Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sotto Le Stelle 13 - Furniture, more windows, plastering

Nothing happens in August but before and after the holiday season progress has been made however no kitchen.

On the roof we have safety railings and a lovely stone wall to hide the very functional water tank.


Water tank

The bathroom has been given its final coat of cement and resin mix. Unfortunately it looks like the message about the colour had not got through to the plasterer. This (the lower part) doesn't look like white with a hint of grey to us. A conversation with Maria at the bathroom shop led to some remedial over-plastering. We will see how well that went next trip.

Waterproof walls

The windows were not installed in time but they did arrive while we were there. The frames went in first followed by the double glazing. The shutters were still to be fitted by the time we left.

Window frames

Because we thought the place was going to be weather tight we did not defer the furniture deliveries. We are now fitted out with double bed, sofa bed and extending table plus a day bed intended for the terrace. The beds we left in their wrappers pending completion of the works.


One last relax on the roof terrace on the eve of our return.


The kitchen was not ready to be fitted in time so we have to go back again in two weeks time - we really want to be there when the installation takes place.

A full set of pictures on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/markmclellan/sets/72157635854112373/

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Trullo Azzurro September 2013 - 02 Eating Out

After our South African guests left we caught up with our various ex-pat friends who live locally and went out for a couple of restaurant meals.

Thursday was Osteria Bell' Italia in Cisternino with Kath and Richard. Friday it was Pizzeria Pizz Birr in Locorotondo with the crowd.

Roland, Kath, Richard, Anthea (and out of shot: John, Chris, Mary)

Pizz Birr's signature dish is crisps (chips to Americans) - thin slices of deep fried potatoes. The real thing, not what comes in packets in the store. The anti-pasti also included stuffed, deep fried courgette (zucchini) flowers - you won't find that in the local Italian in the UK.

Meanwhile back at Trullo Azzurro the garden is turning out to be very productive. An unusual weed in the herb bed. That'll teach me to be careful where I spit my watermelon seeds.


A kilo of walnuts! After years of sulking our walnut tree has decided to give forth.


We also did a load of clearing out of the little sitting room and took delivery of a double bed in order to turn it into a second bedroom. This is in preparation for renting out the whole of Trullo Azzurro as a single property.

More photos on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/markmclellan/sets/72157635628027695/

Trullo Azzurro logoTrullo Azzurro: beautifully restored trullo in delightful, secluded valley near Locorotondo, Puglia, Italy. Available to rent on a per week basis, sleeps 8-10. For more information visit http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/trulloazzurro

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Trullo Azzurro September 2013 - 01 Eating in

This trip to Italy was a game of three halves: eating in with our South Arican guests, eating out with our ex-pat friends and sorting out Sotto le Stelle.

A work colleague of Mary's, Ezena, came to visit with her husband, aunt and uncle. They arrived in the UK on Friday so we took them for traditional fish and chips at Brady's.

Saturday it was off to Italy for four days for them, we stayed a full week.

We did the usual local itinerary to the nearby towns of Cisternino (to see the new apartment and Bar Fod), Locorotondo (for the market) and the obligatory World Heritage site of Alberobello (for an overload of trulli).

Japie, Claudie, Hendrik, Ezena, Mark (me), Mary

As always in Puglia there was lots of eating and drinking. Our guests preferred to eat at home rather than go out to restaurants. We stocked up on local produce and had lunches and suppers in our courtyard.

Typical Lunch

In South Africa the barbecue (or Braai) is a national obsession so we worked our way through pork, chicken and beef on different nights.

Henrick at the Braai (Barbecue)

For wine we bought a couple of five-litre containers of loose wine from Upal in Cisternino and made serious inroads into it - easy to do when it is very fruity and alcoholic.

Our guests left on Thursday to go back to the UK for a short trip to Scotland while we moved on to Trullo Azzurro  Part 2 - Eating Out with our local friends.

More pictures on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/markmclellan/sets/72157635541250624/

Trullo Azzurro logoTrullo Azzurro: beautifully restored trullo in delightful, secluded valley near Locorotondo, Puglia, Italy. Available to rent on a per week basis, sleeps 8-10. For more information visit http://www.holiday-rentals.co.uk/trulloazzurro

Friday, September 06, 2013

Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion at Ronnie Scott's

Tuesday 27-August-2013.

Becoming a member of Ronnie Scott's has been worth every penny: advance notice of artists who might be sold out by the time the general public get to hear and 20% off all bookings. We often go for the premium seating which allow us to be up close to some of the greatest performers in the world of Jazz. This is the other end of the spectrum from stadium rock.

And now another legend at Ronnie Scott's. Ginger Baker's Jazz Confusion: Ginger Baker - drums, Pee Wee Ellis - sax, Alec Dankworth - double bass, Abass Dodoo - percussion.

I only know of Ginger Baker from Disraeli Gears by Cream. That would not really help with pre-listening as he is really a jazz drummer not a rock drummer and an excellent one at that.

No photography allowed but Ronnie Scott's very kindly published an album on FaceBook. David Sinclair (http://www.jazzphotographs.com/) would not give permission to reproduce them here so follow the link to see the gig.

Certainly Mr Baker looked like he was having a good time and did not appear to be the grumpy man portrayed in the media.

One thing that struck me was how much Ginger kept looking at his fellow musicians so that he can keep in sync - it was a proper ensemble. This I could see because we were so close but next time I might not go for that particular right hand table when drums feature so prominently - Ronnie's stage is always laid out with piano on the left and drums on the right. I think you can really tell when some one is really into the music rather than in it for the money.

A short set from drum-led support act Fletch's Brew - a little unfair on them I thought given who was to follow. Then two good 90-minute sets from Jazz Confusion finishing about half ten. From the Evening Standard review last year it sounds like a repeat of his previous appearance here - and in a good way.