20 days!

“20 days!?”

20 days!

It’s impossible to hide my shock and unhappiness.

I am, at once, jealous, happy for him and really quite pissed off. He sees this. I wish he could see that I am happy for him. I recover. A bit.

“Well, if I didn’t know you better, I would say that at least you’d have some great food.” Except I DO know him and I know he doesn’t really like their food. It’s why I’m jealous though. One of the countries is one I would love to go to – just for the food. He says he hopes the girlfriend will come too so that he doesn’t have to spend all the time with M, his boss. But I suspect that won’t happen. It’s not that he doesn’t like his boss, it’s just that he also likes to do his own thing.

He says they will probably go around the 3rd October (which probably means it WILL be 3rd October – a Saturday.) “That will mean you’re away for nearly all of October?” Again, I can’t keep my feeling of panic out of my voice. He’s disappointed, I see. I want to be encouraging but he’s just sprung this on me. I knew it was all a possibility and I was very pleased for him – am very pleased for him – but I was thinking a couple of weeks, maximum. 20 days just seems such a long time.

I know. It’s selfish. My first thought was I’ve got 20 days of doing the dogs; getting up very early; all my lessons; just 20 days of hell – after which I will be so tired – and that’s assuming nothing really dramatic happens (which, after a call this morning, is always possible.)

Later, when I’ve had time to recover a bit from my initial reaction, I’m able to say, “Good babe”, as that’s what I really think. This is a great opportunity for him, and I am genuinely pleased for him. It’s a long trip though, to the other side of the world. It will exhaust him, for sure.

And, I know, in the end, it won’t be so bad. The time will fly as I will be really busy.

“I’ll be away for our anniversary,” he says, pulling a face that looks like he will cry. “Don’t worry, babe, we’ll celebrate when you’re back.” It’s OK. But now I’ll give him the model of Dino for when he gets back. It will cheer him up.

I will get the cleaner to do a special clean for when he gets back.

But, still, I will miss him. And the dogs will miss him for sure, not really understanding that he’s only away for a little while.

Still, 20 days!!!

Another one bites the dust.

Vary sadly, The Bookstore.co.uk, from where I have been buying my books (not wanting to grace Amazon with my custom) has ceased trading.

So, I went on the hunt for another bookshop to buy from. It’s not easy. At first I tried Hay on Wye but the only bookshop that had what I needed priced everything in US dollars and I couldn’t find a way to change it to either Euro or Pounds.

Eventually, I found one in Liverpool called News From Nowhere.

They had all the books I wanted (from my “saved list” at Bookstore.co.uk) and so I entered them and, to try it out, bought 3 books. In theory, they will be with me when I come back with Best Mate from our holiday.

Still, Bookstore were truly great and I shall miss them. I’m sorry that I couldn’t buy more (if that would have helped to keep them alive). Further, it’s a shame that another independent bookseller has hit the dust.

How To Be Both/Citadel

So, it seems I’m back to normal in that I finished How To Be Both, by Ali Smith, yesterday evening – so, a couple of days, more or less.

It’s won lots of awards, including the Bailey’s Prize (formerly the Orange Prize for Fiction). But, although clever and interesting, it doesn’t match A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing from last year. Nor does it make me want to rush out to read other books by her.

So, I have the next book which is one of a couple or series, I’m not sure which. Except I picked up the wrong one. It’s not the first. Damn. The first is back at the house. So I trudge back to our cabin to swap it for the other book I brought today – Citadel by Kate Mosse.

And here, I should confess, I read her books because I know her. I mean, know to speak to – from the Hay Festival days and the early days of the Orange Prize when we used to get invited to the party where they announced the winner.

She probably doesn’t remember me. But that’s ok. She’s a lovely lady and so I read her stuff. Sometimes I really like her stuff, so we shall see with this one.

Excommunication. Hurrah!

From a draft in June 2014. I don’t really know why I didn’t post this as it seems finished and ready to go. So I post it now!


As you may know, I’m not that keen on religion.

Like all big corporations, it loses the message in its desire to control.

Still, I am surprised that something like excommunication carries any weight, these days. And, yet, recently, the Pope has excommunicated the “Mafia”. Unfortunately, as far as I’m aware, the “Mafia” haven’t responded to this by issuing a statement, so we don’t know how they feel about it.

And I read that someone has been excommunicated from the Mormon church because she was promoting the idea of women in the hierarchy of the church.

Apart from the fact that it’s bad form to think that women are “less” than men, to excommunicate her because of her campaigning seems a bit harsh. But, then, the established churches are hardly known for their democratic practices, are they?

But that’s not the worst thing, in my opinion. The worst thing is that she should be upset by this excommunication. This was not what Jesus preached – exclusion. He preached the opposite. So, if a group of people who profess to follow his teachings, do something that is exactly the opposite of what he taught, doesn’t that make them and their organisation so far removed from the real thing that, in fact, by excommunicating someone they are, in fact, excommunicating themselves from God’s church?

And, if they’re all excommunicated, doesn’t it make excommunication by them mean the opposite – i.e. that, in this case, she has joined God’s church?

It’s just a kind of logic, isn’t it?

Stockholm’s Underground

I have been here and used the Underground system, so some of these I’ve actually seen.

What struck me was that it felt less like going into an underground system and more like entering some huge cave complex that just happened to have trains!

Here is a report on it’s beauty.

I originally did this post in June 2014 but it remained in draft for some inexplicable reason.

Not quite anything

This is an old draft post from 2012 that I found. I decided that it is OK to post it as it stands.

Immigrant: a person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country
Expat: a person who lives outside their native country.

There was some article recently that I can’t be bothered to find, complaining that, as an Indian in Britain, he could never be seen as an ‘Expat’.

Then there were lots of comments deriding Expats (meaning British Expats) who went to live in places like Spain but never integrated and, yet, didn’t think of themselves as immigrants but only Expats – as if it makes a difference.

Which, according to the terms as defined by Oxford (online) are, in effect, the same.

Anyway, I have always realised that I am, in fact, an immigrant here, in Italy. Am I an Expat? Well, I suppose so. And if you’re looking for other English people then you could do worse than Google “expat milan”. Obviously, I have friends who are also Expats (American and British) but I really don’t like mixing with Expats much.

I mean to say, the only thing we have in common (usually) is that we live in a foreign country. It does mean that when we’re in a group we are able to complain about the same things, many of us having had the same experiences but the question I always ask myself is, “If we weren’t Expats in a foreign country, would I actually LIKE this person. Sadly, the answer isn’t always a resounding “yes”.

But, I’m not even sure if I’m a true immigrant. I never said that I would stay here permanently. I mean I do love it here but it doesn’t mean permanent. It means ‘for now’. So I’m not sure what that makes me. But I feel as if I’m not quite an immigrant. Nor quite an Expat.

Although I am keeping my British passport, of course. And I like being English – I just don’t want to move back there, if I can help it. But, being away for so long now, nor do I feel it’s quite right to ‘meddle’ in the affairs of the UK.

In the same way, nor do I feel it’s right for me to ‘meddle’ in the the affairs of Italy