Tough going

Just to let you know, this is tough. I am struggling. I’m in a new place with two little children and very little sleep, and it’s HARD. Some days I feel like I’m drowning, others that I’m wading. Sometimes I feel like I’m paddling. I never feel like I’m floating along. Sleep deprived in a country where my closest friend lives 3 hours away, a country from which all grandparents moved away within months of our arriving, I’m not lovin’ it. (Quite ironic when I think that the proximity of grandparents was the one argument that swayed me in favor of moving here). And, yes, thank God and lhamdullah we have our health and our two awesome kiddiwinkles. Very grateful for many things. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes want to rip everything to shreds and stick my head in the sand (or the oven) for the next 24 months or so… (sorry about the double negative).

So, anyway. Here are some photos of the last couple of months in which we all look very happy*. Or scary.

Going to cull a Christmas Tree.

Off to cull a Christmas Tree.

Forest babies.

Forest babies.

Rarrgghh!

Rarrgghh!

Job well done.

Job well done.

This is not just one Christmas tree, but 3 small ones, one each for the 3 houses in our Christmas story.

Petite fille sage.

Petite fille sage.

"Don't put me here!"

“Don’t put me here!”

Just chillin' on my sheep.

Just chillin’ on my sheep.

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve: eat and talk, eat and talk.

Christmas morning: and the present marathon begins!

Christmas morning: and the present marathon begins!

Grand'maman ready for London

Grand’maman ready for London

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Pure cheese!

More cheese

More cheese

Twas Santa Ralph, came to the Chicken Coop

Twas Santa Ralph, came to the Chicken Coop

Squish-hugs

Squish-hugs

Jolie moumoute!

Jolie moumoute!

Pretty paper

Pretty paper

Ooh, tractor!

Ooh, tractor!

Me eat tractor.

Me eat tractor.

Lovey-dovey

Lovey-dovey

Lobster hands

Lobster hands

Lobster what??

Lobster what??

Lobster WHAT??

Lobster WHAT??

Boxing Day walk.

Boxing Day walk.

Forest scene

Forest scene

We three.

We three.

Popcorn entre cousins.

Popcorn entre cousins.

Sauna y'all.

Sauna y’all.

I said, SAUNA, Y'ALL!

I said, SAUNA, Y’ALL!

Snowscape 1

Snowscape 1

Snowscape 2

Snowscape 2

Snowscape 3

Snowscape 3

Sibling love.

Sibling love.

Family.

Family.

The young King & the Prince

The young King & the Prince

Back home. Daddy dressed me.

Back home. Daddy dressed me.

* Don’t worry, we ARE happy. It’s just hidden behind the bags under our eyes 😉

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Moving to Italy, working for Ralph

Two things I always wanted to do – I’m doing them at 56 years old – how lucky is that?

Will tell you more when I’m not exhausted after a week in New York followed by a tour of Italian textile suppliers, followed by my first day of work in an office in Bologna.  I hadn’t quite appreciated that I might be expected to work……….

Living in the middle of a beautiful vineyard West of Bologna, only 6 kms from the office, which is in a very boring commercial suburb. You only have to drive a couple of kilometers West, though,  to get into ancient rolling hills which one senses have not changed in hundreds of years. This is what I love.

Full moon tonight, a simple dinner (with our hostess Isa, daughter Maude and triplet sons Ignacio, Mattéo and Jacobo) of pasta with a Gorgonzola cheese and walnut sauce accompanied by a glass of sparkling and delicate Pignoletto white wine from the vineyard. Walking the dogs along the dusty track in the moonlight before collapsing into bed after a burst of emailing and writing this simple tract despite the remonstrations of Her Ladyship…..

Isa turns out, of course, to be the cousin of a friend of 30 years standing, for whose company I worked as a design consultant some 27 years ago. We just discovered another connection tonight – she grew up in Gallarate and knows well my friends the Provasoli’s. This is not chance, it can’t be. These things are written. I am arriving in the final scene of my career, knowing that it was all meant to be and that everything has led to this point, that all of my multiple experiences have been intended to prepare me for this, the real work of my life.

My dream is to create with Diane a home here in which we have simple bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen, and in which the core of the house, in which we entertain, dream, eat and create, is a large studio space in which we have our hand weaving looms, a printing press, a potter’s wheel, a kiln, a wood-turning lathe, welding equipment, sofa-beds, a giant work/dining table. God willing we will create this space. Isa is already suggesting possible buildings nearby.

Time for bed. I wish you all well and hope to see you in “Casa Nostra”.

Ciao amici

Jamie