Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Sending a Letter

Down to a local post office to send a letter to Blighty. This particular post office (not the one above, sadly) is only open three mornings a week, from 10 to 12. There is always a relaxed air, even though it is the size of about four telephone boxes and bizarrely has a very un-Italian single queue system in place (a single arrow painted on the floor). The Poste Italiane worker was behind the glass, his head thrown back, probably in deep and fond contemplation of his forthcoming retirement at the age of 50 on 85% of his salary. I waited a moment and then knocked gently on the counter. He returned to the awful reality of work with a grunt. No greeting of course. "Blighty please my dear old thing" I said pushing the envelope under the screen whilst quietly humming Heart of Oak. He picked up the letter and looked at it very carefully. "Computer's not working so can't frank it" he said eventually, barely able to disguise his pleasure. We looked at each other for a few moments. I thought it might be worth trying, although I knew it was a long shot. "Um, I suppose a stamp might be out of the question?" He smiled sadly and gently shook his head, slowly pushing the letter back under the glass.

Friday, 19 March 2010

All Those Years

More post-lunch debris, this time from Ron's %$th birthday last week. Sorry the picture is so awful but you try and take a decent shot after downing a bottle of Bonarda, and then some. Very good kit, Bonarda. Comes from the Oltrepo Pavese district. If you ever see a bottle, have a go.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Railway Station Bars

I think that those bars that are to be found near railway stations are invariably the more interesting wherever you go in the world. The customers usually include ne'er-do-wells, tramps, itinerants, low lifes, and all the bottom feeders of this wonderful world in which we live. And a place where the Combo genes feel instantly at home of course.
A Sunday trip to Milan became, because of the Byzantine workings of the Italian State Railway timetabling system, a true endurance test (78 miles = 4 hours) with many opportunities to change trains and change bars. Normally of course, one runs up a tab in an Italian bar and coughs up at the end of the session. But those bars in the vicinity of railway stations have learnt to their cost that such largesse often ends in tears when shady types form their customer base.
I rather liked this sign with its diverse range of glassware asking punters to pay for their drinks immediately. Which I did of course. Campari and Soda topped up with a good slug of white wine, since you ask.