Day: August 1, 2019

Hot deals, but not hot wheels

Yesterday, we drove a little outside Navacchio, to a complex of malls and stores and had a look at some furniture.

Although our rental is brand new, there’s something that rattles in it ferociously if you’re in too high a gear.  Couple that with the fact that it has all the power of an asthmatic sloth, and you have an object into which I am currently pouring much of my malice.  It gets us from A to B, and the aircon works a treat, so I suppose I should be thankful for small mercies.

We passed Peccioli on the way.  One of these days we’ll actually rock up there and explore it!  Here it is, looking very pretty by a field of sunflowers.


We were reminded how much hotter it gets several hunderd meters closer to sea-level when we got out of the car.  I think it peaked around 34 celsius.  

In Casa, we bought some bins and sun loungers, all of which we took with us and stowed in the car, and then in Mondo Convenienza we got ourselves a lovely, accessorised wardrobe and a couple of side tables, and a cabinet for the TV.  All-in-all, these weren’t too expensive and looked really nice, so it was a win/win.  The mall was great to look at and spotlessly clean.

We will have to wait until August 26th for the delivery unfortunately.  We were brought over to a desk to finalise the order (the wardrobes are modular, and can be completely designed from the inside out), and were introduced once again to peculiar Italian bureaucracy.  In order to buy furniture, we had to provide:

  1. A codice fiscale (the Italian social security number)
  2. A passport (after checking with her manager, she accepted Niamh’s passport number)
  3. An Italian phone number.  We don’t have one, so we had to give them the number of our Estate Agents, who also look after our house while we’re back in Ireland

Finally, at the cash desk itself, Niamh had to provide 8 digital signatures to accept and pay for the order and delivery.  Seems bonkers to those not living in Italy, but I guess it prevents money laundering and other nefarious activities.  However, I wonder if one of the reasons that Italian economic growth is so low is because their process and bureaucracy acts as a deterrant to commerce.  Anyway, I digress.  

After Niamh bought a nice top for herself, we did this for lunch in the mall, and I’m not one bit apologetic about it:


We went back home, the car struggling up the hills closer to Volterra.  It was still 28 degrees there, and we dragged the two sun-loungers and bins through town and up to our apartment.  We were a bit wrecked by the time we got there.  Hopefully, the loungers will get some use by us and the few guests we’re having over our stay.  Here they are on the upper terrace:


Niamh cooked again in the evening, but it was a light meal, given that we’d pigged-out earlier on.


The string beans here are so tasty and the fish was very tender and flakey.

We chilled for a while, and then I went out for a quick stroll about town.

The Irish Bar had no free tables, which was great to see.  A pair of seated gents were playing jazzy tunes on electric guitars outside another restaurant, while over-excited kids screamed and wheeled about in front of them.  I have to admit to having a little bit of ice-cream from L’isola Del Gusto on the way!  The lady behind the counter recognised me, and welcomed me back… it’s the small things in life that often make an impression.

For this morning’s walk, I took a route past the prison, on one side of a small valley, the other side of which houses both the modern-day hospital, and the closed mental hospital.  The road leads down to Porta e Fonti di Docciola, where the largest free car park for Volterra can be found (get there very early if you want a spot for a daytime visit, or if staying overnight you should be able to find parking spots after 20:00).

The font here was built in the mid-1200’s, and was an important source for water for both living, and for commerce back in medieval times.  Today, it houses both fish and pigeons!

I took the 200 steps back up to town, which gave me a decent workout.

Despite the pasta, pizza, and the occasional cakes and gelato, my belly seems to be slowly reducing, so yay!  A lot of that is down to portion control and exercise, but also to the fact that crisps and sweets simply aren’t as prevalent in the stores here, and we seem to have way less inclination to buy them as a result.

Today, we have to let our Estate Agents know that we are expecting an order for furniture, and to renew some sort of security dongle at the bank.  Other than that, it’s chillout time – we’ll proably eat out today, and I have to commit a few hundred more words of my novel to electronic paper! 

Thanks for reading this.  If you have any (polite) comments, questions or suggestions, please leave them below.