Now here's one for you lot. Which country do you think has more lifts per '000 head of population in the world? Of course, it's Italy. And do you know why? Because all Italians, he exaggerated wildly, live in blocks of flats. And on this single subject, dear reader, there is a book to write. There is a complete, self-contained enormous legal strata that deals just with the (literally) millions of disputes within said blocks of flats, another sprawling, unimaginably vast, layer of administrators, huge gangs of cleaners with their clapped-out Iveco vans, and so it goes on. Most of these palazzi were shoved up during the renowned boom that Italy enjoyed in the 1960s and early 70s, (Italians of a certain age still get misty-eyed when they start banging on about that golden time, and boy do they bang on) and for that reason most are somewhat, er, ugly. But inside...what a time capsule we have. Utterly untouched in terms of decoration or furniture, the halls and landings of Italian blocks of flats are silent, stark mausoleums, with nary a sign of dirt or mote of dust. Perhaps you will hear a distant television, but there is (sadly) little sound of crockery smashing against walls as another marital infidelity is uncovered. There is an occasional 1950s-style notice in a little glass frame advising the complete closure of the main entrance and counselling against the use of the lift in case of fire, but that is it.
Apart from all those bloody pot plants. Every-bastard-where, on every landing, outside every door, just sitting there doing sod all, being bloody shiny and green and evil, growing half an inch every ten years, as they have been since the six storey nightmare was thrown up forty years ago.
I really think I should get out more. Or is that stay in more? Can't quite make up my mind. Time for a Campari and Soda I believe.