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How is November over already!

View of Scalea Historic Centre with mountains in the background and blue sky

Wow, we are getting very close to the end of the year. November has been quiet for us, staying at home most of the time, especially during the torrential rain and winds we have had. So we have basically only been out if someone invited us. It is strange looking back at the end of each month. We mainly are surprised what we have done. This time I am surprised of us not doing a lot or going to many places. I guess we needed a rest. Don’t worry I still have something to tell you about.

Weather was a mixed bag

November’s weather has been a mix of lovely sunny days and also torrential rains with strong winds. There have been quite a few weather warnings this month. During the sunny days it was lovely and here are a few photos I took on those.

Also during the rainstorms it was crazy to be out. Justin and Michael invited us to have pizza one lunchtime in Praia A Mare. It was at Amici’s. We have been to Amici’s before but they have moved within Praia to a more central location and they contacted Justin to let them know. So off we went one day. When we left Scalea, the weather was calm and sunny but by the time we arrived in Praia A Mare we were in the middle of an almighty rainstorm. The roads flooded in minutes. We arrived outside the pizzeria and we waited in the car for the rain to stop. It was crazy! When it did stop, the road where we were was too flooded to get out. So Justin drove around the corner so we could get to a path without getting our feet wet. Anyway we had pizza and it was nice lunch and laughing about the weather. We wish Amici’s well in their new location.

Welcome to Helen

Helen has come to live in Scalea from South Africa to be close to her father Tony E which is lovely. So we met up to say hello. Also we went to Tony’s place to try and set up his tech stuff as he had new and far better internet. Most things were done but his Amazon Alexa stopped having the facility to call his contacts. It worked before and we were all happy that he just asks Alexa to call John for example if something happens but stopped doing it. We were at his place for hours trying to get that working but failed. Will have to try again unless someone else has been successful.

Back to School

I am now back at Italian school. This year there have been issues with new people joining because there are so many international people in Scalea wanting to use this opportunity of learning Italian for free and there are Ukrainian refugees which have increased the numbers so there are far fewer spaces.

But as someone who has been in the system for the past 3 years, I was able to take the next course of Italian. I am now doing level B1. I go Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for two hours. I can definitely tell it is up a level, so it gets my late 40s brain working, hopefully my brain will tune in soon. We have two teachers for this level. A male professore and a female professoressa, also on occasion there is another woman who speaks English which can be very helpful. I will be there every week apart from school holidays until June.

Doing stuff around the home

John has been busy. You may have read in earlier posts that we can get major north and northeast winds blowing through our terrace in the autumn and winter. Previously, John put up a bamboo trellis type screen and we grew bougainvillaea up it as it would soften the look of it. Well it worked to a point but the winds went through the screen and blew off all the leaves of the bougainvillaea. Therefore, we decided we needed something more substantial. He has created a stronger screen with wood panels bought from a local wood yard and screwed them to the metal frame on the north side of our terrace. Also, to make it look more decorative and less like a wall of wood we decided to buy some coloured glass pebbles, drill some holes the size the bead could fit into and place them into the panels securing them with clear silicone. We didn’t want to place too many as we did not want to affect the strength of the wood panels. We happy with the effect.

Then we had left over wood and beads. What to do with them?

With the wood, John made a small bench we could place a plant trough on top. It was the same trough the bougainvillaea was in. We gave the plant to Justin as they have a large garden, it is great it was not thrown away. We have plans to fill the trough with bulbs, like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths and maybe plant herbs for interest when they are not in flower.

John also made a small drinks table for the lower terrace. Then I asked if we could decorate that with some of the leftover beads. It was a bit of a pain because the beads are not circular but the drill-bit that John has only cuts in perfect circles. So it took a little fiddling to get them in. But we managed and I think it looks good.

We have two small champagne/prosecco glasses that I had on my 40th birthday when we went to Verona to watch the opera. We have never used them since that day, but I do not want to throw them away. So, I thought I would fill them with the beads. They are now displayed in our lounge instead of being hidden away in back of the sideboard.

 

Light is needed in the dark

One of the problems with living in a condominium that is mainly occupied only in the summer months is that the administrators decided to turn off the stairwell lights this year. It was dark last year but we put it down to a technical issue. Other people who do live here permanently have apartments that are not accessed via the stairwells. So it is only us who do need access. This is not great for us walking up and down 35 steps in the dark. Also it is not good for when people want to visit in the evening. We initially thought it only happened after a severe rainstorm but contacting the administrator asking if there is a problem. They magically worked with no comment. So now we feel that because we are the only ones in need of the lights, they had turned them off. Thanks! I assume it was done to save money as they are on all night. It would be more beneficial if there was a timed switch for about 1-2 minutes at top of the stairs and bottom of the stairs. We may suggest that at the yearly meeting in August. It is terrible to say we have never been, so that is an experience we haven’t had yet.

Making a figgy pudding for Christmas

Yes, we made a figgy pudding. Months ago, Michael said that he would love to try figgy pudding at Christmas. He had heard it in the second verse of the song We Wish You a Merry Christmas. Well neither John nor I have ever had figgy pudding, let alone made one. We have eaten what we call Christmas Pudding but there’s rarely any figs in them, mainly vine fruit, molasses and spices. So I looked up a recipe online (thank goodness for the internet) an found a recipe for figgy pudding.

John and I took all the things we thought we would need to Justin and Michael’s, for example a large mixing bowl and weighing scales which they didn’t have. We bought the pudding bowls and Michael bought the brown sugars online as they don’t have them in Scalea. We bought the rest of the ingredients here in Scalea which were dried figs, raisins, apples, sultanas, we already had the rum of course.

It was a fun evening. The recipe was for 3 puddings, small, medium and large, no idea why, but hey. After mixing and dividing into the bowls, they had to be steamed. The small one for 1.5 hours, medium for 2.5 hours and large for 3.5 hours. We decided that we would take the large one back to ours to cook as we didn’t want to use all of Justin and Michael’s LPG bottle by cooking all three. The price of LPG as increased a lot. Anyway, we accidently let the medium sized one dry out, rookie error. We forgot to check on it during the 2.5 hours as we were watching the film Hocus Pocus while we were waiting for them to cook. It ruined one of the pudding basins on the outside. The pudding itself seemed OK but crumbled out. So we decided to taste that one. Justin said he will wait for Christmas day. It was very nice. So the cooked small and the large puddings are resting until Christmas day. Maybe that is the reason you make three, ha-ha.

Justin was filming so it will be in their YouTube Channel, Prego Italia.

If you want to make the same figgy puddings the recipe we followed is here 

So that is it from November, the next post will be after Christmas and New Year. So as usual I will wish you a merry Christmas and a happy safe and fruitful New Year.  I will leave you with a photo of our lemon tree full of lemons. Far better than last year when we only had two.

I am now going to put up our Christmas tree.

Buon Natale!

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