Posts Tagged ‘Writing’

One last look back…


I have spent the last week (in between toddler wrangling, domestic chores and sweating attractively due to the ghastliness of a humid summer) reading all that I have posted since this blog began in March 2010.

And as Status Viatoris was created, in part, to document my experiences on moving to Italy, this nostalgic little journey was made even more interesting by the fact that I am now beginning my preparations to leave.

Having weeded out those posts that in retrospect only existed to fill writers’ block-induced lapses in content, I am still left with almost 300 accounts of this and that. Not a massive amount for a blog over six years old, but certainly enough to keep the memories alive.

So in honour of these last six plus years – to remind me of the wonderful times I have had in Italy whilst reassuring me that leaving is the best decision for me and my little family, I have decided that I will re-post a selection of past writing for old times’ sake.

I shall call them “Tired Old Tales for Tuesdays”.

Consider yourselves warned.


Straightening Records


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

It was pointed out to me yesterday that my previous blog post could possibly be construed as an attack on my future mother-in-law, as well as being very offensive to those who set great store in an invisible sky fairy a god.

Firstly I would like to clearly state that any woman capable of producing a man as wonderful as Tigger, most certainly gets my vote. But that does not change the fact that I have always tried to write about myself, my life and the people in it with humour, and I do not feel that my in-laws should be any more exempt from that treatment than my ovaries, for example.

Secondly, it is an indisputable fact that I am often rude about religion. I am rude about a lot of things, but being rude about people’s religious beliefs is for some inexplicable reason considered to be beyond the pale.

Personally I think that making even a half-hearted attempt to emotionally blackmail your son over his wedding plans is also beyond the pale, but there we go – when it comes to someone’s religious beliefs we are just supposed to just humour the believer and assume that they know no better.

If a woman wants to attend Mass three times a day then of course, that is up to her. I may feel that her time would be a lot better spent reading a good book, playing silly games with her grandchildren or admiring the beauty of the world around us, but it is her life, not mine.

But religion is sadly not something that is confined to simple personal choice. It still attempts to use a guise of moral superiority in order to force its controlling nature on others: women’s reproduction, women’s sexuality, the love between consenting adults, children’s education, government policy, scientific fact and indeed almost every other step of human life.

But on what authority? On books written by a myriad of anonymous writers thousands of years ago? Books that contain more gratuitous cruelty, intolerance and bloodshed than even the best gory thriller…

Religion is no more a guide to morality than The Big Bang Theory is a science documentary. If it was, there would be more than 0.1% Atheists/Agnostics in US jails.

Non-religious countries would boast violent crimes rates superior to religious ones.

And the murderous Inquisitions, the evils of slavery and the Holocaust – to name but the tip of the religious-atrocities iceberg – would not have been carried out by those convinced they were acting with “God” on their side (all of this long after the “discovery” of the supposedly pacifistic and loving New Testament).

So yes, I proclaim it my right to be rude about religious belief.

I also proclaim it my right to complain very loudly about its undue influence in the lives of those who do not chose it.

After all, not only has religion shown itself to be the very antithesis of morality, but there is also not an atom of proof that even one god exists, let alone the plethora of deities that control the lives of so many.

But luckily for all concerned; Belligerent Atheist is not all I am in the same way that Faithful Catholic is only a part of who my future mother-in-law is, and I am sure that we will find plenty of other things to share in the years ahead – not least our love for a very loveable man…

This is Status Viatoris, who was herself shown up (but not offended) this morning for not having read enough about climate change – the pursuit of knowledge is what makes the world go round, in Italy.

Popping Out From Behind the Fandango…


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

… to say HAPPY NEW YEAR!

A bit late, I know, but I wanted to see Mallorca through to its natural conclusion before breaking the spell 😉

I imagine the sudden change in subject from Current Life in Italy to Distant Past in Spain may have come as a bit of a surprise to some, especially as I chose not to usher it in with even the smallest parp of a fanfare.

In fact posting the book chapter by chapter on Status Viatoris was an idea that came to me in the dead of night whilst I was mulling over a lack of success in locating my blogging mojo; and in typical SV fashion, no sooner had the thought popped into my head than I found myself seated expectantly before the computer in my pyjamas…

Although I had long since resigned myself to never making a peso from An English Fandango (unless the clamour for an e-book reaches intolerable decibels, natch), I find I do regret choosing the point of lowest reader traffic in my blogging journey so far to launch it into the bogglesphere.

It feels as though I’ve let it down somehow, and, despite the relief of finally having made a decision about its destiny, I can’t help but worry that I am ill-prepared for the possibility of seeing my little creation sink into oblivion without even a small flurry of bubbles to mark its passing…

Oh the ego is a terrible thing, so it is!

So, 2012 has been and gone since we last spoke, and I for one was a little sad to see it leave.

Because without causing a flap or creating a fuss, it turned out to be a pretty fabulous year for me (poorly Pooches notwithstanding): the house, all bar the leaky roof, is finished; I seem to have landed myself with a highly entertaining business venture; English-teaching is turning out to be a lot more satisfying than I found it nine years ago; I have spent the last two months being paid to translate descriptions of thrilling things to do in Kenya; An English Fandango is slowly being released from the prison of its word document; my relationship with Tigger is growing – although the last time I wrote something similar that part of my life temporarily went tits up – and my previously incorrigible itchy feet are now made conspicuous only by their absence.

Challenged and yet content, ferociously busy and yet fulfilled: it’s only taken thirty-five years for me to be able to cautiously stick my bonce over the parapet and declare that I might, just might, be settled.

And as I doubt very much that I would have been able to reach that point without the increase in confidence gained from the writing of this blog, and most especially from the encouragement and affection of so many of its readers, I want to thank you all hugely for sticking  with me over the last thirty-three months and 328 posts.


This is Status Viatoris, wishing all SV readers, their families, friends and loved ones much health and happiness in 2013 – take care of each other and make every day count, in Italy.

P.S An English Fandango – Granada will have its first airing on Monday 14th January. Don’t miss it!

Time Management Can Be Tricky…


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

…when you don’t have a boss to tap his watch and glare at you sternly.

Being my own boss, I am rather more inclined to throw myself an indulgent smile and comfortingly murmur, “Take your time. There’s no rush; life is to be enjoyed don’t you know.”

And although I usually manage to rise promptly from my slumbers at seven o’clock – any earlier feels like a crime against all that is right and natural – it tends to be also the exact moment at which my interest in timekeeping fades.

A bit of yoga, the consumption of breakfast whilst perusing the news, getting washed and dressed; all these minor activities somehow unfailingly preclude me from leaving the house until after 9h.

Bugger me if I know where the time goes. (Turn of phrase. Please don’t.)

There follows an approximately three-kilometre walk around the village, which takes in the region of 35 to 40 minutes.

Or at least that is how long it would take if it wasn’t for the profusion of friendly faces with whom to exchange news and views along the way.

(At the moment we are all about the weather, here in My Little Italian Village. Those who claim an obsession with discussing meteorology to be a purely British trait, are grossly misinformed).

Pooch and I pop into a bar on our way home for a quick cappuccino and a catch-up on local gossip.

But then someone we know might pole up, and it would be only natural to offer them a caffè. If the nattering goes on long enough, they will eventually return the favour.

And before long it is dangerously past 11h, I am at least three cappuccini down, and I still haven’t written a single word.

Thus we continue the journey home, where I feed Pooch, before settling down in front of the computer; quite brimming over with purpose and good intention.

At 13h, a  rumbling crescendo starts to indicate that it may well be time for a soupçon of lunch.

At 15h, a crescendo of grumbling starts to indicate that the previously supine heap on the sofa reckons it may well be time for another walk.

So off we set.

We might be two-thirds of the way round, when a small puppy pops out of a property to bounce up and down in front of Pooch’s unimpressed nose. So intent is it on capturing Pooch’s resolutely averted attention, that it continues to bounce merrily alongside us as we carry on our way.

So we have no choice but to return to the property and inform the owner of his puppy’s fruitlessly misplaced affections, at which, this rugged man of the land promptly invites me in for a drink; no refusals brooked.

A  convoluted putting-to-rights of the world ensues – people need to get back to basics, people are too materialistic, people no longer feel a connection to the natural world, hunters are evil shysters whose crap smells atrocious… can’t quite remember how we got onto that particular subject.

Anyway, before long it is dangerously close to 18h, I am half a large bottle of home-made wine down, and still nowhere close to reaching my writing deadline.

So we hot foot it zigzaggly home, where I feed Pooch (again), before settling down in front of the computer; quite brimming over with purpose, good intention and fermented grape juice; and proceed to tap away with cross-eyed, panicky concentration until pumpkin hour or deadline are reached.

I may one day get the hang of managing my time more efficiently, but in the meantime I shall take note of my boss’s wise maxim:

Life is to be enjoyed, don’t you know 😉

This is Status Viatoris, who would certainly perish if she was ever obliged to return to the level of timekeeping required  by the average employee 😮 , in Italy.

250th Status Viatoris Blog Post!


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

An achievement to be celebrated, or a rather embarrassing testament to an obsession for self-promotion?

Unsurprisingly, it is not a question I find myself wishing to examine too closely; the act of writing, and its motives, being a difficult one to categorise.

Only recently have I started describing myself as a “writer”, to those who care to ask.

I may have felt myself to be a “writer” for many years, indeed, wished it more ferociously than I have ever wished for anything, but no matter how much time one spends writing, even writing well, one only truly becomes a “writer” the moment someone, anyone, is prepared to lay down money in exchange for our words.

Thus by virtue of penning informative articles for British people wishing to relocate abroad, I have achieved through banality what more literary endeavours repeatedly failed to deliver.

Status Viatoris blog is now entering into its 23rd month of existence.

And what began as a creative exercise – with the naive hope that it may also in time become a source of income – has now taken on a life all of its own.

I sometimes find myself viewing it (fancifully, I know) as a demanding child: exhausting me with its needs, but whilst all the time developing its very own individuality and charm.

And can’t help but confess to being as curious as the next person to see what it will mature into!

I am certainly proud of the number of regular readers Status Viatoris blog has accumulated over the last two years, without whose cheery and supportive input I am not convinced it would still be running.

Unpaid writing is one thing.

Unappreciated writing; a far sadder state of affairs.

But building up a blog readership large enough to lead to other things is no easy task. And judging by the figures displayed by other blogs I dip into, one that I do not by any means excel at.

Networking – repeatedly visiting lots of other blogs and websites to leave witty and informative comments – would, I am told, be a way forward, but I struggle with the accompanying feelings of insincerity, as well as resenting the time-consuming nature of the activity.

Choosing a particular category for the blog would be another way to help focus on a source of readership. But I want to take advantage of this small platform to write about ALL the things that inspire and define me – Italy, languages, culture, Spain, travel, relationships, atheism, France, humour, wildlife, my love for Pooch, depression, writing, weight struggles, renovations…

Good luck categorising THAT lot!

But despite having to resign myself to the fact that Status Viatoris blog is never going to be an answer to financial independence,  I am hugely grateful for everything else it has brought into my life.

The chance to hone my writing skills, the confidence to start editing my other work for e-publication and tackle a fictional novel, even the ex-pat articles that ironically led to my being at last able to tag myself with my dream job title; they would all have been vastly more daunting without it.

So, dear SV readers, as it is my sincere hope that these 250 blog posts (1,154 Twitter tweets and endless Facebook photos and other titbits) have served to entertain or inform in some way or another, I shall attempt to keep it up for a little while longer!

Question for the day: why do necklace chains always turn into birds’ nests after having be laid out separately in the bottom of your jewellery box, and when, to the best of your knowledge, said jewellery box hasn’t been subsequently subjected to a spin cycle?

Please feel free to respond to this with perplexing everyday questions and answers of your own.

This is Status Viatoris, going off to bake her blog a big chocolate cake. What’s that? Blogs don’t have digestive tracts? Oh dear, may have to help it out then 😉 in Italy.

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Ok, so I missed the actual day, but I am still finding it hard to believe that a whole year has passed since this first post. To celebrate (and also because due to a technical hitch I’m having to copy and paste every time I need the letter “a”) I will simply be posting some of the photos I have taken during my time in Italy. Normal chatty posting will resume just as soon as I get my “a” back!

Flying the flag in Rome…

The Eternal Flame in the Eternal City


Romanes eunt domus… 😉

Bologna La Grassa

Bird’s eye view

Neptune by night

Last but not least… my Italian village.

This is Status Viatoris, celebrating one whole year and 176 posts’ worth of blogging! In Italy!

Arriverderci Blighty!


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage


SV and Pooch are on the move again.

This time the mothership is coming along to supervise, so we shall endeavour to watch our Ps & Qs, limit our junk food intake, employ more complimentary language when addressing other road users and above all, not run amok on the ferry.

Being risponsibul is sooooo boring.

If this morning, at around 9am GMT, you hear a ginormous bang, do be sure to take cover. I will have squeezed just one last indispensable item into my crammed-to-the-gunwales Fiat Punto, and it will almost certainly have been an indispensable item too far. The resultant shrapnel of  twisted Italian banger and indispensable items will be enough to annihilate the population of a small market town.

This two-day journey is the first step in my brand new and exciting life; a life that will involve the successful and problem-free exchange of largish property in a  small French village for a smallish property in a larger Italian village. Subsequent to that will be the neat and orderly regrouping of my worldly (and indispensable) possessions into just one apartment, as opposed their current and chaotic scatterdom over three different countries. By that point I will have slimmed down to about 50kilos…

…unrealistic? You think? You’re probably right; there’s no way the supercilious turd French notaire will allow me a problem-free sale. Oh well, a girl can dream.

So I’m probably best concentrating on those things in my brand new and exciting life that I do have some control over; work, for example.

And thanks to a wonderful lady who very kindly dangled this blog before suitable eyes, I have been offered some regular freelance writing work. It will be for a currency exchange company that also writes blogs, articles and property guides for British nationals moving or purchasing abroad. I will tell more as soon as I know more, but it seems to be a wonderful opportunity and I am greatly looking forward to getting started. Thank you Gianna, Kim and  Becks!

Another potential source of income may lead from a recent approach by a translation agency in Milan (PLEASE NO BOOKS, ARTICLES, WEBSITES, PAMPHLETS, OR INDEED ANY SINGLE WRITTEN WORD PERTAINING TO A RELIGION (organised or otherwise), SPIRIT WORSHIP (except the liquid sort) OR  ANY PREHISTORIC CLAPTRAP DESIGNED TO PERPETUATE IGNORANCE, TO MORALLY ENSLAVE, OR TO REMOVE A HUMAN BEING’S ABILITY TO DRAW HIS/HER OWN CONCLUSIONS, THANK YOU), so I am hopeful that a few secular translation scraps will also been thrown my way.

Any time left over not spent in bare-knuckle combat with supercilious turd, will be taken up plodding through the (distinctly cobwebby due to lack of attention) journalism course. Then, and only then, will I at last be qualified enough to regurgitate uneducated, misspelt, bigoted, grammatically-ambiguous, celebrity-obsessed bile at a page, and flog it to that most esteemed of rags; the Daily Mail.


Ummmm… Mummy, sorry to fuss, but is any of this likely to topple over and cwush me?

This is Status Viatoris, riding along in her automobile, Pooch jammed so tight he can barely squeal… See you on Thursday, Italia!

UPDATE: I never did finish the bloody journalism course.

Spinning That Medicine Wheel


status viatoris – being ‘on the way’/being in a state of pilgrimage

Sixty-three thousand eight hundred and thirty words.

Two and a half months.

I have finished the translation.

I am exhausted.

It was a surreal experience, not least due to the subject matter. Spirit guides, dream bodies, power shields and trips to the fifth dimension are topics that would usually have me rolling my eyes in derision, so trying to write about them with the intensity and conviction of the original author was extraordinarily taxing.

There were moments that felt as if I was making what could only be a doomed ascent to some unreachable peak; just a lonely demise, preceded by a touch of digit-severing frostbite, to look forward to.

But then, with a final push, not much sleep, endless cups of tea and a lot of rude words muttered at the computer screen (or the dog, as he hovered anxiously in the hope that somebody might one day notice him again), it was over.

Am I pleased with the end result? That is a difficult one. But I do know that despite my total lack of knowledge/belief in the subject, the vagaries of the writing style, and the fact that I was supposed to be translating into American English (hopefully trash, hemorrhoids and y’all will cover that one 😉 ), I did the best I could.

I can now switch the television back on,  participate in fun stuff and even make the occasional plan on a whim, all without the now familiar feeling of guilt threatening to rise up and choke me.

I am free. Free from misplaced commas. Free from sentences the length of newspaper articles. Free from visions and power animals. Free from shamanism.

Whoopee blooming do!

This is Status Viatoris, fingers firmly crossed that the next translation is a little more edifying, in Italy.

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