Titan is Coming

The next African anticyclone is due to arrive on Saturday and last for 5 days. It is called Titan this time. Being July it seems we can expect temperatures of 35-39 C so a tad warm I would suggest. Think my newly installed mini pool might boil by the end of next week. caldo Whilst as sketchy my knowledge of Greek mythology is wasn’t it the Titans who were a group of gods there wasn’t one Titan was there ? They were big though hence titanium and Titanic. Picky I know , I should just enjoy the hot weather when it arrives. Our leader Wheel of Fortune Renzi is in Strasburg at the moment giving everyone a bit of stick it seems. He is rather keen to be allowed to break the fiscal rules and spend more than 3% of GDP for the next few years to help him reform labour laws ( pay them off to accept changes) and reform government ( pay them off to accept changes ). The EU  (Germany) responded that he must reform first and then they ( Germany) will think about a relaxation. Delightfully today in his speech he reminded the EU parliament who was the first country to break the rules back in 2003. Yup Germany . Not only that but Germany and France then ganged up on the rest of the EU to allow them to break the rules without any penalties at all. Went rather quiet on the German bench it seems. I had a guy around a few weeks ago to give me a quote for a gazebo and a car port in the newly designed garden. I had hoped as he was a neighbour of a friend it might have been a rather sensible quote. He arrived a few days later with an envelope and I opened it a little like a host at the Oscars. One doesn’t want to show emotion as if it is low and you look delighted he will try to pad it later and if you can’t believe his nerve you don’t as a neighbour want to offend him causing him to lose face ( La Bella Figura). Unfortunately he saw an English foreigner first not a neighbour. His gazebo was €3,500 (£2,800)  and his very basic metal car port €1,500 (£1,250). I am never sure which planet some of these people think we live on and am continually reminded of Peter Gee a long time resident down here now in Milan who always used to say when getting such quotes. Sono Inglese ma non sono stupido ( I am English but I am not stupid). Happy Casa sold me a perfectly respectable metal gazebo for €349 which I put concrete boots on in the form of plant pots . It has a retractable roof and fly screens all around.Gazebo 2 This was taken before I put the boots on and indeed it did have its first but I hope last flight taking off from the patio and like the Wright Brothers achieved a flight of about one minute until it hit a tree and stopped. Luckily no real damage occurred For the car port I decided to do it in wood and went to Bricoman and boughtall the wood needed for €245. I had seen in the UK a new ( to me) and I thought clever way of putting a base down to carry the wieght of a car or three without having to use concrete or tarmac. Bodpave The make I had seen was Bodpave and you lay it on sand with plastic sheet underneath and then fill the honeycomb with gravel. Dead simple and it looks so much better. The car port isn’t finished but this is it Car Port The base looks good and will take a load of 150 tonnes apparently. I can even take it up if I move !! Delightfully it is made in Italy and sells for £12 a square metre as opposed to £19 in the UK.  With labour I will have both the gazebo and the car port done for less than €1,000 and far better in design as well. So quite successful . I have a carpenter doing the construction as I value my fingers, being no good at this DIY stuff


About hereinpuglia

Retired to Puglia after some 40 years in the travel industry working for P&O Lines, British Airways, Alamo rent-a-car,Abercrombie&Kent, owner of Quest Tours and Travel and finally with Thomas Cook North America. Married to Geraldine we now have a small house with too much land near the town of Martina Franca in Puglia. Two kids one married and living in Hong Kong and the other single and living in London. No dogs, no cats no animals.
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6 Responses to Titan is Coming

  1. Sue Marsh says:

    Mike, great job but may be good idea to prolong the life of both with a coat of wood protection and a rust preventer on the metal version as they deteriorate quickly and can warp easily in strong gusts. Top off the shade netting with a cover of either green wire mesh or a couple of bamboo blinds to prevent the wind getting under the net and ripping it.

    • hereinpuglia says:

      Will do the wood this weekend and thanks for the advice. Off to find some rust preventer today. I can, of course, buy a gazebo every two years for ten years before I have spent what I was quoted for a metal one !! Cheers


  2. Great blog. I’ve been reading daily since I discovered it about a month ago. I particularly like posts like this one that show how you are living intentionally and frugally.

    I’m rapidly approaching financial independence myself and as part of this am considering taking early retirement which gives my family plenty of options. Currently living in London, UK which is IMHO no place to raise a family. Having travelled to plenty of places we have honed in on 3 possible regions to possibly relocate to for a better family life – Gozo; Messina, Italy or Taranto, Italy.

    Our problem is how long do I work before pulling the trigger. I have a ‘salary’ that my research suggests I need to ensure my wealth can produce enough for a very long time. Our aim is to live intentionally, frugally and simply which seems to match very closely the life you describe in your blog. Reading it though makes me seriously think the ‘salary’ I’m targeting is to high and not required.

    I’m guessing you’re also living off pensions and investments which will be my life also. At least until I can get my Italian fluent.

    Would you consider writing a post that shows the costs (inc taxes) of living a simple life in the Martina Franca region? It would also be great to understand anything you’ve been able to do to keep costs to a minimum (similar to your DIY approach in this post). For example, I understand you’re pretty close to self sufficient for water (did you get the UV bug killer yet?) and sewerage (both of which I understand are not really choices but even so I like the off-grid idea) however given the location I’m wondering if you are taking advantage of solar (water and/or electricity)?


    • hereinpuglia says:

      Not sure my wife would agree with the idea of me living frugally . I will happily write something on costs though as you will find down here tax is not something that anyone talks about. The advice most forums give is that if you don’t have to pay it by living away for 183 days a year then don’t get involved in Italian tax. It is punitive.
      I actually ran my water tank down this month as we built the garden and so am filling it with 5,500 litres every few weeks . It arrives on the surface having been brought up 390 metres and Mario the waterman drives straight here and in the tank it goes for €25 . The temperature is only 12C so no worries and it used before it heats up enough so no UV at the moment .

  3. Jayne says:

    It could be worth pointing out that in the country there is no ‘grid’ for water and sewage. Of course we are thus ‘self sufficient’ but….. we have to pay our costs to Enel.

    Reply to RIT – Messina (of Sicily) (Sicilians are not of Italy!) and Taranto are two of the worst places you could be thinking of under the Italian umbrella – of course there are many more! Stick with Gozo!

    I concur… Italian tax is punitive. But so is UK – so for my home, which do I prefer? UK council tax (potentially in the region of £1kpa) or IMU prima casa=0/rifuti €150…. or can I become a gypsy and pay no tax anywhere?

    Mike, I’ve read a lot of your posts but maybe missed your advice, if any, on requirements for residents, under Italian law to complete a tax return detailing worldwide income, whether or not subject to a taxable position. Any thoughts??

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