I started to receive comments. Lovely, understanding comments full of encouragement. People wishing us well, telling me to stay strong, be patient, everything will be ok… these weren’t from British people, obviously. The Brits laughed at me, told me to pull myself together and revelled in my depression, but I could tell the same sentiment was there.
Out in the real world, we’ve found people to be even nicer. Our neighbours took us out for a pizza, another called to see how we were doing, one even gave us some very odd-looking pumpkins!
A couple of friends – Anna of Italianna fame and Claudio from Granda Casa – came over to offer us both support and advice. Claudio is perfectly positioned to help us out, given that his company offers personal recommendations of great builders in Piemonte. He hadn’t offered to help sooner because we hadn’t asked him to and he didn’t want to be pushy. We hadn’t asked for his help because we didn’t want to take advantage of our friendship. There’s probably a lesson there but I’m not sure what it is. Anyway, they were both full of great advice and really helped calm us down.
Even our geometra has started being nice to us. He answered his phone yesterday. That’s big. He doesn’t read the blog (as far as I know), but he was unfortunate enough to turn up late for a meeting on one of our ‘bad days’. I think it’s safe to say he won’t be doing that again any time soon
A friend said to me yesterday: “I don’t want to hear about things going well for you, I want to read about disasters. If a wall stays standing keep it to yourself, if it comes crashing down, taking several other walls with it, I want to know all about it. You already live here, the last thing I want is for you to actually enjoy it!”
So, Andrew, this bit’s for you. Despite everything, the annoyances, the frustrations, the pink chinos, I still love it here. I love the colours of the vines, which are noticeably changing every day right now, I love the thick fog and the way it occasionally clears enough to offer glimpses of the hilltop villages, I love the delicious wine and the equally delicious food, but most of all I love the people… except for the builders, obviously.