A Lancaster woman now living in Italy is the latest columnist to be joining the Guardian.
Carol Forster moved to Lecce to work as an English teacher last October with her husband James Eccles.
She will be writing all about her new life in southern Italy. entertaining Guardian readers with her light-hearted tales.
With mainly Irish ancestry, Carol was born in London but her family moved to Lancaster in the 1960s when her father started working at Lancaster University.
She attended Moorside County Primary School and then Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School in the 1970s.
Her love of Italy grew when she took Italian lessons in 1985.
She said: “My Italian evening classes back in 1985 proved interesting in more ways than one when Italian teacher Grizzly Graziella got replaced by Fab Francesco, who then became my first husband!
“Armed with a ‘ticket to the world’ TEFL qualification, I moved to Bologna in 1986 where I taught English privately, followed by seven months in Barletta, Puglia, at a private school.
“Later on I did a degree in Italian Studies at Lancaster University which saw me spending my year abroad in Siena – poor me!”
Returning to Lancaster in the 1990s, Carol did an MA in linguistics followed by a PGCE in English.
She subsequently spent several years working in local secondary schools before returning to Italy last year.
She said: “Italy remained in my blood and I’d always hoped to return one day, so when the time was right and the birds had flown the nest, I started to look for jobs in Puglia, which resulted in my current position, here in Lecce, as an English teacher.
“I arrived last October and I’m also currently working as a translator for a small local film company.
“It’s been a whirlwind of activity since I arrived!”
Carol is happily married to James Eccles, a writer from Cumbria, and also has a 21-year-old son who’s currently studying at university, as well as more furry family members!
And she has already settled into her new Mediterranean lifestyle.
She added: “I certainly don’t miss the leaden wintry skies of Lancaster, nor the normal copious layering of winter thermals, but I do miss a nice fish and chips supper from Hodgsons, my son and long walks along the canal with my husband.
“I’d also kill for a Tetley’s tea bag right now!
“I’m happy to report, however, that there’s the equivalent of Wilko’s here for all things toiletry, called ‘Aqua e Sapone’, which is literally soap heaven on the cheap!
“Over the coming weeks I hope to give readers an entertaining and light-hearted insight into life in the south of Italy, drawing on my observations and experiences here in Lecce.
“I also hope to make some trips to other parts of Puglia soon so readers may enjoy ‘travelling’ with me to other areas!
“I’ve always enjoyed reading about other people’s experiences and adventures abroad in the Lancaster Guardian, so when given the chance to share my own, I was more than happy to do so.
“I’ll really enjoy giving my fellow Lancastrians an insight into southern Italian culture too and, more than anything, hope to keep them entertained.”
n Read Carol’s column every week in the Guardian, beginning next week.