Sunday, 30 October 2011

Up to my ears in Halloween

A florist's display in Piemonte.

I will not be going to a Halloween party this year and I am quite happy about that. The past week has been total immersion in all things Halloween. (Speaking of immersion, one of my favourite places if  not THE favourite place in the world, Vernazza was badly flooded this week in a turn of events that left nine dead in Liguria but is too big a subject for me to tackle).

All the children's classes must celebrate the main festivals in the English speaking world and I didn't want to discriminate by age so this week all my classes were Halloween themed. It also happened to save on preparation time. Drop me a line if you want any materials to use in the classroom. I think I have an activity now for every age and every level. Even teens that groan "oh no not another Halloween lesson" (my thoughts exactly I might add!) and adult conversation classes. I have watched Meg and Mog and Owl about fifteen times this week.

The main problem with celebrating Halloween it seems, is that it is a very new thing in Italy. It's been imported artificially, (well, I assume its not all the american tourists that brought it to Italy) and some people resent that. I can understand that. So unless you are 5 and your parents are relaxed about celebrating festivals that are associated with the occult you can probably expect not to need fancy dress.

Not to worry. There are heaps of other festivals to celebrate in the autumn and nearly all of them food related. My favourite are the chestnut festivals. Roasted or candied they are yummy yummy.

Never had a candied chestnut, (am I the only person who thinks of the Redwall series when hearing the words candied chestnuts?)? Here's a little pic to let you know what you are missing. They are sweeter THAN THE SUN.

Chestnuts in the cafe window (sorry about the glare).
 Mmmmmmmm........ Sugar.............

Happy Halloween!

P.s. Next year I am so going to celebrate Diwali instead.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


At about 9 o'clock on Friday night I got an unexpected phone call. I had just got back from work and was slumped on the sofa when my phone went off. A was with me, so I had no idea who could be ringing me. An unknown number.

"Devo consegnare una busta," said an unfamiliar male voice. He had an "envelope" for me.

It sounded quite shady but he knew my address and he was insisting that I come outside and meet him....  so I did.

There was no-one there....

Perplexed, I went back up to the flat. 5 mins later the doorbell went. Aha! And there was a delivery man on the video phone.

I ran down again and recognised that envelope and signed for it straight away. It was my photo-book from Snapfish.

I decided to be frivolous and make my own portfolio (no not for modelling, just my own photography) and now I am really happy I did so.

The quality of the print is very nice, and it feels really nice to have all my best photos from the last 6 years in one place. Definitely worth the money (it was expensive even with the discount).

It totally made my Friday evening!

Perhaps I'll make another in another 6 years. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Gnam Gnam as they say round here.

Well I never, it turns out that I CAN do pretty food after all!

I haven't been feeling great the last few days so these banana muffins have been just the trick. All gone now.

The recipe is on the BBC - although I put in only one egg because I wrongly believed to have run out of eggs. Taste wise it was pretty much the same. Just slightly lighter. 

Gnam gnam.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Writer's Block

So there we have it, a month after my triumphant assertion that the blog is back, I am at a loss for words.  There are several reasons for this.

Firstly I have started my new job, and it's very time and energy consuming. I am putting a lot of pressure on myself at the moment to up my game in the classroom (the new school uses new methods and materials to my previous school) and it's not left me with much enthusiasm for blogging. Certianly it's not left me with enthusiasm for teaching blogging.

Secondly I have become more aware through a couple of chance encounters via the net that the internet is not as anonymous as I believed it to be (ie: somewhat). If I can recognise people's blogs that were perhaps not meant for my eyes then there's no guarantee they won't find mine. So I won't be writing about my professional life any more (not that I wrote about it much anyway). Its simply not professional.

So I am wondering about why I have an urge to write about my life publicly at all. If I have to self-censor where's the freedom of expression? I enjoy reading other people's blogs where they recount their run-ins with waiters etc, but I don't think they worry too much about offending these people in "real" life anyway.

I saw an interesting article that said if you want to write you should a) start writing, b) continue writing and c) write the kind of thing you enjoy reading.

So if I follow that logic I shouldn't be writing a teaching blog. A living in Italy blog maybe, but nothing too cliche, and probably an arty blog would work well. But then if what I really like reading are confessional blogs then....

.....and round and round we go.

If I am really honest, what I REALLY like doing is looking at food blogs' tasty pictures, but we can eliminate that from the possibilities because I do not do pretty cooking.