Thursday, 24 March 2011

The story so far....

In January 2010 I left behind the corporate life and I sold my house.

Blame Rosemary.


The seeds of her existence came into our lives in the summer of 2009 as we were making our slow, weary way back up from the crag with the sun going down.  The thought of spending the next hour trying to find a bed for the night (and ending up, as normal, with something ghastly and overpriced) was somewhat overshadowing the otherwise idyllic hue.

OK, admittedly we could have bought a tent like so many other climbers, but KP is a rather unfoldable 6'3" and doesn't neatly package into small spaces.  Certainly not without a lot of grumbling anyway.

A eureka moment on that rope laden amble back from the crag saw us eBay bidding the next day on a cream coloured T25 with a brown stripey pop top.  Three days later she was delivered to my work, and so the love affair began.  A glimpse into the other side, with no looking back.
Jaqs, a beatnik in the making

All our spare time, not much, but just enough to kindle the flame, was spent with her.  Cragging by day, camping by night.  The beatnik in us was awoken.

Summit. Monte Marsicano
And so, a few months later, we "stuck it to the man" and took off.  Two months of heaven, camping and climbing our way around Italy searching for the perfect spot.  Abruzzo.  Totally unspoilt and slap bang in the middle of the country: south of Umbria, north of Puglia and east of Rome.  Surrounded by mountains, sea and space (and wild enough to be inhabited by bears and wolves), Abruzzo was just perfect.  Perfect for building a campsite, and a life of minimal impact.  An easy, chilled existence.  Kokopelli.

Lago di Bomba

Rosemary enjoying the view, Passo san Leonardo
Just chillin, Lago di Bomba


Kokopelli olive grove/camping area
Two months later, October 2010, we were back on a mission and with a plan.  We viewed property after property until, with just two days to go, we found what we came for.

Serramonacesca, a village on the northern slopes of the Maiella National Park.  Mountains, sea and wilderness in abundance.

The house was built of old Maiella stone and comes complete with a fireplace in the kitchen, an old pizza oven in the cantina and sundrenched balconies to all three bedrooms.  Outside we have just under an acre of olive grove, dotted with fig trees and with views to die for.  But there's much to do.
Our house (B&B too)

We need to convert the barns into showers, loos, laundry, and so on.  We also want to develop one of the barns to create a chilling/communal/just sort of hanging out escaping from the sun/snow sort of space.  At the back of the three barns there's an amazing area looking down the valley and to the mountains of the Gran Sasso beyond, just crying out for the creation of a large terrace for barbecuing, eating, sunning and so on.  So much to do!

Alongside all this, we've got the house to decorate, a vegetable patch to dig and a herb garden to grow.  But, most important of all, we've got a home to prepare for Rosemary.  She'll be coming with us, of course, and working alongside us.  In the off-season we'll still be enjoying our weekends of cragging and camping, but the rest of the time she'll be earning her keep as a quirky alternative for our guests to sleeping under canvas.

The barns to convert
So, in a week's time (April fool's day, oops) we'll be trundling down in a rather heavy Rosemary, somewhat over loaded with as many of our treasured old bits and bobs and oddities that we can squeeze in.  I'll be blogging daily, as I always do when we're away, so do follow as I'm sure it won't be all plain sailing and we may need the odd bit of encouragement every now and then!  Scary times.  Exciting times.

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