Monday, 2 November 2009


And the winner is!!!

I think the photos tell this story well enough! :) Btw, she's a fairy cat witch, if you were wondering....Which I'm sure you weren't!

The glasses were her prize! Unfortunately the string for the price had been left dangling as you can see! And, yes, she is still wearing her mask under them!!

Monday, 12 October 2009

Sunday School

A new vicar started at St. James's Church in Florence this Sunday. So the Sunday school and choir sang for him!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Year 3 - Final year in Materna!

School started again on Monday. New trainers but same everything else! Started well, half-day Monday while the comune got its act together re meals. Antonia bounced in to see her special friend Oliwa - prounounced Olivia but this is the Polish spelling as that is where she is from. Big hugs all around!

She came home with a lovely song all about the school rules! It was very well done and included one about how everyone is the same even if they speak two languages. I thought that was a good way to put it! Not you aren't Italian but you speak another language as well as Italian!

Ballet started again. I thought she would be in Grado 1 this year but it seems she has another year of Gioco danza. She seems fine with it but as there is only 1 other child there from last year and all the rest are new and much younger I think she will get bored repeating everything all over again. Or is this normal with ballet?? Em?!! Suppose you do have to keep practicing over and over but I thought she was ready for grade 1... We will see.

Anyway, this morning all went awry! As I was combing Antonia's hair I touched her forehead and realised she was burning up!! She seems fine but her temperature is around 38 so no school today! Consequently, I'm updating Facebook and my blog while watching "The Sound of Music" with Antonia! I wanted her to see the singing Nuns. Seems to be enjoying it so far!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Things We Can Do Now...

Since my last post Antonia has learnt to ride her bike without training wheels. It's amazing how far a little bribery will go! She learnt and her reward was a Transformer named Bumblebee....yes, she has an older brother! Currently she is obsessed with his old Transformers, of which he has many!

Her counting and adding abilities are really good considering she has only really done stuff at home with me. School, such as it is here at this age, has just started teaching her a few common words to write, like Mamma, Babbo, Sole etc. which she really enjoys doing. My task is to get her reading in English. We are finding her remembering the patterns that go with the names of the alphabet the biggest challenge - it is coming but slowly!

She got roller blades for her birthday, although not fast she can now get up without help and is slowly moving further and faster. Next I would like her swimming but that is more of a challenge without transport here - I was going to get a seat for my bike but when I looked at it it is way too low and she is too big!! My excuse anyway.

On Saturday she had a nasty fall in the Cascine. She looks like she has been in a car accident. She fell and nearly righted herself twice before completely going onto her face! Her nose took most of the impact, luckily it isn't broken, but then I think it is almost impossible to break at this age, but she did take a chunk out of the bridge and severely scrape the rest and below her lip, as well as biting her top lip - no pictures of this one! I have taken some but mainly so I can see how she is improving! We doused her in water thoroughly and disinfectant from one of the snack stands and then got in a taxi home. There we put here in a bath with the shower running - now I am applying Streptosil to try to reduce the scarring. There was no skin to stitch and we got all the grit out, so as she was hysterical at the thought of going to the hospital we didn't. Having gone through a few of these falls with Alex I know that all the hospital does is keep you sitting around for too long and then sends you off with instructions to do exactly what we did, so I have no concerns about not going, I have to be honest! Anyway, hopefully all will be well and she will be okay!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Monday, 2 March 2009


I realise this is a little late, but how cool is this! Dancing before the traditional parade in Piazza Pitti. Antonia is the one in the bright pink, stripey, peru-type hat and the dark green coat!!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Compleanno Italiano!

Now Antonia is making good friends with the children in her class at school I am finding a side effect of this is that we are getting invited to their birthday parties. Antonia is the only totally English child in her class. Everyone else is either Italian or has one parent that is Italian. Consequently parties are, shall we say, Italian style! Culturally they follow a similar pattern to British ones - games, entertainer, food, birthday cake. Where they differ, unfortunately, are not, to me, in ways that are better or even just different. 

The  main difference is that many parties start at 4.00 p.m. In the UK this would be fine, as it would also have a finish time, normally no later than 6.00 p.m. Here some guests, quite literally, are only just turning up then!! Also it isn't that unusual for the party to be on a Sunday, with school the next day. There is no way I can let Antonia stay at a party until gone 8.00 p.m. on a Sunday and expect her to get up for school with a smile on her face the following morning!! How everyone else's children do I have no idea. Why this is acceptable, I honestly cannot fathom. Answers on a postcard. Remember these are for 5 year olds not teens!

The other difference is that here children are given their presents and then open them straight away. In the UK normally presents are opened at home when all the guests have left and then "thank you" notes are written. I prefer this. It's what I am used to but also it means stuff doesn't get lost or broken, little friends don't abscond with things ( it happens!) and if you have bought the party child the wrong thing, you don't know about it! One party we attended the little boy was given some lovely clothes by one friend, he looked at them, then just ran off, with the friend's mother calling after him for his opinion! She looked pretty gutted by his reaction!

I am really happy Antonia is being included and I am getting to know other parents this way but I am also starting to realise I can't go to all of them and when we do, I have to be firm about when we leave!

As to Antonia having one this year......30 odd kids in the garden....really not sure. I just know they would all turn up too!

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Christmas Pictures.

Not all of these relate to school, but they do give you an idea of what we got up to before and during the school holiday!

Being a star, literally, in the school nativity play. This lasted 2 hours with an hour beforehand for them all to arrive and get ready! I've put the video of her bit on my Facebook page (Alyson Joy Long - I think I'm the only one!!) if you are interested.

End of term ballet recital. The hardest part for her was having to have a proper bun. As soon as she finished I had to remove all the pins holding it in place, it was hurting her that much! She was very enthusiastic though!

The AILO's Christmas Bazaar at the old stables near Porta Romana. Being an American event we ate burgers and hot dogs! They were very good though. There was also proper US crisps (chips) by Lays, which I've never had before. They were almost like Britain's Walkers, so they were good. I find most Italian crisps far too salty or highly flavoured! I tend to stick to Pringles or Kettle Chips because of this! It was a good bazaar and we came home with loads of bargains! The best was buying back a baby toy I had donated that nobody wanted, except Antonia of course who recognised it and hadn't realised I had given it away! As it had come from a fair in the first place I ended up paying more to buy it back than I paid for it in the first place! 

We went to see an Italian musical production of Pippi Longstocking, hence the pigtails! Antonia thought it was great. It was just the right length at an hour long. Also, for once, it was in the afternoon rather than the evening so we were out before tea. We went and had a Chinese as a treat. Unfortunately it was the Sunday the heavens opened and we had an enormous hail storm! We eventually got home about 8.00 p.m. having had to stay in the restaurant until it all calmed down!

Finally, Christmas Day! Antonia has been having golf lessons with a friend on and off since September. She decided she wanted a set of clubs from Father Christmas. Here she is practising with them on Christmas day!