Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Walking the Essex way

I am having withdrawal symptoms, this week we have not managed a walk as yet, looking forward to Thursday hopefully I will have may walk, I feel so alive afterwards!  Full of energy....
Nothing like a good walk to recharge the batteries. Paula was telling me that on Christmas day there is a forecast for a hard frost, and she asked me if I wanted to have walk so I said yes of course.

At the end of the year I'll be going to the Homeland for a couple of months and one of the things that i'll miss will be the snow and the frosty mornings will miss our walks, that Paula and I so enjoy and of course sharing our pictures with FB friends...

Remember a time when Paula and I walked to watery lane that's the blue bell woods so beautiful, and we took the path through the woods and followed the canal and we couldn't find a way out so it took us ages to get home, on that day that walk took us nearly five hours by the time I got home hubby was getting ready for a search party...
Its quite funny the scrapes that Paula gets me into, if I complain she says just imagine that we are having an adventure.

We have a friend that lives in Maldon and sometimes Paula and I go there to share in our friends walk around Heybridge Basin, its lovely walking along the canal with all the boats and the sea birds above....Other times she comes to us to share in our walks...


Once again I find myself awake far to early, and the memories start kicking around in my head, like the time when hubby comes home from work and tells me that the factory is going to close down, and he starts talking about moving back to the old homeland, but I am not keen on the idea so for day's if not weeks, that's all he talks about and we argue non stop until one day tired of all the arguing I give  in, I don't really want to go back but to stop the arguments I agree although against my will to sell up and move.

Once hubby gets an idea its very hard to persuade him otherwise, it all come about the year before when our friends  moved back to Madeira and now that he was going to loose his job he thought it was the better option, so we sell up and the day arrives to emigrate but this time its to the homeland, because that's how it felt as if I was emigrating.

Of course hubby did not come we us he was suppose to follow at a later  date so we arrive in Madeira and move in with Mum until we move into our own home. Never forgot the girls faces when we went to see our home to be, the house had been closed for quite some time, and when we walked in there was cockroaches inside, the girls look at me and say we don't want to live here, but we had no choice and live there we did.

For the next few day's I cleaned scrubbed and disinfected every single corner of that house so by the time we moved in there was no cockroaches insight or so I thought, until one day after we had moved in we were in the lounge when I looked up and saw a roach on the ceiling so I grab the spray and give it a good spray
not knowing that it was going to fly so I scream and run for the front door with the girls screaming behind me.

After that I had to learn not to make a fuss otherwise the girls would not settle, the thing about cockroaches is they like the heat, so there was nothing for it we had to share lol....
So sprays were bought and before going to bed I used to spray outside around the doors and that kept them out thank goodness......    

Thursday, 17 December 2015


Its getting close to Christmas so am busy baking cookies mum's recipe, everyone  loves them....Remember when Mum came here for a holiday so that she could spend some time with her grand-children and at Christmas time she baked broas de mel (((black treacle cookies))) They loved them, and they always refereed to them as Vavo's Biscuits although now they are Tia Ana's in theory.

Few years later on one of Mum's  many visits I asked her for the recipe and she told me of the top of her head I wrote it down and have been making them every Christmas, it has become a tradition.
I always start baking on the first week of December for two weeks the house smells of cinnamon, ginger and freshly baked cookies.... it smells and feels like Christmas should, it takes me back to my childhood  when Mum used to bake them....

All the cookies are baked and its time to box them up, and post to my family here in England since I am the only one that has kept the tradition going, my nieces and nephews are all grown up but they still love them and so do their children, my friends love them also, so they to get some at Christmas.

Now am going to be very busy baking the cakes although I won't be posting them thank goodness,  since I am only baking them just for us, hubby makes me smile, when I go in the kitchen he asks so what are you doing now, and I smile back because he always says the same thing((( what not more biscuits)))  he say's that I am mad, for doing all this baking and then spend the time boxing and going down to the post office. But to me that's what Christmas is all about the giving sharing just like when we were children back home.

 My little Granddaughter also loves them. Jennifer and Mia have been asking for them, but I have made them wait until now although they have tested them so am sure the wait has been worth...
Broas de mel

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Walking the Essex Way

Paula and I been walking round our beautiful  countryside for nearly twenty years, come rain or shine within reason of course, if its pouring we tend not to.
My goodness remember a time we were walking round this field, and it was blowing a gale we were laughing it felt so exhilarating to be out there in the elements, but after a wile of walking and being buffeted by the wind I shout to Paula I have had enough I want to go home now.

Another time and this is early summer walking along an overgrown area  as we were walking through, being stung by nettles scratched by brambles and I say Paula don't think we should go this way, and she says just think of this as an adventure its quite funny when I think about it now.

So we roam the countryside and at times come home with apples that we find in forgotten orchards Damsons, cherries, and of course blackberries, then a lot of time is spent in the kitchen preserving all of this goodness from our wild larder. Its amazing how much food is out there going to waste.

We, Paula and I share our photos on face book and in our village we have a page called Silver End appreciation society, when we put our pictures up the comments start pouring in where is this, and where is that, I must Say Paula and I don't always keep to the footpaths although we try not to stray to far from the allowed path.

No wonder they call Essex Constable country, its so beautiful the lakes the meadows.
We always go on our walks very early in the morning when everything is fresh and crisp, in the summer I know you probably think we are mad but we meet up at six in the morning or soon after, and this time of the year we meet at seven thirty just before eight anyway, when it starts getting light. Am writing this wile waiting to go on another walk...


Sunday, 13 December 2015


Christmas over and the new year brings more of the same hubby working two jobs and I doing my  job of two evenings a week, in the day time my new friend Carole got together for a coffee and a chat, sometimes we used to pack a hamper and take the children to the park sometimes to the seaside it was lovely to have someone that liked to have a good laugh.

Carole was like me always giggling anything used to set us of, like the time when we were working on barn packing the sweet corn the girls were playing and Erica tripped over Mia and went flying in such a way, it looked so funny that she started laughing and that set me off too I still cringe now remembering the looks of the other women, but it did look so funny.

One day some friends came visiting with the news that they were selling up and moving back to the homeland so hubby started twitching, I think he would love to go to but I wasn't keen on the idea I loved my life here I had made friends and felt that my life was here I really felt at home here....
Going to Madeira was lovely and I really liked going there for holiday and that was it holiday.....

Life was very good the girls were healthy and at school and I still did seasonal work, I think I tried most seasonal jobs apple picking grape, strawberries  but only lasted a week my back gave up lol
 Then the following Christmas back to the turkey plucking, well one cannot be choosy even though that was one of my least favorite  jobs I went back after all the girls needed their Christmas presents.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Walking the Essex way

One of the most exciting things in my life this days are my lovely granddaughter, and my walks with my friend Paula.

We used to work together.... its quite funny looking back, I was off sick recovering from an operation when Paula started working at Tyco and she kept hearing my name from a co-worker and she says that he kept saying that things would be better when I got back that he missed me, and she was getting worried about meeting this so wonderful person ha! ha! (((her words not mine)))

So the day arrives and I am back at work and there I met Paula, everyone was talking but Paula was very quiet and waiting to see if I was that brilliant, like my admirer said I was she says hello I am Paula I live in Silver End Robert says that you live there to, I say yes that's where I live and carried on working she went very quiet... she say's later that she thought I wasn't very friendly.

Of course when she got to know me better she knew that I was okay really. It just takes me a little time to get to know how the land lies and then I can be a friend for life, and that's what Paula and I became very good friends,

We used to laugh so much because you see my admirer the very innocent Robert did everything for me, like getting whatever i needed all I had to do was call him and say Roberto can you get me this and Roberto can you get me that and he used to go get it with great pleasure and Paula used to say he fancy's you Ana, I enjoyed the attention after all I was twenty years older than him lol.....

Anyway going back to the walks and how Paula and I started walking the Essex way.
After coming back from a weekend away visiting my sister and her family in Poole (((Dorset)))
I arrive at work excited how I had enjoyed that weekend and that we had this brilliant walk in the Jurassic coast and how I would love to do more walking but had no one to walk with, and Paula say's I like walking to and that's how our walking history started.

Saturday, 5 December 2015


Now that we had two children it wasn't so easy walking up market hill I did try a couple of times but decided that it was too much like hard work not enough space for the shopping.

So on Saturday's Hubby took us shopping that was not one  his favourite things to do specially with a toddler and a new-born since I was the one doing that before, so he decides that I have to learn to drive and that was it he never did any shopping again...

So glad that he made me learn to drive.... so had driving lessons hubby took me out a few times, still remember the shouting when I did something wrong ((( lol))).... I had the car during the day, because he worked close to home he only needed a push bike to get to work,  I had the car at my disposal in the day time because in the evenings he went to his evening job.

Hubby never did any shopping again, that was my job as well as taking the girls for swimming lessons ballet and anything that involved taking two not so quiet children out, I suppose because he worked two jobs he wasn't willing to help so I did it all and let him make all the decisions, so when it came a time that I wanted to do things my way or buy something he always queried, why I did this or that and even when I went back to work and earned my own money he still told  me what to do it was so annoying....

Now I have two girls at school.... and I still did field work this time it was grape picking that was a muddy affair, but still fun and earned me a few pounds to buy Christmas presents for the girls, and would you believe it I even done Turkey plucking in December must say that wasn't one of my favourites jobs but I went back the following day and everyday until it was over by the end of that job my fingers were raw....

Tuesday, 1 December 2015


A week ago Hubby and I went visiting my sister Connie and her family in Dorset love the walks but being winter we did not go on a long walk which was a shame...
Instead after Sunday lunch brother in-law took us to Upton house for a stroll, been there before it has lovely gardens and quite a large park so we did have a nice walk and some nice pictures too....


Life goes on with the second baby on the way, this time I am taking better care of myself, with the first baby I had put on to much weight so this time I was going to make sure I did not get to look such a porker.

And the day arrives water breaks its eleven at night and on my own again, the same scenario phone Hubby at work wait for him to arrive and panting with contractions  get packed in the car and off to the hospital this time it only took three hours of labour  and another little girl was born weighing six pounds one once we named her Miacarla, she was such a good baby always thought that she was sleeping to much, nothing like her sister she never slept enough.

So now I had two children and Hubby worked to keep us three girls...... Money was tight so on the nights that he was home, I found myself a part time job in a hotel down the road from us working as a barmaid two evenings a week, that's where I met and become really good friends with Carol Sparks
she was such a character full of fun.

We started meeting up for coffee at each others house she had a little girl Erica, and while we chatted our children played in the garden.... One day she said Ana do you want to go apple picking they are asking for apple pickers at the orchards down the road so off we go and get ourselves a job picking apples it was hard work but we had quite a laugh too.

While we worked our children run up and down playing, and being middle of September sometimes it rained so we used to come home all muddy but the children loved it they used to jump in the puddles
and sing mud mud glorious mud.... One day when we arrived at the orchards Carol said to me I don't know how but I forgot that we are going away for a weeks holiday so next week I won't be able to come.

The following week I arrive and Mr Hastings he was the foreman, we used to call him Sargent Major because he used to shout at the top of his voice at us when we were chattering to much, he asked me where Mrs sparks was, and I replayed that she had gone on a weeks holiday so he says tell her not to bother coming back, when I told Carol what he said she was speechless but I could see his point.

 So next season we find ourselves another picking job this time it was sweet corn but because we had children we did not go on the fields our jobs was in the barns packing them in boxes, we were allowed to take home the under developed ones never ate so much sweet corn, gave them to family and froze some too.....

So September arrives and off I go apple picking again, this time on my own having lost my side kick Carol and minus Jennifer she had started school at Saint Francis in Maldon so after dropping her at school off I go to work with Miacarla when it rained I used to put up hubby's golf umbrella wedged be twin the apple trees and she used to play with her cindy dolls quite happily.....

Thursday, 26 November 2015


So baby is here and I learn how to be a mother, very scary to hold that little bundle, so small had no one to help if  needed, but I did learn and managed to get along.

So I was a stay at home Mum looked after the house and baby while Hubby went out to work, one day needed to do washing and since we had no washing machine as yet had to go to the launderette next door to the house, baby was asleep so I thought all I had to do was put washing on and come home, imagine my shock when I arrived at my door and realized that I had left the key inside, panic or what, I run all the way to Hubby's work lucky for me was only down the road by the time I got there I was in tears, took me a while to explain to the security chap at the door why I was there.

After that scare the next item we buy is a washing machine.... no more lock outs thank goodness, I make friends with other Mums so we take our children to playgroup and sometimes go for coffee in each other houses it was really nice to have someone to talk since Hubby was always at work bless him.... sometimes I used to walk up to Maldon to visit Jennifer's Godmother lovely lady, and do a little shopping, not easy going up Market hill with a pram was to much of a performance to take the bus, big shopping was done on Hubby's day off.

Some days Baby Jennifer just wont settle so I put her in the pram and go for a walk, when she falls asleep I turn round and come home, as soon I come through the door she wakes up.
Still I did get through and she's growing into a lovely little girl.

Then I start thinking that another baby would be a good idea, so we start planning for another baby, or should I say I started, because  Hubby wasn't keen on the idea bless him.
And the it happened I was pregnant number two baby was on the was.....Feeling very blessed.

Friday, 20 November 2015


Here we are settled in Heywood Way in a house of our own, and a baby on its way so Hubby starts working at the factory as a trainee welder of course he was on a low wage to start with, so to make ends meet he still went to Halstead to work at his evening job.

Bless him he really  did work hard to pay the mortgage and everything else since I was not working, he started work on his day job at seven in the morning he cycled home for lunch, since he only worked down the road, finished at five if there was overtime he finished at six.

Then it was a marathon to get home change and go to his evening job, one day I was in the kitchen when I see this bike flying by my window (((lol))) hubby was rushing home to get to his other job and his bike had a puncture for the second time that day, when he came home at lunchtime he had to repair the tire and when it happened again he lost his head, it was really funny and for years after that I have told that story with great merriment... It always makes me smile hubby wasn't a very patient man.

So the day arrives for baby to make its appearance, of course Hubby was in Halstead at his evening job, I phone up and tell him in tears to come home that I thought the baby was coming, I was so nervous that I kept being sick, he arrives home at eleven or soon after and he tries to get me in the car but needed to be sick again so he was getting quite stressed on the way to the Hospital he had to stop a few times at last we arrive, and of I go to be checked in at the maternity ward, I was left on this side room with hubby by my side we had been told that it would be a while yet....

Hubby went out for something to eat and all hell broke loose at least that's how I thought of it.... the pains started coming and he wasn't there I was really scared so that's how I become a Mum at the age of twenty five, Mum to a beautiful little girl weighing 7pounds and 5onces. Then o (((fadista))) Hubby  turns up when all is over.

Saturday, 14 November 2015


After leaving the homeland, hubby and I find ourselves another job this time we find ourselves in Surry, again living in.
The accommodation was a bungalow that we shared with another person, we start work and to start with, all is good but the owners expected their value for money, that was a shock to my system after working very hard in the restaurant which was very busy I was expected to do washing up as well, and imagine my face when the next morning she told me to go to their living quarters and clean their bathroom and do the ironing, least to say I was not a happy bunny.

So we decide to turn our life around and start looking for a house of our own, we thought Essex was a beautiful county and we were very happy there, so on our day off we go looking and found and bought our first home in Essex, where we had our first job as husband and wife working in the Blue
Boar hotel, it was there that we met and stayed friends with My first daughter's Godparents.

Anyway we had been married for four years and I was getting broody, but Hubby being sensible say's that we should wait and work a little longer so that we could earn enough to buy furniture...
We carry on working in this not so good job.

But one morning when I get up I felt quite ill, and after all this sickness I decide to go see the quack, so he says that I could be pregnant...... Tests are done..... (((He was a lovely Doctor))) and it was confirmed yes I was pregnant.... Least to say the decision to work a little longer wasn't going to happen, as soon the bosses found out that I was five months pregnant they told us that we were no longer needed.

And that's how our adventure started in our new house in Essex, with no job and not enough money to buy furniture, we had just enough money to buy a bed, linen, second hand fridge, rented television so for the next few months until hubby was able to find  work we sat on the floor, not easy when you are six months pregnant luckily we bought the house with carpets....

So Hubby still trying to find work and he wants to change jobs keep out of catering.
So he decides to ask at this factory for work, but gets told no because he did not have experience in welding so he comes home upset....Then he decides that his going to work mini cabbing in London, he does that for a while he was working all night and sometimes instead of coming home he stayed at my sisters for a few hours sleep..... One day after working all night for a couple of nights his driving home and he wakes up in a middle of a field, lucky for him it was not a bridge or a roundabout, least to say that was a wake up call....

So he finds a job working in a restaurant in Halstead. Lovely people they took us to their hearts am glad to say we are very good friends still.... But he needed a full time job, so he hears that the  factory that he had previously asked for work were employing again so he tries his luck and he had the same answer no experience, so he says I am not stupid I can learn, and learn he did, they did give him the job so now my Hubby is a welder.... As the wages started coming in we were able to buy the furniture... the first money earned we bought the sofas ah! to be able to seat in comfort bliss, one day we went to visit our Portuguese friends in Wanstead  they had a cafĂ© and next door there was a charity shop, They had a drop-leaf table and a side board also a little corner unit, all we needed was the chairs, another time we were walking in London Portobello Road  and saw this four Edwardian chairs so we bought them and that's how we furnished our dining room.

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


1971 after the honeymoon. Its time for work and reality.
Hubby finds us a live in job in a Motel he would be working as a waiter and I as chambermaid, least to say hated every single moment of it.... So hubby bless him decided that we would find another job and e would train me as a waitress, I must say it was a lot easier those days to find work in those days.

So we end up in Maldon Essex, at the (((Blue Boar hotel))) and my training starts doing silver service and cooking at the table, like flambe's..... I must say liked that a lot better, so that's how my life was for the first five years of my married life, (((although we did not stay and worked at this hotel for the say five years)))

 We decide to go to our island for a holiday to visit the family, but instead of the normal 1 to 2weeks we go for three months of course we had to leave the hotel that we worked at... So Madeira was our home for the next three months and that consisted of going to the beach sunbaking and clubbing, how dark we did get, I must say this days I cannot cope with that kind of heat.
So after this rest we got bored and decided it was time to come home, and find another job. So off we go to the employment agency and another job was found

And would you believe it we find a job in Essex again this time in Feering at the old Anchor, hubby worked in the restaurant and I in the cocktail bar..... Must say liked that a lot better.
we worked there quite happily for a while, then we decide to go on holiday of course our holidays were a little bit over the top so we leave another job, and off we go to Madeira for another holiday for more sun and fun......
So we are back once again in English soil and would you believe we are back at the old Anchor in Feering!
We were very lucky to have our job back after all we were away for two months it was a good place to work, really liked there we got on quite well with the management and the customers were quite nice too. Our friend Victor thought hubby to play golf, so after lunch off they went to the golf club I think hubby really liked that.

Once again its time for another holiday and off we go, of course as usual we leave the job.
After three months we come back to another job this time in Hatfield Heath and still in Essex, Nice people the owners so we settled in and after only three months, we get news that ((Luis)) hubby's Dad has died of a hart attack. So with a heavy hart once again we are in Madeira this time with a lot of sadness.... Father in law had a bar so hubby decides that his going to work there on his Dads bar, but that doesn't last long after five months he decides that his not happy doing just that, and its time to come back home, So it gets handed over to hubby's uncle, so now we are free to leave knowing that the family's business was in good hands..

Monday, 2 November 2015


Once again going back...As I have mention on my last writings, my sister decided now that I am eighteen years old I could come to England so that I could help Mum with a little money, since Dad died Mum was finding hard to make ends meet.... Am so excited and I tell my friends that I probably would be meeting the beetles lol how ignorant was I.... Of course it would never happen.
I left Madeira at the end of October 1969 with my thin coat, the weather was already cold so had to buy a warmer one.... I came to this shores as an au pair, had to have a permit from the home office.
So here I was in Hampstead heath,((( Greenway gardens))) that's where I ended up with this lovely Jewish family they had 2 children Nicholas and Dorothy, and here I was to look after this children and also do some house work with not a word of English that wasn't easy....So little Dorothy used to make me repeat words and little by little I started to understand what was expected from me, they had a daily women Sandy was her name she also helped, explaining when I did not understand something, I remember being shocked when she opened their private doors and drawers to see what gossip she could find.
My sister and her husband  worked  in a private house as live in help so on my day off I used to walk there for a visit, and it was there that I met my Husband.... He was visiting my brother in law they were friends in the old homeland, he asked me out sometimes to the cinema, he worked and lived in Convent Garden in a pub restaurant near the opera house we could hear them practicing....Sometimes he took me to this cocktail bar where he made friends with the owners, loved going there the dancers and entertainers from Talk of the Town, used to come in for a drink after the show sometimes still in costume....And then he asks me to marry him.... Panic or what, how can I tell my sisters that I want to get married when I was suppose to be here to help Mum..... Brother in law wasn't happy about it either.....So word is sent to Mum, my sister tells my Mum where his from so of she goes to find out about his character and family.... Funny thing she discovers that my husband to be is related to my brother in law, Funny thing don't you think! how this things happen small world or what!!!
Of course brother in law still not convinced I suppose he felt responsible for my well being bless him.
So we go through the preparations a friend of husbands family makes the wedding cake, Catholic Church in Ogle Street booked.
The day of the wedding arrives and off we go to the Church,  no sine of the Priest and we wait and wait.... would you believe it he had forgotten that he had a wedding to perform, lucky for us he saw people at the church so he asked what was happening, the driver said a wedding and he puts his in his mouth and he utters Ohhhh.... So we did get married Hubby was getting worried we had a honeymoon booked to Austria.....So now we are Mr and Mrs and we get driven to my sisters basement where she lived for some food and drink guests in total twelve.
Next day of we go to Austria .

Sunday, 1 November 2015


I am fourteen years old and no shortage of boyfriends, of course if my parents found out I would be in the dog house....I remember when my eldest sister came on one of her visits from England it was just before Christmas and we all went to the church in the early morning, its called(( missa do parto)) its like the advent calendar instead of eating chocolate we went to church... Anyway on way home we were followed by this man on his bike and my sister being the eldest we thought he was following her, but then we found out he was following me, and would you believe it! he was a widower and me only fourteen years old.... LOL.
Now I have three sisters in England and of course I couldn't wait to come to, but of course I was to young.... Then at the age of sixteen we loose our wonderful Dad to a stroke, what a nightmare that was, we were all lost, even  my Mum who was a strong women did not know how she was going to cope! Of course my sisters helped with money, but by now they had married and had their life expenses too. So after two years of begging them to send for me, it happened, and I am to go at long last to England so that I'd be able to help Mum.
So its a mad rush to get some new clothing together so off I go to the dressmaker to be measured for a coat and some other items of clothing, I was on cloud heaven.... So Mum bless her was left with my eldest brother Luis sister Dulce  and my two little brothers Silvio and Rui....

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


Once again I find myself regressing to my childhood..... Only now do I realize how idyllic my early years were, We lived in an Island in the middle of the Atlantic, our Island was described as pearl of the Atlantic or ambulant garden....Have you guessed where this so famous Island is situated?
Well I tell you....((( My Island is called Madeira)))
As I said before my Dad was a musician and a very funny man he used to have us all in stiches with his antics..... After dinner my Dad used to seat us in a circle and he made us practise sounds with our mouth, and he was the conductor..... you never believe the noise!!!! In the end my poor Mum used to tell my Dad please stop, I can't hear myself think, you are such a big kid....Oh memories is a funny thing.....
We were protected to much I think, not allowed to go anywhere with friends, I remember when in Funchal talking to a boy! By the time I got home mum knew all about it, also some friends were going to a party and I desperately wanted to go, so after begging and begging.....she let me go but I had to be home by seven in the evening....but on the way home the bus breaks down and when eventually I get home had a good telling off until my brother tells Mum that he did see a bus on the side of the road so I was let off.... Then it came a time when my elder sister decided to come to England I remember the worry of my parents, and not long after my second eldest sister also left...
At Christmas my Dad bless him put what we had for our Christmas lunch in a box took it to the canning factory and had it canned, and came home packed a box with the can placed small miniatures
bottles of his home made liquors, and all that was sent to England.
Then comes a time when they come to Madeira for a visit happiness all round parents so excited cakes being baked food cooking, and of they go to the docks.... even us the younger ones were so happy to see our big sister that had gone to live in another country. Straightway neighbours start popping in... I mean to say one neighbour and before you knew it she was engaged....So holiday over and its time to return.... and she starts worrying that she made a terrible mistake she does not want to marry this man, and doesn't know how to end it, she did not want to upset Mum and Dad thinking that they were in  favour of this marriage....So Dad writs and says that he only wanted her to be happy, so she ended the engagement.....  


My parents were blessed with eight children I remember growing up in a house full of music and  laughter, things that as children we don't think anything of.... its only now when I look back that I see how good my childhood really was.... We all went to a convent school except for the boys they went to this small school only down the road.... To think that we had to walk to school, wish was an hours walk away and on our own too not something that is done this days..... Mum could not take us she had to much to do at home...Poor mum she worked so hard to keep us all fed, she did not have a good life after waving us off she was in the kitchen cooking lunch to be sent to my Dad, there was this women that collected the baskets..... One day she did not turn up so she sent my elder brother,  my sister and I went along with him, when we arrived at my Dads work he gave us a cuddle and gave my brother money for us to take the bus home, but brother had other ideas so he said, with a grin we could have bread and sauce and walk home, being younger than him we agreed and of he went to get this bread and sauce....He comes back with a happy look on his face and hands out this bread, we take a bite and my sister says yuck.... I'd rather have gone home in the bus than eat this.....Bless him he felt so grown up going into the bar to get that bread.... My beautiful Brother my parents nearly lost him when he was a fourteen years old, he was hit by a car and he nearly died my poor parents were out of their minds with worry but thank goodness he did pull through...... 

Saturday, 24 October 2015


The clocks went back an hour, they say that we can sleep one hour extra.... I wish that was true I've been awake since 2.30 so that hour is not doing me any good.... Why is it when one cannot sleep memories come flooding back....Like Mum and Dad, miss them like crazy.
We were a very happy family my Dad was brilliant he made us laugh and he put music in our hearts, and my Mum bless her she had a lot to contend with, raising eight children not only that, she also looked after two elderly parents.... Dad really was a musician but that alone did not put food on the table, so he worked in a wellington boot factory....At weekends he played his music when there was celebrations he played in a brass band...I remember my Dad also tending to our garden planting vegetables, of course during the day my poor Mum had another job to do like doing the irrigation and collecting feed for the goats, at one time we ended up with four goats it became to much work for my Mum, so it was decided that one of the goats was to be slaughtered for meat, but when meal time came we all refused to eat, its not as if we were rich that we could afford to turn our noses at all that meat..... LOL They were like pets.
So Mum asks this women that lived down the road if her family would eat goat, and she replied Senhora Rosaria my family would eat anything even stones if they could chew them and that was the last that we saw of the goat meat....

Its amazing what one can remember growing up in a small island...My dad used to tell us that we were very lucky that we lived in a little corner of paradise, I suppose we did, we lived in a house surrounded by land and that was our playground too, like climbing trees of which we had loads avocados, figs, plums, oranges, guavas, bananas we also had sugar cane, that was sold to the factory.
We also had a very small vineyard but that was just for our own use... I remember when the grapes were picked we were allowed to go in this tank where the grapes were squashed and trample on,
our feet and legs covered in wine, also tasting the first taste of grape juice.... This picture is of the old homestead as it is now....

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

A walk to the lake

It was an amazing walk that my good friend and I had this morning....The lake's looked so beautiful bathed in a beautiful sunrise, it looked like someone had gone over with a paint brush....I must say that Autumn and sunrises are well matched....I just love living in this little corner of Essex...

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Saturday, 17 October 2015


This year my garden looked amazing, not only flowers but some veggies to, Early in the year there was the broad beans, the crop of borlotti  beans was very good too. courgettes too many just for me,since I am the only one in the family that likes them, so friends and family that popped in, went home with a goodie bag. Now the butternut squash was another story..... out of 5 plants only managed to pick one butternut plenty of fruit appeared but then it all dropped of... I wonder what I was doing wrong!!!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Still in Alberobello.


In 1480 a Mohammedan armada coming from the nearValona was going to invade Bindisi, in order to retake Apulia and pave the way to Rome. The Pasha Akmed leading the expedition , headed up ninety galleys, forty privateers carrying ten thousand well-armed men and four hundred horses; caught in a storm, he was forced to land near Otranto. For a twist of fate, the noble town of Otranto had to defend its walls and stop the Turkish advance towards the inland.

If Mohammed II had not been stopped by the inhabitants of Otranto, Christianity would have undergone a serious damage.
The imposing fortified walls of Otranto were not able to fight the powerful Turkish artillery and the town had to surrender; twelve thousand in twenty thousand inhabitants were slaughtered and the others enslaved. The Bishop was killed while administering Communion. The mayor and eight hundred citizens who refused to renounce Jesus Christ, on August 14th 1480 were tortured and massacred on the Martyrs "Hill" (Collina dei Martiri). The King of Naples, caught off guard, charged Count Giuliantonio with intervening immediately: for the first attack he had four thousand infantrymen and four hundred horses at his disposal, gathered in a botched way.

The Village of Castellana had its hero, too, a Franciscan friar who wore helmet and armour and entered the battle; caught prisoner, he was beheaded and his head was thrown  from the stronghold into the chasm beneath. On Febuary 6th 1481 Count Giulioantonio , during a reconnaissance, was reached by Turkish Knights in muro Leccese's forest. His biggest misfortune was that he was not wearing his helmet, since  he had just givenit his page. About ten knights of his retinue were defeated and the Count wounded; he was able to escape, but after being recognized by the Turkish soldiers, he was chased, caught and beheaded with a scimitar's storke. His head was hoisted on a spear and exposed on the merlons of the Castle of Otranto.
Giulio Antonio Acquaviva died for defending Christianity; Otranto's war was a significant moment for the history of the Church and of Italy, although it is never mentioned or is reduced to an irrelevant local fact in the common history books...

Tuesday, 13 October 2015


Giulioantonio I Grand Captain serving King Ferrante of naples, strove against the Turks and gained for the family the diploma relating them to the King of Aragon, besides the right to receive the same honours and the permission to include the Royal Bearing into the Acquaviva's escutcheon. His death on the battle field for defending the Christian Faith persuaded the king to make significant concessions, intended as reparations, and to strengthen the Acquaviva family. The first-borne Andrea Mateo obtained all his father's military prerogatives and the permanent conveyance of a vast territory located between Martina Franca and Noci, where the Selva and Alberobello (founded later) can be visited

Monday, 12 October 2015


I was fascinated by Alberobello and its history.
I hope that you find it as interesting...Following where I left off on my last writing...

Giannamtonio Donato, 1483-1554, was a good administrator he had twelve children.
Giangirolamo I, 1521-1592, wasone of the heroes of the Battle of Lepanto which marked the end of the Moslem navy.
Adriano, 1560-1607, the second son of Giangirolamo, Duke of his native Noci and Lord of Castellana. He authorized the building of Casedde in the Selva.
Giulio II, 1576-1616, was a good administrator . He built the first votive chapel. He married Caterina, eldest daughter of Belisario, Duke of Nardo.
Giagirolamo II, 1600-1665, the notorious Squinter of Puglia.
Cosmo di Noci, 1627-1665, the handsome double of the Squinter. He was killed in a dual by Petracone, Duke of Martina Franca.
Giangirolamo III,1646-1681 lover of fine literature. He married Aurora Sanseverino.
Giulio III, 1648-1691, with licentious delicacy instituted a series of Jus, ((laws)), amongst which the
iniquitous  Jus primae noctis ((right to the bridal night)).
Giulio IV, 1691- 1746, was born after the death of his father, and ruled wisely.
Giangirolamo IV, 1724-1773, was a kindly man. He was named the Vicario Generale in the Bari territory and he worked towards the elimination of the conflicts between the Caracciolo, Dukes of Martina Franca and the Aquaviva Counts.
Giulioantonio V, 1742-1801, was the last feudal lord. He was educated to a very high level and married his cousin, Teresa Spinlli. He retired to Conversano to await the reorganization of feudalism.
He died in Naples, leaving five children. The eldest son was given the title, Count of Conversano and Duke of Atri. Although popular opinion tends to pass on the grimmer aspects of history, it is as well to remember that the Illustrious family produced valiant warriors who fought in defence of the Christian Faith, as well as nine cardinals, artists, poets, writers and legislators, and that it is because of the Aquaviva family that the marine towns of southern Italy were defended and kept safe from Saracen and Turkish oppression and raids. One of the first documents of the Selva goes back to 1100, the year in which Roberto Decerano made a donation to the Bishop of Monopoli. In official documents, the Selva is mentioned for the first time in an Act of 1272 when the adjacent boundaries of the Prince of Taranto, which granted the privilege of grazing to the inhabitants of Castellana..

Friday, 9 October 2015


After a visit to Alberobello it was fascinating reading about its history...

The Origens of Alberobello
The people mainly involved in the birth and development of the so called Selva were the Acpuaviva Counts who ruled, sometimes with goodness and sometimes with feudal wickedness, keeping the villagers under servile submission to them.
The story of the Acquaviva family in Italy began in the sixth century.
They came from Baveria and established themselves in Abruzzo.
Between 616 and 772, two cardinals Pampiniano and Stefano Acquvivawere first heard of in Puglia and later a very scholarly monk, Alberigo Acquviva, too.
In 1455, following the marriage of Giuliantonio I to the Princess Caterina del Balzo of Taranto, lineage gained the County of Conversano which it governed from 1481 till 1797.
There were twelve Counts, some... following distinction in combat or by intermarrying with other families,also held the title of Duke.
Their lives were identified with emancipation and development of the Selva and so that we can follow them more closely we make notes of their names, dates of birth and anything that particularly distinguished them and then the year of their deaths:
Giuliantonio I the founder of the family in Puglia, who, after his marriage to Caterina del Balzo, took over the County of Conveesano. He died in battle in Otranto.
Andrea Matteo, 1457-1529, levied a tax on whoever settled in the Selva.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015


This pride of Brindisi province has its origins in a very distant past; the prehistoric settlings are testified by the finding of flints and other archaeological find, in addition to megalithic monuments that are man made heaps of stones, existing in the territory.
The dolmen called "table of the paladins" (that is not really sure to which of all neighbouring towns it belongs) situated in Pisco Marano area, is evidence of a civilization and a worship dating back to several millennium before Christ. In its neighbourhood, four tombs, bored into the rock, have been discovered and, with them also remains of skeletons, now kept in the Museum of Bari. Most of the historiographers think that the dolmen served as sepulchre, not as alter. They are made of large slabs of stone, driven into the ground, on which a monolith was placed, as a closing of this sepulchral room.