Parking bumper to boat in the Cinque Terre

Fishing boatsItalian drivers, don’t you love’em?  I do, but then I’m used to them and as my sister in law said “you drive like an Italian!” This was probably dangerous as I was driving in Melbourne after 20 years absence!

But this is not about their driving; it’s about their brilliant, creative parking methods as well. And as you saunter around the little villages of the Cinque Terre you’ll find they park their boats the same way….bumper to bumper.Fishing boats Vernazza

The photos are from the summertime, and when the sea is rough the colourful  fishing boats are hauled up, away from danger to fill the piazza and the main streets with the same nonchalance that they would use if parking a car. The space is limited and it’s bumper to bumper. The rest of the day is then spent watching the waves crash over the barrier! Rough weather VernazzaAnd even when the sea is not rough the boats line the street or sit close to the water’s edge ready to slip in for another days’ fishing or make a handy spot for the local cats to preen themselves and soak up the sunshine.

Those who don’t fish on a daily basis, take the boat home and as there’s no garage, park it on the terrace! Fishing Boat garage

House boat





Or creatively use the shark boat as a scarecrow (?? ) near my little village of San Bernardino. I have my doubts as to how effective that is!Shark boat

Wherever they park, these delightful boats are as much are part of the beauty of the villages as the mottled tower houses that keep a watchful eye on them.

Fishing boats (2)

All this talk of fishing boats has made me hungry, time to join my friends for lunch!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Ps You will notice I have been playing with a new “like” button below as some of my family and friends don’t “do” facebook, which is fair enough and I would love to get more feedback. Note you will be caught out if you “like” more than once, as I was, testing the button! I have also included a “send” button in case you want to send the post onto friends. So if you have read this far then…go for it press a button or write a comment!!




Where are the men when you need them?

My garden

My garden 2012

Having seen five Chelsea garden shows, worked on many Garden tours and with a grandfather who cultivated orchids, a father and godfather as florists I hate to admit that I have no green thumb… but I am an enthusiastic gardener! I love roses and jasmine climbing over archways and trellises, climbing ‘anything’, in fact to cover my ordinary fence and block out the view of chaos in my neighbours. The Chelsea garden shows definitely brought my banksia rose archway and my Anglo Saxon need for privacy introduced the trellises. Scorching summers and harsh winters mean everything has to survive on its own.

Under snow 2012

Under snow 2012

It’s a well-known fact that wisteria and jasmine are a must in any Italian garden and I snuck in the Banksia rose (just gorgeous) as I mistakenly thought it was an Australian plant, and because I don’t like roses with thorns.

So the wisteria quickly climbed my neighbours’ tree, crept over to my rose trellis and twisted its way into my ordinary fencing so much so that I thought it would eventually pull the fence down. The answer to that then had to be a pergola! I scouted the various hardware – garden shops, even investigated a made to order one (which was far too expensive for my humble garden!) and settled on a do it yourself ‘el cheapo’ number. I did however paint it 3 times with expensive wood stain and waterproofing as I think that’s critical.

And just when I needed a man to help me put it up….where are they?

At work! Which is understandable but useless to think we could do it after work as there’s not enough daylight. The semi-retired neighbour (with the chaos) was too busy, although gave some very helpful hints on how to do it, and my other young neighbour offered, but took off scuba diving in Sicily instead! And then it rained for 3 weekends in a row!

So this is a step by step of how to put up a 3m x 3m pergola single handed, just in case any of you think it can’t be done!Above the knee SpikePergola spike





First start with enormous spikes (50cm) that look like they came from Ben Hurs chariot or a star wars battle, and belt those into the ground…. not an easy task!

It took me 2 days – 1 to put it up, and the other to untwist the wisteria from the fencing and trellis and encourage it to take hold of the pergola.

I was suitably dressed for the part in my trusty overalls  which delayed the squishy mess seeping through till I guessed from the smell that I had knelt in cats poo! Not from my dear old cat, Whisky, who was probably looking down on me from heaven having a chuckle at my fate. While aristocat Pearl gave a sly smirk and slunk silently through the fence!

Ps. It was not as easy as Ikea, no predrilled holes and poorly cut junctures!