Republicans love the Royality, it seems. As long as it’s not theirs!

Further to my post below, I have to say that S, my colleague, seems more British than I.

When she finally realised (even if I had told her several times before) that I would be on holiday tomorrow, she was quite upset. She had been relying on me to find live coverage of that wedding thing on the Internet. In particular she wanted to see the arrival.

That’s right, I live in a republic where the ex-Royal Family parade themselves on televised song contests.

Oh, no, wait! Maybe that’s better than being a team on It’s A Knockout!

Grumpy old sod?

I suppose I should mention it. After all, tomorrow is a special day.

Oh, yes, and some posh bloke is marrying some ordinary woman and they’re making a rather big deal about it although the Guardian is being funnier about it all whilst the Daily (Hate) Mail is getting it’s knickers in a twist one minute and all overly-excited, the next.

I will be at lunch whilst it’s all happening. At a vegetarian restaurant, of all places!

But, still, I have this annoying thing in my brain that will mean I shall probably try and find some coverage on the Internet when I get home. It annoys me because I shouldn’t (and don’t, really) care – but I am intrigued. And, I too, want to see ‘the dress’, even if it will be, after all, just another dress.

It makes me feel stupid. I am just thankful that I am not in the UK. I guess I would have stopped watching the news a few weeks ago.

Or am I just a grumpy old sod?

I have to admit, I was wrong.

I forgot to tell you.

I was wrong about the dog walking thing. He does it if he is not having to get up early. This morning he was doing pilates and so he was getting up early (early being after 7 – which is a lie-in for me!) and so I had to get up at 5.45 a.m.

Still, he does take them out in the morning, some of the time.

Tomorrow, I shall be on holiday. Maybe we shall take them out together? Maybe we shall have breakfast together in some bar? That would be nice.

Easter Lunch

I’m afriad both comments and pictures have been lost. Will try to find pictures and republish them soon.

Sunday was, of course, Easter Day. It is customary here, in Italy, to eat lamb. I am more than happy about that – lamb being my favourite meat. F doesn’t really eat meat but absolutely hates lamb. He says he doesn’t even like the smell of it.

We (mainly he) decided to go to eat at lunchtime on Sunday rather than in the evening. We went to Osteria Dell’Angolo (see link on the side). It is a restaurant I found in Pallanza and one that I love. The food is not like a really first class restaurant in Milan but it’s not far off. They did a special menu for Easter Sunday Lunch.

The day was warm and sunny. We ate outside in their covered area, surrounded by vegetation which, from the outside, makes it almost hidden. Certainly compared to the brashness of all the other bars looking over the lake, it seems hidden. And once you’re inside, it seems as though you have stepped into a different world. We booked on Friday evening. Since they weren’t sure about the weather, we got the last table. If the weather were to be good, we could, of course, eat outside.

The weather was great and so we settled at the round table in the corner, more or less, on our own.
The menu looked good:

We decided that, as there was a choice of two things for antipasto and primo, we would take one of each and share.

Both the antipasti were superb. The courgette mouse with tomato sauce (not Heinz, I may add) is a staple from them and I’ve had it before. It’s very delicate. The thinly sliced lake fish (whatever that may be) was even subtler but divine. We had half each.

Then came the primi.

First the ravioli filled with asparagus cream, simply done in butter with sage. Is your mouth watering already? It should be. Mine is as I write about it!

Delicate, I would say.

After half of that, we swapped plates and I had one of the rolled pancakes filled with smoked scamorza. To be honest, I usually dislike scamorza (a type of smoked cheese) but this was just perfect. I’m glad I had the primi this way round though as the smoked cheese was much stronger than the delicate ravioli.

As you can see, the pancakes were rather crispy. Mmmmmmm.

But then came the bit that I was waiting for. The Lamb!

This was my plate. I say that because we had about 4 pieces of lamb each but, as F doesn’t eat it, I got it all

I was very, very happy about that – although quite full afterwards.

For sweet, there was a piece of colomba with vanilla cream (which is actually custard although F refuses to believe it!) and a glass of spumante.

If I’m honest, I didn’t really feel that full although later, I didn’t really want any dinner.

It was lovely. I took the photos and that’s when it came up about the blog. I had to explain why I needed the photos. After being surprised I had one (although I have mentioned it before), he asked what I wrote about. I said everything. And then tried to explain that it was stuff in my head. He asked if it included him and I said that it did but that I didn’t use pictures of him nor his name.

I wonder if he’ll try to find it now?

Anyway, should you be on Lago Maggiore and near Pallanza, I recommend Osteria Dell’Angelo. It really is lovely. The service is good and the food is excellent.

Buon appetito!

It’s a dog’s holiday.

It’s a dog’s life, so they say.

On Sunday, we walked towards Intra. We didn’t get that far. The day was warm and sunny. It wasn’t really hot but definitely warm enough for just shirts – no jackets.

As we were walking back, Rufus kept stopping. As if he was going to do a pooh or a wee – but not actually doing either and, a few seconds later, continuing. The intervals between walking and this ‘stopping for no reason’ became shorter. He was tired, bless him. It was if he was saying ‘OK, it’s enough now’. But, still, he kept going.

When we got back, we were sitting in the lounge. He was already lying down on the towels we had brought. then his head would drop with a loud thud. He was very tired.

Later, when we went out again, he was up and doing his ‘horse thing’ and ready to go out again! the resilience of dogs never ceases to amaze me but he is truly amazing.

His ‘horse thing’ used to be a full jump. For a couple of years now, he hasn’t been able to jump. Instead he lifts both his front paws off the ground just like a horse rearing up. He does it less now but was doing it all weekend.

And we walked and walked. Mostly in Pallanza. Saturday – which was the only day we actually had any rain, we walked to Intra. At Intra they have a market on a Saturday. the walk is around the edge of the lake. It was cloudy and cool. I felt a few spots of rain but didn’t tell F as he would have wanted to turn back. Just before we got to Intra it started to rain. Not hard but enough. Luckily, we got to Intra just before it started to rain heavily and found some shelter. However, within 15 minutes it had virtually stopped and we were able to walk around the market, the pretty town and then stop for a drink and a panino each.

And then we walked back. We were out for about 5 hours. After this they were exhausted – and so were we. We got back and watched telly for a bit and then went for an aperitivo by the lake – and had a little walk with the dogs who acted like they had never had a walk all day!

Most of the time there it was walking and resting with some eating thrown in. I have photos and will post some shortly. Most photos include or are of the dogs! It was a dog’s holiday alright!

Comments lost, unfortunately.

The checklists that never got posted

Checklists 3, 4, etc. didn’t get done.

Checklist 3 would have been that the dogs went in for a wash and blow dry. Checklist 4 would have been that the flat was clean. Checklist 5 would have been that the car was packed and 6 would have been that the dogs were clean and smelling beautiful.

Non of these posts got made because of Checklist 4. F was here. And I couldn’t really be sitting at the computer whilst he was trying to super-clean the flat, now, could I?

Oh and there should have been other checklists too. Like 1A – Colomba ordered (and subsequently got). 2A – Eggs bought.

There were to be 6 adults, 1 baby and 2 dogs. I did think it was going to be a bit of a squeeze, even if the flat is big. However, sadly, B couldn’t come. And, so neither did her friend. And, I guess, that was why our mutual friend (with husband and baby) didn’t come either.

We did miss B an awful lot but it was nice all the same. F said, several times, that although he missed B, it is really good with it being just us. That made me very happy. And we talked about his house by the sea and how we should spend more time there and how we could get a place on the Lake (to rent), maybe, if it were cheap enough. Which is almost like getting a place together. And we talked about the dogs. And his dream about Dino dying and how he couldn’t stand it and that was why he never had a dog.

F bought another Colomba and we gave one Colomba and one egg to the Aunt that lives downstairs for her to share with the Aunt that lives upstairs. They are, after all so nice and I will never forgive myself (nor V) for having to wake them up at 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning to get V’s briefcase which he had forgotten.

The Colomba and egg were a little way of saying thank you.

And so, the weekend was great and the weather was, overall, very, very good and the dogs got lots of walks and we spent a lovely time together.

And we talked a bit about the blog. So that was good, wasn’t it?

Wasn’t it?

Unfortunately, any comments have been lost.

An eventful uneventful weekend; A supermarket open every day in Milan; Dog walking

Well, it didn’t really last long. Three days, in fact. Still, it’s the thought that counts, isn’t it?

Isn’t it? Tell me ‘yes’, please?

Well sort of.

It was an uneventful yet eventful weekend. I mean to say, for most people almost uneventful. For me, quite major things were done.

In particular, I am talking about sewing.

Yes, this post may not be the most exciting ever. Please look away now if you are afraid it might be boring. If you do read it, you can’t then say I didn’t warn you. And it is looooong!

I am, as you may know (or have guessed), a gay man. Actually, an old, gay man. But I’m not really your typical ‘gay’. I am, as N would say, quite a straight, gay man. An old, straight, gay man.

I don’t sew. Well, I do but only when I have to and we’re talking simple things here. Buttons and stuff. Buttons are hard. But not as hard as real sewing. But, like ironing and cleaning, they take me a long time. And, just like ironing and cleaning, if I can, I put it off.

So, all the shirts that I had that lost a button or ripped or needed some sort of repair had been, over the last (OMG! I just realised over the last 18 months or two years!!) ahem, period of time, had been hung in a special part of the wardrobe.

But, I was ‘running out’ of workshirts and having to use the ones that F had bought for me. So, on Saturday morning I said to him that I was going to have to go out and buy some. And then, I thought, of course, I’ve probably got a couple that just need buttons so I should do them first and then I would know how many I really needed.

So, Saturday morning, after F left to go to his place and ‘tidy up a bit’, I thought OK, I’ll do it or, at least, look to see how many I could ‘reclaim’.

I really didn’t realise how much stuff I had in that wardrobe. It was a shock. I started looking at the shirts. Putting the ones which had ripped (usually on the sleeve or under the arm) in one pile as these were, probably, irreclaimable (at least with my level of expertise at sewing) and the ones that missed just a button (or two or three), in another.

There were 7 shirts that were reclaimable. It was a big surprise but welcome, nonetheless.

I started. It was cold in my kitchen. I found that threading the needle, normally a process that takes about 15 minutes for me, seemed to be easier than usual. This was a good sign. I found buttons in my little ‘button store’. And, where I couldn’t find the right ones, I found them attached to the shirts, at the bottom. Or I found one that was very similar.

I progressed well, completing the first one in about half an hour. That’s how slow I am. One down and 6 more to go. After the second one, I was finding it difficult. My fingers, hardly as nimble as they were, seemed to be ‘not working’. It was far too cold. I put on some gas rings on the cooker. It would soon warm up the flat or, at least, the kitchen.

The washing machine was on. I think I was doing towels. Or jeans. Something which meant a full spin at top speed.

I did another shirt. (Exciting, isn’t it?)

I decided to have a break from sewing. I took the three shirts that I had done to hang them in the wardrobe (they were already ironed). On the way back (not that it’s a truly long distance but it’s still true since between the bedroom and the kitchen I go through every other room in the flat – apart, that is, from the bathroom – however, the bathroom is on the way back to the kitchen), I stopped off in the bathroom.

I’m standing there, having a pee (I know you may not want to know this but it is material evidence for the next bit) and I hear a sudden crash from the kitchen. The washing machine is in full spin.

There’s not a lot I can really do, standing there as I am. It’s just not possible to turn off the tap, so to speak. (See, I told you it was material to the story). I finish and walk into the kitchen.

The trays which are on top of the microwave, which is on top of the washing machine were the things that caused the ‘crash’. They have fallen onto the cooker. With them, obviously, are the things that are on the trays. Not much, normally, but F, in one of his ‘tidy up’ moods last week, had moved all the stuff that was with my computer on the kitchen table, onto the trays.

This included some paperwork, some CDs, some DVDs, some pens and some other associated ‘junk’.

You may remember (it was on a few paragraphs back) that I mentioned turning on the gas rings to heat up the kitchen a bit? Well they are gas and, therefore, flames and, sort of, flames tend to do things to pieces of paperwork, plastic CD holders, plastic trays, etc.
To pieces of paper, even bank notes, they tend to send them up in flames. To CD and DVD boxes, the tend to melt them before setting them on fire.

The kitchen was full of flames. Well, the cooker was full of flames and not all from the burners.

I don’t know what happens sometimes in times of crisis. Usually, I react quite well. Sometimes, though, my brain doesn’t seem to work. For a moment or two I blew on the flames, trying to put them out. It almost worked but for one small but very important fact. I couldn’t blow the burners out, of course, and so blowing the flame on a piece of paper out had the effect of it going out for a split second before reigniting itself from the burner.


At the same time as blowing, I start to move things (well, move isn’t quite the right word – more like grab and chuck) from the cooker hob to the sink which, luckily, was full of water for washing up, the washing up being in the water and not having been done by now because I am on that long, horrible job of sewing.

I do remember thinking that this really wasn’t the best day for this (but, then, when would be?). Not only am I sewing but it is also too cold for me. And I’ve had a bad week at work.

And my tooth hurts.

Although this may seem like a long time for me to ‘do the right thing’, in reality, of course, it was seconds. Seconds before I realised that, of course, before trying to extinguish the flames I should, in all probability, turn off the hob rings.

I do. Then I am blowing and throwing stuff at the sink at the same time.

The CD/DVD cases have started sticking to the black covers over the gas rings. And sticking to each other. In that plastic burned way. They also go into the sink along with the washing up.

I’m thinking that a wet CD/DVD is invariably better than a totally warped one.

I start to clean up the cooker. I fish things out of the water. Some bits of paper have fared better than others. Some now have no writing on. It seems pointless to keep them without anything on them, their meaning lost to the water. I hang others in various places to dry.
I start separating CD cases. The CDs themselves, look OK. I will have to try them. Possibly when they are no longer wet.

The plastic box full of blank DVDs is difficult to open since bits of the plastic seems to have become welded together. I prise the lid open. The DVDs themselves, seem OK. We shall see. Again, perhaps better to check when they are dry.

I make a cup of tea. There is irrational fear in turning on one of the gas rings to boil the water. I mean – REALLY irrational. There is nothing on the microwave any more. It all went onto the rings, into flames or was melted, then the water, then the drainer for drying out or thrown away for being of no use any more.

I have tea.

I re-start my sewing.

I finish the shirts. There are a couple of pairs of jeans that also need repair. They are my favourite jeans. They need repair because I am not sticking to my wine diet very well. And, also because the jeans were always quite ‘tight’ – even before I had need of any wine diet! One of them has come apart where the buttons were. It was either that or the buttons. The sewing gave first. I sew that up. Not well but, I hope, quite ‘strongly’. The other pair were not so lucky. The second button down – since they are not really buttons but those stud buttons you get on jeans – sheared in two. I have a stud from some other pair of jeans. I fix that in and hammer it together. I hope it holds. But I guess there will be another real button put there if it comes off. I guess there’ll be a button there soon, then!

Also, maybe as a result of the need for a wine diet, some shirts have ripped at the sleeve – underneath the armpit. They cannot be repaired. But a couple of them are good shirts and I don’t want to chuck them. I decide that I could just cut the sleeves off. They would be summer shirts. I try. the result doesn’t look so bad. Maybe they will be fine? I will show F later, maybe?

It has taken me all bloody day to do the sewing. The jumpers have not been done. They will have to wait. I’m quite pleased with myself at having done all this. F and I have chatted over Facebook when I was doing the shirt buttons. I told him I hate doing it, having forgotten how he told me that for S’s first show, various family and friends were up all night doing the sewing. He says he will do it later. For one moment I think of saying ‘yes’ but then decide not to. After all, I should be able to do all this myself. Maybe next time?

We went out for a meal. F was ill. The next day he stayed in bed until about eleven o’clock. Asleep. Then he got up and went home and went to bed and slept.

Yesterday, as he was sleeping, I took the dogs out for a long walk to the park. Have I mentioned that Rufus seems to have really perked up in the last week or so? Well, he’s still quite perky. I’m very happy about it even if I was writing him off only before Christmas.

Then, last night, I went to the supermarket. I love that, now, the Esselunga in Viale Piave is not only open on Sunday but also open after 6! Actually, I think it stays open until about 9 p.m. Italy is moving into the 20th Century. Just a little behind others. In fact, apart from about 2 days in the year, it is open every day and at reasonable times.

I had a hankering for parsley sauce. And roast potatoes. And leeks. I got everything, including some cod (because F likes that). Of course, the cod was salted cod and I didn’t soak it for long enough. The rest was perfect. I must try it again – with a more soaked cod.

And F feels a bit better now and has gone to work.

But he didn’t take the dogs for a walk on Thursday and Friday of last week (because he had very long days and was going to do Pilates), nor Sunday because he was ill, nor today (nor tomorrow, nor Wednesday nor Thursday, I suspect) because he was going to Pilates again. So it only lasted last week. And only for three days. Oh well. I’m sure it’s the thought that counts.


And some lost comments:

  1. Gail says:

18 April, 2011 at 5:16 pm

………phew. I hung in ’til the end. phew – and that’s because I love you you old straight-gay man you!!

Love Gail


    • Andy says:

18 April, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Well done, Gail! Loads of love back

It’s life Jim, but hardly logical.

When you look at it, logically, there’s nothing actually wrong.

Just like those times when I feel angry for no reason at all.

But I am really pissed off.

Except when I’m with F. For some reason, everything just lifts when I’m with him.

Take last night. After a really dreadful day, followed by a lesson and then a dreadful drive home, meaning I was later than I wanted to be, meaning that, although I really rushed a shower, I arrived at the shop later than I wanted to, once I was with F, I was relaxed and happy. For the next couple of hours, even if he wasn’t with me all the time, I was still happy and relaxed. I knew he was there. It was enough.

It was the “Aperitivo”. They were holding it because it is the Furniture Fair. It was nice. I had several glasses of prosecco. And a couple of the small finger food ‘dishes’ they were handing out. There were lots of F’s colleagues there, of course. They are always so nice to me.

One thing struck me though. F, not usually overly demonstrative towards me, completely changes when there are a lot of his colleagues around. It’s quite funny. He seems, almost, to be jealous of any attention given to me – but not jealous that I’m getting the attention and he’s not. Rather jealous in that I’m his. Phrases such as ‘keep your eyes off him, he’s mine’ tend to come out (or something similar, since it is in Italian). It does make me laugh, inwardly. Of course, part of it is for show, I know that. He is, after all, a showman. It’s what he does best. It’s why he’s good at his job.

And now, as we rapidly approach 4.15, it is the weekend. And the weather should be OK (average for this time of year) and so, I hope, F & I will spend some time together and take the dogs for a walk, etc.

These are the times that make me really happy.