Well, yes, actually he is; Non laid plans changed somewhat

For which I am grateful even if, secretly, this time he could have been quite irresponsible and it would have been OK too.

Of course, we’ve only been together a year and a bit, so I don’t really understand him at all nor can I tell what he’s thinking. I can take some educated guesses now and then but that’s about all.

And then there is the fact that everything does not go according to plan. Not that I ever have a real plan, as such. Just a vague ‘wanting’ of something: something to happen; something to occur. But it’s only a ‘wanting’ or a ‘would like’ – it’s not like it’s set in stone. It has its advantages. I’m never really disappointed, for one thing.

Of course he was cute. He climbed up on his Mum’s back to sleep. We both wondered if Dino would permit that or, even like it. However, in the back of my mind was Rufus. And Dino. Two opposing things. On the one hand a) would it be fair on Rufus to have a rather annoying and demanding animal in the flat, b) what about if Rufus gets ‘ill’ again, like before, c) what if he keeps going for another 6 months whilst, on the other hand there is a) I don’t really want Dino to be ‘alone’, b) ……………..

Actually, there is no b) or c). See how the agins outweigh the fors? Hmmmm.

F suggested that, if Rufus does die then he can take Dino into his office a couple of times a week. Of course, that’s when he’s here ……. and not busy with a shop/shop window/showroom sales, etc.

Maybe it was the worry about how it would be if Rufus hangs on or is ill that meant that I didn’t really ‘connect’ with the puppy. Or maybe it was the price. It’s a lot. More than for Dino – but then we got Dino at a discount given that his teeth weren’t ‘quite right’ – and still aren’t. Since I don’t get a dog to show or breed, then, for me, it’s OK. Or, maybe it was because there are only two puppies and, normally, there is more choice and one of them stands out as being the one I want – like Dino did.

So, I am to phone them (F says) to explain that, should Rufus go in the meantime, we would have it but they are to sell it if they can. I am also to check if the main place are likely to have any more say, in September.

So although F was truly enamored with Piero (for it will either be him or it will be the next one), he was also really sensible and gave all the arguments above – even if I already had them going through my head. I like that he’s sensible – even if, as I said, this time he would have been forgiven if he had not been sensible.

Yesterday, F was working. And, since yesterday, Rufus has been staggering more than usual. And then, this morning, when I gave them food, he fell over …… again. And he lay there on the floor, a few inches from his bowl. I moved his bowl to where he lay and, after a few minutes, he continued to eat whilst still lying down. It’s OK, before you ask, he got up later. I’m trying not to help him up at the moment. That bit is to come. I don’t remember how quick it was last time. A month? A few months? No, I just don’t remember. It would be funny (the falling down bit) except that it isn’t.

And he lagged on our walk this morning. Unfortunately, I don’t have that much time for too much lagging. I guess, soon, the walk will have to be shorter.

I sigh as I write this. But, for those of you who have dogs (have had dogs), you’ll understand. Such is life.

So, the plans that were not made in the first place have changed a bit. There are now new plans that have also not been made that, if broken, will not be disappointing.

I took several photos only one of which is any good – and even that is not good. I wait for F to send me his photos and then I will post at least one – good or not. Be patient, please.

He’s sensible ……… isn’t he?


That will be the name, apparently.  His name, to be precise.  It’s always been this since the idea was first floated.  It could change, obviously, but I think that is unlikely.

Apparently, I don’t pronounce it correctly.  It should be said short and I stretch it out.  So I am told, by the women in Purchasing.

So, Piero.  I know, in my heart, that we shall want him as soon as we see him.  That’s why they are always (?) cute, isn’t it?

He is about 4 weeks old now.  We won’t get him until he is at least 8 weeks old.  It’s another month.  I keep wondering about Rufus.  And having three of them if Rufus is still going strong – or just still going, which is much more likely.

Although, right at the moment and for the last few days, Rufus is definitely much better.  I can tell by little things.  He now pulls on the lead sometimes whereas, normally, he is right by my side so that the collar doesn’t pull on his neck.  I imagine, without all the hair, that his neck would be scrawny and saggy, like an old man’s – like mine, a bit, I suppose.

If he were a man, he would have a zimmer frame by now.  Or, at least a walking stick.  But he’s not so he can’t so he does the staggering bit if he stands still for a few moments, unable to keep still and upright, his body ‘falling’ to one side and he having to correct himself – well, mostly.  Except occasionally when he falls to the floor with a crash.  Like the other day when he was eating.  I heard the sound and went round to find him sprawled on the floor – legs spread out.  Poor thing.

But he’s definitely a lot better. It’s a little worrying – the idea of having three of them. But, also, I know, it will be a few weeks afterwards before he can go outside. But three. Hmmm.

Still, I want him too. It will be better for Dino and, maybe, Dino will leave Rufus alone more.

All the thinking about it is irrelevant, really. At the sight of him, my heart will melt. I know that much. It will all depend on F, I suppose. But we won’t have the discussion that we should, I am sure. About the training required – about the things that must and must not happen – about the help I shall need. No, that won’t happen.

But, he’s sensible, right? Right? For in this situation, I can lose my common sense.

Probably, pictures to follow after Saturday afternoon. And are you doing anything just as fun and exciting as me for the weekend?

I am a truly grateful

“So”, the voice queries, “how rich are you?”

It is, for sure, the most stupid fucking question to ask.

Worse still that I should ask it.

Even worser (yes, I know it’s not good English – it’s a joke) that the question is in my head.

And the worst is that this is inside my head – me asking this question of myself but as if I were someone else asking – not me at all.

Normal. My normal.

This morning was nothing different. On the way to work. And then I thought:

“Actually, I am a trillionaire.”

No, I don’t have loads of money. Instead I have my life, my perfect flat in the perfect street, my dogs, F, health, enough money to live on comfortably, a full-time job, I live in Italy and more specifically, Milan, I have good friends.

Yes, for sure, I am a trillionaire.

And, then I go and read this:

September 14
Was a complicated day – tried to get my phone to get bars so
Zach could talk to Julie. Finally got bars – one.

Zach called her ‘mom’ He sounded like he had prepared all
his words for days – honest – thoughtful. Calling her ‘mom’
when he could not hear her.

Julie raised her head the most she had all day. Using all her
strength that kept her living to talk with her son. Repeating her
words… she trembled – touched her face. She tried so hard to
be there in the last moments for Zach.

Zach said, ‘Thank you for having me…’

He told her that his favorite time with her was when she kissed
him on his head – he wants to be with her and never wanted to
leave – he loved her…

About a mother, dying of aids, speaking by phone to the one of her children, this child having been taken away from her when it was born and then put up for adoption and then found by the photographer who recorded, by photographs, the last 18 years of the mother’s life.

Read/view it (and you should ……no you must) here.

It makes you want to cry. How can we call ourselves civilised? Someone made a point in the newspaper that the USA should get a proper healthcare system. But, actually, they’re wrong. I’m sure you could do a similar photograph-documentary in the UK or, for that matter, anywhere in the Western world. And, anyway, it’s not just the healthcare that isn’t up to the job. It’s the state and the relatives and the people involved. It’s everything and everyone, even the person themselves.

And so, it reinforced my thought this morning. I am a trillionaire.

And truly grateful.

The Return

“I want to sleep with you.”

His English is not perfect, I know. He doesn’t say “I miss you” or “I can’t wait to be back with you”. It’s what he means though. He doesn’t say “I love you” but uses other ways to say it.

It’s been 11 days. He misses me. He wants to come over and stay with me but he also has a lot to do. He has to do the washing and get it all dry before ‘the bitch’ comes in on Thursday. The bitch is his cleaner. It’s her nickname and he doesn’t really mean it. She will do the ironing on Thursday, if it is all dry.

He will be tired. Normally, in the past, he would not have come to my place. I like that he says he wants to come because I know that he means it and I am happy for that. But, now that Rufus is better, I may suggest that we go to him. We shall see.

In any event, I am, almost, excited. In just a few hours I will see him coming through the airport arrivals door ………..

I don’t like you, your program or anything you’ve had to say.

I’m trying to imagine it ……. but I can’t.

Let me give you a scenario. There is a discussion program. Say, a part of Channel 4 news, or Panorama, or Question Time. Many bad things are said about David Cameron (let’s say about his ‘special’ relationship with Rupert Murdoch). There is a Conservative MP on the panel.

Then towards the end of the program, David phones into the program. They put him through, live, on air.

He calls the program vile and despicable. He says that the program is full of lies disguised as the truth. He says of the ladies on the panel that they are only so-called ladies. David gets quite angry.

The presenter say something along the lines of ‘You may be my Prime Minister but enough of the offending by you. You are a boor – rude, uncivilised, etc”. David then demands that the Conservative MP leaves the ‘brothel program’. The MP, quite rightly, doesn’t leave.

Can you imagine? The Prime Minister, bringing himself so low as to call a program whilst it is being transmitted? Being oafish and more like a petulant child, in front of his mother because his brother or sister has just accused them of doing something nasty?

No, of course you can’t. It would mean, after all, the end of any respect for him. I mean, to phone in in the first place? But then to argue with the presenter and basically do some name-calling – unbelievable, right?

Only, as we are in Italy, that is, more or less what happened, except, of course, replace Cameron with Berlusconi. It really would be hilarious if he wasn’t the leader of Italy. The shame of it all. And I would like to apologise if I got the gist of this wrong – but I don’t think I did. Please feel free to comment with any corrections to my understanding.

Update May 2015 – The video I had here is no longer available.

No changes here, then?

Although the Buzz Lightyear-owned press and media tried to bury all the latest about Mr Berlusconi and his shenanigans, most people do have something to say about it. But I read, today, that he and his party are gaining in approval rating.

This is not a surprise, really.

I have an American friend (As), born, I learnt yesterday, of Italian parents and, actually born in Milan (although she was really brought up in New Jersey) who was exasperated and annoyed with the whole thing and was saying that this country (Italy) was terrible and that she didn’t want to live here any more. She just couldn’t understand how people could accept what was happening.

So, I put my point of view (at that point I knew nothing about the Italian lineage she had).

My point was that these things are so deep inside [all – with some few exceptions, it would seem] Italians that it is almost at the very root of their life.

I have said before but it’s worth repeating. There is an acceptance, nay proudness, of mens’ ability to have sex with a beautiful woman (of whatever age) that when an old codger, past real retirement age, can be so successful with the women, he is not seen as a bad person but rather there is an almost heroic quality that Italians seem to see. I’ve had quite a few men here allude to the fact that they have a mistress – or, even, speak proudly of the fact. It’s the ‘done’ thing. And it is becoming more acceptable for women too. This is not seen to make any difference to the perceived qualities of the person – this is just normal life – at least, in many Italians’ view.

Then there is the Mafia connection. As I said to As – how many people does she know here who would not, given the chance, pay a little less for their meal – as long as they accepted they wouldn’t have to have a receipt? She agreed that it wasn’t many. And that general culture means that the Mafia (as a loose term) thrives here. You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.

Both these things seem so ingrained in the ‘people’. As asked how it was supposed to change. I replied that I didn’t know that it could be changed. And, so, Buzz epitomises your average Italian who has ‘done well’. He is rich and successful (and who doesn’t do the best they can to pay less and do favours for people) – and so his supposed Mafia connections are, in fact, only an extension to the normality of things here – and who would throw the first stone when you had €10 knocked off the bill from your restaurant meal last night? It’s the same thing, more or less.

And he is so virile that he can have sex with a number of women in the same night (apparently) – what Italian isn’t envious of him – or, if not envious, then a hearty ‘Good Luck to you mate’ would seem in order.

And so he remains. He is a ‘good’ man, apparently. He’s a little bit ‘squidgy’ round the edges but who isn’t here?

In most other European countries he would, of course, have had to resign. But these bad things he has done are to some degree a way of life, even THE way of life and for all the huffing and puffing, there’s no real will to relieve him of his duties.

And, Lola, before you comment, I know that not all Italians are like that. It just seems that there are too many of them all around (probably a majority?) to be able to fight the good fight and make real changes when really, most of the population don’t want things to change – at least, not these things.

Good? No, bad, bad, bad!

I put my hand up. I probably shouted ‘Me! Me! Me!’ It was my first (and only?) time at the ‘top table’. We had our lunch first, before others were served. The headmistress was an old dragon but I got my chance. I would get a second serving of the baked potato.

There was a problem, of course. I was 5 or 6. My stomach could not take 2 baked potatoes. And I struggled to eat it. In front of everyone I was told that as I had asked for it, I must eat it. I was in tears trying to stuff potato into a mouth that certainly did not want it.

It was a lesson, for certain. To me it seemed cruel. I don’t think I ever sat on the top table again. I’m pretty sure I never asked for seconds again.

But, nearly 50 years later I had forgotten that lesson and that incident …………. until yesterday.

In the canteen, at work, there were chicken slices in a tarragon cream sauce. In addition, left over from yesterday (because less people had come into the canteen than was planned for), were some meatballs in a tomato sauce. The meatballs had been rather nice. I asked Gina for a meatball too.

“Can you eat two?”, she asked.

“Yes, sure”, I replied and then, as I was taking my tray to the table, I remembered the first incident like this. And, as I ate the first and then second meatball, I remembered the whole horror of it. But now I am older and I had to finish it as Gina was also clearing the plates so would know it was me. It was delicious but I simply must be more careful in future :-)

Actually, thinking about that school, where I was for a couple of years only, I can remember nothing good. Only two bad things. The lunch I’ve just mentioned. Then there was the time when the whole school (it was only small) was playing rounders one afternoon. We were in two teams and our team was batting. I got a little caught up in the whole match. One of our girls (much older than me) hit a ball and started to make a run for it. Meanwhile, the fielders were trying to get the ball back to get her out. It got very exciting, everyone was shouting and cheering and encouraging their side and then, as our girl was almost at the last post, the fielders managed to stump the post and she was out.

I had obviously completely forgotten that I was on the batting side and was cheering along with our opposition. I don’t remember anything that was said but I do remember the stern look from the headmistress and I know that I wanted the ground to open up and swallow me. It seemed that everyone had stopped cheering and I was left as the last person still cheering.

Actually, I can remember almost nothing good about any of my schooldays. I hated school – not for the lessons but for all the other bad shit that happened. Whoever said that your schooldays were the best days of your life was either completely off their head or didn’t go to any of my schools!

Lies, lies and more bloody lies!

As I’ve written before, the danger with all the scandal over the undercover police ‘spying’ on the activists is that the focus is on the wrong thing.

At the moment, horror of horrors, it seems some of these undercover cops were getting a bit close with the people they were supposed to be monitoring. To the point where “Undercover policeman married activist he was sent to spy on” – except, when you actually read the piece, the implication of the headline and the facts themselves are at odds. He didn’t marry the woman whilst he was undercover – rather, after he left the work he contacted the woman a year later, TOLD her he had been an undercover policeman and only then did they get married. The headline isn’t exactly a lie, it just implies something different than the reality.

But, the big problem here, in my opinion, is not that they got too close. I mean, if you live and ‘work’ with a group, you get close – you really have no choice. The dividing line between the reality of what you are actually doing and what you’re supposed to be doing will blur. To be really convincing, NOT to have a relationship with someone you like would be the unrealistic and unreal thing – possibly leading to you being ‘found out’!

No, the real problem is the lies. The lies by the cops involved. The lies that must have been made in court. And then there is the lies made by the Chief of Police to parliament.

It’s the lies that are the worst of it. I mean to say, if you cannot trust the police to tell the ‘truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’ (since they are supposed to be the law enforcement group), then one has to wonder if there is any point in them?

And so, how can this be justified, when, as it was being said by a person that we are supposed to trust, he knew it was untrue.

“We had no plain-clothes officers deployed within the crowd. It would have been dangerous for them to put plain-clothes officers in a crowd like that.

“The only officers we deploy for intelligence purposes at public order are forward intelligence team officers who are wearing full police uniforms with a yellow jacket with blue shoulders. There were no plain clothes officers deployed at all.”

They are touting it as ‘false information’. False information! How dare they! Let us call it was it is. It’s a downright, deliberate lie.

The police cannot be, nor should be in future, trusted to tell the truth. If the ‘top man’ can tell blatant lies then it goes to the very heart of the police – and it’s a very, very sad day. I remember when I was thinking of becoming a magistrate, that the most important thing was that you were to support the police and what they tell you. I believed in that, too, but if I were a magistrate now, I would have very serious doubts about anything the police were to tell me and I would tend to err on the side of the defendant. No longer would a policeman’s word be enough – in fact, I would have to question everything that they said that was not backed up by irrefutable hard evidence.

The police are liars and, if there were a confidence vote, mine would go against them. This is a shame for those of the police (and, surely, there must be some) who are not liars. But then, guys and gals, if your top man can lie so openly and brazenly, what chance do you have?

There’s nothing wrong with Buzz …….. except his age, perhaps?

I bought Caligula on DVD recently and have been watching it over the last few nights (F is away at the moment). It is, now that I look at it again (I saw it when it was originally released), not only very dated but also barely-disguised soft porn. It’s not really good, in spite of the famous actors and actresses involved. I seem to remember that, at the time, a lot of them distanced themselves from the film claiming they hadn’t been fully informed of how graphic it would be.

I think I prefer the depiction made by the BBC with I, Claudius (which, although dated now, still is a brilliant story).

In any event, it was his madness and excesses regarding sex that, in both accounts, brought him down, causing his trusted henchmen to kill him.

We were at lunch today. M suggested that ‘sex’ was the downfall of all ‘empires’. He wasn’t actually referring to Caligula but, rather, Berlusconi (or Buzz Lightyear, as I have previously referred to him).

All of you must have read something about the latest scandal to be hitting the beloved (or, is it ex-beloved?) leader of this life-loving nation. Paying a prostitute for sex is, apparently, not illegal here – unless she is under 18. It is suggested that he might have done that. The story of Ruby has gone from ‘I was just helping her out’ to ‘all the magistrates are just trying to get me’ to ‘the media are trying to get me’. All the while, I am reminded of Bill Clinton’s famous ‘I did not have sex with that woman’ – because, obviously, having her give him a blow-job under the desk in the Oval Office wasn’t ‘technically’ having sex – well, in his eyes, at least.

I suspect the ‘truth’ from Buzz is similar to that from Clinton.

M and I discussed it after lunch. He thinks Buzz will be out within the next two weeks. I am doubtful. If there was a strong candidate to replace him then, yes, maybe. As it is, there is not or, rather, there doesn’t seem to be.

But over lunch, whereas, in the past, there have been his strong supporters who will defend him, the discussion around the lunch table left the Buzz supporters with little to say.

Afterwards, I asked S, my colleague, what she thought. Previously she had been such a staunch supporter of his and I was intrigued as to what she would say.

“It’s his age’, she replied, laughing. Yes, before you ask, I’m not sure how that can be used as an excuse either!

Unemployment – rising … no …. falling …. no …… rising

Newspapers.  Not really to be trusted – as we all know, erm, don’t we?

Some, of course, are worse than others.  Unemployment figures have been released in the UK today.  The prediction was for a sharp rise.  Anyway, it wouldn’t matter as it’s all manipulated stuff, in my opinion.

However, to give you a taste of two completely different papers – here is the news:

Unemployment leaps to 2.5m as record levels of young people are out of work

Or, is it:

Overall jobless level drops below 2.5m.

Hmm. Forgive me but I would think that the first would be a Labour (loony left) paper and the second would be a Conservative (rabid right) paper, wouldn’t you? Well, in fact, it’s the other way around (although the Guardian is a bit tied to half supporting the coalition given that it moved from Labour to Liberal Democrats prior to the last election).

Even so. If unemployment is ‘soaring’ to the dizzy heights of 2.5 million, one wonders how, at the same time, it can be ‘dropping’ to 2.5 million.

But it’s all in the interpretation of the figures, as always. There’s the number of people claiming money (Job Seekers Allowance) in the short term versus those claiming it for six months or more. Then, of course, there’s the people who find some work – even if it’s not full-time employment – there seems to be more of those jobs about. Well, at least it takes them off the count of ‘unemployed’.

This big rise is in the number of young people out of work. We are, I believe, creating a disaster to be realised in 30 years time or so. The same is true here, in Italy. Who will be paying my pension when I’m 80-odd if we don’t give them work to do now? Or, maybe, I’ll still be working?