Social or Anti

I don’t know why but during the weekend I kept thinking of my parents. Well, not thinking of them, exactly, but rather how much they wouldn’t like this. This thing that I do now.

I always thought that I would never pay to go onto a beach. But I used to hate carrying everything. Not that I actually carried everything, of course, but as I was the eldest, it was always more. And, instead of setting up camp near the entrance to the beach, we always had to go where there was no one else. Which meant walking on the beach. And walking. And walking. Laden as we were with deckchairs and windbreaks and costumes and food. And walking until I thought I would die. Or felt I would die. Or wanted to die with shame and embarrassment.

Even when we arrived at what seemed to be the furthest possible location, it wasn’t finished. For there was the setting up of the windbreak, the deck chairs, the changing into costumes, one at a time, using this thing that my Mum had fashioned out of, what seemed to be some sort of toweling but was almost like a curtain – but a very ugly curtain, with elastic at the top or drawstrings or something so that it covered you from the neck down. I absolutely HATED changing on the beach.

Then there was the food. We were a family of 6 so there was a lot of food. Sandwiches made that morning, sausage rolls made last week and kept in tupperware, rock cakes, hard boiled eggs. And other stuff.

It all seemed such a palaver.

But, being 6, I guess they couldn’t afford to go to restaurants and we didn’t have burger places then – except Wimpy, which was dreadful (not that the burger places now are much good). I understand now and I think I understood then.

That doesn’t mean I liked it. I didn’t. I HATED it. I hated everything about it. It’s like we were some sort of tribe, invading the beach. But with the embarrassment of it all I was, kind of, glad that we weren’t near other people. But they seemed to hate it when other people came near. If someone pitched up near to us they would complain and ask (themselves) why the person had to park themselves so close to us.

And, on reflection, perhaps that is one of the reasons I find it hard to socialise, in general. I wasn’t brought up to socialise, I guess.

Of course, in the early evening (unless the weather was not so good) we had to reverse all this. Packing away the food left-overs, uprooting the windbreak and rolling it up, collapsing the deckchairs. Getting changed again using the stupid and hateful changing robe thing. And then carrying the whole lot back to the car.

However, now, I love the fact that we just go to the beach. We take towels. We take personal stuff. But we don’t have to take deckchairs or food or an umbrella or a windbreak. It’s not a 6-mile hike to the spot we have. Of course, there are people always nearby. It’s not like we can hide away. And because F is from there and so are many people on the beach and that we share an umbrella with another couple (who only come for about an hour), you can’t really NOT talk to anyone.

But it’s nice.

And, coming back to the point, a lifetime away from anything my parents would have done.

I am really ready for this

The holiday starts next Friday and I can hardly wait.

I am so busy at the moment that I seem to not even have a second to myself. Of course, that’s an exaggeration – especially as every weekend we are away. But it does feel like it.

So, three weeks away (F is only coming the first two) – with time to relax, is definitely a need.

Who knows, we might even get to meet up with Lola. I’ve mentioned it to F and he thinks we might make Pietrasanta the place to meet as we’re supposed to go to some restaurant there. It’s run by the nephew or someone connected to the woman vet who has the umbrella just in front of us.

And we have to go to La Brace ‘cos F really wants to go there (we didn’t go last year).

And we have to do other things. Hmm. I can see it will be just as busy – but at least it will involve much eating and drinking ;-)

I am not 20

Personally, I think it was the last mojito that did it. After all, it wasn’t a mojito at all but, rather than rum, was something else entirely.

I was, as said by one of the characters in the Fast Show, Rowley Birkin QC, and shown below, very, very drunk.

Of course, I didn’t go out with the intention of ending up completely wasted. No, no. It was just a meal out with friends. We didn’t even start off by drinking much. OK so an aperitivo at the bar we all met up in. And, I suppose, I did drink most of E’s drink since she didn’t like it.

Then we ahd some wine with the meal. Well, three bottles of the good stuff and a carafe of the house wine but that was between six of us.

OK so one person hardly drunk any, another only slightly more, so I guess effectively 4 bottles between 4 which, I suppose, is a bottle each.

But it was the beach party that did it really.

One of the nice things about Italy is the cocktails. There’s no such thing as gills. Or is it gils? In any event – measuring. They don’t do it.

Since the barman was the son of E (who’s drink I had nearly drunk earlier), he did the mojitos for me and Alf. I’m not a fan but it was a disco (with the dreadful Italian summer music) and there was sand beneath my feet and it was warm and people were dancing and it seemed to go down quite well.

At some point, someone mentioned going for a swim in the sea but, even in my inebriated state, I knew that was dangerous and declined – saying it was dangerous. In the end, no one did go for a swim. Maybe I had frightened them. Or, at least, made them think.

I wasn’t going to have another but, you know, it seemed we weren’t likely to go home any time soon and so, I thought, why not?

Of course, in the light of day there were a million and one reasons why not. But it was not the light of day but about 1 a.m. These reasons did not even cross my mind. But, apparently, they had run out of rum and so our wonderful new friend, the barman, suggested something else which we agreed to try.

To be honest, by then, it could well have been antifreeze and I would have drunk it. Perhaps it was antifreeze? I drank it anyway. And then I remember very little until about 7 a.m. when I first woke up.

Not when I GOT up, mind you. Just woke up. The dogs were being a bit of a pain so I let them out in the garden.

F woke up about 10.15. I had woken up several times between 7 and then. We got up and took the dogs out.

In the end, we got to the beach about 12.30 – about 3 hours later than we usually do. As F said, we shouldn’t really do this very often and I totally agree. It’s not like we’re 20 any more.

Still it was a nice evening. From what I recall!

It’s time to move on.

“It will be fixed within 3 days”, he states.

“What? Another 3 days?”, I query with a certain amount of incredulity.

“What do you mean?”, he asks.

“I rang on Friday evening”, I reply, “and they told me that it would be fixed by Monday”.

“One moment”, he says, “I will check our records”.

I wait. I can hear the clicking of keys on keyboard.

“No, I’m sorry but I don’t have any record on the system”.

“But I did ring on Friday evening”.

“It’s not that I don’t believe you, it’s just that there’s nothing on the computer and that means that we can’t do anything until the 26th. If it still doesn’t work on the 26th, call us and we can send an email to the Technical people”.

Well, on the bright side, I now know how it works.

They receive a call to say that it isn’t working and they do nothing for three days. If, in three days, their technical people haven’t fixed the problem, then, and only then, will they contact the technical people.

They are, in fact, a bunch of tossers.

Today I look for someone else to provide me with the Internet as Telecom Italia are a fucking disgrace.

Things that make you go grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

“Come here and look at this”, he shouts from the bedroom.

I have just left the room to do something and, in fact, may be in the middle of doing that very thing.

Like last night.

And then this morning.

Last night I was setting my coffee maker for this morning to ensure I had my huge mug of cappuccino ready to help me feel ‘alive’.

This morning it was as I was switching off the computer and putting everything back in place for my cleaner.

Last night, on hearing the call, I muttered something along the lines of “What the fuck now?” and tried to ignore it. Of course, ignoring it is NOT an option. “Andy, come and have a look”, is the different shout. I’ll go in a minute, I think, as I take the coffee out of the fridge to fill up.

“Andy!” I start filling the coffee container of the machine. “Andy?”. It’s no good. It cannot be ignored.

Clutching the tin of coffee and the scoop used to fill the small container of the machine I go into the bedroom. In my head, I am stomping into the bedroom. In reality I am just walking. I wonder if my carrying of the tin and the scoop will ‘say’ anything to him – even if I know it won’t. I make some sort of sound when I see what I’ve come to see and go back to doing the coffee. I suppose the ‘some sort of sound’ could be misinterpreted as an OK. But that would be a misinterpretation. the correct interpretation would be more on the lines of “this was NOT worth me coming all this way for”. I feel sure it’s seen as OK.

This morning, when the same sort of thing happened, I said, out loud, but to myself “I do love you but sometimes…….”

Of course, when I say ‘out loud’ I don’t mean anywhere near loud enough for him to hear! In fact, I could barely hear it myself!

Still, I can’t be annoyed for long.

Except sometimes when he does this thing more than once, each time waiting a few moments after I have disappeared from view. That makes me go grrrrrr more than once and, therefore, for longer.

Thank goodness we don’t live in a larger house :-D

We’re going in opposite directions

Well, the non-diet I’m on at the moment seems to be working well. Actually, I’m not on any diet at all, indulging, as I am in all my favourite things which mostly include wine and beer in this hot weather. However, I’m trying not to eat any bread, especially at lunchtime, at work and I’m having much smaller portions – and, you know, I don’t miss having larger portions!

So that’s good. I’m getting smaller (but not by much).

I’m also getting more tired. This 5.30 lark is not fun. I look forward to the time when I can stay in bed that extra 15 minutes. I know, it sounds stupid and it’s true, it’s probably psychological, but the difference is immense.

With the tiredness, of course, comes lethargy and a lack of energy.

On the other hand, the exact opposite is happening with Piero. He is getting larger (as he should), less tired (on our walks he now keeps up with (and tries to play with) Dino nearly all the way) and stronger (he’s less easily batted away by Dino).

So we’re heading in opposite directions, he and I.

But, in spite of my last post, I just want to say that this morning, he did another pooh outside. Yay! And it was a BIG one so he must have saved it up overnight :-)

You see him, watching Dino, checking what he’s ‘supposed’ to be doing. He is curious, not really understanding this cocking of the leg business and, of course, he won’t be cocking HIS leg for a while yet – but you can see he’s paying attention – getting ready.

OK then, enough of peeing and poohing :-D

I gotta stop; Pictures from Piero’s day in the office

Really, I HAVE to stop talking about it but so amazed I am by the whole experience that it’s very difficult not to.

I mean to say, this morning was an example.

Last night the dogs ate a lot. Then F and I went out and got home late. We took the dogs for a walk and then went to bed and sleep straight away.

At 5.30 a.m. this morning when, by rights, I should have been asleep, we got up (yes, F got up with me!). I cleaned up the newspapers and, although there were plenty of wees there was no pooh, which was slightly odd. F went to take them out and I was to catch up later.

Which I did – to find that Piero had done a pooh outside!

Unbelievable! I mean, for his age it’s just incredible and that’s why I can’t stop talking about it. It must be similar with parents talking about the first time that their kid stops using nappies or something.

Anyway, now that I’ve told you about that, I thought I might post some pictures, taken by my colleague Pietro, when Piero came into the office that day.

He didn’t like the balcony which is where I sometimes go to smoke, and Pietro was there to take pictures:

But, most of the time, he stayed in the office with me and, just like the Queen, he ‘received’ people :-):

Thanks Pietro.

Eggs or stead

The growling has stopped. More or less.

Now, when Piero jumps up at Dino, Dino just tries to move away.

But I’m half convinced that, out of shot, so to speak, Dino tries playing with him, even if he’s a bit small at the moment.

Of course, the playing with him has one, quite serious, drawback.

Piero has learned to bark. He barks when he’s excited and when he wants to play. I only hope (very much hope) that he doesn’t get too excited and wants to play too often during the day, when I’m not there.

Still, I’m sure we’ll find out. If necessary, of course, I shall have to do what I did with Dino and Rufus – i.e. separate them when we’re out. But I’d prefer not to.

The place now looks like a bomb has hit it most of the time. There are toys everywhere, there’s bits of the box that has newspapers in it over the floor and, in a slightly worrying development, there seems to be a new game of moving the newspaper that’s on the floor, collecting pee and pooh.

Apart from the getting up at 5.30 a.m., there’s also the need to watch them whilst they eat as Dino wants Piero’s food and vice versa.

However, when Piero has finished his food, he goes to the dog basket and waits.

As usual, Dino, once full enough starts to do the picnic thing, taking a mouthful of food out of the bowl and dropping it on the rug in the dog basket and then eating them one by one. But Piero is there now to snatch what he can. It is very amusing to watch.

This morning, as I came out of the bathroom, Dino was sat with his back to the unit housing the DVDs. The bottom shelf I had cleared, not wishing to leave too much stuff that was chewable and in easy reach of a puppy. Piero has found that he can sit upright on this bottom shelf – making him slightly taller than Dino and right behind him. I wish I had had my camera.

However, this constant need to watch Piero; clean up after him; stop him from barking, etc. coupled with the need to get up so early is leaving me exhausted (as I indicated in the title of this post – exhausted = eggsorstead :-D). I know it won’t be for ever but, still, I wish it were over already.

p.s. F has actually been getting up with me all the time apart from the one day – and then this morning as he is in Venice. I am impressed.

We have successes and setbacks

So, after yesterday, when he was a model of a puppy for the whole day at the office, we had one slight setback and then this morning a great success – maybe two, depending on how you look at it.

Of course, after yesterday morning, most of the afternoon was spent sleeping.

To be honest, I was wishing I could join him. This getting up at 5.30 a.m. is a killer and, almost, not really necessary at the moment. The getting up so early allows me time to clean up any mess that might be made off the newspaper. In fact, apart from one small pooh on the balcony, everything has been on the newspaper (or pretty damned close). He is an exceptional puppy. Better, even, than Dino was at his age!

But, yesterday, in the office, he did nothing on the newspaper waiting until we went for a short walk to pee and poop. An absolute result! He ate several times during the day and, in the afternoon had to be encouraged to come out with me when I went for a cigarette, so tired as he was.

However, not being completely stupid, he remembered the car.

I think, in his head, it works something like this:

Car = make me feel bad = I throw up = make me feel worse = DO NOT GET IN CAR!

As we are approaching the car he hangs back. When I reach the car, he is some feet away (on the lead, of course) and sits down. When I try to coax him to the car, he is stubborn. When I pull him he fights back. But, I mean fights back with vigour!!!!

Obviously I am a tad stronger than he is. He gets put in the car. I try to drive a little slower, especially round corners. In any event, by the time we reach home I see he has thrown up. Ah well, poverino. He will get used to it, I know – but it’ll mean no food this evening until we’ve arrived in Carrara and we’ll stop at least once to ‘clean up’ I expect.

Dino used to be like this, so I know it will get better.

But my, how happy was he to see Dino last night? The new, improved, sleek, short-haired Dino. Dino almost seemed a little pleased to see him – but, really, how can you tell?

Last night he was playing and generally having fun. Maybe he will forget about the car by this evening? We shall see.

Then this morning, F got up with me (that was the second success) which was a big surprise. In fact, he wanted to make sure he could handle them both together. Bless him, he gets worried that he won’t be able to control them. It was a success in that he handled everything – but at the same time, I could have stayed in bed for an extra hour! Ah well.

But the main success was that, within a few moments of being out, Piero did his first (not counting the ones yesterday) pooh outside. Oh how good is he? Dino didn’t do his first for months.

So, there were mainly successes and the setback with the car journey. It could be very much worse. He is, in a different way from Dino, of course, going to turn out to be a great dog.