This was originally sent as a message to friends in June 2006. It is repeated at the request of Pat who is not just a top bloke but also the owner of a luxurious head of hair, and I think he’d really enjoy the Filippo experience.

If you knew me you’d know that hairdressing doesn’t play a huge part in my life. I started losing my hair at a pretty early age. I blame my father B, who started losing his hair in his 30’s. Guess which of his genes I inherited? Anyway I’ve been having a zero cut at the barbers for the last 10 years I’d guess. I ought to do it myself but I like a visit to the barbers – I qualify for the old-geezer-with-next-to-no-hair discount and it’s a real old-fashioned man’s world. All that chat about football, women and TV and nothing remotely PC nor intellectually testing. Having lived in a house with 4 women for so long, I quite like the weekly escape to the land that time forgot – well for an hour anyway. Having moved to Italy one of my first missions was to find a ‘parruchiere per uomo’ and that’s when I came across the fabulous Filippo’s……

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the freddy and sammy show

Well, big Sam resigns from Bolton, incredibly, two games before the end of the season and potentially their highest ever finish in the Premiership. Eh? Apparently he’s fed up not getting loadsamoney to spend on players (not counting wages). Didn’t realise you could spend it at the moment Sam but anyway.

Little Sam takes over and you just sense it will end in tears. I know he’s highly rated as a coach and number 2 but so was Brian Kidd. But Kidd was 6′ and looked the part even if he couldn’t hack it as No 1. Forgive me but Little Sam just doesn’t look like he’s going to instill fear and trepidation in his players. Squaring up to big Sam must have taken some spunk but little Sam? Anelka’s going to have a field day tormenting him.

Anyway why did Sam really do it, now? You’ve got to believe he had an inkling about the Newcastle job don’t you think? Maybe his son tipped him off, oh I forgot he’s doing property development in Spain. But hey, isn’t that where Sir Freddy Shepherd has his pleasure dome? Only joking…
However I do think I’ve sussed out Big Fred’s management recruitment policy. For several years now he’s been plumping for guys who don’t look/act like him. First there was the one with permed hair and little bubbly personality (Sir John may have had a hand in that one but it didn’t work), then dour scotsman (that didn’t work), then sexy foreign guy with dreadlocks (disaster), then old guy with white hair who couldn’t remember his name let alone anyone else’s (nice fella that one, pity it didn’t work), then no-nonsense sargeant major type (that was hopeless – he fell out with everyone, what a miserable bugger), then finally the guy who looks like one of those characters exposed in the NotW (don’t think the lads like him wandering round the showers).

So if you were Freddy you’d probably be thinking now, well I’ve done all the not-like-me types, what if this time (here’s the killer connection) I go for someone in my own image! Now who do I know who’s a big lummocks, wears crap ties and poorly fitting suits and inappropriate shirts, talks with a dopey-sounding accent, has a bad hair style (actually Freddy that’s not a style at all) and hasn’t a clue about spending large anounts of money wisely? BIG SAM! Bugger he’s already working at bloody Bolton. Shouts to secretary, ‘Deirdre what’s wor Sam’s lad’s telephone number love? Get him on t’phone….

It could never happen, could it…



Well I see Dario Gradi has officially retired as manager of Crewe after how many years, 20 +? He has a job upstairs at the club now. You know what I’d do? I’d make him Head of Youth Development at the FA. This guy has produced some of the best footballing talent to come out of, well, England actually and has done it on a shoe-string, consistently over a period of time that makes Fergie look like a rookie. He’s a real footballing hero in my eyes and if you have any love of the sport Mr Blair, you should Knight him before he bloody dies this time.

And whilst I’m on the subject, never mind what her Majesty says Tony, as part of your legacy do something decent and honour the rest of the ’66 squad who didn’t get a knighthood in recognition of the finest moment ever in English sport. Finallly, create a new honour in posthumous recognition of Great Britains and start with Post. Knighthoods for Ball, Clough and Paisley. Don’t even think about what people might think. Sport fans at least will respect you, even if nobody else does right now.

Speaking of Bob Paisley, the other day I was flitting through some Liverpol FC archives online looking for some material on the paint company, Crown’s sponsorship of the club. I was making a presentation on good/poor sponsorship activity at some conference. I came across these photos of Bob donned in white all-in-one painter’s overall emblazoned with Crown’s logo for publicity purposes for the sponsorship and they had him painting the steps and seats at Anfield. Can you imagine Jose doing that at Abramovitchstad stadium? What on earth were the Liverpol PR people thinking about letting their genius of a manager do something like that? You know what, I bet they encouraged him to do it – ‘Go on Bob, I know it’s a bind but they are giving the club a lot of money you know’. Paisley was such a down-to-earth and modest guy he probably didn’t raise too much of a protest.

So come on Mr Blair do something good and honour these men in an appropriate way. They are no less worthy just because they are no longer with us you know.


pool guy

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

The house came with a pool, which was one of its key attributes for us. C and the girls love swimming and our grandson is like a fish – absolutely no fear of the water. When we viewed the house before purchase it was mid summer and the pool was uncovered and looking great. But the pool had been covered throughout the winter when we moved in, during March. We inherited a horrible looking mess of dark green winter rain water swarming with frogs and heaven only knew what else under the cover. We’d never owned a pool before and hadn’t a first clue about what to do to clean it. The pool hut had been left unfinished so all the power mechanics were exposed and there were tubs of chemicals and pool paraphernalia all over the place. Our dining room looks out onto the pool area so everyday we couldn’t help being reminded of this mess. It didn’t look like this in the brochure….

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bloody sensor

This message was originally sent to friends as an e-mail in May 2006.

If you’ve read the ‘dizionari’ message you’ll know about our early problems with light fittings ie not having many. We’d bought a sensor to check for hidden wiring etc before I’d started drilling in to walls. Well the sensor had just two controls; on and off but could I get it to work correctly? Nope. My son-in-law on a visit to us, reckoned the cabling was sunk fairly deep into the plaster work so it was still difficult to judge where to drill the fixing points. Bugger. So I had to call up a local electrician, Emilio and attempted to ask him to come and help us out. He didn’t parli Inglese and my Italian was improving poco a poco (slower than snail’s pace). I think we agreed he’d come on Wednesday at 1pm.

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oh for a dizionari

This originally appeared as an e-mail to friends in April 2006.

We had been going to night school to study Italian for about a year before moving. C had made decent progress but i was missing classes because of work commitments. It’s probably my age but whilst I was doing fine in the class, I really struggled to remember what I’d been taught in the previous lesson. Short term memory recall eh. Where was I..oh yeh. By the time we’d moved to Italy my vocabulary extended to maybe 100 words and some basic phrases. Honestly I knew more Anglo-Saxon than Italian.

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garden gnomes

Is it just me or did i see a pair of garden gnomes on Match of the Day over the weekend?

Before the kick-off in the West Ham v Bolton match, Eggert Magnusson presented the club’s player of the year award to Carlos Tevez. Tell me you saw it too. What a funny-looking little pair they are. Eggert – what a superbly appropriate name – has a head like an egg with sticky-out ears. I bet he really hates it when his wife calls him from the garden, ‘oh Eggy.’ He was wearing this lurid green tie with a great big footballer’s knot that looked like a 5 year old had tied it. And little Carlos. He’s a fantastic player – and deservedly their Player of the Year, even though strictly speaking he’s actually only been their player for a single match. Still let’s not split hairs even though that would be preferable to Carlos’ alice-band approach. As styles go, it didn’t even look good on David Beckham, who can wear girls’ clothes and still make women melt. So it’s unlikley to work for Carlos who must have fallen out of the ugly tree from a very high branch, poor fella. Still he must be keeeping his dentist happy – have you ever seen so many teeth in one mouth? Amazing. But you know what – he plays brilliantly, with all his heart and his smile lights up Upton Park. I know Christiano has won all the accolades this year but I reckon this guy has run him close to being the most influential player and the most committed/unselfish. Berbatov a close third – and he has a gnome’s hair style too….weird eh!

p p

sweet irony

well it’s man u’s prem title at last. oh yes.

isn’t life funny though? i personally think man u have played the best football this season and deserve to win it but it was so satisfying to know that it took a great arsenal performance to actually deliver the trophy. oh how i wished i could have tapped in to wenger’s innermost thoughts at the final whistle. i wonder if deep down he actually wanted that final shot from kolou to go in and thus maybe take man u to a searing show-down match down the bridge later this week. jose knows that the forthcoming game was his last opportunity to maybe snatch the title from the reds. as it is man u go there knowing the title’s in the bag. will there be a guard of honour from the russia fc players? will any russians actually turn up for the match – i mean roman won’t be there (has anyone seen him recently?) and shevva’s probably going to be in milan with his mates. ballack will be somewhere in germany with robben. but it will be great for we reds to tune in just to see the look on kenyon’s face when david gill goes to shake his hand in the director’s box. as alanis morrisette once put it, isn’t it ironic…… except her examples weren’t.