In the case of the disappearing train station.

I like the Italian rail service.

I don’t use it much but I like to travel on Italian trains. I find them punctual and a good service. Of course, I don’t normally travel on the regional trains but, rather, the inter-city trains. And, always first class :-)

I usually buy tickets from their website, in advance. It always works fine for me.

So, my colleague asked me to look up trains for her daughter who will be travelling on Saturday from Diano Marina (on the Ligurian coast) to Milan.

Yesterday, I did it. However, today the timing had changed. So I went to the site and typed in the station name. Unlike yesterday, the drop-down menu of the stations did not appear, which was strange.

I told her that the station did not seem to exist. She explained that it was precisely this problem she had yesterday. Of course, yesterday, I thought she was just having a “blonde moment”. It seems not.

In my hunt for the elusive station, I changed the site to English. It sent me back to the front page. I typed in the station name again and, this time, the name appeared in the drop-down menu and suddenly the station existed! It would seem that yesterday I was using the English version of the site.

I tried it in Italian again – no such station. English again – the station exists!!

I feel sorry for the Italians using the Trenitalia website – it seems it’s much more difficult to buy train tickets in Italy if you don’t read English.

Who’d have thought it?

There are many advantages to being English in Milan and this is another :-)

Why I was in the UK – NOT ignoring friends, exactly.

It isn’t that I meant to snub all my friends but this is inevitable when you go “back home”.

I mean, I was going back for Best Mate’s 40th birthday. She hasn’t been so well over the last few years and, although I intended to stay for the weekend, I didn’t know how she would be and whether I would a) be with her the whole time or b) if she was up for “nights out with friends”.

So, I couldn’t take the risk and chose not to tell anyone I was going back. If I had, I would have had people trying to make arrangements to see me – which, in other circumstances I would have loved, but, in this case, would have just been hassle, particularly, possibly, for her.

In the end, I spent the whole weekend with her (also her kids and her Mum and Dad). We met one mutual friend in passing in Hay-on-Wye and sat and had a drink with her and chatted for a bit, which was lovely but, it was Best Mate’s birthday weekend so, for me, anything she wanted was what we did.

And it was really lovely. She seems much better now and it was so good to spend some quality time with her.

As we discussed (and have discussed many, many times before), there would appear, on the surface, to be no good reason why we are best friends. Nobody ever really understood why we were and since we don’t really understand either, it’s difficult to explain. And yet, within about half a day of our first meeting all those years ago, we had a “connection” and, even if we don’t speak or see each other so often, the moment we are together again it’s like we’ve never been apart from each other.

It’s all so easy and we can just relax in each others company.

And I like that. A lot.

I’m hoping she is on the first steps to a full recovery and that, maybe, I can see a bit more of her in the future.

In any event, to me she has always been and will remain a star.

Some English words. Well, not really but, as they say, you learn something every day.

You see, being in a foreign country, I’m actually learning more English than I would if I were still in the UK.

Take one of those words.

Lacksidaisical. Great word, isn’t it. Meaning lazy/not paying attention.

Except it’s not. I’ve used this word so many times over the years. Pronouncing it lack – see – daisy – ical. No one has ever said, “no, you’ve got it wrong.” Of course, I’ve never actually written it down as I’ve never had to use it when writing but, if I had, I would have spelt it as I did above.

Today (courtesy of Lola) I find that after 40-odd years of using it, I would have spelt it wrong if I had written it and, worse, I’ve been pronouncing it wrong all this time! It is, of course, lackadaisical. There is no “see” in it at all! In fact, neither in the spelling nor the pronunciation is there an “s” after the “lack”!

And then there is the word “cutch”. We used it in my family a lot. “Give me a cutch,” we’d say, meaning give me a cuddle or a hug. Or, “cutch up to me” – cuddle up to me.

Of course, we lived on the Welsh border and so, I suppose, it was inevitable that we would “borrow” some Welsh words. And, previously unbeknown to me, this is a Welsh word and, in fact, the word is cwtch (the “w” sounding like an English “u”).

So, all this time, I knew some Welsh words (I think there were others that we used but don’t remember them now).

Do you have any words like this?

I am excited.

I’m quite excited.

This weekend I am going to buy an external hard disk for my computer which is now completely full with music, pictures and films.

I have picked the one I want and can get it from FNAC near the centre of Milan.

We have a holiday on Friday (!st of November) so I’m going to go then (if it’s open) or Saturday.

It will also mean that I will be able to “tidy up” my computer and, so, make it run faster.

Actually, I’m very excited. Just thought you should know :-)

Neither here nor there?

I wrote a post just over a month back about the feeling of not belonging in Italy..

Last Thursday, I went back to the UK.

Well, I say the UK. It actually felt like I had stepped into some sort of theme park – and not in a good way. I would call it the “Daily Mail Land”.

Of course, there’s nothing I could put my finger on, exactly. I mean, the countryside was as wonderful as ever. The beer was great. Some of the food was wonderful and I miss that. It was all much “tidier” than Italy, which was nice. But I think it was the people. As if all joy had been squeezed out and it left a miserableness that couldn’t be hidden by the falseness of the shop assistants over-friendliness, the bar staff trying to make you feel that you were the most important customer in the world, etc.

It was like everyone had just come off a Customer Care course but it just felt like “let’s pretend”. None of it felt “real”.

I don’t belong there either. So, if I don’t belong there and I don’t belong there, where do I belong?

And I missed Italy. Not just for F and the dogs. I missed the food, the life, the enjoying of life. And, more than ever, coming back felt like coming home.

I bought lost of things. Too much to fit in my suitcase and so Best Mate will be posting it to me.

And the time I spent with Best Mate – just hanging out – was fantastic.

But,in spite of that, it get’s harder to go back each time I do it. Next time, it’s for a wedding party and I go with F. So let’s see if that is any better.

Here we go, here we go, here we go!

Well, I suppose it had to happen sooner or later and sooner rather than later was more likely.

I asked my colleague if she thought it was possible to do this by telephone or online. She did her best to not laugh. Obviously, siamo in Italia (we are in Italy) and there is no hope on this earth that something as simple as a phone call or online thing is possible. TBH, I knew that to be the case but one should always live in hope.

So, once again I am stepping into the dark, foreboding abyss that is Italian Bureaucracy. And, let me tell you, I’m not looking forward to it. No, not a bit.

It will take time (my golden rule being that, in order to do anything here, you need to visit an office a minimum of two times) and it will be hassle.

Also, in my case, it could mean obtaining some other documentation first, so doubling or quadrupling the amount of visits (and time).

Can I just say …….. shit, shit, shit and bloody shit!

ACT/OR – Will it become reality or not?

Having “successfully” backed 2 films and one book on Kickstarter, I thought I would like to try again with another one.

But, which one? For me, it would have to be another film or a book but there are so many and to try and to read all the blurb and watch all the videos on each one, I’d need about 2 weeks, by which time, there would be a load more available.

But, then, in the Guardian I saw a link to some program that was created that works out the likely success/failure for each project.

The website is called Sidekick.

This, supposedly, lists all the currently live projects on Kickstarter and gives the probability of it being a success along with other information such as how much time is left, how much is required, how much is pledged, etc.

And, by clicking on the headings at the top of the list, you can order the list in almost any way you want. And you can select a particular category.

Amongst the things that I found amazing/strange/weird was the fact that there an awful lot of projects for the category “Board and card games”. I mean to say, in this digitally-frenzied age, who’d have thought that people would still be making up card games, let alone board games?

Anyway, I found something to pledge for and it’s a short film that goes by the name of ACT/OR.

According to Sidekick it has a 97% chance of reaching its target – but with only 11% of the required target in and only a couple of weeks or so to go, I find that a little difficult to believe. So, let’s see. Visit the site and see if you like the idea of it? Maybe you’ll even pledge something?

Spam Poetry?

I don’t normally look at the spam comments these days. There are just too many of them so they just get deleted.

However, as I go to delete the spam comments that have built up this morning, the first one caught my eye.

It looks like a poem.

So I thought I would share it with you, even if it’s not that easy to read :-)

Apρrеcіаte Youг Cat By Fοllowing Τhese Stablе Recοmmеndations.

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Great, isn’t it :-D

The Hunt – counselling afterwards, anyone?

I watched “The Hunt” (original title Jagten) last night.

It’s a Danish film and was given high ratings. But this is not a film that’s going to make you laugh. In no way is it light. In fact, it’s one of those films that makes you want to turn away (or, even, switch it off/walk out), sometimes.

But, more importantly than that, it is truly disturbing. It is disturbing on many counts. There were many times one could see the “mistakes” being made. There were many times you could see people making up their minds and, once they were made, they seemed unchangeable. There were many times you wanted to shout out “run” – to many of the people.

It shows the power of an untruth and how people make their minds up based on the flimsiest of information. It shows the destruction of trust and the untenability of friendships.

It is a powerful film but, in my mind, it shouldn’t be shown without some sort of discussion afterwards. Everyone should see it but, at the same time, it almost needs some couselling afterwards.

Horrible subject but great film with a totally expected and yet unexpected ending. Not a happy ending either – it leaves everything open. You don’t really know everything – as it would be in real life. It doesn’t pretend to answer the questions it poses. In fact, it not only doesn’t pretend to but leaves whose questions hanging on purpose.

Not for the fainthearted but I do suggest you watch it.

I know her! (No, not in THAT way)

The car pulls up to the kerb.

I am standing on the pavement by the bank, sort of opposite my house.

It’s not really that warm but warm enough.

The car door opens. She swings her legs out of the car like a proper lady and starts to get out.

I am struck by the fact that she is wearing a black coat or long dress which is either open or split down the front.

You can see she has beautiful legs and, underneath, is wearing blank panties and black suspenders and stockings.

I am surprised she isn’t trying to hide them.

Then I look at her face and see that she is, in fact, on of the prostitutes that is a regular in my area*.

Then I wake up. It lasted for all of a couple of seconds.

*The area where I live is a nice area but the main road is one of the main roads in Milan and, so, the prostitutes are there. Hey, look, don’t judge – this is a country where you quite often see prostitutes in the middle of the country, seemingly miles from anywhere, on major roads, sitting in sun-chairs whilst waiting for their next trick! They don’t hide away here.