One - two - three Carabinieri

One – two – three Carabinieri

The red and black bugs we call fire beetles are nicknamed ‘Carabinieri’ in Italy.

This is because the uniform of Italy’s national police force is red and black.

One CarabinierE, or many CarabinierI (as here inside this lantern).

Talking about them in English, however can we distinguish between the singular and the plural?

That which we call a rose

Pink roses

How many scoops?

… That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet

says Juliet, wishing Romeo had a different name.

So are we sure these are roses? They look like ice cream to me; 3 good scoops and some drippy bits.

In Italy, land of ice cream, ‘pink’ and ‘rose’ are the same word.

Pink ice cream, then – water melon flavour, perhaps.

Just what I could do with right now.

From the tool store

The 'tool store'

The ‘tool store’

This is a photo of where I write from – a ‘tool store’ attached to a farmhouse in Umbria, Italy. The shadow is of a big oak tree. Through the big window you can just see a white dog.

I can’t say it’s necessarily my first choice of a place to provide inspiration.  A tiny tower reached by a spiral stone staircase and with a 360 degree view of the sea would do nicely. I once had a College room whose window gave right onto a river and that wasn’t bad…

I have this idea that total peace and quiet is most conducive to writing but it’s not always the case, not even for me. Silence can be intimidating, sterile even. On the other hand a hubbub of traffic or children or uncongenial music can stop you hearing yourself think.

It’s really a matter of each writer finding ‘their own bag’.

Is it, for example, helpful to have bare walls and a clear desk, or a clutter of nick-nacks and photos? Do you work best in bed? Does solitude foster your productivity or do you get more done surrounded by the life and movement of strangers in a café?

It’s quite brilliant that modern technology allows such choices, so where circumstances allow, we should throw away preconceived ideas and create, to the best of our ability, the ideal environment.

What’s your favourite space to write? Please tell us on Twitter (@anysubjectbooks) or Like us on Facebook and leave us a comment!

Time zones

Four o'clock flowers

Four o’clock flowers

The name ‘four o’clock’ refers to when these flowers are supposed to open.

The trigger is the sun losing its strength and the air cooling, which in Italy doesn’t happen till the evening shadows fall.

But we still use the name – just like we cope with all the different time zones of the people we write for!

A Postcard From Umbria (illustrated)

A postcard from Umbria

 Principal category Travel
 Word count (approximate pages) 12,500 (42)
 In Kindle, Epub or PDF formats $0.99

Italy – an expat’s view

A postcard from Umbria is an anthology of articles written by an experienced author describing her and her husband’s exploits as they emigrate nearly 2,000 km due south – a journey which takes them from the UK to the Umbria region of central Italy. Before they can live in their new house, they have to spend six fruitless hours in front of a Notary because the vendor had built an extension without planning permission and then their removal men knock down the gate pier and get snowed in. Later they relocate within Italy to a house built on the site of another house destroyed by an earthquake. It has been left abandoned and needs some very ingenious restoration.

Along the way, there are snippets about hunters, the limited Italian diet, the bitterly cold winters, and vivid descriptions of native wildlife such as wild boar, snakes, butterflies and porcupines.

Buy in confidence – full ‘No Quibble’ refund if not satisfied.

There is plenty of humour, pathos, and wit in the articles which paint a fascinating, if somewhat different picture to that portrayed by television crews in whose world the sun always shines (when temperatures down to -12C are the norm in winter) and the olive oil crop is ‘liquid gold’ (when the reality is that the cost of labour picking the olives and then pressing them grossly exceeds their value for most landowners).

Alongside the text are numerous photographs taken by the author who is also a keen natural history photographer.

Although ‘A postcard from Umbria’ is a very unique and personal account of two British expats who moved to Italy, it is also a valuable source of advice for anyone considering making the move.

Insider View – read a sample completely free-of-charge

BUY A Postcard From Umbria by Damaris West for only $0.99

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