Struck down by ‘Norovirus’ for New Year, I can only expect better for the rest of the year……. Anyway I’ve washed my hands of last year. It’s over.
A little good news for the end of last year, Eugenia married Ricardo, and they have returned to married bliss in Nicaragua. Gen, I hope you did a background check on the young man. Is he in the import/export business?
For those of you reading this via the blog page on the website, you will be able to see a photo of the lovely couple.
Ricardo and Eugenia…..Aaaaahhhh
Anyway, as you remember Eugenia is the young lady that I was able to pick up by her ears! But, Gen is best known for her affinity with animals, she brings out the best of them. Many when in close proximity to her have decided they can have a little nibble.
On a trip we will describe as her ‘hen do’, she got a little too close to a monkey. The monkey must have been on something (It was of course in Nicaragua), it sneezed and after opening its eyes, spied the innocent Eugenia. At this point it launched into a manic assault in that flappy, kind of ineffectual kind way that some creatures do. Realising that Eugenia was a bit of veteran to this kind of thing, it then bit her on the leg. All of this was captured on camera and is available on Youtube if you know where to look.
She offered to show me the bite, but I am a timid soul and declined. She seems OK, but I’m not sure whether Ricardo should worry, she was foaming slightly at the mouth when she said “I do”.
Ricardo did tell me that on the honeymoon, an elephant started to take an interest in her, but then she did that thing that she does with her hair, and seeing a relative, it went serenely on its way.
I feel that I have not lost a daughter, but gained another way of accessing the US.
Talking of animal confrontations, my mother who lives on a hillside in Somerset was walking in the woods just before Christmas, when she was startled by a squirrel. In the ensuing melee she fell and broke her right arm. I’m not sure I believe her version! Although this happened fairly early in the morning, I’m pretty certain she’d been out to the still to check on the latest batch of hooch, Scrumpy to those of you who have tried it. If not she would have dispatched the squirrel with her white stick.
Congratulations to Sam on your promotion. I didn’t think you could go any higher, but once again you have proved me wrong. The new position includes a private jet in the air 24 hours a day, 365 days a year circling above his current location in order to whisk of him to the other side of the world for a 15 minute face to face meeting. When does living the dream turn into a nightmare? Is it a “Dreamliner”?
I returned to the shop on the 27th to find Mark curled up asleep outside the front door, thumb gently lodged in his mouth. I didn’t have the heart to wake him, but he forms a formidable obstruction, and I had work to do. Christmas had turned into a bit of a bender. He’d run out of booze at home and knew that he had a bottle of brandy in the shop for his personal consumption. He is the only person I know who sobers up the more he drinks! At least one of his New Year’s resolutions was not to give up alcohol or partying.
Jake has already broken his resolution, not to talk about Wolves, but he was ecstatic to have won £15 betting against his own side. Then he had an attack of conscience and felt he couldn’t do it again. Son, you could be rich, rich, rich.
Firstly, Jake is back from holiday – oh joy. And just as I was able to catch up on some work.
Congratulations to all our medal winners, a magnificent haul. It seems a shame that they won’t all be honoured in the time honoured way, a large contract with the BBC. They should be rewarded for their efforts, but somehow like exam results it is fashionable to move the goalposts just as the ball crosses the line. Perhaps to do a U turn, just to show we care. Of course by “we” I mean Dave and Nick, who I’m sure I will be snuggled up under the duvet of coalition as soon as it gets cold and the electricity prices go up.
Most of you seemed to scarper as soon as the Olympics started and were not to be seen again until we dropped the baton. But it did mean that you could get a table in any restaurant in London, and cross Piccadilly without looking.
Jake is now offering me his iphone 4S 64GB, so he can upgrade to the new iphone 5 when it comes out. At what he says will be at a preferential rate, he is even going to throw in a very attractive gold Wolves case! Aaaaaaarggghhhhh. Many of you missed the start of the football season. Oh, poor Jake; the first game a loss and now the board are selling off the crown jewels, left right and centre. Their season is over.
It is a similar dilemma for me, when asked, why there are never any plain blue or white shirts in the sale. It’s a simple answer, next season I will have to go out and buy the same thing again for more money. Have football clubs not grasped this simple concept? The key is in the word simple, or Joey Barton!
Talking of the crown jewels, I would have expected nothing less from Harry.
Well it’s not the first time, but once again I am writing this sat on an aeroplane. I have avoided jokes about the mile high club for the sake of the prurient amongst you. Is it really up, up and away?
Back to Florence again, life is full of hardship, but as Sam has been very quiet on the travel front, I thought I should take up his mantle. This weekend I should be meeting up with Sunil in a Castello near Viterbo. He is taking a holiday, wonders will never cease.
Things are going well there. But those of you who know, know, and those of you who don’t, I’m sorry for the moment my lips are sealed. Isn’t that so unlike me, but then I’m nothing but capricious.
And please, I am not helping “Dear Silvio” with his return. This is well underway, and they have found a stash of lire in a warehouse in Palermo which should boost the economy. ON everyone someone has written, please pass this on for luck……..
Obviously this was last weekend, but I was writing this beforehand, trying to show that there is input throughout the month.
Also I could recount every tube and bus journey, and the ins and outs of my Oyster Card, but I’d soon have you all asleep, and we’ve only just begun.
A few updates are in order. Jason is back from hols, and knowing his reputation, woe be tide any young ladies that might have been in his vicinity upon his Athenian travails, you know what happens. Shirley is not far from releasing her first born upon the world. By the time this is published she will have stopped working, and Marie tells me that the time is nigh. She could always spend her days reliving her pregnancy via my newsletters on the website, hoping the odd snigger may induce labour and get it all over with.
Some of you may remember Eugenia who used to come into the shop from time to time. Yes, she’s the one who we taught to see a second meaning in everything, a degree in double entendre. By we, I mean me, because poor Jake was too young and innocent. I did say he was! Eugenia is getting married later this year, to Ricardo from Ecuador. Eugenia is multi lingual. Good, avoided the obvious joke, but you know where I was going. She even speaks Swahili, which surprised the heck out of a friend of mine. I’m pretty sure she told him that his spear wasn’t as big as he thought. I think Ricardo knows what he is letting himself in for, and I did try to warn him, but perhaps he is blinded by her looks. She is very pretty. Sorry Gen, but you have grown into your ears. Oh, how I remember the days when we used to be able to pick you up by them!
Michael is in Mikonos, and has been on a diet for what seems like forever, and all he talks about is food, I think this has severely affected his mental state, and it’s made his legs turn yellow. Oh no, that’s the fake tan, and his feet are still cadaverous. B*$£h I can hear him say. I just wish I could be there to see him exit the water, a la Daniel Craig. I just hope he remembers to tie the cord on his trunks, up. But it would be so like him not to. However Michael is looking very svelte, he just tries to thwart me by buying macaroons from Pierre Herme (eat your heart out Laduree) this is the real deal.
Neil doesn’t appear to have noticed that I’m not in Ibiza, but I think his head has been turned by an Italian beauty supplied by Pink, who is down there helping Neil out.
Sorry another update, Neil has noticed that I’m not in Ibiza. By all accounts August has left him a nervous wreck. All of those acres of unadorned flesh have left his needles blunt, and only faithful Scratch for company.
And although he hasn’t been mentioned for a while my ‘D’ list celebrity “friend”, has been spotted promoting clubs on the beaches in Ibiza. This generally involves you walking around shirtless, tanned and surrounded by a bevvy of girls dressed the same way. However in his case it means dressed as a Pacha Cherry. A strange way of getting your five-a-day.
And finally Richard has been gone a year, but not forgotten. His chair remains, and perhaps I shall have a brass plaque made to honour him in his absence. Only recently have the emails been returned, perhaps he keeps tabs on my grammar via the website. He will always be able to return to somewhere, where he is known.
This is a long one. Best to get that out of the way to begin with!
So much has happened this month. My, my, haven’t you all been so busy. It must mean the economy is on the way back, or you’ve all got so bored that some of you are actually doing something, asides from working.
Anyway, my plan was to meet up with Sam in the Cathay Lounge at Heathrow, we’d start drinking and continue until we were scraped onto the tarmac in Hong Kong. And if Mark had come along, we may never have survived the flight. Oh well, best laid plan of mice and men. Sam changed his plans and has headed for Paris. However, on the slight chance we both are in Hong Kong at the same time, we will try and do something en famile…
OK, slight problem, should I start again or just continue? Sam didn’t go to Paris, we are on the same flight, but as of yet we haven’t started drinking. I think we’ll take it easy and relax and catch up. We’re both going to have some work to do, and how else am I going to get the newsletter out? It is great to have Sam along, even if it’s so he can’t complain that it may be late. At least this time it might be his fault!!!
Anyway, I’m on the plane and only 11 hours to save the world! OK, OK to write the newsletter. It’s just that the former sounds so much more dramatic, and you know how I like a drama. And now the damn seat is broken, it’s completely flat and I’ve got to go and stand in the galley whilst they try to fix it at 2am, in the dark, with a toothpick. I should be catching up on my beauty sleep, wrapped up in my duvet, in my own individual little booth.
What am I doing in Hong Kong? I hear you all ask in unison.
Am I standing on top of a tall building in a typhoon? No really, you should see the video. A typhoon No. 8 signal passed through, so after dinner we strolled up onto the roof at David Tang’s Bank of China Restaurant to watch the passing typhoon. I was Batman to Hong Kong’s Gotham City. Oh, Adrian do get over yourself and the fantasy world in which you live.
No really; working is my response. Not to find new suppliers, as someone cruelly suggested. I am doing this for a friend who trusts my judgement. He has asked me out here to make suits for his wedding. Mountain brought to Mohamed, perhaps. Fool? Clearly, but I won’t have a word said against him, and his fiancé has made it clear that she thinks I’m completely mad or worse. We’ve met, only the once, and since then she has avoided me. It was the pale blue suede jacket for a stag weekend he was going to in Ibiza that did it, very “Miami Vice”. Well it would, wouldn’t it?
I did put him Neil’s way if he was in need of a tattoo. Talking of Neil, there was a picture of him and Scratch (his faithful canine companion) on Facebook, sunning themselves on a beach. He said he was only there a couple of hours, but I did notice a darker hue to his skin whilst chatting on Skype. He can still be such a rebel. I shall try to get there at some point and have my name engraved somewhere so I don’t forget who I am. Neil doesn’t do “shades”, nothing beats a good glare, and Neil can glare with the best of them. Sometimes I think he really enjoys scaring prospective customers by staring at them, or it might be a test. If they can withstand his withering glance, then they are able to the pain that will follow as he wields his needle!
Sadly Neil will be in London this weekend, at some celeb wedding or other. So we will miss each other. He will arrive with Ryanair, and stay in a tent in a field, I will not. He didn’t like that. I didn’t realise he was getting married.
I was in Florence 2 weeks ago for Pitti Uomo, a menswear trade fair. Given my comments about the state and price of accommodation there in the past, I was pleasantly surprised. OK, I happened to be staying there at the same time as Madonna, who I must say made a real pest of herself, by knocking on my door all hours of the day and night, a la Peter Cook and Dudley Moore.
I stayed in a very inexpensive bed and breakfast called Relais del Duomo. It was great, even though it was 36C outside, I didn’t even need to use the air conditioning! Clean and tidy, central and importantly very quiet, well apart from the bells of the Duomo. Really, if I want to be woken at that time I have Sunil. He, who lives in a different time zone to the rest of the world, compiled of 24 hours of work and 1 hour of sleep. Except Sunil don’t live int shoebox int middle ot road (Yorkshire accent). I normally set the alarm to wake me, but Sunil can be guaranteed to pre-empt it by at least a couple of hours.
Now I have a recommendation for you if you are travelling to Florence, it is a restaurant called “Trattoria Gabriello” and it is in via della Condotta. The owner Rita is wonderful. It seems to be one of the few original trattorias left in the centre, and at least there were some locals eating there, and not just infested by tourists like myself. I’m a snob like that, always a tourist, never a traveller. I ate there on Tuesday and the food is simple, and well cooked. She was being helped by her best friend Alessandra. We should all have friends like Alessandra, she took the time to talk to, and make everyone feel very welcome, whilst helping Rita because she wants to. Perhaps “Ale” is not the best waitress in the world, but she has other skills, she says she is working on her English, I feel, that with a little practice she’ll be fine. She also says she is a great driver, the scar on her forehead and the photo of her “totalled” Porsche on her phone may tell a different story!
Dear Michael was in Italy at the same time as part of his gardening leave. He went to Naples to see some friends and improve his Italian. We would chat by text, his main preoccupations appeared to be the heat, and why he wasn’t going brown. The feet of an albino cadaver were the words he used on the day before he left. However, I feel the highlight of his trip was the fact that these feet and his legs made a cameo appearance alongside Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster in the Daily Mail, now only if they lived next door to him, what treats would lie in store for them!
Michael also has a very sweet tooth, but he is a cheap choccie kind of man, more “Fruit & Nut” than “Charbonnet and Walker”, and that says more about Michael than you can imagine. But he arrived back in London clutching a box of chocolates for us from a shop in Naples called “Gay Odin”. As Gillian said, I’m not sure what the Norse God’s reaction to being called gay would be.
Now in every box of chocolates, there is always one! This box, full of Michael’s specially selected goodies contained the worst chocolate I have ever tasted. Each of us who tasted it, curious to the others reaction, was the same. It was made of dark chocolate, so no problem there, but when you bit into it, your mouth was filled with Brut 33. It tasted like the after shave and it smelt like the after shave, all that was missing was Henry Cooper saying “Go on son, stop coughing, it looks like you’ll splash it all over”.
In Italy they put liquers into all sorts of strange shaped bottles in order to trick you into buying them. Being from Naples I expected this chocolate to be filled with Limoncello, not Brut.
After reaching for and finding the wrong bottle to fill this handmade confection, perhaps Giacomo is out on a date somewhere, the faint smell of lemons upon his cheeks. I must ask Michael which he prefers.
And finally congratulations are in order to Eugenia for getting engaged, I know she will be very happy, and finally to Greg the “Cougar Magnet” as well. He has found someone younger to be with and Farah is beautiful. What did you put in her drink, I must try it myself…..
Is everyone as excited as I am about the Royal Wedding? Like Dave, I camped in The Mall for Chas and Di, but I’ll probably be a bit too busy to be there this time.
The meeting with the accountant was a little disappointing. He strongly advised me not to try and slip one or two trifling things past the taxman. So it will be arrivederci to Damian my personal photographer (he never made me look as bad as Nick Clegg), Mandy my stylist (once I dress up, she and I are one so she’ll never really disappear), and it’s adieu to Nils (nails), Carmen (waxing), Ricardo (the other waxing), Twinkle (Twinkies) and Mai Lee (who has daily struggled to pull the condom over my head to keep me looking as smooth-skinned as Dave or a baby’s bottom. There’s not much in it, to be honest. If, as I suspect, you’re not regular Guardian readers or otherwise left-leaning (professional tailor’s term), do check out Steve Bell’s cartoons. Oh and Jacob… only joking.
I let Neil snipe me for Tony Blair’s nail clippings, which were amongst Cherie’s various wacky offerings on ebay this month. Neil says they’re an aphrodisiac lure for the pigeons, but Neil, I‘ve seen the skulls and voodoo stuff in your shop, and suspect you have a far more sinister motive in mind.
Next it will be Elvis’s sweat, Maradona’s pacemaker, Berlusconi’s phone book, the children’s round-nosed scissors Lord Sugar uses on his beard and Madonna’s conical bra. By the way, I have a replica of that I like to wear at weekends when I like people to call me Mandy. But as Neil would say: “Peace”. He’s off to India, and I needn’t say more, if you are keeping up.
Pink, once he’s escaped sciatica and Charlene, has been touring Europe tattooing anything with a pulse. My friend Martin, love god of Ibiza’s Sa Trinxa, is also touring Europe for not entirely different reasons and also insists on a pulse and a fit body. Martin makes his first appearance in this newsletter so I can ski for free in Verbier where he’s guesting this winter. Eugenia wanted to add more but even in this rag of a newsletter I cannot repeat her thoughts. Close your mouth, dear.
After receiving October’s newsletter, Sunil texts from the world capital of taste and refinement that is Dubai, to tell me we share an experience with last month’s celebrity rock chick. Serendipity, or pity us both, depending on your thoughts on the matter. It was a very long time ago, and neither of us is Steve Tyler and don’t want to be. Well apart from that bit in the elevator.
This month has also seen Ireland accept a large donation of European overdraft as a result of maxing out the credit cards. Also the Koreans are hurling slightly more than insults at each other. I intensely dislike the thought of Kim Jong Il willy waving, but that thought has revived a long-time Volpe favourite; those people stood naked at the foot of my bed saying they are ready for fun. So perhaps I should start the list with world leaders.
But before I do, here’s a mention for all of those of you who begged to be mentioned. Don’t worry, you asked not to be named, but you know who you are. No, I don’t understand that either, but the customer is always right, or so you think.
1: Bill Clinton – just ask Bob
2: While we are at it…Hillary
3: Vladimir ‘The bare-breasted Siberian cat-strangler’ Putin. Yes, those rare tigers are safe in his hands.
4: Dave Cameron. The condom-on-the-head look doesn’t make the policies any smoother, safer or easier to swallow. And I don’t want him offering Nick Clegg to sweeten the deal
5: Katie Price (aka Jordan. NB not the country). Doesn’t she look like she might explode one day like an angry carrot?
6: Ann Widdicombe. A rumba in the jungle is off my dance card.
7: Gordon Ramsay. This is the man who never needs an excuse to get his shirt off in front of the camera. However I’m starting to feel slightly sorry for him with his in-law problems.
8: Mickey Rourke. See Katie Price except like an explosion in a cheek filler factory
9: Jocelyn Wildenstein – see Mickey Rourke and Katie Price. I mean, if I’d wanted a cat…
10: One for the wife’s many obsessions – Harvey Keitel. A formerly good-looking man of a certain age who’s morphing into an elderly lady. It happens. See also: Mickey Rourke, Oliver Reed and David Hemmings.
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.