As I read, so too, I hear

I read this a few moments ago –

And I could hear her reading it on stage, all those years ago. Truly awesome.

And, remember, she read it with spaces.

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Thank you for having been here.

We were going to dinner.

But this wasn’t just any old dinner. This was an “after the event” dinner. The event where, because of V, we were sitting on the very front row.

The event itself was indescribable. Really! The power of the words and the power of the voice stunned me. The voice so rich and deep and warm. One that felt more like a really comfy sofa that you just sank into until you couldn’t see anything – her voice covering all other sounds with its tones and undulations and silences.

Yes, silences. For each sound was measured and weighed against the lack of sound. Each word made richer and more meaningful by the lack of a word that followed. Each sentence punctuated by silence in just the perfect way to highlight that, what you had just heard was “stand alone”, was worthy of your paying attention.

Oh I could have sat there all night, listening to her speak. Her words or, to be frank, any words she spoke (although hers were always better).

And then we had dinner. We drove to this big hotel that was a former country house – big and grand in a beautiful setting under Welsh hills.

We sat at a large table. I, next to the American First Minister to the Court of St James’s wife. But she was almost opposite me and to the left. I really can’t tell you much about the dinner (although I do have a story about the woman next to me – but not for this post) since I was trying to listen to the main lady of the dinner. To me, more than the Queen – it was a lady of power and strength beyond any other.

After the dinner, we retired to another room for drinks. The lady “held court”, everyone being introduced to her – there were singing of songs, reading of words and, of course, the beauty of her presence and voice.

I was in awe. I was also scared. This was someone to whom I really felt inferior.

Eventually, just before we were about to leave, we made our way to her to speak to her. To thank her for the dinner which she had “hosted” and for her words and for being her.

“Oh,” she said, “I’ve been so wanting to meet you two. You look so interesting.”

At which point, with her words said with that voice seeming to have ripped into my body and squeezed my heart, I lost all sense and reason and reverted back a two-year-old child. Nothing sensible came out of my mouth.

Oh, she understood but that wasn’t the point. I wanted to say something wonderful or, at the very minimum, nice. But my brain had stopped working and, anyway, was no longer connected in a meaningful way to my mouth.

I deeply regret not having gone to her earlier; not being able to say something coherent; not being anything other than a right prat.

However, I won’t ever forget her nor the power of her words with that voice nor the fact that I touched her nor that she spoke to me, nor that I was in the presence of such greatness.

So, it is with sadness that I learn she has passed away.

RIP Maya Angelou.

And, thank you again for having been here and having done everything you did.

There are times when it’s quite exciting ….

For many reasons I am looking forward to it. There are just some times when I am taken aback.

Last night, for example.

We met in the bar, Polpetta. He was having a beer because I was teaching and I joined him when the last student left. He had been to the new flat and had made measurements of everything and then done a floor plan. Such detail! So perfect! This is what comes of being with someone trained in design and stuff, I guess.

“You can think about where you want things to go,” he says.

Well, yes, sure. Of course, he has already “decided” where most things will go. But, apparently, I am permitted to say something about this.

I say “apparently” because, in reality, he will decide. I know this. I am certain that he knows that I know this. I say,

“But it’s better for you to say. After all, you are good at this sort of thing.”

“No, we have to decide together.”

Well, yes, of course. What this means is that I should agree with his choices or have bloody good reasons why not.

But, apparently, we have to decide where everything is going before we move in. Although, eventually, he did concede that we could move things around later.

He’s going to paint the door frames a “colour”. I didn’t ask what colour. It’s not really important (to me).

He might paint a few walls – but maybe after we’ve moved in.

He talked about buying some Ikea (ugh!) furniture to put in the lounge (to put the TV on and somewhere to hide the DVDs, etc. My bookcase will remain a bookcase, it seems, and will go in the lounge (probably); the breadprover and chest of drawers will go in the entrance hall; the sofas will go in a particular place in the lounge; etc., etc.

And, at certain points, I held my breath. Let’s be honest, I knew already that I would have little say. It doesn’t bother me, exactly, except that, if I don’t really want something, I’m not sure that I will be able to get it changed.

Ah well, there are worse things in life. In the end, I’m sure it will all look lovely even if I really HATE Ikea furniture or, in fact, anything modern – except in the kitchen and the bedroom.

He hopes to move his stuff into the flat this weekend.


The new lounge and dining room.

Erm, celebrating ……. sort of

I have an idea in my head.

It goes something like this.

We sign the contracts and we are both really happy.

We should celebrate!

OK, so he paid half for Piero, so this is not the first major thing we’ve done. But, you know, it’s a little different than Piero. This is a contract that binds us together for at least 4 years. This is where we have to live, whatever happens. This is not quite the same as buying a house, but damn well near it.

Of course, tonight I have a bloody lesson. But it’s only from 7 to 8. We can go out at 8. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?

Well, yes but he’s arranged to go for a drink with some ex-colleagues. I can come but it’s not near my flat so, as my lesson is at 7, I can’t. It’s just too far. It would be lovely – to celebrate the new flat that we’ve got together – but later, after my lesson. After all, he’s going for an aperitivo – just a drink. He’s coming back to my flat straight afterwards.

She’s late, my student. To be honest, she’s a bit of a pain in the arse. But I can’t really fob her off just to go for a drink. We’ve finished by 8.30. I text him straight away to tell him she’s gone. Perhaps, on his way back, he’ll suggest going for a quick drink to celebrate?

It’s now gone 9. He’s not replied. I wonder if they’ve gone on to eat somewhere? But I don’t know. It’s no good phoning. I know him, the sound is off on his phone and it only vibrates or, even if the sound is on, if it’s in his bag, he won’t hear it.

I open a bottle of wine. After all, I’m celebrating.

I am celebrating and ever so slightly pissed off.

I think of texting/calling my friends. But I don’t. I just sit here, typing this and celebrating our new contract together ………. on my own.

Well, the wine is quite good.

I think I’ll ring Best Mate. She should be the first person I tell, really.

I’ll celebrate with her over the phone.

But, you know, this is not really anything like I had hoped.

Excitement and Trepidation

He’s not sleeping at all well. One night, almost no sleep, the next sleeping for about 10 hours ‘cos he’s so tired!

I put it down to the worry of getting everything sorted by 1st June and excitement at moving.

For, he’s certainly excited. You can tell.

Yesterday, as I mentioned, I paid the deposit and the agents fee. He came straight to my place after work and was so excited that I had paid the money.

“It will all be so tidy and organised,” he said.

I groaned, inwardly and silently.

Here will be the difference:

He will go in and stay up all night, if necessary, to put everything away and for everything to be perfect.

I will go in and, after a couple of hours of sorting things, I will have had enough. Plus, I prefer to “live” the place before deciding where to put everything.

“We can take the chest of drawers,” he said. Except he called it something else but I forget what. “Casettiera” in Italian – but that’s not what he said either. The chest of drawers belong to his old/existing landlady. It came to my flat because, by the time he had filled the flat with IKEA, white, fitted furniture, there wasn’t any room and, anyway, it looked out of place. It was always meant to be given back. Unfortunately, Piero did a bit of chewing on it, at the bottom.

She told him that she wouldn’t have anywhere to put it (as he’s leaving all the fitted furniture there) and she can’t fit it in her cellar. So, we are to keep it – at least for now.

“It will go in the entrance hall,” he suggests. “We can put the dogs’ leads and stuff in it.”

The advantages of him being able to go in there from the 1st June will be many. He will, for example, be able to organise his “Romy Schneider wall”. And, certainly, there will be one wall which will be exclusively Romy. I’m sure he will be doing this trick of hanging pictures on the floor again.

I don’t know where this wall will be but I suspect the lounge or the dining room.

I’m pretty certain that the majority of my pictures will be located in my room or stored away. But it’s OK. I don’t mind. As long as I still have them.

Once we get the keys, he will take the carpenter round there to see what he can do in the way of fitted cupboards so that everything can be put away and hidden. We really are so very different. Obviously, there will be some things out – but just specific pieces. Everything else will be away.

Bless him. I can see his excitement. And, then when I stop and think about it all, the trepidation returns.

Nearly there …. in more than one way.

OK so the problem I had with the websites that I have been working on (and off and on) over the last couple of weeks is finally solved. I think. I hope!

It included over a week of inactivity whilst the hosting company detected and solved the problem with some (I suppose) hack on their servers and then me fixing the WordPress parts. The main thing is that the hack that made the Dashboard really crap (for both the customer and me) has now gone away, which I like. I had a few hairy moments today but, now that’s it’s fixed, I am so much happier. It’s been weighing on my mind somewhat.

Now, once the backup is complete, I shall do a bit of tidying up on that one site and then, maybe, update my site.

So, I think that’s nearly done.

The editing I have been doing in my waiting times is also nearly complete – although that is no chore but rather lovely, to be honest. But, I reckon on finishing it by tomorrow. So that’s nearly done too.

And, then, this lunchtime, I went and paid the deposit and agency fee for the new house. Tomorrow evening, we go to sign the contracts and, in theory, it will be ours to furnish and sort out from 1st June. This is good because, as I may have mentioned, F’s flat has already been rented to someone from 1st June.

So the flat “getting” is nearly done. Obviously the moving part isn’t but that’s not so bad.

But I’ve stopped worrying (for now) about the moving in together thing as I was sorting out the website and that was much more of a worry.

So that’s good too.

So, nearly there in more than one way! :-D

Tomorrow – will the Daily Hate Mail have won?

I do my best but it’s difficult.

After years of crisis and depletion in spending power and savings, someone HAS to be to blame.

The popular newspapers have done their very best to pin the blame on a number of people which include those who are not working (the difference between not wanting to work and being unable to work is rarely made – and, anyway, the point is that “these people are taking your money for doing nothing”), people who are stealing from the system (often rolled into the previous group – at least by implication) and immigrants (illegal or legal).

In particular, they’ve being doing this, more or less, since 2008. That’s six years of propaganda. And six years of constantly pounding people with the same stuff has an effect.

Then, along comes the UKIP. Now, I’m unsure if the media want the UKIP or not. Certainly, they’ve being helping the three main parties to sling as much mud at them as possible. They have been effectively dubbed the “Loony party.”

However, there’s a major problem. In spite of the media and other parties attempts to discredit them, they ARE, in fact, repeating a lot of what those popular newspapers have been saying for all these years. This includes stopping immigration, removing the EU red-tape and making sure everyone pays his/her way. They repeat, for the most part, the headlines of the last six years and, because people have been reading about it for so long, it all makes perfect sense.

After World War I, The Germans went for similar rhetoric. Instead of blaming the huge debts that Germany was having to repay on both the other nations that were enforcing it and the government and its policies, they took the easy option of blaming the Jews. And we all know how that ended up.

And yet, it seems that the “how” of that happening has been lost and forgotten. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not drawing a direct comparison between the UKIP and the Nazis – the UKIP haven’t yet been talking about a “final solution”. But, there are similarities, don’t you think?

Even here, talking with colleagues and friends, there is a feeling that “immigrants” are to blame, especially the illegal immigrants. I point out that, without these immigrants, there would be no badante (private carers) to look after the increasingly aged population, since Italians don’t want to this type of work. But you can see I don’t make any real impact.

And, to be honest, it scares me. the problem is that I DO understand to some extent. The illegal immigrants that try to sell you a rose or some trinket or novelty lighter – sometimes one every five minutes – when you’re having a drink with friends outside a bar. It’s more than annoying. I point out that the problem is that “people” buy the roses. F, for instance, will, occasionally buy a novelty lighter. And so they continue to ply their wares. If you don’t want them here, annoying the hell out of you, DON’T buy anything from them and don’t give them money!

As I’ve always said, just like “charity begins at home”, look at your and your friends’ actions – THAT’S often the reason these people are here, still; still trying to sell you stuff you don’t need nor want.

And, since I’m an immigrant here, remember, when you say you agree with sending the immigrants home, that would include me! And I want to stay here, if you don’t mind.

So, we shall see what will happen tomorrow for the UKIP. I hope they don’t get the huge support that is being suggested. I fear, unfortunately, that they will. Their simple messages coinciding with the messages that have been fed to the populace over the last few years.

Bloody frightening.

On [the] edge

I don’t really understand. Why DO I feel like this? On every previous occasion there’s been so much excitement that any doubts I may have, have been so hidden as to not be relevant. And yet, in this case, the feeling of nervousness is so strong.

There IS excitement. There is a vision of how much better everything will be; a knowledge that things will be more comfortable, more enjoyable, more settled. Everyone will be so much happier, after all.

Well, that is, everyone but me. It’s not that I won’t be happy. I’m sure I will, I tell myself. But, there’s the rub. I have to keep telling myself. And, that in itself is worrying.

But we’ve reached the point of no return. The brink. The edge. The no-going-back place.

So, on Friday evening, F told me that he’d found someone to rent his flat. From the first of June.

I cannot correctly describe the panic that swept over me at that news.

So, this is REALLY it. From the first of June, he HAS to move. The new place won’t even be ready, of course.

I thought, “but what will he do? Where will he live?”

Of course, we shall carry on as normal, except that most of his stuff will be in the new flat, I guess. Or being moved there slowly, bit by bit. And he’ll sleep at my place – so it will be almost as normal, then.

Except, not quite. Not quite because it’s really happening, this move. It’s no longer just talk, it’s for real.

So, why this feeling? It doesn’t make sense to me really. There’s no really good excuse for it. As people keep pointing out, we virtually live together anyway. So, almost nothing will change – again, as pointed out. And, whereas that’s all perfectly correct and, logically, i know it to be true, somehow it IS different in ways that I am unable to convincingly explain.

Saturday, we went off to see the sofa place to look at fabric for new covers. Luckily, I really like the colour that he loves and, even if it will be more difficult to match with other things, it is the right choice. Today he will be doing sketches of different things we can do (so that it won’t be too samey) – don’t you just LOVE having a partner who can do this type of thing?

I also found my way to the second-hand shop where I bought my dining table to look at doors – but it was closed. Maybe we’ll try again next Saturday or, even, Sunday.

So here we are, on the edge. And me, on edge!


Well tomorrow, we were invited to go on some yacht sailing off the Ligurian coast, no doubt drinking champagne and eating fabulous food.

And Sunday we were invited to Udine to some party and stay the night.

Instead, tomorrow we shall be going to some place to choose fabric for the three-piece suite (and the the second-hand shop to look for doors, I hope) and Sunday we shall be sorting things out before moving.

The contract will be talked about today and, probably, we shall sign it next week.

Or that is the plan.

And, in the meantime, I am still as busy as hell.

So I’ll leave you now.

Have a good weekend.

Something that didn’t happen is reported as fact

Someone posted an article on their Facebook wall.

To it, that someone added – “Can’t they just piss off”. The title of the article was “Girls Fined for Wearing Swimsuits That Offend Muslims”. Underneath was a Muslim in an abaya (I think) on a beach next to a woman sunbathing in a bikini. Oh my God, you may think, it must be true what they say about Muslims trying to take over the world!

Except, when you read the article, it’s not quite as it seems. I clicked upon it because, underneath the headline, it read: “Submit, convert, or pay a fine. When you go to a beach now in Italy, you better …….”

Apart from the terrible grammar, my attention was caught by the “in Italy” and I really found it hard to believe. Here, where sun-worshipping is a national sport and pretty much essential to most of the population, with the beaches packed solid with scantily-clad sunbathers, how could this possibly be true?

So, I started reading. Firstly, this was by a right-wing, so-called “media” website (on which, by the way, one of the buttons was entitled “ArmedandFemale”), a part of Liberty Alliance (which, of course means Liberty for all as long as you agree with us) – but, that aside, who could know? It may be true?

The first paragraph was:
“Civilization jihad is a process that Islam uses to methodically transform nations. It has proven to be an effective way to take over without violence.
Political correctness and ignorance are their best weapons.
Civilization jihad works by infiltration, then complaints about our culture, pushing for acceptance of islamic practices and threats of lawsuits over non conformity.”

OK, I may disagree with the overall argument but it’s not the worst I’ve ever seen.

Paragraph two:

“An example: The report about three women being fined for wearing swimsuits on a beach that were offensive to muslims, has generated a firestorm in responses. Though it has proven difficult to confirm, it is similiar to what is confirmed and already happening around the world in places where Islam is attempting to control the culture.”

Now this I have a bit more or a problem with. “proven difficult to confirm” – meaning it is just hearsay. So not real then? “Already happening around the world” – well, yes, but I think you’ll find this is in predominately Muslim countries – which is NOT the UK nor the USA and, certainly, not in very Catholic Italy!

Para three:
“There are already discussions by our own legislators of making negative speech about Islam a crime.”

Hmm. So, they are considering laws to make negative speech about Islam a crime, eh? Would that be similar to the non-discrimination laws they brought in some time ago, to a great deal of opposition, saying that you can’t racially abuse black people? Yes. It should be the duty of most people to ensure that they don’t verbally abuse anyone else, no matter what their race, gender, sexual orientation or religion. And, surely, as Americans for Liberty of all, you would agree with that. Or not? Does it only apply to the things that you, personally agree with?

Para four:
“It IS a perfect example of civilization jihad that the muslim brotherhood uses in their documented plan for the destruction of a nation from within.
Here was the basis of the report: ”

Hmm. “documented”? By whom? Where are the documents? And this hearsay which can’t be confirmed has suddenly become a “report”!

Para five:
“Submit, convert, or pay a fine.
When you go to the beach now in Italy, you better pack a full set of loose clothes and a hajib or get ready to shell out some serious money. This, according to a number of media outlets, reporting on an alleged case in Messina, Italy.”

I’m specifically ignoring the awful grammar. “a number of media outlets” – but not named. And, given this “media outlet”, were they even real media or something like this website? And these outlets were “reporting” on an “alleged case”. Again, not substantiated and so, quite possibly not real at all!

Para six:
“Reportedly, a justice of the peace in Messina, Italy has fined three girls an amount of approximately $3,500 each for wearing what is considered common beach wear in Italy, because the uncovered skin offended some Saudi Arabian tourists who were also at the private resort of Taormina.”

This implies that it was true. Except, remember the use of the words “alleged” and “difficult to confirm” used before. If this was really done by a Justice of the Peace, there would be hard facts and transcripts.

Para seven:
“Whether this is actually factual or not is not the issue… it is certainly the direction civilization jihad takes a nation.”

WHAT????? If you’re going to put the headline you have, it’d better be factual! Being factual IS the issue. Really, the second part doesn’t even make any sense.

To be honest with you, at this point I stopped reading. If it’s not factual then it’s not true and so the headline and everything else is just a load of crap. Worse, it’s being paraded as real and “happening”. However, for completeness (and this post) I continued.

Para eight:
“It has become common place for Muslims to make demands upon others to adhere to their standards, so it should not come as too great of a surprise that they filed their complaint.”

As opposed, of course, to the baying mob who want to impose their standards! Hahahahahahahahahaha

Para nine:
“This is what Islamization of a free society is all about and it is coming to YOUR state, your town, your neighborhood soon if you don’t fight back. This case happened in Italy. It is no accident. It is part of the muslim brotherhood’s plan for the destruction of a country from within. It is a very carefully planned, full proof meticulous process of slow but deliberate transformation….. Islamization.”

Second sentence first; This case DID NOT happen in Italy. It is a scare story and cannot be confirmed or verified. It is, in fact a GREAT BIG LIE! And, who are these “muslim brotherhood” people? Oh yes, they are the semi-political party in Egypt! So, they aren’t in the USA and they are NOT bringing this big plan for the destruction of the USA to you, the USA, any time. Neither sooner or later. This is just a hate-filled, illogical, lying rant!

Para ten:
“Don’t be fooled. What happens over there is already a process underway here in America.”

Over where? In Italy? Are you out of your fucking mind? But, of course, the majority of the small-minded people in the USA who read this, won’t actually know how to find the facts and, so, will be taken hook, line and sinker by this trash “report”.

Para eleven:
“The encroachment of Sharia Law continues virtually unchecked.. We have over 50 court cases in this country where American judges have allowed Sharia law to trump Constitutional law in cases involving Muslims.”

Rubbish, rubbish, rubbish! And, if the writer doesn’t know this then they are stupid. Being stupid doesn’t stop them writing which, unfortunately, makes them dangerous.

Stupid and dangerous is NOT a good combination. God help America if this is the type of person it turns out.

Para twelve:
“Think situations like this are an outrage? Get ready America…. They are here and the demands to submit to “their way” are already happening all around us.”

This whole “report” is an outrage and I am constantly shocked by the lack of any outrage to articles like this.

So, let me summarise for you.

Something didn’t happen but let’s say it did and express our hatred at a group of people who believe in something that doesn’t fit with our idea of what should be believed. Are we ready? Everybody hate these people!

I’m afraid I won’t link to the “article” as I don’t want them to get any more traffic but I have quoted it word for word (exactly as it was written.)

The real lesson behind this is: read each thing with scepticism and DON’T believe everything you read, especially on the Internet.