Archive for February, 2010

Meet the Roscoes

Sunday, February 28th, 2010


Four years ago John and Pam Roscoe bought an apartment in a house across the street from us. We knew the house was to be restored but it was only at the end of last year that work began and we knew that the new owners would be British. They had faced bureaucrtic nightmares at every turn e.g. waiting 18 months for approval from the Ministro Beni Culturali as the house had been willed to a charity and confirmation was needed that there was nothing of artistic or cultural worth. Despite all this they kept battling on and are now on the homeward stretch and, despite the delays, still smiling.

Last week they came to San Giorgio for an inspection visit and perhaps for the first time the visit was positive. Building work was well advanced and they were able to order their kitchen and bathroom. The apartment should be finished by May and they can look forward to spending some happy summer days at the beach and then returning home to sit on the their terrace, drink a glass of wine watch the sunset.

Cinema card.

Saturday, February 27th, 2010


We go to the cinema quite often. Sometimes I think we are forced to go by what is on Italian TV. Recently talent shows for childen have become popular on prime time television e.g. io Canto. Precocious kids singing songs about love and and heartache pushes one into going out.

At our last visit to the cinema we became owners of a “Cinecard”. The card costs 26 euros – 1 euro activation fee and 25 euros to be used for buying cinema tickets. The card will be valid until the end of August and can be recharged at anytime. The big advantage is that the cost of a cinema ticket with the card is only 5 euros as against the normal price of 7.50. An additional benefit is 10% of the sweets and drinks.

We first used the card to go and see “Wolfman”. Its an old fashion gothic horror film but much less horrible than some of the children from “io canto”. 

wolfman christian imparato

If winter comes can spring be far behind (Keats)

Saturday, February 27th, 2010


When guests come for dinner in San gioirgo they usually arrive with a gift – particularly if it is their first visit. Often it is a cake or pastries or spumante which has to be eaten or drunk after dinner. So on Saturday night Roberta, Federica and partners Francesco and Roberto arrived for an “English family meal”. Federica had heard a programme on Italian radio about the wonders of english cooking and “shepherd’s pie” in particular. So I had agreed to make a dinner of shepherd’s pie followed by apple crumble and custard.

 They were more than generous with their gifts as they brought a white wine which we drank before dinner. They also brought a Torta di Fano (a almond and custard tart)which was eaten after the apple crumble.

Federica and Roberto also very kindly brought flowers – a basket of primulas. In Italy flowers always come beautifully and often simply wrapped. So a small plastic pot with a small plant gets transformed with some coloured paper and a beautifully tied ribbon into something special.  So we didn’t just get 6 pots of primulas but a basket crammed full of colour and freshness. 

Gifts of flowers have their season – if it had been in November it would have been cyclamens, in December it would have been a poinsettia but now in February it is primulas. These are now on the kitchen windowsill and after the long cold, wet winter they are a real sign of spring.

Becoming a Coop Member.

Friday, February 26th, 2010


San Giorgio doesn’t have many shops. However, we are well served with grocery shops – Angela’s across the street, Luanna’s up the road, and a small Conad supermarket towards the garage.

Further afield we are spoilt for choice – Auchan a French chain and so the only place to get creme fraiche, A&O an Italian chain who have a good wine selection including Australian wine if one tires of Italian wine, Eurospin another Italian chain who, according to a regular customer from San Giorgio, is really great for paper products. The same source let us know that the best sausages in San Giorgo are in Luanna’s on a Tuesday when a local producer brings them in fresh.

 Finally, there is our favourite supermarket the IperCoop. Growing up in Northern Ireland one of the first things I learned was my mums’s “divi number” (9604551) which had to be quoted everytime you were sent to the local coop. In the UK the status of the Coop fell with competition from Sainsbury’s etc. But here in Italy the Coop is alive and well and known for the quality of its food. The “divi” has been replaced the “Sociocard” which is much more useful as remembering numbers and codes becomes more difficult. For sometime we had thought about getting a card but stopped when we discovered you had to pay 25 euros for it. Then we noticed some special offers in the store for members only and thought that it wouldn’t take too long to recoup our 25 euros.

So Bill is now a member. Apart from some special offers you also, but only at certain times of the year, get a point for every euro spent. The last collecting period went from November to January. We had over 500 points at the end of January and so last week we in 500 points and got 10% off the bill. We will soon have covered the 25 euro outlay and heading into profit. 

Aniballi calling, Aniballi calling

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010


A few weeks ago I received an e-mail from John and Janet Sweeney (not a common Italian name) asking if I could let them know where to find birth and marriage certificates of Janet’s family as she wanted to claim her Italian citizenship. Her grandparents, Ulia Aniballi and Ernisto Bacchiocchi, had lived and married in San Giorgio and had then headed west to America.

Records of births and marriages are available from the local registry office and records begin in about 1866. So I was able to go to the local town hall and the very helpful Massimo Branchini who has responsibility for the records, quickly found and copied the marriage certificate and the birth certificate of the grandmother Ulia Aniballi. The marriage certificate showed that the grandfather, Ernisto Bachiocchi, had been born in Monte Porzio, a town about 10 kilometres away.

Going to the Dentist

Thursday, February 18th, 2010


This is our dentist, Mr Maleki. He is German but married an Italian and so lives and works just outside Fano. He moved to a new surgery last year and it has all the latest equipment. Both he and his staff are vey friendly and everyone arriving is treated as a friend. They always phone the day before to make sure you haven’t forgotten the appointment. The choice of magazines in the waiting room are the latest copies of Vanity Fair, Architectural Digest and Autos – no 2 year old copies of Cosmopolitan or Punch here. 

Bill has got nicer teeth than me. However, everytime we go for a check-up they seem to find a problem with his teeth. Yesterday Bill finished his latest treatment – a couple of caps – and is now well on his way to having a perfect set of teeth. According to the dentist some more treatment will be needed in the future and then the Holywood smile will be complete.

Before we paid Mr Maleki came out to say goodbye and to thank us for being such good patients – always on time, always pleasant to speak to etc. We really appreciated his comments as they are all true. However, it didn’t make paying the bill any sweeter.

San Giorgio Informa – February 2010

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

san giorgio logo 

Twinned Town – Hombourg Haut, Lorraine, France.
At the end of January a delegation from San Giorgio went to Hombourg Haut. At the meeting a series of initiatives were proposed for 2010. On 25th April, the day of the San Giorgio Fair, some people from Hombourg Haut will visit San Giorgio and cook traditional dishes from their area. The composer Theodore Gouvy comes from Lorraine they are hoping to organise a musical event with music by Gouvy and Rossini (born in Pesaro). Continuing the music theme they hope to organise an exchange of choirs -the 4 Lorraine Voices and the Gaudium Vocis from this area. In the summer some young people from Hombourg Haut will come to San Giorgio for 2 weeks at the seaside.

Cinema in Fano – the Masetti

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

masetti logo

When we go to the cinema it is normally to the Giometti cinema on the outskirits of Fano. It is a modern multi-screen cinema with all the latest fims – Avatar, Tra le Nuvole (Up in the air), Sherlock Holmes etc. Comfortable seats, good sound, 3-D etc.

Talking to some friends recently they mentioned the Masetti cinema. First time we had heard of it. Checked on the internet and it is obviously the “art house” cinema of Fano. It was currently showing the Jessica Hausner’s  film Lourdes which had premiered at the Venice Film Festival. 

The cinema is in a side street of Fano and so it was not surprising we hadn’t seen it before.  The screening room is like the inside of a village hall in England with a stage at one end. In this case the screen is at the back of the stage. However, the sound was good and the seats not too uncomfortable.

The film itself was interesting if a bit long. Its about a handicapped girl who can’t move her legs or hands. At Lourdes she suddenly starts to move her hands and then begins to walk. Is it a miracle? The film leaves it for the viewer to decide but whatever your view the ending is very  sad. Time out gave it 4 stars. For me it was a 3 star mover as although I found it interesting and touching it was also too long and slow. A view shared perhaps by the person behind us who began snoring during the film.

Olive pruning course

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

pruning class

A course on pruning olives began in San Giorgio last night. Paolo Branchini (the man in blue), the teacher, is giving some theoretical lessons and then he will let us loose on some real olive trees – we are hoping he will choose our trees for the practical.

We now know to aim for a vase shaped tree, keeping the centre open to allow light in. Aim to have branches going at 45 degrees to the upright; don’t allow branches to be convex in shape as it incourages suckers to grow upright and be unproductive; to help form the tree it is possible to remove a layer of bark which encourages the tree to branch just below the cut.

A very interesting lesson with occasional lapses into anarchy as everyone started to talk with their neighbour about what was being said or sought to side track Paolo by asking questions about their own particular problems. 

The class started at 9.15 and finished at 10.30 and was followed by a glass of home made  pomegranate grappa which ensured everyone went home in a happy frame of mind – I think the recipe was 5 litres of grappa, 2 litres of water, 1 kg of sugar, 3 pomegranates, stir and leave for 15 days. Or was it 2 litres of grappa, 5 litres of water…..

San Giorgio man arrested

Monday, February 15th, 2010


 The Head of Public Works in Italy, Angelo Balducci has been arrested following enquiries into corruption in the awarding of building contracts for the G8 meeting which was to take place in Sardegna last year but subsequently moved to Aquila following the earthquake.

Mr Balducci was born in San Giorgio in 1948. His family later moved to Rome. He became a civil engineer and has worked in many parts of Italy. He has maintained family connections in the area. He has recently bought and is restoring a large farm house, perhaps his birthplace, near San Giorgio.

His father Elio, a self taught artist, created a sculpture of George and the Dragon and it is now at the entrance to the main street.