You’ve got to keep trying and be determined to suceed.

S & I agreed last night, you’ve got to try else what is the point?

So, we are both trying. It may get worse; it may get better; it may stay the same.

For me, it seems the dogs are a bit of a problem but not insurmountable. Come the end of January, I shall ask everyone I know in case they can help me. I don’t often ask for help as I am fiercely independent ever since I first left home at 18.

Actually, that was not the first time I left home. I left home several times. I had a small suitcase, brown and battered. I don’t think I ever had it from new but I have no idea where it came from unless it had been bought new when we went to Guernsey when I was about 5. I can imagine it was bought for that trip.

Anyway, the suitcase had been well used. I packed the suitcase with important items – a pair of trousers, a jumper, some biscuits and some orange squash. After all, I didn’t know how long I would be gone and I knew I would need sustenance and a change of clothes. I packed though the tears were rolling down my face; I packed with determination; I packed with courage – and fear, of course.

I left the house without saying goodbye, more like a thief than someone who lived there. I didn’t want any hysterics at my going – they would find out soon enough. I didn’t want any tears, except my own as I was the one who was hurting, not them.

We lived in the countryside, in a small village. I walked down the driveway and onto the road, turning right. The hill seemed very steep and very long. I don’t remember looking back as I climbed that hill but I probably did, fearing that someone would come after me – hoping that someone would come after me so that I could prove to them that I did not need them.

I reached the top of the hill and must have looked back before turning the corner.

Soon after I came to the crossroads – to the left was the road to the church, the right to the main road, straight on was unknown.

Fearful of the consequences of continuing what I was doing; angry at the world for treating me like this; determined that, one day, ‘it would all be different’, I turned round and went home. I was about 7. I was quite a stubborn barsteward even then!

The Rose Sellers of Milan

From the comments on the previous post, I felt it was time I spoke about the rose sellers on Milan’s streets.

Italy, as you probably know, has very porous borders and illegal immigration is a big problem, here. This, in spite of the fact, that, as a throw-back (or so I believe) from the fascist era, everyone is required to carry identity documents with them at all times and show to any policeman, if requested – and we have a lot of policemen around and about.

Still, it seems that illegal immigrants are everywhere. Of course, having got here, they have to support themselves in some way. It seems that many people from eastern Europe become restaurant waiters or openly beg in the streets; people from the Philippines/Indonesia areas become cleaners/nurses; people from Africa sell bags/belts/CDs on the street; the Chinese work in China town or as cooks in restaurants and, people from the Indian sub-continent sell jewellery on the street or roses.

And it’s the last category that I want to talk about. They come out, generally at night, as that is when most people are out dining for pleasure. They carry a bunch of roses – about 10 to 15, long stemmed in a single colour (red, pink, blue) and they sometimes sport an instamatic camera.

They are, from what I can tell, given an area to work. I don’t know whether they buy the roses or are given them. Either way, they must have to sell a certain number or they have no money/get beaten/something else. They are persistent. As smoking is, generally, not allowed in restaurants and many people here still seem to smoke, it is common practice for small groups of people to leave the restaurant during the meal to get their nicotine fix. These are the people first approached by the rose sellers. The rose sellers proffer their roses by pushing them right under the potential punters nose. Usually the man but sometimes the woman. They don’t move. A ‘No, grazie’ doesn’t seem to put them off. In fact, they are quite happy to stay there, smiling and, if they have the camera round their neck, proffering the camera to explain that they can take a picture of you with the rose. They are likely to proffer the rose more than once and often will not depart until you show signs of obvious irritation or, even, anger.

Some restaurants let them enter and some restaurants don’t. For the ones that don’t, they will, sometimes, risk the wrath of the owner by going in anyway before being chased out.

Obviously, the best places are the more touristy areas. I guess these places are saved for the best ‘agents’.

So the real question is – should you buy a rose or not? If, by buying the rose, you are perpetuating this problem, shouldn’t you NOT buy a rose? I know someone that will always give them the €2 (or whatever the amount is) and not take the rose. Some time ago, I made the decision never to buy and I never do but I do feel a little guilty, knowing that they have to earn some money somehow. And I do feel somewhat sorry for them. It’s hard enough being a legal immigrant somewhere without having the illegality of it all to the problem AND having to work watching the rich people (comparatively speaking) enjoy an evening out – and all you want is to sell them a rose for a couple of Euro.

Incidentally, I often see them holding the bunch upside down under the many drinking fountains to keep them looking fresh. Be assured that these roses will be lucky to last the night let alone any longer. And, for goodness sake, don’t do what a friend once did – buy the whole bunch for his wife. This enraged the restaurant owner who, probably, wasn’t happy with them hanging around in the first place.

Art for Art’s Sake; Dino is funny

Thank goodness, at least for this morning, the feeling deep in the pit of my stomach has gone; the first time for weeks and weeks. And I suddenly feel more positive, which is great. I know that it’s not all over yet but, at least, there is an end to it which is now in sight.

Continue reading

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

The old adage is true. But what if it is broke? In the old days, you would fix it. ‘Make do and mend’. Perhaps that will be making a comeback given the economic situation. The trouble is that, these days, things are not made to be fixed. It has been too expensive to fix something. Better by far to throw it away.

Continue reading

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.

As my first post of the New Year, I should, perhaps, be wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year.

And, for those of you in the UK, suffering the very low temperatures, I should say that, although our temperatures are around freezing, we have had snow. And snow like I never saw in the UK.

Continue reading