New Years day and the comune had put on a free concert at the theater starting at 5pm, a very sensible hour to begin instead of 8 or 9 at night in our view. There was an opera soprano, violinists that played wonderful Strauss waltzes and a pianist amongst others. A lovely start to the new year.

Snow flurries arrived unexpectedly on he afternoon of the 5th & 6th, although they did not settle the freezing north wind that blew them here dropped the temperatures significantly. We went from 18c in the day to 5c with a wind chill of -2c then at the weekend it fell to –9c at night and –2c until lunch time for 4 days. This was followed by a very dry mildish end of the month, OK –1 or so at night but sunny during the day. Despite this we going through a lot of wood just to maintain a reasonable internal house temperature, so hoped the next chill predicted from Russia would miss us.

The kitchen people arrived right on time, 3.40pm, reversing the truck right up to the door so the light drizzle wouldn’t damp the boxes. The carcasses were pre-assembled including the legs attached so we thought they anticipated a reasonably quick installation. We helped them in and left them to it saying for them to call us if they needed anything. Wall units up and 3 floor units in position and a call went out. The wall is so wonky they asked if they could cut the back of the units to fit or the line they were following would twist and gaps between the units would result. We naturally said for them to go ahead as long as the units remained strong and looked OK. The next call was how high did we want the gas cupboard cover to be fitted and then the third was to tell us they couldn’t fit the top to the units as the walls were so out of true they had to take one section to be trimmed to fit. They apologized that the following day they were due at Rome but they would be back to finish off within the week. It actually helped having the day between them returning as we were able to clean up the dust, fill in some missing grout and start stacking the new draws with crockery. I had no idea we had so many bits and pieces and it only just fits in, well stacked in each draw.. They arrived in the evening with the top uncut as the carpenter had said they needed to do it on site as both the back wall and resting wall were so out of true. They brought half the workshop with them and a huge circular saw. Having spent all day cleaning I was not endeared to the proposition and gave them the hoover asking that they use it while cutting to lessen the dust problems. They understood and tried to minimize the mess as best they could. The walls were a real problem but we agreed having a slight gap (running from1/8th of an inch to just over ½) along the back was preferable to a large gap at the front causing the top to veer to the right. It took 2 hours to attach the top and baseboard but the end result was worth it.

Gave a heap of stuff to the dogs charity and discovered a 2nd hand place in CDL where you leave stuff with an agreed price for them to sell on. After 60 days its discounted by 50% and at 90 days you either collect it or they pass it on to charity or recycling. We left a couple of things to give it a go (Avo 8 meter and a RC hovercraft) and bought 3 lights for 34 euros to replace ones we intend taking with us when ever. The snag is we like the lights so much we may not swap them and take them too! Not getting the hang of this are we.

New ID cards were issued by the comune for the next 10 years. We had hoped that they would be like the plastic ones issued in Chiusi but no we got the paper type again.

Quilt called ‘Where’s my Shirt?’ as most of the fabric came from old shirts and odd lengths of fabric left over from old projects. Following a free demonstration from MacCalls on YouTube the pattern really made the best of the bits I had to work with. The backing was made up of a piece of fabric with airplanes printed on so a proper lads bedcover. Must confess its not the best made quilt as I tried new techniques, not all successful, and the mix of fabrics made things stretch in odd places but it doesn’t look bad from a reasonable distance.

We were woken by the sound of water running, the ball cock in the overflow in the boiler room had filled with water and sunk causing the tank to flow down the wall as the pipe to the outside had frozen up. Talk about headless chicken mode in the early morning light and cold! We couldn’t get the plastic ball off the end so drilled and emptied the water and glued up the end in the hope it will keep till the spring when we shut everything down and we can drain the tank safely. The following morning we were back out getting expanding foam to fill the ballcock as we had another flood this morning. Bertha heater tank back filled into the header tank, which if it gets too hot it does, but it filled the float through the hole Mike made to drain it and it sank and that triggered the cold fill and the overflow pipe being frozen the water came over the top and down the wall again. So mopped up, wired up and emptied ballcock and dashed out. The float now floats well and hopefully the cycle has been cured. We've also adjusted the temperature gauge so the radiator pump comes on a bit earlier so the water doesn't get so hot the overflow valve kicks in, hopefully.

Midway through the month and we had an earthquake although the epicenter was L’Aquilia east of Rome in the mountains where they almost got flattened 3 years ago some 4+ hours from us, but it was an interesting day between the 3 earth shakes and the roaring northerly wind here. We had a very British reaction. Me "Gosh that's a strong gust down the chimney to get the glasses chiming"( I was in the kitchen) Mike appearing from upstairs "I do believe that was an the kettle hot for tea?"

15 minutes later Mike re-appears "That was another one as my light is swaying again."

Me "Never felt a thing."

Mike is there more tea in the pot?"

Much the same an hour or so later but had run out of ready brewed tea.

Friends sold their house and had a clearance sale, We went to help promising ourselves we wouldn’t buy anything and come back with plant pots to replace some frost damaged and two teak loungers with cushions, cleaned and teak oiled they’ll look wonderful on the pool and more comfortable than the old plastic ones we had to get rid of last autumn as they succumbed to the ultraviolet and began to collapse. Getting them in the car was fun, it took all three of us to load one in with both back seats down and the front passenger seat. I had to perch on the edge left available on the folded down back section o hold it in place, we had to make 2 visits to do this but gave us time to chat about their forthcoming move.

Weather remained dry and chilly but there was a light scattering of snow over 2 days and strong winds plus one day of drizzle but no serious rain, so had to water some of the plants. No damage as such, although there have been watering cans, bottles and plant pots all over.

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