Luxuriating in the guilty pleasure that is Poundland and its many clones around London I invested in some cheap pharmaceuticals. Specifically: St John's Wort, Glucosomene (sp?) Sulphate, Echinacea, Cod Liver Oil, Ginseng, Vitamin C, Zinc and Calcium. Only £9 the lot and what a whizzy jolly time I was going to have with that big pile now I was off the ale (well, more or less), had quit smoking and was jogging semi regularly and up to 80 press ups per day (with my feet on the bed/ chair/ sofa no less).
Unfortunately having to get up at half past cunt in the morning on Friday 2nd October I blearily trudged downstairs with my two backpacks and stood with eyes like piss holes in the snow at the bus stop, then another bus stop, then the train to Stansted airport before I realised I'd left the whole lot in my mate's kitchen cabinet.
Replacements in Rome cost about 5 euros per item and they've never even heard of Zinc tablets.
S'pose I can suffice till Xmas.
A little tip to my fellow blog readers out there who may be thinking of taking an early morning train.
I guessed when I set off to catch the 4.20 from Tottenham Hale to Stansted that the ticket office would be closed and couldn't imagine that the revenue inspectors would be out at that time. Turned out that the only way to pay for a ticket was the automatic machines so I just didn't bother and sure enough, while there was a platform guard at Hale there was no bugger on the train or at the airport. This service is sodding expensive too (£16 from Hale, £19 if you take it from London Liverpool Street...all for a 30 minute journey). Under section 18 of the Railway Byelaws you have a legitimate excuse for not having a ticket if you were unable to pay at the station you started from. All you need to say if confronted is that the ticket office was shut and the machine kept spitting out your money and for good measure deny having a credit or debit card (even if you actually have one). Even if they try to bluff you out (which some of these cunts will do as they are merited on how many Penalty Fares they issue) you do not have to prove you are telling the truth, THEY have to prove you are not.
Arriving in Rome and I made my way into town. I went back to my old flat from last February which was kind of surreal as a lot of crap I'd left behind was still there that I'd forgotten about. Needing to cough up 375 for the rent and the cash machine only allowing 250 per day my pal Lucio gave me a lift on his motorbike which is a great laxative what with the way most people drive in Rome. Not being overly supple and having had a slipped disc that put me in a wheelchair 18 months ago, I nearly got groin strain getting off the bike and was then subjected to black belt in Tang Su Do Lucio doing a sweeping 360 kick (in Levis as well!) to prove just how bendy he is.
Miserable ex pats seem to staff the theme pubs in town. It's 5 Euros plus for a pint of Guinness at The Druid's Den (or as I like to call it The "We Pulled the Feckin' Name Out of a Hat") and while most Italian bars insist on you ordering at the table, the two miserable fuckers behind the bar insisted you walked up to it before pawning a kidney to pay for some Liffy Water.
I met some fellow Couchsurfers and we had a good chat about the fact that on the news feed on couchsurfing.org for the Rome group, some guy had posted a thread about a bloke who had posted him a positive reference, even though he'd only met him for three minutes and when he checked he discovered that the wily old fox had just been left a negative reference by some girl that had stayed at his place, who was lamenting that he came on to her. The thread poster was "extremely worried" that this "blind" reference was solely collateral to hide or negate the bad opinion of the woman.
What got right up my fucking nose though was that this twat was automatically assuming that the woman was the one telling the truth and was painting this evocative portrait of a fragile, backpacking little waif who was being preyed upon by the nasty horrid, viagra fuelled pervert. He was further moaning that the bloke's retaliatory negative feedback for the woman should be taken down, again assuming without having been there, that she was a saintly truthsayer and the guy was lying out of his arse.
Checking the profiles of both the potential pervo and the distraught female guest, it became clear that there was miscommunication on both sides. She quite unbelievably stated that she had fallen asleep in his bed on the first night while watching a movie with him and this resulted in him kissing her neck and ear. She said he was too tactile and she felt uncomfortable. In his response he asked her why, if she'd felt that he was a wrong 'un, did she stay in his flat for 3 more days AFTER that incident. Turns out he'd had one other bad reference from a girl who stayed with him, BUT had had tons more from women that said he was a good host.
The people I was with in the Druid's Den were stating that it was sooo wrong to hit on a female guest and poor women needed to be protected from blokes that just want a shag. Further fuel to this fire was the case of a woman who was raped by a host in England, via the Couchsurfing site.
I pointed out that the girl sitting on my right was MARRIED to a guy she had stayed with via CS only 12 months ago.
She retorted that he didn't try anything on the first trip but when she came back to stay with him a week later, he then made his feelings clear.
I pointed out that the girl on my left was DATING a fellow Couchsurfer and had been for about 5 months.
Her retort to this was that she hadn't stayed with him, she'd only met him through CS social events.
I then pointed out that I'd slept with the only female guest I'd ever hosted who left me a lovely reference about a week later and that if people get together it is adults doing what adults choose to do. If you are hanging out with someone and then try it on there is no harm in that. That person has the right to say no and you are then obliged to respect that refusal. But, the human race would have died out a few hundred millenia ago if we didn't fuck each other and part of keeping civilisation ongoing, is mutual attraction.
The problem is with Couchsurfing is that some people insist on seeing it as an asexual, online, free hotel service while simultaneously indulging in the rich tapestry of social events that it provides.
I wanted to do an evening class in Krav Maga. I tried a complimentary try-out class in April and another one about 2 weeks ago and was all geared up to start the 3 hours a week, Tues and Thurs group when the receptionist at the gym went "where's your medical certificate?"
Turns out that in this tangled web of beauracracy that is Italy, you have to have a GP's note to say you can do "confrontational" sports. So, I took the hour long journey back home and the next morning trundled along to the doctor I'd been assigned by a government office last January who told me after an hour's wait that she can only sign for NON confrontational sports and I'd have to go to a sports doctor instead.
So I went back to the government offices who told me that the waiting list for a state sports doc' is until January 2010 and I now need to pay between 30 and 50 Euros for a note to say that I am fully fit from a private one.
Such is life.
Last weekend was a Couchsurfing pizza night and the return to Rome of a female friend of mine who's now back in Essex studying Science (I never knew they had schools in Essex let alone universities). We made the mistake of posting the thing on Couchsurfing meaning about 30 people showed up and about a 1/3 didn't get to eat. I had polished off a bottle of red to myself before we went out and as house wine was 5 Euros a litre I had a share in about three of those too and was three sheets to the wind by the time we went to a bar where, true to Italian form, a pint of lager was 5 sodding Euros.
I'd spent the night trying to chat up a rather delectable American girl named Erin who sat next to me at dinner and like most Yanks had perfect, pearly teeth. She didn't seem to mind my drunken burblings after 4 bottles of claret but refuted my sodden advances when I tried to snog her later on. My memories of the evening cease at about midnight and the next thing I remember is walking out of Laurentina station (an hour from the pub we were in) before starting the 2 mile walk home on foot, in the rain.
This beer teleport is sometimes handy as it means that, retrospectively at least, you get home within a few seconds of saying goodbye to your mates. On the other hand, I beamed down just a little too early, as it was just prior to the long walk in a downpour. Scotty, tune your transporter beam you bastard!
Next day I was hit with a bout of food poisoning that I would only wish on my old PDU Sergeant. In bed all day, interrupted only by trips to the bog for a runny dump and the occasional glass of water. Guess it was the Diavola pizza, although imbuing that much house wine might not have been sensible.
Maybe it's time to switch to Coke...and I mean cola.
Paypal were usually a useful tool to have either to transfer money from a foreign bank account or to settle debts on Ebay. Recently I sold some petulant little brat a digital camera on Ebay who opened a claim with PayPal as it hadn't arrived within 4 days and when he got the item he said it was damaged and demanded his money back. Paypal took his side and gave the little twat the benefit of the doubt, even though he had no proof and it was one person's word against the other. They told him he had to send me the item back and they would then refund his money out of MY PayPal account.
I got the item back and found some sod had stamped up and down on the packet, meaning the driver CD was broken when I opened it and PayPal then had to give me my money back as cunt face had returned the item "not in the original condition". PayPal told me to mail the item to the US and they would refund the cost of the item plus the postage. Unfortunately I got this email AFTER I left my mother's house, which was where I'd left the camera. She mailed it to me but with Postman Plod being on strike it didn't arrive for 2 weeks and PayPal then said that as I'd not returned the item within the required 10 days they'd specified, I could no longer get my refund.
Explaining nicely that my 64 year old mother had the item which she then had to post to me, which then got caught up in the mail strike only got robotic replies about how I could have used a private courier instead.
I eventually lost my temper and sent them an email full of swearing but with the bad words deliberatlely spelt incorrectly (fuck becomes fcuk, wanker becomes wnaker etc.) to ensure it made it through the firewall (with a footnote saying that was why I'd done it). The next day I got some snot nosed bitch's reply, stating that while she could understand my frustrations, PayPal's staff had the right work without being verbally abused (verbally? What was she using to read it? A Fisher Price Speak and Spell) and if I "rephrased" my email they would write back.
So I sent them this one instead:
Date: 13th October 2009
Re: Case number: PP-4555667
Due to the horrid bad language that I was assumed to have used last time I have been instructed by one of your more malodorous employees to "rephrase" my reply to you. So here it is.
Dear little fluffy bunnies,
I am so sowwy that my howwid email upset you. I was a vewy naughty boy and deserve to be sent to bed early.
It was vewy wong of me to assume that you would allow clemency on your 10 day wule for the facts that:
a). I didn't have the item with me to weturn to you.;
b). My mummy had to mail it to me;
c). The nasty, howwid, smelly Woyal Mail stwike affected the timing meaning I missed your deadline thwough no fault of my own.
I once again pwostwate myself at your feet and beg forgiveness for my utterly pooey behaviour and hope that you will not wemember me as a howwid person in future.
I feel honoured that you let me be your customer for the last 10 or so years and will have a plaque placed on my bedwoom door to commemowate this pwivilege.
Yours weawing a hair shirt and saying 10 Hail Mawy's to make up for my silly behaviour.
Now fcuk off.
Ahhh, that DID feel better.