What a Difference a Year Makes


I have been writing this blog for a whole year. Yes, May 2018 is when I decided to start. It doesn’t seem anywhere close to a year. Back then, I was full of hope and desire to sell our house in Penkridge to live in Calabria. And now, we actually do live in Calabria. It does still feel like a dream and one day I will wake up back in Penkridge. But no, that house which I really liked, now belongs to someone else and we are looking at the view of the old town of Scalea instead of the A449.

I think we have done pretty well since we have been here. Our home in Calabria is basically done. We have no more major works to do (fingers crossed). We had the outside repainted this month, so it is now pristine white. Quite a difference to the other properties on our hill, they could do with a repaint. But that is the British in me, too concerned about what others are not doing. In Italy it seems like no one is bothered. They concentrate on theirs and theirs alone.

We are now able to have friends and family come over to stay when they can and obviously if they actually want, or are able to.

Looking back on the past year, we have been through a whirlwind of emotions. Our mental health has basically had a workout.

DISAPPOINTMENT and FRUSTRATION on not selling the house as quickly as we’d like. HOPE and EXPECTATION on every viewing.

Me getting STRESSED in setting up a new business to get work at least until we move. Then HAPPY when I actually got work.

ELATION and NERVOUSNESS when the house did actually sell.

STRESS and ANXIETY in going through the UK sales process, in dealing with estate agents and solicitors.

EXCITEMENT to surprise my brother in Dublin for his 40th and of course getting married.

PRESSURE in packing everything and SORROW and ANGER when not everything arrived at the other end.

SADNESS leaving friends and family behind to live our dream, in the HOPE they will visit and enjoy the use of free holiday accommodation and of course our company.

In AWE when first seeing our own view of the old town, mountains and sea. Which we still feel pretty much every day since 8th December 2018.

Very TEARFUL when waking up with no heating in the middle of January (I do miss central heating).

TRUSTING people we have never met, to do work to our home and GRATEFUL when it was a good job and DISTRESSED when it wasn’t.

And they are just the a few. Luckily, John and I have each other to support each other’s ups and downs, well the downs really, as the ups are pretty good.

Now the major work to our place is basically done, we can just live. We can start visiting local places on days out. I think I was getting a bit stir crazy, I am used to just going here and there whenever we liked. I can now start finding proper remote work to earn a living and to also have a purpose.

Hopefully, weather will improve as it has not been great lately, for Calabria. In our first 5 months, we have witnessed the worst winds in 15 years, the coldest May in 20 years, the wettest winter for no idea how long. Come to Calabria they said, it will be hot from March they said. Maybe next year.

We were actually lucky enough to have a day out when it was a lovely, sunny and warm day. We went on a boat trip from a beach in a nearby town called San Nicola Arcella. We went around Dino Island (Isola di Dino) and to the beach of Arco Magno (Great Arch). Dino Island is shown on the photo on the top of this and every page of my blog. I just love that view.

It was such a lovely trip. We visited the caves around Dino Island. The water was so blue in the caves that one is called the Blue Cave (Grotta Azzurra) and there is another called Lion Cave (Grotta del Leone) as there is a rock that resembles a lion.

Lion Cave
Lion Cave


Blue Cave
Blue Cave

The beach where the famous Arco Magno is stunning too. There is a freshwater spring coming up from the beach, which is drinkable, very odd to think you can drink fresh water coming up from the seaside beach. It was just great to see our local attractions and made us appreciate that we are so lucky to have this on our doorstep.

Arco Magno
Arco Magno

There was also a motorcycle rally in Scalea called Motoraduno starting on Friday 24th May. There were several stalls including Harley Davidson, other companies and also a lawn mower one. Well anyway, there was a bike stunt show on the Saturday and basically lots of motorcycle owners that got together. It was a spectacle and very noisy, as it was just down the hill from our place. They do like revving their engines a lot and I mean constantly over the 3 days. There was also music entertainment throughout the Saturday night. The bikes did a tour around Scalea and then it was over on the Sunday. We had a good look around, looking at the people’s bikes which there were lots.

We also had a massive porchetta panini and a beer which only cost €4.50, a bargain. It is definitely cheaper than any event in the UK.

Porchetta Panino and Beer

It was quite an eventful May despite the rainy weather. I do have to remember to be grateful for what we have. It is easy to forget, despite living in such a beautiful place. I am not sure why it is far easier to concentrate on the negatives. You can change your environment, but it can be more difficult to change the way you think. So, I make sure when I do look out from our terrace that we are lucky, if things go right or wrong, whether it is torrential rain and wind, or glorious blue sky and sunshine…


we are actually living our Calabrian dream.

The next challenge for us is getting residency…

4 thoughts on “What a Difference a Year Makes

  1. All sounds good to me i knew you would make it work just enjoy everyday and always count your blessings twice
    Ciao stevie h x

  2. Loved reading your blog. Wishing you a continued amazing “living the dream”.
    Love and bestest wishes to you and John
    Brenda (bee…happy)xx

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