Knit away

Black Souls is done. Only a few technicalities to look after but nothing major and so eventually the high pressure is off.
Ortensia can go back to a sort of routine.
The last three weeks her alter ego, in the person of the murder mystery “writer”, Sabina Gabrielli Carrara, possessed her entirely and kept her prisoner of the editing cave.
The midterm had passed without me enjoying any lazy late morning or useless afternoon, but as they say duty first.
This week eventually, life had started to go back to a bit of normality, except for the fact that now every spare time that I have must be used to pick up the knitting needles.
Daughter number one, who is still possessed by her new “ME”, needs gloves, hat and scarves. Winter had arrived, but apparently, she can’t use any of the dozen she already has to go to school .
“Just wear your stripy scarf honey, and you’ll remove it when in the school premises,” I suggested, at the best of my Italian “let’s sort it out some way attitude”.
“I cant. Mrs P said that when we wear the uniform, we represent the school and we must be impeccable.”
She left speechless. Also, she made me feel a bit lousy in my values, but most of all, she scared me.
I had a vision of an army of girls in their clean and perfectly ironed green and blue tartan uniform, all assembled in the school hall and trained by a Mrs P looking like Sgt Gunny with long hair.
“Plus now I am class prefect, and that makes me even more responsible for the name of the school. I have to give an example!!!!” she then added, while I was still standing mute and humiliated, and she was done another vision appeared in my head:
Reese Witherspoon in the “the election”!!!! And suddenly I imagined my daughter technology teacher as Mathew Broderick and me baking thousands of cupcakes to bring to school because obviously after running for class prefect she will want to run for school prefect right?
Now I only have to hope that this vision won’t come back to me when ill go for the parents-teachers meetings, because I am not sure I will be able to hold myself from laughing.
That’s the story of why I got back out my knitting needles and spent a fortune in wool yarns of a shade of blue and green that perfectly match my daughter, the class prefect, as the badge she religiously wears every day, reminds us all.
P.S
As strong as the new “me” is, unfortunately, for daughter number one, the old one is still living somewhere inside her. The other morning I had to go to rescue her at the train station, where I had dropped her ten minutes earlier because she realised she had forgotten her train card.
“Pew”… I thought in the greatest relief ……she is still infallible mainly considering we this is already her second train card, because of the first one she had lost it a couple of weeks after school had started.

Japanese Tea with and Italian twist……

Tea is served…enjoy a cup, relax and take a peek at Black Souls’s Synopsis :

“Lola never met her father, and her mother took her own life when she was still a toddler. Raised by her aunt Mara, a callous woman who never showed any affection towards her niece. As soon she turns 18, Lola moves to Malta where she meets her future husband, Fergus. The two of them will ultimately build their dream life in Ireland. Lola’s past seems forever forgotten, until the day her aunt Mara dies under suspicious circumstances and her cousin Giulia vehemently discourages her from being involved.  Uncertain about what to do, in the end, Lola flies over to Ponte Alto with her husband.

The old town had not changed much, and neither had the twisted dynamics inside the Kopfler family. Lola is transported back twenty years, and the ancient feeling of being an outsider is back. But that is not all: her presence is a threat to someone; someone who doesn’t hesitate to leave a trail of blood behind to keep their secrets safe. 

The events unfold a spiderweb of evil acts, lies, and a  truth that is far crueller than anyone can imagine, and soon Lola and Fergus find themselves at the centre of a killer hunt. What they cannot imagine is that the search for the truth will bring them back to Dublin. The vicious attack of their neighbour and friend, in fact, is some way connected to the savage murders in Ponte Alto, but how? 

 Inspector Furio Zamparelli and Detective Enda McCarthey will have to join forces and start a race against the clock to stop the killings. 

The deception of the powerful Kopfler family had started. There is no coming back: Will Lola be spared? “

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When life gets in the way

Time had certainly flown by in between travelling back and forth to Italy to sort some family business, then Nona came to visit and soon all my spare time went writing. Without me even realising it, weeks had passed without Ortensia been able to sit behind the desk.
Actually, the plan was to go back blogging last week, but an injured husband and some unexpected DIY job got in the way.
Last Saturday, the travelling husband and daughter number one went out to the lake for the day, while I and daughter number two went to the shopping center to buy a birthday present. With the start of the school, in fact, you are inevitably trapped in the terrifying and expensive spiral of the birthday parties.
By 5:00pm, father and daughter were surprisingly back already.
Daughter number one came in first and immediately warned me that the travelling husband could be slightly cranky because he missed a few birds that, apparently, were a child play.
I said nothing, as I learn to joy inside every time a poor animal is spared and won’t end up in my freezer.
As soon he stepped into the house too, I noticed there was something odd but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was.
Then I realised that his head was completely tilted on one side.
Because his face is asymmetric, he always keeps his head slightly bent, but this was different. His right ear nearly touched the shoulder.
“What had happened”, I exclaimed.
“Well, you know the little pain I felt this morning when I got up?”
“Yes….”
“Well it got worse, and the wind on the boat didn’t help.”
“Defo”, I said, still incredulous that he managed to stay out all day and drive for over two hours with that stiff neck. I also thought that the pain he had this morning must have been far worse than he said and that he had been a total “moron” to go hunting anyway, but, once again, I kept it for myself.
Then, I thought of what daughter number one said about her father shooting badly, and I really hoped she had said nothing to him because then, I bet he was cranky. How he could have only held the gun is still a mystery to me. An other mystery is how she had not noticed that there was something strange in his father head. I suppose this is what they mean when they say that teenagers live in their own world.
Anyway the poor man was in real pain, but not enough to stay put . He managed to open a bottle of red wine and pour himself a glass with the intention to sip it while watching TV from the couch.
I purposely said “with the intention” because while the husband reached the couch, the glass never reached his lips; instead it reached the sofa, the wall, the floor and everything around the area.Now you would think that is not a big deal, a wet cloth and everything is wiped off. Nop, red wine is lethal, and after I spent half an hour scrubbing walls, floors, rugs, books etc etc, still one side of my kitchen sofa has reddish dots all over. The paint on the wall , on the other end, got entirely corroded. So guess what I did the following morning instead of blogging? I painted under the supervision of the man with the tilted head. He still had not realised how lucky he was that my big chopping knife was in the dishwasher and nowhere at hand reach.

Of course, the evening was not all wasted, and in the end, I did sit down and enjoyed my dinner with a glass of wine that I carefully made sure to bring straight to my lips. All the previous mayhem was forgotten.
Peace and quiet at last….until the door open and daughter number two comes in carrying a tray with hers and her sister leftover dessert. It all happened in a fraction of second, so fast that I didnt even had time to realise what was coming until Clara the dog skids away, Carla the kid stumbles, the tray flys in the air and its content lands on the floor and a bit all over any surface of my kitchen.
I scream, daughter number two screams, Clara runs, daughter number one-half steps into the kitchen with a face saying “not my fault” and the travelling husband stands up to his feet to turn his entire body in the attempt to position his head in the right trajectory to have a clear view. Kurt, stays put on the coach, for once he is not involved in the mess!
What happened is soon explained, Clara the dog who is now completely blind, bunged into Carla, the kid who, been already prone to trip, had stumbled and dropped the tray. Outcome: three broken plates, two chipped glasses and whipped cream splattered all over the kitchen cupboards ,my new lovely fridge, the bookshelf beside it and of course the floor.
Here you go woman, get that mop back out and kneel down to scrub.

The Hairdresser

I hate going to the hairdresser. I always did and probably always will. I hate the feeling of a stranger ravaging on my head and torture my ears with conversations I could not care less. The same way like I hate how they usually blow and dry the hair making you leave the salon wearing a humongous mushroom on your head.
Only recently, I found a place that makes my hairdresser ‘s visits more pleasant. I always ask for Miss M. She knows my hair by now, she is not that chatty and most of all if I say “no mushroom” she won’t blow and dries my head like there is no tomorrow.
The salon is around the corner from the girls’ primary school, that is perfect because I can go and they can join me after school and have their hair trimmed too.
Daughter number two is fine with it. To her, the hairdresser is a form of pampering.
Daughter number one, instead, inherited my hate for it.
Up to some years ago, I used to cut their hair myself, but since they started school, I felt they needed a professional doing it.
Exception made for those emergency situations when some slime got glued on their hair, or the knots were so hard to brush that chopping the entire tuft of hair was much easier.
Thankfully this is all in the past. The girls are now old enough to know how to avoid to go tangle extreme and stay away from chew gums or slime.

Back to daughter number one, as I was saying she is still reluctant to step into a hair salon unless it is my aunt’s one.
Unfortunately, Aunt Paola’s shop is in Italy, thing that made not so easy to regularly go. We try to do our best to get her hair done while visiting but not always is possible, like last summer. Since it was February, the previous time daughter number one had a hair, after I tricked her into coming to the salon with me, now she is really in need of a good trim.
As after the hols I needed a restyle too, I thought to get three pigeons with one stone, and I booked for the all three of us. It didnt work, and one pigeon managed to miss the stone!
“Please, mom, can you cut my hair yourself at home?”
The fact that my aunt and cousins are hairdressers make my daughters think that I can do it also. I tried to explain that you do not learn how to cut hair by osmosis, and neither it is a skill that you inherit, but they still believe I am good at it.
“You always cut our hair when we were little!”
“Yes darling but that it was when I could get away with anything because you were still a toddler and nobody noticed if your hair had different lengths and your fringe resembled Saint Frances’ one.”
Still, daughter number one faith in my coiffeur ability is strong, or it is her hate for the stranger touching her head? It doesn’t matter, and it does not change the fact that last Sunday, after rotating around myself, I transformed into the Wonder Hairdresser of the house.
“We aim for a shoulder-length ok?”, she says
“I am on it”, I say
And so it was. After the first cut was completed, daughter number one had a lovely shoulder-length bob that she proudly wore for a day.
Then every time I looked at her, I saw a tuft of hair of different length here and there, and for the following week every day I had my scissors in hand.
Chop chop chop, trim trim trim…..Daughter number one she is now “proudly” wearing a neck-length bob but so precise that it could go on a geometry book.


I wonder if next time she will rather prefer to suffer half an hour at the hairdresser than a week at home.

The Host

Do you remember daughter number one? The hypochondriac one; the one I had to bring to the doctor, for a fee of 50 euros per visit, so she could hear a professional telling her the same exact things I told her at home? Yes, her: the iper-anxious one who fell victim of terrible belly cramps every time something new was around the corner!
The one we always joked she would never be a problem as a teenager because she was moody since the age of three. Well, she is not among us anymore. No, don’t think the worst, nothing bad happened, she simply fell victim of alien abduction, or to be precise of a body snatcher.

I started to suspect something was not right at the end of the school year when the idea of leaving primary school to start secondary still didn’t raise any anxiety in her. But in fairness, things had degenerated so badly in her former class, that anything could be better than that. The fact the poor child was excited at the idea to leave and not to see the old crew that made her life miserable, was totally understandable.
The excitement of going to a new school and meeting new people and be able to make her friends based on genuine common interests had obviously overcame the possible nervousness. May be there was nothing to worry about after all and, it was still daughter number one we were talking about: we only had to be patient and wait for the last minute tantrum.

The Summer passed and still not a drop in her mood; on the contrary, she even became chatty.
Now, if you think that it is normal for a nearly thirteen years old girl, you also have to bear in mind that up to a few months prior, she used to drive with her father for two or three hours to go shooting without any of them to speak a word. Telepathic communication….their specialty, just a pity nobody else is ever synchronized in their frequence.
Anyway, back to the facts, holidays were over, we were back, and it was time to go through all the books; label them and put them in a different folders of different colours so to make it easier and quicker to grab the subjects she needed from the locker.
The number of books, the variety of subjects, the fact that she had a limited time in between classes to reach her locker and go back to different rooms for different classes, should have freaked her out if she was her real self. It didn’t! Now, my only hope was on the afternoon before the first day of school. That afternoon we were supposed to go to the school in full uniform( skirt included and she was not wearing a skirt since she was two),get the locker’s number, the padlock to bring home and practice to open it and close it and the student journal. Are you wondering what the school student journal is? It is enormous “thing” full of rules, advice, graphics and only God knows what else but whatever it is, it must be of extreme importance because students must carry it with them everywhere they go.
It turned out that while I was totally overwhelmed by the whole process , my daughter or whatever she was now , was still cool about it. Day one in school came, she left with a big smile and came home with the same big smile, plus a list of new possible friends. There was no more doubt about it: something possessed her.Three weeks into the new school and new routine and she is still happy out. She names someone new she talked to every day, and she even asked to go by train already unless it is slashing of course. Some extraterrestrial creature might inhabit her, but sure it is a clever one and doesn’t want to get to school soaked!

I must say I enjoy this new person shaffling around my house lighthearted and chatty, but I cannot think of when the body snatcher will get bored with her and passed on another host. Will I then have my still beloved cranky pants back?
In a total inconsiderate and emotionally weak moment, I share my concerns with the travelling husband.
Wrong move: he is a numbers man, cold, rational and practical: “honey, body snatchers don’t exist. She can be a case when a girl hitting her teens gets nicer rather than meaner, but I don’t believe that either. Wait and see”.
Damn it. He was right, again. Miss cranky pants was back last Friday when I tried to drag her to the hairdresser.
“I am not coming in there. You do it,at home”.
-Pew, maybe she is not fully possessed-, I happily thought and most of all she is still happy with her mama cutting her hair!😍#veryproud mamaofaverysoecialgirl!

P.S
For some reason both my girls believe that because I have an aunt and two cousins who are hairdresser that gives me the skill to cut hair too……..as they say : whatever it works! Except not always it works, but this will go on another post.

A(n other) Business Comunication

Dear followers, over time, it became evident that I am not multitasking, at least not when it comes to blogs.
Launching my author’s blog was a bad idea. Well, not the blog itself, that it would have been awesome if I only had time to look after it. Unfortunately, I didn’t. Let’s face it: I struggle to keep up with one post a week on one blog, how in heaven did I think I was able to manage two blogs?
Well, lesson learned and this is my announcement that I will merge the two blogs.
Yes, you heard me: Ortensia’s humor will have to coexist with Sabina’s twisted mind and taste for blood.
But that it is not all. You, my friends, will be pestered with the marketing of my books……every once in a while…..starting from now!

As some of you already know my first novel, Fields Of Lies, is out there since February


What you might have missed is that my second novel, more a psychological thriller than a murder mystery this time, it will be out soon too.
Here there is for you a sneak peek of the cover and a little blurb. Enjoy.


“Lola left her past behind and never looked back, until the day her phone rings, and she cannot ignore the call.
Forced to go back to Italy for her aunt funeral, she will find herself at the center of a murder investigation. What she had not realized is that the trail of blood had followed her from Dublin.
Why is Lola such a dangerous threat? And to who?
At the bottom of the Ponte Alto lake lay a family’s darkest secrets, and when they reemerge, the cruelest truth will be exposed.”

https://linktr.ee/sabina_gabriellicarrara

Real Neat Blog Award

I want to thank Aunt Debbie (beingauntdebbie.com) for nominating me and giving me the chance to answer such a great list of questions.

As usual I won’t list specific bloggers to answer my questions (too hard to pick only a few of you) but I invite you all to do it as I would love to know a bit more about you.

My Answers:

1. If you could be any animal for a day, which would you choose?

A bat, of course, my favorite animal.

2. What is your favorite cuisine?

Well ,Italian aside, Indian.

3. What is your biggest passion?

Writing and reading, but also animals and yoga….may be I m a bit too passionate😉

4. If money were no object, where would you live, and why?

Norway or Sweden countryside . I love Scandinavian countries , their people their culture their attitude to life and the clime as well.

5. If aliens exist, what do you think they look like?

I don’t get the question, are you saying ET was not real?😱😭🤪

6. What is your favorite thing to shop for?

Books and accessories, necklaces and shoes in particular

7. Do you believe in reincarnation?

I would love to but I don’t hunk I’m ready yet. But I believe in energies.

My Questions:

1. What about you favorite food:Sweet or Savory?

2. What about a night in front of the tv:Horror or Romantic movies?

3. Your ideal vacation: under the tropical sun or on the white ski slopes?

4. Look up the sky and list the first three things that pop in your mind

5. What your favorite season and why

6. You can give a look back to your life……what would you change?

7. As for your drink: wine or beer?

Under The Italian Sun

One Coincidence Too many – Part 2

Yes, you guessed right, my card was blocked again.
The first week of holidays I go to the supermarket, yes the one from before, and even if I had some cash with me, I stupidly decided to pay by card. When the machine didn’t recognize the pin, a colossal alarm bell started flashing in front of my eyes. But it was only when even the second pin attempt failed that the bell rang loudly inside my head.
I listened, and I was smart enough not to insert the pin the bloody third time.
I paid cash, and that was it.
Few days had passed, I didn’t use the card and forgot about it until the night I went out for dinner with my mom.
None of us was particularly hungry, and we decided to go for a stroll before our meal. While walking on the promenade mom remembered that someone had mentioned a new bistro on the seafront. Never listen to suggestions, mainly if you cannot clearly remember who gave them to you. We walked for over half an hour, that was good because by the time we reached the place we were hungry but, unfortunately, the place was a total disappointment to the eyes. We refused to give it a chance and walked back. When we eventually arrived at our starting point, we were starving, and my bladder was bursting.
“Stick with what you know”. It is always the best of policy, and so we went to a place we both know well and close to home. We were done being adventurous for the evening. Except, after dinner, I realized I still had some residues of adventures and dragged my mother to a shoe shop where I bought myself a pair of winter clogs. No, my boldness side was not to buy the winter clogs but to try to pay for them with my card.

The card was denied, and I felt behind embarrassment. Yes, I know I should have got used to this by then and, in fact, my discomfort was not due to the failed transaction, but to my mother thoughtful comment: “you should make sure your husband refill your card before using it, dear”.
The lady from the shop pretended to have not heard my mother offensive attempt of humor and sweetly smiling at me she offered to retry the payment blaming the poor internet connection.
“No, no. No need to retry. It is that bloody supermarket”, I blabbed declining her offer and paying with my other card.
The following morning I rang the bank behind furious as they surely had erroneously blocked my card. I know my rights.
Not really! The wrong pin must be digitized three times in an indefinite amount of time to cause the block of the card. To be more explicit, you do not have to wrong your pin three times in a row, but it is enough three times …in your life!
So be careful people, write down every time you digit your pin wrong because years later can haunt you back.

The Beach War

Our holidays home came with a private beach spot.
Every apartment has its spot with two or three beach chairs, and an umbrella. The places are organized in neat rows and there is a rota. Every week everybody moves forward, and backward so that, over the length of summer, everyone has the chance to occupy the first row more than once.
The first row is notoriously the most coveted, (Nobody is in front of you, and you are just a few steps away from the sea.), but quite popular are also the second and the third row. I see that, and I certainly enjoy when it is my turn to be on the beach Podio . What I don’t see, it is how this can be an obsession .But it is and there are those who shift from place to place wherever there is a seat free in the first the three rows. Tome only the idea of the effort that this requires make me sweat🥵.

My family ‘s insane habit of respecting the rules and occupying the position we are assigned week after week made us oblivious to the racket of the beach spots.Until this year, when we have been so lucky to be by rota in second and first row for the entire duration of our stay.
Soon it became apparent that being in one of the first three rows by rota is not a legitimate right but a fault. If you then go to the beach every day, and maybe also at random times, that is the worst of the sins.
The proper ” beach Podio obsessed “, refuse to seat anywhere beyond the second row. They study their beach neighbors’ habits, their timetable and day by day they move around from one spot to another along the first rows of the beach. Are you wondering if they have their place? Of course they do, but using it is not an option unless it is in first row. Out of desperation, they can even settle for the second of the third one, but it must be the last option left, and until a better place gets free.

Let me tell you; these people have years of experience. They have skills and they act fast and relentless. With a stroke of beach towel they shift from first to second to the third place and back to first without fear.
Do other people who respect the rules get upset? Yes, they do! I heard these people had been told many times to back off, but with no success. Bad manners and disrespect of the rules will keep prevailing until a butt print system is installed in every single beach chair so that only the rightful butt can occupy the rightful chair ……

A Truly Madly Ordinary End Of Holidays

Our summer Italian holidays cannot be called so if we don’t go to the water park. The annual day trip to the water park, while in Italy, has become a family tradition. Over the years we also learned that the best day to go it i is on a Saturday or the 15th of August (Ferragosto) that in Italy is a bank holiday.
This year, due to the early school start, we had to leave before the 15th and so the park was scheduled on the last to Saturday of our stay.
Unfortunately, the Thursday before, daughter number one had the great idea to wake up burning with high temperature.
Considering how much she grew in height since she arrived in Italy, I thought it was a growing fever, but the following day she also developed some sore throat.
The temperature didnt last more than two days; even less it lasted her confinement in the house, only half a day. She soon became too bored and cracky to have her around and, also, with 35 degrees outside there was no pint to keep her in.
These things happen, I kept repeating to her, her sister and myself, but the truth is that it blew out all our plans. Even if on the Saturday we were supposed to go to the water park, she felt fine; she was undoubtedly still too weak to face an entire day up and down slides under the burning sun.
We tried to discuss the possibility of breaking the family tradition for this one year, but it didn’t go down well.
Daughter number two didnt even try to be condescending and immediately suggested that we could go and leave her sister behind; daughter number one, on the other side, refused to be the artifice of her bad luck and started to do push up on the balcony floor to show she was perfectly fit to go.
At that point was clear that the water park could not be cancelled but it had only to be rescheduled for the following Monday. Not the ideal day because on Tuesday morning we were leaving but you gotta do what you gotta do right?!

Saturday we relaxed for the last day on the beach: Sunday we celebrated grandad birthday, another tradition. My stepdad’s birthday is always around the time we leave Italy, and we started to celebrate it all together on the before we went every summer. Only this year we had to make him one year older nearly a week earlier, but I don’t think he minded at all.
On Monday morning, we were at the park earlier than usual with the intent to leave earlier than usual and had more time to pack. In the end, we stayed until closure time, as usual. From 10:00 a.m. to 6:40 p.m., over eight hours of sliding, queuing, climbing, swimming and whatever crazy activity you can do in such a place.
It goes without saying that once home the last thing I wanted to do it was packing and tidying up the apartment, but as I said above you gotta do what you gotta do. Let’s just say that I cleaned and tidied up much better than I packed.
Ever seen people packing in the movies? They threw the clothes in the bags still on the hunger and without folding them: that was me!

The morning of our departure, we all woke up battered and as red as a lobster, because no matter how much suncream you spread on you, you can’t win.
The flight home was fine, no delays and because I deep cleaned the house before I left, I knew that once home I only had to unpack and relax for the rest of the day waiting for Tesco man to deliver my shopping.
The beautiful image of me drinking a coffee on my yellow chair never became real. As soon we stepped in the house, we noticed the strange spots on the floor and a funny smell in the sitting room. A dead bird came down the chimney and died inside the house. Poor little thing you might think and that was what I thought too until I realised he had shitted all over the place. Then I could have strangled him with my own hands.


If that was not enough, when I went around the kitchen island to fill the bucket (and mop the bird’s poo), my shoes started to make a “patch patch” noise. The floor was covered in water that was running from underneath the fridge.
During the previous night storm, lightning hit our fridge and left it severely injured, and the following day the fridge man declared it officially dead.
Thankfully we had a small camp fridge and freezeer in the utility room where we can store first aid food supply until Tuesday when the new fridge will come.


What the feck? Is this the way to welcome Ortensia back? Or is it my punishment for having neglected the blog during the holidays?
I promise I am going back to my post a week as everybody knows that a post a week keeps away the freak.

P.S
Of course, my holiday’s adventure is not all here. But for more, you ‘ll have to wait next weekend.
In the meantime, have a wonderful week ahead.