checking out

Interesting day today. Not historically; perhaps best known for the guillotining of Marie Antoinette and the creation of the Walt Disney Co (every cloud….). But today marks the exact half-way point between the night of the announcement of London winning the Bid for the Olympic games in Singapore in 2005 (and what a night – see posting ‘To Paul’ of 20 Oct 2008) and the opening day of the 2012 Games. But despite all the good progress headlines were dominated by Nortel’s decision to seek Ch 11 bankruptcy protection thus jeopardising their investment and involvement in the event, quite possibly. Will they be the only sponsor to back out of the Games? – I’m not sure.

Continue reading


warm feeling

I’m a lucky guy. I write a posting about feeling down and friends have been calling and blogging non-stop. What have I to be miserable about eh? Not a lot. So tonight I got a call from our good friend Keith after some amusing e-mail chat with his wife Cindy earlier today. I wrote about Keith’s extraordinary skills as an artist back on 9 Sept ’07 ( where is the time going?). This is just to let you know that Keith’s website has been updated since then so check out the new site from the side-bar on the home page. His fame and reputation as an artist is growing all the time with TV interviews of late and a planned exhibition in Venice of all places coming up. If I had some spare money I’d think about buying some more of Keith’s work. He’s going to be very collectable I reckon.  But what do I know – I’m just the schmuck who showers in the dark.  


tina turner

Regular readers may remember some months ago that I did a guest posting on the Lost Girl’s blogsite. I was just pondering what people who’ve been in the public eye do all day when they retire – especially performers who, I assume, must crave something to replace the adrenalin rush. They must find it difficult to fill the void. I was particularly interested in Tina the burner Turner who, was quite simply the best (see what I did there?) female performer I’d ever seen in concert. By a mile. If you’ve never seen her cover Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love, go get a download or DVD and watch her shake her stuff. In fact I’ll ask my daughter to dig it out for me, that’ll cheer me up! I read that she had retired from the business some time ago, or so I thought…..

Continue reading


Well I’m more than a little brassed off. My wife C’s not here but in London working hard. The weather’s miserable; foggy, rainy and cold. The gas man rang at long last on Saturday promising to deliver some gas after we’ve endured almost 3 weeks shivering away. He didn’t turn up. The dining room roof has started to leak again and the hessian curtains that we humped all the way back to the UK for cleaning and pressing and then back here again are soaking and probably ruined. Enel the electricity company have written to say that for some reason they’ve underestimated our consumption (how they can do this when we have electronic digital meters which are logged at the power company I do not know). Because I’ve felt it necessary to question the enormous bill, we suddenly find that our electricity supply’s been reduced to emergency levels. We cannot use the washing machine nor oven nor toaster nor heaters and the trip switch goes off several times a day, usually at night of course. It spooks R out because there’s absolutely no ambient lighting round here. Tonight it went off when I  was in the bloody shower. Because the trip switch meter is on the outside of the house I had to traipse all the way  from the bathroom upstairs, then all the way round to the front of the house in the bloody rain and in the bloody dark with just a towel wrapped round me. I can still use the computer, just, but every time the power goes off I have to re-set the router and it’s a real pain in the butt but at least I got a load of e-mails out to my solicitor and others today . Yes I’m miserable tonight alright.  


pasta paulie; publicity agent

Well, I’m currently reading ‘When Giants Walked the Earth’, the biography of  Led Zeppelin by Mick Wall, bought for me by  E and S as a present for my fiftyumptieth birthday. It’s everything you’d expect about the greatest live band during that period from around 1969-74 – which I realise must sound like back in the Middle Ages to many readers of this blog. And before you ask, yes I did see them perform, unlikely as it may seem, at Aberystwyth in 1972  – see posting of 13 September 2007 (which also makes me realise that I’ve been doing this blogging lark for a long time now. And I’m still waiting for Rupert Murdoch to spot my writing talent and buy me out for a mountain of Euros. Bloody media mogols). Anyway a third of the way through and two things have struck me about the book so far a) the number of references to Jeff Beck; somebody clearly has an obsessional hang-up about a guitarist whose sole claim to fame  is ‘Hi Ho Silver Lining’. Get over it Jimmy. And b) the hugely influential role played by their manager Peter Grant, a big fat lump of a bloke with more hair on the back of his fingers than on the top of his head. He kind of reminds me of someone …..

Continue reading


I’ve mentioned our neighbours before; on a tiny rural Marche road with few houses there are 3 sets of English folk (including us of course) all hailing from Lancashire originally. What’s the chances eh? What’s more we all get on really well. It’s not like a dreadful ex-pat clique or anything, we’re all around the same age with similar  backgrounds and close family interests. And we all love Italy and its lifestyle, and the weather – especially in summer, when we’re often found dining al fresco at each other’s places. Not much chance of a BBQ at the moment though. Continue reading

international crisis

The news is terribly depressing. Yet again we see a situation developing where it seems impossible for the two sides to reconcile their differences. There are claims and counter-claims about who caused the initial attacks but it hardly matters as the situation on the ground has deteriorated rapidly. There have been rumours of reconciliation talks but it seems clear that neither side is willing to back down publicly. The depth of the rift has become more pronounced over recent weeks and many people have been shocked at the open hostility and brinkmanship. Despite the best efforts at mediation it has become apparent that a quick resolution to the crisis is now unachievable. So the inevitable has happened and now both Pietersen and Moores have gone and English cricket shoots itself in the foot once more. Those Aussies must be deeply upset.


hey, goats!


Well I heard a strange sound whilst in the garden yesterday; the bells from a herd of goats. That’s them in the distance looking out over our valley towards Belmonte. They must be being raised to produce the local caprino or chevre cheese. It’s an unusual sight because one of the things you notice (!) in Italy is the surprising absence of farm animals, especially in the Marche region.   Around here it’s all arable farming – every scrap of land is used to grow olive trees, vines and a huge variety of crops, fruit  and vegetables. But animals are as as rare as hen’s teeth. In fact as rare as hens, period. Continue reading