Sunday, December 13, 2009

6/12: Dickensian Christmas @ Wimpole hall

We spent a lovely afternoon at Wimpole Hall, where there was a Dickensian Christmas event, with plenty of people with proper old time costumes (150 years ago) and all the Christmas event set in place in the house.
Between the impressive things there was the Christmas dinner table, which for some reason didn't remind me at all about the canteen at my working place.

The kids were fascinated by some of the people costumes. Agnese asked if we could find similar dresses to let them play, but obviously we can't. So she said:
'Mum, what about dresses of the time when you were young?'.
Honestly I wouldn't have said Anna Maria became so aged so quickly...

Then Agnese and Rachele had a talk with Santa Claus, although Agnese was not convinced it was the real one. And talking about Santa I asked Agnese to write him a letter asking for a present. She refuses because... 'Santa can read my mind!'.
I think it is time to have a chat with her....

We wish all readers of this blog a very merry Christmas and a fantastic 2010!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

18/11: Our story in a magazine!

As announced before, the story about our vacation in Cornwall has now been published.
Practical Motorhome January 2010 issue is now in the shops, with our article at pages 48-49.

We are quite happy about this: it's our first article in a UK magazine and the first time for Anna Maria's pictures been published.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

4/10: grapes harvest

The 4th of October, in the very same day where in the village from where I come from -Cupramontana - they celebrated the 72 Sagra dell'Uva (grapes feast), we did our first grapes harvest in Histon!

The enthusiasm for this has to be searched in my roots: Cupramontana is the leader (of one of the leaders depending to whom you ask) of Castelli di Jesi, which are the hills around Jesi, famous for the production of the wine Verdicchio.

Grapes and vineyards are part of my culture: since you are a child you look at the tractors bringing grapes to big wine cellars; you go to help friends to harvest the grapes; you study the making wine process at school since very early stage (because anyway it is around you); you take actively part in the Sagra dell'Uva doing different things and so on.

All of this to justify the fact that two years ago I planted in my garden in Histon a little grape plant (I guess it was about 30 cm tall), obviously after looking for the most sunny and protected spot in the garden.

And this year (the second for this plant), we had the grapes harvest: 18 little grapes, the longest of about 6 cm, with little tiny berry grapes.
But very very sweet.
I'm very proud of this!
It is like exporting my culture! ;-)

End of September: the Patio project

Dust for dust... why not rebuild even the garden patio?
That was actually thanks to our friend Brian: he offered to do it and he has done it, in a wonderful, professional and artistic way!

This experience led me to use for the first time in my life a pneumatic drill, and it is a great fun!
(Obviously Brian had shown me how to do it).

But regarding fun, Paolo had the most of it: we did realize already how attracted he is by working tools, but having a lot of them around, was just a fun fair for him!
Not only that: he also had a lot of fun on delaying Brian's job, and getting the most from his teaching... I had like the feeling that Paolo learned more than me from this project!

End of September: the extension is done!

Finally the house extension project is over!

Well, technically, not really... we left all the decorations for ourselves.
(And working there only on Saturdays and not full days, we are aiming to finish everything before the London Olympics).

But it is done, and we are very happy about it!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

7/9: Rachele goes to school!

The 7th of September Rachele finally starts to go to school.
I say 'finally' because she was really looking forward to it: now she joined the school of the grown up children :-)

Agnese was very excited as well and she went to the head teacher asking to be the buddy for Rachele.
Obviously that is a task for year 6 pupils and she is only in year 2 now.
But she got the permission to go and help on Rachele's class occasionally.

I still wonder why that doesn't happen at home...

A dusty summer

As said before, this was the summer for the house extension.
It has been a nice experience in a way.

For example - while losing gradually the usage of the kitchen, I discovered how useful is to have a foldable garden table; not to mention how great is a camping gas burner that I used regularly to make coffee in the mornings.
(Yes, I could manage without food, but not without coffee. I'm a programmer after all, which means a machine that turns coffee into source code).

I also discovered how sad is to be alone in a barbeque: I wanted to cook and the only way was to light the fire of the barbeque... but that is supposed to be a social event!

But the most negative side was that for 7 weeks my family was away, in Italy.
I joined them for one week in August.
And just few days before I joined them, Paolo started to walk.
We spent one week at the sea side and it has been marvelous.

Then I came back... and I think I will remember this summer for one reason.
The picture may explain....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

11/07: Histon fun run

The 11th of July I toke part to the 'Histon Fun Run', 6 miles long.
The event it is organized in the context of Histon Feast.

Last year I saw people running at this fun run and I remember I was thinking: "it is 10 km, why do people do this?".
This year I joined them.... but the question remains unanswered.

The only thing worth of a note is that I was assigned the number 118.
Now I had no clue what that was, but everyone - really almost everyone - was smiling or laughing or making jokes...
A woman said: "we will call you!".

That was time for explanations, that you can find in this video.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

1/7: The big summer project

And so it started!
Our big-summer-project had a beginning!
After long nights of thinking, re-thinking, and after negotiations to find a compromise between what we wanted and what the City Council wished for, at the end we could proceed.

We are extending our house.
It will take the whole summer. (Hopefully _just_ the whole summer).

[And then... I should not say it too loudly.... this time we hope not to have to move again!
Where 'we' is an euphemism...]

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

1st of July: Paolo is one!

Paolo is one!
He is very different than the sisters, much more trouble maker to start with.
He doesn't speak, except for 'mamma', said in time of need, and 'ciao', said with the hand waving.
He stands firmly but doesn't walk yet.

In the picture he is despairing when he saw the birthday cake disappearing.

14/6: Histon Open Garden day

Every two years some villagers organize the Histon Open Garden day.
The event idea is simple: some of the gardens are open for public to visit and the money collected (a unique ticket) go for charity.

I must admit that it took a while to convince me, but I didn't regret it.
To start with, I got a lot of great ideas for our garden. Not all of them applicable, but there is room for discussion.
But most of all I really liked some of the gardens and I enjoyed to observe a very typical aspect of English people life: gardening is one of the most spread hobby.
Plus the great weather has been a good background for a very colourful day.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

30/5: Agnese is 6!

30th of May 2009: Happy birthday Agnese!
She is 6 today!

18/5: Rachele is 4!

18th of May 2009: Happy birthday Rachele!
She is 4 today!

3/5: Histon fun run

The 3rd of May we took part at the Histon fun run.
The event was organized in two runs:
. one for adults (of 5km), where I run;
. and _the most interesting_, one for children up to 7 years old, 1 Km long (!).

Agnese and Rachele run the 1 Km one and I was very impressed.
I was supposed to run aside Agnese but then Rachele wanted to join... so Agnese run by herself ending up in a very good position.
I run with Rachele who had only one single break in the 1 Km ring.
Both of the girls where very good!

Friday, July 03, 2009

13-19/4: Holiday in Cornwall

From the 13th to 19th of April we had a fantastic family vacation in Cornwall.
We hired a camper van and tried for the first time this kind of experience.
The final response was:
We do think that a camper van vacation is idea with children, ideal for a flexible planning such as we had, ideal for the degree of freedom it provides.
We must do it again.
Anna Maria and me found it fantastic.
Agnese and Rachele loved it.
Paolo didn't and he wasn't able to sleep properly a single night (try to guess about us then?). Yet, he is in minority.

Few snapshots of some places we have been visiting.

Here we are talking down into Clovelly, surely the most picturesque and beautiful village I ever seen in UK.
It is a 'private village', which I was not aware could exist at all. The atmosphere there, especially late evening without the tourists rush, is fantastic.

St Michael's Mount has a 'brother' in France: it is an old monastery, then converted into castle, which is built in an island close to the coast. Once a day the tie allows a path to appear and it is possible to walk there.
We went to the castle (which is really worth a visit) by boat and came back walking on the path with low tie.

Kinance Cove: a dramatic landscape on the seaside, where it seems like nature has been untouched.

The Lizard Point.
The southern most land of Great Britain.
Again a very nice landscape.
Here is the four of us (Anna Maria is taking the picture), although Paolo felt asleep and is slightly visible.

An amazing old and very well kept garden, within a valley that leads to a bay.
Fantastic walk and also absolutely funny for children who can enjoy the big maze.


A huge country mansion property with 51 rooms opened to the public, which supply a clear idea about life in old times.
Remarkable interest for Agnese who was complaining about us going too fast from room to room!Obviously this site is equipped with a wide garden, with different walks (like magnolia's one): can't be described, should be smell instead.

In short, very short: a FANTASTIC WEEK!

NOTE: A full report of this story should be published in a UK magazine soon... therefore here I can write very little and publish only few pictures, surely not the best ones.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

April: Paolo is crawling

A brief update:
Paolo (9 months) is crawling now. And as Rachele pointed out, now we have a problem!

Regarding Rachele one day we suddenly realised that she is able to read numbers. We asked: "where did you learned it? did you learned it from kinder garden?".
She said: "I've just been reading books!".

Agnese is more and more very British. Not only the way she speaks, but now she is even telling English jokes, the ones that you can find in Christmas crackers for example, and that I would never understand.... never mind!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

28/2: making italian sausages

The Romans brought into Great Britain a lot of things that at that time were considered to be... 'signs of civilization'.
Unfortunately they failed to impose to britons a good recipe for making sausages.

So this time I took advantage of my father visit and we made them!
My father was happy to give me a training... indeed for him he was a kind of 'revenge', since when I was a child I could not care less about his job and learning his skills (he was a butcher). 
Now I was begging for information.... time changes! ;-)

Monday, February 23, 2009

21/2: Carnevale

In Italy - more or less at this time of the year, just before lent - we celebrate Carnevale.
It is a kind of "happier" version of Halloween, where traditionally there are less monster 
masks and more traditional ones (Arlecchino, Pulcinella, etc).
An italian group of people organized a party in Cambridge, and that was the first Carnevale for Paolo.
Also Agnese and Rachele were there, obviously as princesses (would you have guessed?).

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Monday, February 02, 2009

2/2: "heavy" snow!!!!

Today we awoke with snow around and snow allerts in the radio.
The event was advertised in the news as the heaviest snow fall since 18 years!
Most of the schools were closed and people were advised not to travel unless really necessary. In some areas they even stopped rubbish collection.

To be honest, with the same ammount of snow in Finland, I don't think I would have weared high shoes, but one must think that snow in UK is very unusual and cars do not have winter tyres at all.

So when I came back from work (a bit earlier than usual) we made a snow man in the garden and we went with the sledge: being the area totally flat we played the sladge with dogs, with me being the dogs pulling two passengers (original game was Santa's sledge, but I didn't like the idea of being a reindeer, bearing horns...).

Weather forecasts say it should snow all week... but I don't recall a time were the weather forecast was correct for a whole week!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

1/1/2009: Happy Half Year!

1/1/2009: Happy New Year everyone,
but today is also Paolo's first Half Year!

He is about 8.5 kg, he sits and smiles a lot.
He likes to play with the sisters (whatever 'play' could mean for him) and he loves to jump in his baby bouncer.
He just started eating solid food (which also means solid 'output') and he has two teeth.

The footh in the picture is his own.

December 2008: Italy

We spent Christmas time in Italy - as we do every year - from 17th to 31st of December.
As every year this is the occasion to see many relatives and lots of friends.
As every year we spend part of the vacation at home because someone of the children is seek (this year was Rachele - who left UK with fever, then Paolo, then Rachele again).
As every year we eat a lot of italian Christmas typical delicious food... and I fly back fatter!

In the picture we were at the Eremo dei Frati Bianchi, that Agnese and Rachele describe as a fairyland.