The first drive to our new home, just before the Mont Blanc Tunnel
A happy couple and contented dog, lost in his thoughts
First Christmas with Louise and Lawrence and that lunch smells delicious
Taken the very first time we met Todo, the smile never left his face
Evidence of Carol was everywhere, including the many luggage keys, telling the tales of her travels
Poggiolino, the house we bought because of its dog
‘Buy the house, buy the dog!’
With those words ended the first meeting, on the first day, of our quest to find a new home in Tuscany, the place we’d adored for many years. And, sure enough, at that viewing, there was the said dog, soon introduced as Todo by Signora Teresa who’d served as housekeeper to the previous owner, American Carol MacAndrew, for thirty years. After his mistress’s death in summer 2005 he had refused all encouragement to go and live with Teresa and her family, choosing instead to remain at the home he’d shared with his beloved Carol for ten years. His lonely wait would continue almost two years until we met him. It was as if he knew that one day the right people would come along, buy his neglected house and give him back the life he had enjoyed there before.
Poggiolino wasn’t the most immediately appealing property and besides, who buys the first and only house they see even in their own country let alone a new and foreign one? But it had a story and a history with the hint of magic to come. Most of all, it had Todo whose spirit hadn’t been in the slightest bowed by the lack of a companion for so long. Scruffy, yes; in need of a restoration of his own, yes. Yet that enchanting smile was impossible to resist and the thought of him called us back for a second viewing the day later. On the third day we made an offer. By the time we arrived back in London twenty-four hours later that offer had been accepted and Todo – along with his house, Poggiolino – became ours.
And so begins a new and very different chapter in our life, wherein we obtain a close up and personal view of Italian life; face the challenge of continuing to run our small music agency; are welcomed by some of the warmest and most genuine neighbours; meet royalty, renowned musicians and artists.
More importantly, in return for giving Todo a second chance in the home he loved so much he refused to leave, we are rewarded by the greatest support and companionship we could ever have wished for.