In February 2006 I stepped into our house as the owner!
The day was fine and warm and I sat outside waiting for the Geometra and his 2 translators.The Olives all had their leaves so it was hard to even tell it was winter.

Inside the house was chilly.The kitchen was home to a large family of rats which I decided to leave until later! We toured the house,the Geometra making his notes and his translators explaining things to me.I felt quite pressured to make instant decisions.What type of windows/shutters would I have? Would I want to convert the outbuilding? Or build a swimming pool!

Later on I understood that the Geometra was trying to find out this information so that he could submit a report to the Commune in order to get a DIA for the restoration work.DIA is a planning permission that is granted by the local council for small jobs and is less expensive than full planning permission.Its pretty important to get it even if you think you dont need it as there are big fines from the commune if they discover you've done anything illegally.

We decided to go ahead with just the plans for a roof repair and plastering on the newer brick built part of the house.The geometra would draw up the plans in order to get the go ahead and hopefully the work could start in May.

The trip in May turned into the trip in June and with no Electricity or reliable plumbing we really were going to be camping out!

The family of rats we still in residence so we had to eject them from the horrible 50's still dresser.That done I bleached everything in sight and swept out the house top to bottom!

Strangley enough Abruzzo was really cold for June and for a few nights we shivered in our sleeping bags.We even had 2 days of rain.

Meeting the Geometra I found out that the appilcation for our Dia had not been submitted! He wanted me to sign and I had to give my permission for the works to take place.This we did one evening in candlelight in our kitchen which was part of the original church.A first for us all.

I was beginning to relax when a stroll across the fields revealed a serious problem next door.The roof had fallen in! The wall of our bedroom was now exposed to the elements.The problem was complex as our neighbours were a family of 5 and 4 wanted to sell the house and not repair the roof whereas one wanted to repair the roof and not sell.

Our next trip to Abruzzo was in September when we had hoped to find the roof repair had been started.We ended up arranging for a local carpentar to make us new windows and shutters and making a start on removing the old plaster in an upstairs room.

By December the work on the roof was done so we went out to take a look.It was really quite good with the old coppi and pianalle cleaned and reused.
Outside we pruned the olives and had huge bonfires.We even made a compost heap for leaf litter.The house was starting to look cared for at last!