The flight wasn’t too bad. I’m much better with this air/tube deal that I used to be, I’ve learnt that in-flight drinking and eating isn’t just essential, it’s a religion.
It was mid afternoon when we landed at Milan, we took the coach to Brescia and IC’s mum picked us up and took us back home. After washing up and a splendid supper of pasta (quite unusual this as it’s more common for Italians to eat this stuff at lunch) ham and fennel, IC and I decided it would be rude if we didn’t go out and greet some old pals, in a bar, like.
It’s worth noting that booze in Italy is far superior to the sorts of things on offer over here, except the beer and scotch of course. Italian beer is like fizzy petrol and regarding the latter it’s Chivas Regal (Scottish pus) or nout. The wine and liqueurs though, that’s another game entirely, and it’s remarkably cheap as you’re very likely to be drinking a tipple made locally. But the pressure to imbibe furiously is curiously (for me anyway) absent, for a kick off at nearly every bar you enter food will be available -half the time it’s complimentary- and because these places generally stay open until after 1am you can take your time, pace yourself (kinda.)
That evening we met up with Massimo and Fabio, the usual bout of non-comprehensible banter kicked off as I desperately tried to keep up with the conversation with the aid of IC. Despite this I was quite happy sitting there letting it, and the wine, soak in. After an hour or so I’d decided that I definitely liked these blokes and in particular, Fabio and his jumper. I mentioned this to IC, who mentioned it to the owner of said dark-red cashmere attire. Without a word the jumper was lifted off his person and placed in my hands. ‘Buone Natale,’ he said with a wink. I was dead chuffed. I’m wearing it as I type this crap.
We stayed until 3 drinking with Gavino after Massimo and Fabio left, it was an excellent evening all told, but took its toll on Christmas Eve morning when visiting the local Supermarket. It’s worth noting that Italian Supermarkets are far less commonplace than they are in the UK, shops there are more likely to be sole-trade product-specific -grocers, tobacconist, newsagent, butchers etc.- so the supermarkets they do have are markets with the emphasis on ‘super.’ I bloody love them.
In addition to being vast most of the produce is fresh, and in the case of the one in Brescia, stocked with a ton of locally produced items, from the cured meats, cheeses, to the wines and liqueurs with huge stocks of fresh meat and fish. For greedy buggers like me they’re a slice of heaven, and they’re so much easier on the wallet to boot.
We returned for lunch with the dongle to use on the PC IC had brought over from London and Skyped IC’s sisters in a snowy New York as we digested fresh fried fish. I read a while (‘The Atheists Guide to Christmas’ which had to have the jacket removed on account of the word ‘atheist.’ IC’s mum cant understand a word of English (you could say ‘fucking cunt’ to her face and she’d be none the wiser) but IC said that word would be translatable, and wouldn’t go down well in the Catholic household) and then she and I went out again to grab the last dregs of the Christmas shopping.
Before we went home for risotto at 9 we stopped for Apperativo, then it was time to go to Mass, the part of the holiday I was dreading for fairly obvious reasons. Christ, it was stultifying dull. To make matters worse all the bars had shut early so after mass we were forced to go home. After IC’s mum had popped off we played chess and enjoyed a few stolen glasses of obscure liquor from the drinks cabinet.
I was up mid morning on Christmas day, I took a bath and we headed off to IC’s Aunts place for lunch, a sprawling split level mansion in the hills. IC’s Aunt is IC’s mum’s sister; her short-arsed uncle isn’t a blood relative. He’s a very successful, angry little man who speaks to his wife like she’s the Ebola virus. When it first happened a few minutes after our arrival I thought he was joking, sadly he wasn’t. He was also tight on the booze, but the food that arrived for lunch was sensational. I must’ve eaten Old MacDonald’s Farm in the space of an hour.
There were 15 of us for lunch and despite uncle fester (and the lack of vino) it was a presentable afternoon, aside from the food the highlight for me was IC’s 92-year-old blind great auntie announcing she was pissed. What booze there was got necked by her Elphick-style.
We got back home and played a few board games and squeezed in a few glasses of wine before heading out to the favoured bar where we settled in with a few mates. It was a lovely evening, at some point I turned 42 and a load of fizzy stuff appeared, cheerfully smashed IC and I walked home with a balloon that had appeared in my hand.
Tune in to continue these barely recalled holiday ramblings, but first, why not peruse Gerry’s chart and take in a song after, it’s a stunner an’ all.
Good weekends all. Now fuck off.
THE CHART – WEEK ENDING: 08/01/11
NO. ARTIST SONG TITLE Last Week Weeks On High Pos
30 Two Door Cinema Club I Can Talk 25 12 2
29 Kings Of Leon Pyro 27 7 14
28 Blood Red Shoes Light It Up 21 8 11
27 Pendulum Crush NE 1 27
26 Manic Street Preachers Some Kind Of Nothingness 19 7 6
25 Nero Me And You 30 2 25
24 Skunk Anansie Over The Love 17 10 5
23 The Vaccines Post Break-Up Sex NE 1 23
22 Japanese Voyeurs Milk Teeth 16 6 10
21 The Naked And Famous Punching In A Dream 23 3 21
20 Paramore Playing God 13 7 9
19 Funeral Party Finale NE 1 19
18 Arcade Fire The Suburbs 14 5 14
17 Beady Eye Bring The Light 10 6 5
16 Motorhead Get Back In Line 24 2 16
15 30 Seconds To Mars Hurricane 22 2 15
14 Hurts Stay 12 12 1
13 Chase And Status Blind Faith 20 2 13
12 Pulled Apart By Horses Yeah Buddy 8 8 1
11 My Chemical Romance Sing 15 5 11
10 Adele Rolling In The Deep 9 3 9
9 The Wombats Jump Into The Fog 18 3 9
8 The Vaccines Wreckin’ Bar (Ra Ra Ra) 6 5 6
7 Mona Trouble On The Way 11 5 7
6 Bullet For My Valentine Bittersweet Memories 5 6 5
5 Hurts All I Want For Christmas Is New Year’s Day 7 4 5
4 The Courteeners Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips 4 8 2
3 White Lies Bigger Than Us 3 5 3
2 Crystal Castles ft R Smith Not In Love 1 8 1
1 The Pretty Reckless Just Tonight 2 5 1