When the kids were younger we used to spend a couple of weeks of their summer holidays with Eurocamp in France. It was rustic and a bit basic but over 3-4 years we had some of our very best family breaks at sites in and around the Dordogne and not one drop of rain in all our trips! And we met some great friends with whom we’re still in touch 30 years later. There was a Dutch family who we befriended with 5 beautiful daughters and mum and dad Dini & Burt. They were great fun and we and another family of all girls headed up by lovely Dennis and Julie were as pally as can be. Burt, Dennis and I used to keep an eye on the kids in and around the pool area whilst playing boules and drinking the odd beer or trois. And whenever Dennis or I had an unlucky bounce of the ball on the gravelly strip we’d turn to Burt and ask ‘Why me Burt?’. It became something of a catchphrase amongst us and I’ve often thought it’s a line that could easily be chiselled onto my gravestone, given the drama that always seems to dog my simple existence.
I’ve written about the sad slow demise of the high street before now and another big name tumbled recently with the collapse of Jamie’s Italian restaurant chain. I really liked it when it opened because I am a bit of a fan of Jamie Oliver’s recipes and of course anything that celebrates great simple Italian cooking is fine by me. That was when he had just one or two restaurants and the menu was delightfully different and the wines tasty and the prices about right. Then before you could say ‘turkey twizzlers’ he’d gone and opened restaurants all over the place. The exclusivity had gone. And I can remember telling Carol whilst sat in a Jamie’s Italian in the beautifully evocative Tuscan-like setting of Milton Keynes shopping centre that I thought the helpings were become less and less substantial whilst prices were becoming alarming high. Crucially in the rush to expand, the Italian-ness had just disappeared. And the place was half empty. That was at least 2-3 years ago and I forecast then that the chain wouldn’t survive and, no surprise, that was our last visit. Hey ho, I say this without any pleasure at all.
Well it’s been a great WC for a change hasn’t it? Alright England ran out of steam and composure in the end but their performance generally was as good as I’d wished for and predicted several weeks ago and my forecast of Harry Kane winning the Golden Boot looks likely to happen (unless Mbappe has a field day in the final, which he might). So as I’m clearly clairvoyant I thought I’d try a few more cheeky predictions:
– Messi to retire from international football properly this time
– Phil Jones never to play for England (and hopefully Man U) ever again
– Diego Maradona to shake the hand of God before the next WC qualifiers begin
– Gareth Southgate to be tempted by a serious offer of a job by Crystal Palace within the next 6 months but declines
– his assistant Steve Holland tempted by serious job offers from one of Southampton, Derby, Cardiff and Huddersfield within next 6 months and accepts only to leave a year later
– ManU to buy one player from each of today’s WC finalists France and Croatia but Jose Mourinho fails to get the best from them
– Paul Pogba to leave ManU
– Real Madrid to make a big name signing (ok not a stretch) but it’s not Neymar nor Mbappe then tempt THFC with a Bale/Modric double swap deal for Harry Kane/Delle Ali. Daniel Levy tempted but demands £60m too. RM Pres Perez chokes on his frittata
– Giroud to move on from Chelsea to …..who cares?
– Roberto Martinez to be sacked as Belgium manager and be replaced by Sam Allardyce (that last bit is just for fun)
– Alan Shearer to be named (and I’d never thought I’d find myself saying this) best pundit at the WC
– Russia to be judged as best WC hosts (and I’d never think I’d be saying that either)
There you go. Feel free to suggest your own
So after more than 10 years writing Pasta Paulie it’s probably about time I tried something new. With the move to the Big Apple it seemed appropriate to start a new blog and I’m humbled to say it’s a sensitive and poignant account of our stay in the US entitled A Fat Bald Bloke Takes on New York. Click on it to find your way there.
PP will be back soon as. Ciao amici
FBP nee PP
Well we had another couple of weeks over in Italy recently to get some more work done on the place. I mean on our house there, of course, not us fixing up the parlous state of the sunny peninsular in the Med. Though I must confess it sometimes feels like you’re having to do the two things, particularly when it comes to resolving issues with the Italian utility companies. But this time we were fortunate to not have any such problems. Our only difficulties arose when confronting desk and reception staff at various stops along the journey…
I’ve had a lovely couple of days with my fab grandsons but other than that it’s been a trying week to be honest. I’ll spare you the details. But last night after watching some of the MoTD stuff and dozing a bit I headed off to bed. I took one look at the digital clock on the cooker before heading to the bedroom and it read 23.23. Now don’t you think that’s the most unnotable time register of all time? Surely something must have happened at this time in history……
Well we had a great night hosting our old friends John and Dee. As well as a nice meal out we had some laughs and a few memories stirred watching some film footage Dee had taken at a party for my 40th birthday from all of 8 years ago, ahem. Great times. We even got to bed at a reasonable hour which is a bit unusual for when we get together.