Plucking hell


I wrote the the other day about some great jobs I’ve had and the cushiest number in the Met Police. But it got me thinking about some of the worst jobs I’ve had to endure. I had a few lulus working at the bakery during school holidays. One job involved standing by this conveyor belt for a 12 hour shift loading freshly baked loaves hot from the oven onto trollies. The problem was that you were completely alone facing a wall and at head height about 4 feet away hung a large clock which was impossible to ignore. There was nothing to distract you from its torturous gaze. I can tell you that those shifts felt 18 hours long.

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My old friend MR called last night to wish us all a happy Xmas. It’s a tradition we’ve had for years, ever since M and I worked together at Cellnet, back in the Middle Ages. We’ve always got on well and it was good to chat, especially as we haven’t been in touch for a while. M is also a late convert to cooking and I was pleased to learn that he’d been sweating over a hot stove and cold beer or two, most of the day. Continue reading

back for the hols

Well after a few weeks in the UK we are back home in Italy. I’d gone over for a week’s work for one of my clients back in early November. But that had dragged out or various reasons only coming to life within the last week. Typical. C found a nice job at a college close to S and I’s place where we were spending most of our time . I also did 4 pitches to other potential clients – we’re  waiting to see how things turn out. We caught up with our  great friends L & S and J & G (who’ve been incredibly kind) and, of course, with E and S and our great grandsons. It’s been a busy spell, slightly frustrating work-wise but enjoyable in many ways. But we’re glad to be home and looking forward to Xmas in Italy and seeing all our family over here for New Year. Let’s hope 2009 is the year everything comes good.


strange guys

C’s over in the UK spending a few days with E and the boys before heading home on the same flight as our next house guests, our old friends the Worthies. I’ve been busy getting the pool de-algified, the garden strimmed and getting on with my unromantic anniversary gift to C, re-decorating the lounge whilst she’s away. It’s not quite as bad as buying a set of pans but it’s hardly a love token. I’m a crap husband.

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heading home

I wrote briefly in the recent posting ‘Back’ about the slightly tiring journey back to Italy. We’d been in the UK and at the wedding in Ireland for over 3 weeks and as much as we’d enoyed ourselves we were conscious of over-staying our welcome, particularly at E and S’s place. We’d also left our beautifully (and painstakingly) restored pool  replenished  with soft, crystal clean and very expensively-metered Italian mountain water in the hands of our good neighbour P. She was a little excited I think at the prospect of looking after it and using it in the August heat but she’d never taken responsibility for one before. I left copious instructions and we were a phone call or e-mail away if necessary, so I was fairly sure that P would be alright just topping it up with chemicals every few days. Even so, when we were invited to extend our stay by 4 more days to attend my nephew Russell and fiancee Rachel’s engagement party back uo north, we sadly declined because we really felt like we had to get back just in case. Pool’s are fickle things but nothing would go wrong, surely. Umm… we just thought let’s be fair to P and get back asap after the wedding. Continue reading

what’s the italian for birdcrap?

Well we’re just back from our first visit to Italy since May. We were desperate to get some time there before the summer was over – they’ve been having a heatwave and in England it’s been just rubbish weather all summer. Apart from that we needed to check all was ok with the house etc plus we were taking our grandson S for some quality time with him. It was quite a visit….

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bad day at the ufficio

This message was originally sent as an e-mail to friends in late September 2006.

Every single day we’ve spent in Italy has been better than today. I woke to the sound of knocking at the door. C was visiting the girls in London and for once I’d overslept and forgotten that Carlo was due to empty the septic tank. I dashed downstairs in my sloppy stuff and greeted him. He explained that he couldn’t get his huge slurry lorry down the driveway as our car was in the way. I of course couldn’t get it out of the driveway because of his lorry so I had to park it further down our garden slope in the middle of our olive trees, churning up what little lawn we had in the process. I had a feeling this was going to be one of those days….

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looky likey

For the last few years of my BT career I worked alongside a great young guy, another Paul, Paul S. He and I were chalk and cheese: he was young, slim, fresh-faced and always smiling and I was this fat, bald, old, grizzled dinosaur. We were often mistaken for twins. But we worked harmoniously and were a good team, always looking for another challenge in our specialist areas of sponsorship and hospitality, two things BT did pretty badly before we made sense of the whole structure. Paul and Paul, Do-it-All was our composite nickname. Continue reading