working like a paesano

This message was originally sent as an e-mail to friends in July 2006. I’d been working hard in the garden for days on end and was starting to miss ‘normal’ life. This piece also contained the first reference to ‘pasta paulie’, a handle I’m kind of stuck with now.

The scenery along our little valley is just wonderful; rolling hills, hilltop towns, tiny fields all cultivated with a dazzling profusion of crops, vines and other fruit tress. Every bit of space is put to use. I imagine the English countryside must have looked like this 30 years ago before they started ripping out the field hedges and tearing down the dry stone walls, just to create the English version of the prairies. Anyway the type of farming here hasn’t changed much, probably since medieaval times – and the landscape bears that timeless quality. I still find myself standing alone in the garden just staring out on these incredible views.

Continue reading

forza meelan

So Milan get revenge tonight against Liverpool in the Champions League, which looked to me to be about the fair result. Liverpool look a great team in need of a true quality striker and I’d be very surprised if Rafa doesn’t get the funds to make a major signing in the next week or so. Little Tevez might be the man to come in with any number of players on the way out, Bellamy and Fowler for sure, Kewell and Zenden maybe, Gonzalez and Garcia possibly etc. But if you do sign Tevez, Rafa please don’t get rid of Crouch. The two of them playing in tandem would be just wonderful to watch – like Arnie and De Vito in Twins. I bet they’d be handy too.

This is only a brief posting for a change but I couldn’t close off without commenting on the shock I felt at the extent of the injury to Inzaghi when that ball bounced up and hit him in the stomach. He was in agony poor lamb. Surely they ought to have given him life-restoring surgery at pitch-side or morphine at the very least. Strangely though he did look remarkably well after he’d scored that second goal. So brave and yet it must have been terribly agonising for him to leap those barriers and lap up the adulation of the meelan fans when the final whistle went.

Big girl.


world cup football and tv women

This posting formed part of an e-mail message to friends in July 2006.

Well the World Cup was a recurring nightmare for English fans. So much anticipation and so little to applaud and be grateful for. We really did have a golden generation of footballers but they played like goldielockses. We just ask too much of our players I reckon every season and come May/June they’re just completely knackered. Sven didn’t help with his squad selection and tournament tactics but I’m convinced in World Cup and Euro Championship years England squad members should finish playing at end April to give them time to rest and recover, then prepare completely. But with titles/promotions/relegations at stake and cups to play for, there’s no chance of course. So when England were knocked out against those dirty cheating Leeds-like Portuguese (perhaps it’s worth reminding myself that it was Rooney who stamped on Carvalho’s genitals) I didn’t cry. I simply shifted my allegiance to my adopted country, Italy, whose team happened to be running into form at just the right time. Call me cynical, I don’t care. Continue reading

friends, family and food

Having a home in Italy has enabled us to catch up with loads of friends and family coming over for short breaks. I know there’s a lot of hooha in the media about the effects that cheap flights are having on CO2 levels etc. But I think the no frills concept has opened up international travel like never before. I can commute easily and often very cheaply between Italy and the UK and our lives have been transformed. A generation ago they used to think my father was mad when he worked in Blackpool and lived in the little town of Poulton-le-Fylde about 3 miles away. I’m not kidding but I tell you what was mad – me spending five and a half hours a day commuting by car between Buckingham and London for decades. What effect did that have on the atmosphere? Now our friends can catch a Ryanair flight and are having some prosecco and prosciutto with us 3 hours later. And they haven’t robbed a bank to do it. There’s something wrong with that…?

Continue reading

telecom italia

This message was originally sent as part of an e-mail to friends in July 2006.

I think most people would have got the message that I had left BT at the end of April 2006, figuring that after 30 years with one company it was time to show some ambition. The plan was a) to spend the summer getting our new home in Italy sorted and b) to establish my marketing consultancy to allow me to work online and earn some money, maybe. The Paul Leonard Consultancy ( is at long last a reality but it took several months of increasingly frustrating contacts with Telecom Italia to get our phone and online links realised. Had I found a more unloved telecomms organisation than BT….?

Continue reading

bounteous overhang

This was originally posted as an e-mail message to friends in June 2006.

We have this huge pine tree 10 yards from our front door and 80 ft high. I can’t make up my mind if I like it or if it’s good for shade or a pain in the butt. We parked the car underneath it (reason 2) for several weeks until I realised it dripped unmoveable glutinous globules onto the body of the car. Nothing can remove this natural supergunge including diesel fuel. And then a huge branch suddenly started to crack away from the main trunk and was only caught from falling completely by a lesser branch. Even so it was 30′ up and needed removing before collapsing on the car or, worse, one of us or a member of the family or guest or Elisa, our lovely post woman or ….

Continue reading

cup final disappointment

Well we finally got the FA Cup Final back at new Wembley. Was it worth waiting 7 years for yesterday’s experience? I have to say it all felt a bit of a let down to me. I’ll come on to the football match itself in a second. The new stadium looked brilliant – I was privileged to get a good look at the building at several stages during its construction. It was massively impressive even in an incomplete state and I was truly disappointed not to be actually there to see the place for myself up close and personal at its first major event. But it did look superb on TV. However there were several negative aspects that kept cropping up throughout the day which took the shine off the event for me (apart from the result).

Continue reading

jimmy over the hill

Is it just me or is Jimmy Hill a complete waste of space on the excellent Sky Sports 1 programme he supposedly hosts, ‘Jimmy Hill’s Sunday Supplement’? Why on earth do Sky persist on giving him the title credits – it cannot be to give the programme gravitas. It’s not like his opinions are worth listenning to; he just whines on and on about when he was a player (nearly 50 years ago), manager (40), or as a chairman (30). None of his thoughts are relevant, contemporary or interesting. Nobody gives a flying fig about what he thinks about anything any longer do they, except the Head of Sport at Sky presumably?

Continue reading