February 2013 – Volpe Newsletter

February is that kind of month, sneeze and it’s gone.

For those of you who have had a cold, bless you, gesundheit, tomorrow is the first of March.

This is my mouthpiece to the world. Somewhere, where you can glean the most intimate details of my life, and OK, that of some of my mates, but I must admit I did have fun with this one.

Thanks Sunil, for the photos of you and most of the world’s top twenty ladies tennis players. How did you get them to do that, and haven’t some of them got boyfriends? Please be so kind as to illuminate me about your silken charms, and don’t fob me off with the old knock-about remark about your backhand. Next time can you try to get them to do a version of “Call me maybe”.

Mark, thanks for the ones of you. How they got through the spam filter, I will never know. And Michael, the ones of your children were a pleasant surprise.

I spent Chinese New Year with Wolf. He has recovered from having his email hacked, I haven’t, but that’s so last month. We said goodbye to the dragon and ushered in the snake, enjoyed some excellent food and entertainment, and I didn’t lose my shirt at majong. You know me, always looking for the opportunity to take it off.

Congratulations to Al and Victoria. They are getting married in June. You’ll all be using their apps soon.

I had an NHS health check. This was to make sure I had a heart, and that it was still beating, but we’ll come back to that later. However the nurse did ask me to take my shirt off. I think the comment, “haven’t you been a bad boy and didn’t that hurt!” was a little forward, but after she’d been revived, and we’d taken her blood pressure, all was calm again. We are still waiting for the results of my blood tests, but I can tell you now, I’m not sleeping well, up all night, a horrible itchy feeling in my teeth, I can’t face looking at myself in the mirror, and I may never go in the sun again. Who thought you’d ever hear me say that, but that’s the problem with vampires, never invite them in.

I’m back from my travels again. A visit to Bologna to see Emanuele and 3am finish for dinner. I didn’t know you could eat for that length of time. There is a photo where Emanuele has made the island of Sardinia out of a drop of wine; we then proceeded to drink the island dry. Then a short stop in Florence before Rome. I felt like a UN observer, there to oversee the elections, to make sure that all was fair and above board. Don’t know why I bothered, it is Italy after all, and it’s not as though they haven’t had an election before, I was surrounded by a frenzy of apathy!

Emanuele created Sardinia from a drop of wine.

Emanuele created Sardinia from a drop of wine.

If “Dear Silvio” and Beppe Grillo get together, we’re in for a real treat, apologies an M&M, it really will be a cabaret of epic proportions. A singer and a comdeian, who’d have thought, we could end up with Robbie Williams and the Krankies, add a psychologist; a Geordie, an interfering wife, and it could be a farce. That should upset Sig. Napolitano, he’ll cross the road the next time he sees me coming.

Ah yes, how prophetic, bella Roma; home of “la bocca della verita”, and “Dear Silvio”. He’ll be back, because he can’t stay away. He’s always in the background interfering, never happy with his lot, always trying to play with other peoples toys, and only happy when he’s broken them, or damaged them beyond repair.

He’s like the kid in the playground whose friendships rely solely upon how much bunga he throws around. Oh baby, shower me with euros!

Then there is Ill Papa (Sic.), we wish him well, but I wasn’t in Rome for an interview, I was just making smoke. Max and I ate in a restaurant near Castell Sant’Angelo where we were the only people who weren’t priests. They kept staring suspiciously at us, two men lunching alone together, who’d have thought it. Between you and me, I hear they’re considering Jose Mourinho. That should sort them out at the back, and the balcony speeches should be a little more robust and dramatic, perhaps even a little swooning from some of the ladies at the front. I’m just not sure how they’ll cope with the Yorkshire Terriers running around the Sistine Chapel.

I did learn a couple of new words. The first was “ingovernabile”, which was used to describe the Italian political system, and is pronounced with a sigh, in a way that describes just how tired they are with the whole thing. Then there is “imperdonabile”, which is pronounced with such venom that it makes unforgivable seem like a slap on the wrist. It’s a shame because I thought I could always forgive anything.

It has been suggested that I write a book about my colourful life. I would of course need to make huge chunks of it up. Yes it’s true I could hire a ghost writer or get someone to do that for me, but that’s already happened, much of which, as I’ve said before you couldn’t make up.

The book would require a beginning, a middle and an end, not to mention a story; a sub plot, a twist or two and a little Machiavele. Then a character or eight, mine are like a bag of snakes. All flawed of course, but I suppose it’s better to have several that are flawed, rather than none at all; a modern Kind Hearts and Coronets. Then you have to develop them. Suddenly it doesn’t seem so difficult, if I could get each of my personalities to write a chapter, it could be “The Decameron” based around the seven deadly sins, I could throw in a little humour, and then a sting in the tail. Like Chaucer, these characters can live an eternity in print, every boil, pimple and carbuncle. O dio, be still my beating heart.

Recently I have been breakfasting with Marie. She is great fun, and Jason always smiles, perhaps slightly jealous at the company I keep. I admit she is a couple of years older than me, but she’s in diamonds. You see, I really am shallow.

If I’m feeling slightly cultural, which is of course is never; it’s way too cerebral for me. Sorry, I had to think about that. I head to Covent Garden Market and listen to the opera singers, sing various arias. Some are fantastic, but I struggle to understand why others attempt some pieces at all. However there is always a CD to buy if you want to be reminded which particular cat they were strangling.

I was there last weekend, and in the main square there was a large steel heart and LOVE spelt out in large letters. It belonged to the British Heart Foundation, and padlocked to the heart and each letter were thousands of tiny metal hearts, each with its own message of love written by people from all over the world. I spent an age reading them, and I found it incredibly uplifting that love could be expressed in so many simple, but beautiful ways.

LOVE - British Heart Foundation

LOVE – British Heart Foundation

Each hearts cost £3 and the proceeds go to the British Heart Foundation. There was one among you who was worried about the functionality of my heart. Well after my check up, I am pleased to say that everything is working properly; there was no need to worry. Don’t believe everything you are told.

BHF Padlock

Thank you one and all for your kind words regarding my Oscar. It was for best supporting actor in a foreign film. I didn’t realise that when we started filming it would turn out to be such a drama, but I was Rowan Atkinson to Daniel Craig, Johnny English to James Bond. Jake will hate that one. Anyone want to buy a t-shirt? I’ve had thousands printed.

I have listed other suggestions below.

Oscars as they should have been:

Best Baddie: Dear Silvio
Best Goodie: Me, me, me
Best Goody Bag: The ones I give away – Think about it
Best Film adaptation of a Shakespeare play: A Tale between 2 Birthdays
Best Screenplay: Mine, mine, mine
Best Adaptation from a book: Seneca’s tragedies 1682
Best Musical Score: La Wally – Ebben! Ne Andro Lontana – Maria Callas
Most Out of Office replies: Sven – 8 in the last 12 months.

However I didn’t tell the truth about one thing. It was always 24, not 22. Rocco, vincero.

I will now leave this subject alone. We live in a world of our own making. Along the way we make mistakes, ma speriamo che non finisca male per nessuno. It’s not that youth is wasted on the young, it’s just we don’t realise we’ve f^#+~d up until it’s too late.

 

Copyright © 2013 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

October 2011 – Volpe Newsletter

BOO

Yes, a little Halloween humour, and as you know the newsletter is more trick than treat

And tomorrow is my birthday. Yes, All Saints Day and 21 again.

No wise cracks please.

I had hoped that writing the newsletter would have cured me of my insomnia, but the worry of trying to be amusing month after month is taking its toll, keeping me awake night after night, also worrying where my new ipad2 is. The original ipad has no space left for Apps, and why is it the App I want is always on page 83 of my screens?

One morning  after my workout with OT, I returned to the shop to find the door unlocked and the lights on. Most days I go into the shop early, just to switch a few things on and check emails, just in case any of you are up that early, before I head off for breakfast or the gym. But I never leave the lights on and the door unlocked. As I peered in through the door I could make out Jake’s unshaven features. He had arrived very early, 9am, and was waiting to take delivery of his iphone 4S. If this is what it takes to get him out of bed in the mornings, it is going to be a very expensive process. The waiting was finally rewarded the phone was delivered at 3.17pm. However the worst part of it? He has a Wolves shiny gold case (looking slightly duller as each result rolls in – Jake wrote this bit, so don’t complain that I’m giving him a hard time).

And he now only appears concerned with the number of sleeps until Christmas. Does this mean he doesn’t intend to sleep after Christmas?

At breakfast the other morning, Jason at The Wolseley was sharing a little gossip regarding him and Shirley, she is delightful. Don’t I sound like Michael Winner? The day before they had been out to check on the competition, well you know how it is when the day lasts a little longer than it should, but I really think you both are a bad influence on each other and only have each other to blame. I will say no more!

I have also seen Adam’s Ann (Break into a chorus of Prince Charming, Prince Charming) from Cuckoo’s Knob, and what a pleasure it was too. Oh, never mind, am I the only one who remembers the eighties? But it looks like I’m showing my age. Ann appears to be well on the mend, apart from the dizzy spells, and suddenly I am reminded of Friday.

For the mathematicians amongst you, I have been going to a Wine Bar in Leicester Square on and off for about 30 years. I have seen all the managers drunk, and they may have seen me occasionally worse for wear, but Vash the current manager is one of my best friends and I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a Happy Birthday, and he can have Saturday morning’s hangover back. Don, the previous owner of this fine establishment always espoused that life was too short to drink bad wine. Quantity, never quality was always going to be my downfall.

Last week I was back in Rome. Life is hard I hear you say in unison, but the highlight was hopping on a train to Bologna, so I didn’t have to fly back from Fumicino. After visiting a supplier, I had just enough time to visit a chocolate shop called Roccati before returning. Quite excellent chocolate made on the premises and you can see them making it. Apparently Dear Silvio loves it in here, but then you know the old expression about being made out of chocolate. Eeewwwww. Banish the thought Silvio.  I always spend far too much money, but I think once every six months is OK.

The clocks have gone back….. For heaven’s sake, Ann has just sent me an email. Will I never get this newsletter finished? I thought the extra hour would give me more time, but I can see I’m going to have to head for the International Date Line, in order to create myself a few extra hours. The International Date Line is not what some of you might think, it is not some chat line to arrange some sort of Bunga Bunga party. What do you take me for?

And as for the passing of Jimmy Saville, when will somebody say what they really think?

 

Copyright © 2011 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

August 2011 – Volpe Newsletter

Thank you, thank you, thank you for the largest ever response to a newsletter: the tribute to my friend Richard Pulford.

There were so many kind memories and so many fond words. For this I thank all of you. Your words of comfort have been passed on to Richard’s family.

It’s that time of year when tumbleweed blows down London’s empty streets, and this year, I’m here instead of basting in Ibiza. Many of you have joked quite how much I don’t enjoy the Sale period, but you’d be wrong. It is important for me to quietly hide the mistakes I have made during the year.

Fortunately, I am learning, and after twelve long years there are only two pairs of the acid yellow cords left. Perhaps I could arrange a riot, a little looting, some lightning, and they might vanish off into the ether with my remaining stock of jeans. What else is August in London good for?

Anyway, Shane and family were here from Hong Kong (and at least his out of office reply meant he was coming to see me). And doesn’t he look boyish these days?  A new haircut and glasses in order to make him look more grown up? Perhaps I should explain to Katie (Shane’s wife) they have only made him look more angelic, although I’m not entirely sure it is a word I would normally use about Shane! They’re all off to some detox retreat in Ibiza but how detox and Ibiza go together I will wait to hear.

Ollie, who has also been in Ibiza, has just returned and he’s not happy. Left only with the clothes he was standing up in, he single-handedly boosted the Ibicencan economy, in order to feel that he fitted in at every event he was attending. He and his luggage parted company at City Airport on the way out, and were reunited only after his return to London.

The offending piece of luggage had visited seven European cities before its return, which is more than my wayward friend Mark will be doing with British Airways. Still barred, Mark continues to travel the world in search of new thrills. This leads him further and further afield, searching for a recently filled mini-bar and a maid that he hasn’t already unconsciously surprised in a strange and unusual way.

I have another friend who has taken to wearing glasses with normal lenses in order to lend him an air of intellect and gravitas. I’m not sure he wasn’t wearing specs before and has reverted to non-prescription lenses, because life through the correct prescription was just too frightening.

This year I have had to start wearing spectacles so I can thread a needle and it has added an entire new spectrum of accessories to my wardrobe. As you could predict with me, the collection is growing rapidly.

Soon I will have spex for every occasion. Perhaps even extra-spesh-spex that I will wear to choose which ones I will be wearing today or to look for the pair I’ve just put down or trodden on. I’m still searching for the pair that will make me look more brainy and more important. Andre calls it gravitas but he pronounces it in a vairy particular way every time we meet.

One or two of you are still trying so hard to get a mention: remember, actions always speak louder than words.

John kindly brought back a bottle of wine from Emanuele in Bologna, and Matthew sent me something made by Brasso to polish my gadgets. Oh, please!

But the prize is taken by the couple travelling to Venice on the Orient Express who were trapped in their cabin paralysed by OCD, only to be released once the number of railway sleepers they had counted exceeded the 1 million mark.

I sympathise, as I often feel I’m being followed, and the only way throw the stalker off the scent is to keep off the cracks in the pavement while shouting Macbeth. I have got used to people staring, but then, don’t they always?

However, let me finish on a positive note for Jake. Wolves have topped the table a few times already. The season is young, but Jake has handled his glee with maturity: the screaming and punching the air have been undertaken when customers are not present, or at least when he thinks they can’t see or hear.

If only he could share Mick McCarthy’s pragmatism, but that’s why Jake is a supporter and dreams of Europe next season. Sorry, buster, but if you think I’m giving time off to go to away games in Estonia, think again.

 

Copyright © 2011 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

July 2011 – Volpe Newsletter

I know you are still waiting, like Cinderella I have until midnight to get this out. And for those wags amongst you who might suggest that I am more, ugly sister than down trodden beauty, I’d thought I’d get the insult in first.

If you’re interested, and clearly you won’t be, my D list celebrity is doing Punch and Judy on the beach at Hastings. Punch and Judy is frightening enough, OK not quite clown level, but I’m sure he will make it his own. Although I think that “Now is the winter of my discontent”, is not going to appeal to a bunch of 8 year olds.

What an interesting month!

Firstly, congratulations are in order.

David Tait and his 5 friends completed the Etape stage of the Tour de France. A remarkable feat, and all in the aid of charity. Now if David could just stay off the bike, I’m fed up of taking his suits in.

You know how I like to rib our diminutive foreign leaders. First dear Silvio, and now, Monsiuer Sarkozy, brawling in public. I couldn’t imagine Dave Cameron fighting like this, I mean, he’d need his man in the corner, Marquis of Queensbury rules and by the time the anger was expressed on his heavily furrowed brow, the No 10 press office would claim another crushing victory. By all accounts he is looking to take on the huge Klitchko brothers in a tag fight. Not sure who’ll be behind him in his corner, but I’m sure little George (or his alter ego Gideon) will volunteer.

Summer is just around the corner or so I have been told, I’d go and look, but I’m not sure that I can be bothered to move all my blankets.

I dimly remember we’d had a day of warm weather and it looks as if it might last a few days. Oooops, slightly wrong there. Shorts and flip-flops as far as the eye can see. Do people not realise just how grubby their feet become wandering the streets of London?

And joy, the heady cocktail of alcohol and warm air. Last night two people attempted to urinate in our basement. The front of casa Adrian is now electrified and the next person to whip it out will be in for a shock, caught on film and posted on Youtube.

Not that this has been the first attempt to use our basement for anything but normal comings and goings. A particularly difficult neighbour, who felt my home was her castle, and dealing drugs has been popular, but they were always surprisingly easy to scare away. Shirtless and sporting a weapon, a la Putin has always worked. You should check out FPSRussia on Youtube. Goodness knows how Jake finds all these things, but whilst the football season is in repose, he’s nothing else to do.

As if risen from the dead, Mark is back. Still persona non grata with BA he has turned his attention to peace in the Middle East, but the thought of him trying to broker a deal between 2 warring factions, whilst trying to make money out of it at the same time, makes the alcohol in my blood run cold.

A friend has just returned from Bologna, with a visit to Drogheria della Rosa and Emanuele. He mentioned my name and was royally treated, not the normal response elsewhere when my name is mentioned, but I’ve learned to cope with this. However, it did elicit the gift of a very fine bottle of red wine from Emanuele. So come on the rest of you, get yourselves out there, my wine cellar is looking a little empty!

For those of you who have been asking, I have passed the baton of biggin’ it up in Ibiza to Ollie this year. I have known Ollie many years. He is getting married at the end of August, and as a wedding present to himself, has bought a Jensen Interceptor and a petrol station. As I recall, it is good for about 8 miles to the gallon. So, about what we can expect from Ollie in Ibiza. The carnage will be well documented, and I’ll make sure he visits Neil for a pre-wedding tattoo.

Jake, stop looking at me like that, a Jensen Interceptor is not a Star Wars prop.

Soon to be available on Twitter, or so it has been suggested.

PS Something about a SALE

Which I will be here for in its entirety.

Sent from my iPad or so it seems

 

Copyright © 2011 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

January 2011 – Volpe Newsletter

As we are well into January, how many of you made New Year resolutions? And did you keep them, stumble from the course, or fall spectacularly head first into the gutter?

So the iPad is perfect for my insomnia. I promised myself it wouldn’t take over my life, and yet here I am writing the newsletter on it. It just keeps me awake longer. OK, so I’ll sleep when I’m dead. You can spend the small hours searching for apps, most of which you’ll never use. But it means I can lie on the sofa tapping blindly at the screen, whilst watching the news in 15 minutes, every 15 minutes. So between 2.30am and 6.00am, I get to hear about Silvio’s Ruby blues 14 times, oh joy.

Now some of you have complained about the brevity of my January teaser. Shame on you, I had the VAT return to do, and some of you should know better. Yes Greg, I mean you. You begged to be on the mailing list only to complain bitterly that the teaser wasn’t long enough and then regularly bring your mother in to torture me. But what goes around comes around. She kindly explained how you had removed your trousers in front of an Upper Class Virgin, the words might be slightly jumbled, but worse was to follow: your mother mistaken for your Cougar? As you said, does she look younger, or do you look older?

Anyway back to Silvio, which seems the most unlikely side of him the Italians will see. It’s a case of the devil you know, but it appears that even Papa Razzi is starting to flag, or perhaps lose track of the indefatigable appetite of the diminutive ex cruiseship crooner. And I use the word diminutive with pride. I too, am diminutive. OK, I won that bet. I managed to use that word 3 times, so much for drinking games. I play them with decaff espresso shots (just ask Jake), rather than alcohol, just to keep me awake. It is rumoured that Kiefer used to play a similar game whilst filming 24, damn it Chloe! “I’ll have another Jack Daniels”, before wrestling a Christmas tree to the ground, trousers round his ankles. But he showed he was a gent, by offering to pay for the damage.

OK, it’s not quite in the league of Charlie Sheen, or my personal favourites Robert Downey Jr driving his Porsche naked and throwing imaginary rats out of the car, and my friend Martin snorkelling naked in the snow in Verbier, and yes there is photographic evidence. Guys, some of you have some serious catching up to do.

However I bumped into a friend, who we will call James (because that’s his name). I was leaving The Wolseley after a hearty breakfast with Don, a close friend who once nearly laid waste to Keira Knightley, but that’s another story. James was always a bit of a party animal and after having been “driven” in his Gallardo, driven been the description I will give the experience. James was in London for a 3 day bender, because:  “the bright lights of Geneva, just weren’t bright enough any more.” At this point he was starting to flag and was craving coffee and a large eggs Benedict, I could have stayed to see the outcome, but I just had to be somewhere else.

Like the drinking games, I could try to start each paragraph with a letter that in some special code would make a word. No, stop trying to work out some hidden meaning in mine, before long you’ll be trying to play your old LPs backwards in an attempt to conjure up the devil, and I left Silvio where he belongs, a couple of paragraphs ago. It’s 3.30am and I’m now too tired to even try and be clever. Settle down at the back. I know what you’re going to say and it’s neither clever nor funny.

Sam passed through London this week and managed to pop in for a few hours between flights.  Bangkok-London-Hong Kong back-to-back in less than three days. As you said mate, I wouldn’t normally use that expression, but he’s an Aussie, “living the dream”, or perhaps 11K a year and £2.60 an hour is just too tempting. Big up Willie Walsh and the new cabin crew contract. There you go, guys, I got your protest vote in.

As you know, I have been in Bologna. It is still the best city in Italy to eat in. However each day I took the train into Florence for the Pitti Uomo trade fair. A mere 35 minutes or that’s what they tell you, not quite time keeping to Swiss standards. In four journeys, no less than 10 minutes late each time, but as my friend Fabio told us over lunch, it’s the Italian way. Rome to Milan in three hours, or at least in three Italian hours, because it’s a matter of pride that it just has to be 3 hours.

At Drogheria della Rosa Emanuele did us proud. Greeted like long lost friends, fed and watered within the limits of my waistband. After Sunday lunch we staggered to the airport clutching a white truffle. Emanuele has made his special kind of dining experience: his food, wine and company of the highest order, all rounded off with a semifreddo. Excuse me, titter ye not, did I hear Frankie Howerd?

Product of the month is the X-mini speaker, which I use for my iPad. Jake’s bored with this, but they are awesome and I suspect he’s slightly envious.

January 2011 – Volpe Newsletter Teaser

This is the Newsletter Lite version, a snack perhaps to whet your appetite before the full fat bunga- bunga one later in the month.

Today I have returned from Bologna. I now feel that I may never want to eat again. But such is the guile with which Emanuele fills your plate and glass that you become powerless to resist. You enter a trance like state brought on by more shavings of white truffle. So those of you who still feel like me post Christmas, perhaps it is time to take on a personal trainer. I have several I can highly recommend, from pure strength to something altogether more holistic. We have someone for every need, befriend me on Facebook and I will put you in touch.

On a personal note. For those of you who might be interested in a bargain, we have started our Sale. I know you think that, I think that this is a dirty word, but business is business. Trust me the service will not suffer, but I will give you the opportunity to fold your purchases and put them in the bag yourself.

 

Copyright © 2011 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

June 2010 – Volpe Newsletter

We wuz robbed, I tell you. And I’m not talking about the Budget, of which more later.

Like Don Fabio, I’ll brook no dissent. Mi casa, my rules. We were much the better side. Just look at the statistics and you know my thoughts on that.

Apparently Capello sent the team on to the pitch with the rousing cry: ‘Let’s make English football history.’ I feel that got lost in translation.

It seems even Paul the psychic octopus from the Sea Life Aquarium predicted a German win. Yeah, well let’s see how he fares against Spain where they like fried squid rings.

But as I said we were so much the better side; even my wife agrees and as I know by now, she is never wrong.

There was a moment during England’s nail-biting journey to oblivion on Sunday night when she shouted: ‘Lamps’ at the TV.

I share Don Fabio’s dislike of infantile footballing nicknames, and unless she was describing what she wanted Fat Frank to do to the assistant referee, then divorce beckons if she ever uses such a word again. And I’ll sue for alimony if she says Wazza.

Still, there are upsides to Sunday’s match.

The WAGs were waiting until this week to go out so no pictures of them shopping and falling off bar stools.

And the James Corden’s World Cup Party may be in for an early bath which means an end to the canvassing of opinions of such football geniuses a Pixie Lott by a smug fat bloke in a suit two sizes too small for him. I’m with Patrick Stewart there.

As you know at the end of May I visited Rome again. This time it was just for the day to visit a shoe wholesaler who refused to deal with me over the phone or via email. What strange world we live in. It’s right up there with: ‘The donkey’s sick, so I can’t get the parcel to the UPS office.’ Yes, a supplier has used that excuse. However it wasn’t an entirely wasted trip, I ate a decent lunch and spent some of the day with one of my best friends Max Pietrolucci, and even did a little sightseeing.

However a journey I will be making this month will be back to Ibiza. Those of you who think I have a home there, sorry to disappoint, and if I did, no you couldn’t use it. Also for those of you who have attempted to photograph me under the influence of something that isn’t wheatgrass, waving glo sticks like a five year old would sparklers, again you’ll be disappointed. Neil “the tattooist” has informed me that he will go back to doing stars, geckos, dolphins etc, because as yet I have not agreed to have the roof of the Sistine Chapel in miniature on my back. He has also offered both Eugenia and Carla summer jobs as his receptionist, and I don’t believe it, they are contemplating accepting. Now Eugenia has “previous” for this kind of arrangement. All I can say to her is remember what happened last time.

Not that I’m not going to dwell on it but yesterday’s referee Jorge Larrionda also has “previous” for “over the line” incidents. In 2004 he deprived Brazil of a winner so they drew 0-0 with Colombia in a World Cup qualifier. He once told an interviewer “I hope I never see the day when technology arrives that can help or replace the job I do”. Also in 2002 he was suspended by Uruguay’s FA for unspecified alleged irregularities that meant he was unable to officiate at the 2002 World Cup. Not that I’m bitter.

A thank you is due to Matthew who bought me some chocolates back from Bologna, a kind and unnecessary gesture, but he is a kind and thoughtful chap. I thought he’d go far, but then flattery and presents always bring out the best in me. The latest 3D gadgets wouldn’t go amiss.

This month we also lost Sam to Hong Kong once more. The family soon to follow and I must admit I will miss Xavier’s Saturday morning attempts to total the Ferrari. Sam and Claire be warned, let him loose with a Playstation before he gets his hands on the real thing. The new Test Drive game will be based in Ibiza, so next year it will be full of kids, driving dad’s Nissan Micra lit from underneath with blue neon, ear splitting music blaring from open windows. So nothing will really change. Oh dear, I do sound old.

Now, my friend who has admitted in the past that he was a suit short of a week still is according to him. He feels that a racy little linen number to complete his collection of linens would fit the bill. Not that I want to turn away business or condemn excess in any way, because that would be commercial suicide. I just don’t think that he’s likely to have five consecutive days of sunshine in this country. Apologies, this week has proved me wrong, but mark my words it won’t last.

The customer is king has always been my motto; or one of them. Maybe I’ll make a list of my mottos and add them to next month’s newsletter.

So were you a winner or loser in the Budget – or more accurately, a loser or a really big loser?

I’m still mulling it over so I’ll hand over to Sheherazade Goldsmith, the gorgeous ex-wife of billionaire Zac, newly-minted MP for Richmond.

It would be vulgar to speculate on the sheer tonnage of Mrs Goldsmith’s divorce settlement but it’s clear that even she feels some belt-tightening is in order.

‘If you grow your own raspberries, pick them and make them into jam, it’s a very satisfying feeling,’ she said recently.

‘Much more satisfying than buying it from Fortnum & Mason.’

A sentiment with which we can all agree, and as English as a World Cup defeat.

For those of you who have asked about my mystery “celebrity”. Well, he is currently staying on at the World Cup owing to a promotional role. I felt it would be too cruel to ask which particular animal he would be dressed as, but it would certainly need to be one of the veldt’s larger inhabitants, if only to accommodate his ego. He has been muttering about how poor Brien Blessed’s contribution has been, well at least his voice will be heard above the vuvuzelas.

 

Copyright © 2010 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

February 2010 – Volpe Newsletter

Thank you all for the kind responses to the January Newsletter. For those of you who scoffed about it being a one-off, and you know who you are, here is the weather forecast for February down Pimlico way.

For me, January meant VAT and the year-end accounts. Oh joy. One of the benefits is to work out exactly what I have wasted my money on, apart from taxes, of course.

For those of you have asked, and the rest of you who couldn’t care less, my trip to Bologna went well. Emanuele, of restaurant Drogheria della Rosa, excelled in many ways, but the dish to end all was after I had explained that five courses twice a day every day was starting to get to me. The menu has not changed in all the time I have known him, five pasta dishes, five mains and four desserts, plus antipasti, nuts, tangerines and a rose for the ladies.

The first time you eat there it’s a little disconcerting because food and alcohol arrive in abundance without you ordering a thing. Not to fear, Emanuele will arrive to take your order, prosecco in hand, and he will at this point introduce to the odd special, which takes me back to the eggs fried in garlic and butter and covered in shaved white truffle. The diet starts soon.

He and dear Issy from About Thyme in Pimlico are such similar creatures and follow the same philosophy (is that all right Issy? Got to help push the locals).

With January over, gym memberships have swollen once more and you can hear the boasts of how muscle memory has kicked in and they’ll be ready for skiing/ beach/marathon, insert as applicable in no time. It does however appear that in most cases the muscles have developed Alzheimer’s.

February takes us on a collision course with cupid and St Valentine’s Day, so those of you who are posting cards to themselves again this year, put a bit of effort in and think of something original, and for God’s sake spend some money, chocolates, flowers, a tattoo or a romantic piercing. I’m thinking of you, Albert, your Highness.

To whoever sent the card I recently received; er, don’t bother again. The police are looking into it; with tongs.

But winter is still with us and it is always colder somewhere else, Krasnoyarsk in Central Russia has recently been as low as -43C, but I can’t imagine the grass will be any greener.

For those of you lucky enough to be skiing and also those thespians amongst you: break a leg.

I’m only bitter because any of you who have been following my travails with gout will know that it has made me a better person in so few ways, but thank you for your kind wishes and imaginative remedies. I now have it on the run after six months, but I will not be ready to return to my ‘80s dream of a mono ski and a fag bag until next winter.

The quip about the celebrity in last month’s newsletter struck a raw nerve with one individual and it probably serves me right for forwarding it to him. I’d love to quote the reply, but sadly once I have taken out the expletives, including several new ones I had to look up, it rendered the rest of his response rather worthless, which is what he is. Let’s see what that elicits! It’s an XKRed19 technique.

By the end of the month we will have received the initial deliveries of our new season merchandise, preparing us finally for Spring and Summer. The collection is based on a simple premise of the Emperor’s wardrobe of nothing for something, and less being more, if you like, a Ponzi scheme for clothes.

Soon we will see the first hairy feet of the season displayed in whatever Birkenstocks will passing off as footwear this year. However the barometer will be my friend, David, who will be back in his A&F shorts given the first pale shaft of sunlight to hit his even paler legs.

A “friend” said to me recently that on his next visit to London he would ask me to make him a new suit, because, and I quote: “he was one suit short of a week”. I had to explain that I’d known this for a while, but hadn’t felt I knew him well enough to comment on his general state of mind.

However confrontation isn’t always a bad thing, as anybody attempting to haggle has found out. Cheese the postman (no I’m not making it up), still hasn’t learnt that the price on the ticket is the price you are expected to pay. He explains that it is culture, I obviously need to explain that it is not mine in the politest fashion, after all it is my decision, and my decision is final. But my favourite is still the guy who whilst attempting to haggle with Jake about £10 found that his car had been ticketed.

This month I will be travelling to Milan, a city I have not visited for many years, and with good reason. The last time I was there I was involved in an incident in a bar, with two hookers and the hotel General Manager, Giovanni. Apparently my mistake was to go to bed too early…… I’ll leave you to work that one out.

Finally, attached below is a sign for a friend’s window. He is a butcher and I’m not sure if he is brave enough to display it! But hell, in for a penny, in for a pound of pork sausages.

 Fit as a butcher’s dog

1: Support your local butcher; otherwise you’ll be left with Jamie Oliver’s under hung meat!

2: It isn’t going to be cheaper by the pound, kilo, inch or yard, and I’m not talking about Jamie.

3: Don’t be scared to ask for advice, it’s free, but it’s the only thing that is, so don’t ask.

4: Don’t smirk when you ask for a pound of sausage, it’s not clever, and don’t you think we might have heard that one before.

5: F U M n X? The answer is S, V F M n X. For goodness sake we’re a butcher’s.

6: Yes, of course it’s cold in here, are you being serious? Come and stand in the fridge for a while. After an hour or two we might be able to pass you off as edible……

7: Free range, means free range, and organic, means organic. It means it runs around and eats properly, do you? Can we make it any clearer?

8: If it’s tough as old boots you haven’t cooked it for long enough.

9: Check the eggs before you leave the shop, just to make sure the chicken isn’t still attached.

10: Do we pluck, draw and hang birds? Only if you really, really upset us.

11: Does that make us pheasant pluckers, I suppose so……..

12: Four legs or two, vegetarians are welcome.

13: Only because 12 doesn’t make a dozen……… But then you should know this by now.

 

Copyright © 2010 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.