Author Archives: Nancy Hampton

New kitchen – post 9

Today they pretty much finished the space which will now wait for the cabinets and appliances. There are some covers that need to be made to go over the electric and plumbing. But the walls and ceiling are done and have been painted. The floor is laid and grouted and the terrace has been rid of all the trash and built up detritus. There is still a ton of dust that needs to be cleaned up but I will do that a little at a time. I can finally access the upstairs internally again. I am pleased with it.

From the door to the stairwell.
From the stairs
From the terrazzo

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Over the weekend we had lunch to celebrate our friend Doug’s successful passing of the extremely difficult written driving test. I’ve spoken of this before. The test is in Italian, technical Italian, and draws 30 questions from over 7,000 possible questions. You can miss 3 and pass. All Americans, and Canadians (I think) must take this test within a year of becoming a resident in Italy. After a year it is illegal to drive on your US license. I’ve got lots of friends here and every one of them has passed despite not necessarily being fluent in Italian. It takes months of study, you must enroll in a driving school and really it is a matter of memorization. Anyway, it was a special day for Doug and five of us had lunch in Bevagna. It was sunny but chilly. First picture is of an early flowering tree in front of one of Bevagna’s gates.

Lunch was at le Delizie del Borgo which is situated just outside the walls of the city in a pretty park. Captions beneath the photos.

Steak with fennel and pomegranate
Passito – after lunch drink
Doug’s dessert. No idea what it was but it looked great!
They have cute coffee cups with hats! Keeps the coffee nice and hot.

Then, we lucked into (not) another parade past our house. I was just taking a nap and was roused by the pounding bass from enormous speakers. I have no idea what the occasion was but I took one photo.

You can’t say Umbertide is not a happenin’ place!

New kitchen – post 8

Here it is Friday already. We had a four day kitchen workweek. Thursday they didn’t come. They needed to let the plaster and concrete dry. We went up to check it out this afternoon after they left. It was a horrible weather day. Really high winds and torrential rains. I was surprised they worked because they cut the floor outside. The flooring is neutral and the color doesn’t clash with either of the other two floors it touches. I think that is the best we could do and it defines the space. The photos are darker because of the clouds outside.

From stairs
From the door into the upper floor from outside. Closest room is the office
From terrace.

So next steps are the grouting between the floor panels and painting the walls and ceiling. The carpenter comes Monday. I think he will be building the boxes to cover the plumbing for the caldaia and the electric breakers in the terrace side wall.
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Tomorrow we are going out for lunch! We are meeting our friends Steve and Roselyne and Doug in Bevagna. The occasion is to celebrate our friend Doug’s success in passing the written test for the Italian drivers license. It is the single hardest thing an American immigrant has to accomplish to live here. And he passed! Definitely a cause for celebration. Hoping the weather will be nicer tomorrow!

New kitchen – post 7

Today was the eighth day of work. The ceiling and walls were sanded and they put plaster on them so they actually look like walls now. They also leveled and smoothed the floor. They told me the new floor would be installed tomorrow or day after. That will make a big difference as well.

The electrician came back today as well because for some reason he only had one wire in the ceiling above the island when we need three – two for lights and one for the hood. So now they are there.

Stay tuned for the floor!

New kitchen – post 6

Today the builders finished the walls and ceiling. They removed the rolling shutters and removed all the rubble. It looks quite tidy. I sent an email to Irma and asked what is next. I think the floor going in will make it almost ready for the cabinets and appliances.

Last week, Irma asked me if I would be willing to give the falegname (cabinet maker) an extra 2 weeks. I said I would. It really doesn’t matter to me that much even though I would love to have it finished. So that makes our finish date April 19.

I think it looks pretty good!

New kitchen – post 6

Monday brought the builders back. The builders cover up the holes and the pipes that were left open or exposed by the plumber or electrician. The back wall by the window does look nicer now. And the holes along the wall are filled in. They left early today. Maybe to let it dry? Don’t know. Anyway, it looks a little more like a room and a little less like a bomb blew up here. Still plenty of rubble though.

Not new kitchen for a change!

Today was an amazing day. The weather was mild. The sky was blue and sunny. I went first to the kilometer zero market. I drove and parked nearby for a couple reasons. I had a donation for Books for Dogs charity, I didn’t want to carry my purchase from the market back home, and I wanted to walk along the river which I haven’t done since I moved last year. I hope you enjoy the pictures I took.

First the market. I bought this first one which was insalata del campo. And the second picture is of cardo, or cardoons in English. We are just starting to see very early spring veggies like spring onions and field greens.

This bell tower is what is left of a church which was the only church in the centro called Chiesa di San Giovani. It houses the bells that ring for the bigger church as well as the ones that ring the hours of the day.

These next pictures are the ones I took along my walk by the river. Many are river views. This first one is of a mimosa which is in full bloom. One of the earliest flowering trees.

The path down to the river.

Cat on a (not) hot tin roof.

Some kind souls provided these two cat condos and a Centrol Commerciale Miao for the two feral cat communities.

These next ones are all along the river. So pretty today.

Tomorrow will be another nice day. We hope to do a giro around Umbria. There are some parts I have not yet explored. Buon fine weekend!

New kitchen – post 5

We had a day off yesterday since the plumber finished a day early. Today the elettricista came along with an assistant. He worked all day. We decided to deep six the security system which is 20+ years old. Nowadays there are much better alternatives.

He has finished and left a large pile of rubble. Irma says the builders will be back either Monday or Tuesday. I guess it is their job to remove all the trash and rubble from the elettricista. Here are pictures with captions.

From stairway.
Running wires is hard when walls are solid. These over to the frig, oven, microwave.
Lights above the island and power for the hood
Island power
Lights for the counter and outlets for appliances.

Now we are at the weekend, and a fine weekend it will be! It will be in the upper sixties and bright sun all weekend. I am jonesing for some kind of outing. Just to take the Porsche out for a spin if nothing else.

New kitchen – post 4

Today is Wednesday. Our plumber has finished with his part of the job. We have the new caldaia and he demonstrated we now have heat and hot water. All good. Everything looks nice and tidy. Tomorrow we have the elettricista who will do all the wiring. I do not know the next step.

Stay tuned!

New kitchen – post 3

Today the idraulico returned. I found out his name is Omar. He is very good at his job. I was upstairs with Irma this morning, and he was proud to show me the new caldaia. He said he would be here again on Wednesday and Thursday.

The elettricista (Leonardo) was here this morning too so he would know where all the wiring will go. There is a surprising amount that must be done. Outlets on the island and behind the counter. Lighting in the ceiling and above the counters. There will be a wine fridge and the cooktop on the island. The dishwasher, microwave, oven and refrigerator all need power as well. The security system box also needs to be moved and also the fuse box. The plumber also used the only electric outside on the terrace for the caldaia. I asked Leonardo to replace this outlet outside. We watch TV out there and I have a fountain for the fish pond. Both need electricity. Leonardo will be back on Friday to work on the wiring.

Other things. They will put the caldaia pipes behind a new wall. They will build a box for the fuses and will remove the Persiana from above the window. Persiane are what the metal shutters are called that cover all the doors and windows. I don’t see a need for one in the kitchen. And they are very ugly. Here are pictures with captions. They aren’t very different from yesterday but I want to keep a record.

New caldaia.
From stairs
The new hook ups for sink and dishwasher.
I “think” this is the gas.
This is the persiana. There is normally a cover on the front so you don’t see the roll. It rolls up and down to cover the window.

That’s it for today. More plumbing today and tomorrow. Ciao!

New kitchen – post 2

After a weekend break the plumber returned to do what plumbers do…they plumb. 🙂 Well in this case he ran the pipes in a trench in the floor over to the outside wall where the Caldaia will be installed outside. And the plumbing for the sink. It was somewhat noisy when he was drilling out the cement in a wall. He did a very tidy job. There are some miscellaneous pipes I am not sure about. I imagine one is gas. He also has to run pipes for the sink and dishwasher. That is the place where there is a trench in the wall. Captions under pictures.

From the stairway
From the terrace
I have no idea what this pipe is.
Sink and dishwasher trench
Very tidy pipes for the caldaia. Each one goes to a radiator or a sink.


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I roasted a chicken for dinner one night and then I used the half chicken left over to make a chicken chowder. I like a good chowder. It had lots of good things in it. It was cooked in milk and broth. It had corn and potatoes. I think those four things to me say chowder. There were chipotle peppers and adobo in it. Along with other herbs and spices and cooked pepper and onions. Garnished with cilantro and spring onions, it is really comfort food.

Just think…sometime in the not too distant future I will be cooking things like this in my newly designed and installed kitchen! 🙂