Hello Caroline, I'm now back in the UK, Greenwich London to be exact. I've thought over what you said about work, hours and travel etc. in Garfagnana. Frankly, I've got it easy here. It's a 15 minute walk to work and with a little bit of overtime I'm taking home ÃÂ£2K per month. Of course, there's no walking among wooded hills and meeting people in the piazza - Thames riverside walk isn't quite up to that and the weather's really grotty but London still fits us like a pair of old slippers.
I really think you're very bold and brave to have completely transplanted yourself in Italy for work as well as for the good life. You must have found the UK not very supportable.
My partner joined me for new year's eve and we had a jolly cenone with all the other villagers in the old school. Our house is BIG and we're a bit worried about how much to spend on it. We could leave it as be or go the whole hog and sand-blast beams, remove rendering to expose the stone work etc.etc.
Anyway it seems as if at least for this year for us living and working in Italy is out although we'll spend as much time as possible at Rontanpo, it's so lovely. Wew'll be back for Easter. Perhaps we could go for a walk then.
Best wishes and a happy new Year
Francis (and Sandra)