EXPAT EXPERIENCES Guest post by Jill Pennington


Recently I met the most amazing fellow Yorkshire lass online. Her name is Jill Pennington and she is a single mum living in Italy with her three children. She has quite a story to tell... in fact she has written a book about her experiences, entitled The Diary of a Single Parent Abroad. I was so impressed by her tale that I asked her to write a guest post. So, here it is... over to you Jill! 
On my return to Italy from the UK, the lovely people who work for Ryanair decided my bag was far too big to fit on their plane and told me I would have to pay a £40 fee. I had only £12.50 in cash and a substantial supply of Cadburys chocolate, which I was not prepared to negotiate with. Weighed in at 9.8 kilos (the case not the Cadburys) so was within my weight limit but apparently too bulky.
After the initial panic, I started emptying my luggage, inhaling bars of chocolate and stuffing my lovely new M&S smalls in my already overstuffed pockets. Resembling something across between a scarecrow and a Michelin man as I added extra cardigans and jumpers. I was by now, sweating like a fat lass, in the 30 degrees heat of a normal British summer.
But I would not be beaten, and eventually made it to the plane tightly clutching my last few quid. Then me and everybody else on the flight repacked our cases and wondered what the flip that was all about.
I survived the flight and walked to Pisa train station with my heavy bag, managed to catch the right train and got off at right stop. I had the biggest fattest smile on my face as I danced down the road to my car. I just love coming home. I put my key in the ignition - Nothing, niente! So back up hill I wearily trudged to train station, no longer dancing or smiling.
Saturday is the local mechanics day off, but the man at the bar with one leg and a stick told me he had some jump leads. So he hobbled down to my car along with my other new best friend and we attached the leads. Unfortunately the Selotape that held the leads together was a little less sticky than it had been when it was first attached 25 years earlier, so we roped in a couple more pensioners and tried to push/jump it instead - still nothing.
At this point my very own collection of Tuscan pensioners decided that it wasn't the battery at all and it must have an empty petrol tank. I calmly explained in my 'fluent' Italian that the dashboard lights were not fuelled by petrol and as they were not functioning that it must in fact be the battery. So impressed that a mere female could know such a thing, they re-grouped and produced another set of jump leads. A glimmer of hope... but no the Fiat Panda on offer was reluctant to share. Just as the assembled pensioners had started the head scratching routine (that’s when you know things are really bad) a 'proper' car pulled up and attached his bumper to mine. (Not much damage!) Within minutes I had a live engine, and wanted to be on my way but Johnny one-leg thought I might want to give him a lift home. Bumper Humper saw my look of desperation and rescued me a second time, so I was off up the mountain and down the other side for a pizza and a glass of 'Pinot Grigio'
Extract from ‘The diary of a single parent abroad’/Jill Pennington.
Ebook here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/diary-single-parent-abroad-ebook/dp/B00871I0XS/
Paperback here: http://www.feedaread.com/books/The-diary-of-a-single-parent-abroad-9781781765456.aspx
Facebook blog: http://www.facebook.com/TheDiaryOfASingleParentAbroad
Twitter: Jillipen

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