Now I am suitably refreshed after my day's travel, it's time to catch up with what's gone on. The Mother, Miss R and myself are in Italy for a few days, ostensibly to relax and recharge our batteries, but I think we all know that where those two are concerned, the resting is highly unlikely. Unless you count the short bursts of comatose sleep on the deckchairs in between the alcohol. Does that count?
We got to the hotel on Wednesday night, having been driven up a road clinging to the side of a mountain by a rather dishy Italian. Miss R, who always likes to ride up front as it were, was unusually quiet on the hairpin-bend laden track, and only exhaled as we pulled into the hotel. Talk about a white knuckle ride...
It's a strange story about this hotel, as we all stayed here 47 years ago. Talking to the owner, who is two generations down from the original owners, we realised that as he was the same age as us, that we had probably known him when we were small children. We even remembered the dog which lived in the hotel back then which was lovely.
So the first day dawned bright and sunny, and Miss R got up to make the tea. The Mother, who is in an adjoining room as she can't be trusted on her own, had somehow managed to lock the connecting door. After half an hour of knocking on the door and the adjoining walls, we finally managed to wake her up and she then had the audacity to complain that her tea was cold. There's gratitude for you.
We headed down into the town for lunch, and found ourselves in a lovely square. Having ordered the Prosecco and pasta (in that order) we settled back to do some people watching in the sunshine. Unfortunately, the view was spoilt by several 'looky-looky men, intent on selling various bits of crap. I took control of the situation, dealing out a very Joyce Grenfell-like, 'No thank you', which seemed to work for a time, but in the end, Miss R resorted to growling 'F**k off' without moving her lips. Not surprisingly, this also worked.
Sadly, the two French couples on the table next to us weren't so hardcore, and by the end of the two hours were the proud owners of three umbrellas, two handbags and a matching purse. The highlight for us was a man who came round with a foil covered cardboard box which was the stage for his performing budgie. I say 'performing', but I've seen the pigeons on my garden fence show off more than this bird did. And he expected us to hand over money for peering into his box and gazing at his feathered friend? I thought at one moment things might have turned nasty on the table next door as they shooed him and the budgie away.
As he muttered at them under his breath, I'm sure I saw the budgie sharpening its beak against an old razor blade in case there was trouble. They didn't stop at our table. By then I had mastered a glacial look which brooked no argument and the double act headed over to the water fountain for a drink. The Budgie Smuggler, as we had christened him, then ran his hands under the water as his partner had crapped on his hand.
It would appear that my glacial stare is more effective than originally thought....