Houses, postings and kiwis

My expat life in Istria

In the last week before I sign off for our Christmas & New Year break, Autumn suddenly turns decidedly to Winter. We sign the pre-contract on Kaštelir (hooray!); my Autumnal, garden cutback programme drags on; a seemingly stalled Live Istria leaps forward; and we get our first really bumper kiwi harvest.


Monday 12 December

Baggy in kindling basketAs it was all go with the house purchase last week, I got little done in the garden or on Live Istria. With the start of the new week, I was determined to put this to rights. So even though it was a miserable, grey day, with rain clouds looking ominous, I marched determinedly into the garden and spent an hour or so pruning lavenders. Forward progress is pitiful: at this rate, Spring will have arrived before I’ve finished my Autumn tidy! 

On Saturday, we shook hands on the deal to buy the property in Kaštelir. Now it gets serious. First step is a deposit when we sign the pre-contract tomorrow, with the remainder due when the full contract is signed, in about six weeks. So it was off to the bank to collect the money before lunch … it’s all getting very exciting  🙂

Intended to get on writing My Life when I got back after lunch – after all, a huge amount happened last week. But Christmas shopping interfered. I needed to confirm all those orders for presents I lined up yesterday, if they are to get there in time. It took the whole afternoon and I got up from the computer exhausted. Just hope I have everything going to the right addresses!

So no Live Istria today.


Tuesday 13 December

A grey, overcast morning saw me finishing up trimming the lavenders, just for the sun to come out as I came in (such is life). Christmas present mayhem lingered on until lunch; then we went into town to sign the pre-contract for Kaštelir (and hand over the deposit). All signed and sealed with a glass of cognac – very civilized 🙂

Coming home to the ironing was something of an anti-climax 🙁

More nothing on Live Istria today.


Wednesday 14 December

‘Rain stops play’ in the garden this morning – secretly rather relieved, as it meant I could hit my desk first thing with a clear conscience. Ploughed through a mountain of back-logged e-mails, Twitter and Facebook stuff and then, finally, started on some writing – only to be interrupted by P. He’d just finished our first major practical ‘How to’ section – a series of articles on mobile phones and internet in Istria.

Mobile phone in a deck chairWe thought everyone realised their mobile phone payment packages would not apply when they went on holiday, so were shocked to hear about a friend’s sister who thought she could use her phone as normal when visiting him – without worrying about the cost. Seemed like a good topic for Live Istria. Then, a few days later, when we heard stories in the press about people unknowingly running up huge mobile phone bills while on holiday, we knew this was a key issue. It’s taken us several months to pull together – and today P judged it finally ready and handed it to me for posting. We think it has a lot of valuable information and advice: I hope you find it useful.

As soon as I started posting, though, I realised we’d forgotten about pictures! After some hunting, I found a fantastic photography site with some great pictures – many thanks Dreamstime – and spent most of the afternoon choosing photos, before starting the posting marathon.


Thursday 15 December

Slow progress again in the garden this morning, so admitted defeat and called Ian (remember our wood-stacking Elf?), to see if he could come and help. My garden is my garden and I strongly believe it’s my job to keep it looking good. Having said that, sometimes it’s obvious I should admit defeat and ask for assistance – like now. With us both working on the cutting back, we’ll soon get on top of things (I hope!).

When I went in, the ‘posting’ marathon resumed. Finally got everything up by early afternoon: in total, it took over eight hours to select the photos and post everything. But now it’s done 🙂


Friday 16 December

Nicky harvesting kiwisOne of the last things I always do, before we leave for Christmas, is harvest my kiwis. It was a windy, chilly morning for it, but I picked a bumper haul, nearly 600 kiwis (582 in fact – yes, I counted them. I know I’m very sad, but I was curious). The most I’ve had before was 78, last year. 400 (individually counted) have been put away for when we get back and the rest are now in plastic bags, to be foisted on unsuspecting friends.

Spent the rest of the day on Live Istria postings – keeping up to-date with all my social networks takes ages. The challenges of the internet editor :)!

MnG came round for a pre-Christmas drink in the late afternoon. Marija brought us a jar of their olives (which look a lot better than mine) and left with a bag of kiwis.


Saturday 17 December

It poured with rain and blew a gale last night. With the rain still coming down and the garden soaked, I called Ian just as he was about to call me. It was unanimous, “No gardening today – next year.” Frustrating, but at least it reduces the amount I have to do today.

We’re off to the UK on Monday, so preparations started for real today – ironing in the morning, packing in the afternoon. The benefit of not gardening this morning is that, for once, I could relax and take my time – a real luxury 🙂

Baggy’s beginning to get nervous. She knows when suitcases appear, we’ll soon disappear.

Entertaining again this evening: SnS came round for a pre-Christmas drink and they too departed with kiwis.


Sunday 18 December

My heart rose as I woke to blue skies this morning – at last! It’s been a grey, wet week, so it was great to see the sky again. My joy was short-lived, though: the clouds were back before lunch.

P ploughed on with final computer preparations for our trip and I closed the house down. Popped round to give FnV their card, but they were out, so left it propped on the door handle … with, of course, a bag of kiwis hanging beneath.

Finished Sunday as usual, in front of the fire 🙂


Happy Christmas everyone – tomorrow we’re off to Trieste airport to fly to the UK. Let the festivities begin!


New year brings a new appraoch in 2012, when we restart our Istrian life.

Read this tale in the right order – from the start in July



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