Well, a lot has happened since I last sat down to blog. I'd better have a go at summarising it all. Then when I'm finshed Monica will tell me that I've forgotten something important. Such is life.
I'm in Offagna for Christmas. Right now I'm on the ground floor, listening to Hoffnung's Music Festivals, what Mum and Dad got me. This because our laptop is dead again, only this time it seems properly dead. We got a bit over a year's worth of work out of it, and since it only had a year's warranty, and since it seems to be the mother board and processor that are dead, there's not much to do except buy another one. Ho. Hum.
At least we managed to get back to Offagna for Christmas. We had snow in Sassuolo what seems like an eternity ago, just the once, but it didn't even start to thaw until Christmas Eve Eve, when we were due to catch our train back. The snow we could have coped with, but after the snow came, it drizzled a little bit, and the drizzle froze and became ice. I don't think I'm prone to exaggeration - let's just say it was a little awkward to get to work. Anyhow, the trains were all in chaos (it's only fair to say that there's always chaos on the trains in Italy for Christmas) - 500 mins delay anyone? - but we managed to get onto a carriage without heating and lighting, and I was pretty pleased with that. There was some confusion at Bologna I think, and we changed onto a slower train, but it all turned out in the end really.
There'll be plenty of people reading who have no idea how my work's been going so I'll tell you; it's going well enough for them. They said they were going to give me 9 month contract, and then more recently they said a 4 year contract, as an apprentice. Nothing signed yet - I'll be lot happier when I sign something. Anyway, we found ourselves (or rather Monica found us) a place in the centre of Sassuolo, son in the new year we'll be moving there. Work is rather mental at the moment. Work is always mental around Christmas of course, but I don't thnk it's just that. Anyway, it's lovely to have a nice long, Italian-style break.
We haven't been the most socially-active of bunnies, but we've visited some places in the vicinity, Modena, Reggio-Emilia and Fiorano. Fiorano is just over the way from Sassuolo, in the hills, and has a Sanctuary, which is very posh like. By an odd coincidence I have discovered that an IT bod, Adriano, at work directs the choir of the Sanctuary, so it looks as though I may have finally found somewhere to sing - hurrah! We managed to catch a few free Christmas concerts too. As it's some kind of centenary of Handel, we managed to hear some selections from 'Messiah', even in Italy. We also heard some famous arias from the opera in a teeny tiny room, which was very good, even though you can't get opera singers to sing quietly, so we spent a long time with our ears vibrating.
I assure you that I'm not writing in order of importance, just as things come to me. I'm an uncle! Vanessa gave birth to Beatrice. She had to have a C section, and Beatrice was premature, was breathing a bit poorly and managed to get a bit of jaundice as well, so unfortunately she's not with us for Christmas, but she's essentially fine. We're all looking forward to meeting her properly, but it seems we're still in for a little wait.
I will have already told you about Italian Christmases, so I won't spend too long on that, but just say that we spent Christmas Eve eating seafood round Monica's auntie's place. Carlo made a wicked sauce for the spaghetti. Today, for Christmas, it was the nuclear Zagalia family plus husbands. Soon I shall be speaking to Mum and Dad on Skype with any luck.