April is the month that Scalea comes to life. It is Easter, therefore more visitors from Italy and overseas visit Scalea for a holiday. We noticed that the roads are a little busier and so are the bars and restaurants which is great for everyone with a business here. Thankfully, as the month went on, the weather started to get warmer. It felt it was needed as it seemed to be a long winter this time, but we wondered if it could be that we are not tolerating the cold as much now it is our fourth spring. But speaking to Carmelo from Bar da Pietro, he was saying that it has been colder for longer as he usually has some sun loungers out by now, but he hasn’t this year. On another day a couple of weeks later, we were sitting outside of Bar Da Pietro in the beautiful sunshine with our friend Tony E, I later felt that the skin on my arms was tender and tight. Unfortunately my arms were red from the sun. So obviously, it is time when I must be careful as the sun has more power.
As the month warmed up it got to the time when we could stop using heating. Unfortunately we ran out of pellets for our pellet stove before it was warm enough. Therefore, we had to use an electric heater in the evenings until it was warm enough not to. I don’t think it is very efficient, but it was difficult to buy pellets as they are pretty much gone by April and our stove is very temperamental with cheaper pellets. The electric heater didn’t warm the whole house but at least we were warm in the lounge.
Increased prices for energy
We received our electric bill this month (we get it every 2 months) and it was a major shock how much the price increased compared to last year or even the last bill, about 100 euros more than last year. The current events and a colder two months are not a good combination for energy prices. Apparently, the same goes for natural gas, which we do not have but we guess when we need LPG the prices will be far higher too. So along with the higher fuel prices, we must be careful what we do and where we go, or at least how we get there.
Also there are limits on buying sunflower oil, where some places are limiting you to no more than two bottles. It is a very strange time indeed for us but we are having it easy compared to Ukraine.
Some good news – Signs of spring
Not only is Scalea coming to life, the plants in our garden and on our terrace are too. The oregano has just grown immensely, the daisies are now in flower as well as the thyme. The lemon and mandarin tree blossoms are now in flower (fingers crossed they will turn to fruit). Also our little olive tree is coming into flower too, so hopefully they will produce olives. Our bay tree still hasn’t flowered but we bought it very young so hopefully one year it will. I do like to see bay trees in flower, I know that some people are not bothered as the flowers are so small, but I think it is just another sign of spring and that can only be a good thing. It is growing very well despite something (not only us) eating it. Also on the other side of our terrace wall the pear tree is in full leaf after flowering later than last year and the fig tree is also looking good with the leaves growing and the early signs of fruit and our strawberries will be ripe very soon. Yum!
Another big sign of spring is the arrival of migrating birds. Now we see swifts, house martins, other martins and swallows flying around our heads when we lean on our terrace wall looking at the view (we are still not tired of that view). I just love seeing and hearing the birds and they’ll be here until around September.
It is nice to see our friends again
Our friends from the UK, Trevor and Victoria came over for two weeks over Easter. They had various members of their family that came over in shifts. We saw them on quite a few occasions to see or meet for the first time different members of their family. We went to a couple of restaurants with them and they came to our home twice. It was great to see them all. It is always a good time with them.
Also, Gert and Ann-Kristin from Sweden came with their friend Anna. They invited us round for Easter Sunday which was such a lovely thing to do. We had pickled herring with schnapps followed by home-made pasta with a creamy lemon sauce, it was all very tasty and it was so lovely to spend some time with them.
On Good Friday, we met with our friend Giovanni in Papasidero as he was there for Easter with his family. We gave him some marmalade we made with his home-grown Seville oranges (hope he likes the bitter taste of the Seville oranges, not everyone does). He gave us a bottle of his home-made red wine, wild oregano as well as some blessed bread as it was holy week, he is so generous. On this occasion, he showed us a part of a walking/hiking trail. It was great to be somewhere completely different to Scalea and it is only half an hour away. On the trail he showed us wild asparagus, various other plants, waterfalls and also some religious artwork for the 18th century which was very interesting and one is still used as a shrine as there was a candle, although electric, but maybe it is better than a real flame in such a green situation. The views were amazing and considering it was just off the road into Papasidero we felt like we were in the middle of nowhere as it was so quiet and green and we could hear the river flowing. It is a very calming place to be.
After that small hike, we went into the town. As it was Good Friday, Giovanni said he was going to mass and afterwards he is part of the procession of carrying the statues of the mourning Holy Mary and the dead Jesus. Giovanni invited us to go. I went into the church for the mass, John stayed outside. I hadn’t been to mass for years. It was lovely to see what happens in a church in Papasidero on Good Friday. There was a lot of kneeling and rising, which I remember from a child, my knees weren’t too happy to be reminded though – haha.
A nice walk
After quite a few days of not great weather, there was one day we thought when going shopping, we would just wander around Diamante as the sun was out and it was a shame to just go shopping then home. It is a lovely place to have a wander, look at the sea and murals even though we have been quite a few times. I thought you may like to see the photos I took that day.
We have been thinking for a while that the walls of our terrace that we see when we leave our apartment and the staircase was not looking great. The white walls were no longer white, when it rains all the dirt from the top dirty the wall especially down the stairs. Although, the other walls are fine with no dirt, which is strange. So we repainted them to freshen them up. It looks so much better now. It is all nice a clean, ready for summer.
Well thank you so much for reading and taking an interest in John’s and my life in Scalea, I do appreciate it. Hope you continue to do so.
Until next time, Ciao