Alan Bennett and other things

I’ve only seen a couple of his plays on television, well, at least, some of his monologues. But D came over to see me and after lunch we went down to the Festival to see what was on.

After seeing Chris Patten, we went to see Alan Bennett.

He was very funny, reading some excerpts from his diary (which, I guess, is his latest publication). It’s a thing that real writers have, that I, as a blog writer, don’t. The ability to see the mudane and ordinary and, somehow make them interesting or, even, humourous. I wish…..

The weather remains warm and sunny. The new pair of sandals I bought in Goldworthy’s on Friday – to replace my favourite pair that I bought from there about 6 years ago and, eventually, this year became too difficult to wear, the insoles having become almost completely detached from the soles, the stitching being so undone in places as to mean I had to be careful putting them on in case the thread became tied up with my toes and now they could be safely called ‘Dino’s Sandals’ since I know how much he likes my old shoes – I am now wearing as I write this.

My feet feel a little cold but, when I get out in the sun, I hope they will feel OK. I know that by about 4 p.m. I should change and go back to shoes and socks – this is not Milan, after all – but at least I should try, I feel.

Looking out from Best Mate’s bedroom (The Smoking Room) window, I watched the booksellers laying out their stalls in the Butter Market over the lst couple of days. This morning was the turn of the Craft Fair stallholders. I wonder who buys all this stuff? And why?

I’ve been getting a newspaper every day since I got here. I like to be able to feel the paper as I read – it makes a change from the Internet – but I have decided that I really can’t be bothered to buy a Sunday paper this morning. I mean they are so large and, for me, so largely unread it is not only a waste of money but also paper.

And now, as I write this, I am doing coffee for Best Mate and I – and I hear the moka telling me it’s time to go……

Being back in Hay

It’s been three years since I was last at the Hay Fetival. It’s nice to be back and it certainly helps that the weather is good. I’ve been seeing a lot of people that I know and it’s been good to chat with them over a coffee/pimms/beer/whatever.

Everyone seems genuinely pleased to see me.

Everyone seems to know about V & I splitting so there is the usual start to the conversation proper, where they are unsure as to what to say about it, but once I explain that we’re still friends and that, although I have custody of the boys, V is looking after them whilst I am here, they are much more relaxed about it.

I’ve been to one event today and will, probably, try to go to another later this afternoon, if I can drag Best Mate down there. I’ve hardly had anything to drink – just been talking, really.

Still, if Best Mate comes down, I feel a couple of beers coming on……….

What future parliament do you want?


So, the Telegraph continues to hound the politicians who, whilst ‘sticking to the rules’, may not have been quite so saintly in terms of what they have claimed by way of expenses.

There are a few things here that I feel are worthy of comment.

  1. When the salaries were introduce for MPs, they were very high (compared to the average wage). Now it is not so. Therefore, like any of us, where we get the chance to be a little relaxed as to what we can claim by way of an expense account, they milked it for everything they could
    Now, what would we (you, in the UK, really) prefer? That only the people who can afford it, put themselves up to be MPs? Surely that limits democracy.

    Sure, they should have checks on the expenses that they put forward and I am not, for one moment suggesting that the MPs that have ‘made a mistake’ are not brought to book but I do feel we have to be careful as to the fall-out from this

  2. It was, indeed, a very stupid thing to have fought so hard to keep their expenses out of the public eye, for that only made people more suspicious. The seeds of doubt meant that, when eventually released, the expenses were going to be scrutinised carefully.
  3. They (the MPs) cannot expect that they will rule us (for that is, almost certainly, what they think) and demand that we are perfect if they, themselves, cannot live by the same rules. They are, after all, our representatives and make laws and rules on our behalf. They should be wary of making rules and laws to which they cannot stick.
  4. Who, in their right minds, ever thought it was the right way, to be the maker the rules of expense claims themselves. It had to, inevitably, lead to this!

To be honest they deserve this. However, as I say above, the consequences may not be exactly what we want. We should be careful not to hound them all to the point that the future MPs will either be only those that can comfortably afford it or those that are able to circumnavigate the rules. Either type do not lead to a healthy democratic parliament.

Worse still, we could end up with people like Berlusconi as PM. Surely you don’t want that, do you?

I am now a twit; Hot, Hot, Hot


I have succumbed. Now let’s see how it works. It seems to be easy enough and, if it works as easily as it seems then I can see why it has become the thing of the moment.

On the side you will now see my Tweets. It might be useful whilst I am away, if I am unable to blog much.

Yesterday, in the late afternoon, whilst I was taking a break from sweating profusely (aka cleaning the house), I noticed that my Weather Pixie said it was 35°C. And that is at Linate airport, a few miles out of town from me. So it would have been a couple of degrees hotter on the Perfect Street.

To be honest I just love it although, unfortunately, Rufus is suffering a bit. Still, it won’t last for long.

And this morning, at work, when I went outside for a cigarette, I could only stand a few moments in the sun before having to move into the shade. For me, that is great.

And still no zanzare! I can hardly believe it, although the people who live in the Hinterland (suburbs) are starting to suffer them so I guess it’s only a matter of days now.

Update Apr 2015: I no longer have my tweets showing.

Things we never did


We were, after all, very different people. That’s what made us good together. We offered different things to each other and to other people.

But, yesterday, I was reminded of the things we never (or rarely) did together. Of course, these were things that I liked to do but, for one reason or another, I usually did on my own. I suspect V has a similar list (and I can think of one thing already).

I suppose the positive side to this is that, as I usually did them on my own, nothing has changed. But, before, I always had the hope that “this time would be different” and that he would be there. Now I don’t have that and I find it quite sad. Not in a depressed way just in a “what a shame” way.

When is a question not a question? When it’s asked by an Italian!


Sometimes, I just love Italians and the way they think. It’s like living on a different planet.

Having been to Mantova’s Festivaletteratura a number of times I have found that, given the opportunity to speak in public, they really don’t know when to stop or, worse, get to the point.

This is particularly true when they ask questions.

The night before last, I was honoured to be invited to my good friend Stef’s graduation, for he has worked very hard over the last two years and got his MBA. As usual, when he is pleased with himself (as he has every right to be), he just can’t stop grinning.

Of course, before the actual handout of the certificates, there had to be some speech by some guy and then he was asked questions from the panel of lecturers. The last question though, took about 3 minutes to ask and then, at the end, the question failed to materialise! They are a strange people, these Italians.

There was another guy who, I think, was actually doing the handing out – he actually started his speech by saying it would be brevissimo (very short). Of course, he was Italian so that was his own special joke and he continued to talk for over 15 minutes!

Anyway, aside from that it was a very nice evening with drinks and apero food afterwards. N & I managed to get quite a few prossecco’s down us and I met Stef’s parents and younger brother.

There was only one thing, and this is one of those little things that still smart after all this time – if V & I had been together and there, after the event, it would have been nice to go for a quick pizza. But we’re not together and even though I really fancied it, I didn’t go on my own. I did resist calling him which, I thought, was good, as it would have felt far too needy – at least from my point of view.

Yesterday, I have been mostly wearing sandals


Those of you from the UK will remember the BBC comedy program The Fast Show, from which this title is taken.

And it’s true. It is now so hot (hurrah!) that, last night, for the first time this year I wore sandals to take the dogs for a walk and did so again this morning

>For those of you who don’t know, I cannot abide cold feet – and my feet feel the cold a lot. I will not wear socks with sandals and for the first forty-odd years of my life I wore sandals for about 6 days a year (and changed in the evening for socks and shoes).

It is only since coming here that I can wear sandals all day and night – and I love it.

And so, it is likely that now and for most of the time between now and mid to end September, I shall be wearing sandals.

I am exceedingly happy about that.

A Warning – a poke in the eye with a large iron bar – about a week too late!!!!


We have metal windows at work. Recently we have had a man in, fixing the windows. Not that there was anything really wrong with them but, according to sources, for security reasons, they had to be modified. This involved drilling and, generally making a lot of noise.

When the Window Fixer was doing our office I had to leave. The noise of the drill and the fact that the windows were open, leading to things being blown about and because, whilst fixing two of the windows, I could not sit at my desk, meant that I found things to do outside the office.

This was last week (Wednesday or Thursday, I can’t really remember).

Today our illustrious Purchasing Manager came into the office with our Health and Safety Manager. They wanted to check that the work done was OK.

Did the windows work? – Well, yes (but they did before?)

Did the Window Fixer remove the windows to do the job? – Well, I wasn’t here for most of it but I didn’t see him remove them.

Finally, the warning was given, in Italian because our H&S Manager speaks English worse than I speak Italian which, as regular readers will know, is terrible, our Purchasing Manager translated that:

I should be careful not to allow small particles of dust from the drilling of the window to get in my eye as he (our H&S Manager) did!

Hmm. I look incredulously at him, suppressing the belly laugh of scorn that should have greeted this statement.

‘But’, I pointed out, ‘the job was done last week so I guess I don’t have to worry about it now!’

Honest to God, this man seems to get more useless by the passing day.

A luv poim wot u mus reed


From time to time, to give myself a break or just because I am bored (waiting for things to happen over which I have absolutely zero influence and can do nothing to hurry along), I like to surf the web. And, when I say that, I mean blogs.

There’s something about blogs that I find fascinating (not so with Twitter or Facebook – which we can’t even get to now as it’s been blocked here, at work, and the proxies don’t hack it (it was probably blocked for overuse by one of the people in Purchasing – mentioning no names, of course)). But the Twitter and Facebook things are for another time and another post.

Blogging, however, takes some time and some thought (although you may not think so reading some of my posts, I grant you)

And I do like to see the other blogs to which some of my favourite blogs link to and today it was Cecilieaux .

From there, one of the blogs had this entry with, if the background to the finding of the poem is true, the most delightful poem that you just have to read. If the background (and I don’t know this blogger at all) is not true then although well done, it wouldn’t have the same feel to it for me.

Therefore, I am wishing it were true.  Anyway, enjoy!

Update: April 2015.

Since this was one of the most beautiful things I ever found and, given that many things ‘disappear’ and that the blogger seems to have stopped writing around 2013 (so the blog may disappear at some time), I do hope I don’t cause offence but I repeat the entry here, in hard copy, so that I will always have it.

Love Poem by Eight-Year Old

(A note found on the playground
pinned by wind against the chain-link fence)

From: Daniel A.
To: Meesha

In case you guest
I love you it is a present
to see you.
When I dreem.
I dreem you Not gold
not a cristal pond not a bird
singing evry song
you ever herd jus you
Only. None else

Because I love you
and love to say your name
I saw you
and remember this
Thanks you for a dreem

Who? can take
Your plase

The mysterious case of the disappearing curtain pole and other things.


I bought two curtain poles and fixings. The first was yellow as the curtains and lounge is a mixture of yellows and red. The second was white as the bedroom curtains and walls are white.

After successfully putting up the lounge curtains, I started on the bedroom ones. Afraid of heights, nonetheless, I dutifully climbed up and down the ladders with drill/screwdrivers/pliers, etc. a number of times.

The holders for the rod were fixed. All I now needed was the rod itself. One small problem. I couldn’t find it.

It’s a bloke thing. We can’t find stuff that is right in front of us. I have this problem for certain.

So, although I had only bought it on Saturday, it had already disappeared. I hunted in every room. Unfortunately, it is the same colour as most of the walls. And I was certain that I had put it upright in some corner.

I checked behind each door (twice), in each corner of each room/alcove/whatever. I even checked the kitchen even though I was pretty sure it would not be there as I do not trust Dino not to try and eat it as the new toy.

I must have walked past it several times before, eventually, I noticed I had propped it up in a corner created near the front door.

At least it was found but I could have saved a lot of time if I had remembered where I had put it in the first place.  I like being a bloke but sometimes …….

Tonight must be more drilling; putting up the ‘new to me’ kitchen cupboard from FfI (who is no longer responding to calls or texts – ah well) and, hopefully, some ironing or cleaning, both of which I detest.