Pubs and beer and food and Indian and rain and cold and wind – but mainly pubs , beer and food

A proper English country pub

I mentioned before about my friend from school, H, who’s wife died a little while ago.

Unfortunately, I could only go to the funeral for the day but I made the effort and went over on our long holiday weekend – the one just gone, to spend some time with him.

I tried to let him do most of the talking. I thought it was the least I could do. We are blokes, after all, and we don’t do the opening up thing very easily – at least, face-to-face. But I think he did a bit and I really hope it helped him. But his story is not my story to write. I found the UK to be nicer than I had thought it would be. Admittedly, although not so far from London, this was the middle of the countryside and reminded me a lot of Herefordshire.

The first night we went out, with his daughter and son, to The Fox Inn in Rudgewick. It was a typical old English pub serving food. The food was wonderful (Steak and Ale Pie with mashed potato) and, of course, there was the beer. A very nice start to the trip.

The next day we we to his daughter’s new house. It was a lovely old house which she had started doing up. We went for lunch at The Crown Inn in Chiddingfold. Again, a typical English village pub with an open fire. Of course, I don’t eat so much and, in the end we had (H & I) some sharing nibbles. And some beer! God, I miss the English beer. Food was good and the place was very nice.

In the afternoon we did some shopping (for me) in Cranleigh, apparently the biggest village in England (or, maybe the UK?). It was very pretty. We were back there in the evening to go to The Curry Inn – not an inn at all but rather a good quality Indian restaurant. H had asked me if it was OK to go out with some of his friends and gave me a choice of Thai or Indian – which. of course, meant Indian. And boy, the curry I had was the best curry I’ve ever had. It was incredibly busy which, of course, means it must be good but the downside to that was we did have to wait an incredibly long time for the food. But, for me, the wait was worth it! Of course, it was Indian beer but you can’t have everything!

The next day it was raining all bloody day. However, H took me on a trip around and to his “baby”, some all-weather football ground (he’s very sporty) that he’d managed to get built. Then a bit more shopping and then, at my request, we went for a proper Sunday Lunch at The Chequers Inn in a tiny village called Rowhook. Again, a typical old English pub with an open fire (the wood smoke permeated the whole place and was so lovely to smell – I miss that atmosphere and that smell) and the food was fantastic. I had roast pork with gravy and asked for a Yorkshire pudding. And, of course, beer. The waiter/manager was Italian! Of course. I would have liked to understand why he was still there but the place was too busy.

Just before that we went shopping and I got my last bits and bobs.

So a weekend of listening, great food and great beer and meeting some very nice people.

So that’s what I got from it but, really, it was for him, so I really hope he got something from it too! And, maybe because I was with him, maybe because of the English pubs and the Indian restaurant – I didn’t hate being back in the UK – apart from the cold and the wet.

Pembridge – where are your photos?

Apparently, Pembridge, a small village in North West Herefordshire, close to where I used to live, doesn’t just put up a Christmas tree with some lights as most other places in Britain do.

Instead, it has 51 trees all decorated and with lights!

Pembridge is a delightful old, black and white village with a rather unusual church tower. It always seemed pretty quiet and, although it is on the Black and White Village Trail, I’m guessing it doesn’t get too many visitors (from what I remember, there are a few shops and, maybe, a cafè – and a village hall which held regular antique auctions and, from which, comes some of my furniture).

What I was surprised about was that I could not find any photos of these Christmas trees! I would love to see it, especially all lit up.

C’mon someone from Pembrisge – post some photos on the net!

A bit sad although it may not have been like this.

Someone ‘shared’ a photo from one of the community-style pages.

It made me go and have a look.

And, then I came across this photo of Harding’s of Hereford.

I don’t recall very well whether my Grandfather worked there as a plumber or, because he was a plumber, he used to go there a lot to buy the stuff he needed.

And then I thought about him and wished I could see him now. I would have a lot to tell him about my life. I don’t know he would approve of it all but that’s OK.

And I felt a bit sad even if my memories probably weren’t true to the way that it really was.

Never going back (unfortunately).

Walk down any High Street in the UK and, more or less, you could be walking down any High Street in any UK city.

What’s wrong with that?

Positively, it means that, wherever you go in the UK, you can be sure there will be the same shops. It means that, if you buy something in, say, Nottingham, it’s more than likely you can buy the same thing in Exeter. This is a good thing, right?

Well, yes, of course. And also no.

The High Street is filled with the same shops everywhere. Individual shops, local to a town or small region have all but disappeared. It means that economies of scale can apply – the big shops buy larger amounts so can get better prices which, hopefully, they pass on to the consumer.

I remember when we first came here. I was shocked but delighted to see shops that weren’t the same in every town. How refreshing it was to find a small, independent jewellers, a stationary shop that had something different or unusual, etc? It was a little like when we went to live in North West Herefordshire and went shopping in Kington.

It’s a treasure that one should guard lovingly. Of course, in every major town there are streets full of High Street names, but mixed with them and in many side streets off them are the small shops. Let’s take cake shops as an example. Go to the UK and there’s Greggs. Probably there are some others but Greggs comes to mind. Greggs is in every town. Everything is ‘freshly made’. Everything is ‘the same’. You go to Greggs because you know what you’re going to get.

Here it’s not like that. Each cake shop (maybe with a café as well) produces their own stuff. Cakes are different. Some cakes you won’t get anywhere else. There’s a risk, of course, that you won’t like what they’ve made. There’s also the risk that it will be a unique experience and will be the most divine thing you’ve ever tasted – like my local cake shop does zeppole. However, I am informed (by F) that these are not quite the same as normal zeppole. They are not deep fried (as is common) but baked. They have ones filled with custard and ones filled with cream. If we choose them, we usually have one of each.

The UK used to be more like this but then it all changed. Competition was everything and, gradually, for convenience and, originally, price, we chose to use the big supermarkets and the national bakers, etc. And, so, the result is a High Street that is homogeneous and, to be frank, boring as hell.

And now Italy is going down the same road. People here don’t realise what it will mean. It means that the small shops will close. It means that all towns will look the same. We will have to buy what everyone else buys because there will, in the end, be less choice – well, less real choice.

Of course, it’s being sold as ‘opening up the markets’ and the arguments are made that everyone will benefit. But, in reality it will mean that big business gets to own the market and the benefit will be, in a word, ‘grey’ – i.e., the same things sold everywhere.

I find that I can’t put into words what this change really means. But I’m not sure that the free market is actually worth the loss of what Italy has now (and what the UK HAD about 30 or more years ago).

Sure, it would be nice to buy aspirin and stuff at the supermarket. It would be nice that shops were always open. But that ‘nice’ is tempered by the fact that, as a result of allowing this to happen, we shall lose something that is most precious.

It’s not that I don’t want change or that change is bad. It’s not that I even like the rules and regulations here. It’s more that I don’t want to see, here, what happened to the UK. Nothing is perfect but I am fearful that Italy’s ‘localisation’ will be lost forever and it’s something I would not like to see.

After all, once the small places are gone, they are gone forever – there’s no going back.

Joni sang all that needs to be said:

(Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi)


I can’t explain it at all.

I was out with A last night. You know, the ‘eating Mars Bars means your gay’ A. Luckily, he doesn’t get offended with what I write since he knows it’s mainly stuff in my head. Anyway, he wanted to know why I hadn’t bought a house/flat here.

I tried to explain that when I made the ‘life change’ of coming here, I decided that this included having a house/flat that I was buying. My life change was as mental as it was physical. I didn’t want to run my own company and I didn’t want a mortgage.

He said that things were different here. And he’s right, in a way. Job security is very high. So I could get a mortgage and know that I could pay it off without worrying about losing my job or anything. But that’s not really the point. I just didn’t want to be having a house/flat of my own. It’s not only the mortgage. It’s the problem of the permanence of it all. The ‘putting down roots’, etc. I just didn’t want that. I mean to say, I loved living in Herefordshire but, you know, the fixing of life – where you are, what you’re doing, etc? I didn’t want it anymore. I was, kind of, disappointed with it. I think because, by the end of the time in Herefordshire, I realised that none of anything was permanent – however much you think it is. It can all be taken away from you in a moment. And, if you’re ‘attached’ to something (house, place, job), when it all comes to an end, you cling on. And it’s the clinging on that really hurts. The letting it go is easy – or, rather, easier.

So I let go. I jumped off the cliff and found that although I couldn’t fly, exactly, I could sort of float. And floating is good. Floating is pleasant. Floating is gentle. Floating means you have the time and the inclination to look around, to enjoy the things you have without the feeling of pain that they might be taken away.

I like floating. I am grateful for the winds that drove me here and I like being here, in this place, at this time, with the people I like and love. And, if the winds take me somewhere else, then that’s fine too.

My goal is to be content. Like my grandfather. And I am content, most of the time. If I can reach the 100% contentment all the time then that will be perfect. 100% contentment doesn’t come with a house and mortgage, nor with a job (although it can help), nor through a person (although that can help too), nor with any one nor any thing.

Contentment comes from within.

Yes, I like floating.

Chainsaws in Milan.

As I have probably mentioned before, I am a country lad at heart. OK, so less of the lad these days, unfortunately. Most of my life has been lived in the countryside and I truly adore the country living – although it is completely different from living in a city and you have to have a different mindset, for certain.

Quite often, when living in North-West Herefordshire, you would hear, in the distance, the sound of the chainsaw as they were cutting down some trees. That’s if the grackles weren’t making too much noise, of course. It was, particularly, a spring and autumn sound. It is a reassuring sound (to me).

This morning, I heard it again. In the country it lasts for several minutes. This morning it lasted for a few seconds. And then repeated a few seconds later. Of course, I don’t live in the countryside any more, so it was unlikely at before 7 a.m. I would be hearing this sound in the middle of Milan!

And, of course, it wasn’t a chainsaw at all.

Bless him, I thought, but it is really loud – perhaps it’s because he’s so old. After all, this gets worse as you get older – loosening of muscles (you might even say ‘saggy’, especially round the waist), a general ‘relaxing’ of everything. And then I thought that it was good that I had shut them in the kitchen whilst I carried out my morning ablutions and got dressed. If he had been in the bedroom, he would have woken F!

I moved from the lounge (where I was dressing) to the bathroom to do my tie and became aware that the sound was coming from the wrong place.

It wasn’t Rufus after all but F himself! It made me laugh.

More differences in the after-death

In my last post, I forgot something else that I have just found out!

It seems that, after a certain period of time, the cemeteries dig up the remains of a person and re-bury the bones (or whatever is left) with other members of the family! This saves space, obviously.

I’m almost certain that this does not happen in the UK although I’m hoping someone will tell me if it does.

I am aware that, sometimes, some very old graves, no longer tended and, maybe over 100 years old are, sometimes, ‘recycled’ and the ground used for new graves but not digging up remains of close relatives of people still living!

It is a strange place, Italy :-)

But it led me to think about my Nan. She was very involved in the local life. She was, for quite a while, a councillor on the local council, she was in the WI, she was one of the people, on a rota, for doing the flowers at the church.

The church, a medieval structure, sits on a hill top overlooking the beautiful Herefordshire countryside. To get to it, you used to have to drive through a farmyard (although now there is a ‘ring road’ of sorts to get to it). In the past, the farm was the only building near it although now, possibly because of the ‘ring road’, there are some cottages nearby.

If we were staying with her, we would go to the church on the Saturday with her. She would do the flowers. Whilst she was there, she would also tend three or four graves. The graves were special. Two were for her parents. Her parents died in their early sixties. She was about twenty-one. They both died not long before her marriage – to my grandfather. She didn’t get married in white as a result but, rather, in a red flapper dress with sequins. It wasn’t the ‘done thing’ to marry in white if you were still in mourning for your parents.

One of the other graves was a small grave nearby. It was for a sister that she never knew. From what I understand, this sister was born before her and was either a stillbirth or died within a short time. In any event, her mother was very old (even now it is considered old – in 1908 it must have been very unusual to have a child in your forties) at the time of both births.

My grandparents are both buried in the churchyard although, as is customary these days, they were cremated so are in a small ‘garden’ dedicated to this purpose. When F and I went over last year, I dragged him to the church and showed him the graves of them all – finding the ones of my Nan’s sister and parents was not difficult, having been to them so often in the past.

Of course, they are all overgrown and uncared for now (those old graves), difficult to read. No flowers at them like there used to be when my Nan put fresh flowers every couple of weeks.

Eventually, I suppose, the land will be ‘reclaimed’ for new graves and the stones will be gone. And, anyway, maybe I am the last person to know where they are and any story that is behind them?

I attach a picture of the church (the photograph having been taken, more or less, in the position of the graves I mentioned):

And one that looks similar to (but is not) the area where the graves are located:

Roast Fish Pie with all the trimmings

“We could have this?”, he says. This, being a fish pie.

To be honest, I know it doesn’t sound terribly exciting but I’ve never actually made a fish pie in my life. And I’ve been around the block a few times. In fact, I’ve never really cooked fish until I met F. And I find it a bit of a struggle. Born and brought up in the wilds of deepest, darkest Herefordshire, fish wasn’t something that was really ‘local’. When my parents (and I) moved to Gloucestershire, near the river Severn, we sometimes had salmon – provided by the next door neighbour as they were caught up in the water filtration used for the nearby nuclear power station – and, of course, the obligatory (we are British) fish and chips – which I always hated, by the way.

So, fish. Difficult. But with F not eating any meat (except mince, polpette (meat balls) and sausages) it poses a problem for cooking. Lamb chops (my favourite) are a definite no-no. And, here, we were talking about Christmas.

The plan had been to go to Vienna for Christmas. F’s friend had a friend who has offered us their flat for the four of us (us and the two dogs) but with Rufus’ unpredictability with illness (although for the last few days he has been very well), we are thinking not. Not this year anyway.

So, whereas I would choose goose for Christmas, as last year, it is not to be. F’s face, at the mention of it, screws up in disgust with an ‘oh, no!’. To be honest, I’m not sure why. He is a bit fussy as far as food is concerned which is a little galling but not enough to make me not love him – after all, we go out quite a lot and then I can have meat. And I eat meat at work every day. So all is not bad.

However, I thought it would be nice to propose having fish for Christmas lunch. I know that, to those of you in the UK, it will sound very strange but here, fish for Christmas lunch is normal. I know, I know, it doesn’t seem Christmassey to me either but it’s a compromise and I’m happy to make it.

To stat with he suggested that I should do meat and he would just have vegetables. But I really can’t be doing with that – I would feel mean eating meat and him just having veg.

He had suggested lasagna (we can buy it Christmas morning if we pre-order it) and it would be lovely. After some discussion, about what we would have, as we were eating the above mentioned fish pie, he suggested that I do this very dish. And he would do a fish lasagna!

Again, perhaps it’s just me but fish lasagna just doesn’t sound quite right. And, anyway, I was quite looking forward to having a nice meaty lasagna. As I explained to him, eating a course of meat and then a course of fish is really no problem for me. And I am doubly surprised by Italians not going for it – they do have vitello tonnato after all (thin slices of veal covered with a thick tuna based sauce – which, incidentally, I hate – having a fish course followed by meat (or vice versa) is one thing but to mix fish and meat together makes me feel sick.)

Ah well. It’s one of the prices I pay. And it’s not really a great price to pay. It’s not like we shall starve or anything.

On the plus side, he really liked my fish pie (as you may have gathered) so now that’s two fish recipes I can do and that he likes (or, at least, says he does). And I know that he knows that I am making a real effort to make him happy – which I do not because I want him to know but because I’m glad to make him happy in the same way that we have gone to all-meat restaurants because he knows I love meat. It’s just the normal give and take. As you do. Or, rather, as you should do.

Saturday, we’re having Tiramisù!

I am, of course, expecting something different.

A few days ago, in the hunt for eggs for F, I had, following instructions from the Internet and then from some people who quite obviously lived in that area and told me with a lot of certainty where I should go, veered off track from my normal way home and, in the process, found myself on a real ‘track’, across fields, eventually leading to a farm with a no-entry sign, which I promptly ignored, to park my car and get out and, because I could see no other living being – human or otherwise, traipsed all over the farm and then onto another road where, after some time I found some people who had just driven up who told me that I should go somewhere else.

I gave up at that point and went back to the car and headed home.

Since we are talking Italians and directions and, given that there is so little in the way of sign posts (well, that’s not actually true – there are a million and one sign posts, normally pointing to things you really don’t want or, where there are ones pointing the way to somewhere you want to go, they are lost amongst the irrelevant sign posts or, worse, pointing ambiguously – so you never know you are on the right road until you see another sign post that you want (and since sometimes the sign posting just disappears for a bit, you can never be sure either way)), I asked Pietro (see his blog link at the side) if he would kindly phone this place that I couldn’t find and get the directions from them.

I was bloody determined.

You may wonder why I was travelling all over the Italian countryside for eggs.  After all, I can buy eggs from the supermarket that is about two seconds walk from my house.  Ah yes but, in line with some of the weird and wonderful things to do with F, it seems that not all eggs are, in fact, quite good enough.  It seems that unless you know the hens lineage, one never really knows what one is getting.  OK so I exaggerate just a little.  However, he never eats eggs unless he is at his parent’s home.  This is because, apparently, supermarket eggs are simply not fresh enough and he doesn’t trust them.  So, being the good boyfriend that I am (and, secretly, between you and I, because he has promised me a home-made Tiramisù – but only when he can get fresh, almost plopped-in-your-hand-from-the-hen’s-bottom eggs) I am trying to find somewhere I can buy them directly.  As I work outside the city and, so, travel everyday through kind of green bits (with things like farms and trees and stuff), I thought that I must be able to find somewhere on my way home.

I had visions.  I would find some little farm which had chickens walking about the farmyard with some farmer’s wife responsible for collecting said eggs.  She would be short and round with rosy cheeks and always be wearing an apron over her rather old-fashioned small-flowery dress, with slightly unkempt hair but kindly and I would ask for eggs and she would go the some outhouse where she had some eggs that were still dirty, since they don’t wash them and she would pick some for me and they would still be warm.

I explain to Pietro, jokingly, that, ideally, the eggs would still have hen’s feathers stuck to them.

He asked me why I hadn’t spoken to him before.  He usually does this.  He phones.  They tell him that they stopped selling fresh eggs some time ago.  Hmmm.  But then he explained that there was this place, just outside the town I work and, sort of, on my way home.

I go.

I drive up the lane but, as I approach, instead of a farm yard I see a car park.  The car park is full of cars.  And there are supermarket trolleys abandoned over the car park.  And there are lots of people.

In fact it was, what we would describe as a farm shop.  One of the large farm shops that you also get in the UK.  They sell everything and, were it not for the slightly less salubrious surroundings are, in fact, like a supermarket!

However, F is not with me.  I won’t tell him.  If he thinks, like I did, of a rosy-cheeked, slightly scruffy and old-fashioned farmer’s wife, selling freshly collected eggs from her kitchen, then why would I spoil that image?  Actually, he probably doesn’t have that image.  It was my image.  I still, sometimes, think of Italy as if it was the UK when I was a kid.  And when it isn’t, I feel slightly let-down, wanting it to be true to reinforce my idea that Italy has not pandered to this desire to be modern (except with it’s furniture and fashion and cars, of course).  I want everywhere to be a bit like rural Herefordshire – 20 years ago!

I enter.  The first place is full of veg.  I see signs on the wall for the different sorts of fruit.  I see one for eggs.  I wander over, looking at all the boxes of veg of various types on the way.  I get under the sign and look around.  I don’t see eggs.  What I do see, of course, are grapes.  I had mistaken ‘uva’ for ‘uova’.  It’s a bloody ‘o’ is all.  I feel stupid but, at least, I didn’t speak to anyone and, so, have ‘got away with it’ (or I would have if I hadn’t mentioned it here).

There’re no eggs in this section of the warehouse.  I go, past the tills, to the next section.  Here there is wine, cakes, biscuits, etc.  I see no eggs.  I wander down to the end where there are jams and stuff.  I see an assistant who is loading shelves.  I ask for uova.  She tells me they are held at the till.  I see the tills for this section of the warehouse.  They are on a semi-circular desk next to the door.  I go over.  I stand there, proffering my wallet until the slightly-harassed-looking assistant asks what I want.  I say I would like a dozen eggs.  She gives me two egg-boxes of eggs.  They look, well, much like eggs you could find in a supermarket.  Will he believe that I didn’t buy them at a supermarket, I wonder?

When I get home, I look at them.  On one of the eggs there is, indeed, one of those small wispy hen’s feathers stuck to it.  I am beside myself with joy.

When F gets back to my house, I show him the eggs and point out the hen’s feather.

Saturday, we are having Tiramisù :-D

In the event that a volcano erupts, please panic!

When I was young, so less than half a century ago, we went abroad once. I was 14. Actually, that’s not entirely true. When I was about 5, my parents took me and my sister to Guernsey. I remember it because we had a thing called ‘High Tea’ about 5 p.m. This was for kids only and was something like beans on toast. I guess we didn’t have ‘Dinner’ later but I don’t really remember.

Anyway, I digress. Our holiday, when I was 14, involved a caravan trip. My parents reckoned (and they were right) that this would be the last holiday that we would go on as a ‘family’.

The six of us, with the caravan trailing behind us, overloaded with the awning in which the kids would sleep, made our way to Portsmouth (or maybe Weymouth) on the south coast and then, by ferry to France. We then motored through France to the south west, somewhere near Bordeaux.

It was before package holidays took off.

Before that, when I was about 10 or 12, I remember my father going to the USA on a business trip. I remember it because he brought back a gonk for each of us kids


and a pair of bright purple loons for me!

Loons - but not mine

Which I loved, by the way. And, anyway, no one in the backwater of Hereford had them, fashion not quite having reached Hereford by then (has it now?).

Certainly, when we went to Guernsey, we flew. This must have been very expensive as this was the days before package holidays and easy air travel. It was all more ‘exclusive’ then. a little bit special.

How different is it now? Now, we think nothing of hopping on a plane to go to the other side of the world. In fact, we consider air travel first when we think of going abroad – just like we shall be going to the UK at the end of July. It never even crossed my mind to go by rail or coach or any other means. It was just a matter of searching for the cheapest flight.

Which, of course, leads us to now. Now, with a volcano erupting and throwing ash everywhere. How very inconsiderate it is?

I feel sorry for the people ‘stranded’ far away from home. I know some that are. It is difficult. However, it is also an adventure! The adventure being to find another way home or to find something to do or somewhere to sleep or eke out savings or credit cards. It could be fun, if you put your mind to it.

I also feel sorry for those whose businesses rely on people being able to fly in and out of any country they wish – hotels, restaurants, the general hospitality industry. Then are those flower sellers in Nigeria (isn’t that close to some countries where people are currently close to starvation?) having to throw away all the flowers because they can’t fly them to Europe. Then, of course, there are the providers of exotic, perishable goods – with warnings that the shops will soon experience shortages (I’m sure it won’t make much of a dent in Tesco’s record profits for next year). Yes, all these people whose lives and businesses are affected – it’s really dreadful for them.

But, those of you who do read my blog often enough will know there’s always a ‘but’, lets’ take a little step back from this.

No one actually MADE these people go abroad for their holiday. If you have a business, think how it was done back in the 60s – one rarely flew abroad for business then, did one? So, if you ARE stranded, before getting angry that no one has yet come to save you, think, perhaps about why you are there and get on with getting back. There are ways. They still have ships plying between New York and the UK, for example! And, apparently, you can book from (anywhere) on board some freighter ships!

If you’re stuck in the EU or the USA, remember these are civilised countries and there will be help available, if you look hard enough. If you’re stuck in some shit-hole, please try to remember that you CHOSE to go there. If it’s not ‘civilised’ – well, what was the point in going there if all you were going to do was stay in a four-star hotel and sip drinks on the terrace?

And then there is the coincidental loss of business.  I do feel sorry for the Nigerian ‘farmers’ forced to throw away all those exotic flowers they grow so that (said in voice using received pronunciation – i.e. like what the Queen speaks) ‘one can have a rather glorious flower arrangement for one’s table’ – but I just can’t quite get my head round the fact that, on the same continent, there are people dying for want of food!

No, there’s something wrong somewhere, for certain.

To be honest, our little experience was all rather fun and interesting – but, then, it wasn’t me with the problem – I was just helping. And, as I write this, I see that flights are, again, coming in to Malpensa and Linate and, in fact, flying all over Europe!

But the things I have written above was brought about because people are starting to get angry, it would seem. Angry? Are you joking? 40 or 50 years ago only the rich would be in this position. Now everyone is at it but still they expect it to be ‘handled’ by the government. They expect that they shouldn’t be ‘ripped off’. The world is a crazy, crazy place.

But I kept thinking about the air safety drill, given on board aircraft before you take off. You know?

In the event of a loss of cabin pressure, masks like this one will come down from the panel above your head.

In the event of us landing on water, you will find the lifebelt under your seat.

In the event that a volcano erupts, please panic!

>p.s. I just want to add that there are some people for whom I feel genuinely sorry. Not everyone has a credit card to enable them to get home or family or friends who will help. It’s just the people that get so angry about it all and I keep on thinking – but no one actually MADE you go there in the first place!