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Saturday, September 10, 2022

Posted by Tamila Deniece Harris 7:58 AM No comments
Another busy week

A lot has happened since my last post and at the same time, nothing has happened.  We are now sitting and playing a waiting game.  We have generously agreed to let the former owners of the castle stay until the first of November.  The current owner is 94 and justifiably reluctant to leave the castle.  But he is also stuck with the same problems we are.  Italy shuts down in August.  He’s having some work done on the house he bought just a few meters from here and the work won’t be finished until later.  

We spent a day traveling to Castello di Lago for a visit.  I wanted to see the city center, visit a grocery store for the weekly meals, and visit a puzzle shop!  Yes folks, I found one!  And we even bought a puzzle.  To make it even better, it was a monkey!  We spent some time talking with the owner of L’Enigmista about his shop and the plans he had for making more in the future.  Sadly, the only puzzle we didn’t have was the monkey.  But it was great to find a shop near by.  

The next day found us going to Chiusi to change our phone plans.  When we got here, the sales clerk convinced us that we would only need 150gb of data.  We didn’t realize how much internet we use each month.  Within a week, I had used all of my package up.  When we got to the shop, we were surprised to see it was closed.  The sign on the door said they had no employees.  Sorry.  Wow!  Ok, so we wandered through the local street market for a while and when we were done, we picked up a pancetta and cheese sandwich with a beer for George and headed to Perugia. 

I’ve come to realize that if we want anything, Perugia is the place to go.  The phone store is next to the grocery store which is next to the hardware store which is just across the road from the shopping mall.  I’d say we should have come here first, but I had no idea and wanted to visit a new area. It wasn’t a wasted trip.  We saw new places, and we managed to do all we wanted to do in the end. 

We’ve enlisted the help of a tutor as well. George and I have been using online programs to try to learn Italian.  While it is helpful for me to learn vocabulary and a bit of grammar, it’s not a perfect fit. 2 times a week for an hour and a half with a real person helps immensely.  But even more helpful? Going out and using the language.

Which brings me to the next major happenings in our lives here.  George has begun to make friends.  We spent a lovely afternoon having a chat and coffee with a nice couple from Rome.  We’ve had dinner with the current owner of our castle, and we’ve made good friends of the couple who clean the castle and do all of the maintenance.  I call these dinners without language, but in reality, we speak to everyone A LOT.  It’s easier for me than it is for George because I have a background in Spanish.  At the same time, this is also a detriment because I am having difficulty with the sounds of the language.  But I keep trying.  George, he’s George and we love him don’t we. We’ve both downloaded google translate and it works a charm.  I’m not relying on it 100% but it does come in handy when I’m at a loss for words or have a translation headache.  

This week our help brought us down a freezer and I purchased a proper sized pot, a frying pan and a frying pan with a lid.  I’m now in business and am able to make dinners for us.  Mind, dinners take a long time to cook.  I’m using a two burner hot plate. It’s such a funny business. But..I’ve even managed to make a bread pudding. My friend Stephen was teasing me about there being restaurants in Italy, and while this is true, I’m quite happy to cook.  I’ve a dirty little secret.  While I cook, I watch cooking shows, and a friend of ours from the cruise introduced me to "Escape to the Chateau".  I’ve really enjoyed watching the repairs they are having to do.  Thankfully, our castle doesn’t need that many repairs.  

We managed to finally get a bank account!  This is a relief.  But boy was it an ordeal. We walked into the bank we chose and were promptly told we need an appointment to open an account. The clerk gave us the once over and told us that usually the only take on new customers if they come with a recommendation.  I told her we just bought the castle in Panicale and mentioned the name of the owner.  She brightened up a bit and called him.  If I were a fly on the wall, I’m sure the conversation probably went along the lines of "They have already paid for it, let them open an account". 

We spent two hours filling in the forms that were necessary to allow us to apply for an account.  On Wednesday we signed our names over 10 times.  But this was nothing compared to what we had to do when we returned.  On Friday we spent just over an hour and a half and signed just over 30 times.  That was insane!  I’ve never spent so much time we did setting up a bank account.  We were then taken outside to be taught how to use the ATM and deposit some money.  Next up was meeting the director of the bank. He of course spoke no English so we relied on google to explain why we purchased here.  But now we are in business and can set up the automatic payments for all of the utilities and anything else.  

It’s not been all work for us even though it seems that way at times.  On Sunday, George and I took a hike to the top of Mount Petrarvella. The hike is a long one with a gain of around 1900 feet.  It took us an hour to walk up, but coming down was much faster.  Along the way, we found blackberries and I spent a good deal of time picking and eating them.  Delicious! At the top of the mountain is an old ruined building.  The romantic in me wants to believe it is the ruins of an old Roman watch house, but I’m sure it is more modern than that.  It was a very pleasant way to spend the morning.  And the views from the top? Outstanding!

On this past Monday, I discovered the local farmers market.  I love it!  There was so much fresh food there.  They sell plants, clothes, kitchen gadgets, even live chickens! I know where I will be getting my fruit and veg during the season.  It was a wonderful experience and even gave me another chance to practice my Italian.

And now for the icing on the cake.  Last week George designed a holder for the Dick Hess puzzles. He asked Oskar to print it for him and got a reply to the effect of "it’s too bad the puzzle prototyper didn’t have a small 3d printer to use".  Sadly, all of ours are packed up in preparation for our upcoming move.  

What did I do?  I went on to Amazon and bought a tried and true Easy Threed printer for him. Aren’t I the best wife ever?  When we were on the cruise, he had built a holder for the filament.  This time around, he doesn’t have a workshop to build one.  Instead, he used the plastic cup from some of the radishes I purchased last week and a holder for a musical instrument that hadn’t been removed from the wall and he is in business.  He’s since redesigned his holder, but has been spending a good deal of time printing off simple puzzles to give people we meet.  While he spends his time doing that, I put together a lot of the crystal puzzles I brought with me.  I’ve almost run out and have had to purchase a few more to keep me busy. 

And that means all is normal in the Miller household. 

* This article was originally published here

* This article was originally published here


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