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.

Christmas Decorations are UP! And other Christmas-related things

The Christmas decorations are up!

No, don’t worry, not in our flat. I mean in a street which I use on my way home from work.

They aren’t switched on but they are up.

And, talking of Christmas, I have still to do the cards. This weekend, is the plan.

At the moment, F is talking about doing a house-warming party around the middle of December – when he has decorated the flat! :-) Bless him.

As an aside, I tried, on Monday evening, to get my computer to display films on the TV. We already have the HDMI cable punched through the wall and I had bought an adapter to attach to my MiniDisplay Port. So, it should have worked just by connecting. Although the picture was fine, the sound only came from the computer which, being in the next room, wasn’t really any good. After hunting around, I found that Macs built prior to 2010 didn’t have a proper HDMI slot and no audio was passed through.

Wednesday, I found an adapter that WAS supposed to do the job for Macs of the age of mine. Except that the company making them had stopped making them. However, I found one on Amazon and bought it. It’s “on its way” now. Should be here by Monday but I’m hoping Friday – then I can try it at the weekend!

In the process of trying to make the sound work on Monday, I found, on Tuesday night, that one of my programs wouldn’t work anymore. After hunting around a bit, I decided to re-install it. So that was that.

Except, on Wednesday night, I found that, as a result of my re-installation, Firefox wasn’t working properly and what-seemed-like-spam pages kept coming up. After much pratting around, I found the solution. Let’s hope that the new adapter I’m going to be getting doesn’t end up messing up other things on my computer. It’s not that I can’t fix it, it’s just that everything then takes so much longer.

It will be nice if we can watch films in the lounge, especially for Christmas!

Fastweb and Tennis

Finally, summer is here. Over the weekend it was nudging the mid-thirties (degrees centigrade) and the next few days, it may get as high as 37° – or that’s the forecast – before dropping down to hovering around 30°.

This was the weekend where I got away with something – but I know I won’t be getting away with it for much longer. I got away with it because he is living in “my flat” – when the “my flat” becomes “our flat”, I know it won’t be tolerated.

It involved some stuff on the microwave. The microwave sits on the washing machine and is a very handy place to drop things that I must look at or do something with later. At one point he replaced the “general mess” with a shoe box. Now the top of the shoe box becomes the place to drop the stuff. He wanted me to clear it away. I explained that I needed to sort the kitchen out first as some things had to be put away when I find the boxes with like things inside.

He wasn’t happy but “It’s your flat” was the response. I know that I won’t have these choices in a month or so’s time. Ah well. enjoy it whilst it lasts, I suppose.

As part of the “getting ready to move”, I threw away lots and lots of clothes. And sorted out my shoes.

And we went and ordered Internet connection via optic fibre as it will be faster (and, in fact, the engineer is coming on Thursday). I mention this because, over the weekend it was the French Open Finals and, now that I can watch British TV, it was a delight.

Well, I say “delight” when, in fact, given the speed of my download, it kept hanging every few minutes. In fact, I tried my phone for a few minutes and got a much better reception via that!

The Fastweb connection, providing I cable my Mac to the modem, will be more than 30 times faster and should mean no more “hanging”. Unfortunately, we shan’t be in the new flat in time for Wimbledon – but there’s always next year :-)

Being at home; Opinions

Well, it looks like last weekend was the last time in Carrara until next spring/summer :-(

This weekend, if the weather forecast had been good, we were going to go down but the forecast strongly suggests that it will rain all day on Sunday so we’ve decided not to go. Instead it will be our first weekend in Milan for ages.

To be honest, I am quite looking forward to it. There are things that I haven’t done at home that, in theory, I can do this weekend. Bits of sorting out, etc.

I say “in theory” because, normally this would be true except that this weekend, F has someone staying at his flat and so he will be with me, in my flat, ALL weekend. It may not stop me doing everything but it will be a hindrance. Also, I won’t be able to start watching things I have been “saving up”. Things that I wouldn’t watch with him (i.e. films in English; films of a genre that I know he doesn’t like, etc.)

Among these things is Game of Thrones. Someone told me that, having watched the first episode, they were hooked and told me to watch the first one and I would understand. So I did. And I don’t. However, that hasn’t stopped me watching the second and third episodes. And I shall be watching the rest of the first series but after that, I’m not sure.

You see, I’m not convinced that it is really good. So, why am I watching it still, you may ask? Well, because I have hardly watched anything “English” since the spring – discounting short clips or YouTube videos and, after such a long time (a little like the books this summer, I guess) I’m kinda thirsty for hearing the English spoken word and so, almost anything goes.

So, I’m not sure if it’s my thirst for English driving my desire or if it’s really good. I know that, were I still in England, I would have watched the (first) series but here, as it’s more difficult for me to watch English stuff, I tend to be more discerning since it takes time to get hold of stuff and it costs.

Of course, when I say “discerning” this is not strictly true. I did, over the last few weeks watch the series called Episodes. Again this was a recommendation. It was OK. It’s a sitcom. Sitcoms are OK. They are not WOW!

I suppose that what I’m saying is that, in the UK, I would plonk myself in front of the TV and watch something. Anything. Every evening. Flicking through the channels until settling on something even if it was only the least-worst thing on at that moment. Some things were, of course, genuinely good. A couple of things that spring to mind are Fawlty Towers and The Sopranos. I did get Broadchurch (TV series) and, have to say that I really did enjoy that.

I realise that I’m a long way behind with Game of Thrones but, for me, that’s OK. Since I don’t have to wait for a whole week until the next episode, I can catch up not having “other programs” in the way.

Anyway, my suggesting that Game of Thrones may not be the most-wonderful-thing-to-have-hit-the-small-screen-since-the-last-most-wonderful-thing may cause some people to be upset. And can I say that I’m genuinely sorry about that. But it is, I would like to say, only MY OPINION.

In the same way that, in my opinion, authors who are gay and write about gay things don’t write good books. Of course, I haven’t read every gay author so I may be wrong. it is from my experience. The gay books by gay authors that I HAVE read aren’t really all they’re cracked up to be. I’m not saying they’re not good writers. It’s just that the books don’t say anything to me – they don’t bear any relationship to the reality of my life and, so, are unreal. I know, I know. When I can read books that are obviously fiction (SF, for example) – but those books aren’t pretending to be about real life. Books about gay people, for me, should have some elements that I can relate to. So far, they don’t. And so, in my limited experience, gay books written by gay authors are “no good”.

Which leads me onto the current story about some almost unknown author who has, apparently, made an inference that books by women, homosexuals and Chinese people are not good.

Except, he didn’t really say that. What he said was (and I paraphrase) that he hasn’t read many books by these authors that he feels passionate enough about to teach them and that, the only books he can be passionate enough about to teach are, in the main, by white, middle-class, middle-aged men.

Now there’s a whole storm brewed up here and on Twitter about him.

Which is a shame as he was asked for his opinion and he gave it. Whereas I may or may not like the man in person, his choice of reading material for his courses are entirely his concern. He may, in the opinion of many it seems, be a self-righteous prick and worse but I’m guessing he’s good at his job and, out of the hundreds of thousands or, maybe, hundreds of millions, of books to choose, he has chosen particular ones. to be pilloried for stating his opinion is a bit much. But this is the world we have created for ourselves, I guess.

Anyway, a good weekend to all and see you on the other side :-D

Be careful what you wish for ……………..

There’s a lot going on at the moment in the British press about the BBC.

It’s almost like there’s some sort of witch-hunt and it seems as if some newspapers won’t be happy until the BBC is disbanded.

But, in my opinion, that would be a huge mistake.

If it were to be broken up, there would be nothing to stop Mr Murdoch and, as well, the ‘dumbing down’ of TV that is usually blamed on the BBC, would accelerate to, well, the standard of most Italian TV.

I always think ‘be careful what you wish for as it might come true’.

There do seem to be a few voices trying to make themselves heard amongst this clamour for the destruction of the BBC – but they seem to be fighting an uphill battle.

In any event, Joni seemed to sum it up quite well ……

Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi

Real men, apparently, use this.

We have no internet connection. This was written on 20th but will, probably, be posted on the 21st.

So, what to do?

Not a lot, it seems.

Last night I had a terrible night. Ambulances or fire engines seemed to go past once an hour, waking me up, not because of them, particularly, but just like a mother can hear her baby crying, these sirens presage the howling. The howling is loud, seemingly louder than the sirens themselves and so, to stop it, one must call Dino over.

The first time it happened, about 1 a.m., after quieting Dino down, I got up, for I was thirsty. After a drink I came back to bed but couldn’t sleep even though I was awfully tired. I switched on the TV and flicked through the channels hoping to find something so mind-numbingly boring (and by that I mean something where the voices were rather subdued and flat) that I would fall asleep immediately.

I came across something that was just amazing. It was for something called Edortex or Erosex or something. At first I thought it was for a blow-up doll but after staying on it for a few moments, from what I could make out it was a whole program (although I didn’t stay on it long) about some miracle natural medicine that could make a man ‘a man’ again!

At one point they went to a ‘live’ studio discussion. The presenter (a well-endowed, blonde woman) introduced the first ‘real’ person in the studio. He was a plumber. He stood up when introduced and came to stand beside her extolling the difference this wonderful elixir had made for him.

Except he was not some bloke they had picked up off the street. He was, most definitely, an actor. He probably had never even changed a washer in a tap! He played to the camera with the measured tones of someone reading a script.

I just wondered if he included it in his ‘portfolio’ when he went for other acting jobs?

Even if he did, I wouldn’t have given him a part on this basis. It was truly dreadful acting. But, then, it seemed a truly dreadful program and I guess all the good actors weren’t so interested.

I also wondered what the casting advert for this job was like?

On second thoughts, perhaps he felt he had to act badly so as to ensure that no one thought it was really him saying that without this wonderful product he wasn’t a real man?

I am disappointed

I mean, it’s so much better, isn’t it?

The Brits, who as F rightly says, are quite arrogant, think they have the best TV in the world. They scoff at American ‘crap’ (even though we all watch it); we used to have Eurotrash, taking the piss out of those horrendous foreign TV shows – our shows are just so ‘classy’.

I don’t go for Italian TV much. Not least because I don’t understand it all and so it is not really relaxing.

So, if I’m in the UK, I can’t wait to watch a bit of decent TV.

Except ………..

I get to the hotel about 5. I remember the news is on at 6 but it’s too late to go into Birmingham (which was my original intention) and so I lie down on the bed and switch the TV on.

I flick through some channels. There’s some kid’s stuff but most of the main channels have game shows. I’ve heard of some of them. The Usual Suspects. I’ve read about that, so I linger on that. What a pile of trash it is. Then there’s Deal/No Deal with the great Noel Edmundson (that was a joke – the ‘great’ bit). I’m watching this with some disbelief since it is, in fact, an English version of some show over here. Which is also mind-numbingly dreadful – I mean I have watched it because I can understand it – and if I can understand it, it has to be of fairly low quality.

Then there’s the news. I was addicted to the news when I lived in the UK. Now, it seems too shallow, too much in the way of soundbites, too sensational ……. or quite dumb.

In the past when I’ve been back to the UK, I’ve watched it but this time I realised that every time, without fail, it just disappoints me.

Great TV? No, it’s not great TV. It’s the same as TV the world over. Shallow and pointless and, to be frank, boring. We used to sit in front of the television for hours. It was one of the reasons I never got satellite TV over here. I didn’t want to spend my whole life in front of the box. And now, after time without TV (if you see what I mean), it’s just so very disappointing.

Two birds …………… one Sunday

It’s trashy really.

Just so you understand. I was going to post the one thing and then I remembered the other. And then I thought of ‘killing two birds with one stone’. Even as I thought it I thought how trashy and tasteless it was. Ah well, one can’t be perfect all the time, even if I am bloody close.

So, there I am, Sunday, walking to the car to get it ready for our departure. The sun is hot, especially on my shirt which, in turn touches my T-shirt which, in turn touches my skin which is burnt and, therefore, slightly sore. It comes of going to the beach and staying in the sun for about 3 hours without sun-cream (because F had forgotten to bring any and I’ve never bought any for about 35 years and I find it slightly daunting given that there is factor this and factor that and oil and cream and so much choice that I really don’t know what I want (or need) and, anyway, it’s all in Italian).

So we both got burnt a bit – even if the sun was behind cloud some of the time. So we bought sun-cream that evening – but it was already too late.

So, as I say, I’m walking to the car and on the high wall above the car I see a bird I’ve never seen before (that is, I’ve seen pictures in books, so I knew what it was, I’ve just never seen one in real life, so to speak), half hopping, half flying along the top of the wall, its beak full of something, moving away from me but not so fast as if the nest is very nearby but not wanting me to know where it is.

I’m still a country boy at heart, I guess. I still get pleasure from seeing wild birds and animals. So I introduce you to the Hoopoe:


That evening we are eating at Liù and in walked some ‘famous’ people. I say famous meaning that F told me they were famous TV stars. Famous meaning they had been on Isola di Famosa which is a lot like I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here – i.e. full of ‘D’-list celebrities who need all the fame they can get to boost a new or failed career. I half-recognised the one. Then he said that the other woman was Victoria. Now Victoria I do know. She’s a London-born TV presenter. She speaks (so I am told) perfect Italian. I thought she had a Mancunian accent but perhaps I am mistaken.

She’s quite funny. I quite like her. And, F then told me that she lives round the corner from me. Who knew? I’m sure, given another few encounters, we would become firm friends ;-)

And so, here she is:

Very or Victor Victoria