Posts Tagged ‘Property’

The Tedium of a One-Track Mind


 status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

This post comes with a content alert: as much as I have tried and tried to steer my mind towards non-pregnancy related topics over the last months, I regret to announce that I have finally succumbed to the same dreamy preoccupation with my condition that I imagine affects most first-time mothers in this final stretch.

(Of course I quite understand that such a topic holds very little interest for many, so I wholeheartedly forgive you for going in search of more scintillating reading fodder, and hope that in turn you might eventually forgive me for my current one-track-mindedness…)

There is no doubt that I am exceedingly lucky to at last be in a position to succumb to such aforementioned dreamy preoccupation:

The shop has finally been tied up and put to eternal sleep, my Overseas Guides Company writing commitments have been passed to a lady living in Puglia, and my darling husband has taken over the thankless task of tussling with neighbours and daft Italian bureaucrats in order to replace our uninsulated and leaky roof with something entirely more satisfactory.

And me? I have been gifted with the indescribable luxury of being able to flee the frustrations and the potential builders’ dust, straight into the welcoming arms of the mothership and a relaxing month or so of doing little else but observing the perplexing, uncomfortable, fascinating, terrifying, unique and exhilarating changes to which my body and my life are currently being subjected.

That is not to say that this time has been without its challenges: barely four days after touching down in Blighty, my brand-new waddling centre of gravity tipped me off a perfectly straight stretch of path and headlong into the agony of a badly sprained ankle.

Just over a week after that, and I find myself struck down with intense round ligament pain (something to do with those stretchy parts that give the uterus a supporting hand during this, its time of toil and overwork).

But although I am still as permanently knackered and frequently snotty as ever I was, I have found a somewhat greater sense of purpose; as the parasitic little being within me steals my energy, my health (and a worryingly large portion of my heart) in order to become the strong and active individual now turning endless somersaults under my tummy button whilst pushing my spare tyres into miraculous peaks and crests with each flex of its still-tiny limbs.

Being given this opportunity to “enjoy” the last few months of my pregnancy in relative peace and tranquility is exactly what I had hoped for. Primarily in the interests of my health and that of the sproglet; but also because this is highly likely to be my only pregnancy (a tale for another time…) and I am suddenly very aware of the importance of savouring each intriguing moment; as one probably should every major life experience when offered the chance to do so.

So the next few weeks will be spent in quiet contemplation of my rather busy naval, reading it stories from my childhood, using my constant diet of Classic FM to assess its preferences for Saint-Saëns’ organ symphony over Rossini’s overtures and being utterly and undeservedly spoilt by the Mothership whilst indulging my cravings for sleep and books – both of which I suspect I shall soon have to do without for a very long time…

This is Status Viatoris, 28 weeks and hoping that the daft Italian bureaucrats pull their roof-deciding fingers out before she is forced to give birth on an Easy Jet flight somewhere over France…


Au Revoir !


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

No, not to you lot – despite the irregularity of my postings, Status Viatoris would have to be prised from my cold dead fingers before I abandoned it altogether…

No, the au revoir in this post is directed very much at my French apartment, which, after three and a half painfully long years has finally been sold. Admittedly for vastly less than if I had managed to shift it before the market nosedived, but at least I am no longer racking my brains for ways to pay the mortgage every month and staying awake night after night torturing myself with thoughts of the eventual maintenance costs incurred by an empty apartment in a damp medieval village.

The buyers were exactly the sort I had dreamt of – a young French couple who experienced a dramatic coup de coeur at first visit, and immediately set their hearts on obtaining it for their forever home.

(A huge improvement on the alternative cold-hearted Parisien or similarly detached foreigner in search of a holiday home to be used for a piddling fortnight a year, thus contributing to the ghost village phenomenon so prevalent in picturesque rural Europe.)

The price they offered me was in the region of what I had paid (purchase price plus the cost of major renovations) in 2004/2005 – investment, what investment? But desperation had my hands lassoed firmly behind my back, and after a small and purely symbolic haggle, the deal was done.

Then, having jumped once again through the burning hoops of incompetence proffered by Supercilious Turd, we were on the home straight; finally signing the Acte de Vente on the 8th of August, before departing our separate and varyingly happy ways – mine being the slightly less joyous path…

For although, after the agonies of the past three and a half years, I thought myself immune to further shock – and certainly felt the bad luck that had dogged every step of my French real estate journey couldn’t possibly find further ways to blight my life – I was wrong.

At the time I left France in 2008, I had been working for a number of months in a self-employed capacity – my boss at the time being keen to avoid the hefty taxes and social charges implied by having employees. He paid me a decent salary to compensate, so all well and good; but upon leaving both job and country, I then faced a two-year battle to convince French bureaucrats that they no longer had any right to my money.

Endless registered letters (Monsieur Le French bureaucrat’s most favouritist thing), normal letters, emails and phone calls whizzed their way, until the dreaded URSSAF finally backed down and let me be – the proverbial straw possibly being the bill for €52,000.00 in “social charges” that I sent back heavily defaced with red pen:


En français, bien sûr…

The upshot being that the French authorities were left in no doubt that I was no longer a resident of La Belle France; which in turn meant that upon the sale of my French pad, they were going to be able to sting me for over 30% of the plus value (capital gains).

To complicate matters further, mine was not a straightforward property. Had I been in the possession of a cookie cutter apartment of the like so popular down on the coast, the profit calculation would have been simple: purchased for X and sold for Y.

But being a renovation project left me wide open to government interpretation of what expenditure they considered “necessary” improvements to render the property habitable, and what, in their most humble and objective opinion, was purely aesthetic.

Windows, apparently, serve no practical purpose. Plumbing for lavatories is nothing more than a luxury. Railings to stop people falling to their grisly deaths out of Juliet balconies or down stairwells are the trappings of the rich and spoilt, and electrical points to allow a property to be lit, heated or otherwise are nothing more than fancy pants accessories.

Thus it was decided – by unbiased and disinterested parties, I’m sure – that I was selling my house for over €50,000.00 more than I paid for it all those years ago, and of those 50 smackeroonies, the French government deserved €21,000.00 of them.

Just like that.

This is Status Viatoris, who has a sneaky feeling that property investment requires a wilier touch than hers, in Italy.

Return to French Notary Hell


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Wanting to avoid all possible risks of jinxing (yes, that scientifically proven law of physics) I had until now refrained from mentioning that tomorrow I have an appointment to sign the bilateral sales agreement that should at last set the wheels in motion for the sale of my French apartment.

A brand new and very un-French real estate agent – friendly, cheerful, polite and communicative – managed to find me a lovely young French couple who fell in love with the property at first visit, and after various tussles with their bank, were eventually able to make me an offer.

Admittedly it was an extremely low offer.

An entire €50,000 lower than the offer I accepted back in 2011 (which due to the combined efforts of Supercilious Turd French Notary and dear old Nicky Sarkozy never resulted in a sale).

But after three years of struggling every month to find the mortgage, and with the French real estate market a fly ridden carcass of its former self, I was happy to accept any offer at all.

So far, so good.

Until my cheery estate agent asked me to contact Supercilious Turd and request that he leave the deeds to my house for her to collect.

During an initial telephone call, I was asked to formulate my request in an email, which I did.

It remained answer-less.

So I sent another email.


And then another.


At which point my estate agent stepped in.

It took her an entire week to get any response at all from Supercilious Turd’s office, at which point she was informed that the Bill of Sale for my problem room had never been signed.

Meaning that the room was still not mine to sell.

But how could that be?

Way back in July 2011 the previous owner and I had met in front of Supercilious Turd, both signed a document and I had handed over a cheque. Up until that meeting, the ownership of that room had been the only thing standing between me and a sale, and the signing of that document was what permitted Supercilious Turd to laboriously plod his way to preparing the bilateral sales agreement for the sale that never went through.

I am speechless.

Even if I completed misunderstood, even if the document I signed in July 2011 was only a preliminary to the bill of sale, why on earth would a notary make no further attempt to contact a buyer who was already halfway through a sale?

It makes no sense.

Thus my overwhelming relief at having been informed that this second chance at a sale would be overseen by a different notary giving me no reason whatsoever to have contact with Supercilious Turd, has been wiped away on a tsunami of distress that this incompetent excuse for a public servant once again has the power to fuck up my life.

It is almost too ridiculous to believe that I am yet again at his mercy.

This is Status Viatoris, feeling guilty that all the horrors currently going on the world over are not embarrassing her into feel less sorry for herself, in Italy.

Apartment SOLD in Sainte Agnès (06)


Yes, you’ve guessed it – my lovely French apartment is still for sale.

A Sainte Agnès chat enjoying the view…

No doubt the current financial climate is partly responsible, although I can’t help but feel that the resolute uselessness of my French estate agent (second only in ineptitude and arrogance to my French Notary – AKA Supercilious Turd) may also be playing an important role in the lack of interested parties.

So I turn, once again, to Status Viatoris readers in the hope that somebody somewhere may know someone who knows someone who may be dreaming of a new life in a simply spectacular little French mountain village.

Sainte Agnès – ProvenceAlpesCôte d’Azur

Sainte Agnès is perched on the flank of a mountain, 750m above the Mediterranean at its highest point. Although only 3 km from the coast as the crow flies, by car it is reached via a mountain road with spectacular panoramic views that winds its way up the 9km from Menton at the eastern end of the French Riviera. Due to its unique position, Sainte Agnès enjoys the title of ‘Highest Coastal Village in Europe’, in 1997 becoming a member of the association ‘Les plus beaux villages de France’ which includes 142 villages all chosen for the exceptional nature of their location, their cultural, historical, architectural or natural treasures exposed to the public in an attempt to highlight their importance and thus preserve them for future generations.

An ex-Sainte Agnès chien exhorting people to enjoy another sort of view…

The first record of the village was in 1185 as Sancta Agneta, and until 1258 was ruled by the Counts of Ventimille, when it fell under the power of the Counts of Provence. The most breathtaking views of the hills down to the Mediterranean and the surrounding coastline along to Italy to be found upon climbing to the 9th-century chateau, and its charming ‘Jardin Médiéval’ high above the village which by all accounts was built by the Saracen Prince Haroun, upon falling madly in love with a young Provençal girl.

Front door and stairs into my very typical atypical Sainte Agnès “maison de village”..

Although fully restored in 1502, the chateau is today in ruins. Some of the ancient walls remain, however, and their arrow slits evoke a strong feeling of what the extremely well placed defensive position may have been like in medieval times. Archaeological digs carried out on the site have unearthed at least 23 skeletons along with other artefacts, pointing to the area having be inhabited as far back at the Bronze Age and possibly even the Neolithic. The wonderful 360˚ vista was again brought into prominence in 1932 when the Fort Maginot de Sainte Agnès, was constructed as part of the Maginot Line. This contained an important concentration of artillery of which much is still in working order. The fort was never put to the test as the invaders decided to just go round it, although I have been told that a gun may once have been fired at the Italians.

The Sainte Agnès street onto which my front door opens!

Although the ‘commune’ of Sainte Agnès descends right into the Menton valley, the permanent population of the village itself is only about 90 people. Many of the village houses are 15th to 18th century, and have been divided and re-divided by family inheritance over many generations, making their layout rather hard to divine from the outside. The village offers three restaurants (two of which also double as bars) all with wonderful views over the hills and down to the coast. It also boasts three gift shops, and a very well stocked village ‘épicerie’.

Master Bedroom overlooking roofs to the hills beyond!

As well as the obvious charms offered by the close proximity of the Menton coast (9km); Italy (15km) Monaco (17km), Nice (25km) and the beautiful peaks of the Mercantour National Park are all within easy reach. The hiking route GR51, also known as the Balcony of the Cote D’Azur passes the village and can lead to you North East to the hamlet of Monti, East to the Italian border, South West to the village of Gorbio and West towards Nice. There are also a few quite hilly loop hikes from Sainte Agnes, including the glorious Mont Baudon, some using part of the GR51. Whilst walking these routes, you will no doubt notice the abundance of lavender, an integral part of one of the many village fêtes held during the summer months.

2nd Mezzanine bedroom

The apartment itself is about 80m², and was entirely renovated during 2005/6 having been uninhabited for at least a century. Built over two main levels, but with steps leading to and from most of the rooms, it comprises: 3 double bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 2 WC, 1 sitting room, 1 kitchen/dining room, 1 mezzanine storage area and a laundry room.

Sunny sitting room!

Due to the age and position of the property, it does not have any outside space – fairly typical of a medieval French village! – but the kitchen has large French windows opening onto a Juliet balcony, giving it a delightful alfresco feel.

Even sunnier kitchen/dining room!

So there we have it – a very special property in an even more special location that just needs to be united with that one special person who may not yet even know they are dreaming of it. In light of the current financial climate (and because I simply cannot afford to continue paying the mortgage indefinitely – the current rentee will soon be moving out) I am open to (reasonable) offers, especially those that come from somebody somewhere who knows someone who reads Status Viatoris…

(The property is currently advertised for 275,000€ but negotiation is extremely welcome and will certainly not be sniffed at…)

Typical Sainte Agnès “maison de village” stairs!

So please help me get this advert to go viral (whatever that means; I’m not up on the old techno-speak) in order to find a forever owner for the property I poured so much love into before circumstances changed the geographical direction of my wanderings…

Enquires to:

Thank you.



status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

“The French are just bad-tempered Italians” said Jean Cocteau somewhere back in the mists of time, and the phrase was give a fresh airing this Friday when I was called upon to translate for a French couple venturing into the minefield of Italian real estate.

But in this instance at least, Cocteau’s utterance was certainly not applicable; possessing, as these two  did, natures sunny enough to rival the innate joviality of any Italian.

They remained unfazed throughout the predictably tedious and long-winded process of opening an Italian bank account:

“Sign here, and here, and here, and here. Initial here. Sign here. Initial here. Sign here and here. Initial here, here and here… Oh! Whoops. No, not there. Hold on a minute while I reprint everything so we can start all over again…”

They managed to keep their brilliant smiles whilst the notary explained all the issues involved with the property they are trying to buy:

– Due to issues of inheritance it was owned by six different people when the sale was set in motion.

– It is now owned by seven different people because one of the six died and that particular section was passed to two new beneficiaries.

– One of the beneficiaries is a Russian living in Russia (original beneficiary married his Russian carer before dying, she then inherited his section but  it passed to her brother upon her death) and has only just been tracked down.

– Each beneficiary owns a different percentage of a different section of the property.

– Each beneficiary will have to be paid separately by the buyers on completion.

– The property has been added to extensively over the period of about a century and no longer corresponds to any official plans.

Meanwhile I was busy coming to terms with the fact that  verbally translating  technical real estate Italian into technical real estate French at the speed of light  is not something I excel at…

Nevertheless, being paid for the privilege of assisting some of the nicest bad-tempered Italians I have ever had the fortune to meet is not something to be sniffed at, especially as they have promised me a barbecue in their new pad should this most convoluted of sales ever reach the desired conclusion.

Mercy buckets lay fronsay!

This is Status Viatoris, not convinced she can be called a linguist if she can’t actually get any of her four languages to work in tandem, in Italy.

Through the Keyhole


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Other than a few minor DIY odds and sods – that will now almost certainly be forgotten about until the some mildly inconvenient point in the future – Casa SV e Pooch is now officially open for business.

Sitting room complete with interactive hearth rug...

Sitting room complete with interactive hearth rug…

The business of living in it without constantly tripping over builders and their tools, that is.

Fine dining - when someone else cooks...

Fine dining –  only possible when someone else cooks…

And I must say that I am utterly overjoyed with the results.

The original kitchen floor – ideal for camouflaging discarded dog biscuits and other escaped food stuffs….

For whilst the exterior may not have the charm of a countryside rustico nor the interior the minimalist sophistication so sought after today; my little home has finally been transformed into the oasis of cosiness and tranquillity that I had been longing for.

Ablutions ahoy!

Just ripe for a wallow.

Small, but perfectly formed, the space feels as if it has at last reached its potential: a potential that required a considerable amount of squinting and an over-active imagination to discern whilst buried under the car-crash interior inexplicably wished on it by the previous occupants.

Apples and pears and a handy storage cupboard as suggested by the ever practical Mothership!

(Post containing photos of aforementioned car-crash interior can be found by clicking here).

Snuggling under the eaves in a real bed is a huge improvement to camping downstairs on a squeaky sofa bed.

Although I had flirted briefly with the idea of burying myself neighbourlessly in the depths of the Ligurian countryside, my hermit-like tendencies definitely make living in close proximity to other people the healthier option (if I don’t wish to make the headlines as a mad old bat unseen by living soul for decades until the day a craving for chocolate sends her out into the wider world to startle local children).

Miniature lav – men must poke heads out of skylight in order to pee standing up.

So I live on my own, but I never feel alone because I’m surrounded by people, noisy people; noisy people and their equally noisy offspring and their even noisier pets. I am forced to be sociable every time I step outside my house; but when I retreat back inside, closing my front door behind me, I could just as easily be in some country rustico, such is the peace I find there.


Study – the only room in the house that needs a little bit more shuffling before everything finds its place.

The most recent change, and probably the ciliegia on top of my zen-living torta, has been the greenifying of the balcony; Mothership coming into her own yet again by sending me back from the UK with a car full of plant pots, seedlings and corms; all of which were duly planted out and are now thriving fit to bust – filling the air with smells that will hopefully result tempting enough to lure in a butterfly or bumblebee or two…

The room where peering out of the window often takes the place of getting things done. Ooops.

A couple of lavender plants, two colourful fuchsia, some pinks and a lemon thyme joined the already established throng of strawberries, chives, mint, parsley, rosemary, oregano, straw flowers, basil (and two other things I can’t recall the name of) during the Mothership’s visit, and I now boast a balcony fit for, if not a king, Monty Don at least.

Herbs ‘n strawbs ‘n stuff.

So there we have it, folks, Chez SV et Pooch in all its pretty-much-completed glory, and hopefully all geared up to be a happy home to SV and Pooch for a very long time to come 🙂

Pooch posing on his newly floral balcony…

This is Status Viatoris, feeling enthusiastic about all things domestic and more disinclined to take back up her wanderlust baton than she has ever been, in Italy.

The Joys of Communal Living


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

It is now safe to say that I have been given definitive proof that Donaldina Trump I ain’t, and that once I have managed to sell my bloody French apartment I would do very well to take a solemn oath – on pain of irreversibly losing my marbles –  never again to attempt the purchase, sale or renovation of any property. Anywhere. Ever.

The cause of my current state of real estate-related exhaustion, have been my attempts at completing the renovation of the Italian apartment; in limbo now since the summer.

Having come to the conclusion that the roof needed to be replaced sooner rather than later, and that it wasn’t really worth renovating upstairs until that had been done, in early summer I began the task of trying to coax my co-proprietors into coming to some sort of agreement in order for work to begin before the onset of the rainy season.


Herding cockroaches high on crack cocaine into mind-bending crop circle formations would have been a far simpler, and potentially more constructive way of employing my time.

Aside from the difficulty of actually obtaining quotes from builders – “We came all the way up here to have a look at it, didn’t we. What do you mean you want a bloody quote in writing as well?” It soon became apparent that sagging, lack of insulation, rampant leaking and broken support beams notwithstanding, my co-proprietors were reluctant to nail their colours to the wall and state whether replacing a nearly fifty-year-old roof was something they were prepared to consider.

Replacing a roof in Italy is very costly business indeed –  it is the scaffolding that pushes prices into the stratosphere  – but the shelling out of hard cash for issues of maintenance is one of the hazards of owning a property. Painful enough if it is your main home, but a seriously inconvenient ache in the nether regions if such expenditure is only for a second property.

For the principal barrier that appeared to stand between me and any semblance of collective decision making, is the fact that I am the only owner actually in residence (two of the apartments are rented out long-term, one is rented out to holiday-makers, one is a holiday home used for a month a year, and one is not used for anything at all). I am also the only resident whose property is directly under the roof. Hence the only owner, and/or resident who has a vested interest in ensuring that the roof is a) insulated b) waterproof and c) not in imminent danger of collapsing on my head as I sleep.

Stairway to the very bowels of hell…

Keeping all these things in mind, I presented those neighbours who had shown an interest is getting the work done, with a proposal:

My Albanian builder quoted for a basic roof – no insulation – the cost of which we would divvy up between us on the basis of square metre ownership and proximity to the roof (hence I would be paying the larger portion). He then provided us with an additional quotation for insulation, as well as the aesthetic touches required for under-the-eaves living, which I would pay in its entirety.

In the interests of maintaining neighbourly harmony whilst at the same time allowing me to progress with my renovations before winter set in, it seemed like a preferable alternative to the (entirely legal) option of simply bulldozing them into getting the work done or waiting for them to fart around for another six months still not reaching a decision.

They agreed.

So off I trotted to Spain, cursing the timing of my trip, but relieved and reassured that I could at least get on with things on my return.

Except that by the time I got back, everything had apparently changed once again; just in time for the onset of the cold weather. Excellent.

Two builders claiming that they could instead repair the roof, and a third providing a quote nearly 10,000€ less than the original (upon closer inspection he was choosing NOT to replace most of the 45-year-old beams and would be using inferior insulation, amongst other things), had thrown a proverbial spanner into my chances of getting my home snugged up for winter: it had been decreed that my professional and conscientious Albanian builder, whose obsession with hard work and quality craftsmanship keeps him in a permanent state of busyness and with a shiny reputation to match, was obviously out to rob us all blind.

Choking down my fury at such a display of naivety (combined, unfortunately, with a typically Ligurian suspicion of anything that involves spending money)  I smiled sweetly and agreed to meet one of the “repairing” builders; who suddenly became most disinclined to take on the responsibility to repair anything at all when I explained that we weren’t looking for a patch-up job to take us through to the spring, but long-lasting repairs that would enable me to continue with my renovation.

My bedroom…

Thus I found myself trapped in an impasse – my neighbours don’t want my builder, I do not want a corner-cutting cheapskate builder; and in the meantime, I continue to camp in my sitting room whilst the heat from my new pellet heater escapes up the stairs, pauses to warm the building site that is currently my bedroom, before wiggling out through the uninsulated roof and making its getaway.

I confess to being not a little fed-up with the whole situation; but as being fed-up apparently does not get things done – it has taken me thirty-four loooooooong years to work that one out – I have had to take a firm decision on how to proceed, and it will be as follows:

My builder will repair the roof to the best of his ability from the inside, the oh-so-helpful “repairing” builder will do what he can for the exterior, and thus we will proceed with the renovations. It won’t be a perfect job, and the ceiling of my bedroom will be functional rather than pretty, but if the roof can be made waterproof for a further five or six years (giving us more time to resolve our differences and chose a plan of action for replacing it), then it will have been worth it.

Of course if the rain does find a way of seeping in and destroying the lot, you will surely read about me in the tabloids.

I will be the one sensationally arrested for mass neighbourcide.

Cosy just isn’t the word…

This is Status Viatoris, quietly confident that threatening all involved parties with the imminent arrival of the mothership for Xmas, will ensure completion of work in next to no time, in Italy.

Will the Property Poltroonery Ever End?


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

As a small hiatus in my Iberian anecdotes – and in order to offset your certain envy at my thrillingly jet-settulate lifestyle – it is perhaps a good moment to confess to ongoing headaches in matters Real Estate.

Firstly and most frustratingly on my list of property woes, has been the spectacular collapse of the French sale (as previously ranted about here, here and here  – yes, you’ve guessed right; tediously long-winded would describe the situation perfectly).

Nearly eighteen months after Supercilious Turd (AKA le French Notary) first began work on apportioning ownership of the problem room, and ten months after a verbal offer was made and accepted by the daughter and son-in-law of my closest neighbours for the entire property, we were finally in a position to sign the documents.

Unfortunately, yet another cock-up by S.T meant that the buyers were unable to put pen to paper before heading off on their summer holiday. Thus giving me nearly four weeks during which to swallow my desire to commit notarycide, and cross my fingers that no damage had been done by the delay.

(It has since been noted that crossed digits are no guarantee of anything other than a certain tendency towards clumsiness…)

But as Sod’s Law would gleefully dictate, the buyers’ return coincided almost poetically with a change in French law.

A change in which future owners of second properties become one of Sarkozy’s sources of additional income to try and offset les Bad Times. Taxed to the hilt whilst buying, during ownership and then upon selling, it has rendered the prospect of owning a second home in France a rather unattractive one to many people. And as my buyers were looking to purchase for investment purposes: long-term rentals followed by a profitable sale; the acquisition no longer made financial sense.

So boo bloody hoo for me; I have had to put the place back on the market and resign myself to being not a step further forward than I was in March 2010.

I can no longer advertise it to holidaymakers because a) it means working too far in advance and could jeopardise a sale should one appear, and b) I have removed much of my furniture and other belongings in order to set up house here. How I am going to manage the mortgage and other overheads until a buyer in shining armour finally shows up to save the day, is a question I am trying not to dwell on too deeply at present.

Thus it is with head firmly in sand, and fingers firmly crossed that I am currently mincing my way down my chosen path; quietly confident that salvation will appear just when I start to lose hope.

Like it has a habit of doing in the films.

This is Status Viatoris, who has also got lots of fun anti-renovation stories to recount about Italy. But those, boys and girls, will have to wait for another time…

Casa Sweet Casa


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

I have finally made it into my new home.

Patiently waiting for all the dinner parties…

And to celebrate, I promptly bent down and twanged a nerve in my lower back.

A “colpo della strega” (witch’s blow) was the helpful diagnosis offered by friends and neighbours; torn between pity at my obvious agony, and hilarity at the full-nappy-waddle-walk said agony has induced. Cue six-hourly injections of muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory drugs, and the feeling I’m about to keel over in a full Victorian faint every time I stand up.

At least I am able to boast a very comfortable new sofa bed, complete with inattentive nursemaid, on which to spend my convalescence.

Caring is hogging, apparently.

Despite the endless and very kind offers of assistance, in the end I decided to take care of the move on my own – no doubt a contributory factor to my current crippled state.

It was a decision partly based on shame at the total chaos my rented apartment had been reduced to over the previous few months, combined with the need to keep on top of the exact location of all belongings lugged into my new place.

Once the bedroom and office have been renovated in the autumn, I should be in the vastly more joyful position of having far more space than I possess crap, but for the moment, it’s the cupboard under the stairs that is bearing the strain of my accumulative habits.

It could blow any minute…

But my most important (numerous, and bloody heavy to shift) possessions, I have happily been able to afford pride of place to already.

For after much humming, haahing, searching and prevaricating, I finally postponed my (expensive, and largely unattainable due to a dearth of willing carpenters) dreams of custom-made bookshelves in which to house my babies, and went with N.R.I’s suggestion of some do-it-yourself pine units from a local DIY store; the impatiently hurried drilling and varnishing of which, can also be held partially to account for the subsequent spinal twang.

A mere one quarter of my book collection… Oooops.

As thrilled as I am with all the work that has been done, I have to admit that the room that gives me the biggest frisson of pleasure to behold, has to be without doubt the bathroom; transformed from something really quite mismatched and icky…


…into my idea of Zen ablution heaven.


(I am also strangely fascinated by my light fittings – possibly a side effect of the painkillers?)

It’s terracotta all the way, baby 😉

Plus exterior lamps inside – the madness that is SV Interior Decoration Inc

The delight I am feeling at finally having reached this point is, ever so slightly, tempered by a deep-seated exhaustion. Projects such as these can be a surreal experience, as you attempt to juggle realism as to what can be achieved and in what time frame; with the need not to throw your hands into the air and completely lose the faith.

Because as much as you tell yourself that the work will, eventually, be completed; sometimes the journey can seem an interminable and strength-sapping one.

So as we now find ourselves safely installed in Pooch’s ninth abode, and my twentieth, the question I am hoping he won’t pose is – will it be our last?

This is Status Viatoris, feeling the strain of this move more than any that have come before and hoping against hope that the answer to Pooch’s unspoken question might this time be yes, in Italy.

Prolonging the Property Poltroonity


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

So here, as promised, is a short pictorial update on my Italian property endeavours – a direct contrast to the long-winded nature of the project itself…

Rather chuffed with my view

Work on the apartment has indeed been very slow, but it has also been steady and masterful in its craftsmanship.  So at long last there appears to be light at the end of this particular renovationary tunnel.

…to simply divine!

From distinctly perilous…

I am now in possession of a non-lethal staircase up to my boudoir, for example. Although the boudoir itself will not be transformed until the roof is re-done some time in the Autumn.

…to light and airy!

From dark and dingy…

Hospital white showcasing frenetically shining spots, has now been replaced by a touch of sunshine and far less visually disturbing tiles.

Even the funereal furniture has found new homes with friends and neighbours seemingly keener than I to oppress their living space.

From glass and net curtains…

The ghastly glassed-in balcony has been

…to a crows’ nest ideal for neighbourly nosiness.

opened up to the elements, as well as being extended to give me ample peering-out-at-people space: absolutely indispensable to the facilitation of observational blogging… 😉

And I am now waiting for the plumber to come and install my bathroom bits ‘n bobs – some time before Christmas, I can only hope. Once he has been, I can begin tramping all my belongings upstairs and setting up camp in the bottom half of the apartment (sitting room, dining area, kitchen, bathroom and balcony).

The second floor (bedroom, wc and office) will – fingers crossed and remaining heavily reliant on a following wind, the alignment of the stars and the willingness of my neighbours to contribute to roofing costs – be renovated in the Autumn when the fifty-odd year old and totally uninsulated roof is replaced with something more conducive to life under the eaves.

 So here’s to the rapid completion of Chez SV and Pooch!

This is Status Viatoris, who will not be doing this again; two renovations in one lifetime being almost more than a girl’s nerves can take, in Italy.

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