I don’t really care how people voted in the referendum, because we all have different perspectives and reasons for making the decisions we do. There is no such thing as a right or wrong referendum result, it’s just a result. I don’t want to chat to the ‘other side’ about their decision vs. mine, because that way all hell ensues and as I’ve read many times friendships can break over this question.
Unfortunately for us, the referendum now has real, unimagined consequences. Pre -referendum our life plan was to live more or less half and half between Italy and the UK. Being an EU citizen meant we could achieve that with little impact on our lives in either country.
But sadly no more, we have to choose between two countries we love. In the new post B world we can only stay in Italy as part of the Schengen Area for 90 days in any 180, and it’s a rolling period. So we can’t disappear to a non EU country say Switzerland for a couple of days and re-set the clock. This Schengen rule means 90 days here, 90 days there. Or we could do one month here, one there. Maximum – oh and that uses up all your EU Schengen Area allowance, so no extra trips to France for wine, or Holland to see our friends. Bum. And gardens with cherries, figs, olive trees and vines don’t wait for you to be back in the country before growing. Put it another way, we can choose Spring and Autumn or Summer and Winter, but we can’t bookend the 90 days so that we have a six month ‘block’ here.
I do not ask nor expect any sympathy – we are second home owners who very, very luckily can afford this semi-nomadic lifestyle. But it’s decision time, which country and which lifestyle do we want and can we afford? My initial strategy was of the wait and hope variety. Canvassing friends in similar situations, some like me are waiting and hoping, others are just going to live with the Schengen rules, others are pursuing EU citizenship. Friends in London have researched their heritage and found that due to relatives settling in Portugal many years ago (running away from the Pogroms) they are entitled to a Portugese passport. No such luck on the JCR/Mr JCR front. His exotic lineage as far as we know extends to Wales, mine does have a Russian connection (Pogroms again), but I don’t think a Putin linkage is going to get me a European passport. I’m guessing Russians will be marginally less popular than British folk, when it comes to the EU handing out passports post Brexit conclusion.
Now we are having a meeting with an English commercialista (kind of accountant). We are not so English that he has to be English, but to decide to move here requires us to understand the financial consequences of arriving here, being taxed whilst we live here and the impact of moving back to the UK (which we will do one day).
The commercialista therefore needs to know both Italian and UK taxation, the dual taxation treaty clauses etc etc etc. Once we know the ins and outs, we have to decide to be in or out. And in truth I’d like to be both, to have my proverbial cake and eat it.
This morning’s run started much earlier, thanks to Mr JCR’s rather aggressive alarm setting tactic – it went off at 6am (this was planned and with JCR agreement – it’s just in my mind any alarm setting is aggressive!) Finally after a bit of faff and coffee, I was out just after 7am with the temperature a cool 26 degrees! Being ‘out’ at this time of day is nice and quiet, there’s more shade to be had, but you often get more commuting traffic for a workday start time of 8am. Mill Lane was all in shade and I passed unnoticed into Lovers’ Lane. The barking beagles nowhere to be seen, and my only company was the chirruping of cicadas. That’s also a worrying sign, they usually come to life in the heat of the afternoon, but with temperatures rising, they are out and about early too. On my route back to Mill Lane, Iron Man and his dog came out of the olive fields. We made our customary greetings and I carried on.
The Slope of Hope was very still and then wham, four cars all in a row sped past me – this is LA style freeway traffic levels in our village. I crossed over to make my way to Laundry Lane as usual (yes my run is predictable, but until the temperature eases a little that’s the way it will stay) and leapt out of my skin as a juggernaut passed close by. The road narrows as it approaches the old village and it can only really be considered roomy enough for two way traffic if one is a car and the other a bike, or maybe a three wheeler Ape. The narrowing of the road also channels the sound waves – hence my mini leap into the air.
In Laundry Lane, I passed our friends’ house R and P, who arrive from USA, for a few weeks in their family home. The garden was all pristine and perfect for their return. My thoughts turned back to the in/out question. On days like today it’s clear that here is a lovely place to be, we have space, gorgeous weather, we can get to the sea within minutes, it’s not polluted, we have friends here – all the ingredients for a perfect life. To be in Italy is like living the Dolce Vita everyday. And so I am running thinking about being in and out.
In my perfect life, the EU and Boris will have a chat (maybe a tad more formal) and agree that they both like the JCR family so much that they are prepared to come to a compromise which means out of all the commercial considerations the JCR clause comes into effect, allowing JCR to have cake and eat it!
In my running mind I am consolidating after C25K and I should be improving my lot. The reality is the heat is killing my progress and I’m actually going backwards on both time and distance measures. This is our Brexit situation to a T. To enjoy all that Italy offers, means a significant detachment to our metropolitan London living lifestyle we’ve enjoyed for 15 + years. If we accept Schengen rules, it will be like when we were working and could only be occasional visitors here, a likeable anomaly, but not locals. If we live here, we will become London visitors – not quite as likeable nor anomalous to those locals.
This dilemma is also encapsulated in my running route – some of it is pleasant shade and some scorching sun, both of which are perfectly lovely in context, and I love being in both places, although sometimes it can be uncomfortable. And in a running sense of having my cake and eat it, I want to run in the heat but not get overheated.
My run ended up with me still wanting to be in and out, in Europe and out of London when we want to be. I think our plain speaking Yorkshire man commercialista may be telling me the way to go.
I finished my run having done just over 4.5kms – just a tad more than Tuesday and the temperature had risen another couple of degrees, so I decided I’d actually track the walk back home, to see how much I’d have to do if I tried to run it all. It would be another 1.3kms but with an elevation gain of 61 metres on just that bit – see the MMR pic for how horrid it is in full sun! Ouch, maybe that will wait until the Autumn and maybe by then we will know for sure if we are in or out.
On my final trek up the hill, I met a young lady dog walker with a very sociable dog I think she called it Atlanta. Now that’s an inspirational name for a pooch. Atlanta do you have any ideas on whether we stay in the EU and become Italian residents or stay out and leave Italy with pleasant memories of la dolce vita?
Time – still too embarrassing to record
Yes – but still no pelvic thrusting or Bridges as I still haven’t bought a yoga mat
Jump Rope – 2 sets of 17 skips and it just got worse from then on…
Best track – Gangsta’s Paradise by Coolio, because it’s Italy and we do live in a paradise, it’s just that the gangsters are somewhere else…