Are we thinking about Christmas?

I’m pretty sure that in all the years I was with V, I never did this so early.

And I’m a bit worried (of course I am :-|) that I’m being a bit presumptive but surely, as I think I’ve said before, one has to assume it’s going to go on forever otherwise, what’s the point?

And so, just an hour or so ago, I ordered the first Christmas present for F.

I know, I know. It’s not just early it’s disgusting and wrong on so many levels but I saw this thing and thought it would be a nice present and a) it may not be there or b) I will have forgotten about it by Christmas, so I thought – why not?

But I’m almost certain I have never before bought a Christmas present in February.

It makes me feel quite faint ;-)

With a tear in my eye, I’m waving goodbye to Google

I’ve tried before; looked at others but I am a creature of habit and, probably like most people, I don’t really like too much change.

It’s a ‘mistake’ that most software producers make, I think.

Of course, whilst ‘keeping it the same’ I guess one has to improve things. The things I liked about Google was a) it was regionally based (i.e. I could use and b) any changes it made were not significant to the display and use that I saw.

So, I don’t want to do it but, I guess, the time has come.

The reason is the new privacy policy that Google are implementing. I have already set my ‘accounts’ so that web browsing history is not kept (this must be done before Thursday – you can’t change it after that) but I’ve read that they will still track your browsing until the end of March or something.

So, there’s only one way to ‘make sure’ and that is to NOT use it. Which is a shame. I know that others have said/written that Google is not that good but I’ve been loyal to it for years and it always seemed to give me what I wanted.

So, I’m trying a few new ones and we’ll see how it goes.

But, with a heavy heart and a tear in my eye, I’m waving goodbye to Google.

Very happy.


I mean to say, compare now with a couple of weeks ago.

Now, no T-shirt, no jumper, no scarf, hat, thermal socks. I’m thinking about sandals and the beach!

The sky is blue – but so blue – the windows are open.

It reminds me of why I just love living here. OK, so it’s a bit chilly at night (you need a jacket, at least) but soon it will be too hot to wear anything but sandals, shorts and a T-shirt – even in the middle of the night.

And it makes me very happy.

I’m coming to you

The bed is made with fresh sheets. She did that before she left.

The place is empty – I mean, no one is living there. It’s free.

So, now it’s a choice.

I answer the call. “I’ve been out for an aperitivo and now I’m coming to you”. But, he doesn’t have to. There are a number of options available. It’s been more than a month now since last he slept in his own home. I was ready for the “I’m going to stay at mine tonight” and ready to give the option of “We could come and stay at yours”. But, it seems there was no reason to be ready.

Of course, I say nothing. I mean to say, I don’t point it out. Nor do I give the suggestion that we can go to his place.

In a weird way, I would quite like a ‘night off’ – but, then, we have that when he goes abroad (or when I did for the party). Then again, I’m not desperate for a night without him. And I like the fact that he’s there, for sure.

But, obviously, we don’t live together ;-)

Real men, apparently, use this.

We have no internet connection. This was written on 20th but will, probably, be posted on the 21st.

So, what to do?

Not a lot, it seems.

Last night I had a terrible night. Ambulances or fire engines seemed to go past once an hour, waking me up, not because of them, particularly, but just like a mother can hear her baby crying, these sirens presage the howling. The howling is loud, seemingly louder than the sirens themselves and so, to stop it, one must call Dino over.

The first time it happened, about 1 a.m., after quieting Dino down, I got up, for I was thirsty. After a drink I came back to bed but couldn’t sleep even though I was awfully tired. I switched on the TV and flicked through the channels hoping to find something so mind-numbingly boring (and by that I mean something where the voices were rather subdued and flat) that I would fall asleep immediately.

I came across something that was just amazing. It was for something called Edortex or Erosex or something. At first I thought it was for a blow-up doll but after staying on it for a few moments, from what I could make out it was a whole program (although I didn’t stay on it long) about some miracle natural medicine that could make a man ‘a man’ again!

At one point they went to a ‘live’ studio discussion. The presenter (a well-endowed, blonde woman) introduced the first ‘real’ person in the studio. He was a plumber. He stood up when introduced and came to stand beside her extolling the difference this wonderful elixir had made for him.

Except he was not some bloke they had picked up off the street. He was, most definitely, an actor. He probably had never even changed a washer in a tap! He played to the camera with the measured tones of someone reading a script.

I just wondered if he included it in his ‘portfolio’ when he went for other acting jobs?

Even if he did, I wouldn’t have given him a part on this basis. It was truly dreadful acting. But, then, it seemed a truly dreadful program and I guess all the good actors weren’t so interested.

I also wondered what the casting advert for this job was like?

On second thoughts, perhaps he felt he had to act badly so as to ensure that no one thought it was really him saying that without this wonderful product he wasn’t a real man?

What’s love got to do with it?

As I have mentioned in some other post or posts, there is a prostitute who ‘works’ a corner just near where I live.

She always say ‘Hi, puppy!’ when we go past. (BTW, she’s talking to Dino at that point, not me :-D ). We say Hi to each other and I mumble something about the weather (especially recently as it’s been so cold, poor thing). I don’t know where’s she’s from. She is very tall and has legs right up to her bum. But I don’t really know much about her except that she is, undoubtedly, a prostitute.

I don’t have a big problem with it, in as much as I’m not interested and I do feel kinda sorry for her in that, as a career choice (if she has any choice), it wouldn’t rate as a fabulous choice imho.

But this is a profession that’s very, very old and, at least, it’s direct and to the point. I.e. you want sex, you pay for it.

Whereas, this, apparently, is most definitely NOT!


I mean, even where there are men saying they’ll fork out thousands of dollars a month, the terms and conditions explicitly state:

Please take note that we prohibit anyone from promoting illegal activities (such as prostitution) or commercial activities of any kind in their profile or in messages sent on the site and if such conduct comes to our attention we reserve the right to, amongst other things, remove you from our website and ban you permanently.

So, there you are. Not prostitution. Nor anything like it. Obviously.

Perhaps I should write down the url and give it to my lady friend from the corner?

In the meantime, I met this next lady once, in the street, in Milan. And she smiled at me. But she’s really tiny and not a prostitute, unlike my lady-from-the-corner friend.

(Tina Turner – What’s Love Got To Do With It?)

What isn’t said.

So, at the party, V and I talked and laughed and, generally had a nice time.

It was a little like old times. I was my usual sarcastic self and I made him laugh. He was his usual self and made me laugh. I remembered how much fun he was to be with, even if I didn’t feel the need to stay by his side as I had done in the past.

We talked about many things and it was fun. It was like the old days without the horribleness that came in the last few years. But, then, we weren’t going home together, so maybe that was the reason.

I talked about F and told some funny stories. He told me that he had defriended me on FB because he was concerned that I would be upset by his getting married. I said that I wasn’t upset at all and I really wanted him to be happy (which is all true).

But it was afterwards – and I don’t mean after the party, I mean a few days afterwards – when I realised that, whilst I had said some things about F he had, basically, said nothing about B (his partner).

Now, isn’t that a strange thing?

The Party

I had a sudden thought, in the car, on the way to the airport.

What if V were on the plane? For some reason this possibility hadn’t even crossed my mind until that moment and for some other reason, it made me feel uncomfortable.

There were three things about this party:

1. Ay

It was her 21st. From a beautiful baby to a beautiful woman. How time flies. My meories of her are precious.

2. The Family.

They were my family for over 20 years. They still are my family. I still feel at home with them which, I thought, was strange, since I had believed it was because of V. It seems not.

3. V.

Of course, this was my biggest ‘concern’ And, so, on to the party ……..

I got to the hotel and watched some TV (see earlier post) and then decided to go down for a cigarette. There had been dire warnings about how cold it was in the UK, so I dressed up – hat, coat, scarf, gloves, etc.

In reality, it wasn’t that bad and I felt almost foolish being so well guarded against the non-existent cold.

So, I’m there, outside the hotel, having a cigarette and wishing I was home. I phone C to ask what time it will finish as I need to phone a taxi.

“Probably about 4″, she states. OK, I know it’s a family whose roots are Jamaican and, therefore, should have known – but, really, FOUR!?!

She tells me there is someone who wants to talk to me. She passes me to V. He seems quite pleasant. I tell him I will be there later.

I’ve brought a suit. I nearly changed my mind but, in the end, thought it would be better. I go up to take a bath but, whilst it is running, I see the water is yellow and full of black bits. I decide to have a shower.

It’s after the shower that I realise I didn’t bring my brush. Nor even a comb. Bugger!

I use the only thing I have which is a nail brush. It’s not good but it’s all I’ve got. Luckily the room has a hairdryer so that’s something. The result I’m not happy with but there’s nothing I can do about it.

I get ready and go. I could be a bit early but better early than late. I go to the taxi rank at the airport. I get in a taxi and we’re there about 10 minutes early.

I go to the door. Outside are some people I recognise in some way. I guess they’re V’s brother’s oldest children who are in their 20’s. They recognise me more than I them. I certainly couldn’t put names to them – well, I couldn’t at that moment.

One of them goes in to say I am here. C comes out and goes a bit wild. There’s lots of hugging and kissing and stuff. V stands in the doorway. We say ‘Hi’.

We go inside into the entrance porch. There is of course the ‘How are you?’s; the ‘You’re looking well’s, etc. V’s Mum and Dad are there. I was pleased that his Dad looked really fit and well – it meant that I could honestly be delighted to see him and shock was not obvious on my face, even if I had expected to see him thinner and ‘shrunken’, because the only shock was how well he looked.

It was wonderful to see them. Ay wasn’t there but ‘getting ready at home’. Obviously, she wanted to ‘make an entrance’.

V was going to pick her up in the car. He suggested that I come too.

V looked good. Almost like his old self and certainly much, much better than last time I saw him. He didn’t look so old either. We talked a lot. It was almost as if nothing had ever happened. He was (as he was before) fun to be with. I enjoyed our time together.

Of course, the difference was that I didn’t worry about what he said. I mean, it didn’t matter if it was bullshit or not. It isn’t like it matters to me – I mean to say, it doesn’t have any effect on my life, my day-to-day living, not like before. So he could be whomever he wanted and I didn’t know, nor need to know, anything beyond the shallow front. And that was good.

Even P, his other sister, was nice to me!

He told me that everyone had been talking about me coming. That it was really important to them. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, it was nice to think they might have been.

But I didn’t scratch too deep. I’m not good with the sight of blood and what purpose would it serve anyway?

Ay looked fabulous. And, of course, to me, not 21. She looked like a little, sweet girl. But I love her still, even if she’s only my ‘niece’ by virtue of the relationship I had with V.

And I do miss the food – rice and peas, chicken, etc. It was really lovely to have some again.

And I do miss them all, even V. They make me feel warm and comfortable and, well, like being in a family.

So, the party was fine and V was very nice and everyone was very nice and Ay looked so beautiful and I cannot express how I feel now she’s turned 21.

And I got a little drunk and got a taxi back about 2 or 2.30 but that was OK.

Out of my mind

I must have been out of my mind!

It’s the only explanation.

You may remember, when I went to the UK the last time, I was having a coffee with Best Mate and saw a croissant (brioche, here) that looked delicious.

I was thinking of the brioches that we have at our local café. What I got, of course, was the British equivalent, which is is no way equivalent except that they look similar. It was not fresh – out of the oven that morning but, rather, several days old. It was dreadful.

I had a lot to drink on Friday night. The next morning I was up early to catch the flight home. I needed coffee – even if I knew the coffee wouldn’t be that good.

After checking in, I went to find coffee. Costa Coffee in the departure lounge seemed the best bet. there was a queue – a long queue. The woman behind mentioned that she would like a bacon sandwich. Mmmmm, I thought. Yes a bacon sarnie would be just right.

I wait. The queue is NOT inching forward. Of course, there’s not a queue in an Italian bar but the staff are incredibly quick and they are, normally, very good at working out who’s next but, anyway, I’m used to it now so can usually get my coffee quite quickly.

I feel that some serious training, given by Italians to the British, would be useful. They are not slow – they are bloody useless. I look at my watch. My plane will be boarding in about 20 minutes. They finish serving the customer at the head of the queue. The queue inches forward. I count the number of people and realise that, at this speed, if I am lucky, I will get my coffee and bacon sarnie about 10 minutes after my plane has boarded.

Oh well, I think, I shall just go somewhere else.

I leave the queue.

The only somewhere else is Burger King or the pub.

I opt for Burger King. After all, I remember the burgers as quite good – well, better than McDonald’s anyway!

I look at their offerings. I wonder why we’ve always got to look up at these places.

They have a Bacon Butty. It includes egg, which I don’t really want and cheese, which I also don’t really want but, OK, I can eat it. I order cappuccino too. I pay £5 something. Normally, in our local bar, we pay €4.80 for two cappuccinos and two brioches. Ah well, who cares, I think.

I sit at the table and unwrap my Bacon Butty.

I will try to describe it.

First, it is small – no bigger than my palm. The bread is soft but not soft as in soft bread but more like hot bread that has been run under a tap. Soft in a wet sense. The egg is not, of course, a fried egg. Nor is it some scrambled egg. It is a burger made of an egg-like substance. I suppose you could say it was like scrambled egg except that it really isn’t.

The bacon is thin – but so thin it is thinner than Italians cut their meat. Wafers are thicker. It tastes of bacon.

I liberally spread tomato sauce over it all. I have to hold the bun carefully, just in case the wet bun starts to disintegrate with gravity. I am convinced that, if I squeezed the bun, I would get about a quarter of a pint of water from it.

It is vile and not really food but it is, perhaps and only perhaps, better than nothing.

The cappuccino is interesting. The froth on a cappuccino is supposed to be thick and creamy. It seems that, whoever has been learning about cappuccinos has heard the thick bit and accordingly, the froth is so thick that the plastic stirrer stands up. In fact, it is difficult to move it around. Well, at the end of it, it tastes vaguely like coffee.

I can’t forget the Bacon Butty though. The wet bun, the terrible egg, the whole experience.

But, I wonder at how the British people got to a stage where this was acceptable. Where slow service (Costa Coffee) and bad coffee and this Bacon Butty were considered to be acceptable. Indeed, where the Bacon Butty came to be considered food?

I don’t think I could go back and live in the UK, not least because of the food. I must have been out of my mind.