February has flown by. I guess it being 2 days shorter helps. I actually forgot it was only 28 days. But yes, can’t believe that March is here. That means spring (primavera) is also here.
February has been a lovely month, very springlike. The weather has been sunny and warm, although the cool breeze where we live still hits us after the sun moves behind us towards the west. We eat outside pretty much every day apart from evening because of that damn wind. I suppose we can’t have everything.
Spring flowers are blooming, our lemon and mandarin trees are starting to come into leaf, which is amazing to see as they were blasted by the winds last year. The butterflies and bees are flying, not mosquitoes yet thank goodness. Birds are starting to nest. The sand martins have arrived. So, swifts and house martins will be next. Just a beautiful time of year. Maybe my favourite.
We have met up with friends either at the beach, each other’s homes or in a bar (Calabria is a yellow zone so we can). So, we are pretty much having a normal life. The only difference is that we must use masks, cannot leave Calabria which is not difficult. And obviously people from overseas have not been able to come, which is a shame – but hopefully soon. Also bars and restaurants can only take sitting customers until 6pm then it is takeaways. We haven’t been to a restaurant yet, not sure why, just haven’t thought about it. As I said we have visited friends in their home and they have come to us but we have not eaten out. But we have been to bars a few times.
We have a new addition
No, we do not have not another animal. We have purchased a bar and bar stools. Yes, a good old fashioned cheesy bar. John has always wanted a bar. We had a small space in our last house in Penkridge in the UK we called our bar. It was a lovely cosy place to be with bar type décor we loved it and our friends and family did too. Good times were had and great memories were made. But we didn’t buy an actual bar, we had an old sideboard and optics and table and chairs with a bioethanol fire which made it really cosy during the cold nights. Anyhow, a purchase was made back in January but our new bar arrived in February. It was a nightmare to put together as the angled shape made it awkward among other things, but we did it, eventually.
It fits quite nicely in the space that was made when we moved the bookcase to hold the TV. And obviously, it is a great place to keep glasses and bottles of booze, keeping our other cupboards and shelves free for kitchen stuff. But most of all it is great for when people come round, we now have more seating.
Also, as a bonus, the bar stools work very well with our terrace wall.
Cedro Pasta and Murals
We had a little trip to Marcellina which is a small town south of Scalea. I had seen on Facebook a shop that sells their own made pasta, so we thought we’d have a look. It is a tiny little place on the main street with a woman behind a desk and the only pasta we saw was Cedro pasta. So, we bought a pack.
If you don’t know, cedro is a locally grown citrus fruit. In fact, it is a very old fruit, pretty much the original citrus. The area we live in is called Riviera dei Cedri. In English is means Riviera of the Cedro or sometimes called Citron. It has a very thick knobbly skin and this is mainly used in cooking and is also candied rather than the juice as there is not a lot. There is a liqueur made from cedro which I think is very nice but can put people off as it can be bright green.
The pasta was tasty, it has a citrus flavour so I am not sure if it would go with a meaty ragu. Instead, I fried julienne courgettes and chopped chilli, added lemon zest and juice then parmesan and seasoning and placed the cooked pasta in the same pan to soak up all that flavour. It went really well. A nice fresh lunch for a sunny day. Wish I took a photo.
Anyway, while we were in Marcellina, we had a look around this small town and they have a few murals painted on the buildings which I love to see. We had no idea these were there before we went. But I did take photos of those. Here is what we saw.
70 days of waiting are over
If you read my post in December, you would know we made limoncello, which disappeared quite quickly. At the same time we used another recipe where we had to wait 70 days. This took us to around Valentine’s Day. So that weekend we went to Miro and Denisa’s and we strained the deep yellow mix of peel, water, sugar and alcohol and we had a very yummy limoncello. We split in to two bottles. It is quite a bit different to the last one which only stood for 3 days. The flavour is more developed and potent, and the liquid is thicker, more viscous, more liqueur like. So yes, it is worth the wait. Not for drinking quickly, but we have a choice now. There are still a lot of lemons around so I guess there will be more to come of both varieties.
I am in the process of renewing my Tessera Sanitaria (health card). As I work for myself and not employed by an Italian company, I pay yearly to have the health card to enable me to use the Italian health service. They also supply a European health card for when I travel within the EU. This needs to be renewed at the beginning of each year. Also, we found out that John needs to register each year with the hospital although his card expires in 2026. Maybe to prove he still lives here, who knows. The first thing for me to do was to visit the hospital in Praia a Mare, a town just north of Scalea where they deal with foreign residents, to get the form for me to go to a post office to pay and have it stamped to prove I paid. After queuing in the post office to pay, I must then return to the hospital to give the stamped form and I should receive the new card in the post in a week or so. Nothing seems to be online. I find it very strange but anyway it is Italian bureaucracy and there is no way round it.
At some point we should apply for the new biometric residents’ card that the Italian government has issued for us Brits to prove we moved were before 1st January 2021 because of Brexit. Apparently this will ensure Brits who moved to Italy before Brexit will get treated like EU citizens and not have immigration stamp passports. But we will wait a little while for that when things settle down a little and it gets known that it exists. We may have to go to Cosenza which we haven’t been to yet, so will be nice to see. Also, we have no plans to travel out of Italy, so there’s no rush.
Well, that is it from me for February, thank you for your interest in our life in Calabria. Hope you have a lovely March.