Sunday, November 09, 2008

Phantom Neighbours.



When you live in a small village with international fame, you don't necessarily get to know your neighbours. You may overhear snippets of conversations or pick out a foreign accent from over the wall, but you may be just as likely to learn more about them from a third party. I heard something from a third party which really saddened me.

About five years ago, one of the properties was sold, with which we share a neighbouring wall. A construction company mysteriously appeared and the flat was gutted and completely redone. A pretty bench inlaid with tiles, a wood-fired pizza oven and BBQ adorned the patio. New floor to ceiling windows replaced the old ones in order to drink in the view and dichondra grass was planted between pavers for the finishing touch. The ancient bignonia creeper planted in the corner over fifty years ago, was pruned, but left to act as a pergola shade for both the two flats above the house.
The painters were in, the carpenters and tilers, then nothing for five years.

No one came. A local family had the keys to the house but were not caretakers, so the place became overrun.
In Sleeping Beauty style the climber grew and grew until it completely covered all the facade, windows and doors included. I don't know what the musty interior was like but mould and mildew must have been equally as rampant. Season after season, leaves and dirt piled high in the patio and the paint began to peel off the walls.

Until late last summer.
After years of silence, one day, my other half said that he had heard voices next door who seemed to be speaking in English. From the other side of the wall I discerned what seemed to be a young man with a New York accent and another woman speaking English with a foreign accent. They were very obviously sweeping out the patio of the rustling dried leaves.
'That's good', I thought, ' someone is finally taking charge of the place.'

Last week my other half was in Positano again. There was activity in the property once more and the painters were in. Asking about the owner, they informed my husband that the flat belonged to an American model who had the place refurbished. She then died without ever having used it.

Her parents going through her files came across the deed to the place which she had never mentioned owning. They had they discovered it only recently, five years on.

Shattered dreams. Isn't that sad ?

23 comments:

My Melange said...

so very sad

Leanne in Italy said...

That is sad. At least the family can take over the house and maybe it will be a nice memory for them.

Anonymous said...

REALLY sad
dollyna

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

So sad, I agree with Leanne, but sad that the lady didn't get to use it!

South of Rome said...

molto triste...

Confessions of Cleopantha said...

That is sad:(

Piccola said...

tragic. I wonder who the model was.

casalba said...

Gosh - that is sad. You've got me wondering about her too. Who she was, what her hopes were for the house... Shattered dreams, indeed.

Can't also help thinking where the town hall were sending the bills for rates, etc.

TattingChic said...

WOW, what a tragic story about the place next door! It makes for a fascinating story, sadly enough. Hopefully it will become a lovely haven for the family.

Cottage Smallholder said...

That's a brilliant post. Intriguing and still mysterious. Thank you.

Monika said...

Oh what a sad story! Wonder what kind of life she would have had if she had moved in there. That's the thing about life though right, you can't predict it.

Robyn said...

Lovely writing as usual. You transported me to the secret garden, pushing back the vines to enter the musty but beautiful rooms. It is a terribly sad story that leaves one wanting to know so much more.

Suzie said...

wow that is sad

'A Tuscan view.....from Umbria' said...

Sounds like the beginning of a great novel! In reality it's really very sad, I wonder why nobody in her family knew about it? Intriguing.
Thanks for the kind words on our blog, it's always lovely to get your comments. Have a good weekend. amanda

Tui said...

Oh, that is sad... and also moving to think of the vine reclaiming that forgotten property.

I agree with Amanda, it would make an intriguing novel/movie opener because it raises so many questions, like why had she never mentioned owning this place? Was she in need of a retreat? Let us know if you learn anything more.

~Tui

p.s. Thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

Saretta said...

Poor girl!

Linda Crispell said...

Imagine finding out that someone you lost had a home that you weren't aware of.

Cherrye at My Bella Vita said...

That is very sad ... it gave me chills. :-(

joe@italyville said...

wow... sad but a very interesting story. I wonder how many situations just like that that people never find out about.

Braja said...

That is a sad story...

Hey have you met Louisa over at Carmine Superior? Check her out; she's also an expat (US) living in Italy...lovely blog...

http://carminesuperiore.blogspot.com/

suzinoz said...

What a story. I'm with a Tusxan View...sounds like the beginning to a good novel.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

wow. very, sad. I wonder why nobody (friends/family) knew about the house.

Of course I wonder who the model was too.

I agree with Amanda...it could be the opening of a novel.

Louise said...

What a terribly sad story...