Although we haven't lodged our application, it's looking more and more certain that we'll leave sometime in the northern hemisphere winter. There's no sign of the financial situation improving (indeed I just learnt that income tax is not taken from my salary automatically - so I'll have a big tax bill very soon), so the sooner we get started on our new path the better.
But there are lots of things we need to do before we leave. We agree that we'd like the house to be occupied in our absence - someone to keep an eye on it at least. We're not sure whether to rent it out on a long-term or holiday basis. There'd be a small demand for either, but consensus seems to be that short term is less risky because of the rights of tenants in Italy. Anything other than holiday lets here is called a "four by four" - i.e. it lasts 8 years and is reviewable only after 4 years. Owners can have a lot of difficulty, I'm told, in evicting unwanted tenants. On the other hand, it would mean that someone was inside during the winter months, which is when disasters like burst pipes etc. tend to happen. Meanwhile, holiday lets would be more work, and probably bring less income.
Before leaving, regardless of who, if anyone, we let it to, I'm determined to finish a lot of loose ends. There are many. A tricky job here, a lick of paint there, getting the last internal doors, fixing a bannister, and taking rust of ironwork.... It's all time-consuming and neither of us have much desire to do it. However, it will mean leaving the house in good shape rather than a nagging problem.
Assuming everything is in order with our application, it'll finally be submitted on Tuesday. I'm hoping Ross can be my delegate to both collect the medical cert and then take the application in person to the Embassy. I don't fancy trusting my passport to the Italian post if it's not necessary!
Meanwhile, the rain has stopped, the scirocco (warm sahara wind) is blowing, the sun is shining and here's a pretty red admiral (C, S, O, E & M - this is on your front step!).