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02.01.2022 Just before the holidays we bought nine more trees to plant in our back garden: apple, two cherries, two apricots, nectarine, pomegranate, lemon and olive. Fortunately, the ground was a lot softer than when we planted the last batch in April. In time this little crop of trees should provide a nice shaded area and some shelter for all the birds. Like most people, we were home for New Years but had a bonfire this year as the weather was “cold” but quiet

02.01.2022 “What's going on with the Boxster?” I hear you say. Well I'm glad you asked. We had a couple of good trips this year not least to Provence. I got some improvements done, most noticeable the new soft top. And we're planning to meet up with Lars & Helle and their Mercedes SLK for a 2022 summer holiday road trip. I just replaced the stalk assembly as the indicators didn't self-cancel which was annoying ...as was the 290 euro the new Porsche part cost!

20.12.2021 Merry Xmas & Happy New Year
It's been another strange and difficult year, so here's to hoping that 2022 will be better. We will spend the holidays in Costarainera again this year, keeping to ourselves to a large extend, as Liguria was just escalated to “yellow covid zone” again. We hope to see more of you in 2022, but for now stay safe and have a great holiday!

12.12.2021 Another weekend, another hike. This time northwest of Prelà, where we have been before, in fact I think we now covered all the tracks in the area. The weather was beautiful and there is so much to see around here with tiny little villages, forest and spectacular views. It's stunningly quite, so quite in fact that we had our lunch on a low wall right off the main road

06.12.2021 We have seen the Santuario di Nostra Signora delle Grazie on many of our hikes around the valley and on Sunday we decided to start from there. The views are absolutely amazing, over the valley, into the mountains and out over the ocean. The hike was very good, not too difficult, and we had a wonderful 4hours on the 10km route, including the obligatory 30min lunch break

07.11.2021 Bibi is still in Mallorca, but I needed to get out of the house, so I went hiking on my own. I choose an 11km route from Catellaro past the wonderful church Santuario Nostra Signora di Lampedusa to the 781m summit of Monte Sette Fontane. The ascend was long but not too steep (two cars went up!), but the descend was quite challenging. The view from the top was worth it though - 360° of mountains and ocean. A good 4:30h hike and an excellent day out in windy but decent weather

24.10.2021 While Lars & Helle drove home to Denmark, Bibi and I went for the second hike of the week. We did the beautiful 14km Rosso (Red) route from Prelà with Lars & Helle on Monday. Yesterday we did the equally wonderful 10km Dolcedo - Trincheri - Bellisimi round trip we first walked in February 2021, this time counter clockwise and starting from Dolcedo. Amazing that you can still manage with shorts and t-shirts this time of year

23.10.2021 We had our friends Helle & Lars visiting from Denmark last week. They drove their “new” Tesla 1.800km here and back. We had an awsome week: Hiking around Prelà, sailing a rented boat from Imperia, driving the Boxster (Lars & Ken), cycling to Sanremo (Helle & Bibi), racing the Triumph vs. scooter (Lars & Ken) and visiting Monaco. In the evenings we of course enjoyed lots of Italian food and drink. We miss them already, but look forward to our summer holiday in 2022

20.09.2021 I had an absolute mega trip on the motorbike to Provence. Saturday over to Castellane via Nice and Grasse, and then a 3 hour detour into Verdun for some of my favourite roads before arriving in Sisteron for the night. Sunday was another 8h/400km in the stunning landscape north and west of Sisteron on roads where I had never been, some so deserted and enchanted you wouldn't be too surprised if a troll waltzed across the road (none did). Two long days and I'm a little tired, but very good experience

08.09.2021 I collected my new company car on Monday. It's an Audi Q3 35 TFSI (150hp petrol, 48v mild-hybrid) with a 7speed DSG gearbox (automatic) and some very nice standard features. I added quite a few optional extras: heated sport seats with lumbar support, leather steering wheel, full digital dash, Audi Sound System, adaptive cruise control, rear-view camera, keyless entry and electric tailgate. The eye-catching colour is called Pulse Orange and the interior is black cloth

07.09.2021 Bibi is still in Mallorca, but will be back on Friday. Meanwhile, I went to the classic yacht race (Vela d'Epoca) in Imperia late Saturday night with my digital camera and tripod to try and capture the atmosphere. I got some really nice pictures of super yachts and classic sailing yachts, while the fireworks was more challenging due to the dynamic nature of the event in low light conditions

30.08.2021 Unfortunately, Alma (Bibi's mom) fell in her kitchen and broke her left leg and arm on Tuesday, so of course Bibi has gone to Mallorca to support. Left home alone, I decided to take a motorbike trip on Saturday: along the coast to Albenga then up in the mountains to Garessio where there are some lovely roads. On Sunday I did an eBike trip down to the water and then up in the hills to Pietrabruna

23.08.2021 Our summer holiday is over and we had a great time. We did some work on the house and in the garden, went swimming in the ocean, took the sea kayak out once, relaxed and splashed round in the pool a lot. We also went to Acquetico to collect 24 bottles of the lovely local Sciac-trà rosé wine and out for dinner a couple of times. We only used the eBikes for short trips as Bibi's still have some battery issues that restrict assisted range to less than 10km - I need to fix that before we venture further

17.08.2021 Bibi have painted all the doors/windows and I have sanded and oiled the slate door/window sills and cleaned the shutters, so now our main chores are done. We went to one of our favourite restaurants in Imperia Nero di Seppia [means “Cuttlefish ink”] - and it struck me how closely the ambiance resembles the wonderful Paul Smith Painting that hangs in our kitchen. The pool seems to be our default choice, but we did go snorkelling to look at some fish now the seawater is up at 25°C (the pool is 29°C!)

12.08.2021 It's the first week of our summer holiday and we're working in the garden and on the outside of the house. Candy and Olly have become good friends, she goes to visit him every day, takes a drink of his water and can send hours watching him and he's no longer scared of her. It's very hot - even for Italy in August - so we work in the shade and make good use of the pool. We also plan to get the kayak, which we haven't used in two years, out next week

02.08.2021 There was a small annoying hole in the passenger side door card on the Boxster, that I really wanted to get repaired. I met local man Riccardo Ferro at last year's Mercatoretro in Imperia and made an appointment with him. In addition to fixing the hole, he also cleaned the interior of the car, including steam cleaning the carpets all for a very reasonable price. The car looks and smells a lot better now. Next job is to replace the stalk assembly, since the indicators no longer self-cancel

27.07.2021 Last weekend we finally had an opportunity to go to Provence and see the lavenders in bloom, something we had been wanting to do for a couple of years. With an overnight stop in the quant little town of Apt we did 725km in the Boxster on winding country roads through the wonderful landscape and saw plenty of lavenders although they had started harvesting them. We also spotted some sunflower fields in bloom on the way back

19.07.2021 Tomorrow, 20th July 2021, it will be 5 years since we got the keys to our house. One of the best decisions we've ever made, and of course we got to enjoy it more than expected this last 18months. I decided to post some lovely summer pictures from around the house and garden to celebrate. The weather is close to perfect with daytime temperatures around 30-32°C and between 20 and 25°C at night - the pool is 26-28°C and gets used a lot during the season (mid-June to mid-September)

09.07.2021 Meet Ulisse, or Olly as I call him. He is a 12 year old Horsfield's tortoise also know as Russian tortoise although his certificate says that he's actually from Uzbekistan. Due to change of circumstances, one of Bibi's girlfriends couldn't have him anymore, so we offered him a home in the back garden. Tortoises like to dig in the ground, but the foundations are deep on three sides, so we just had to add a cement block wall at the end

08.07.2021 The sixteenth-century Gallinaro Tower or Fortress is just 2km from our house and we often pass there walking. The views are absolutely amazing, and you will have seen pictures on this webpage before. Last night we decided to have a picnic up there to enjoy the sunset, so the picnic basket Bibi bought me many years ago - but for some bizarre reason we never used before - came out and off we went. It was a wonderful warm still evening and we will be back soon

28.06.2021 Friday afternoon we drove from Brescia to Sirmione. Here we wanted to see the Castello di Sirmione and Grotte di Catullo, which is actually a roman villa most likely owned by a Venetian family, but incorrectly assumed to be a series of caves and attributed to an ancient poet, when discovered. The castle is remarkable well conserved, the villa much less so as is was abandoned and much material recycled elsewhere presumably after an earthquake

28.06.2021 Brescia is another Italian hidden gem. The old town is relatively small but there is lots to see. In about a day we walked most of it and visited two of the main attractions: Castello di Brescia and Tempio Capitolino & Teatro Romano. The large imposing castle was amazingly well preserved and it was fun to see another Roman theatre, but the highlight was definitely the very unique roman bronze statue (very few survive)

16.06.2021 Summer is definitely here and temperatures are hovering just under 30°C. So this weekend it was time to get the pool ready, and since the water reached 24°C, we jumped right in. Lounging in the pool really feels like summer. We also put the sun shade sails up and it makes a remarkable difference when you “close off” the terrace like that. There are still few tourists around; it's early in the season and covid restrictions are only now lifting, but people have starting going to the beach and in the sea (21°C)