orWine Tastings in the Comfort of you own villa or B&B while on holiday in Tuscany or Liguria

To book an informative and fun wine tasting whilst holidaying in Italy or arrange for a wild food walk in your area contact me on tuscanytipple at libero dot it or check out my Facebook page

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Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Things are Looking up!

Well, as the followers of these pages will know, there’s only one small thing missing from our lives here in Italy to make it pretty much perfect and that is a steady source of cash income. Not much, mind, just enough to pay the bills, electricity, telephone, petrol and keep the banks off our backs. Some of you will remember us running against a bureaucratic wall while Susan was applying for an English teaching job. Today a small miracle happened, which just goes to show you should never give up in the face of adversity. It appears they are so desperate for native English speakers to be able to work specific hours, that they are not insisting on seeing Susan’s degree after all. They have actually offered her a job today, subject to her getting a VAT registration, starting from 11 February.

She will be teaching 11-14 year olds alongside a teacher 8 hours a week for 8 weeks. The pay - well I don’t want to name figures, you never know who reads this - but put it this way: on our current very careful living standards would last us a year. There are good chances that she’ll get more work later in the year again as well though, and apparently there are other schools looking for people too. At the same time I am due to go on a couple of trips to Germany with one of my wine producers in the next couple of months, which is hopefully going to generate some more business as well. So all in all we can look forward to a brighter future. Let’s just hope that the VAT registration people are not going to throw a stick into the spokes. They may still want a copy of her degree, however, Susan’s sister has found the original in Belfast and is sending it over to us. We tried to get things going this morning, but the office is only open about 6 hours a week. Sounds a cushy number to me.

Other news: the weather has been a bit of a mixed bag. After a couple of sunny days it turned cloudy again with bits of drizzle occasionally. This morning we woke up to thick fog, which cleared up by lunchtime. Done some general tidying up on the land, weeding, grubbing up vines etc. Today is full moon and we completed the to-do list for the waxing moon period. Now it’s back to pruning and digging as well as sowing a few bits such as radishes and lettuces, which prefer to be sowed during the waning moon.

Oh yes, and we started school. Last week we met with the Italian teacher (incidentally the same school where Sue will be working) to establish our levels. I’ve joined the advanced class on Monday nights and Susan the beginners on Wednesday mornings (although this will have to change once she starts teaching). I had my first class yesterday. The teacher is very nice. The class consists of a few Moroccans, a guy from Senegal, an American lady and another lady whose nationality I have yet to determine. Unfortunately no jolly group of Irish ready for a pub crawl after lessons…, but you can’t have everything.

To celebrate the good news (and my friend Jo’s birthday), we’ve broken our abstinence from alcohol and celebrating with a glass of red wine, first of the year. Talking about my friend Jo, those of you who understand German, you can listen to his inspiring podcasts. Just click on the link on the side of my blog to ‘My Friend Jo’s Podcasts’ and hey presto! Anybody come up with any books they’d like to swap with me yet? I’m still waiting…

Finally I had my cousin Monica on the phone yesterday. Hadn’t spoken to her in years. She announced a visit with her family for the end of June. We have already had my cousin Karin announce herself for April and our friends Siobhan and Eleanor from Belfast for the middle of June. So we have some nice visits to look forward to. Funny that, you live in a grey Surrey suburb for years and no one turns up to visit, than you move to the sunny Riviera and everyone turns up at once… Of course you are all welcome (well not quite all of course; I wouldn’t want Osama Bin Laden or even George Bush turning up on our doorstep)

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