Last Updated on January 15, 2023
Starting to think about our Holiday Cottage in Tuscany again…
As I type this in February 2022, it’s been a strange two years for me. Not sure if it has for you, but I really think this whole pandemic thing has altered our lives a little. Even for those who swear that it’s all made up, as they had something new to deny. I wish I could have swapped my experience of having COVID 18 months ago with each of them, but that’d be tricky. Maybe I just made that up to help the mainstream media mess with their heads. Plebs.
Anyhoo, a few years ago I finally realised my dream of buying a home in Tuscany. I’m kinda fortunate that a) I could afford to, but I’ve worked for it so I don’t feel bad, and b) that I had a business with which to use as a vehicle to do it, and help pay for it. It’s actually exactly three years since I announced it to the world in February 2019.
It was an ‘interesting’ process dealing with the Italian system and people. They operate a little ‘differently’ to us. Actually most humans operate a little differently to me so I should have expected it. I’ve written fairly extensively about buying my little house on the hill, with the BIG views. You can read more about our Holiday Cottage in Tuscany if you’re so inclined,
But along came COVID, and pressed the pause button on all our plans, didn’t it?
Work had begun in earnest, when suddenly it was stopped and all my Italian builders had to stay at home for a while. Once lockdown restrictions were lifted momentarily they carried on, but I can assure you that trying to deal with builders in another country is far more challenging when you can’t go over there, buy them biscuits, point at things, and explain in your best attempts at their first language when they don’t have a second one. It is tricky, to put it mildly.
I’d been over with my mate Steve in the summer of 2019 and spent a few days in the blistering Tuscan heat, smashing off wall and floor tiles for the builders to start from scratch, simply because they charge so much for everything. I figured I could do this as I have my ‘Smashing stuff up’ certificate, with distinction. We had fun though, got a lot done, and got to not see Sting live in concert within the medieval walls of Lucca. We could see the top of his head though from our Al Fresco dinner table, and sing along with all our new Italian friends that night. It was the best gig that Steve and I have never been to!
But once things could get going again, the builders finished the work, including my very ambitious, and expensive terrace. When I first saw the house, all I could envisage was a big terrace to replace the puny balcony, to enjoy morning coffee, afternoon sun, or a glass of something nice with some scrummy local food in the evening. I was buying the house for me, my family, my friends, and Woodfarm guests. My plans ticked all the boxes for each of these.
When COVID struck I went into meltdown for a few weeks thinking that I would lose everything I’d worked for over here in Suffolk, let alone Tuscany. But once I’d got my head straight on that, and realised I wasn’t going to lose Woodfarm, I focussed on getting through it, and coming out the other side. A lot poorer, but alive and just about kicking. I just put all my dreams of dinner on that terrace, wandering aimlessly around Lucca, and exploring the towns and villages that I love in the Garfagnana valley, enjoying the occasional glass of Vernaccia Di San Gimignano, my favourite local-ish tipple, on hold. For two years!
Prior all this COVID nonsense I’d rented a lock-up and was gradually filling it with an entire house-worth of furniture and stuff from here. I’ve been antique and interiors shopping over in Italy, and it’s mostly nasty. Apologies if I offend anyone, but in my opinion, to which I’m entitled, most of the things I’ve seen tend to be on the, how should I put it, gaudy and chintzy side. But that is just my opinion, and everything in life is subjective. What I really wanted to do was to bring together a collection of furnishings that felt kinda English and kinda Woodfarm, with touches of Tuscany and Italy. And I’m pretty confident I’ve done it. I can’t wait to share with you how it’s all looked in my head since day one.
The house isn’t quite finished as the kitchen is just a bare room still. The plan though was that I was driving all the stuff over in May 2020 to kit the house out, and then plan the kitchen with the builders. So roll on two years, and now I’m starting to think about Tuscany again. I’m in high level talks with a couple of mates about driving over with it all and having a laugh getting it to the house. Sorry, I mean planning a work event. I can categorically state for the record that there will be no alcohol or pizza. And if there is, then we weren’t there. But if it later turns out that we were there, then we will not break any rules. And if we do, then Sue Gray will look into it before the police send us a questionnaire and it’ll all just fizzle away like the flat Prosecco that wasn’t there. Or was.
The way things are going, it’s likely to be pretty much two years to the day that we will finally get to do it, if all goes to plan this time. Once I’ve done that I’ll share photos and videos with you to whet your appetite.
I’m really hoping that we will have it all ready for you to go and stay by this summer, but then who knows? I’ve said that before! Rest assured we will get it ready for you as soon as is feasible and safe.
If you want to be informed as to when we will be ready to take bookings, then why not head to signed up to our ‘Tuscany VIP’ subscriber page?. You will be the first to hear about a live calendar, and get yourselves over to find out what I’ve been banging on about for three years now!
In the meantime, so that you know exactly where we are, please take a look at our detailed map, highlighting our exact location. You can find it from there can’t you?