Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!

For us 2017 was quite a rollercoaster of a year. We experienced a bit of everything: adventures, joys, lucky escapes and the inevitable dose of human grief.

In February, at the invitation of a long-lost cousin, we stayed in Tamilnadu, India where we enjoyed the gorgeous spectacle of exotic temples, the bay of Bengal, great food and events at the ideal Auroville community.


During Easter we explored the Veneto region of Italy with its magnificent walled towns and even reached the elegant city of Trieste with its mittel European atmosphere.


On the return to Longoio in our faithful fiat cinquina we escaped with our lives when a truck hit us from the back in an appennine tunnel. The car, our faithful friend since December 2008, was a write-off. Better it than us, however…

Summer was peaceful enough, although the unusually high temperatures made us feel lazy and we didn’t go far.. We enjoyed some nice days by the seaside, however.

Invitations to Turin for a funeral enabled me to explore that undervalued city even further and the visit to Rome, where I heard my university college (King’s  Cambridge) choir sing at High Mass in St Peter’s basilica, was another great occasion to explore the world’s most wonderful city.

An unresolved medical complication prompted a journey to the UK where, again, we heard the college choir, this time in their magnificent chapel home.

We returned to Italy with regard to sorting out our accident paperwork only to travel back to the UK to start our second visit to China where we saw pandas, terracotta soldiers in their thousands , three magnificent gorges and a forbidden city among the many other extraordinary sights in this ever-changing country.


We returned to the UK where I began treatment with regard to my medical condition. By this time, despite rediscovering my unique home town of London and writing italian posts about it, I became ever more home-sick for the pastoral quiet of Longoio and the special company of my cats. Sadly, however, on the 17th December we received news from our cat-sitters that Napoleon, our best friend for eleven years, had gone to the cat’s happy hunting ground.


Despite this blow we managed a happy Christmas in the company of Sandra’s 96 year-old mum. It was the first Christmas I’d spent in England for over ten years and we thoroughly enjoyed the carol singing and hearing a great performance of ‘Messiah’.

New Year’s eve finds us flying back to Longoio where we shall remember the good times we had with Nap and hope that more good times shall come our way.

With that in mind we wish all our dear readers a very happy and prosperous New Year!



5 Replies to “Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018!”

  1. Dear Francis and Alexandria, today when you return to your home in Longoio and meet up again with your feline friends, please do not only see the empty space of Napoleone. After the pain, you will remember every space he shared in your lives, and in a small way our lives; and so his life remains. I was very privileged to meet the handsome prince, even though I was totally snubbed!
    Goodnight little guy, from Pietro, and Miss Amy xx


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