Nearly there.

Well, here we are. Christmas Eve. Happy Christmas to all my readers.

Last night, being as F is already away, I went out with FfI and H. We sat outside Gattò. They had heaters. After finishing one bottle of red wine we decided to have something to eat but stayed outside so we could smoke. The food plus another bottle of red wine later and my toes were numb from the cold. Still, it was a nice evening.

And now I am almost packed. The last few things need to go in when my cleaner has finished in the bedroom and then we’ll be off to Carrara to join F.

The dogs seem to sense something is up as they aren’t leaving my side.

My usual Christmas Eve, last minute (on purpose) Christmas shopping won’t be happening this year – and I shall miss it. But, then, this isn’t really going to be a Christmas like others. Tomorrow we’re at a restaurant. I have no idea what I shall be eating but it’s unlikely to be some sort of fowl, I guess. Neither will this be the “Christmas with the in-laws” that I had supposed when F, earlier this summer, mentioned that we could have his mum and dad up here for Christmas. Still, such is life.

I hope for a loving Christmas which I think we shall have. I shall be back in two or three days and then we’ll be getting ready for New Year and our dinner party which should be a joyous occasion, I hope. So, love and joy this season, good food and friends and family and, of course, the dogs. The important things in (my) life.

Bastard weekend. And the tree.

It’s been a strange weekend.

First, on Saturday morning, we went to buy a tree. We chose one and had it delivered. It fitted perfectly.

I left him to it. I did ask if he wanted help but he said no. The strange thing is that we can do certain things together but for other things, we just don’t rub along. In this way he reminds me of my father, for whom I could never do anything right; I was never ready with the correct tool or correct thing; it was boring because I wasn’t actually allowed to “do” anything. With F, this is much the same. So, as last year, I left him to it.

But, obviously, that wasn’t quite right either.

After some time, I heard a load of expletives and so I went to look. Apparently the adapter, for the lights, was broken and, worse, he couldn’t get the broken one out of the socket. I started to suggest something but, as usual, he talks over me so I shut up. Then we have the usual “go on then …. say what you were going to say …”

I made a suggestion. I went to get the screwdriver. I asked if I should do it. He, grumpily, moved out of the way and, within 2 seconds I had removed it.

Of course, we didn’t have another. I offered to go and find one.

Now, here’s the thing about Italian plugs and sockets. They can be very different. Some plugs have two pins and some three (in a line, not like the UK) and sometimes the pins are “fat” and sometimes “skinny”. The fat ones seem to be on the larger electrical items (fridges, cookers, washing machines, etc.)

So, we needed and adapter with thin pins which allowed both thin pinned plugs and fat pinned plugs to be connected – like the broken one.

Off I went, carrying the broken one because I needed to find the same type. I went to three supermarkets and managed to find one which only allowed thin pinned plugs to be connected. Then I went to one of the Chinese shops and found one which did allow fat pins to be connected – but one of the fat pinned sockets was with a special “round” extension that didn’t allow all fat pinned plugs to be connected.

It was no good.

I said I would take the dogs out and have a look on the way.

I found another Chinese shop and got another adapter which was possibly going to work. Then I found a hardware store. The guy gave me an adapter – like the first one I bought, only for thin pinned plugs. i explained that I needed it for both types. He told me they didn’t make them any more (which explained why I couldn’t find them) and gave me a single converter for thin to thick pins. I said OK then I have both and plug the converter into the adapter. He said this was wrong/bad/something similar – but sold them to me anyway.

Obviously, this worked. And we only have the lights on when we’re there, so it’s OK.

The tree looks lovely.

The Xmas tree, F and the dogs

That night he had the shop Christmas meal.

The next day, after breakfast, I did some cleaning things. He said he wanted to reorganise the kitchen cupboards “because I can’t find anything.” He had mentioned this the day before and suggested something to which I had said OK. This time, he opened one cupboard and queried why some pans were at the top of the cupboard and some in the drawer. I explained (I thought) that I’d already tried that but, because the drawers were not fixed to the wall, the extra pans made the whole thing to heavy and it fell forward when you opened the drawer.

But, it seems that to his ears I was saying that I didn’t like the idea! Or, at least that’s what I guess.

Then he started on a rant about how everything is always done the way I want it. I said that it wasn’t true but he stops listening when he’s “on one.” So I shut up. Then I get how all English people are the same and just stay quiet followed closely by how selfish I am which is followed by how everything has to be done as I like which is followed by how the washing is always done when I want. The logic of all this escapes me. I laugh, for what else should I do? This is insane. Obviously, the laugh was in frustration but, possibly, the worst thing I could do.

So that was that.

I continue my polishing of the silver and doing the washing. We didn’t speak for the rest of the day. I watched a film; he watched a film. He went out.

He came back. “I’ve bought you some cakes. Well, obviously, they’re not all for you.” I thank him. I put them in the kitchen.

I ask, a little later, if he wants something to eat. He doesn’t. I take a shower and ask, again, if he’s sure. He says no, he’s still full from last night. I make myself some pasta, eat it and have one of the cakes. I go to the bedroom and thank him.

All other “conversation” is me telling him what I’m doing. Which is only when necessary. I try not to be angry but it’s hard. His argument still makes absolutely no sense to me. It has no merit or logic! I absolutely did not say that stuff had to be in a certain place, I just said that making the drawer too heavy meant that it would fall over when you opened it! I just don’t get it and realise that, in so many ways, we are so different. But, as I say, once he starts, there’s simply no speaking to him. I tire of it and I don’t want it. If I hadn’t been in the middle of cleaning the silver, I think I would have gone out. Next time, I probably will.

I realise that the cakes were some kind of peace offering but it’s just not good enough.

And, then again, I try to be somewhat sympathetic. After all, the thing with PaC and his aunt dying earlier ……..

I have a feeling that, this morning, he may have re-done all the kitchen cupboards anyway. We shall see.

In the meantime, life goes on. I don’t feel like going down to Carrara now. I want to say to him that I won’t go. And, then again, I think, perhaps, how miserable he feels and, so, I won’t say anything, of course.

Flexible Plans

We learn more.

On Friday, F went to two doctors and got 2 second opinions. It seems that what had been said still holds true. I learn that a timescale could not be given and we could be talking 6 months or a year. Or less.

F is not looking forward to Christmas. However, we have agreed to do a tree as it is the plan to still have our New Year’s Eve dinner party and we want the flat to look festive.

The plan, so far, is that he will go down next Monday and I will follow on Christmas Eve. Christmas Day will be at a restaurant with his cousin, his uncle and some extended family. We could be about 20 people!

The day after, I may go to his mum and dad’s place, if PaC is OK with that. Otherwise I’ll go to his sister’s and he’ll go to his mum and dad’s on his own. Then the following day I’ll come home. Or, maybe, Boxing Day instead of going to his sister’s (the day after Christmas – called Santo Stefano, here.)

Then he will come back home on the 28th or 29th. Things may change, of course.

We went to FfI’s place last night. It was her friend’s, H, birthday. At some point, they all started talking about cancer and who was dead and who wasn’t. I badly wanted to tell them to shut up, but I couldn’t. How could I when he was there? But I felt for him even if he made no show of being affected. Then last night he didn’t sleep. It may have been because he ate too much or may have been because of the conversation. I don’t know.

In any case, it felt insensitive. Even if at least one, and maybe more, didn’t know about the situation.

And it crossed my mind, at some point over the weekend, that it will be difficult when wishing him a happy New Year, when it comes to it as, most likely, it won’t really be so good.

Mistakes and Risks

Of course, I don’t know it’s a mistake but it might be.

But, sometimes, you must take the risk. And, contrary to someone’s thought that I hate them all, I only despise a few of them (hate being too big a word – they aren’t worthy of my hate.) The others are unknown and, me being me, I have to take a chance that, maybe they shouldn’t be despised? Maybe, they aren’t, as I see it, corrupted by “that man”.

So, now I’m in this place that makes me feel uncomfortable. I have the feeling (and, in some sense the reality) of being “watched”, of being “under surveillance”. And, in some way this is true since, even if the source is hidden, the visits are there. And I’m not quite THAT stupid.

You see, I like two things in particular. Films and books. For me those two things are, more or less, interchangeable in as much as, reading a book plays out in my brain in exactly the same way as watching a film. The printed words become images in my brain, the things people say in the books become spoken words in my head. Film is just an easier version of the movies in my head.

So, as a result, I have helped to fund several films. We’re not talking thousands here, just some money. As a result, I will have some DVDs coming (next year, I hope) with these films. It does two things; it makes me feel good that I have, in a very small way, helped the creation of something new and it gives me a new film. The one that has been completed and is currently being touted around film festivals is She, a horror film that made me squirm. I would say, for a male, this is more horrific than horror. But it’s very, very good and I’m happy to have been a part of it; to have helped it come to fruition.

So, having seen some stuff a while ago which I thought were all rather good, it seemed quite normal and natural to me to help someone else out. It’s just another one. And, of course, it’s NOT just another one. I probably wouldn’t have known about it had it not been for a set of circumstances. And then, as I write this, I wonder if, in fact, those circumstances were really random or planned or “supposed to be”.

The problem is that the irregular contact that has been made has never turned out to be entirely pleasant. Or, rather, have, so far, turned out to be rather unpleasant. But, you know, surely one of the times has got to turn out better? Hasn’t it? And I go from not wanting to go further to saying “Oh fuck it” and letting it continue (or, in this case, reluctantly pursuing it, sort of), to retreating back as if I’m some sort of hermit crab, to the safety and security of the life and situation that I have brought myself to.

And, it’s a good life and a good situation. Do I really want to taint this with something that, so far, has only brought anguish and bad memories back? Pain and a feeling of being kicked in the balls?

Oh, fuck it!

In the past, these “mistakes” have always been made when my good nature got the better of my desire to leave the past in the past. When I’ve tried to help someone out. Each time, at the end, I say “never again” until, of course, the next time. Even as I start to help, I get these moments (sometimes a lot longer than just moments) where I question myself as to what sort of shit I think I’m doing, as it always ends in tears!

The last time, I tried to be so careful and then, at one point, even if my concerns were still there, I let it run away with itself, not realising that I was being played for a fool. But, at least, in the end, I realised what an absolute c*** that person was/is.

But that was then and this is now. And now I find myself in the “same ole shit”, you could say. So, in helping someone realise a dream of theirs, because I think the dream is worth it, I am opening myself up to be kicked in the balls again. Partly, of course, I’m doing it because of who they are but mostly because I actually think their dream is worth pursuing. And, after all, the sins of the grandfather cannot (surely) be held against them?

So, the question is: Have I made a mistake again? Will I never learn?

And the answer to those questions are maybe and no. Every time I have to have faith that THIS time it will be different. After all, we’re now talking about people who don’t actually know me and to whom I have been, until recently at least, a rather mysterious and broadly unspoken-of person.

So, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and wish them luck and hope they make it, in the process of which, I see some results which I think are more than worth it.

And, still, hope to God that this time it isn’t a mistake on my part.

p.s. I was partly prompted to write this as a result of reading this.

Funny week that wasn’t funny.

It has been a funny old week, really.

F came back on Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, I’d got up late and by the time I’d taken the dogs out and had coffee, my appointment was coming, so no time to give the flat a quick clean. I did, however, complete all the washing in between everything else.

After my appointment, I knew that the most important thing was to get the Christmas cards finished. Which I did, expecting F to let me know he was leaving Carrara to come home. He didn’t tell me and arrived as I was almost complete with the Christmas cards. But this meant that I hadn’t cleaned anything.

He ironed whilst I finished the cards. I took the dogs out and he cleaned the floors of the flat “because it won’t have been done in 3 days.” Which, of course, was right however, it is difficult to keep the resentment inside and not to make some remark. After all, it wasn’t like I did nothing over the weekend. In fact, I hardly stopped except from Saturday when I did relax a bit – I was so very tired.

Anyway, I can ignore these comments and move on, which is what I did. I had something to eat and then suggested we watch the film on the TV (connected to the computer) which was fine for two films on Saturday night.

The problem was that it didn’t work. There was no connection. It was disappointing, to say the least. I did a quick look on Google and found out why. The adapter is prone to overheating and, instead of unplugging it completely as I had done previously, after Saturday, I left it plugged in and it had, sure enough, overheated and has probably burnt out. I’ve ordered another. I hope it arrives on Friday.

We went to bed and at some time after I fell asleep I had a very strange dream which, as normal, turned into a nightmare. It was all to do with hospitals and me being unable to escape. Then, later, at 4 a.m., I woke up – wide awake, like it was 8 or 9 in the morning. In spite of doing my best to drift off again, at about 4.30, I got up, frightened that I would wake F.

At 5.45, I retrieved my mobile phone from beside the bed, switched off the alarm (this is important for later in this post) so that it wouldn’t wake F and got up.

I left a little earlier. We had clients in and I needed to do some things before they came. As I’m walking along the road towards my car, I spotted the market setting up, as usual, on a Tuesday and realised that I had completely forgotten about that and my car was parked in the way. All I needed this morning was to have my car towed away!

As luck would have it, my car was still there although they had just started setting up the stall by my car, so 15 minutes later and it would have been gone. But I was relieved, to say the least.

But, it was no good. A lack of sleep was already “killing me.” By the time the customer arrived, I had sunk into a black mood.

Coupled to that, my credit card had maxed out the previous week (remember the tickets for a friend to go to La Scala?) and I needed to get that fixed as a payment had to be made later this week (and more of that later, or in another post.) So, at one point, I left the customer in the hands of Engineering. Fixing (increasing) the limit was not important but, contrary to the information I’d been given by phone the previous week, it would NOT take a couple of hours to upgrade but up to 2 days – which would have been too late! I was a bit pissed off, to be honest, which was not helping with the day I was already having.

But, with nothing to do that was within my power, I could not stay angry. Just a little frustrated. Oh and getting more tired as the day progressed.

That night, I had people coming and no time to sort out real parking so I parked in one the residents’ areas, hoping I wouldn’t get a ticket.

By 10, I was in bed although F was watching a film and so it was quite difficult to get to sleep. I suppose I drifted off about 11.

At 6, exactly, I opened my eyes. And, thank God! I had forgotten to put the alarm back to “on” and it should have gone off 5 minutes before! Having rushed to get out, I found that my gamble with the parking was OK in that I didn’t have a ticket.

I had decided to order a new adapter for the MAC to TV and did that first thing. Wednesday was a little better, even if the meeting with the customer was so, so boring (it’s engineering stuff and absolutely NOT my bag) and I was still very tired. Also, the offices, as usual in the winter, have become cold. So cold that all you can think about is how cold you are.

Now it is almost the end of Thursday. The customers haven’t been here today but are returning in about an hour to stand around and witness something. After yesterday (it being so cold), I am NOT wearing a suit but am wearing warmer things.

I am still tired and exhausted. F will be here this weekend which has it’s good and bad points.

And, as an update to Christmas, the latest thing, according to F is:

He will go down a couple of days before Christmas;
I am to follow on Christmas Eve or even Christmas Day morning:
Depending on PaC, I will either stay down a couple/few days or come back almost right away.

I don’t really fancy travelling down there for only a day. But I will, if that’s what he wants. But, of course, it’s still all flexible.

Other things that I have learnt are that some people in the family want a second opinion because they want something (some cure) to be done. Except, I have a feeling that for PaC, no “cure” is desired. But that’s only a feeling, of course. In the end (I know because I asked directly), F didn’t speak to PaC about my coming down. I think (and he hinted as such) he’s going to do this at the last minute – and by that I mean Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. He also bought some x-rays back with him. I found them on the table. I think he is going to show them to someone but we haven’t spoken about it so I don’t really know.

But, the whole thing becomes tiring and if I feel like that, I can only guess what his family feel like! In the end, he’s not going down this weekend. For one reason, PaC would find it too strange. For another, I suspect, he is exhausted with trying to prop up the family, trying to make out that everything is OK, like he does.

Last night he was away, for work, and sent me a picture of a tree. I wonder if he’s still going to decorate the flat? And, if so, I wonder why? If I were him, I wouldn’t do it and yet, maybe, it will help him feel better, more like Christmas?

Lights and decorations are everywhere now but I don’t feel in the least Christmassy. Still, I get F for the whole weekend, which will be lovely. Probably.


I am at home. It is the long weekend before Christmas.

To be honest, without the dogs and the need to buy things from the supermarket, when I’m on my own, I wouldn’t leave the flat.

That’s one of the reasons I have dogs. At least, then, I know I’ll step outside, getting some fresh air and exercise.

And, if there wasn’t F to consider, all the things I have been doing today, would be postponed until tomorrow. Or next week. Or to some near or distant future.

If it weren’t for F, I wouldn’t speak to anyone. After all, I don’t much care for human interaction. At least, I like it when I’m doing it, sometimes, but to go out of my way to get some, well, that’s just not me.

So, I sit in silence, occasionally talking to the dogs.

Yesterday, after taking the dogs out, I went shopping. Once to get the things I needed and once to buy the big bag of dog food. Then again to take them out (I had to force myself to take them for a long walk) and that was it. The only people I talked to, aside from F in the evening, were a few people who were asking about the dogs and a butcher where I tried to get some lamb chops (I really, really wanted lamb last night, F not being here and all) but, of course, it’s the wrong season for lamb so no lamb to be had anywhere.

It’s now nearly 3 p.m. on the Sunday. So far, the only real speaking episode I’ve had (other than with the dogs which is a little one-sided and F by messaging) is a lady in the dog area this morning with whom we exchanged “Good Morning”s. And then, I DID have a real, and quite long, conversation with FfI. She rang just to catch up and to kind-of make some sort of invitation to do something later. We’ll see. While she was on, she asked about F and how things were going and I was telling her that, maybe, I won’t go to Carrara at Christmas and she immediately jumped in with “Oh well, you’ll have to come to us for Christmas Eve” (they do a kind of party – her, her ex-husband and her daughter – it’s like a family tradition.) Then she added “We can’t have you alone at Christmas.” Humpf. I know all these people mean well but, you know, I don’t know that I really WANT to be with anyone else. All that having to be nice crap. That having to make polite conversation stuff. Of course, if I tell F then he will be delighted. On the other hand, he tells me that he’s been cleaning the house down in Carrara. This could be in preparation for us going there at Christmas – but I’m not going to ask. I’ll wait for him to decide.

On the other hand, so far today, I’ve washed all the Christmas present we are giving to each other (it’s a canteen of cutlery in case I hadn’t mentioned it before now), done some washing, reordered some cupboards in the dining room (to fit the canteen of cutlery in) and stuck the non-slip stuff on the back of the rugs in the hall. Oh, and some other bits and pieces. Now I’m relaxing a moment before having a bit to eat and then I’ll (force) myself to take the dogs out again.

Will I call FfI? I really don’t know. I’m in two minds. In one way, it would be quite nice to see her later, but in another, I’d quite like to have an early meal (as I did last night) and then watch a film with a glass of wine (or two) in hand.

Anyway, first a bite to eat and then we’ll play it by ear.

Christmas Things – update.

So, on a lighter note than recently, the Italian Christmas stamps have been issued and I have ordered 50 of the non-religious ones, which are also the right price for Europe.

The one I have ordered is this:

Italian Christmas Stamp 2014

The religious one is this one:

Italian Religious Christmas Stamp 2014

I have also purchased, today, a Christmas-cum-birthday present for a very dear friend. It’s tickets to La Scala as once, when she was over, she said she had always wanted to go to La Scala. Having been there once, I knew that the best places were in the stalls and so I have bought 3 tickets (F, my friend and me). It’s not until March of next year but that should be fine. I hope.

For Best Mate, I also have to buy some things but I will do that in the next couple of weeks. One thing has to be done at almost the last minute.

And, apart from the present we have bought together, for each other, and the Kickstarter thing that I am hopeful will come before F’s birthday, at least, that will be it this year.

And I’ll let you into a little secret. I told someone about the possibility that F will go down and I will stay here for Christmas and they made an immediate offer for me to join them at their parents’ house. And, you know what? I’d prefer to stay home, just me with the dogs. After all, it’s not like it will be a fantastic Christmas this year and I quite like the idea of not celebrating it but spending the day, just me and the dogs, going for walks and watching some films. Seems bloody ideal to me. But the offer was very kind. I expect there to be a few more to be honest. And F will have this idea that I shouldn’t be on my own, of course. But it’s fine by me. It’ll be a day to myself and, in spite of myself, my head is already selecting the films that I will watch.

Who knows?

“What the fuck?”

That’s what I wanted to say. But I didn’t. Everything has to be thought through before I say anything.

I think I actually said, “Really?”

It seems that I am right in as much that “everybody” doesn’t know, except that the “everybody” that doesn’t know is only the person that this really affects! It seems that the doctor has spoken to the family but not the person at the centre of all this (PaC.) Everyone is acting perfectly normally whilst PaC is in the room. PaC doesn’t know anything.

To say I was shocked is an understatement and I still can’t quite get my head round this. I asked that, should I ever be in this position, please, please, please tell me. Apart from getting used to the idea of it all, I would have things to do!

But I’m still in shock.

PaC doesn’t want to go anywhere at Christmas and doesn’t want anyone coming over (to eat). F said he would prefer me not to go down, for this reason. So, now I’m not sure what will happen. I’ve said I’ll do whatever he wants.

PaC is not eating. Has not been eating much since summer. Is thinner. I wonder, if, in fact, PaC will even be here for Christmas? I don’t say this. But now I’m certain we’re talking weeks or, maybe, a couple of months. You can’t go on forever without eating.

F is stoic, as he normally is. Almost too English. He will go down again this weekend and speak to PaC about the possibility that I might come down. Then he’ll make a decision based on this (as to whether I go down or not) so, I may go down or I may be on my own. I’m not sure I will want to go and “celebrate” with any one else, tbh. It just doesn’t seem right.

When he tells me that PaC is the only person who doesn’t “know”, I tell him that there’s no way this would happen in England. But now I wonder if that is really the case? And, is it always the case in Italy? I’ve never been this close to the situation to know. I’ve just always assumed ……

And, can I just say that, the whole thing is scaring me. The knowing and not knowing thing is scaring me more. I don’t know why. I feel uneasy, unsettled. It’s not a good time. I even heard F telling someone on the phone that 2014 has turned out to be a pretty shit year.

My heart is full of tears for him and his family.

And the rest of me is as scared as hell, for some reason I just can’t fathom.