June 2012 – Volpe Newsletter

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…..

 

Copyright © 2012 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

January 2012 – Volpe Newsletter

Well, I suppose you thought I’d forgotten.

The truth is my hands are so cold that even a random striking of keys was not producing anything coherent. So I have employed someone to blow on my hands to keep them warm. Trust me it’s cheaper than heating the shop, and at a time when we are looking at every penny we spend, I am doing my bit by employing someone.

My friend Michael has recently joined the fold. He has proved to be a rich vein of anecdotes. My current “fave” is how he spent a small fortune on museum quality blinds for the back of his house, which is entirely made out of glass. You may have guessed where this is going. Lit from behind with low lights and soft candles, he has managed to produce his own perfect shadow puppet show, sometimes, more than once a night and even the “odd”, very odd matinee.

Enter stage left, Ian, a friend of longstanding.

Now that Rosie has relocated to Neuschwanstein and stable of Astons, Ian can park his cars outside without incurring her disapproval. Today he arrived with his Ferrari 360, he has a predominantly Italian collection at the moment. I have known him *%# years, stop it, you at the back, it reflects my failings, not his.

In those days he drove a Ferrari Testarossa. It used to infuriate my boss at the time. My boss only drove a Jaguar XJS, or the “Big Cat” as he called it. Meow. He would often unleash it, a la Alan Clark along Piccadilly, mounting the pavement outside Fortnums and pulling a handbrake turn in front of the Albany, just to get a bit of lunch. We only worked a couple of hundred yards away. I could have walked it in half the time.

It sported a number plate with the letters FOL in it. As a child on long motorway journeys, mother would always get my brother and me to play games. One of the games was to make a phrase from the letters in the number plates. I’ll leave you lot to play that one, and feel free to email your examples.

Many a time my boss and I would speed off to Heathrow to catch the early shuttle to Edinburgh at 7.00am. Like an automotive Arthur Daley, he would be dodging here, weaving there, and the taxi that had been alongside us outside Harrods would be in front of us by the time we got to Terminal 1.

However, my favourite Ian story is……Shall I save it? No I’ll take a punt. One of you might do something interesting in February worthy of a mention.

Oh, now look M*#k, put your trousers back on, it’s not big, it’s not clever and it’s not, February.

Sorry, it is big and it is clever. Do you feel better now?

Anyway back to Ian. He and his lovely family have a house in the hills, just outside Cannes, and a few years ago we were holidaying in Cannes. At this time Ian was keeping the Testarossa there. I asked him if we could meet up for dinner, but he explained that they wouldn’t be there at the same time as we were.

However, he enquired as to whether I had arranged for a hire car (second creative writing course, please note Richard). Ian explained that he would be driving the car to Nice airport on the Friday, before I arrived on the Saturday. He would send me the spare set of keys and I could use the car for a couple of weeks before returning it to the house…….

Lost for words, I dreamt of cruising “The Croisette” tanned left arm, hanging out of the window. Arriving at restaurants, eager valet parkers grabbing the keys from my hand to put a thousand kilometres on the car before dawn, only to meet Dawn and find out she was David from Droitwich…

Meanwhile I can hear Ian chuckling. He was offering me an elastoplast coloured Peugeot 309. I had been suckered, and not for the first time, by the dreams of riches beyond my wildest desires. I would be a Russian oligarch, call me Otto (It means eight).

The car was perfect, just the right shade, but the air conditioning was heaven sent, and wherever we went the valet parkers made sure the car was well hidden. Nobody was going to kidnap me and demand money for the release of my daughters.

When I returned the car to Ian’s house, the nice chap from next door waved as I parked it on the drive. He was holding a lighted taper and striding towards the cannon on his lawn. For once, I was unsure what to do next.

Hit lit the fuse, and began to run a flag up his flagpole. Oh stop it, it’s not a metaphor. It was his personal coat of arms. The cannon fired, fortunately only a blank. Time for lunch; what ever happened to gongs?

If this is what money does to you, then I want to know what happened to mine. Touched by madness, I may have frittered it away, here and there. But it seems more likely there, than here.

The sale is nearly done. Life will return to normal and I may regain my sanity. Unlikely I know, but……

 

Copyright © 2012 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.