10 Top Stories – Quick 2014 Round-Up

/home/wpcom/public_html/wp-content/blogs.dir/076/60334112/files/2015/01/img_4061-0.jpg

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

 

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

Jo Malone Rose Fragrance (Lily Optional)

Jo Malone Rose Fragrance (Lily Optional)

Le Petit Parisien, Montmartre, Paris (Did You Guess?)

Le Petit Parisien, Montmartre, Paris (Did You Guess?)

Lovers of Ile-de-France – Pont de l’Archeveche

Lovers of Ile-de-France – Pont de l’Archeveche

Of course this type of thing is in Paris! What surprised me is that almost everything you could put a padlock on, has a padlock on it. I’m serious – a twist of metal, a free rung, a handle in … Continue reading

Signorina Goes To Paris!

Signorina Goes To Paris!

You might be wondering if this was the inspiration for the robust Gaston of Beauty and the Beast – unfortunately no one knows but there were a fair few French fellows of the same metabolism inside if you know what … Continue reading

A Date, DVD Bonding & Blue Skies

I think it always happens when you least expect it. Popping up, out of the blue, you don’t feel you look your best. Handsome and leathery, taut and sexy – you absolutely must touch it…we all get like that around…a new hand-bag purchase!

What did you think I was talking about?

Cheeky.

But seriously. I have a date! Let me set the scene. I arrived back in Rome after a few ‘touch-in’ days at home. Long, country days and indulging in mum’s bath. Teresa, bless her, was delighted to see me and gave me a big hug. The father was too and gave me some books to read and a strong cup of Yorkshire Tea (from a packet I brought back, I’ve never seen someone’s eyes light up so much). Elena was in Milan with work, doing Milan things. The boy was out at a friend’s house.

“HSM1, HSM2…I would rather tear out my hair with pliers then eat it with charcoal spaghetti…”

The other night Teresa and I celebrated my return (she said she’d missed me) by going for hot chocolate and renting High School Musical 3. Why not number 1 I hear you cry? Well we’d both already seen HSM1 and HSM2, together, twice over, and I thought I would rather tear out my hair with pliers then eat it with charcoal spaghetti than sit through them both again. With all due respect Vanessa Hudgens.

Anyway, there is this funny, nifty ‘DVD vending-machine’ curled up in a terracotta cave at the end of our street. It’s dark and small and I’ve never seen anything like it. Like a lonely, rejected cousin of Blockbuster. I came across it the other day, by noticing a man nip in the side of the road then disappear. I was rather baffled and so followed him (I had some time). It turns out you shove five euros in the Doctor Who machine and a DVD pops out. It was one of those spectacular days so it took my eyes a while to adjust to the shadows, blue, blue sky that looks like Michelangelo accidentally kicked over his lapis lazuli paint pot in a scramble to catch X-Factor, dribbling blue liquid over his chalky floor.

“…blue, blue sky that looks like Michelangelo accidentally kicked over his lapis lazuli paint pot…”

I digress.

There Teresa and I were, lured in by the mysteriousness of it all. I thought a bit of Zac Efron, the life-size bottle of golden syrup, Colgate and sticky hair-gel, would be nice viewing and I could probably temp the father to give us some Euros for a nice wedge of pizza.

 “…Zac Efron, the life-size bottle of golden syrup, Colgate and sticky hair-gel…”

Whilst my eyes were adjusting, a tall, figure loomed over the entrance on his way out and nearly trod on poor Teresa. He apologised and was definitely American. He reminded me of a lankier Tom Cruise, (not difficult) and had piercing blue eyes and nice hair. No gel in sight! (I am not sure why some boys insist on dressing like a French student in the 1970’s. That question should probably be put to Stephen Fry and his trend analysis team).

Anyway, he is American. A pilot. Can I just say that again: A PILOT. I had to ask him to repeat himself. Perhaps it’s me but I always imagine a pilot should not be right in front of you, casually chatting. Surely, he always has somewhere to be, in a pressed, crisp uniform, looking concerned, no time to chat, let alone flirt. (I should be shot for my stereotypes!)

 “A pilot…Surely, he always has somewhere to be, in a pressed, crisp uniform, looking concerned, no time to chat, let alone flirt…

But chat and flirt he did! There is a bar in Campo de’ Fiori. He has some friends and time. I have an evening free (tomorrow night!) No Teresa you can’t come.

Did I mention I haven’t had a date since before Christmas? Don’t give me that look, I’ve been busy!

(I’m not usually crazy about Americans but it was nice to speak to someone in my own language to be honest.) And apparently being English and having an ‘Oxford’ accent is exotic and ‘sexy’. First hint that maybe he doesn’t spend much time on land?

 

Jazz Go For It

20140202-204955.jpg

The only thing to do when confronted with long, gloomy faces bumping into you and the moping melancholy of late Jan/early Feb is to face the rainy cobbles and go to a fizzy Jazz Bar, where big hair and big bottoms rub up against you.
The only difference between a rainy London street and one in Rome, is that Romans are nonchalantly chic, immaculately dressed in moody, dark Gucci and Belstaff and – and that’s only the dogs and children.
On the other hand, in London wellies dabble about the pavements, frumpy, wobbly and out-of-place, (get a field people!) Anyway, that isn’t why I’m here.

“The only thing to do when confronted with gloomy, long faces bumping into you and the moping melancholy of late Jan…is to face the rainy cobbles and go to a fizzy Jazz Bar where big hair and big bottoms rub up against you”

A French friend, Anne-Sophie (you’ve met her before) and I went to an exceptionally sexy place called Gregory’s Jazz Club. If you are ever on Via Gregoriana 54, Rome – squeeze by shaking cleavages and shiny brogues of men and women lounging about like panthers around the doorway, find yourself a nimble stool balancing next to one of those tall mahogany tables. It is where Jessica Rabbit’s and bottle-necked politicians fight for bar space. I was wearing a simple, black dress, but my friend had this long, glossy number on, (it may have even been monogrammed if I remember correctly,) ridiculously exposing one long leg, (Angelina Jolie would have turned in her LA king-size bed.)

“Do you ‘fink tis too much?”

Think low, ambient lighting and by a mere, mute hand wave, order one of those transparent cocktails that look like liquified jellyfish with ice from a waiter with a twinkly eyes and slicked back hair. Once the tuba man bounds to his feet and the music starts, you will forget where and who you are and your troubles will pump out of your brain.

It was one of those Wednesday jam sessions, which is apparently the most buoyant night of the week. The atmosphere was built to be twinned with the wild, jazz encrusted bars that sprung up around New York towards the end of the forties. Think Ben Webster and Lester Young.

“Once the tuba man bounds to his feet, you will forget where and who you are and your troubles will pump out of your brain”

It is Rome’s own personal date with live jazz.

IMG_2860

La jam session del mercoledi’ è l’appuntamento storico con il jazz dal vivo al Gregory’s

Do we know who Gregory is, however? A sleepy, large man who looked like a black and white Battenberg bellowed over his gloupy, fish bowl of wine. Apparently,

“He’s an aspiring musician who spent years busking on the piazza’s of Rome whilst working in his father’s empty restaurant near the Jewish quarter. Forbidden from entering these sordid, smoky joints his saxophone saved his life, represented his destiny and guided him towards escape from the mundane: he ended up wooing and marrying a young woman from a powerful Roman family. A spark of rebellion spluttered to life between them, and she encouraged Gregory (Gregorio I imagine, no one like that is a ‘Gregory’) to set up a jazz bar in what was then an abandoned cinema.”

Did we want to be backing dancers, we were cornered and questioned later on in the night? Oh! You know what?

No thanks.

Is Gregorio’s story true? Brimming as it was of a Hollywood screenwriters dream, I am pretty sure the large man with his large glass and apparently large…curiosity was just trying to nab one of us for the evening, distracting our imaginations with vintage who-ha.

If this is even vaguely your thing – get down there now. A tip? Glide around like you’re there all the time and you’ll fit in immediately.

http://www.gregorysjazz.com/prossimamente-in-concerto.asp

“If this is even vaguely your thing – get down there now. A tip? Glide around like you’re there all the time and you’ll fit in immediately”

Back To School, Catch Up Avec Les Filles & Nano-Romances

Back to Rome means back to Language School. I must admit, it is an indulgent, less-productive-than-it-sounds way to spend the morning. I head to Piazza Firenze after dropping off the kids at school, Teresa, and her brother Fran-I-Don’t-Need-Anyone-To-Take-Me-Esco.

I am really enjoying my course. I should probably write these in Italian! (Show off) but seriously, I’m getting good. The other day, someone American asked me for directions, attempting a whiny Italian – at least I look Italian, and that’s a start if ever I saw one ! (We ended up chatting about Ilinois, his hometown, but that is by-the-by.)

Our teacher today was someone new. A bulging chest wig, complete with a magnificent gold, chain necklace, that I wonder if he wore it especially, or if he had a Medallion Shining Conference to attend after the lesson. He perched dangerously on our desks, bellowing out the Uses of the Subjunctive, causing us to lean a notch back. He spat too, and I decided it was a terrible mistake to sit near the front. He was like all senses rolled into one pastry of ear-hair and ‘shimmying’ trousers . My friends Selina and Anne-Sophie performed fantastic imitations of him after – I think they deserve their own show.

“…our teacher today was someone new. A bulging chest wig, complete with a magnificent gold, chain necklace, that I wonder if he wore it especially, or if he had a Medallion Shining Conference to attend to after…”

Again, Rome was showing off weather-wise, bearing its clear, blue eyes from morning till five-thirty ish. Anne-Sophie, Selina and I decided to get a welcome-back cappuccino in a bar in Piazza Navona. I know – a tourist haven for the weary, sock-sandeled and beige flocks of nomadic, old people. Normally, I never go there as an unassuming cappuccino turns immediately into a small fortune, that you may prefer to spend on a small pony or gold-threaded slippers, or indeed a night in one of the lavish surrounding hotels with Ryan Gosling doing DIY in Dolce undies.

“…never go there as an unassuming cappuccino turns immediately into a small fortune, that you may prefer to spend on a small pony or gold-threaded slippers, or…a night in one of the lavish, surrounding hotels with Ryan Gosling doing DIY in Dolce undies”

 Anyway, there we were catching up about Christmas, which seems like a long way away already. The two of them went back to France (one Montpellier and the other, Tour.) Like me, they were happy to be back (and I didn’t mention my drippy homesick episode, nor the weeping in the shower.) However, much as Granny Question Time and Poking-Nose-About-(non-existent)Boyfriend Q&A’s are delightful, it is hard not to miss the wobbly cobbles whilst navigating night’s-out in heels, or the freshest croissants known to man, (you can still smell the doughy baker’s fingertips, or the baker’s doughy fingertips) or the omniscient looming, stunning architecture. I find the whole, ancient city inspiring and breathtaking, and that is at the worst of times.

Both friends have had the odd ‘nano-romance’ since living here. I asked what that was, and they shrugged in a way only French women can do with bags of sass and nonchalance.

“Eet ees, mmm, a leettle of this, a leettle of that,”. I nodded and wanted more gossip – but they said that perhaps this was more a conversation for cocktails and not ‘middle-of-the-day moosh moosh.’

I left it at ‘moosh-moosh’. I need to know them better to pry.

We didn’t stay too long out and about, but we have a night out planned for ASAP. They were full of fluttering pecks on my cheek before dashing off on their separate ways: one to prepare lunch for the children and the other to a hair appointment.

I left to walk the dog – my own and only source of ‘nano-romance’ at the moment.

“Both friends have had the odd ‘nano-romance’ since living here… the dog – my own and only source of ‘nano-romance’ at the moment”

Peek-a-boo bike

Peek-a-boo bike

This bike was watching me as I was doing some food shopping the other day behind Campo De’ Fiori. You can’t see it in the photo, but on the left there was actually a young, colourfully dressed couple embracing. I … Continue reading