Bardiness

"..a bardy view!"

Don’t forget your hat…………..

“Are you English?” asks the charming stranger who has suddenly appeared. “I love England. And the girls! Belissimo!” he bellows, whilst kissing his palm and throwing the residue into the breeze. “What size are you sir?” he continues “I have some leather jackets here. I’ve just been to a fashion show and I don’t want to return to Naples with any stock left over, so I’m going to give you one for free!”

So here you are walking around Rome somewhere near the Fountain of Trevi, minding your own business, a snout buried in a street map and suddenly a car pulls up. The driver asks for directions and then discovers you’re new around here too. (Hello? He sounds suspiciously Italian!)

“I’m sorry but I’m only a visitor here myself” you reply with a friendly and concerned gesture. You’ve just given him his cue!

“My goodness, what a nice man” you think. He offers the garment through the window, hoping you’ll caress it like a kitten. Are you smitten? Who cares? It’s free! Just as you’re about to thank him for his generosity and walk away, out drops the metaphorical bombshell.

He’s got an empty tank, and worse, he’s lost his wallet with the credit cards and cash in them! Well do you say to yourself “dear oh dear, the poor man. How is he going to get home? I must give him 50 Euros at once to help him reach his destination? After all, he’s been kind enough to give me a free leather jacket!” Or do you return it to him with a poverty stricken look upon your face, perhaps with a few choice words to suit the moment?

That little scenario happened to me on three occasions in one day. There’s a small platoon of these peddlers around this beautiful city. I was prepared the last time however. Before my lost friend could utter a word I was primed. “Keep your jacket” I said proud and bold, “I’ve got no money!” That sorted him out alright. He happily drove off looking for someone else. He didn’t drive too far either as less than 200 yards further he was accosting some other poor mug (I mean tourist). The nerve of the man!

It struck me then that perhaps I was standing out like a sore thumb. Well, of course I was! It couldn’t have been clearer than if I had “tourist” stamped across my forehead with a flashing neon arrow pointing at it. So I looked around and noticed that the locals all dressed rather stylishly. Italian men in Rome like their hats. I don’t mean any old hat, no no, I’m talking about fedoras together with a tasty flowing scarf worn with aplomb. That was the solution my wife suggested. So off we trotted and bought a trilby from a charming little milliner a stones throw from the fountain. I already had a scarf, it was January. I was made! After that, I happily roamed around Rome free from harassment. Yes, nobody messed with me, it was clear that I was a local lad!

What then, is the moral of my little tale? It is this. Just because you are a tourist in Rome (or anywhere else for that matter) doesn’t mean you have to look like one! So if you’re wearing a baseball cap, carrying a back-pack, have photographic gizmos slung around various appendages, and a bum-bag around your hips, be prepared for the worst. You’ve flagged yourself up good and proper, and you can happily explain to the custom officials how you acquired all that leather wear.

Provided you don’t do this you should pass with flying colours. Reconnoitre the places you are keen to see by climbing on board a hop on/hop off tour bus. They’re one of the few good values for money. Get up on the top deck, plug in the commentary, then plan your route. Most of the great sites are within reasonable walking distance, but remember…. if you want to get ahead, get a hat!

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March 23, 2015 Posted by | Culture, Education, Europe, Humour, Italy, Travel | , , , , , | 7 Comments

Forbrydelsen….The Killing

250px-Forbrydelsen,_DVDSince BBC4 began showing European crime and political
thrillers I've been hooked. They started with Wallender, the Swedish morose
detective who carried the careworn wear and tear of debilating anxiety, whose
heart condition wasn't helped by his general lack of fitness.

He drinks and
smokes, carries a paunch, lives by the sea, has a complicated private life
but survives with his trusty dog. He can't wait for his retirement, but at the
same time knows that once he takes his pension it could set him off on his long
slow decline. Still, I like Wallender because he's a seasoned old miserable
git, with rare displays of compassion and emotion.

Then there was Spiral (Engrenages) the hard hitting series
about the sleazy underbelly of Paris and the rather suspect methods of the
French police. Certainly not Midsomer Murders this one. Our anti-hero Captain
Laure Berthaud
is another character beset by emotional problems who walks the
fine line between right and wrong in order to get to the truth. In fact modern day police methods here are
not dissimilar to the Sweeney's (circa 1974). Spiral is not for the squeamish
and Laure is on constant edge, always under suspicion by her superiors, and
beset by colleagues who are equally loose cannons.

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December 3, 2012 Posted by | Arts, Books, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Europe, Italy, Politics, Religion, The Walking Dead, USA | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Supermarkets, Globalisation and Marmite – a Caveman Perspective….

Marmite1Regular readers of this humble blog will know that I advocate the Paleo Diet aka the Caveman Diet.

The fundamental truth being that prior to the arrival of agriculture 10,000 years ago, man, ie homo sapiens, and even his ancestors in one hominoid form or another, ate only fresh meat, fish, wild vegetables and fruit.

He did this for at least 2.5 million years. Starch, wheat, yeast, grain and cereals, milk, butter and cheese simply did not exist.

They did eat eggs, but only by sneaking up on a nest and nicking them.

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July 22, 2012 Posted by | Books, Conservation, Culture, Current Affairs, Diet, Education, Europe, Events, History, Italy, London, Olympic Games, Politics, Religion, Science, Sport, United Kingdom, USA | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Volcano Live and the BBC…..

MayonI was watching "Volcano Live" on the BBC the other day.

Of the two presenters – one – the somewhat vacuous OMG Kate Humble and the other some twit who vigorously masticates every vowel before spitting them out and holding out his hands to catch them (I know he's a twit because he presented a documentary a few months ago about geology etc and he thought that Mount Mayon was Mount Pinatubo), and a question from a viewer asked if it was OK to take lava from Mount Vesuvius.

Mr Twit replied that it was illegal to take stuff from Mount Vesuvius. He obviously hasn't been there recently, because there is a veritable army of stalls flogging stuff off the mountain. If it was illegal, then surely they would be banned? Then again – It's Italy you know!

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July 14, 2012 Posted by | Books, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Europe, Events, General, History, Humour, Italy, London, Mount Mayon Volcano, Science, The Philippines, Travel | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

EHIC – the European Health Insurance Card

EHIC(Such has been the popularity of this post I've decided to highlight a fact: The EHIC is FREE. Click on this official UK Gov link if you require one) 

I arrived in Italy with tooth-ache.

The next morning I figured that I needed some attention by a doctor or dentist, so I asked my tour guide to book me an appointment, and  she got one with a dentist for 4.30pm the same day. (She was an ex-pat local resident).

At lunch time whilst walking around Sorrento I figured that it was too long to wait, and took a chance at a pharmacy and bought a five day course of Erythromycin – that's all I wanted – a short antibiotic. I'm allergic to penicillin so I was particular with my request.

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May 2, 2012 Posted by | Current Affairs, Education, Europe, General, Italy, Politics, Travel, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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