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.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015


Hubby and I had a fabulous holiday in Ostuni  (((Italy)))
This charming town extends at southeast of the Apulia Murge, encircling one of the five hills that border the Itria Valley. Here you will find a quiet  atmosphere, genuine customs of simple and welcoming people friendly, caring.
Yet these are not the only significant beauties of Ostuni.
In this town, life goes on in absolutely enchanting scenery, for its whiteness, scents and colours of flowers on low walls and on windowsills.
Ostuni is called the "white town" because of its characteristic house, whitewashed up to the roofs. The custom of painting the houses with the sparkling white of the lime dates back to the 17th century, when this was one of the remedies to avoid the danger of infection, during a pestilence.
This lime wash, covering the town centre, is a peculiarity of Ostuni and it has become part of the town view. ....This habit has remained, as the centuries has gone by.... Today the houses stand out to the tourist eyes, with the colours of churches, monuments, ancient buil
dings, on which time puts down its mark, full of history..... Truly an amazing plaice to visit...