Another indulgent posting (but isn’t that the essence of blogs?) just to say how much we enjoyed having our old mates SF and MF over from America immediately followed by our great daughter and son-in-law, S and I. This also coincided with one of my clients being over here and wanting to hook up if possible but we just got space and time snookered so sorry Jack if you ever get to read this. We’ll make it up next trip.
SF and MF were over in Europe on a couple of counts; M’s dad is seriously ill and she needed to visit him at home in Krakow. Meanwhile S was seeing client contacts in several countries in Europe. They had a 2-3 days with us at the end of their visit. SF and I go back to my very first job in BT (or rather the Post Office as it then was) in London some 30 odd years ago. He was always taking the piss out of my broad northern accent; I used to josh him about my magnetic personality and clearly superior management skills. Actually the only thing I could do better than SF – and I have consistently outshone him to this day in this area – was to swear with greater frequency and potency. It’s not the greatest of attributes but I’m undeniably good (or perhaps bad) at it. Anyway we hadn’t seen the guys for some time, especially MF, and it was great that they could spend time with us.
We didn’t do a huge amount of much other than to generate a significant increase in the glass recycling effort of central Italy via the wine bottle mountain, Monte Verdicchio Bevuto-Molto, which sprang up at the back of the house, like an Icelandic volcano. They’re good people but boy can they knock it back. C and I were in Orvieto awe.
We did take in the wonderful basilica at Loreto, which houses one of the great treasures of the Catholic church, the reconstructed home of Mary’s family brought over from the Holy Land during the Crusades. It’s a stunning religious icon. Before that we had just the best sea-food meal I can remember having (thanks SF!) at our favourite little restaurant overlooking the Conero peninsula at Sirollo. We’ve taken all our friends here and it never fails to delight and ….why am I not on commission yet? Anyway he’s a not untypical shot of SF on the barolo at Sirollo. As Freddie Mercury would say, ‘another one bites the dust’!
The other moment of note I guess was my trying to explain ( as with JP and D the previous week) that the ‘sloppy joe’ kecks I was wearing round the house were not actually pyjama bottoms although they looked remarkably similar to them. The only way I could think of to describe them was ‘house trousers’ but somehow my pronunciation came out all Prince Philipesque as ‘hice trizers’. It seemed quite ironic that after all that eh up lad ribbing I received as a callow co-worker all those years ago, I should now be mocked for my faux received English pronunciations by SF. I think he was rather reassured to be called a big f*cking london titw*nker in response. Just like the old days…
Now S and I arrived last Monday, SF and MF’s last day and they brought the rain with them. Poor guys, it didn’t stop raining for 5 days. It was glorious beforehand and it’s blistering now. But we had a great time. Monday was a real old catch-up day as the guys hadn’t really seen each other since S and I’s wedding and in MF’s case some time before that. We (esp SF) ate and drank all day. Early Tuesday and SF and MF left for Rome to (only just) catch their flight back to the US. But Tuesday was S’s birthday and we gave the guys a lie-in. Lots of pressies and stuff mid morning then off we set for our favourite local-ish restaurant in the evening (two hill-tops away). Except when we got there it was their mid-week closed night. Bugger. We tried several more restaurants over a few more hill-tops, in the process re-discovering that Tuesday is the local favourite for non-opening, before finding a welcome at the hotel/restaurant in Servigliano. It’s probably the best place around – they specialise in meat dishes with this huge open spit system of cooking. We had a top meal though it was slightly disconcerting to see a row of small birds being spit-roasted for a large party on the night. It’s not that I have an issue with them cooking fowl (although I’m not easy with the thought of them killing tiny small birds now that I think about it), it’s just that as the parade of little carcasses with their scrawny necks and heads were being spun slowly it looked for all the world that they were spit-roasting a pile of pricks, slowly flopping over as the spit rotated and gently browning in the process. Interesting view throughout dinner but great to share my daughter’s birthday over here.
As the weather eased slightly we took the kids into the mountains to see Sarnano which is a great little town (here’s S and I wandering the tiny streets):-
and over to Porto San Giorgio, on the coast where we had another great sea-food lunch (again courtesy of our kids) for our other daughter R’s birthday. Busy week! Other highlights – Ian running the very hilly 3m road loop around our house in just over 30 mins each morning ( I was busy in the garden and would have joined him otherwise…ahem) and treating S and I to visits to 3 of our local Oasi supermarkets; in Girasole, Ascoli and Porto San Girgio during their stay. Oh yes, we know how to show guests a good time.
The sun came out, of course, on the morning of their departure back home. Sod’s law. We were upset to see them off but that’s good, right? They know they can come here anytime and will always be welcome, if a little wet. Having had a big day out with S and I the day before we had a quieter day with R on Sunday until neighbour P and her house guests James and Mary Lou came round in the evening for nibbles and drinks to celebrate R’s birthday too. We anticipated being a bit jaded but had a right old chat and laugh, and another few drinks. SF would have been proud…(and this is just in jest SF!)
Quite a week.
ps just re-read this and it sounds like i’m having a right old pop at my mate SF. Just in case anyone got the wrong impression – he’s one of my oldest, strongest and most loyal of friends (as is MF). Does he like wine – you bet. We both love to drink wine – it’s a vice (I prefer to call it a pleasure) we share and make no apologies for it. Shay’s also a collector and increasing authority on the subject. So if my mate wants to share a glass or two on the rare occasions we get together, that’s just fine by me. OK PP?
Er.. I appear to be having a conversation with myself, so i’d better sign off before it turns nasty.