Wednesday, 24 February 2010

I wrote this old school

I wrote this old school, with a pen and paper. Waiting in the car with my sleeping son whilst my husband held our place in the queue at the Doctor's surgery. Pen and paper. So lovely to form the words again, instead of tapping out typos on a keyboard. Creating emphasis with a flourish at the end of a word. No wonder people think they can read your personality through your handwriting.

I wrote this with a skinny, black, diary pen. Designed for short memos and jottings, not long pieces of prose. Fine for these brief thoughts, but not suitable for a few thousand words a day.

As I move from one page to another my handwriting alters to reflect the new angle I'm writing at. And the reduction of solidity underneath.

Seeing my handwriting again is almost like bumping into an old friend you haven't met for ages. A pleasure. I should write like this more often. I bet I don't.

PS - After posting a link to this on Twitter @MrWordsWorth was inspired to write this poem. Thanks Mark.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Locked out of Twitter

For three days I've been locked out of my online social network. Twitter, Facebook, my email and a bunch of other random sites I use to touch base with the real world are now no longer within my grasp. I feel bereft.

Sounds dramatic? Well look at it from my position. I live in a small town in southern Italy, far away from my family and old friends who I connect with on Facebook. I've been looking for freelance work. My computer problems mean that I can't access the sites I use to search for work and as I can't get onto my email I can't see if anyone has a job for me. And Twitter? Twitter is my office water cooler. With no fixed workplace it's the place I go to swap gossip with people who have similar interests to me or who work in the same field.

So I guess saying I feel bereft isn't so dramatic after all.

Monday, 8 February 2010

Buying a house in an Italian kitchen

Last Friday at about 1pm my husband and I were was sitting in a stranger’s front room in Italy waiting to buy a house. It was a fairly standard southern Italian living room. The walls were covered with family photos, there were china ornaments on most surfaces and, of course, the obligatory Padre Pio plaque.

When you buy a house in the UK it’s all very unspectacular. You exchange contracts, then something electronic happens behind the scenes and later that day the Estate Agent calls to say you can collect the keys. In Italy the process is far more personal.

When you buy a property in Italy, the buyer and seller meet, usually at the offices of the buyer’s solicitor. The solicitor reads a detailed contract at the speed of a horseracing commentator and when she (or he) has finished reading everyone pretends they’ve understood what was said and signs it. Then you pay. And it’s not an electronic payment between banks either. The buyer pays by cheque, so it has the feel of a lottery win presentation. You almost want the bank to draw up a massive cheque so you can photograph the handover.

But this time he process was even stranger, because we didn’t complete all these legal manoeuvres in our solicitor’s office, we were in someone’s kitchen. And that, surely, has to be one of the weirdest places to buy a house.