After finding jogging to be more trouble than it's worth what with getting changed, getting sweaty, having to leap in the shower as soon as I get in (and then finding I forgot to switch the boiler on before I went out) and occasionally coming back spattered with mud, I decided to invest in a bicycle.
That lovely French store Decathlon has branches in Rome and like their invertebrate-munching pals across the border, have lots of incentives such as a free service within 3 months, a free check up before the bike leaves the store (which I fell foul of last time I bought a cycle from a cash 'n' carry as the bastard thing fell apart like some sodding clown car within 2 weeks) and any extras you buy with it will be fitted at the time.
I live at one end of Roman Underground line B. The store is near the opppsite end, 35 mins away by train, then another 20 by bus.
I got there around lunchtime and as it was a Wednesday there was hardly anybody in the shop, just a few old crumblies buying fishing rods and the odd fitness fanatic stocking up on Lycra shorts. I chose a Rockrider mountain bike and a few bits and bobs like mud guards (why the fuck bikes don't come with these remains a mystery. It's only 5 Euros for front and rear and how many adults buying a 130 Euro mountain bike are actually going to go "off road" on it?)
To make matters better, the girl serving was well fit with a nice bum and a tight pair of black stretch pants (unfortunately her top came down too far for me to see if she had camel toe). I also got a "loyalty" card and got to choose the photo that went on it, settling for the pic of two women doing aerobics as one is wearing a short, tight sports vest and the other has her legs apart (the bloke printing the card laughed at this and said in a Roman accent "she is ready for eet, no?").
Then, getting outside and getting the map out I realised I had about 20 miles to cycle home.
Still, it was a nice day and I got to take in Termini station, Piazza Venezia, the palace of Vittorio Emanuelle, Colosseum, St Giovanni and finally Mussolini's architecture in my home town of EUR. Whole journey took around 2 hours and I was grateful for the 5 egg omelette and tea with 4 sugars that I slurped down upon staggering into the flat before heading off to work.
Something which is quite unsettling is seeing someone you knew as a pre teen who is now a fully fledged adult. This is especially off putting if you haven't seen them for several years.
Example: In 2002 I sold off most of my stuff at a mate's pub in Leamington Spa at an "auction" before relocating to London. The barmaid's 12 year old daughter, a blonde moppet with curls, helped out by taking stuff from me to the winning bidders and I rewarded her at the end with a pat on the head and a digital watch to say thanks.
5 and a half years later I came back and saw my pal the barmaid. A hug and a long chat ensued and while talking I was distracted by the 5 feet 10 inch, gorgeous bird with long, blonde hair standing next to her who appeared to recognise me. It was after about 10 minutes that I realised with complete shock this was her daughter, transformed from a helpful rugrat (who endearingly once tried to get me to give her a pound to play the fruit machine to which her mum glared at her and went "you'd better bloody NOT have said that! That's cheeky!") to an utterly scrumptious bit of stuff.
Last week I was looking to make contact via Facebook with some of my old students in Rome from when I was here in the late 90s. I found a woman I had taught who's now about 47 but looks exactly like she did in 1996. However, her then-6 year old daughter with her in the Profile Pic is now 19. Very freaky seeing a pic of someone you once accompanied to a Spice Girls concert where she was overjoyed to get autographs off their rather Chavvy-looking mothers (Sporty Spice's was a right minger).
To further illustrate this point...
Any heterosexual bloke who's seen all the Harry Potter movies really DOESN'T like the feelings that rise up unbidden while looking at Hermione in the last couple of films.
My manuscript arrived via PDF attachment on e-mail. Publisher wants me to approve it before it's sent to print. Useful thing about having been a legal proof reader as well as an English teacher is that not only do I know big words like "recalcitrant" but I can also spell and punctuate them correctly. However, being a proof reader is a job for someone who has no emotional or professional attachment to the original work. Still, I plowed into it on Saturday and managed to spot quite a few tiddly mistakes (opinion had come out as 'pinioning' for some strange reason) and a couple of whoppers made by the publisher. First of all they'd merged two chapters meaning that the one called "Teeing Off in the Wake" was on the same page as the last line of "Drunken Chavs". They expect all amendments to be printed off and mailed back to them but with Postman Plod still throwing a tantrum UK-side and Italian post being predictably shite, they can put up with e-mails or nothing.
Couple of days later they sent me the "initial" idea for the book cover. It looked fucking awful and I could have knocked up something better myself with Microsoft Paint (that free one that comes bundled with Windows). I made a few suggestions about changes and then rang the publisher to speak to the CEO who told me that the design was only a template for me to work from and I shouldn't fret about it being considered as a final copy. Two days later they emailed me the amended design and it was the business, which I glady approved. Roll on Christmas when it's going to be available as a prezzy option for anyone I forgot to buy something for.
A fellow teacher at my language school today regaled me with the tale of how his female students were giggling at some sexual innuendo he had inadvertently dropped into the lesson last night.
This guy always seems to have classes that consist entirely of gorgeous Italian birds aged 18- 35, whereas I get blokes in their 30s or 40s and gobby middle aged women. Every time I walk past one of his classes it is chocca with the smell of expensive perfume and designer handbags. A new addition to his Friday afternoon group is a model and he told me afterwards that after an hour and a half of looking at her in class he had to remain seated for a few minutes after the lesson finished and think of cow shit and full ashtrays before he could stand up without knocking a hole in the wall.
One of his students was asking me for help with using the computers a couple of weeks ago. She had a rather scrummy pair of tits and no bra. My eyeballs almost came out of my nostrils as I forced myself to NOT look down her top while I oh-so professionally told her that Mozilla Firefox should be restarted in Safe Mode if it crashes.
He casually mentioned this morning that he had been talking about the weather with his students and as it's currently peeing down with rain in Rome he asked them to describe the climate. One of them replied "I have got rain" (the literal translation from Italian) and he corrected her and asked her to try again.
After a pause she said "Err...I am wet" and then looked at her equally delectable female class mate and they both giggled. Not sussing what they were tittering at he asked her to repeat it and she said "I am wet...I am very wet" and again blushed and giggled.
The last two days in Rome have been very English with regard to grey skies and downpours. A long time ago I invested in waterproof "over clothes" and before setting off home from school at half nine last night, spent 10 minutes struggling into a breathable bright yellow waterproof cycling jacket, waterproof over shoes (bastards to get on to your feet over police-issue Magnum boots), a pair of "Mac in a Sac" waterproof trousers, a waterproof cover for my cycling helmet (basically an expensive shower cap) and a pair of waterproof gloves plus a cover for my rucksack. True to the Divine Lord's sense of comic timing as soon as I waddled down the stairs looking like an overripe banana the rain stopped. Same shit happened today as well.
The English Police force's ineptitude really shines through when something very serious happens. Their official motto should be "Action Only After Incident" as they won't kick a dog for looking like it's about to shit on the carpet. They instead wait until it's actually had a shit and then offer it some canine counselling as to why it found it necessary to defecate on the rug and then try to discover if it shat on the floor because it was traumatised through being the least popular puppy in the litter. The person whose rug it took a dump on will be told to pursue a civil claim against the dog's owner for the stain and arrested if they wait till noone's looking and then give the dog a well deserved boot up the arse.
Two stories that had me choking on my cappuccino(sp?) this week from the English news were.
"Girl, 6, Branded racist for "chocloate mousse" remark".
"Man beaten to death for girlfriend's Hallowe'en hat"
In the former a 6 year old girl who'd been eating choccy mousse was chased by an 11 year old black girl in the school playground who told her she had the pud' on her face. The younger child replied "well so have you". This was marked down by the stupid turds in the teaching faculty as a "racist incident" just coz the older kid thought that's what the younger kid meant, even though the average 6 year old has no idea what a racist actually is. The poor girl's mother is scared she's going to be marked for her whole school career as a bigot and the festering cunt of a Headmistress refused to acknowledge this is an overreaction and has backed the older kids.
The latter story was some poor sod and his missus, on their way home from a Hallowe'en party who passed a group of drunk wretches in the street. One of them snatched his girlfriend's witch's hat and when he asked for it back the other guy gobbed in it and then they punched him to the floor and kicked him repeatedly in the head, killing him. Let's hope they share their cells with body building multiple rapists with names like Johnny "The Thing" McVern who rip their arses to shreds every day.
Oh and "sp?" stands for "spelling?". Yes I am talking to you.
Last night one of my former students came round for dinner. She's about to go to England to work as an au-pair and as we hadn't seen each other in 6 months I had prepared a nice Italian salad with fresh mozarella cheese, cherry tomatoes (ironic) and some Extra Virgin olive oil (even more ironic) all laid out with a couple of candles for a truly romantic night in. As it was we started snogging in the elevator as soon as I met her and were butt naked in my bedroom within about five minutes of getting through the front door.
Not having a double bed since I moved back here has been a mild annoyance so far but last night proved to be utterly awful as we had to push the mattress onto the floor to facilitate sex that didn't involve contortionist movements and core stability that a Pilates teacher would envy.
I was having a very pleasant time of things up until she started stroking my balls and whispered "I do this to my dog". My erection went down in stages like a car jack and she clearly realised that this really WASN'T the thing to say while I desperately tried to NOT think of her wanking off her family's German Shepherd.
Still the strawberry ice cream she brought for dessert was yummy.