The two years running up to the completion of the snake house were a bit of a blur.
I do, remember when Will and I flew over to visit Enzo and the site in June 2005. It was unusually hot for the time of year. It is normally around 24-29 degrees, but we had arrived in a 40 degree heatwave. We drove straight to the building site and felt terribly bad for the builders working in this insane heat. We weren’t working and yet it was the kind of day where you felt like you needed at least three cold showers. Anyway, we went straight to the shop in the village and bought the builders cold beers and gelati. They liked us a lot.
After a couple of hours on site with Enzo, we left for Caramanico Terme where we were extremely glad to check in to the Hotel Cercone. We headed straight for their wonderful pool, and spent the afternoon swimming and sunbathing on their terrace. We met a funny little Italian boy of around seven, who told us he loved English music, especially Barry White and George Michael!! I think his command of the English language was better than our Italian back then.
We had had an early start that day and I felt a little under the weather that evening when we went down to the restaurant. Now, I have to tell you that I can’t eat raw tomatoes, which is crazy for a self-confessed italophile. Cooked tomatoes, fine, but raw or barely cooked make me very ill. Anyway, after our antipasti and two glasses of montepulciano, I foolishly decided that I would have some of the pasta with basil and (barely cooked) tomatoes for my primo piatto. It was delicious, but sure enough about thirty minutes later I felt ill. Will wanted to go for a walk and thought some fresh air might help. He was really, really keen that we go for a walk. No, I was adamant that I needed to leave, right then. I scurried up to our room and was really ill. Will went for a walk and then I slept for England.
The following morning, I felt fine. It was a glorious day, the weather had cooled and the sky was blue. Will was acting rather peculiarly as I stood on the balcony looking at the mountains. Suddenly, he got down on one knee and proposed! I said ‘Are you serious?’, Will said ‘Yes!’ and so I said ‘Yes!’, then cried, then phoned my Mum, then text my friends! We went shopping for a ring that day in Pescara. We found a lovely family-run, independent jewellers, where I chose a ring very quickly. Will told me if I hadn’t of been ill the night before, he would have proposed to me whilst walking through Caramanico (hence the keeness to go for a walk the prior evening). I really mucked that up didn’t I!
That evening we went out to celebrate. The night had a magical feel to it. The sky was an inky blue, the air was warm with a lingering smell of lemons and perfumed flowers and the cobbled streets of Caramanico had tea-lights, fairy lights and candles everywhere. The shops were open and there were stalls selling fabulous local crafts and foods. We found our favourite bar, but as we toasted our engagement with prosecco, it dawned on us that we needed to plan our wedding and we both knew we wanted to marry in Italy. The next year would prove to be a trying time what with the wedding and house.