July has been quite an eventful month. Read on to find out what’s happened.
Football Euros 2020
July 2021 was the month that the football 2020 European Championships were held. Obviously delayed by Covid-19. I haven’t watched football for ages. John hates it, he prefers rugby. He used to play when he was younger. We did watch a couple of games though. England v Ukraine and of course the final Italy v England. Whenever there was an Italy game on our neighbours and the city of Scalea were very vocal when Italy scored and won. When they won the semi-final we heard a lot of noise of celebration, mainly car horns sounding and cheering.
Our friends Tom and Marianna invited us to theirs to watch the Ukraine match. Marianna is from Ukraine and she thought it would be nice if we watched it there. Tom is from Germany and not that much into football so wasn’t bothered by England beating them in the previous match. To be honest we did more chatting, eating and drinking, than watching. Marianna wasn’t expecting Ukraine to win and she was right, they didn’t. We enjoyed the night very much. The food and company were lovely. So thank you both.
Then there was the final. We weren’t sure what we wanted to do. Tony E thought it would be a good idea to watch it at a restaurant called Il Gallo Bianco. We have been there before. The owners are very friendly and the food is home cooked and very tasty.
We were expecting a good number of people but there were only around 10-12 including us and the owners. I guess everyone either watched at home or in the centre of Scalea. But it was a good night and an interesting game. Especially with the penalties.
I used to get very excited, then upset when England lost but the Euros ‘96 cured me of that. The day after the game that England lost on penalties, I was very angry, I couldn’t think straight, couldn’t concentrate on my work the next day. Thinking back, it was ridiculous! Then the following day I decided not to let it bother me again. Pretty much watched less football and later because I knew John, I got more into rugby. It did help when they won the Rugby World Cup in 2003 ha-ha.
So back to football, I was interested to see how I would react after all that time. Luckily, it didn’t bother me at all. We congratulated the Italians, then we took Tony home. We then drove to our home through Scalea to see what the reaction was there.
The journey usually takes around 10-15 minutes, I have never timed it really. But that evening it took around an hour. Seemed like everyone was out celebrating. We saw Angela and Tony N to wave and quickly talk with. There were a lot of people driving around sounding their car horns, people on scooters with flags, people walking around with flags. Everyone was exceedingly happy. The Comune even lit up Torre Talao with the Italian flag. We didn’t get home until way after midnight, but it was definitely the best traffic jam I have ever been in. We smiled all the way home.
Vaccine 1 of 2
Some will be pleased to know that I have had my first vaccine for this Covid thing. On the relevant afternoon, we turned up to a building near to the middle school in Scalea. There were a lot of people around, no obvious queue but they don’t really form a line here like the UK. They just ask who the last person is. So, I went to the guy at the gate. He gave me a big pile of forms to fill in, luckily, I filled in most when I downloaded the pack from the site where I booked the appointment. He called my time and I went in.
Once inside after having my health card checked, I saw there were various areas to sit. The registration section, the waiting for vaccine section and the post-vaccine section to check if there’s a reaction.
There was a sort of sitting queuing system which I have never taken part in before. It worked out like this. You sit in a vacant chair which was at the back at first then when someone leaves in front of you, you sit in the seat that they vacate. At first no one could work out what was going on but the stewards for want of a better word ushered us forward if there were chairs in front of us. Eventually, we all got the idea.
My problem with vaccines is that I faint with needles. No idea why, it just happens. Therefore, I wrote that information on my form and the man who was registering me panicked a bit. Maybe because I wrote it in the adverse reaction section. He ushered another man who was a doctor and could speak a little English and they wanted to make sure that I have not had an allergic reaction and I said no just fainting. So, all was well.
I then moved to the waiting for vaccine section and did the same sitting queue thing. When I eventually got to see the person who administers the vaccine, again I said again that I faint. “Svengo” in Italian if you are wondering. He took me to a covered section which contained 2 beds. One was taken by a young man who fainted earlier. Well at least I am not the only one. I lay on the bed and I was given the shot. I was told to wait a few minutes. It was quite nice just lying there. I’d recommend it. The man who fainted starting to chat. He wanted to know where I came from, why live in Scalea, how long have I lived here. The usual questions that locals ask. He also said it was his second shot and he didn’t faint with the first one. We decided it may have been the heat as it was a very hot day. After several minutes, another possible fainter came in. The first man was checked over and sat down on a chair so the other man could have his bed. The first man (I wish I remember his name) was given the all-clear so there was just me and the new guy. Again, he started to chat and asked the usual questions and we had a good conversation about various things, helped by his limited English and my limited Italian.
I felt like I was there for ages so asked the man who gave me the shot if I could go. I could, so said goodbye to Vincenzo who gave me his business card. So, if anyone needs an online Italian bank account, I have a contact. You will need to be an Italian resident though.
Snake, Yes, a Snake
I had my first sighting of a snake in Italy this month. Apparently, they are quite common but I have not seen one before. John has seen two here in Scalea. I was walking down to the bottom terrace and heard a rustle in the fig tree that is on the other side of our wall in the embankment. And there wrapped around the branch was a black snake. Luckily it was far enough away so I wasn’t scared. I went in the house to get my camera as it would be great to have a photo of a snake in a tree. But, by the time I got back it was no longer there. So, I looked over the wall and found it moved from the tree to the ground. I may have startled it to move away. So here is my pretty rubbish photo of a snake in the grass. Literally. This snake is not harmful and apparently a good rat catcher so nothing to be scared about. But I still wouldn’t want one in my house or on our side of the wall.
Cimalonga Ristorante is Officially Open
An excellent thing that happened in July was our friends’ new restaurant Cimalonga has officially opened to the public. After a lot of courses and hard work at last, they could open. At the time of writing, they have been open for just over 2 weeks, still early days. Their food is going down well as it is very tasty and they are happy that Italians are trying their international food and enjoying it. There have been a few things that they are learning like the locals really do eat late and turn up at 22.30 – 23.00. We have been a few times already and they are doing a great job and amazing food. Keep going guys!!
Dentist with a View
We finally have visited a dentist. Not sure why it has taken so long, we are just living, I guess. John needed a filling for his front tooth as his old one fell out and I needed one for a molar as it was broken somehow. I think I was chewing gum, strange. Neither of us were in pain but they needed to be fixed before pain started. Luckily, we have a dentist at the bottom of our road, so, no excuse really. I am pleased to say it was a good experience. He was very professional and friendly. His work was great and amazing value. We pretty much paid UK NHS prices for private work. Also, his studio has a great sea view. What more do you need?
If you have read my earlier post after Christmas, you would know that we kept the Christmas lights up and created a ceiling of light for the evenings. Unfortunately, the earlier cold, wet and windy, and the now very hot and sunny weather affected the lights. Even though they are meant to be external lights. They started to rust and some lights stopped working and the plastic became very brittle. Therefore, we decided to change them for better and hopefully more permanent ones. After a bit of searching, we decided with these.
At least now we can change the bulbs if they go and everything is properly waterproof. We did have problems with searching for the correct wattage of bulbs. There are 20 bulb holders, so obviously we didn’t want 4w bulbs because times that by 20 you have 80w in LED so that means you have 800w in traditional light which makes the terrace into some kind of floodlit stage. So, we searched for 1w and they work a treat, it is bright enough to see but we do not feel we are on show.
Hot weather, of course it is summer in Calabria.
For quite a few places in the northern hemisphere, July has been exceptionally hot or has had part of the month that has been hot and Calabria has not been different. Parts of Calabria, near to Cosenza has reach 43°C. Here in Scalea I think we reached 39°C. Our terrace on one of the mornings reached just over 59°C in very direct sunshine. This temperature makes it difficult to do things outside as it is so hot and we definitely can’t walk around the terrace in bare feet until the sun leaves the terrace. This is when we are very grateful to be facing east. We get the early sun but not the stronger afternoon sun. So, I am drinking water like it is going out of fashion. I’m so happy we have a water filter, otherwise our recycle bins would be extremely full of empty plastic bottles. And the waste collection is not good in the summer. There are issues in all areas of Scalea.
Our cat Freddie was not well for a time. First, he started limping, his left paw looked swollen, he was not himself and very lethargic. We knew it wasn’t the heat. Something was up but had no idea what. I noticed something in his fur, it looked like one of those grass seeds that stick to fur at first but it was his fur matted to a hard point. Neither of us could see any further but he cried when we touched the area. So, to the vet we went. She shaved the fur off around the area and found a small but very defined cut near his left shoulder where the matted fur was. She saw that he cut was heavily infected down into his left leg. The vet gave him a shot of antibiotics and removed the infection fluid which he wasn’t happy about. Then she said he needs antibiotics for 5 days. OK. But by injection to ensure he has had the correct dosage. Oh! Well, it can’t be me as I faint at needles as I have said, even to other people and cats. So, it was John’s job, sorry John.
So, we took him home and he basically slept until the next day. Then it was jab time. I held him and with my eyes closed (I know!) John administered a shot for the first time in his life. That went quite well. The next day Freddie was livelier, obviously the antibiotics were starting to work. This meant he was harder to catch and hold. John caught a nerve or something and Freddie meowed quite a bit and hid under the table. It was horrible, so the next jabs were done more carefully. Luckily Freddie survived that traumatic week. I think we will ask the vet for tablets next time.
But then we thought the next time came the following week. This time he was not walking properly on his right paw. Oh no not again! But this time all he needed was iodine and some skin conditioning cream for 10 days. Basically, a bit of a pedicure, but he really doesn’t like it. Fingers crossed that it is now the end of trauma for him and us.
What I can tell you that it is the end of this post for July.
Thank you so much for reading. I really appreciate it. A few months ago, I said I was going to create a logo. So here it is. I tried to put in what I think Calabria is about and I think sea, mountains and sun pretty much sums it up. Hope you like. Until next time.