10 Top Stories – Quick 2014 Round-Up

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1) Hair cut and a telling off here

2) Eavesdropping, Spanish Steps Style here

3) Overheard amusing conversation on the London tube here

4) 10 reasons you know you live with an Italian here

5) Magazine moment and inspiration ladies here

6) The date, nutella-dilemma and ivy embellished bars here 

aka “Why American boy when you are in Italia?

7) Jazz moment: here

8) Paris, Paris, Paris

9) New years resolutions of 2014 – being flawless isn’t always necessary or all that exciting here

10) Roman Insults, Yoga & a Revelation here

 

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10 Reasons You Know You Live With An Italian

As you may have heard, I’m back from Italy but have not completely banished all things Italian from my life. Living with an Italian, I wanted to voice a few things that make me chuckle, that would just not happen if that person wasn’t from outta town.

 

1) He/she will make you do a double take when they ask:

 

“What is?”

 

     and lean in curiously to listen when you explain it’s one of the below:

 

a) toast and butter

 

b) poached egg

 

c) eating a mince pie

 

2) When he/she informs you that said poached egg in Italian is translated as

 

‘egg in a white shirt’

 

3) Making a cup of tea means for most of us, well, making a cup of tea. But for some people it means popping a tea bag into a pan of tepid water and just waiting what happens.

 

I know.

 

4) You will learn you can never eat enough Nutella. On, everything that will allow a knife near it.

 

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5) You will learn delightful and moreover, useful new words in Italian, such as:

 

‘mullet’, (caschetto)

 

6) London is and will forever be a foreign land, which means that most visits near Camden result in picking up either

 

a) a laminated picture of a red bus

 

b) a laminated picture of a red telephone box

 

c) a laminated picture of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road, you know the one

 

7) Fish fingers from Iceland are a special treat

 

8) Having to explain what the word ‘treat’ means

 

9) Prefers to watch football with a bucket of popcorn rather than a beer

 

10) Instant coffee is unheard of, the most unheard of, and is cast away from the kitchen faster than you can say when is your Dolmio day?

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Back To London: Face Lift Friday!

No! Not a real one. Just a bloggy one. Less exciting and life changing but still important if you ask me. If I ever do have one I will certainly turn it into life-changing literature, which I’m sure it would be. There is a … Continue reading

How To Save A Life – You Heard Me

“Imagine yourself strolling by the River Tiber…”

There is a moment in every person’s life when they save the life of another. That time came somewhat prematurely for me one morning whilst living in Rome. You’d think dogs were the easy part of the whole au-pairing deal but you may want to think again.

Imagine yourself strolling by the River Tiber, which chases its way through the city. The late September air is cool and the colours are spicy in the morning, an early sun pouring like honey over the water. It is a pretty abandoned and quiet place down by the river. If it wasn’t for the light and peace it is possibly Rome’s ugliest secret. Additionally, the long and looming Tiber is apparently rat and chemical-infested.

I know.

However, I might mention at night it is a glowing beacon of romance: lovers stroll down the bicycle path lanes, weaved into each other’s arms. It is a place to fall in love, fall out of love, or in my case, fall in the river.

It all happened incredibly fast, as horrific moments do. One minute the dog and I are walking companions. The next, the lead had whipped out of my hand and I spotted a golden head bobbing in the middle of the spinning, grey current. The drowning thing was being relentlessly pushed down stream. I bolted parallel to the river, bumping into a balding, old man. The dog disappeared from view, I asked him if he had seen a floating dog and he said something about the presence of rats creating an underworld of disease on the riverbed.

“The beauty of Rome was peeling away”

Thanking him for his useless response, I sprinted further, noticing buildings around me become more gritty and skeletal. The beauty of Rome was peeling away. As would, I thought, the familial affection the family had for me when I returned with a soaking, dead dog in my arms.

“It all happened incredibly fast, as horrific moments do”

After what felt like a hundred years, I caught sight of the helpless animal, now a yellow smudge in the water. I clambered down the banking of the river and fought down through the steep shrubbery to come level with her. Far down from the pedestrian path, I grated away my voice box screaming her name and, like some bizarre force guiding her over, she reached me.

At that point, I was balancing on a small, godforsaken stretch of ground, slippery from damp. Grabbing the dog as she crawled towards me, I remember laughing, digging my nails into her damp fur in anger, utterly exhausted. The foolish creature looked at me, ears pitched forwards, large brown eyes incredibly soft.
It took a few minutes to realize that not only was I several feet from dry land, but apart from the stupid, sodden dog and gushing river, I was completely alone.

Perhaps night would fall and someone, a week later, would come across a white, frozen corpse with a dead dog clasped in her arms.

My only choice was to yell repeatedly “C’è qualcuno?-Is there anyone there?” at the top of my voice, until some unsuspecting stranger came to rescue me.

Quite to my delight, this unsuspecting stranger came in the form of a rather handsome student who was crossing the bridges. An unshaved, well-dressed figure stared down and gave me a careful and puzzling wave. After seeing the dog collapsed at my side, I think he realized the situation and not that I was just chilling out down there. He waved a phone in my direction and, still a little uncertain as to his heroic plans, I acknowledged him and waited. We talked a bit actually and were we face to face, and I a little less blackened with mud and resembling Mowgli from The Jungle Book, I may have been in the state of mind to flirt – visions of chilled wine in a hazy piazza.

 “Were we face to face, and I a little less… .resembling Mowgli from The Jungle Book, I may have been in the state of mind to flirt – visions of chilled wine in a hazy piazza…”

Fast forward twenty minutes, I heard an “Oi!” coming from the river. A large dinghy full of large, bearded men was bobbing towards me. I waved to make sure they absolutely saw me and didn’t diverge off towards other potentially marooned dog walkers. Before I knew it, I was beside them, dog in tow and grateful that my chiseled saviour had been intelligent enough to call the fire-brigade.
We lumbered off the dinghy at a remote building and following behind I wondered whether to hug them? Gather them round the family’s dining table so we could all celebrate the rescue with prosecco and pizza? Honestly though, I wanted to mutter a quick thanks and leave.
The dog and I were treated to a rather harsh (I thought) spray down with a hose (wasn’t I soaking and humiliated enough?) They thought I had, in my insanity, jumped into Rat River. To top it all off, rather cruelly, I was made to trundle the couple of miles home, damp and weary.

 “Rather cruelly, I was made to trundle the couple of miles home, damp and weary…”

The following morning, the children’s father called me into the kitchen waving several newspapers, telling me about a girl leaping in the Tiber to save her Labrador. With the details of my name and age wrong though, it could have been anybody.

Sunny Summer Reminiscences

It has been a long and beautiful summer. I was lucky enough so spend a lot of it by the sea and so wanted to share some moments with you all.

I love a good breakfast – see below for a glorious first one that is always the most satisfying. Imagine on the left a magnificent view of a sparkling sea and rocky cliffs, a hazy breeze drifting over from the shore.

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How Not To Get A Date

I had a treat yesterday afternoon as I took the dog for a walk. I’d left the house shortly after dropping the children home and noticed, after about ten minutes of walking towards the bridges near the house, that a smartly dressed man was following me. When I stopped for a moment he swooped over:

(In Italian)
“Do you know by any chance where Largo Argentina is please?”

“Oh…” I started to point in the correct direction (he knew where it was).

“Sorry – ” he interrupted, “I only wanted to speak to you.”

Cue rolling the eyes moment. Ladies, it happens a lot. If you have two breasts and a face, it is more than likely these men will find cunning ways of intervening into your life in the most light-hearted and annoying ways.

He then asked where I lived, how long was I staying, clearly – from the moment I began to answer his pitiful question – he knew I wasn’t Italian.

Before leaving he said:

“Will I see you again?”

I wasn’t sure what I’d slipped in that would suggest this. I then noticed, as the fateful Gollum did upon meeting Frodo that he was wearing a ring. A WEDDING RING.

He must have thought I was born yesterday.

The Signorina rolls her eyes

Sea Food Sunday

Eavesdropping, Spanish Steps Style

Busy cafe near Piazza di Spagna (named after the Embassy of Spain). Picture high palms and warm yellow, ochre and rust houses that proudly gaze over the steps. The steps were actually a gift from the French King Louise XV to Rome (should probably be called the French steps in the King’s honour but the Spanish Embassy got there in the nick of time.)

I had time to kill before picking up the piccola Teresa from school and settled in the Piazza with my book and a cappuccino (standard.)

I couldn’t help but notice a bouncy conversation three men in shiny suits on the table next to me started bellowing. Here is a rough translation of their brisk conversation:

Man 1, 2 and 3, let’s call them Riccardo, Luigi and Leonardo.

Riccardo: Ciao! Apologies for the delay – I got caught on a call

Luigi: That’s no problem – I just called you actually

Riccardo: Ah! was on the other line –

Luigi: Yes I gathered, no problem.

Riccardo: And Leonardo?

Luigi: He just called, he’s on his way

Riccardo: Great – did you read the email I sent you this morning?

Luigi: Haven’t had a chance yet

Riccardo: Ah I see – I was going to call after you’d read it to see what you thought before we met this morning

Luigi: I’ll read it after this meeting if that is alright, then I’ll let you know?

Riccardo: That is a good idea – here is Leonardo now

Leonardo: Ecco mi! Here I am!

Riccardo: Ciao!

Luigi: Ciao!

Leonardo: Tutto bene? Everything ok?

Luigi: Everything is fine

Riccardo: Glad you could make it

Leonardo: What a great sun today!

Luigi: Are you going back to your parents this weekend?

Leonardo: That is the plan! If I can get out of that meeting at 4pm. Come to think of it, I could attend via conference call. Or can catch up with the discussion after

Riccardo: We could go though now what we are going to propose?

Luigi: Now?

Riccardo: Why not? We are all hear apart from Filippo but he will be on the call later

Leonardo: I thought we intended to discuss the items for next week’s press release?

Luigi: I agree – that is more urgent

Riccardo gets up: Some caffe’ first guys?

Leonardo: Please – Let me offer you both one

Riccardo: So kind! Thank you

Luigi: I will have a caffe ristretto with pleasure, thanks

Folders shuffled, pens clicked, blackberrys on the table, I-Phone’s buzzing, Luigi answers and speaks for a moment. He frowns and leaves the table. After a moment or so, he returns, despondent 

Luigi: It is with great regret I think I must leave – it appears Mario has had a run in with the Profilo clients

Riccardo: What a clown! He should be able to manage that account

Luigi: I don’t trust the man sometimes

Leonardo returns.

Leonardo: Everything alright?

Luigi: Its the Banca Profilo clients – they have some problems [drinks his coffee with a flick of his wrist]. Thank you for that

Leonardo: My pleasure

Luigi: I don’t know what to do – I think it might be best if we get together in a few days. I am sorry, guys

Riccardo: We might have no choice [drinks coffee and lights a cigarette]

Leonardo: I may be away at the end of this week and early next – for a long weekend

Luigi: Ah I see

Riccardo: We could simplifly the situation and do this by a conference call?

Luigi: Not a bad idea

Leonardo: That’s settled then

Riccardo: I can email across the details

Luigi: Ok, perfect. Get in touch if you need anything in the meantime

Riccardo: Let’s get in touch later today then

Leonardo: Thanks guys, see you soon!

Riccardo: I’ll be in touch later today

Luigi: See you next time!

Business meeting adjourned. Five minutes of chair scraping, cigarette exchanging and texting.

I went back to my book, worried that after all that, nothing much was achieved but confused as to the original aim of said meeting. (I can hear you say, was it my business at all? Essentially not, no but one can’t help but overhear – besides how else can one successfully pick up the language?)