Tuesday, 28 July 2009

A Wedding in the Mountains

Went to a wonderful wedding at the weekend. Bruno the Car Dealer's daughter got married to her long-term boyfriend at the family home in the lower Alps beyond a town called Biella. The family home happens to be a folly castle built in 1890 by some serious family money, so half of it looks like a ruin. Perfect for an Italian wedding in the sunshine.
Leaving the church there was a tiny travelling circus in the park (can you spot Coco the Clown?).

There were two hours of aperitivi before we sat at table.

This is the Pimm's table that your correspondent loosely supervised until around 3 in the morning. Looks like things got a little out of hand.

Then it was the kitchen with the hard core drunks for a bowl of pasta and more wine and beer. To bed at four o'clock. A truly terrific wedding.

Friday, 24 July 2009

Rolling and.....action!

Combo Film Productions International is busy casting for its next blockbuster. Cheeky little minx isn't she?

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

"Better an empty house...

than an unwelcome guest" would be the invariable comment made by an extremely dull former acquaintance of mine from Bristol after he had belched prodigiously, having just downed a pint of Smiles Best.

Some unwelcome guests arrived at Casa Combo last weekend. A group of motorbiking lawyers who booked to stop over on a 'run' for an extended aperitivo, that is a table full of food and drink.
They were coarse, foul-mouthed, offensive, bigoted, arrogant, ignorant, boorish, objectionable drunks. I liked them enormously of course.

The t-shirt speaks volumes. And I thought us English had a virtual monopoly on uncivilised behaviour.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Doctors on the Lash

The Combo Empire's Catering Division was busy on Saturday and Sunday, supplying the food and drink for an all weekend thrash at a private house for three doctors from Milan who were celebrating their 50ths. The Ron Combo Combo kept the dance floor packed with a deft blend of hits from the 70s and 80s, Mrs Combo kept the partygoers' energy levels up with some fabulous food and I kept them all pissed with some frightful cocktails and thousands of bottles of wine. The picture above shows the Combo version of the Mojito. The Italians just couldn't get enough of this on Saturday night (although some of them were paying the price at lunchtime on Sunday). I have to say this lot drank like Brits, most unusual for Italians.
Shortly after this shot was taken (I'd been on the gin, this is at nearly three o'clock on Sunday morning and is a glimpse of the dance floor next to the swimming pool; the weird strips are bamboo fronds from the makeshift roof), it all kicked off and everybody started hurling other people in the pool. I didn't make my excuses and left anyway.

Monday, 13 July 2009

San Guido's Birthday

The patronal festival in the local town is a long-enduring marriage of Catholic devotion and awful tat. A major service in the local cathedral is followed by old Guido being carried around the town in his extremely heavy, gilded, glass-sided coffin by a team of red-faced old buffers. The streets are full of market stalls, mostly selling junk like special cloths that absorb 100 gallons of water or 'African' art.
There is also a big funfair with garish rides and the usual collection of chromed-up old lorries, as in Blighty. All the bumper cars have a big flag, which is a nice touch. I took the photographs early this morning with not a soul about. Without people a fairground is one of the gloomiest, most depressing places on earth. A rollercoaster ride in Italian is Una Montana Russa, a Russian Mountain but no one is able to tell me why. Odd.

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Vicious Wine Circle

About once a month, the local group of drunks who buy a lot of their wine from Smooth Tony (posts passim) get together for lunch, the main purpose being to drink a lot of wine that isn't made by Tony, thus giving all of us a sort of pleasing interval from the wines of Veneto.
The venue yesterday was Casa Combo and the bottle count by 5 o'clock was 16 (including the Jeroboam of Freisa, a raspberryish, highly gluggable local red). Yes, the Jero is still unfinished but I'm going to sort it out tonight. There were ten of us at table, usual rules, women etc so the average consumption was about three bottles per male, maybe a bit more. I apologise for the plastic bottle of water. The two unfinished bottles of white wine were brought by Bruno and were undrinkable; I did not include those in the total. There are two bottles of spirits; one is an excellent bottle of Welsh whisky which got a big thumbs up and the other, towards the foreground, is Norwegian Aquavit which received mixed reviews.
Post Pig Party Update.
Mrs Combo last week went into the local town. One woman who she hardly knows came up to her and said, smirking, "Did your husband manage to get home OK on Sunday morning?" And then she saw the 22 year old daughter of a friend who reported that she saw your correspondent sitting at an outdoor table at a bar, trying to decide which of the five drinks I had in front of me I should take on first. Oh the shame!

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Coming Clean

I can't carry on this pretence any more. The last blog was made up. There are no lorries queueing up outside Casa Combo before scattering off to vegetable markets all over northern Italy. Battered Iveco minibuses, each with a pederastic gangmaster and crew of underage illegals don't pitch up to pick the vegetables at four in the morning. Armani's PA doesn't scream down the 'phone to the Maitre d' at La Conca d'Oro in Milan "If you don 'ave ze zucchini flowers of Meester Combo zen Signor Giorgio say you go fuck youself!!!"*
I made it all up. I'm sorry, but I've been trying to give myself some self-worth after some hideous weekends of alcoholic excess, capped off by a virtuoso performance at The Pig Party in a local village on Saturday evening/night/Sunday morning.
There I've come out. From now on, no more fabricated stories, no more wild flings of fantasy.

This is the real truth. A plastic crate of assorted veggies for a local restaurant. Total income: €11.40. I feel better already. Maybe a snifter would be in order? I mean, it's nearly time for luncheon.

* Exactly what I thought. Why on earth would she speak in English with a stereotypical cod Italian accent? Beats me.