Sunday, 12 December 2010


So, a lovely brief visit to Italy last week.

Wonderful friends picked me up from Milan airport and whisked me away to a four course lunch home-cooked by Roberto's lovely mum for Mr Bertuol's birthday. She makes her own pickles and preserves, so we had artichokes, stuffed chilli peppers, mushrooms picked from the hills, and a ravioli with pasta sauce, beef rolled in mushrooms. It was a bit of a treat. His parents don't speak English and I don't speak Italian, so the conversation took place with some kindly interpretation.

I've been wanting to visit their allotment for some time now, having heard such a lot about it, so was dead pleased to get a tour later in the day, just as the sun was setting. Wow. All I can say is wow. Their allotment is more like a farm. Their hazelnut trees stretch down the hill for ages, and there is so much space, and a lovely collection of allotment structures built by Mr Bertuol.

I am dying for a summertime visit now, when everything is growing and Mrs Bertuol has her giant pan cooking tomato sauce on their outdoor fire. My god. Heaven.

Then to Turin for three lovely days with my friends, who really looked after me, took me touring round the city in the cold cold cold, down beautiful cobbled streets, into grand old coffee places, restaurants, christmas markets, museums, churches, down by the river, more coffee places, more streets. It is such a stunning place, filled with gorgeous historical buildings. And most important of all, I got the chance to spend some lovely time with my friend chatting about everything, proper time. And it was a giggle, a brush with the Italian fire brigade, some play in the film museum, and a little bit of jiggle to Aretha on our last night.

And I even had the drama of being caught up in an Italian student protest on the way back to Milan, when a mob of students decided to sit on the train line for an hour so that I nearly, very nearly, missed my flight back to Manchester.