Leaving for Positano

Inside stuff to pack

It has been a fantastic 6 months reveling in the Tuscan way of life but all good things must end.  And our ending is just a new beginning as we swap Tuscany for Positano on the Amalfi Coast.

We were there in July when it was summer and it was almost tropically hot. In November it should be cooler but still as warm as a summer’s day back home.

Outside stuff to pack

We shall see, but first we have to get there and that means cramming everything we own into our Renault Megane Wagon and driving south for about 5 hours … 6 with stops for the girls.

Farewell Tuscany, hello Positano.

Note: For a larger version of the video click the “Share” button when the video is playing and select “Download Video”. A new window should open with a larger and better quality version of the movie.

Then and now

The changing landscape of Tuscany – from our arrival in May to our departure in October. The photos are taken from the terrace at our place, 6 months apart.

An autumn night in the Campo


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Siena is full of restaurants and most of these are either fully or partially outdoor.  This is particularly true of those that ring the Campo. In summer outdoor dining makes perfect sense with umbrellas or awnings giving protection from the … Continue reading

It’s a dog’s life

Morning in the cottage means chores – dishes, bed making, vacuuming, all the usual stuff.  Recently the girls have started watching this happen from the safety of the couch.  Neither Jean nor I can make a move without two sets of eyes tracking us.

If we show any sign of deviating from the routine, all hell breaks loose.

Let’s go shopping

When we headed to Europe in April, we didn’t really expect to be here when the weather started to cool down.  As a result, winter clothes weren’t something we brought with us.

But in the last week, althought the days are still sunny and warm, the temperatures at night have started dropping.  It was clearly time to go shopping for something warmer to wear than shorts and a t-shirt.

The good news is that Italy is a great place to shop for clothes.  So stocking up wasn’t difficult.

For those interested, our new winter wardrobe consists of:


1)   Geox winter jacket with fur lined hood

2)   Mid grey coat jacket from Sisley

3)   Wool scarf from Sisley

10) Cream V neck jumper

11) Grey and blue round neck jumpers

12) Hilfiger casual boots


4)   Knee length cream wool coat

5)   Geox winter jacket with removable fur hood

6)   Max & Co grey top with gold buttons

7)   A long woolen top

8)   Assorted pants including Calvin Klein jeans

9)   Classic cream roll neck jumper

13) Geox sports shoes

14) Black nero boots

15) Fur lined suede boots

Having looked at the photo of the clothes Jean’s comment was “where’s the colour”? So that’s something we still need to add as well as some gloves and hats.  After that, bring on winter.

Heading south – again

Our stay in Tuscany is coming to an end.  We leave at the end of October but our original plans to head home have changed a bit.

We have decided to chase the warm(ish) weather south to Positano and have arranged to stay for 6 weeks at Villa Greta looking out over the ocean. After we spent two weeks there in July we always said it was somewhere we wanted to return.

So, at the end of the week, we pack up the Renault and head south until early December.

It sounds simple when you say it fast but after 6 months we are quite settled in our tiny cottage in Tuscany.  We have a lot to take with us.  Slightly more, we suspect, than our 3 suitcases can carry.

October rain

The weather forecast for today was a 70% chance of rain.  And for the first time since June the grey clouds gathered and the heavens opened.

In the distance Siena disappeared as the rain enveloped it, only to reappear a few minutes later.

Around us the rain fell straight to earth as there was no wind (a novelty for those from Wellington) and you could hear every drop strike the parched ground.

We have another keen movie maker in the family


I’ve shot a bit of video in Italy over the last few months but now have to relinquish the crown of family filmmaker to Jean. Prompted by our departure from Tuscany at the end of October she put together a movie about our cottage.

Jean shot it so we had something to remember the cottage by but I thought it was worth sharing.

In using a single handheld shot for the whole movie she follows in the footsteps of great directors such as Hitchcock, De Palma and Scorsese.


Tuscany in three and a half days – day three


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No trip to Tuscany is complete without a visit to Chianti.  We took the back road from Siena through Castellina to Greve.  We couldn’t resist showing Charlie and Isabel the deli in Greve particularly as Isabel’s business is dairy.  Although … Continue reading

I Mondiali di Rugby – what can I say?

I think the best way to sum up the game today is with a very literal translation of what the Italian newspaper La Repubblica had to say about it:

“The New Zealand beat Australia 20-6 dominating from start to finish. Next Sunday in Auckland, they challenge for the title with the young cockerels, as 24 years ago, but the result is obvious in appearance.

The game ends with Richard Kahui flying from another part of the field and diving, he grasps the poor Quade Cooper, flinging him off the field. It’s the latest and exemplary image of meeting that consecrates Richie McCaw’s New Zealand, a perfect war machine that blows away the young and confused Australia.

The All Blacks beat hollow (20-6) in a match which from the first second of the game, the monstrous aggression of the hosts and was never really in question, with the kangaroos subjugated on each meeting point. Sunday’s final is with France, but it is a meeting apparently from the result a foregone conclusion.”

Tuscany in three and a half days – day two


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When thinking about where to take Isabel and Charlie, we decided to focus on the smaller places.  They had already spent some time in Florence before arriving at our place and we felt that most people equated Tuscany with rural … Continue reading

I Mondiali di Rugby – Galles v Francia

We spent ninety minutes this morning sitting behind some very nervous frenchmen. They had arrived at La Birerra in Siena to watch the first RWC semi-final and went from ecstacy when the Welsh captain was sent off to despair when Wales had a chance to win the game in the last few minutes.

Or, in their words – from “allez, allez, allez” to “sacrebleu” and back again.

Tuscany in three and a half days – day one and a half

Charlie and Isabel arrived on Saturday afternoon having travelled from north of Florence.  I had suggested they text us when they got close to our place which, in this case, meant texting from the carpark “I think we are here”.  The 3kms of dirt road make you wonder where the hell you are the first time you arrive.

We ambled out with the dogs and found them looking around wondering if this was our place or the home of some local family.  Either way they would have been made to feel welcome.

Dinner that night was at our local Pizza restaurant Le Campannia (other summer visitors will know this restaurant) which does excellent pizzas and provides endless free entertainment watching the antics of the locals.

Next morning was the All Black quarter final game so the entire team headed to the Campo at 9am to watch the game.  Clearly word about our World Cup venue is getting out as there were already two holidaying kiwi couples waiting for the game – and with us that meant the crowd swelled to a record eight people.  Nine counting an elderly Italian gentleman who joined us to support the French. He was a day late but still enjoyed the game.

Ninety minutes later it was “job well done” by the lads.  Well sort of well done as there is still some work to do before meeting Australia – and a chance for a wander around Siena before lunch in the sun at Osteria del Bigelli which, once again, did not disappoint with the food.

Jean made her famous kiwi roast pork with gravy for dinner and we washed it down with a very nice Chianti courtesy of our guests.

Rugby, beer, wine, sightseeing and roast pork with gravy.  A top day and a half.