Design Week – the parties, the exhibitions, the fun of it all.

The weather is quite nice now. Not really hot but warm and then, in the evening, pleasant – but you need a light jacket or coat.

That was certainly one reason why, when I arrived, the place was heaving. In fact, I’ve never seen it so full.

Obviously, I know a lot of people now so it took us a while to get to a place to grab a drink. At the start, S hung on my coat tails but, after a while she relaxed.

The shop looked great and F had done a really good job although people would “touch” things and move them out of place and that irritates F. There were four stunningly nice chairs onn hooks on the large wall they have and on one of the bottom chairs, F had placed a bird (it was a theme). Some guy who looked like he had come straight from a Harry Potter film set as one of the teachers of the school – long, slightly crazy white hair, beard and glasses – had just reached up to the bird and dislodged it. We watched him as he tried to put it back on the chair. He couldn’t. He laid it on the chair and, with F seething, we watched him look around, trying to work out if someone had noticed. He looked and, almost certainly felt, very guilty.

We eventually got a drink from a roving waiter and picked up food as it came round. S was introduce to everyone that I talked to.

F told her she looked very elegant, as he does to almost all females. So, even today, all I am hearing is F said this; F said that!

Anyway, she loved it. She felt more special, I know. I remember when I used to feel like this all those years ago (before F). Now, I’m just interested in finding really nice people that I can become friends with. Not because I’m looking for friends, you understand, just because it’s nice meeting new people who are intelligent, funny, experienced and, with any luck, have something really interesting about them. Still, all the people that S met were, so she said, very nice. Of course, F was the best and she kept on about his trousers and how I should get some the same which, of course, I won’t, since I don’t really do trousers unless they are part of a suit!

We wandered about and chatted with all these people. Colleagues of F, friends of ours who came, other people that I know that are friends of F’s or his colleagues or used-to-be colleagues. Even our (my) old neighbour came.

At 8, people were still trying to get in and soon after they stopped people because they started to clean up. Si had arrived late and she and I stood outside; waiting for F who was polishing all the glass table and cabinet tops and resetting everything that had been touched and moved, ready for today. S left as she had her daughter to collect. But you could tell that she really wanted to come with us.

Then, we walked down to Via Tortona and a street that ran parallel. There were crowds and crowds of people and, as we commented later, it’s a nicer crowd during Design Week, more relaxed than during Fashion Week. Obviously, there were the people with the strange idea about dress – a little bit quirky or downright weird. But it is more casual, in general.

We met up with F’s best colleagues and visited some places that were open (most were open) including the studio of L’s sister, B who is very, very nice.

Everyone is “wowing” about the designs she does. I’m agreeing but inwardly thinking “Well, this is OK but I wouldn’t have it in my house”. But, of course, you can’t say that.

We did meet a 50-something dancer who has a one-room flat in London, speaks very good English and has just opened a dance studio here in Milan. She might also design jewellery. She might have been quite interesting to get to know but it was late and I was tired and we were about to go to Bar §Basso. I’m sure that I’ll meet her again – if it’s meant to be.

And then a taxi to Bar Basso. Si, who is more like F’s age, seemed genuinely “excited” about the whole thing and the atmosphere at Bar Basso because it was “very International”.

Then we went home.

Also, the people who own the potential new flat are very interested in us taking the flat but want us to come closer to the asking price.

We go this evening to update our offer :-)

How excited are we?

Well, it seems, very excited.

Bordering on hysterical.

Now, when I say “we”, I don’t actually mean “we” as in F & me. I mean my colleague, S.

She is a bit “snobby”. Not in a horrible way, of course, but she does like to think of herself as better than she is. More elegant, more beautiful, etc. I find it funny, to be honest.

Anyway, it’s the Furniture Fair in Milan this week and F’s shop has a display of some furniture, the fabric for which was designed by the designer (of the clothes, obviously). And there is a kind of small “party” which is really just an aperitivo, tonight. I am going, of course and, as F requested, invited certain people (it means that the shop will be full and that’s always good). There will be prosecco and the event is catered with some very nice “finger food” and there are waiters mingling to hand out this finger food. I go because F wants me to go and he can introduce me to English people and I can talk to them, which he likes.

Anyway, amongst the people I invited was S, my colleague. I knew she would like to be invited and half expected her to say no but, instead, she said yes. What the hell, I thought. She almost certainly knows of the existence of F (being quite good friends with some people that know of F here, at work) and I’m sure she is being just slightly nosy. But, in addition, it is a party with, for her, the glamour of Milan fashion and, so, something to be seen at.

However, I wasn’t expecting the reaction we have so far – she is wearing something but has bought a dress to change in to if I thought what she was wearing wasn’t good enough!

As I’ve tried to explain, this is just a small party in the shop. It’s not really something you have to wear a cocktail dress or evening gown to. It starts at 6.30 and will be all over by 8!

However, she is VERY excited. and a little bit apprehensive, which surprises me.

So, we shall see. The “tension” will be mounting throughout the day. Probably.

Finding Nemo

Today was the day that I decided that enough is enough.

It’s time for me to find what I am here for.

We all reach a point (or points) in life that tell us it’s time to make a change and make things better.

Well, at least make a change.

And that time is here.

So, I’m going back to the original heading for this site. As it originally said, I came here to find passion. Not passion in love (and, anyway, I have that). No, I mean the passion. The one thing that I was sent here (in Milan? In Italy? In the world?) to do.

Lola put this post up and the video she found on Karl’s blog in this post.

It’s not new – at least not to me. It’s what I’ve done more than once. But then, not knowing what I really want to do, I “fall into” something and, for a while it’s fun and enjoyable. And then it isn’t.

The details of the past times will be in another post which I’ve half-written but today was one of those defining moments. Now the time has arrived again and I must do something about it.

I found, today, that there were a load of people who, quite obviously, couldn’t care if they had a job or not; I wasted one a half hours of my life and it really got to me; and I was lied to by a fool. And I say that’s enough.

So many people are such absolute cunts who will never, ever, ever find their bliss but belong to that army of people who just trudge along in life. It’s what I do too when I get sucked in. But, today was a wake-up call.

It’s time, once again, to be a little bit daring, to jump off the cliff and see if I can fly.

So, here I go, trying to find my bliss. Except I don’t like the word bliss. It’s a creepy word. Instead I’ll call it Nemo (for want of anything better).

So, here I go, finding Nemo!

Finding the joy again

The weather is dreadful. Well, I say that. It is October, after all but it’s grey, wet and miserable and cold. The heating (where there is central heating for the whole building) has been turned on – except, not in my building! It only gets turned on Monday :-(.

F is still ill. The ‘cold’ he picked up in London is not going away. Added to which, he has a bad stomach (most of the time) and got pains in his lungs or some muscles near his lungs and so he is a bit worried. Then, this morning, he coughed on his way back home – and put his back out! Still, I learnt that the Italian for cough is ‘colpo di tosse’ – who would know? I also learnt that the Italian for ‘heater’, such as the one I have running almost full-time now, is stufetta. I won’t remember them but two new words/phrases in a day is quite good.

Since the success of last weekend’s meal and the fact that, given the evidence, F actually really liked it (this is supported by a) his telling of the meal to everyone in his office (his boss, who is English, was craving for the Lemon Meringue Pie) and b) his telling S’s parents that I cook really well) I seem to have found my joy of cooking again.

And, so, this weekend, I tried Leek and Potato Soup. It seems OK. I’ve finished it and now there is enough to feed the whole of Milan! Unfortunately, with F having a bad stomach, we didn’t have any last night. Nor the crumble that I haven’t made yet, but have all the ingredients for. But there is a certain pleasure in, not only making the stuff, but actually going out and buying the ingredients! This part was very unexpected but I find that trying to find the ingredients almost as much fun as cooking with them! Weird, huh?

And with that, I will now start my recipe pages to which I will add photos (with my new camera) as I do them. For the first recipe I will put up Lemon Meringue Pie. I have now photo now but will add one next time I make it. I will put the recipes on a page of their own so you and I (on the right hand side) can link to them, as we like. I hope you enjoy them.

I am a sex god!

Whoops! Of course, although the title may have got your attention (and, as a result I’ll probably get even more spam comments), I forgot to add a ‘y’!

Yes, the title should have read I am a sexy god ……… apparently. :-)

People have said, in the past, that I have a nice voice. I have been called upon to read things in groups, etc., as a result. When I did my certificate for TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language), the group asked me to read a poem out loud to the class. Well, to be precise, N asked me to read it but the others agreed. When we were at the Hay Festival, one time, I was asked to read the English translation for an Italian guy.

As an aside, that leads to a story that I used to give to my English classes about pronunciation. Italians find it so hard to pronounce our words correctly. In Italian, apart from the stress (which I find very difficult) and the single and double consonants (where I hear no difference but the Italians do), you pronounce the word according to the way it is spelt. In English, of course, this is not so. Take bough, cough, tough and hiccough as examples. And so, having never seen the text of this passage before, I came across a word, in English that I had never seen before. The word was gelid. If I had thought only in Italian, I would have pronounced it like jellied but I was in the UK and for me it could also have been with a hard ‘g’ as in gelding.

Since I had no way of being able to tell how to pronounce it and no time to look it up, I went with the hard g. When I came back to the audience, Flo, the wife of the man who started the festival, whispered to me how well I had read and said how glad she was that she wasn’t reading it because she would never have known how to pronounce the word and how on earth did I know? I explained that I didn’t. Looking it up afterwards, since I was already teaching English, I found, of course, that it should have been pronounced as jellied – but how does one really know in English?

But, back to the headline story.

I had to ring the garage about my car. The guy only speaks about two words of English and so I had to speak in my (bad) Italian. After I had finished, S, my colleague was laughing. She explained it like this:

‘I’m sorry that I laugh but it’s so strange to hear you speak in Italian. You don’t sound the same. When you speak English you speak very well (sic) – your voice is ….. umm …. sexy. When you speak in Italian it is different and it seems like a child’.

This is not the first time. Apparently I have a sexy voice :-)

OK, but why ‘god’ you may well ask?

Last night we went round to F’s place. I know he has lots of things to do so it is much easier for him and no real bother for me. Anyway, the dogs get their walk and so it’s fine.

It’s now a little chilly but because he had been working round the flat he was warm. Still, as he was closing the windows, the shoes which were out on the balcony, airing, needed to be moved.

‘Is it going to rain?’, he asked.

No, it was not, I assured him.

Yesterday, I was asked by two people in the office about the weather tonight and the weather at the weekend. I feel like a god! Actually, I use a site called Meteo Blue. It is a forecast so not always perfect, particularly more than a day or two in advance and it does change every few hours (if the forecast changes) but it is the most reliable weather forecast site I have found. You select your country and start typing your city – it will list all the possible options. I cannot say what it is like for other countries but for Italy it is pretty damned good.

And so, I am a god (apparently) who has a sexy voice. Not quite the same as being a sex god but you get my drift, yes? (as they say in Italy).

There is no other.

“I have a few extra things”.

Not a surprise, really. He doesn’t understand the meaning of the bookmarks I made out of torn-up paper, nor my notes that I have written in pencil. Nor do I in all cases.

He can’t really see the screen. He wants to see what I have done. He wants to check. That’s OK. Almost certainly I’ve missed some things. I wasn’t going to go through it all again to check – with the problems I had had.

>However, the whole thing takes 3 hours. Half way through I ask if I can go out onto the balcony to have a cigarette. I can’t. There is a problem. “I will go downstairs”, I say, “I will be five minutes”.

“Would you like something to drink?”, he asks me. I say that I’ll have some water. “I have some very good juice”, he suggests. I say I’ll take the juice. I really don’t care – I just want a fag!

I come back. The juice, with ice (bless him) is on the counter where there is also one of those independent, 2 hob, electric deals. I notice there is no real cooker nor oven. I remind myself that, however crap my cooker seems to be, I don’t live like this. For the first time, as I drink the quite extraordinarily ordinary juice I can look around his kitchen. Of course, I SAY kitchen. In fact, apart from the very small workspace that holds the two-ring hob, the sink, the drainer of the sink and the fridge – there is nothing else. Well, there are the shelves to the left of the workspace which are open and contain, well, little. Some olive oil is all I actually notice. But there are other foodstuffs, just not much. There is a bowl containing what I assume to be salad on the drainer, covered by a plate.

He is there, at the only window (french doors, really), with one open, trying to explain to me why I couldn’t use the balcony. There’s one of those mesh screen to keep out zanzare. It is broken and won’t open. He is getting it fixed soon, apparently.

We go through the book, page by page. Even he doesn’t always understand the notes he made and so we argue for a bit until he realises that I am right. It’s difficult.

F phones me half way through. He’s going home; where am I? I explain. We didn’t see each other last night. I’m hoping that he decides to go round to mine and take the dogs out or something – I’m going to be here a while.

There are several bins under the kitchen sink and drainer – none with lids – but I guess it’s not a problem if the flat is only really big enough for you!

We continue through the book. I become a little frustrated by the time it is all taking. We find I made one mistake or, rather, did not correct one mistake of his. Damn! But I don’t think he really noticed. It is not baking in the flat but it is warm. Still, we don’t dislike each other and, I think, he is rather liking me. After all, I have done quite a good job on it. He was impressed that I remembered some of his ways of notation. I explain that he had explained it to me once – and that is usually enough.

It’s a little like my experience of the English teaching world. There are so many really crap people out there giving, at best, mediocre lessons, dragging down the prices and leaving people with an unhappy taste in their mouth and assuming that this is what all English teachers are like. Or, maybe, I’ve got it wrong – maybe I just put too much work into it and people really want mediocre at best?

Still, he’ll complain about my work at some time, I’m sure. That’s what people seem to do these days. I’m glad I’m a bit older really. Wouldn’t want to be 19 in this world. I know it sounds a bit depressing to read but I don’t mean it to be like that. Just stating a fact.

I find myself getting really tired. The ‘having one cigarette’ making me want more. He offers me a sweet from a jar. Beady eyes all lit up as if with excitement. I decline. I only chew gum because I can’t smoke. Otherwise I wouldn’t really bother with sweets at all.

He has a list of the pages on which there are to be other alterations. He forgets to check as we go through and so keep going back. Then he remembers and then he forgets. I try my best to explain the problem with the pages. With all the additions and deletions, the pages are all screwed up. The problem is that he references pages within the book so I don’t know if they will be the same. He isn’t bothered.

We reach the end and he triumphantly turns the last, blank, page. He has no idea how I feel but it’s OK. He asks about money. I explain the hours. The extra job of putting it onto the USB key I am to do at home as I have to wait for some woman to send me the font (it uses special Greek letters and so you need a special Greek font). Then I am to come and deliver the key to him. Another hour out of my way.

However, he pays me immediately. OK, I think he trusts me. I think he could see what I had done – and I made some suggestions – English phrases, which he seemed to like.

However, it is past 10 by the time I get home. I make a cup of tea and F texts to say that he has a headache so isn’t coming and am I coming to him. Ummmm. No, I’m not. I’m tired; still have to take the dogs out; I’ve had enough for the evening.

Still, in some inexplicable way, I quite enjoyed the job I have done.

And it’s another skill to add to all the others. And I get paid.

I fall into bed after midnight. Tomorrow I will be exhausted but that is life and one has got to get on with it and make the best of it for there is no other. Just like F, really – even if he does annoy me by not being there – he’s been working hard too so I should not complain – there is no other.


Hmm. Maybe it wasn’t what I thought. Or, at least, it wasn’t the whole thing.

You may remember this. Well, I have, in the last few moments, finally finished it. It’s not because I was being slow or particularly lazy (although without a deadline, as I have mentioned in the past, I am far to much ‘I’ll do it later’ which, invariably, leads to a massive rush in the last few days, hours, seconds, whatever). No, with this job I had some real difficulties and it has taken me far too long.

However, as with all things, you learn stuff on the way. And these are some of the things I have learnt:

1. It was a really good idea to buy the laptop – especially as it was one with windows rather than an apple. It has almost ‘saved my life’!
2. Word on an Apple Mac IS NOT the same as Microsoft Word. They are similar but not the same. Plus, if the version is in Italian it is too difficult.
3. It was very useful having a USB key – this has also ‘saved my life’.
4. It is important, when doing this kind of work, that the computers at home and at work are compatible – at least to a major degree.
5. Other people are not so bright either – they don’t know how to use functions in, for example, Word in exactly the same way that you don’t! Worse still, just like you, they use it and then stop using it randomly (the special function, that is). This is not really a problem until someone who doesn’t know where and when and how you used it comes to look at it.
6. Don’t have anything to do with computers or new technology!

Of course, it’s finished now. The final two things (one of which involved the special function) were done, this morning, at work. Actually, it’s not finished. In the physical book are loads of markers where questions have to be asked. The page numbers appear to be different (which will be a BIG problem as page numbers are referenced), one or two spelling, one or two bits of English (although checking the English is not really part of the job, as such). Still, I’ve phoned him and I go and see him tonight – when the job WILL be finished – except if he asks me to go through it again for the English!

But you have to know that on Sunday, I was there for hours, only to find that everything got mucked up (thanks Bill Gates for your product) and so I gave up about 9.30 p.m.

Then last night, I was rather pleased to find it wasn’t quite as bad as it could have been and I finished it about 8.30 p.m. to do the final two bits this morning.

Now I have to decide how much to charge, for it was a real pain in the ‘you know where’.

And, having finished it, I feel a great weight lifted off me. Maybe it wasn’t that customer after all – at least, not entirely!

Needy or not?

‘I like you a lot’ he writes, after he explained that he is not good with words.  OK, fair enough.  He doesn’t want to wear out the three words and, anyway, actions speak louder than words, as we all know.

I missed him last night, even if I did get to bed at 2 a.m. and went straight to sleep (aided by a few glasses of wine).  Still, it would have been nice to have been able to curl up to him and kiss him, softly and tenderly.

Perhaps, even if he were to see this blog, it would hold little interest for him.  His thing is music.  Mine is words and, more often than not, written words rather than spoken words.  We kind of compliment each other, which is good and as it should be.

And today he will be so busy, working into the night, probably.  And so, it is likely that we won’t be together tonight either although I hope we shall be.

If necessary, I will go to his place (providing I have had some sleep first).

In the meantime, we text and chat and call.  We both have jobs that we take seriously (even if I don’t have so much to do most of the time) and we’re both good at what we do, even if he enjoys his more than I enjoy mine.

And, today, I have been busy with clients again.  We spoke as they left.  He is preparing stuff but won’t start the main work until about 7 p.m.  He doesn’t know what time he will finish.  I said that I was going to get a couple of hours sleep and then I could come to his place, if he would like, as long as it wasn’t 2 in the morning or something.

He then suggested that, if I would like, I could come to where he is working and get the keys to his flat, go there and then he could come later….if necessary, I could even go to bed and he would call me when he arrived home so that I could let him in.

He wants this as much as I do.  I actually said that it’s if he wants, as well, as it takes two of us.  But he doesn’t want to appear so needy, even if he is needy.

He makes me smile.  I will call him later, after I have slept.

And, so, I replied to his text of liking me with ‘I guessed that as actions speak louder than words’.  And then reminded him of what he had said (about everyone looking for the same thing) and said that maybe, hopefully, we had both found it!

He laughed (in text form).  And then the call later with the suggestion of me going round, before he gets home.  The same as I wanted last night, the same as he wants tonight.  And, once again, I am happy.

>At least, when he has done this week, he will be less busy with work and can concentrate on his flat and painting and decorating and buying the furniture, etc.

And he should start to relax a bit and things should become easier.

Thoughts of a random nature


The fan, one of the tall ones (free-standing I guess we would call it) is useless.

She has moved it closer but I had to go up to it to check. If you put your hand right in front of it you could feel a very gentle breeze but you can’t feel it if you’re further than 6 inches away. It is hot and I am sweating but only because I had to run for the train, which was annoying as it had said, on the board, that it was going to be 2 minutes late, so I wasn’t rushing and then it came in on time and stopped, as they always do, at the furthest end of the platform from me. Past experience tells me that for anything less than a full run, they will not wait.

This was unfortunate because as soon as I was in the carriage it started. It only starts when I stop. And it is marking the front of my T-shirt. I pull forward at the neck and blow down my chest. It serves no purpose nor is it effective.

Worse still is this is one of the old trains without air conditioning. Damn.

And, even though I have to go and get cigarettes (for her, not me) and I walk slowly and try to cheat my body into thinking that it can stop sweating now, by the time I arrive, I am, shall we say, very moist.

They’re not really listening, most of the time. I do wonder if I am like that too. Sometimes, in the midst of a conversation I catch myself ‘not listening’ just waiting for the moment that I can change the subject back to me. But, sometimes, these people seem to do it all the time.

Or, perhaps, it’s because I’m really boring?

And so it was, I was talking and no one was listening. It doesn’t matter, really. What I was saying had no real importance it just seemed right that I should, at least, make an effort, pretend that I have something interesting to say that doesn’t involve some TV star, film star or other small celebrity. I.e. Gossip. Which I really am not very good at anyway. I think the problem here is that I don’t care so much and V is not here to do the talking for me.

They tell me (at some bit that they were listening to) that, at least, I’m still alive. But they don’t get it really. That’s OK. I’m not really telling them for them, I’m telling it for me, as if by telling it out loud it will put it all in perspective – although it does seem to get more stupid with each telling.

Still, I’m grateful for their attention even if the span is short.

I go home, grateful also to be going.

On another night, another friend who was attentive as only she can be, gave me good advice. Talk to people! Making me swap numbers with some guy who a) wasn’t gay and b) was only interested in whether he could sell me furniture. Still, she has a point. It’s just that I didn’t expect and, certainly, don’t want to be doing this all over again (not that I ever did it well) at my age. It all seems far too much effort.

Memorable Weddings

There are only three weddings I have been to that remain stuck in mind for being different – so much so that you remember them.

But, if I were ever to get married, this would be such a wonderful way to make it memorable for you and everyone else, don’t you think? Although, how you top that for the rest of the day beats me.