Archive for December, 2009

Did God want us to have Christmas in London?

Friday, December 25th, 2009

Booked to fly to London for Christmas with British Airways a few months ago. When we discovered that there would be a strike we decided to drive. Soon after we had changed our bookings the strike was settled.

So on Sunday before Christmas at 5.00 am we set out for England. Leaving the icy streets of San Giorgio we were pleasantly surprised to discover that the motorways were clear. We made good progress through Italy and Switzerland and arrived in France about 1.00p.m. The snow also arrived and the motorway, although being kept clear by snow ploughs, became very slow going particularly as our windscreen wash nozzles became frozen and seeing the road was a mattar of peering through the smeers. By 6.00p.m. we had had enough and found a hotel in Verdun. The hotel had a restaurant but the food looked very tired and so we went out to eat. The only thing opened near the hotel was a Pizza and Pasta Bar or “Buffalo Bills” a burger bar. We opted for burger and chips – whatever happened to French cuisine.

Next morning we left at 7.30. Our train on Eurotunnel was at 4.00. We arrived at 11.30 and were offered the next train at 12.20. Our  lucky day. We drove to the loading area and waited, in our cars, for over three hours before the next train left. No information given about why we were waiting. But we believe we were on the last train to leave for the day.  A drive through rain and snow at rush hour meant we finally reached our destination at 6.30 p.m. Phil, our host, made us sausage and mash as a homecoming meal.

Snow in San Giorgio

Friday, December 18th, 2009

snow scene

Snow has fallen on San Giorgio (see photo) for two days. Fortunately it hasn’t settled and we have been able to get about. However, this morning driving into the hills it was quite scarey going round some of the bends. We slid three times on the way up and in fact, we didn’t quite make it to our destination as on the final curve the car couldn’t grip.

To resolve these problems we are now the pround owners of some snow chains and tomorrow we will be getting a set of winter tyres which, apparently, make driving on icey, snowey and wet roads much safer. The garage will keep our normal tyres in their warehouse and then will keep the winter tyres in storage when we change back to our normal tyres.

Christmas tree in San Giorgio

Friday, December 18th, 2009

This year San Giorgio has put a Christmas tree up in front of the town hall. It has a crib underneath. In fact in doing this San Giorgio is following national trends. On many news programmes they are asking people whether they are going for a traditional crib or a tree. Most people are opting for both.

Let’s hope the tree in San Giorgio has more success than the tree in the main shopping arcade in Naples. The evening after it was put up it was stolen and found dumped in an alley. In fact this happens most years and the papers interpret the theft as something carried out by the mafia to let the authorities know that they can still act outside the law with impunity. The rest of Italy’s response is “what do you expect in Naples”.

xmas tree

Hello Everybody: English lessons from McVities

Saturday, December 12th, 2009
mcvities McVities biscuits are trying to break into the Italian biscuit market and McVities digestives are now on sale in “all good supermarkets”. They have also introduced an advertising campaign based on “Mr McVite” who offers English lessons to italian families. The following link allows you to follow some basic English lessons plus see the adverts being shown on Italian tv. The advertisements are a bit embarassing.

McVities adverts

Eating well in San Giorgio?

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

burger bar

A few months ago a new eatery opened in Poggio a hamlet near San Giorgio. Called Country Burger it provides, as its name implies, fast food such as burgers, chicken nuggets, chips etc. It is a a couple of kilometres from the main road and so I didn’t give it much chance of surviving. However, it is still open. So far I haven’t met any adults who have eaten in it but it  appears to be popular with the young people of San Giorgio who, if the students who come to me for english lessons are a fair sample, rate the food as good to average.

Christmas Lights

Friday, December 11th, 2009

xams lights

The night after the Feast of the Immaculate Conception the lights of San Giorgio were switched on. They look much better in real life.

Now all is ready for the Christmas Market on the 20th December. Hopefully, it will be better than the market at Pergola which consisted of 6 stalls and a few lights. There was no music and it made one think how useful a Salvation Army band can be at helping create an ambience of Christmas.

Our market should be better as I have been told they will be using artifical snow to help create the Christmas atmosphere.

Rotatoria = Roundabout

Friday, December 11th, 2009

new roundabout

Almost overnight a new rotatoria or roundabout has appeared in San Giorgio. It is at the crossroads with Via Garibaldi and the main road from Piagge to Orciano.  It is still waiting the finishing touches but it will help people coming from spicello to San Giorgio as currently it is a blind exit and difficult to get out of. The rumour is that there will also be a second roundabout near the cemetery. In Italy all villages have to have a name e.g. Monte Porzio is the “Village of Parks”, Cartoceto is the “Village of Olilve Oil”. Could San Giorgio become the “Village of Roundabouts”?

Preparing for summer

Friday, December 11th, 2009
rose munstead wood Already thinking of summer we have just planted some roses. We ordered three “Munstead Wood” roses from David Austin Roses in England and they arrived last week. They are now planted near a gravel terrace providing, hopefully, colour and scent on warm summer days. Next step is to wait for spring and get some lavenders to complete the picture.

Sunset over San Giorgio

Friday, December 11th, 2009
sunset in december The other evening, looking out of the back door, there was a beautiful sky. It only lasted a couple of minutes but worth a picture.

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Today, the 8th December, is a public holiday in Italy as it is the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – the day Mary became pregnant with Jesus. Traditionally this is the signal for Christmas celebrations to begin i.e. trees decorated, lights up, cribs installed etc. Like the rest of the world Piagge the next village already has its Christmas lights on but here in San Giorgio traditions are adhered to and so although the lights are up they are still not on. We are planning to spend the holiday going to a Christmas Market in Pergola and then a meal with a friend.