About Paul

Having decided on a change of life by moving home from the UK to Italy, this is the story and thoughts of a man on a personal journey from the Blackpool Tower to the Leaning Tower of Pisa, in search of la dolce vita. After several olive harvests he's now back in London but en route he shares his very personal perspectives on life.

Oh Jimmy, Jimmy

So it was sad to learn of the death of Jimmy Greaves today, probably the best natural goal scorer the English game has ever seen.  He didn’t score 30 yard screamers and very few headers; his technique was to pass the ball into the net. And he did it for every team he played for – Chelsea, AC Milan, Spurs, West Ham and England. So why am I so interested? Well he was probably the first footballing hero I can remember. Continue reading

Hospital drama

So regular readers will know several things about me; I have endless charm, I’m utterly modest, I had cancer several years ago and drama seems to follow me around like a Shakespearean lapdog. I’m delighted to tell you that all those features came out to play today at the West Middlesex Hospital, scene of all my great medical theatricals.

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Fish and geeks, Robert and the missus

It’s an intriguing title right so what on earth is this posting all about? Well it’s all to do with new sources of entertainment that quite frankly I find amazing. When I was a senior marketing guy, media meant print (news press and specialist), tv and radio. Social was nowhere and online was in its infancy. Now they’re almost everything and increasingly I’m searching out stuff almost exclusively on my devices. And I’ve come across two sources which, unless I’m the last person in the world to find them, I think you’ll go wow; they’re very different and completely nuts. Continue reading

A-ha!

There’s a hotel at each end of our little lane in Stratford upon Avon. The Indigo is a beautifully restored, 100’s of years old, timber-framed property, significantly extended in recent years. It’s a lovely hotel with a magical hidden garden in its inner grounds. My daughter E and son-in-law stayed there for Stephen’s 50th birthday and we had some super cocktails there after a great Thai meal at our local Giggling Squid. It’s a really busy and popular place now that lockdown’s ended. It’s just charming….

If you’re thinking they haven’t finished painting the timbers then you should know that the black painted timbers are the originals whilst the untreated oak is the restored timber and has been deliberately left like that to show it’s a sympathetic restoration but the building’s history can be accurately read. And this building sits across the road from New Place, the location for Shakespeare’s impressive home once he became successful. A later owner, no doubt hoping he’d profit from the Bard’s fame after his death, got so fed up of visitors gawping through the windows, he pulled the place down.  It seems incredible but it’s the truth. New Place is now a beautifully laid-out garden and it is located less than 100 yards from the stunning Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre. And about the same distance from our home in the opposite direction. We do feel privileged to live amongst all this fabulous architectural history.

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Words

I was walking into Stratford uA town centre at lunchtime and passed a couple of blokes greeting each other with lots of smiles and hugs so clearly very matey. One guy said to the other ‘ haven’t seen you in ages, how you doing?’ To which the other guy replied ‘just the same, how you doing?’ To which the other chap said, ‘oh just the same’. Then they shook hands and parted. I mean if you’re going to start a conversation guys, is that really the best you can do? Bloody hell.

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Looking back

So here’s the thing, I was reflecting on that last posting where my fab grandson Sam, and mate Chizz, were interviewing me about things gone by. I thought to myself it was fun to reminisce but it’s raised some thoughts within me. When you get to my age the temptation must be to look back fondly on all those memories because your life is no longer cool. But mine is still vibrant. So what?

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Straight talking

So our handsome and talented eldest grandson Sam and his great friend Chizz have started a podcast called Straight Talking where they interview other young people about their ambitions and motivations etc. It’s quite new but will hopefully lead to some fascinating conversations. Now they clearly felt the need to balance all this youthful vitality with some hefty experience from a hefty old sod and I was humbled that they asked me to fulfil this role.  What the hell do I know after all? Well if you want to find out, check out this link below and I’m sure Sam and Chizz would love it if you socialised their podcast…

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Knick knacks

I’ve mentioned before that I head to the paper shop early each morning and I pass by a whole area of boarding houses most of them with punny Shakespearean names. Hamlet House is just one of the more imaginative examples.  Anyway I’m quite a Nosey Parker and I can’t help looking in the windows to study how the Stratford upon Avon landlady styles her rooms compared with her Blackpool equivalent. It’s quite illuminating (see what I did there?)

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