How do the summer in Puglia only Brits do it ? I am ready for another holiday already after just 2 days back in the saddle. We knew we had had a little flooding during the monsoon that was last November and that our Italian neighbours had kindly mopped up the water but it is amazing what can happen to an Italian built house in just 5 months without constant attention.
and it just wasn’t the house. The poor old Renault decided that life just wasn’t worth living and died. Well the battery did really as it couldn’t hold a charge. Bit much really as it was only 8 years old !
Luckily Pasquale was around and he offered to come with me to buy a new battery . Off we went to Villa Castelli down the road, to a motor shop that sells all that kind of stuff. He had a range of batteries and after some chat and lots of sconto ( discount) discussions a price was agreed at €75 . He kindly lent us some tools and Pasquale started to change the battery. The trouble is Pasquale seems to know everyone and their dog in Villa Castelli so with almost every car and truck stopping to chat this kind of thing can take sometime. Luckily a guy from the bar also stopped and he is a scrap guy that drives around with a loud speaker on the truck shouting any old iron or the Italian equivalent.
So at least the battery was disposed off. However we couldn’t shift one of the bolts so a security guy who had stopped for a chat was dispatched to get a different size spanner. Off he went to the nearest garage and was back minutes later with the correct size. Within minutes the battery was on and the engine started. However our hands were dirty so I follow Pasquale across the road to the butchers shop. In we marched and around the counter we go, into the back where there is a wash basin and soap. Hands clean we adjourn to the nearest bar with the security guy who has returned the spanner to the garage, the butcher and the electrical shop owner for a well earned beer. Only in Italy .
The second chore was of course unpacking all my holiday stuff. I have to say after 5 months living out of a suitcase it was nice to put them away. Not much that set out with me came home though. I had decided to take oldish stuff with me so when I saw something like a new polo shirt I liked I could buy it and dump the old one in the hotel room. Clothes are ludicrously cheap in Vietnam and it is nice to come home with a new wardrobe.
One article did make it all the way through and home
Long time regulars will remember that I blogged in early October about discovering this shaving cream and how glorious it was. Well 400ml of foam has taken me halfway around the world and back again. It is still going strong after a shave a day for 6 months in total. What a bargain at about €3 a can. Don’t switch off girls, as I said in my earlier blog many of the newspapers now employ women as testers for mens toiletry products and they test them on their legs.
Two weeks before our return the neighbour popped around and turned on the central heating to start to move the inside house temperature up from 3C to a more normal 16C.
Heat and moisture are an heady combination in Italian houses. No wall has a damp course and much of the house is cement which is like a sponge to moisture. The dreaded muffa ( mould) quickly formed on some of the exposed walls and on the ceilings that form the flat roof.
When we first moved to Puglia this was a whole new experience to us and we retreated to London and hit the nearest B&Q. The helpful assistant selected a load of cans all designed to deal with the stuff and we returned to Puglia to tackle the problem. However none of the expensive stuff worked at all. Indeed almost all of it was completely ineffective and the mould seemed to thrive on it.
Enter the Italian neighbours who watched my efforts with some amusement. Bleach said the neighbour neat bleach. Spray it on leave it to dry, don’t wipe it or touch it at all or you just spread it. Well the guy in B&Q I started to say and then realised these people live with mould every winter. Sure enough we sprayed and the muffa not only went but takes ages to return. It is like a magic trick.
Ceiling are a problem as you are spraying bleach straight up into the air, so you need to steal a shower cap from any hotel you stay in ( we have hundreds now) and you don this along with goggles that I use in the sea to protect the eyes, then some very old clothes (the bleach takes the colour out). So looking like an alien from outer space you mount the step ladder and spray. Away goes the muffa and you head to the bar. Job done.