Gossip. Well, I’m not one to pass it on. Or, maybe I am? Or not?


Like I said, yesterday, it’s the pettiness, here, that I can’t stand.

What I dislike, also, is gossip.

And, yet, I do like it. So, aaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggghhhhhhhh! Hearing some gossip today about a former friend I found myself wanting to tell someone. Except there is no one to tell! And even if I could tell, I wouldn’t because it would seem like crowing and I really don’t want to crow – because it’s quite sad, really.

On hearing the news, I was hardly surprised. There’s form, you see? Nor was I surprised at the reaction it got, for that is always the reaction. To be honest, I was slightly pleased about it all. As they say, a leopard can’t change its spots ……. but then I was rather disgusted with myself. After all, it could be me. But it’s not.

And, then, afterwards, I wanted to talk to someone else about it. At the same time, I don’t want to discuss it as it has no real effect on me and neither should it. Luckily, there is no one to talk to about it and so, I won’t. Good.

What annoyed me though is my urge to talk to someone. To keep the gossip going with, of course, my own interpretation …… my own little spin.

But I didn’t. And I’m not going to talk about it here, either.

So aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh again. And now let’s forget it, eh?

Orsoblu; French = gay?????

Well, it was far better than the last deal we went to, that’s for sure.

Another Groupon deal, this time Orsoblu, picked especially because not only was it close but it was also a fish restaurant.

The interior is smart, modern, chic and ……. well, …….. blue. It was a Monday so it was fairly quiet but that was fine. It was a fixed menu, since that was part of the deal. We chose (well, he chose) the wine. It was some Chardonnay. It was quite nice.

It took some while for each of the courses but that’s OK. I don’t mind waiting except that it was a Monday night and, because I had had a lesson booked (which was subsequently cancelled), I had booked it for 9.

There was the antipasto. Nicely presented. It included a raw shrimp, some salmon, a scallop (as an aside, I could not remember the English word for this. I had to look up the Italian – cappesante – which I remembered. This is shocking and, to be honest very annoying. It’s not as if I could spell the word correctly in Italian anyway, so that makes it even worse!!), some unidentified white fish, a mussel and something that was like a lump of polenta – oh, and a razor fish. It was quite nice. Too much bread-crumbing for me, personally (the scallop, the mussel), however, the razor fish (which I’ve had once before, bread-crumbed) was not bread-crumbed and therefore better, although I’m not sure if it’s quite as good as it should be – I’m not sure what to expect with razor fish. I mean, there’s hardly anything there! It was the first time he had had it so he wasn’t sure how to eat it. That made me smile.

Then there was the primi. On each plate was some sort of pasta (like slightly flat spaghetti) with clams – this was nice and some risotto. The risotto was flavoured with orange and was ‘fishy’ – i.e. had some fish thing going on – but I’ve no idea what. Still, they were both very nice.

Then we had the main course. Half of a very well filleted branzino (Sea Bass), with a sauce that was quite rich, with mushrooms (that were quite nice) and some breaded pieces of potatoes, roasted or fried. The taste of the branzino was a little lost in the richness of the sauce but it was well done.

Then we had cannoli. This is a particularly Sicilian sweet. Quite often filled with ricotta cheese. A lot of Italians love it. As far as I’m concerned, it is OK but a bit too sickly sweet for me. But, then, I prefer something with fruit, to be honest.

By now it was already 10.30, so we paid (with the voucher we were paying only for the wine and water – the bill being 23€!)

Overall, I would say that it was nice. For me there was a bit too much going on with the dishes. I’m not a great fish eater and I always prefer simple. This was not the Lamparo. But, to be honest, they did a good job, trying to give us a sample of the things they can do. I prefer my branzino with little else – just steamed or fried.

On a minus note, the waiter spoke so softly that I don’t think I actually heard a single word he said. But, maybe, that was just me. The service, although we waited a long time between courses, was good.

Yes, I would go there again but no, I wouldn’t rush to go there, choosing Lamparo or Baia Chia before it.

Oh, yes, and it’s sponsored by Vivienne Westwood! Who knew that restaurants were sponsored?

On our way back to the car I was informed that French (the language) was very ‘gay’.

Guess who I was with? ;-)

The Lost Leonardo painting – NYT article and update.

A couple of posts back, I urged you to support or, at least, repost the request for help to discover the lost Leonardo Da Vinci painting, ‘The Battle of Anghiari. Well, hopefully to rediscover it.

Here we have a rather good article in the New York Times about the history and the current situation with the project. Since last week, the funding has doubled in size (possibly as a result of the NYT article) but there is still a long way to go.

Here is the Kickstarter Project which is, apparently, the biggest Kickstarter project of its kind to date. Here you can donate money for ‘things’ promised. Including a personalised tour of the very palace itself.

Do go and have a look. It’s all terribly exciting.

Never doing anything; Work or not?

I get easily hurt.

V didn’t realize quite how much he’d hurt me until sometime after we had split. The night I made him cry. He said – “I didn’t realize how much I’d hurt you”. Yeah. Well. Too late now, isn’t it? Yes, it is. And it was too late then and, even, before then.

The problem, of course, is not him, nor them but me. I know that but, still, I can’t change it – the way I am, I mean.

His father said that nothing had been prepared so we couldn’t come. He told him that he had told his mum the night before that we would come over tonight. And he did. I was there and, even if I don’t understand Italian, I understood that. I told him that he had told his mum. “Good”, he said, “I thought I was going mad”.

“What shall we do?”

Now, for me, this is not a problem. We could do anything and that’s OK. I suggested a couple of things. One was too expensive. Another was too far. The third was …… well, he explained, it’s Saturday night. He meant that we would never get in. It would be too busy.

“So, what shall we do?”

“I don’t know”, I replied.

“We never do anything”, he says, spitefully.

See, there. That’s the wounding thing. Why? I mean to say, why say such a nasty, untrue thing. Of course, this plays over and over in my mind over the next few days and on the trip back home. It’s not true or, if it is true then it’s because he is ‘a little bit tired’; ‘has a bad back’ or ‘doesn’t feel to’ (sic). Or is so late over at mine that it’s too late to do anything.

I think about the times that I’ve suggested things. Going to the cinema; going for a drink with friends; visiting somewhere. It’s simply not fair or reasonable to throw that one at me.

Later, I think that he’s angry with his mum. Which he is. Often. It would seem.

But I don’t like it when he takes out that anger on me. Worse still is that I am left so shocked by it that the logical thoughts that answer it afterwards do exactly that. Answer it afterwards. Often days later. Not at the time. At the time, I go quiet. I say nothing. It makes me feel powerless and useless and, unsurprisingly, more hurt. In any event, I don’t like it.

And it’s all a bit ‘gay’. By that I mean, his thing – it’s all a little bit dramatic. And I’m not a lover of the dramatic and particularly the over-dramatic.

And, so, next time this starts, I shall be saying that, not only is it not true but it is also not fair nor reasonable. And then stop. Busting for a fight really doesn’t do it for me. Nor does thinking of the correct response afterwards.

And then I read Annie’s blog post and particularly Rita’s (wise old bird that she must be) thing about not confusing love with praise and attention. It’s difficult though since lovers always heap praise on you and give you their full attention. And then, when the love has worn off ……? Worse, of course, is when there is plenty of praise and attention which seems like love but is actually just praise and attention.

And some people are mean fuckers and know that what you want is love but you will assume that praise and attention IS love and so they pile on the praise and attention because of their needs without any love behind it. Like a cheese sauce that looks like a cheese sauce until you taste it – when you find out it is a cheese sauce without the cheese – which is just a tasteless gloopy sauce.

On a side note, I really, really have to do something about my job. And by ‘do something’, I mean get out of this. This was NOT what I intended to do when I got here. The introduction of more petty rules and regulations drives me to distraction. It’s so easy to fall into the rut of being in work and so paying the bills and then getting caught up in all the crap AT work – where you think (and it sneaks up on you so that you hardly notice) that work is, in fact, the world whereas, in fact, not only is work NOT the world but it is also much less significant than anything else. Apart from paying the bills, that is. But that’s not really a good enough reason to stay in this narrowing and blinkering environment, is it? Is it? No, it isn’t.

So, what to do? My mind screams ‘anything – so long as it’s not here’.

Of course, as I have learnt, everywhere is the same. And, probably, everywhere, even your home, has a dangerous tendency to become ‘world’ and grow its pettiness accordingly.


Winning friends and influencing people

People can be quite stupid, sometimes, in my opinion.

How come people don’t see the whole picture but, instead, see a less positive side?

So, there’s this guy that is unhappy at work because he feels shut out. He isn’t getting the work he expects. He’s managed to fall out with a lot of people and now, unsurprisingly, they don’t want him involved. And so he gets the cold shoulder.

He expects his ‘skills’ to be enough.

Well, I have news for you, mate. Your skills (unless you are the only person in the world with those skills and they are really necessary) are never enough. You also have to be clever at work. You have to cultivate relationships – even with people you may not like. You have to try and understand these people, work WITH them even if you think they are dorks. No one is ever all-powerful, even if you think they are. You have to be a little more ‘furbo’.

But, from the conversation I had with him, it’s too late now. He’s given up and has resorted to complaining and whining.

No good will come of it. It’s time for him to find another job and as fast as possible before he brings down everyone else.

Sometimes, I’m really glad I’m no longer a ‘boss’.

Fancy a day out this Bank Holiday?

Well, for you lot in the UK, with the coming Bank Holiday, just in case you had nothing planned you might like to try this.

Perfect for those of you who are students and can’t afford a full gap year or for those of you, like me, who missed out on having a gap year anyway (being so old, it wasn’t really trendy then).

AND, it’s in South Wales! What more could you want?

Searching for ‘The Battle of Anghiari’ and your help is required.

There’s this nice American (but he can’t help where he was born, can he?) guy that I know, living in Milan who is a professional photographer.

He has a project and it’s exciting.

It goes something like this: Leonardo (of the Da Vinci fame) did this huge painting which was regarded as a bit special.

Then, just like changing the wallpaper, they got some guy (Giorgio Vasari) who was paid to paint over it except that, being a bit of a fan of Leo, he probably didn’t just paint over it but rather painted over a wall in front of it.

Another guy (Dr. Maurizio Seracini) reckons that the Leo’s painting will be behind it but cannot get to it.

Dave, the photographer, got involved and there may be a way to ‘see’ it using some special gamma camera.

Although this project has been funded by National Geographic to a great extent, they now need some funding for the camera itself.

And this is where you come in. Please visit the link below and if you like the idea, pledge some money. If not, you can still help by posting it on your blog or on Facebook or passing it onto friends. They have a lot of money to raise before October 10th and it would be so good if it can be done. Any help is gratefully received.

The Search for the Lost Da Vinci is here.

Please help!

Our July was stolen!

It’s all gone a little awry.

Let’s be honest, June and July were, as far as the weather was concerned, a bit of a let down. Where were the 40° highs? It was, mostly, warmish but really nothing like previous years.

August started off quite mediocre and then, around the 15th it seemed that July had come, finally. Like August had nicked July.

Milan is now hot. I mean to say that this morning, at just after 7, on my drive to work, the temperatures were reading 27°. It was also about that, this morning, around 6 when I took the dogs out. The forecast I use says it will get to 33° this afternoon but I think it will be hotter.

F is not really happy about it since he’s not really into heat and, now that our holidays are over, he wants it to cool down.

The dogs aren’t really happy either but they have plenty of fresh water.

OK, so even I have to admit, lying in bed at night with sweat pouring off me isn’t the most comfortable of things. However, it’s only going to last until about Thursday, so I’m sure I’ll manage.

Oh yes, I suppose I could get some air conditioning – but it would be for about a week a year so hardly worth it and, anyway, I couldn’t use it if F were there because, like all Italians, they are susceptible to ‘air’. This can produce many illnesses which include a sore throat and, in F’s case, a bad back. I was allowed to keep the fan on last night but only with it pointing away from us. When I left this morning he said he wasn’t feeling well. I guess there’ll be no fan tonight!

Knowing me, knowing you

He thinks he knows me now.

This is good and bad. It makes me laugh and makes me annoyed, depending on the situation.

We’re at the supermarket checkout. He complains that this line is too slow. I say, “Never mind, we’re on holiday”.

A few moments later, I start laughing. I had been watching the checkout man scanning the stuff through. For each item, he took several moments to find the barcode, then scan it, the read the label of the good, then place it carefully on the conveyor belt, before carefully selecting the next item to be scanned. He was very, very slow. As F said, the checkout girl on the next counter scanned four items to his one.

But, for some reason it just made me laugh and soon F was laughing too. As was some woman a couple of people behind us.

Later he said that he was right about the slowness and that I had, as usual, done my internal rolling of my eyes, and issued my usual conciliatory remark.

He was right about what I was thinking and doing after all, I’ve had over 20 years of practice with V and it’s automatic.

….. to be continued ….

Seagulls on our heads!

Well, here we are, almost at the end of the two weeks and two days of holiday.

Summer, this year, was tardy, arriving as it did on the 14th of August, more or less.

The holiday has been great and relaxing even if, for two of the nights in Umbria (including last night; our last night in Umbria), I hardly slept.

I write this on the beach on the Tuscan coast, the sky cloudless and the sun severe – but decidedly less hot than there, earlier today, yesterday and the last week.

But I wanted to tell you of a dream I had after I went to bed (again) about 10 to 4 this morning.
I’m sitting in my kitchen but it’s slightly different in that there’s an open fire, not needed yet, it being so warm.

M, my colleague is sitting besides me helping me with some technical thing. As I turn to him, I see a bloody big seagull on his head. I tell him he should get it off and realise I have one on my head too.

I get mine off my head or off his and it’s in front of me with a huge beak, open wide and lunging towards me.

I stick my arm down it’s throat. It can’t escape. I take it, like this, to the open window and let it dangle there, from my arm, it’s wings flapping.

I woke up.

I don’t understand it either!