The hot summer is over, stormy skies and friends from the UK actually visit

Our windows are covered in watermarks. Thought you would like to know. Not because I haven’t cleaned them well, although they do need a clean now. The past few days we have had windy rainy thunderstorms which has turned off the long hot summer and converted it to the Calabrian autumn.

Lightning over the sky

Autumn here is not like autumn in the UK where the temperature drops to the 10°Cs with falling leaves and sometimes frosty sunny days, as well as the days of rain. Here we get crazy winds, rain and thunderstorms that batters everything for a few days. When they are over, the sun comes out, and instead of being mid to high 30°Cs it is mid to low 20°Cs. This is my favourite kind of temperature. Instead of having a warm, hot or no breeze, there is more of a chill in the air depending where the wind is coming from. The plane trees are just starting to change colour and drop their leaves now. There are trees that have brown leaves but they’re mainly from the fires we have had.

The Winds Names of Italy

During the storms, the wind was coming from the south-west and in Italy it is called the Libeccio which blows quite often along the Tyrrhenian coast as it faces that way. The worst kind of wind for us in our apartment, is the north-easterly which is called the Grecale. That can be very cold, stronger in the winter and unluckily for us, as we face east, we can really get a blast of cold in the winter.

If you weren’t aware, in Italy there is a name for each direction of wind, whether it is from north, south, east west or in between. There are similar names across Europe, especially around the Mediterranean. I have drawn a compass to display the names for each direction so you know what they are. I think the names can vary regionally, for example the southern wind can be called Mezzogiorno or Austro, just to confuse everyone.

Despite Covid, Friends actually managed to visit, Yay!

September brought friends from the UK who stayed with us for a few days, Evan and Dee. They’re the only visitors, who have managed to visit us this year. Covid has a lot to answer for. If you are worried, you needn’t be. When they stayed, they have their own bedroom and bathroom. But the work they do, they have been tested many times before they came and have had the all-clear. They were due to come out earlier in the year but it didn’t happen because of lockdown and flights being cancelled. But they persevered and finally made it! Which was great. So, obviously we took them around the sights and flavours locally and a little further afield.

At San Nicola Arcella watching the sunset

We showed them San Nicola Arcella, Orsomarso and drove to the lovely port of Maratea in Basilicata and the Christ the Redeemer (Cristo Redentore) up on Monte San Biagio, 620m above the port. Also, we took them to some of local restaurants we like, Il Corsaro, Trattoria A’ Taverna, Il Gallo Bianco and Tari. They went to Tari last year when they stayed for one day. They wanted to go again mainly for the fried onions which are put on the table when waiting for food. Everyone goes crazy for the onions in Tari. There was a birthday celebration taking place and funnily enough that happened on their last visit. Therefore, they visited the same time as last year without knowing. So, we received lovely cakes and prosecco again. If by chance it happens next year, I think we should at least give her a birthday card or something ha-ha.

We have a new Mayor

After the previous mayor had to resign earlier in the year for fraud (not working when he clocked in), September was the month of campaigning and voting for a new mayor of Scalea. There were three candidates and a man called Giacomo Perrotta won. When it was announced, people drove around Scalea in their cars sounding their horns as celebration. They got together in the main carpark and kept sounding the car horns. This happened earlier in the day when we were in Orsomarso with Evan and Dee, we had no idea what was going on there. One of us worked out what it could be and then it was confirmed when we saw the same thing on our return to Scalea. Hopefully, the new mayor of Scalea will take the necessary steps to improve the town as there is a bit to do. I wish him and his team the best of luck.

Fires

As well as storms, unfortunately there have been more fires. On the night on the 16th, fires appeared on the hills near Praia a Mare and San Nicola Arcella. Apparently they were close to the old town of San Nicola Arcella. On the 17th, fires appeared on the other side of Scalea to us. They moved towards residential areas in the hills of Scalea and the train station. As far as I am aware no one was hurt but the home of our friends Miro and Denisa was very close. Luckily their place was not touched but a nearby property which was partly built was. Also, the smell of burning hung around and in some areas are still hanging around. I cannot understand why people start fires, hopefully it was accidental and they wanted to burn rubbish or something. But I also know there are people who just like to burn things. The devastation to the local environment is terrible as well as the risk to life of humans and animals. The sight of black burnt vegetation is everywhere along the hills and mountains. Already, new life is pushing through and it will be green again, which is good to see.

That day the Canadair air fire firefighters who are amazing pilots and the land firefighters were extremely busy. Hopefully that will be the end of it all. But no doubt they will have to return next year which is sad.

I have made a video of what we saw from our terrace and you can view it here

Fewer tourists

As September began, a huge number of tourists left. We have no one staying close to us now as the properties are owned by Italians, and Italians leave by end of August/beginning of September. International tourists from Europe have arrived, many by car. We have seen cars from UK, Sweden, Slovakia, France, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Denmark and Russia. There are probably others I haven’t seen. As the month went on, the number of sunbeds on the beach reduced and the beach was banked up to protect the lidos that have closed. It is a little sad to see because today as I write this, the temperature is 25°C and the sun is shining. Of course, the huge number of beds cannot be kept up as there were tens of 1000s of visitors in July and August. Now there are 100s but the weather is great and the beach is lovely. More people should come in September, it would help the local economy, especially after the massive hit this year. Although there is a huge part of me that loves having all this to ourselves.

Before and now

Ants

During end of August and September is when the ants seem to come out to play. There are certain types in the garden and tiny ones that roam about the house. So, if you have any idea to keep them at bay, especially in the house I would be grateful. We have sprays and powders which I do not like to use as it is all poison. Also, we clean up food and dust etc frequently. Luckily as the temperature drops the number of ants does too. So, it is only for 8 weeks max by the looks of it. Hope we don’t get flying ant day like in the UK that is all I can say, as some of the ants are rather large.

Well that’s it from me, I think I covered everything that happened this month.

Wait a minute… Oh no I haven’t!!

Guess what? We had a call from the autoscuola to say we need to visit them. Therefore, we went with a little excitement that we may finally get our Italian driving licences. But not too much, just in case. When we arrived, the man behind the counter kindly greeted us and then took a box out of a drawer and opened it. We looked and each other and were getting hopeful, then he took out some papers. Hope dramatically reduced and thoughts of “what the hell do we have to do now?” entered my head. Then he gave them to us, with a smile, well he was wearing a mask but it looked like he may have been smiling. They were stamped and dated certificates to say we have permission to drive, I guess until our plastic ones arrive. The certificate expires on 31st October 2020 so hopefully this means that we only have one visit left. Yes, if you have read the previous posts, it will be the 10th visit and maybe in October. Fingers crossed we will finally get this done!

So now for sure, that is it and as the storms are over I best clean those windows.

Ciao ciao!

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