Life threads – so frail?

This was a draft post from March of this year. I don’t know why it wasn’t posted and, maybe I meant to say more. But I think it stands anyway. So, here it is.

As my regular readers know, a lot of the stuff I post is stuff in my head which bears no resemblance to what I actually do or say nor to what people who don’t read this blog think that I’m thinking. Nor, sometimes, to reality.

For the stuff in my head is intangible and floats and changes depending on the crap that I may be thinking about at the time.

And so, this morning, I wake up with that feeling of dread. Again.

There’s no reason for it. Or, rather, there are reasons but they aren’t real … yet and, quite possibly will never be real. They are, of course, my “nightmares” of the waking hours – as opposed to my nightmares when I am asleep, of which I’ve had plenty just over the last few days. Not the same. All different.

So, this feeling of dread. It’s as if something bad is just about to happen. Like I’m on a knife-edge of a reality where everything starts to go horribly wrong. And, yet, nothing has gone wrong so far.

But the feeling persists. Maybe it’s the recent incidents involving V? After all, the fall from who he was to what he is now (as far as I can tell) spans less than 6 years. Can a normal, ordinary life have so short a thread that is can become unwound in such a short time? Well, yes, of course. And I’ve known that for such a long time too. I remember teaching a guy on a programme called Restart – a government funded programme to get unemployed people into work.

This guy told me how he’s had a good job, wife kids, house, etc. And within a couple of years lost it all simply by being made redundant. He’s been a roadsweeper at one point and told me of having people spit at him. He was a decent guy who wanted to work but then, all those years ago, by the time you were over 50 you were considered “past it” (I was about 25 at the time and I was teaching people how to rewrite their CV, write letters, etc.)

And, of course, from that point it’s not far to be one of those people without a home, no prospect of any type of job and sleeping on the street.


A draft post from August, 2014. Never finished, I guess, but I’ll post it now anyway.

I’m lying on the sofa. It’s dark and I can’t sleep. At the same time, I don’t want to wake F, hence the sofa. I contemplate going to the computer but I know that, if I do that, I will be awake for at least an hour. So I’m trying to sleep here.

There was an old woman who had the flat before. I don’t know if she died here, in this flat. But, I’m thinking about ghosts. What if her ghost were to appear right now? Right there, in the corner between the new units housing books and the television and the old bookcase? In that corner where it’s very dark?

I could “see” her, even if nothing was there. And nothing was there since I was imagining what she would look like if she were to be there, as a ghost, I mean. But she wasn’t. There was just an empty, dark space.

But I couldn’t sleep because the (non-)ghost made me think of other ghosts. Ghosts from the past that appear, wispy and insubstantial and may, given the space, permissions and time, become more substantial. These aren’t real ghosts, of course, but real things that come into and disappear from your life but, then, have never really disappeared, however much you may wish it. You may think something is dead and buried but it never really is.

Lies, damned lies or much, much worse.

Another of those draft posts written but never published. This from July 2014. Maybe now the blog is more “secret” I feel better about posting it?


Of course, you never really know anyone, do you?

You have to trust. Or not.

And, then, there’s what someone tells you. Is it always true? If not, is it because they’re trying not to hurt your feelings – a “white” lie. Or, sometimes, is it more sinister than that.

There’ve been cases recently, in the newspapers, for example the girl who accused her boyfriend of rape and later admitted she had made it up just for attention.

Sometimes, it’s for attention. Sometimes, it’s because someone lives in their created world.

I employed a salesman who was like that, once. Later, when we learnt that everything had been a complete fabrication, everything started to fit into place. Unfortunately, by then, he had married one of our other employees and she ended up being taken for a ride too. But she was a strong lady and now lives happily (I think) with their rather delightful son. He, on the other hand, continues on separately from them.

Sometimes, I think it’s malicious. And those are the worst kind of people. They do it for spite, for jealousy, or just to be evil.

So, if, years later, you find out that something you had been told had been a fabrication but, as a result of that something, it had taken you down a road that affected, not only you but others as well, what should you do? How can that purposeful, vicious lie be undone?

Of course, first things first – maybe it wasn’t a lie? Maybe the lies are being told now? How the hell do you find out? Should you find out?

Or, perhaps, in any event, it’s better to leave things as they are? After all, many years have passed, many rivers crossed, many mountains climbed. And what possible good would it do to try and repair something broken by the vindictiveness of someone who’s now dead? What purpose would it serve?

It’s a long and sometimes winding road.

Its a long and sometimes winding road

You may think that I’m not keeping this blog up to date any more but that’s only partly true.

When I moved the blog, all the links to the old blog had to be changed to the new one. I found a program that was supposed to do it. It did some of the links but not all by any means. So now I have to correct them by hand.

Also, I want to delete a directory that is, almost, a duplicate of another directory. It holds the pictures and photographs I use. This means going through each post and checking the right directory is used and that the photo/picture exists in that directory.

And, finally, during the various ISP moves that I’ve had some things got a bit mixed up and replaced with weird characters – so I wanted to fix them.

As a result, I’ve been reading through the blog from the beginning.

There are 84 pages of posts – around 1600 posts! It’s taking a while, as you might imagine. I am now on page 48 (i.e. I have 48 pages to go!!)

However, it has allowed me to see my life in a different way. Some of it heart-wrenching, some boring. I am amazed that some of you have kept up with me all the way along! I mean, some parts are just boring post after bloody boring post! Why on earth do you do it? Some posts have been relegated to the scrap heap because they were short and said nothing or because all the links failed to work!

I’m considering a way to permit people to navigate to the best writing (in my opinion), the most-viewed posts and the posts with something special to say – so, as I’m reading, I’m noting page numbers against categories. It almost makes me want to redesign the blog entirely. Or move certain posts to a different blog. In any event, I want the reader to be able to navigate to particular portions or posts more quickly. God knows, I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to labour through the boring posts!

Just last night, I went to dinner at A’s place and we discussed the blog move. A few things have become very clear to me whilst I’ve been reading the past posts.

1. This is NOT really the whole of my life in Italy. Some of it is (and those are very boring posts) whilst a lot of it are my thoughts which may or may not relate to Italy.

2. Most of the blog are my thoughts and NOT reality. It’s a look into my head – not always a fabulous place to be. However, it’s where the best writing is.

3. I am seriously a) paranoid, b) fearful, c) fucked up. All in my head, of course. On the outside I remain a) in control, b) sensible and c) normal. I’m not sure that these two sides of me should be so wildly different.

4. The shit/difficult times that seemed to last fooooor eeeever, actually lasted no time at all but, boy, do I write a LOT of posts during these shit times!

5. I wish I had written more, sometimes, about things that were happening. There are gaps that I can’t seem to fill very well. God knows what you lot thought at the time!

So, there you have it. Lots of work still to do and, apart from this post, I hope I’ll be filling the blog with more interesting stuff and much, much better writing, in future.

If I close my eyes, I hurtle back to 1975

Once or twice I noticed the smile that he has. It comes with a twinkle in his eye. But the twinkle is a real twinkle – a bit cheeky but it always really sparkled.

And, suddenly, it really really is him.

And, sometimes, I could hear it in his voice. If I had closed me eyes then, I could have transported myself back to those days.

I had picked them up at the airport. I was a bit worried I wouldn’t recognise them. And I was right to be worried. Their eldest daughter is 26 so we knew it was more than 26 years since I had seen them. And, 26 years is a long, long time.

I remember him as the same sort of build as me but taller. I knew he had no hair. T, his wife, had black hair.

So, I didn’t recognise them at all. He looked a little like my grandfather! They had both gained a “little weight”, she had blondish hair.

But later, over a meal, he did that thing with his smile and the twinkle thing and then, for a split second, it was him.

I could tell you all about the weekend but it would be slightly boring. Instead, he remembered things about me that I don’t remember. I was, in fact, a bit of a tearaway between the ages of 14 and 18 (and, possibly, beyond that.) He told me that he used to hang around me hoping that my “natural wit and charm” with the ladies would rub off on him – or that, by hanging out with me, he would attract the girls – apparently.

He would ferry me around to parties, etc. so that he would be included.

I don’t remember. He used to wait for me at my parents’ house whilst I “came back from somewhere” for us to go out. Apart from parties, our “going out” was mainly to pubs.

And, as I have said before, I never understood that I was good looking. But here is a photo that was taken in 1975. I am on the right, with the purple shirt.

Andy and Harry Aug 1975

And this is them at the top of the Duomo, this weekend.

Harry ad Tracey Duomo Roof 2015

I think you can agree, he’s changed a bit. They’ve changed a bit! Or not? But, then, there’s 40 years between the two photos!

The recurring teddy bears

Recurring Teddy Bears

He had died, apparently.

His dad said something to me about “not wanting to bother me” or somesuch thing. I cried. It felt wrong that they hadn’t told me. I was upset, for sure.

Earlier, we’d been watching a film. It was a cross between a thriller and a horror movie.

There had been a teddy bear which something embroidered into it. I asked F what it had been on the teddy. He told me it was an “M” (or was it “em”?) When it had been seen, everyone’s eyes went pink, including the teddy bear’s!

Some kids were playing in their room. It reminded me of Peter Pan. Four kids of different ages, jumping on the beds as if on trampolines. It could have been on stage. It may have been on stage – the camera angle being from below and to the front of them – as if outside the room – there was no wall or it was as if the wall wasn’t there being the front of the stage.

Their mother called them for tea. They ran off. The teddy bear was on the floor, near the nightstand, in front of the nightstand and had a sting of pearls around it or, at least, a necklace with beads. It was dark in that particular corner. A hand reached out from under the bedside table and pulled the teddy bear back underneath, breaking the necklace and, so scattering the beads/pearls over the floor. They rolled around noisily.

I got up to go to the bathroom. I asked F if, in fact, I had asked him this question. He said “No.” It had been a dream that I was awake and half-watching the film whereas, in fact, I was asleep and, most probably, fitting the dream to the sounds of the film.

And, then, later. When he died.

And I don’t quite remember whether it was afterwards (after I had got up to go to the bathroom again) or during the dream that I had had the keys to the flat given to me because that was what he had wanted. And I remember the special teddy bear I had bought him years ago – a limited, numbered edition, with wire-rim spectacles and a rolled up certificate. It had been sitting on the small, child’s chair in the hallway. And I didn’t even, at the time, have any reason to look and less to remember and, yet, I did and had remembered.

And was it during the dream or after I had woken that I was torn between wanting to be the beneficiary of the will and wanting to wash my hands of everything because being a beneficiary was also being responsible for all the shit he had left behind.

In any event, I was upset and I cried more than once (but that was definitely in the dream.)

And, for certain, when I was awake, I didn’t want it to happen – to have happened. For all sorts of reasons.

And, I wonder, when will I be able to shake him (and the problems and issues he brings) out of my life?

I don’t know if I really did wake so many times to go to the bathroom or I dreamt it. These were just two of the dreams I had last night. There were others but I don’t remember them.

Nuggets of truth. Perhaps?

Nuggets of truth.  Perhaps?

There is some truth, of course, although that’s not always guaranteed.

But only a small amount. The story I know will not, almost certainly, be the one I will hear. I know that already. I don’t know when I will hear the story directly but I know that, at some time it will come, when we eventually meet.

Of course, I don’t really care about the story I will be told for already I know a truth (but not THE truth for that, I suspect, will never be really known) and, therefore, I know the story to be told will be, to all intents and purposes, fictitious. But when I get told that story, I will accept it and not ask probing questions to trip him up. What purpose could that possibly serve?

The story I will be told will be something like: I had to come back to look after Mum and Dad.

That bit, of course, is not even slightly true and that’s not the bit that will contain any small bits of truth. The small bits of truth will be in the detail of the story told to me.

Of course, there is a long way to go before that story gets told to me, so anything may happen in the meantime.

But it makes me a little sad. As I mentioned, I have been reading up on my old posts, checking links and making sure they aren’t corrupted with strange characters. I’m up to the point where I have been a few weeks in the perfect-flat-in-the-perfect-street. And the major thing that I have been reading about is the lying that was done before that. And, so, the story will be a fabrication of lies and, as that was the reason we split in the first place, I am sad that it (the lying) will be continuing.

But I have become like everyone else in his view. Or maybe it was always so and I was just too dumb or stupid or blind or blinded by love that I missed all the signs that were slapped in my face.

But, let’s move on to the story I know, which contains more truth than the story I will get but also huge omissions that I will never (nor will anyone else) know.

Ay and her boyfriend, E, were over.

We went out for one dinner. F didn’t go away so he was there too. It was lovely.

But Ay and I gossiped, of course. Gossiped about the “family” – not mine but hers (and, yet, in some way, one of my families too). Which, of course, makes it also V’s. And, it couldn’t be helped but we gossiped about V. Or, rather, she gossiped about V and I listened.

It seems, now he’s there, that he hasn’t told anyone what really happened. We talked about the strange telephone call from her grandfather (where he said he had missed a call from me even though I never made the call.) I told her why I thought he had made the call. 1. Because V was there and really wanted to talk to me or 2. Because V had told him things and he was checking I was OK and not “caught up” in trouble because of V.

She told me that, almost certainly, those reasons were wrong. He would have rung because he had had nothing from V and needed an excuse to talk to me with the hope that I would “spill some beans”. But, in any case, I have very few beans to spill. Or, rather, I had very few factual beans – the beans I have being pieced together and some of which are “supposed” beans.

It seems he is acting like the prodigal son. He has no money, has no job, etc., but is happy to live and be fed and looked after by his parents. It seems that his other sister, P, is helping him to get benefit money and the “plan” is to declare that he is there to provide full-time care for his parents.

Ay and her mum are not particularly impressed since, for all the years so far, he has provided nothing in terms of help – of any kind, while they have – and not been asking for any benefit money either.

Still, it remains to be seen if he will get any money for this. With the crackdown on “benefit scroungers” in the UK, I’m sure they will want to make an assessment of the parents – and that won’t be comfortable for anyone!

But, more than that, it seems a shame that someone who, at one time, had a promise and future, will never realise any of that potential. On the cusp of half a century, instead of forging ahead he will find himself trapped in this spiral of requiring hand-outs.

I had written during some posts at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009 of how, I wondered, he would cope without me. In fact, he has and is “coping” but not in the way that I had imagined nor in a way that would suit me. Nor, I imagine, in his heart of hearts, is it what he envisaged for himself.

And so, I wait to hear the story that he will concoct to give to me. And, of course, whatever I hear, I already know will be mainly a fantasy.

Which is the greatest shame. It could have been so different but I do not feel responsible. I am not responsible. He has “achieved” this all by himself. Still, it makes me sad.

As they say in Italy – this is a hardly work!

Hard work!

You will probably think that I’m not keeping this blog up to date since its move.

And, in part, you’d be right – but only in part.

I’ve been meaning to do this for a long while now and, with the move and needing to check that everything is still working (links, etc.), I’ve been going through all the posts I’ve made.

There are a LOT of posts! I have been correcting links, making sure pictures work and, occasionally, deleting posts that, in my view, are a complete waste.

I’m up to March of 2009.

This is just before I moved into the perfect-flat-on-the-perfect-street. It’s trying, reading these posts. I can remember it well. What surprised me was that I hadn’t really “let you in” on all my feelings. I thought I had. At the start (which I thought was November, 2008 but was actually only just before Christmas 2008), I told you nothing of my feelings. The blog seems to be so much lighter in tone than the reality was. There’s one post, towards the end of March, 2009 when I apologise for the blog being depressing – although, now that I’m having to read every post, it doesn’t seem that depressing at all!

Still, I have 6 years worth of blog posts to go before I get up to date. OMG!

But I have some things to tell you (about recent events) so I’ll try and do a couple of posts in the next few days to keep you up to date. I can only apologise for the lack of posting right now

Is there no escape?

I had a post from someone on Facebook.

In fact, this woman isn’t the sharpest knife in the box so, in fact, I had the same post about 6 times in about 6 seconds!

“Could you call me Please xx”

She remains a Facebook friend for reasons that are unfathomable, even to me. I was never really her friend. Nor that of her husband. These were colleagues of V’s. They also thought that he was a friend of theirs which I knew was really false but it’s not for me to tell other people what they should think. Anyway, I’ve found that people don’t really understand (him or the way he works).

Just like when I told my friends that my father was a real bastard. They used to think he was so charming.

And, now, at this moment, I wonder if that’s why I was with V for so long? They both hid their real personalities so very well. Except that I know my father was a real bastard whereas V is a nice guy really – you just mustn’t take anything he says too seriously for it may or may not have elements of truth in it.

Anyway, immediately my heart sank. Usually, she is drunk when she talks to me. Or seems drunk. I’ve seen her drunk a few times. And she gets quite maudlin when she’s drunk. And goes on and on.
Before I had time to react (apart from the sinking heart) she was phoning me.

I debated whether to answer or not but decided to anyway. I knew what this conversation was going to be about. V is set to haunt me even if he has left the country.

There was a cursory “How are you?” followed by a quick, “I hope you don’t mind me phoning.”

Let’s get on with it – I thought. And she did.

“Do you know where V is?” she asks me. Is she drunk? I can’t quite tell. But I know she has a serious problem with alcohol.

“Yes,” I reply. I mean, why wouldn’t I tell the truth? I then think that perhaps I should not have said this. I think about the fact that she might ask for contact details. But I decide that I’m not giving contact details to anyone. It’s not my business and I refuse to get drawn in ………..

Except that, by saying I know where he is, already draws me in, doesn’t it?

Oh, well.

She asks me where he is and I tell her (in general terms).

She calls him a bastard and I understand why she would. V was always borrowing money from her husband (who had/will have plenty of money because his parents are very, very rich.) I would have put money on it that he owed M some money, if you see what I mean. And I would have won that bet, it seems.

Then she told me other things. I was right about the money – €3K. Plus, he had taken advance payment from a private student which, quite obviously, he will never be able to do lessons for – unless they travel to the UK. Also, she is worried about the fact that she recommended him for the “school” in which she teaches and for which, until 3 weeks ago, V also taught. It’s a big thing here, if you recommend someone for a job. It’s a big minus against you if they “fuck up”. And, of course, V had not given any notice so the first the school knew was when he didn’t turn up for his lesson (on the Monday, I guess.)

“And what about his flat?” she asks.

I explain that he appears to have abandoned everything – flat, job, life and, most importantly, debt and “done a runner.”

I give her a brief summary of what happened. Leaving out certain details – like the fact that I had bought some things from him and had seen him a few times, etc., etc.

She informs me that, unbeknown to me, a lot of things in the flat are actually theirs (or rather her husband’s) in that they bought him the fridge (and, I guess, the kitchen, the TV system, etc., etc.) – all things that he implied to me that either he had bought or had been donated by his then-boyfriend.
Seems it ain’t so (but I am shocked that I am even really surprised – and in a way, I’m not!)

I did say that there were also a lot of things of mine in there (in that I had bought and paid for almost everything he took/I gave him when we split) that I couldn’t get. I added that, as far as I was concerned, I had already let go of the stuff over 5 years ago and so there was no point worrying about it. I didn’t add that I had paid for some things and got them before he left.

She said that her husband had said the same thing. She said that they had even paid his electricity bill (but obviously not the most recent bills?) She said that she met him for lunch in January which he said he would pay for but then his card “didn’t work” and so she paid. Even she realized that, with V, that was the way it was.

She had been trying to phone him for the last 3 weeks or more but he didn’t answer and now the result was that the “person you’re phoning isn’t available”. She called him a bastard again. I suppose she had justification but, despite myself, I felt a little sorry for him. After all, he was always like this. I caught myself thinking that it was their fault, really. They are adults and should have really known better.

But, like my father, he oozes charm and fun and, yes, love, when he wants to (well, a kind of love). He hides his true self and, it seems, got much better after we split. Or, perhaps, he had been honing those skills whilst with me. Maybe I was good to practice on.

And, yet, I “gave” money to him in the final weeks – although I’m grateful I got what I did.
I tell her that I think it’s unlikely that she will ever see the money, things or, in fact, V again. She agrees.

She then wants to agree to meet up for an aperitivo. I agree, though my heart isn’t in it. They aren’t really “my sort of people” and he is incredibly boring, whilst she is a drunk. And also a bit boring. And also she keeps calling everyone “lovey” which I truly hate. I explain how lovely that would be but to bear in mind that I am very, very busy right now with hardly an evening free – which is also true.
We don’t set a date but she says “Keep in touch.”

We finish the call. I feel uncomfortable again. It’s not as if I want or need to protect him in any way. But, still, it’s only a matter of time before someone asks me to give them contact details. Which I won’t. But, still, refusal is not really good. It won’t make me happy but it will be necessary.
I suppose I should be grateful that I got lumbered with so little by his leaving so abruptly and, certainly, without him “owing” me so much. I do feel a bit sorry for his “victims” but, once again, they are adults and such is life.

I’m also quite grateful that I have stifled the urge to find out more from his family. I’ll get to know soon enough but I don’t want to pry. And, yet, I really want to know – but this feeling will pass. Anyway, some things are better not known, I think. Particularly when it comes to V.