I’ve written before about the quality of Italian tv – it’s basically an excuse to oggle attractive women. Which is just fine, for a while but, believe me, it gets wearisome pretty quickly because there’s no depth to the people nor the programmes. The women who present the major sports shows for example look and dress quite sensationally but their contribution doesn’t compare to, say, a Claire Balding, who in a million years would never be considered a forces pin-up but has succeeded because of her journalistic/presenter skills – she at least knows her subject matter. Even so I don’t think Claire’s a patch on some of the great male sports presenters in the UK; old school – Brian Moore, Harry Carpenter and Richie Benaud as well as ‘new’ boys Martin Tyler, Jeff Stelling and Martin Brundle for example. She’s good but nowhere near top gun. In Italy the female presenter’s primary task it seems is not to offer insight but a sight of her plunging neckline and/or oh so short hemline as she moves off and on the studio high stool (it’s a challenge repeated dozens of times, often not perfectly demurely) whilst shouting inanities increasingly loudly over the many voices of the assembled throng of old and seedy-looking former players and has-been male commentators.
Well we’ve had a real battery re-charge here in Italy, the weather’s been lovely the last few days and we’ve worked our socks off on the house and in the garden. We’ve only a couple of days left before heading back to the UK and almost on queue the weather’s turned all British on us. Instead of a glorious sunrise bursting through the window we had rain beating against the pane this morning. We’d only 6 more olive trees to prune as well but we reckon we deserved a day off from the paesano stuff.
Well I’m delighted to say the weather’s turned beautiful here in Italy (now that the Easter holiday’s over of course – just like home) but there’s still some snow on them thar hills just half an hour away. Looking at them this morning made me realise we’d never been up to the mountains during winter to do some alpine activity. The reality is however, I’ve never undertaken any skiing or the like. And this is the kid who in the snow-bound winter of 1963 spent almost every hour of every day away from school shooting down what passed for local hills on his sledge. I just loved the snow then so what happened? It set me thinking of some of the other things I’ve never done in my life.
OMG I’ve had so much to write about and so little time to do it. I swear I’ve got at least 7 postings in draft form waiting to be finished off and because of work commitments they are gathering cob-webs. We’re off to Italy for a few days and I’ll try and get a few finished off. I’ve got some belting swear words, outrageous thoughts and ridiculous conclusions to share with you so please keep checking in. Ciao
I’ve been slack on keeping up with my blog postings of late. I’ve missed out on reporting on our short break to New York (our first break outside Italy in 5 years), catching up with our great friends Marta and Shay and then our recent trips to Italy where we’ve had some earth tremor damage which has resulted in the collapse of our well. Here’s a shot of what’s left of the 6ft high structure that’s no longer a housing. We’re off there again over the next few days to sort out some landscaping and filling-in of the well which we can’t really spend time and money on recovering. Such is life in Italy. We also badly need to get the olive trees pruned as I haven’t done it on 18 months. Our other great friends L &S came out last November to help us pick the fruit and we had to do it in double-quick time and did really well in the time we had although the yield was a bit down on our great yield in 2009. But hey it’s about the product primarily and it was still unbelievably good oil. I’ll give you a proper Italy update when we get back. Ciao amici.
I’ve started to notice an unwelcome trend developing on our high street in Teddington – the blight of the empty shop. It’s only a few at the moment but these things have a habit of escalating until you end up with the situation that developed in Buckingham where the town centre ended up being populated by a few banks, a couple of pubs and barbers/hairdressers, an growing clutch of charity shops and the rest just lying empty. The few remaining shops actually selling fresh and new products were seen off by the opening of a Tesco express which hoovered up the last bit of town centre trade not already attracted to its superstore no more than half a mile away on the town’s ring road. Before we’d left the town had lost its only clothes shop, hardware store, toy shop, book store, wine shop, two out of the last 3 jewellers and of course its Woolworths. It’s nothing like as bad in Teddington which remains bustling and has a varied shopping scene but I pass by a few shops every day and hardly ever see a soul in some of them. Have you noticed something similar in your town and wonder how a few of them manage to survive?