Funny isn’t it how when I tell people I live in Italy the first response is ‘you must like it in Italy then’ (I always think that is a doh moment – why would I live there if I didn’t like it?) and the second comment is ‘don’t you miss England?’. Well no, not really to be honest.
Don’t You Miss England?
I get asked a lot if I miss English television? No, I don’t miss it at all. I have sat in a hotel room in England with 80 TV channels and been unable to find anything worth watching. Mind you, we don’t have Italian television either. We have no television or radio at the house (I hear a gasp go up from the audience).
It is totally liberating to not be driven by the television and having to find other things to do with your time. Like talk to each other LOL. We play a lot of music and we seem to have a lot of time to get things done during a day – probably because we don’t spend four hours a night glued to the goggle box. I can get some art work completed in the evening (like this image ‘Radiance Pansies’ funnily enough a photograph from my Mum’s garden in England) and still have time for complete relaxation. We eat when we want to eat and not dictated by fitting around a TV programme. But that is more a lifestyle choice I guess rather than something I don’t miss from England?
Don’t I Miss English Food?
Don’t I miss the food? No, again not really. I think I have become very Italian in my observations on food and we do really follow a vegetarian Mediterranean diet without even thinking about it. We eat well and healthily. And yes we do have pizzas from time to time and nice Italian deserts. Who can go into one of the wonderful patisserie here without being tempted to sample something?
But when I get back to England sometimes it is quite difficult for me to find something simple to eat. Rather than eat in a restaurant I buy things from a supermarket and make my own meal. Or, believe it or not, I go to an Italian restaurant. I always thought it was funny when my Italian friends went to England and complained about the food. I remember one friend regaling the story of a full English breakfast with rolling eyes and everyone falling about laughing. The horror of eating all that food and baked beans as well for breakfast was the point he was making! Now I find I am just as bad!
I Don’t Miss The Traffic
The traffic is something else I really don’t miss. Anyone who has sat on the car park that is known as the M25 will sympathize with that! Unless there has been an accident there are few traffic jams here where we live. Go to the outskirts of Rome or Florence of course and that changes. But here things are laid back and hold ups are few and far between, with a low volume of traffic relatively. And where we live up the mountain we probably only get ten cars a day on the upper road most days. I have to say when I land at Stansted Airport and go outside, all the people and traffic are a bit of shock to my system!
What Do I Miss About England?
So what do I miss about England? I miss my parents obviously but up until COVID I visited them as often as I could. I now talk to my Mum every day on video as well as emails and the occasional telephone call. My Dad and I have a tradition of a morning text and occasional video chat.
I miss primroses and bluebells. How I used to love the carpets of blue in the woodland near where I used to live in Sussex. Also English cottage garden plants which are hard to get here. I miss a good Indian curry as it is an hour or so to drive anywhere here that can serve up a curry and when we have tried them we have been disappointed.
I miss being able to order a take away as we live in quite an isolated area. Particularly when it is pouring with rain. When we do want to have a pizza it would be nice to have someone deliver it to our door instead of having to go out and get it from a local restaurant.
That’s not much of a list though is it? And in exchange I have Italian wildflowers, wonderful local cheeses, our own olive oil, locally grown vegetables, peace and quiet and much more besides. It is a good life choice.
Originally published in 2016, this article was updated and republished 18 March 2022.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!