Archive for December, 2010

Journey back to London

Friday, December 24th, 2010

sledging in Zurich

Having decided to spend Christmas in London we planned to set out from San Giorgio on Saturday the 18th. However, as the weather forecast predicted snow all day Saturday we decided to go on Friday. We were taking Anne from Mondavio to her family in Zurich. This part of the journey went well. We left Mondavio, with Anne in the back, at 8.00 and had good driving weather until we exited the Goddart Tunnel. It had been snowing for some time and the roads were covered in snow and I began to wonder where the Swiss had got their reputations for keeping roads opened. However, by going slow and steady we managed to navigate the roads and about 6.30 we arrived at Sara and Rod’s i.e. Anne’s family. We had originally planned to stay one night with them just outside Zurich but decided to accept the hospitality offered and stay two nights. So had all day Saturday in Zurich. In the morning we went into the centre of Zurich and had a lovely morning looking around. In the afternoon we went sledging with Rod and the two boys Alexander and James. While Alexander and James threw themselves down the slopes with great abandon we took a more sedate approach to the edge but once started there was no stopping us. It was all great fun and after about an hour we headed home cold, damp and happy.

The following morning we left Zurich about 8 o’clock with the hope of being in Calais by 4.00. The main roads in Switzerland were now clear of snow and good progress was made. However, on reaching Colmar in France things began to change. While never in any danger of having to stop because of the weather the  driving conditions were terrible with the motorway at times going down to one lane with only the constant use of snow ploughs keeping the traffic going. The conditions were so bad that lorries were prohibited from using the motorways and this made life a lot easier for cars. We finally reached Calais about 7.30 in the evening and got onto a train  at 8.30. On the English sides the  roads were in good condition and we made it to London for 10.30.

English class cancelled due to snow

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

snow in garden

The last English class of the year was due to take place on the 15th December. Unfortunately due to heavy snow the class had to be cancelled. Surprisingly, no one seemed disappointed.

cementificazione (or cementification in English?)

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Recent bad weather in Italy has caused major flooding up in the  north and also down in the south. The Marche has been spared the worst of the weather although even hear the Iper-coop supermarket that we go to was flooded as a nearby river burst its banks. The problem was a lot of rain in a short time but also the fact that in recent years there has been a lot of new building in most parts of Italy and this building has been on vulnerable land. This problem is called cementificazione. A recent survey said that in the 1960s 92% of the marche was defined as agricultural land while today only 69% is agricultural.

English class goes to the Palomba restauant

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

english class lunch

My weekly English class opted to go for an early Christmas lunch on Sunday 5th. After some discussion it was decided to try the Palomba in Mondavio. There were 15 of us as along with the class, a few sposes the classs also invited Anne from Mondavio and Michael from Tavrnelle who had come to help in some of the classes.

Having been to the Palombo a few times and finding the food OK it was a great surprise to have an excellent lunch. When we arrived there was an aperativo of prosecco and aperol on the table. This was followed by mixed antipasti and then we had two pasta dishes – capoletti in brodo (a type of ravioli in a chicken stock) and nidi di rondini (swallows’ nests which were a type of lasagnae but made in little nests). Following this there was a mixed grill with roast potatoes and a salad and we finished off with a filled sponge cake and coffee. The whole meal was good and everyone enjoyed it. There were a few other groups also out to lunch and so the large dining room didn’t feel empty and impersonal atmosphere but there was lots of space between the tables. Certainly a good way to start the Christmas season.