comments 21

Truly, Madly, Moving on…

Yes. It’s time to share the news. I’ve been formulating this post in my wee head for several days, along with several imaginary Facebook posts, that attempt to say in a snappy, positive, yet calm way that we’re leaving Italy and moving to the UK – without prompting a tidal-wave type response. Have I considered that this may not be that big a deal for my friends and family? Well, yes I have, but given that my recent Facebook post about ‘how do I shift a bad cold?’ prompted about 12 kind & considered responses from friends and acquaintances, I think I can be reasonably sure that Helen is leaving Italy, folks! may well prompt, if not a tidal-wave, then certainly a considerable swell. So I’m breaking the news on here and I will share this post on Facebook as I normally do, and when I start sharing pictures of  Sunday afternoons at National Trust properties come February and friends tell me they didn’t know I’d moved I will say ‘Should have read the blog!’

So I could go on about the whys and wherefores, but actually that’s the boring stuff, and most of it has already been said and explored on this blog. Suffice to say that by this summer we had worked out that the future wasn’t looking too rosy, that the chances of us ever making a decent living here were slim. It took me a while to get my head around the concept of another move as despite all the struggles we’ve had,  I’d never considered that we could make a go of things elsewhere. I think I was still inwardly twitching slightly from the last big move, a memory I can’t dwell on too long without starting to sweat.  But once I’d calmed down, we started to explore our options. Mr M started looking around and applying for jobs, and after a slow start of few responses, or even acknowledgments (are there no manners left in the gruelling business of job applications?) he eventually found a job in Wiltshire. So that is where we are headed. I shall be packing up the microphone, headphones and yoga mats to seek new customers – and yogis,  in this leafy corner of England. I’m very happy with the location (Dubai was mentioned at one point, so frankly I’m ecstatic) as we’re not too far from good friends, my brother is nearby in Salisbury and we’re not a million miles from my home-sweet-home of Cornwall. And Dublin will be a short hop across the water! Happy days 🙂

But, yes. Another change. What will become of this blog? What will become of my Italian? Will the British seems as bonkers as the Italians after 13 years away? One thing I do know is that it is almost impossible to prepare oneself, really, for this kind of move. I remember when I was packing up our house in Ireland thinking that I didn’t seem to have a moment to consider what actually lay in wait for us in Italy, (and as it turned out, wasn’t that a jolly good thing!) It’s like trying to put yourself in two places at once. It took me to live here before I discovered the wealth of information available about living in Italy, all of which would have been frightfully useful to know prior to packing those boxes. I guess I’m just not a researcher…I always have been a fly-by-the-seat-of-one’s-pants kind of a girl.

What I really wanted to write about in this post is all the things I’m looking forward to, because these things are foremost in my mind at the moment, and I want to take a moment to savour them…

Please allow for some serious wearing of rose-tinted spectacles and a good dose of the-grass-is-always-greener, as after all, I’m going home.

In no particular order, I’m whole-heartedly looking forward to:

  1. Coffee of such proportions that it cannot be drunk from a thimble.
  2. White lines on roads.
  3. Butter on toast.
  4. Loo seats on loos.
  5. Paying for a few small items with a twenty, and the shopkeeper not having to ask all the other customers if they’ve got any change for me.
  6. Maintenance. Schools that have had a lick of paint in the last 20 years, gym-machines that aren’t permanently out of order, roads that don’t give the sensation of a recent shelling.
  7. Community. Jumble sales, coffee mornings, playgrounds, school fetes, fundraisers, parks…
  8. Public footpaths and access to the glorious English countryside.
  9. Yoga classes, attending them and teaching them (fingers crossed)
  10. Living in a house, not an apartment.  Y’know – shaking off that battery-hen feeling.
  11. A bath. A condition of said house, is the existence of a bath-tub therein. I am dreaming of long hot soaks versus quick hot showers.
  12. Cake. The pasticceria here are amazing, but I do miss the texture of English cake. Carrot cake, lemon drizzle, Victoria sponge…
  13. Terrible service. This is what happens to you, you crave the bad as well as the good. I want to be able to browse, uninterrupted, for as long as I like, becoming steadily more invisible as the minutes tick by and I lose myself in retail therapy…never in Italy! There will always be an alarmingly made-up sales assistant breathing down your neck.
  14. Cafés. With my full-size not fun-size cup of coffee and a generous (if vastly over-priced)slice of carrot cake I look forward to that most civilised English activity of whiling away a pleasant half-hour in a café or even better, a tea-room (no doubt our National Trust properties will come up trumps in this department).
  15. Litter in bins. As opposed to on the road, pavement, heaped in the middle of a field, washed up on the beach, scattered liberally along the hard-shoulder and all around the car-park.
  16. Transparency. Knowing about stuff. Being able to find out about stuff without having to butter-up the cousin of a friend-of-a-friend of your hairdresser.  Which leads me to..
  17. Finding out even more stuff on the internet. Because everyone uses it. Even the government!
  18. Convenience. Being able to stroll into a shop at lunchtime and buy a sandwich, you know because it’s lunchtime, and the shop is OPEN.
  19. Not having to search my mental dictionary for the correct words as I simultaneously try to form them into a coherent sentence.  Not lying awake at night worrying about the gender of my articles…
  20.  Leisure, pleasure…going to the cinema (to see a non-dubbed film), going to the theatre (for old time’s sake), and watching the BBC. I’m already in paradise.

Your suggestions for the future of Truly, Madly, Italy are welcome. A new name, or simply a “re-brand?” to use a little marketing speak. What will I find to witter about next?



  1. Stuart

    Hi Helen, fantastic news and it sounds like you are really happy with what must have been a very big decision, and , you are nearer to Dublin as you say!!

    • Thanks Stuart, yes all good though a bit daunting, looking forward to trips to Dublin and we must meet up when I do. Hope all is well, wish we could be singing a few Christmas tunes together!

  2. The very best of luck to you, I know two British bloggers and three American bloggers who in the past 3 months have decided enough is enough and gone home.

    Italy is a very difficult country to live in.

    All the best

    • Kind of sorry to hear that, though I too am buggering auf! The American blogs are always SO impressive, I don’t know how they get the time. I always enjoy your blog, and no doubt the sense of humour carries you through the many challenges of Italian life. Keep up the good work and thanks for reading 🙂

  3. Ang

    How about Really, Wildly, Wiltshire?
    We are so excited to welcome you back to these shores at last. Do keep up the blogs as your followers would be so disappointed otherwise!
    I’ll do my best to find a gigantic tub of your favourite Tesco Finest Coleslaw for the Boxing Day family bash, as although this cannot compare with those Italian delis I know it will go down a treat. I’ll no doubt make some homemade dessert/cake in your honour too!
    We hope that this move will be the best yet and your fabulous family will soon settle in. Many congrats to Mr M on the new job!

    Much love to you all & see you soon,

    Love Ang n Rich xxxx

  4. Katie Meiklejohn

    Wendy told me of your move and I wish you all the very best in your new surroundings, how exciting. Did you know you can also visit National Trust properties north of the border and can vouch for the cafe culture oh and the cakes!
    Hope you will come and visit some time and keep writing I’ve always enjoyed your comments and the last post ticks all the boxes! How I laughed they are so true.
    Katie X

  5. Thoralf Merrin

    Pleased to hear your news. Hope all goes well for you in the move. Looking forward to seeing you all on Boxing Day. Love Sheila & Ivor

  6. annagoodere

    As I shared Helens first post to you about Italy thought you may be interested in her last.

    Anna x

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

  7. Anonymous

    Mum & Dad.
    We are so thrilled to know you’ll be within a reasonably short train or car journey from us after 13 years in exile. But exile allowed you to find a wonderful husband – or did Mario find you??
    Never quite sure!! But it doesn’t matter at all. Our desire is that you are a united happy family!
    Tamsin will settle quickly, without doubt. We’re collecting the present today!!

  8. Good luck with your next adventure Helen. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog, and I hope you continue writing in the future. Ciao e in bocca al lupo. Carl

    • So glad have managed to bring some cheer to a gloomy Irish morning Sara! Thanks a million for reading – and laughing out loud on the train..made me feel like Bill Bryson there for a moment (who I can never read on trains for fear of uncontrollable belly laughs) 😘

  9. Anonymous

    Have u consider your blog fans in this move Helen? I for one will really miss your witty and fabulously well written posts! They always seem to come when I need an escape like this morning I’m the 7am to cork for work train after having zero sleep & I was laughing out load! No seriously I’m delighted for you there is really no place like home & the weather can only do so much! I’ll miss the blogs about comical linguistic faux pas & super sized tomatoes but look forward to hearing some about cream teas & cucumber sandwiches! Good luck with it all

  10. Anelia

    Great read and good giggle, as always! Super excited…. We’re practically neighbours! I’m sure your Wiltshire adventures will lead to many more humorous, frustrating, insightful, daunting, gloating, cake-inspired posts xx

    • What a fantastic positive post! The vibes are radiating out of this and filling the UK already! Keep up your enthusiasm! Brilliant attitude about the many things we English (and Cornish) often take for granted. ‘citing!

      • Why thank you Jules. Yes a move abroad certainly puts life in perspective and makes u appreciate things more as well as work out what’s most important to you. I’m not much looking forward to the weather but other than that there’s loads to get excited about 🙂

  11. Cath Moran

    Another fabulous read Helen. Am beyond delighted that it’s Wiltshire and not Dubai and for my part I’m looking forward to visiting each other for days, weekends, even just passing through, all without the trauma of that bleddy airport….. seeing you all at family bashes, chatting on the phone at no cost to either of us, eating cake together…I could go on but you get the gist 😊 Can’t wait to see you and am certain that the new chapter of your lives will bring more good things. Love you all loads xxxx

  12. Had a good giggle at your post Helen, especially at the shop assistants, they stalk you from entering to exiting don’t they, makes it hard to see the clothes 🙂 oh and loo seats on loos! That is worth changing your life for, go well with your new plans!

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