Is it connected or just coincidence?

The place’s entrance is on the outside of a curve in the fast main road. The road runs along the top of a large hill but dips down towards the entrance of the place to rise again afterwards. The entrance is large, as is the car park that surrounds the place – too big for the place itself and one wonders how the car park was ever filled.

I go in with friends, as yet undefined. The car has a problem. We need somewhere to stay the night and this looks like a pub/hotel. But, apparently, it’s not. However, there is a hotel, within walking distance (since the car won’t go any more) further down the main road. We go for a quick drink in one of the many bars. This particular bar is to the left (as you look at the pub) and is, almost a separate building which has its own entrance.

A few days or weeks later I am back.

I am with a woman, younger than me. We stop at the pub for something to eat and drink. We get two rooms for the night. We each go to our rooms after dinner but then I remember that this place is not a hotel and has no rooms. I go back to the bar. I ask if it isn’t possible to stay in the rooms we are already in. Apparently not, since this is not a hotel. I go back to my room to pack. I pass the girl’s room which has a window (very large and with a rounded top) onto the corridor. I go in to tell her that we do have to pack and leave after all.

She is sitting in the hallway of her room, her back to the large window, kneeling on the floor. She is making what appears to be circles with her right elbow on the lino in front of the window.

“What are you doing?”, I ask.

“I’m clearing these lines away”

I bend down to see and, sure enough there are lines made as when you drag furniture along the floor – a sort of grey. As I look, her elbow does, indeed, clear these lines.

“OK”, I say, “we have to pack and go to this other place which is a hotel”. I add, “I’ve been before, it’s not far”.

“I’m glad you came”, she said, in a slightly strange, flat voice and yet, filled with some emotion that I could not guess at. “I need you to help me”.

“I need you to help me get away from this thing at my back”.

I look and see that there is a swirling, white, whirlpool of light behind her that appears to be pulling her into the window. I grab hold of her and pull. I pull her away from the light. The light wants her for itself. I pull harder. Even when she is free I can feel the light pulling her back, as if they are attached by rope. Once she is away, we stand and I hold her, cuddling her. My head rests on her shoulder. I look down her back and see that, although the white whirlpool of light is back at the window, she now has white light in the small of her back. I say nothing. I am scared, mainly for her.


I woke, of course, but returned to sleep quickly, as I was very tired.

The next morning I couldn’t get the girl out of my mind. Who was she? At first, I thought it was my sister, even if she looked nothing like her. Then I thought it was Best Mate, even though, again, it looked nothing like her.

I became convinced it was Best Mate.


I phone. I wait whilst some unknown, unnamed person goes and gets her.

“How are you?”, I ask. She answers that she is ‘fine, thanks’ in a bright and over-cheerful voice. There’s something wrong, I know it. I ask. She explains that she now has someone with her. All the time. I guess what it is and why it is. I admonish her for it but in reality just feel frightened for her.

I tell her of the dream. The dream was two days ago. She says ‘Oh, how interesting’ in the fake, light voice that is required in order to get the ‘minder’ taken away. I can’t bring myself to ask if the dream and her actions were at all connected. But I am left wondering.


He tells me, over dinner what he would do.

“I would go and tell her like it is. Say that it’s her life and she can do what she wants but if she really wants to be better, she has to understand that it’s inside her and only she can stop it. Drugs and other things aren’t required. There are so many people who have real problems whereas hers are all in her head. If she was my friend, I would be hard on her. You should take a week from work and go over and talk to her”.

I want to. But I don’t want to make a mistake. He is right but it is easy for us to say. He thinks she is weak (not that he doesn’t like her) and she needs to be strong and, most of all, like herself. This is true. One must like oneself above everything, otherwise how can you like others or life or anything else?

But I’m not sure I am strong enough to do this. He tells me that if it was his best friend, this is what he would do. But, at least, I’m thinking about it!

If they put the price up, the people who will pay more will be those that buy the product.

I was reading this article about imposing a minimum price for alcohol in the UK which, as with most research, seems a lot of money to pay for what is, in reality, common sense.

I can quite believe that the ‘winners’, should they fix a minimum price for booze in the UK, would be the supermarket chains. Of course they would be the winners!

But, I really couldn’t believe this line:

Researchers also suggested minimum pricing would have the greatest impact on households which consume the most alcohol.

Ummmm. Yes, I would think so. And I wonder why it was only a suggestion? That’s like saying that the people who smoke are going to be the most affected by an increase in the price of cigarettes or that people who drive a long way are likely to be those that suffer if there is a hike in the fuel price.

Well. Doh!

And I would like a few thousand for my statement in the title if any of you researchers are thinking of using it in any report you write. Please.

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).

The mist spills over the mountain top

The mist spills over the top of the mountain as if it is a waterfall. The mountain is not black but, rather, dark grey. The sky, over there, a long way away, is bright and white. Here it is raining. The heating is turned up in the car – at least, in the car, I have heating!

Autumn is here with a vengeance!

Friday night was rain, Saturday rain for half the day, Sunday sun and warmth and this morning rain again and cold. Nope, I like summer (and spring if it’s warm enough and not like this year).

There are a ton of half-finished posts – I just couldn’t get my head round them to finish them. Maybe this will be another. I did do lots of little odd jobs around the house (as F was working), which was good. It was only little things – but it makes a difference and makes me happier. Still a lot to do though.

Things have happened that, really I should have mentioned before; that I did mention in those half-finished posts but of which you, of course, know nothing. So let’s tell you something, at least.

R&Al, with whom we went out for a meal (or, rather, R, whilst we were having a cigarette, outside Baia Chia) told me that, in all the time they have known F, he has never spent so much time in Carrara! I thought, at the time he told me, of how lovely that was. Since then (and, in particular, this morning), I’ve been thinking that, perhaps there is another reason. My own paranoia stepping in and leading me to doubt the motives. I force myself to put those thoughts aside since it is highly unlikely that they have any basis in fact.

A few days ago (or maybe a week or two, now), F said that he would ‘like to go away for Christmas, just you, me and the bambini’. Obviously, the holiday was even better than I thought it was. It was very relaxing and he would like the same thing for Christmas, except ……. before this statement …….

Well, it seems (according to R) that he used to spend nearly every Christmas in Vienna (his favourite city). As such, his friend, Fi, phoned and he agreed that we would go there this Christmas (after he had checked with me) and, so, Fi found us a flat in the centre for us to stay with the dogs. To be honest, even if it will be cold, it should be lovely. And it is his favourite city and one to which I have never been, so it’s time. In addition, Fi is a very good friend of his (who I have not yet met) and is married to a guy who is a chef by trade – so just imagine how spectacular Christmas lunch/Christmas Eve dinner would be! Yes, I said, of course I would love to go. And, if there is snow………for Christmas…… wonderful that would be!

But, we shall see what happens. However, we have been talking about how we should spend our 1st anniversary. I know, a whole year! Hahahaha. This time last year, we had only chatted online. The restaurant we choose (for it will be celebrated over dinner, of course) will be one of our favourites. Probably Giacomo’s. It won’t be L’Assassino, which is where we were on Saturday night, even if it is a lovely restaurant with 1st-class service. In the end, it is similar to Giacomo’s and the real cost was €154 for the two of us – anitpasto, secondo, dolce, l’aqua e vino – but I had a voucher meaning that, on Saturday night, we paid €54! Of course, the voucher (for €100) cost me €50 about three months ago via City Deal.

I did wonder if it would really work. The basic concept is this. A company (restaurant, hotel, gym, etc.) offer a deal – in this case – €100 voucher for €50. If you want to go for it (you have to be signed up to do this), you click on the appropriate button within the 24 hours that the ‘deal’ is active (each deal is available for only 24 hours). However, that doesn’t mean you get the voucher. The company have set the minimum number of people that must take up the offer before it is effected. If, at the end of the 24 hours, enough people have signed up for the deal then they email you the voucher which you print out.

In this case (and another that I have for another restaurant), you book the restaurant, go and eat and then, when you ask for the bill, show them the voucher. I did expect a bit of a fight and half-expected that I would be told that ‘you had to tell us at the time you booked, sir!” but no, none of that. Just a ‘Ah, you have a voucher’, then the bill with the explanation as to how much we were to pay and that was that.

It worked fabulously. Next is a restaurant near my flat and one which I have wanted to go to for ages. Unfortunately, it is a meat restaurant and so the intention is to go with A, later this week. I’ll let you know.

One downside to this City Deal is that you get two emails per day with offers (it used to be one) – each one lasting until 23.59 of that day, so no chance to go and see first, if you see what I mean. However, it was a really good first experience of both City Deal and L’Assassino.

And now we have entered the ‘stressful period’. Last week was Milan Fashion Week, with the Showroom Sales in full swing (hence the working all weekend). Towards the end of this week is a two-day trip near Venice, followed almost immediately by Friday and the weekend in London. And then, in November (for he plans his stresses in advance), he will be away every week.

On the plus side, as we were walking back through the centre of Milan, past the Duomo and up Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, we passed the Zara shop and we looked in the windows (as it’s part of his job, he can never resist) and he saw a cardigan that he said he really liked. So that sorts the anniversary present, then :-) and that I can get on Saturday, whilst he’s away – and, maybe, go to IKEA and get some cupboards for the bathroom so I can tidy up a bit more of the flat – I have a goal, after all!

Telecom Italia – giving a response, as usual. Or should that be – giving the usual response?

Yes, I’m fairly certain it was because my phone got wet in the rain last night. Now it’s dried out it seems fine.

And, so, I was able to call Telecom Italia about the lack of ADSL.

And yes, there is a problem centrally, somewhere. Of course, they’re going to send an engineer to fix it. And when will that be?

Well, Monday, of course.

Telecom Italia – a complete load of crap.


It’s raining.  And I don’t mean a bit of a shower, I mean really raining :-(  It’s been raining since last night and is forecast to continue like this until about lunchtime.  Last night we went to Baia Chia with Al&R, which was lovely and then, because F is working today, I picked up the dogs and we went over to his place.

Going to his place takes five minutes.  By the time I got there, we were all soaked, the rain was that hard.

This morning, it was still raining but not as hard.  However, by the time we got back home (we went on a longer walk), it was raining hard and we were soaked.

Now, as I sit here and type this, it is raining much as it was last night.  The French windows are open in the lounge and it is, shall we say, cool.  I can hardly wait for March when, one hopes, unlike this year, it will be much warmer.

Now, I am typing this even if my Alice ADSL is not working.  I’m using someone’s unprotected wireless connection.  It’s slower but, at least, I am connected.  This is the second time in two days that the ADSL hasn’t been working.  It’s because it’s raining.  Next year, about March/April, I will change provider.  I want Wind/IUNet and I really hope they are in this building.  The link I am using now is IUNet and, as usual, it doesn’t seem affected by the weather.  Alice (which is really Telecom Italia) are, quite frankly, shit.

One of the things this will affect is my ability to restore my blog back to its former glory.  I may have a go later – or I may take this opportunity to change the whole thing.  I will have a look at the themes available.  This one is quite nice, but I would like something a bit different and this is the standard one that comes with WordPress. And it had photos of Milan at the top. I would quite like to have them back.

Oh yes, and my telephone is not working properly. I think it got water in it last night and now some of the keys don’t work properly :-( I’m trying to ‘dry it out’ (except the heating doesn’t get turned on until next month) but if not it means a trip to the shop this afternoon which is just hassle and which I would really like to avoid. We shall see. I am crossing my fingers.

And I’ve got a spot coming on my nose :-( (although that may have nothing to do with the rain)

Nope, don’t like this weather or this time of year, really. Summer and heat and no rain seems so far away now and yet it was only a few weeks!

Crazy numbers, equal chances – UPDATE!

OK, so, following Supermarket Soap’s comment in the post below, I decided that, as I had a two Euro coin lying on my desk, I would use those numbers, the second lot of which were, I assure you, totally random.

I went to buy the ticket and (not sure why or whatever) got an instant win of 5 Euro! It made me laugh, given SS’s comment. Perhaps this is my one and only win on the lottery?

Now, the question is – should I use the 5 euro and play another five lines or not?

Crazy numbers, equal chances

I (well, I think, in the main, “we”) are quite crazy about certain things.

Here, we have the Superenalotto – like the National Lottery in the UK. The payout, for tomorrow night, if someone wins the jackpot will be in the region of 135 million Euro!. This is an extraordinary sum of money, I think you will agree. If 1 person were to win it, it would change their life, for sure.

You select 6 numbers (from 1 to 90, I think). Now, here’s the thing.

I should go and get a ticket. I should choose, for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6. Why not? After all, it has the same probability as, for example, 8, 25, 48, 49, 72, 85. They are random numbers and as just as random as the first choice.

And, yet, I won’t. I won’t because, however much I KNOW that there is the same chance of the two sets of numbers coming up, my head tells me that the first set is ‘less likely’. It has no rhyme nor reason since the logic side of me knows that there is equal chance.

You see? I (we) am crazy!

Spam comments; Mantova; Facebook and the changing of Social Networking

I’m getting more spam on here at the moment – all captured and not published but I still have to check it, so it’s a pain.

Usually, the English is terrible. Often, in spite of links to different sites, the messages are the same. I think the best one I have ever had was the one that just said ‘I hate you’ the other details of this were: (being the link), (being the email address) and (being the IP address). I kept that one, even if it isn’t published. Most tell me what a wonderful site this is and how wonderfully I write and how the ‘post’ was so informative and was the perfect answer to some life-long question that the supposed person had had.

A few offer me ways to make this web site something that can generate so much cash that I would never have to work again. A few offer pornographic sites that are, of course, the best.

Still, the ‘I hate you’ one was by far the best and, strangely, I really love it!

Actually, I think I’m getting more spam because of my ‘Elton John is Gay!’ post. It has been the one most favoured by Google searches as of late. It seems that if you type in ‘William Hague Gay’ and search for images – the image I posted comes out as the first one! Who would have known?

Even though that image is used by a number of other newspaper sites, mine is first :-D


I had a very nice comment from Saruk to say that Mantova will be waiting for me next time! I am so happy about that. The weather, this weekend, will be very nice and I remember so many nice years being at the Festival – even the year where an African artist, doing some rain-evoking chanting/dance thing meant that the heavens opened and the storm was so bad that the event had to be cancelled, people walking over chairs as the auditorium was flooded (perhaps God was looking down after all! :-D) – enjoying both the Festival and the fine weather, meeting friends from Mantova and the UK. Ah, good times.


Facebook, the popular social networking site is losing some of its function – at least for me.

There are many applications (games) on there and, having moved on from Farmville, I am now playing Camelot. This is Farmville with wars which makes it a little more interesting.

Every time something happens (like you complete a quest or get a token from Merlin or ask for help building a castle or searching for your destroyed army after some battle), it is posted on your wall for all your friends to see. Since the purpose of this game is to grow and become stronger then encourage you to become friends with as many people as possible and so, now, I am ‘friends’ with people all over the world – people who I have never met and am unlikely to meet and who, in real life, are unlikely to be friends.

And, yet, since you ‘speak’ to a lot of these people almost every day, since you have common goals, since you are sharing experiences (albeit fictional ones within the game), they feel the same as real friends and provoke the same emotions.

There is laughter, crying, anger, frustration – in exactly the same way as if they were ‘real people’ (yes, I know they are real people but they are only ‘virtual’ friends, so you know what I mean). Recently, when the leader of my alliance was verbally attacked by other members of our alliance it caused a rift every bit as real as if we all lived in the same village. The hatred was just as vicious, the outpouring of emotion from all sides, just as real and vivid.

And, for me too! I was surprised at myself and noted how much I felt, how much, inside, I was upset or angered. The edges of the virtual and the real were blurred.

Originally, Facebook (as far as I was aware) was intended for a way to keep in contact with friends from real life; to see how they were doing; to share photographs; to tell everyone how you were doing, what you were doing, etc. But this ‘gaming’ thing is different. It never was quite the same with Farmville – but with Camelot the virtual world becomes another ‘real’ world, even if it isn’t. Friends are not friends but more like colleagues in the game with all the political and emotional ‘games’ that people play in real life work situations or, even real life social situations. Although it does tend to be a little more like school with it’s excess of pettiness, etc.

The major downside is that, with all these Camelot friends, posting all this stuff on the main page, the real purpose of Facebook has changed and it’s difficult to see what your real friends are doing, so lost are their few posts to the hundreds generated by Camelot each day.

So, whereas Camelot started as a subset of Facebook, now it almost seems as if Facebook has become a subset of Camelot! Of course, I could ‘hide’ all these Camelot posts. But to do that would mean that I lose out on free Merlin’s tokens and not be able to help these virtual friends of mine (and in turn they will not help me, perhaps?). Mixed in with these posts are the Farmville posts and the Frontierville posts (which, although I don’t play that, come up as some ‘friends’ do play it), etc., etc.

And, so, Facebook, instead of telling you anything about your real friends, tells you so much about what they are doing in these virtual games.

Of course, there is a solution to this (Facebook – if you’re listening?). That is to have two ‘front pages’. The front page for games and the other front page for sharing photographs, posting things of real interest rather than the fact that you are building a castle or have found, on your farm, a party duck, etc.

But, back to the game and how much real life is there in this virtual world. Is this what the social network founders had in mind? I suspect not. The creation of a world, bringing together people who will never meet and who, if they had, would never be real friends has, I suspect, modified the function of social networking, creating something that is similar to social networking but cutting across the boundaries of the real world.

But, then, this IS like the real world, I suppose, just on a global scale and in a virtual world that, to all intents and purposes, is a mirror of the real world. This gaming is much like school or work. People from different backgrounds and with different (moral) standards, forced into a small, inner world, where, here, they have something in common as one does in school or at work. The only danger that I see is where the virtual world of the game is taken too seriously (and I assure you that it is) by some people. There is a danger that the emotions in this world become too real and people lose the ability to see it for what it really is – a game and not really the most important thing in life.