Fascinating Force

We were due to set off for Force (pronounced For-chay) at around midday, so I spent my last morning in Petritoli trying on hats with sis (she was due to go to a wedding). The road up the Aso valley was quiet and we arrived at our writer friends from China’s house in good time. Great to be back here – we hadn’t visited since their wedding five years ago.


Hong Ying, the Mayor, Adam Williams, Clio Williams, and bridesmaid Sybil.

Adam and I grew up together in Hong Kong – I’ve known him practically my whole life. He’s a lovely man, a hugely talented writer, and my son’s godfather (I’m godmother to Clio, his daughter from his first marriage).

After parking in the church square, hubby and I made our way to the Palazzo dei Piaceri Celesti, named after Adam’s fabulous debut novel The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure.

Hong Ying made a mouth-watering meal for us, which we ate in the garden. She’s a wonderful writer, and I’d read her debut novel, K: The Art of Love, before I’d even met her.





Force is perched on a panoramic mountain, and its narrow streets climb steeply between old house fronts in mellow brick. Fascinating!


After lunch, we went for a stroll, then a drive to Ascoli Piceno, stopping off to take this pic of Adam and Hong Ying’s daughter, Sybil, with Force in the background.


Another delicious meal, with plenty of chat and wine, followed by a DVD The Grand Hotel Budapest. Tired, hubby and I fell into bed and, before we knew it, the church bells were ringing in the morning. After breakfast, we followed Adam’s car to Sybil’s riding school to watch her walk, trot and canter her pony. Then, tearful lumps in our throats, we said goodbye to our friends, who’ll be returning to China at the end of August. But, they’ll be back in Italy next summer and, hopefully, will visit us in the Veneto.

Our adventures in Le Marche over, the motorway beckoned and, gritting our teeth, we faced the journey home. Not so bad this time, thank God. Back at our little house, the cats looked up at us as if to say, ‘Where have you been?’ or, more likely, ‘It’s dinner time.’ Our lovely neighbours had been feeding them, but the four mouseketeers are always up for a bit more nosh. Life is so ‘dolce vita’, even for the cats, atΒ Douglas Bland Artist’s studio in Italy.


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