Firstly, a big thank you to Neil from Inkadelic Tattooing in Ibiza for the reminder of the sunsets I am missing.
Sat on his terrace looking at the sun going down, on the first real day of freedom that he has known in weeks.
Lockdown has been a good discipline for me. Isolation in particular. No one to bother me, the shop silent and undisturbed, my bed of Transylvanian earth to comfort me.
In the late 11^th Century I was living in Minehead; Mynheafdon as it was then known, and I would often meet our friendly landowner, generally as he toured his estate on horseback. The horse was always a little jittery around me, and yet there was a familiarity about EAlfgar, the Earl of Mercia, as if I had seen him before.
It was a likeness, something around the eyes, and as a vampire you remember faces, eyes; and necks in particular. Past faces often appeared as I dreamt, vivid memories, not haunting, but their puzzled faces looking at me as if searching for a reason. It was in one such dream that she appeared, as I had originally seen her years before.
That first time, she was astride a horse riding through Coventry clad only in her long hair. I was a tailor at the time, and the shop was shuttered that day to allow her to ride through the streets, unseen. However, from behind the shutters I had stolen a glance, mesmerised by the shape of her neck I hatched a plan to visit her after nightfall, she could be one of us, one of the twelve…
But, where would we be without coincidences? EAlfgar was her son, and she Lady Godiva! The tailor who stole a glance, was apparently, Tom, ‘Peeping Tom’!
These days I am out early in the mornings, and yes, I know that as a vampire I should be destroyed by the sun’s light, however like hangovers and due to some strange, genetic twist of fate, I remain unaffected.
Sadly, I am unable to fly at the moment, and it’s best that I don’t morph into a bat at this most difficult time for these delightful creatures. I use the quieter times of the day when there are fewer people, mainly so I’m not overwhelmed by temptation, it is much easier to eat when there is a chance I might not be disturbed. It’s not as though what I crave can be delivered by Deliveroo or Uber Eats…
I meander over past hunting grounds far from home. Hampstead Heath, Alexandra Palace, Highgate Cemetery, and the Parkland Walk which is London’s unsung highline, and in my opinion a much better version than the one in New York.
It’s not just exercise, but also to check that none of my past indiscretions have resurfaced, even along the canal. It is now so quiet and still, that you can see all the way to the bottom, scooters, Boris bikes, toilet seats and dozens of traffic cones… nothing to implicate or incriminate me.
Once lockdown has come to an end, I will return to the silence of Arizona and my home in Roden Crater. This year I will rest, take the opportunity to eat in a healthier fashion and save my energy for next year when Burning Man returns and I can make the journey to the big party in Black Rock City…
By then, it might may be business as usual… as if it never was!
I have been told that this newsletter is turning into my travels around the world in what appears to be far, far longer than 80 days… Pish, you’ve only just noticed!
However, I will have you know that I do work, despite your painless barbs. Painless? Yes, because of the vast amounts of time I have spent lazing around in the sun, I have the skin of a Rhino.
In my profession you do well to remember that a stitch in time saves nine…
And, as I sit here, I am gently warming the soles of my feet on Hades’s hot coals. Evidently a cushy life is not without its sacrifices; this also involves keeping you all entertained every day of the week. Yes, matinees and evensong! That candle is lit at both ends, and Lil’ Kim is holding the blue touch paper.
Those of you that have visited the crypt of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome, will know where a great many of my skeletons are buried, they delightfully sculpted into works of art, perhaps depicting the events, but I say most, but not all.
Last weekend in Ibiza I was confronted with a problem, a dilemma, a cube of Rubik proportions, and, yes. Not for the first time!
Neil had ‘bought’ a coffee table.
As many of you may recall, Neil was also instrumental in tattooing many pairs of shoes over the years, bespoke designs, sometimes letting his creative juices flow, with a dexterity that mere mortals could only envy, a wild smile across his face, the gold tooth glittering in the moonlight… only the whine of the tattoo machine breaking the silence…
Apologies, my creative juices had started to flow. As I have matured these moments of dysfunction have become more common, and from time to time I have had to resort to chemical or homeopathic remedies to finish the newsletter. Apparently these are now available in most well-known chemists… You can’t walk past a window these days without these diamonds of delight being thrust in your face, and I only went in for party hats!
Back to the problem, or moving from one to another? Neil lives high up in Ibiza old town where the air is thin, beyond The Wall, surrounded by massive stone ramparts, and the closest we could get with a van was about 80 metres away. The table was a huge lump of wood, made from the trunk of a tree in the Whispering Wood, weighing in at nearly 250kgs it had to be transported up the last 40 medieval stone steps.
We stood around in the early morning sun, sipping a Kingslayer, a Red Priestess, enjoying the view of the Seven Kingdoms, as far as the White Harbour and the Bite, discussing our various wounds, aches and pains of battle, we evaluated the options. Should we use drugs, apologies… rugs, rollers, ties, a crane, hydraulic lifters, a pendulum, a YouTube tutorial, the infinite monkey theorem, aliens, dragons?
Without ‘The Mountain’, a Leonardo or a Galileo between us, we decided to apply the principle of Occam’s Razor, meaning; ‘that the simplest solutions are preferable to complex ones.’ So, we put down our cocktail glasses, picked a corner each and onwards and upwards we struggled. After a great deal of grunting, to meing, and to youing, your end up a bit, your end down a bit, we made it.
Thus, proving that logic, and a heuristic solution, not forgetting a little brawn and Mutual Aid are a match for Superficial Intelligence! Those on high would do well to listen…
Please forgive me, for I know what I am about to do… my apologies!
But that’s how on the second to last day of my weekend away, the motley crew that carried the coffee table up the steps of the old town, ended up sitting in a row at 10 in the morning sipping ice cold Bohemian style beer supplied by the hardest tattooist that ever stuck a needle in anyone’s arm. It lasted 20 minutes that beer-break, and for those twenty minutes we felt like free men.
Following a dry January, and by dry I mean no Newsletter.
You didn’t think for one moment that I would, or could have given up alcohol!
We are well into 2017, so what does the New Year have in store for us?
Light the blue touch paper.
Those resolutions cast at the side of the road like Neil’s banana skin, organic and biodegradable. They’ll be long gone by Easter.
One or two of you have found new addictions, like following The Donald on Twitter, unlike Sky with its predictable mantra, The Donald fires off missives and fires people on a whim.
A man holding up a sign in the European Parliament saying Nigel Farage is lying to us all, no guano Watson, where were you a year ago? Surely this is how we expect our politicians to behave, expanding to a packed audience, not a dry eye in the house.
Statistics were born of Beelzebub; you can make them say anything you want, support any argument, give credence to clear water, and hence we are in the mess we are in!
The poisoned chalice of Europe is filled to the brim with hemlock, and it appears that the mandarins wouldn’t want a sip for all the tea in China.
Talks of trade deals and behind the scenes machinations have the politicians in a tizzy.
Secret societies, ‘Deep State’, the Underwater World of Jacques Cousteau, Thunderbirds are Go, Joe 90, Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons…
By all accounts they were all playing at DC10 on New Year’s Day. By way of explanation, DC10 is a club in Ibiza (well of course it would be), it is 300 metres from the end of the runway and to the roars of the crowd planes come in to land only a couple of hundred feet above!
At New Year, I was wandering round the garden centres of Ibiza with Neil, not looking for psychotropic substances on this occasion, but an olive tree for his back patio at the new house.
We struck a strange trio, three more unlikely amigos you are likely to find. Neil gold toothed, beanie-hatted tattooist with all the bedside manner of Neil the tattooist, Eugene; Danish sex god, sporting a black python skin jacket and matching Cuban heeled boots, et moi your basic ‘eurotrash’, looking for the perfect plant.
We would stop from time to time and discuss pruning methods to create the perfect topiary and disc like platers that will adorn said tree.
Flame trees of Ibiza
Perhaps a glass of Mezcal, Tequilla or Hierbas con hielo would aid the decision making process, so we adjourn to a restaurant and while away the hours.
Ibiza does that to you, minutes become hours, which in turn become days, one minute you were sober and completely in control of your faculties, the next you wake up next to a cactus or a prickly pear. No metaphor intended!
I strolled along the golden sands of Las Salinas without a soul around shoes and socks off, lay on the sand, paddled in the sea; I could be forgiven for forgetting that it was January.
Toe in the water
From Ibiza I headed for Pitti Uomo in Florence, by comparison it was grey and damp, and full of yet more men in ridiculous outfits, I do not include myself.
Pitti as it is known has become selfie heaven, Instagram Nirvana, the more OTT the outfit, the more people hope to be snapped for an obscure Japanese fashion magazine, which is printed on seaweed and available only from a small kiosk opposite the middle school in Fukaura.
I returned to London, my aura a little shaken by the look, but have no fear; none of it will be making its way onto our shelves, so rest easy.
Dedicated followers of fashion
There will new stock shortly, but meanwhile you will have to amuse yourselves with the rantings of a man with a very long red tie.
For goodness sake, give me five minutes sojourn from travelling, and celebrating my birthday in order to write a newsletter.
I thought you’d all be glad of a rest from all this drivel, but I have been reminded more than once, that I hadn’t written anything in ages.
This has meant that I have had to break off from my Bacchanalian feasting long enough to press fingers on keys and give my own peculiar take on world events.
My birthday; if you were not aware occurs on All Saints Day, this was a source of mirth for one or two of you. Moi the third Duke of Pimlico in a vineyard in Bordeaux at 3am with my reputation?
But my thoughts are drawn to current affairs…. No, the news, not my private life. For heaven sake, do you have to look at everything from a juxtaposition? I tried it, my back has only just recovered, and I know there are some of you who will go home and try this tonight, I warn you it’s not what you think, so don’t blame me.
Politics on both sides of the Pond is starting to look like a really bad haircut, with politicians fighting for attention, like Donkey in the Shrek movies, pick me, pick me. Waiting for Simon to press his Golden Buzzer.
Unfortunately it seems our politics have never been more polarised and the speeches are being made from the wings each playing to their own gallery, too scared or unable to understand how to take the centre stage.
The Washington and Westminster villages are starting to look like bubbles where the people on the inside are the ones wielding the pins and seem set on trying burst them!
I leave it to the Bard to Prologue the scene:
Two households, both unalike in dignity,
In fair Parliament, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean….
Jingoism Unchained, the people are set free, we are all headed for Candyland.
Europe meanwhile, has been enjoying an Indian summer, et ego quoque.
I decided that this year the celebrations would mirror those of Bacchus, but only after I had returned to the white isle for one last swim. I have a small secluded beach I run to, where I can guarantee that I will not be troubled by people requiring my sartorial advice, where I can be at one with nature.
Even in the middle of October the water in Ibiza was warm enough for me not to require a layer of goose grease, anyway it would be a terrible waste of foie!
Neil was on sparkling form, we were going to cycle together now that we have formed the Inkadelic Cycling Club, but a short, sharp shower put paid to that and Neil decided that I required a little more work. Raoul my ‘waxer’ was mortified, but he does scare easily and Halloween was just round the corner. He just kept muttering, is that blood, real blood?
It was my intention to post a photo of Neil at work, but it has been censored following several complaints after I had posted it on Facebook.
Inkadelic Cycling Club Ibiza
Neil has finally put down some serious roots on the island, and is looking forward to moving into his new pad in D’alt Villa next year.
We both made a new friend this year and our thoughts are with this new friend and his dad after Shifty came off worse in an altercation with a car. Shifty is a miniature pinscher and those of you who are that way inclined can follow him on Instagram ‘Shiftys_world’.
My life is full of rich experiences, whether someone is chucking pound coins at me and demanding that I dance, perhaps this is what it is like being at a West Ham game (it transpires that the rent on the Olympic Stadium is less than I pay for the shop, how does that happen?); or an older lady telling me how much she admires how I fill out my clothes, it appears I’m on to a winning streak!
Bordeaux by night
My birthday celebrations took place in Bordeaux and Saint Emilion, swanning, not swaying round a couple of Chateaux.
My private tour was organised by ‘Bordeaux with Elodie’.
This was followed by a tasting of some magnificent wines, and before you ask, that is a bottle of Chateau Angelus, and yes we did taste 8 wines. Hic!
If I must!
And I may have bought the odd bottle.
This was followed by lunch and a visit to a more modern set up, at the newly renovated Chateau Tour Saint Christophe, set in the beautiful rolling hills around Saint Emilion. Wonderful wines with a different structure.
Laetitia drove us back to Bordeaux, via all the Chateaux of the area. The sun went down to end a perfect day.
Sunset over Chateau Angelus
The next day was spent at the Dune du Pyla, where I imagined I was Lawrence of Arabia… I can but dream, but by all accounts I have strange imagination and do not live in the real world.
Dune du Pyla
And lunch…… You can see the weather was kind.
We have many new projects afoot including a 360 degree view inside the shop on both levels. Just drag the little dangly man on Streetview over the shop on Google Maps and by the power of the interweb you are beamed by Scotty straight onto the ground floor, press the lift button and the basement beckons.
There will be a new website, it will be attached to this blog and also as a separate entity and much more impressive presence on social media.
And if you have read all the way to the end, there will be a wine tasting soon, including some of the wines I brought back.
I have, as I always have; been tripping the light fantastic.
There is some new stock, but this newsletter is merely window dressing, a little foreplay before the main event, call it a drip feed.
I could employ a ‘fluffer’ to keep you all entertained, plumping pillows, stroking cashmere, but already I can feel your minds starting to wander. In a future life I may come back as a goldfish, anyway, where was I? Whoa… stop: side of the bowl!
Lest we forget
To begin the beguine, I would like to thank everyone for their support on my little trip to New York. It was a pleasure to see you all, some old friends, and some new.
And I fell in love, her name is Erica, she’s not yet 2 and adorable. Sorry Henry!
As you can gather I will be planning many more jaunts to quench my thirst for wanderlust, and for those of you who are unsure, ‘wanderlust’ is not a cocktail. I can already see this newsletter will be full of explanations, definitions and double entendres, and that’s starting to confuse the spell checker.
I could sit around all day reading philosophy, pretending I understood Seneca, but as a goldfish I swim in shallower water. The world’s sfumatore is a grey mist, I am a child of blue skies, and talking of blue skies, I was back in Ibiza at the weekend.
Neil world famous tattooist invited me out for a few days cycling, he is a changed man, his days of partying are behind him, now it’s all carbon fibre (fiber for the Americans amongst you), gear ratios and black Lycra.
Two great, long rides in two days, the first included a stop for lunch at Puertas del Cielo. I may have had a slight accident afterwards, whilst I was standing still. Why are there always paparazzi around at moments like this?
The second ride was on the beautiful island of Formentera. I had always assumed that the island was entirely flat! Well it is; apart from the long climb up to the lighthouse at Pilar de la Mola.
Creative writing moment… I climbed the hill up to La Mola, my legs still heavy from the previous day’s exertions and the tarmac was dragging on my tyres in the heat, I navigated bend after bend as I made swift progress towards the summit. My thighs were starting to burn and I changed through the gears to keep my cadence steady, beads of sweat forming on my forehead, each turn led to another, the air thinning and filled with the scent of the pine trees, the tight Lycra clinging to me, fifty shades of blue, not much further… OK that’s enough, my mum might be reading this!!!
The Hills have Hills
The Hills of Formentera
Neil always carries a spare banana in his Lycra… Stop it!
On the way down to El Faro de la Mola he ate the banana and discarded the skin at the side of the road. We stopped at the lighthouse and took some photos, Neil drank a ‘Red Bull’, tucked the empty can into the pocket on the back of his shirt, we turned round to head back to the village, and a well-deserved beer.
We had cycled a few hundred metres when I was passed by a Police car, lights and siren on. There must have been some sort of emergency, perhaps a lost dog; you know one of those toy ones which live in a handbag, maybe it had locked itself out!
BUT no, they were pulling Neil over.
The older policeman who had been driving was lecturing Neil about the illegal dumping of a banana skin. Neil was saying as it was ‘residuos biodegradables’ (hablo español), he didn’t think there was anything wrong with it and then produced the empty ‘Red Bull’ can from his pocket which he was going to recycle!
The younger policeman in the passenger seat was laughing the whole time.
He’d noticed that Neil was smoking a joint.
This could only happen on Ibiza.
Neil was let off with a reprimand and offered to go back and pick the discarded skin up.
Meanwhile he had sent me the location of a dead hedgehog we’d seen at the side of the road; someone would be back for that later, to add to Neil’s menagerie in formaldehyde!
He was in London at the end of last week for a Tatttoo Convention, a great success and I know he was here to pick up a few special things!
Sadly we missed each other as I was preforming live on stage, well not on stage per say, more I was approached by a number of groupies to produce my best Robin Williams impersonation.
Please read to the end there will be some news that some of you may have been waiting for!
I have moved the information up the Newsletter as one or two of you were complaining that you were nodding off before the end!
The VOLPE Sale will start with previews from Wednesday 27th July 2016.
Right, so on with the important stuff.
So as the dust settles, tumbleweed rolls past the door.
A hosepipe ban is only hours away, we are basking in only the 4th day this year of over 25C, and according to Jake the year is nearly over.
They are frying eggs on the pavement… Easy-over there!
My mobile occasionally rings, I say occasionally.
When it isn’t a wrong number (stalkers from Italy), or a personal injury claim (of which I have several running at the moment, predominantly for my hurt feelings), it has been Theresa asking me to pop round and fix a cabinet, Jeremy to break up a fight in the school playground, Neptune to make him a new trident, or the FA ask for advice on how to dig a hole and then fill it in again, and again, and again.
Then there is the thud at the front door, do I dare to dream? Hollywood, a screenplay, a biopic, who would play me? I’d have to forget anyone who I ‘may’ have insulted through the magic that is this Newsletter, but as they are not named, they wouldn’t know.
The ‘D’ list definitely not, he’s done way too much Panto, and I don’t dress like Danny La Rue. Oh yes you do, Oh no I don’t. Stop!
Then there’s that other chap who got really hot and bothered by the photos of me in red Lycra. Given his physique, my vision of the romantic scenes would be of a wardrobe falling on someone, with the key still in, more cabinetmaker, than locksmith.
So it’s a case of who’s not working at the moment, and I must say it’s a bit of a struggle, as we have sadly lost a couple of candidates this year, we could have had me playing Prince, being me, but that’s just too weird even for me.
There are the usual suspects; Ryan Gosling, Ethan Hawke, Russell Crow or Jack Sparrow, even an avatar, but then I might get mistaken for a Pokemon. Go damn spot, go I say! Yet, who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him. I can hear Shakespeare a spinnin’, Macbeth versus Pokemon. “Lay on Macduff, and damned be him who first cries ‘Hold enough’!”
Ah! ‘Tempus Fugit’.
The maelstrom of political intrigue is threatening to engulf the holidays of our illustrious leaders and we are surrounded by those whose tousled locks are the stuff of legend.
Our Foreign Secretary who looks like he has been pulled through a hedge fund backwards following Brexit, The Donald whose hair is so swept over that there may be surfers trapped in there, and Uncle Bill whose split ends resulted in the most expensive haircut of all time, so spare thought as we are drawn towards le petit “Francois” who is clearly paying by instalments!
Will he be wearing a bathing cap to the beach this year, and what will be the repercussions for his coiffeur? After being paid €10,000 a month to deal with wee Franky’s helmet hair, how on earth will he banish those stray forehead tan lines and constant smell of rubber?
So whatever we feel about the gravy train, it will be followed by one carrying Hollandaise!
I’ve done a little more travelling. Aha! I hear you all exclaim at once, we were wondering how long it would take you to get there! I didn’t want to seem predictable and just rush in without a little foreplay.
I was back in Ibiza for an unveiling, well, less of an unveiling and more for a casting off. Neil had broken his wrist a month ago and finally the cast was removed. Finally God created man, and for those of you who thought I had yet more tattoos, this photo is of Neil’s hand!
Keep reading to the end!
And God created man
And the man’s genius is starting to head in a new direction.
Limited edition, hand engraved dials for a Milgauss.
We shared a long lunch under the umbrellas of the marina and on the wander back to town I spotted a Ferrari 458 hidden under a bleached cover, sheltering from the sun.
On the way to the airport and Rome for a little work, I stopped at Salinas for this.
I spent the evening in Rome with Max and his family, at the restaurant Il Moro with the owners Stefania and Simone.
Still one of my favourite places in the world to eat, and eat we did, to a standstill, until I could not eat another thing and just sit and watch the sun go down!
Once again I am asked how I come up with these phantasmagorical tales.
Well let me tell you.
You leave a couple of politicians in charge of the magical lantern and suddenly they are projecting all sorts of frightening images onto the wall, playing with our imagination, fuelling our fears, creating a farrago, until in their frenzy to outdo each other, they knock the magic lantern over and then scarper, blaming each other for burning the theatre down.
I think we drew the short straw.
The Italians have opera, which is their theatre drawn from real life, the Japanese; Kabuki with their exotic make-up, masks and songs, the Mexicans have their wrestling with its exotic make-up, masks and songs, just ask Donald; and the Welsh have Gareth Bale.
We have on the other hand have got the “The Good Old Days” back, with Leonard Sachs and all the pathos of a smug pug singing the “Marseillaise”. Apparently we have our country back?
Long, lazy days of doing sweet FA, not unlike our premiership superstars. Drinking cider in the parks, fighting like the Inter City Firm, no grudge too small, no boots too big, all in the days before love and ecstasy. How bizarre to see a smile on everyone’s face.
I owned an Austin Allegro with its oddly shaped, square steering wheel and it didn’t matter if it was made on a Friday, it was a dreadful car on whichever of the 3 days a week it was made. I think it ran on coal, and the suspension was made out of elastic bands.
Now admittedly if I was dragged back to “The Darling Buds of May” and Catherine Zeta-Jones was my Cherie Amour I might view it as a lovely summer day, but 1976 was a long time ago, and there is only so much rolling around in the hay one can do. Quiet, anybody who thinks they know better!
How the nostalgia seeps up through cracks in the pavement, and it will, but we have moved on.
With the French in charge of EDF, the Germans owning nPower and Eon UK, the Spanish, Scottish Power, to paraphrase ‘The Sun’; “If common sense does not prevail, will the last person to leave Britain please blow the candle out!”
I am fascinated to see how nasty politics has become. Perhaps they have been trapped in the underworld for a very long time with Perseus, drinking absinthe and caustic soda, watching endless repeats of Eastenders.
Hades raised an eyebrow. When he sat forward in his throne, shadowy faces appeared in the folds of his black robes, faces of torment, as if the garment was stitched of trapped souls from the Fields of Punishment, trying to get out.
If only I could get him to give Boris’s bike puncture!
Now, is not the time for politicians to enter into philosophical discussion, it is time to run. The masses now have pitchforks and the politicians are looking a lot like Wicker Men.
Anyway I shall head back to Ibiza, and Hedonism not Hades, I know where my priorities lie.
I will not be staying in the new rural hotel bocadilloed between the club DC10 and the airport. It is called ‘In Flagrante’. So if you are spied in ‘delicto’ it will be by drugged up clubbers from 500ft landing at 3am. I supposed you might say. “Only in Ibiza”.
Since May’s newsletter I have visited the island a couple of times. The first trip involved Neil, Tony and myself spending the night in the DJ booth at Pacha with a young, up and coming DJ called David Morales. The best set I have ever witnessed, below are a couple of photos.
Can you call me back, I’m working
It finished very late! As it did every night, and I will admit to falling asleep for 20 minutes at the bar, Itaxa at 6.30am, where they serenaded me into slumber with a Spanish guitar. The eighty year old lady, who owns it, gave me a tea towel for a pillow! Tony’s eyes were open, but don’t sharks sleep that way?
We visited a bar called Exis owned by Birgit a German friend and she has a wall covered in photos of clients over the years. It was a poignant reminder of losing my dear friend Richard, 5 years ago, and how many of the faces that stare out from these photos are still with us?
The photo speaks for itself.
We enjoyed the usual birthday celebrations on Formentera, and after 6 litres of vodka, this spider saw a fly and the hypnotic spray from the wake of the boat sped us from one paradise to another.
June is easily the best month in Ibiza, the sea not too crowded, nor the restaurants or bars, people are still calm. Neil is still drinking green tea, before the triple espresso, high octane ‘cafe caleta’ season starts.
As in the past I have used trips to Ibiza to avoid going to Pitti Uomo in Florence. This may be the final straw, and why I may never go again. I also re-iterate, this is not me. It is so wrong on so many levels and in what world does this person think this looks acceptable. There are moments in fashion where you realise that the vogue has reached a tipping point and those teetering on the brink will tumble into the sea to be dashed against the rocks, dresses made out of newspaper, anything with a medusa’s head, shoes that make you walk like Dick Emery and braces that look like a ‘Mankini’ for a dandy!
Lastly a sunset, because we have been bereft of suns a setting, lords a leaping, seven swans a swimming, I have been lucky with the ladies dancing, but one makes ones own luck? Unless you are sharing a table in a restaurant; some will know this story, the rest can only guess at how I might have been transformed!
And a Jakeism to end – Christmas is now closer than the last New Year. Joy, thy name is Time!
Mine will be 88 in a few weeks. So I felt it might be a good idea to spend a few days with her because on the actual day I will no doubt be in Ibiza, celebrating it on her behalf!
However, the weekend did create a few interesting moments.
Some of you will have heard me tell of her epic levels of fitness, and the 80 steps she climbs at least once a day to her front door. It is not a pilgrimage worshipped, but a trip to recycle the empties! She’d raise a glass to that.
In my case, the grape didn’t fall far from the vine.
Living in Somerset, getting around can be problematic, the local bus company has just gone bust and taxis are few and far between. So if my brother and I are ‘Casa Mama’ she likes to get out and about.
This last weekend was glorious, long days, cloudless skies and warm sunshine.
On the Monday we went to the Valley of the Rocks in Lynton and my mother decided she was going to walk the South West Coast Path. The path although tarmacked, is only 3 feet wide with a sheer drop of 300 feet to the sea below on one side, and has no railing. Mum set off at a pace that would have Paula Radcliffe breathing hard.
Valley of the Rocks – The South West Coast Path
What I have failed to mention is that my mother suffers from Macular Degeneration and carries a white stick at all times! It is known as the ‘Nutkin Slayer’ due to the number of squirrels that have perished at its hand. When I ask mum about the state of her eyesight she pulls the Donald Pleasance trick from ‘The Great Escape’, I can’t tell you how many damn pins I have stood on in her kitchen.
I jogged along at her shoulder for well over a mile ensuring she didn’t make a hasty Brexit, then she ignored my offer of directions and we ended up a mile from the car. This lady wasn’t for turning, so whilst she sat and sipped a cup of Earl Grey, I jogged back to fetch it.
Mother, you want to walk WHERE?
We adjourned for lunch at The Black Venus in Challacombe, and before you ask she wasn’t the one of the ‘Three Graces’ that was banished for bad behaviour. It is a lovely pub, with wonderful food, and great service.
I have oft complained that there is nowhere local to my mother for a decent meal, but it seems times have changed. OK, my mother doesn’t drive; thankfully, and Challacombe is too far to go for an evening meal, however it was a wonderful treat for us.
On the list next time for mum and a must, is Reeves in Dunster. Absolutely fantastic is all I can say; the fact the sun was shining and we were sat in a walled garden dating back to the Norman Conquest looking at Dunster Castle only added to the pleasure of it. I shall pack mum into a taxi, or worse still get one of her octogenarian friends to drive her, the Yarn Market opposite has been standing for nearly a millennium, what could happen?
Before you ask, I have been abroad this month; I may have been to Ibiza.
Yes OK, twist my arm, it’s where I started the month. But now you’ve got me started!
My friends had a suitable haircut after last year, the marina is still the tripping hazard it always was. Oh, come on; not like that.
Neil and Scratch are on amazing form. The master continues to ply his trade, and I am starting to see shoots of maturity in his behaviour. He has taken up cycling, although from our conversations, it seems he is cycling mainly downhill. We lunched at Puerto de Cielo, a chiringuito perched high on a cliff near to San Antonio, a far flung place, yet sat on the next table was a client of mine from Miami. I am now world famous (I know not for what!), but you are now reading this odd little ditty in 117 countries. Reading may be too strong a word, but the pictures do paint a thousand emoticons! 😉
The mighty man at work. His genius is his art.
We Club Tropicana’d it at Pikes for an afternoon before I allowed Neil to do a little work.
Is that the Bus Stop?
The following day I left Ibiza and headed for Mallorca for 24 hours, and our new cycling base. Adam you have duped me once too often, not satisfied with the Velcro running suit, you tempted me with…. I’d rather not say! Well OK, a spa and a Raki massage. The voice plays tricks on the ears on a mobile phone! It turned out to be 24 hours of Ikea, first in the store and then constructing chest of drawers, after chest of drawers and Adam stood over me, stop watch in hand. I left a broken man, but at least with all my parts intact!
However there is a German Schloss devoid of 15ft of BB Italia leather sofa, tables and chairs, how all that fell off the back of lorry I’ll never know!
My feet had barely touched the ground, when I headed for Florence and Milan. Cloth from Andrea for a lucky few and Milan for ties.
So ice cream… Ooops
Photos of Monica Bellucci.
SPQR – Monica Bellucci
Try saying it.
Should have put a ring on it…
Wake up, I’ve not finished yet!
I stayed at Fifty Eight Suite in Milan. Guys, superb thank you so very much. Comfort and style in the centre of Milan.
May has also been cultural. An evening of Mozart’s Requiem, by candlelight in St. Martin’s in the Fields and a scary afternoon watching of watching a dozen Punch and Judy shows, tucked away in Covent Garden. Oh no you didn’t, Oh yes I did, and I have the mental scars to prove it!
Mozart – He shoots, he scores
A little stock, for those who are interested, the beach towels are back and at least you can dry the rain off, if you don’t get to lie in the sun! For those of you who are that way inclined, or prone to lying down…
Carp Beach Towel – SOLD OUT
Crane Beach Towel
As it was a Sundae I went to The Colony Grill at The Beaumont Hotel, and as if by magic this appeared.
Finally I leave with one of my mother’s gems. We were talking culture, well, mum was talking and I was nodding as if to show a faint understanding of what she was talking about. In discussion she spoke of Keneth Brannagh, and how he has moved on and his mantle is now being carried by the likes of ‘Cummerbitch’…
After those of you who thought last month’s photo was of me, this is not my Mother!
Let’s start with a photo of a lovely lady draped in fur!
Thank you Neil for the lovely photo of Scratch and many congratulations on the work with ProHunter.
ProHunter and Inkadelic
So on with business…
SPECTRE – Pah!
Jose Mourinho, I have nothing to say…
And now I have another stalker, a couple in fact. They are constantly pestering me, vying for my attention. Each time I pick up my phone or go to type on my laptop they are there. What can I help you with?
I have been toiling over the VAT despite the attentions of Siri and Cortana when I should be treading grapes, hopefully one may lead to the other and since I’ve started on note for those oenophiles amongst you, I will add a little sulphur, a splash of ‘amster and an ‘int of elderberries.
A big thank you those who turned up for the wine tasting. Vash was on fantastic form, not a barrel tossed or broken, the wines equally so, a solitary white amongst the wintry reds.
You may have read it, but if not there’s been a little buzz about Volpe, in the meja, so to speak. No, no, no, my behaviour has not made front page news yet again, but there is time and there is Hope, and her friends Faith and Chastity.
The Three Graces, and me the 3rd Duke of Wybourne in the Victoria and Albert Museum at 3am with my reputation. Oh daughters of Zeus save me from the gaze of Maggie, this Lady is not for turning!
Time Out and the Daily Mail have been keen to get my opinions on a whole gamut of news and social issues. So I’ll have to be careful what I say.
Should I knock the newsletter back a cog or two?
Do you really think so, or shall I continue as usual and try to “Blow the bloody doors orf”? As Cris my old school chum says, “It’s a bit too late to change”, he’s only 21 and in love. (Cris, you owe me a fiver).
I am still embroiled in my birthday celebrations and have no plans to shuffle off into the mists surrounding the moor quite yet. The party is just getting started. I will just hand Vash my glass, and like Tantalus I will be eternally tortured by the proximity of temptation…
The 4am parties will continue and there will be blurry photos of the London Eye as I try to beat the sunrise home. The whiff of sulphur will return, and the soft cushion of earth in my Transylvanian home will await me.
I feel like Claudius without the guile, avoiding Messalina who is armed with an axe, less Derek Jacobi and more Derek and The Dominoes. I’m losing this game to a bloke in a flat cap who keeps muttering into his wrist and bears a remarkable resemblance to Gary Kasparov, all his bones are doubles.
This might all sound a bit surreal, but the legacy of the little green fairy continues.
One my friends is a bit of a geezer, the kind of bloke who’d hang you by your ankles out of a ground floor hotel window, a little bit ‘Carny’, and not to be messed with. After sealing a recent business transaction, the other side in a show of mutual respect and appreciation ushered my friend to a lock-up in a slightly less salubrious part of town to furnish him with a gift, this gift was a full size merry-go-round horse, not just the head on a pillow. How an earth he’s going to get that home to Hong Kong I’ll never know, it’s not Pegasus!
Once again I have managed to shoehorn in Greek Mythology and more of Zeus’s dysfunctional offspring.
It seems a slightly better deal than another friend who’s just invested in 1/8th of a cow. Saw him coming, cow racing? I didn’t even think ‘cow tipping’ was a sport!
And then there’s another strange fellow who mixes his Martini’s on the engine of his Ferrari, there is a video on YouTube. Of course there is!
I feel as once again I have stepped into the pages of Alice in Sunderland. It said “Drink Me”, and so I did. I was immediately afflicted with ‘small man syndrome’, and although perfectly formed, so no change there, the glass that Vash is holding looks like a swimming pool, is that Raquel Welch waving at me from the inflatable stuffed olive? Sorry, must dash my Fantastic Voyage continues.
Finally, a bit of publicity, a good friend of mine Henry Blofeld (not the Bond villain, but Blowers of cricketing fame) and Peter Baxter, being ably supported by the lovely Valeria are touring their hilarious ‘Rogues on the Road’. Catch them whilst they are out and about, and if any of you do fancy anything Blower’s related there is always:
Sport appears to be imploding all around us and I wanted to wait a little for all the wailing, crying, backstabbing and recriminations to subside before commenting.
The strange game with the ball that is not round has finished, and we won what looks like a beautifully carved wooden spoon. So those of you who support other slightly less successful rugby teams, I can see you gazing on in envy…
A Welsh friend of mine who will remain nameless, Daffyd, his favourite flower being a daffydil, sent me a rather tasteless and pointless photo of a Welsh Dragon torching Twickenham. It makes a change of the last one he sent me of him surrounded by his sheep with the caption ‘My Hareem’. Revenge is a dish best served cold, apart from lamb, which I prefer pink!
I have spared his blushes and only posted the photo of the dragon.
And who’d have thought it 10/10 for the England footballers. Granted, not the most difficult group to qualify from, and my Nan’s Village Hall Eleven could have beaten Lithuania. Apparently Miles Storey may be spending his next loan session in my Nan’s team. So he will then have played at a City, a Town and a Village.
Young Mr Storey isn’t the only one getting around, Ibiza Neil is touring the Far East as ‘Emergency Tattoo Artist’ to David Morales and the crew. This I’m sure, is just in case mid set one of the DJs has a crisis of confidence and requires a little inkie touch up here or there.
I am a simple soul. So this made me smile.
Water on Mars
I took the new, massively hyped iAdrianS on a gentle bender (test). No, not a gender test.
The current model’s power cells are topped up by solar power, which is obviously one of the reasons why I need to travel so much, I will chase the sun like Icarus. A ‘Supermoon’ every 30 years is not good enough.
I hope that we may be able to do away with the solar feature at some point in the future, otherwise we will struggle to sell any beyond the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer given the summer we have had.
Scorpio and my name is Adrian
Now I don’t like a woman that’s quiet
A woman who carries herself like Mr Universe
Mmm take my hand
Come with me baby, to Love Land
Let me show you how sweet it could be
Sharing loving with me
Goodness me the absinthe is hanging around in my system! Float, float on…
Currently I am in talks with VW about a diesel powered version. They are little cagey about the data, but they have showered me with so many gifts, how could I say no?
A breakfast companion of mine is keen on getting her daily dose of Vitamin D, stripping off at the drop of a hat at the sun’s zenith, apparently whatever, wherever and whenever the moment takes her, she calls it her Martini moment, I know she’s not solar powered perhaps she’s just an exhibitionist, et moi?
Upward/Downward Dog – Regents Park
This lady also thinks that I am some kind of exotic, international playboy!
I’ll have you know that this lady is not Lorraine Chase, firstly that was Cinzano not Martini, and secondly I don’t fly from Luton Airport unless I am sedated.
The iAdrianS test was to involve the unit taking part in yoga on Mallorca, so hopefully the hardware and software should work in unison, just in time to blow the bloody doors off in Ibiza, closing parties? Pah!
The yoga was organised through friends of mine who have Sardinia Yoga, they provide yoga breaks in various locations in the Med, not just Sardinia, just in case you thought the iAdrianS mapping system and location services weren’t functioning correctly.
The training aspect of the trip was to involve cycling, so I would have got my Lycra fix. Given how poor the summer has been, I’ve had to wear a fat suit under the Lycra to keep warm on the bike, not my usual svelte look.
And should I have a problem with the firmware, I’ve brought along a little Papa Smurf to help…
For those of you who think I may be losing it by taking up yoga, I will warn you that as always I have an ulterior motive. I have yet to work out what that is, but come the end I will have worked one out! I mean it’s not as if there will be semi-clad people contorting themselves into strange and exotic positions. So another night at the Piers Gaveston Society looks as though it is on the cards, and Dave will be having the Suckling Pig!
That is before he sinks his pearly whites into Jezza.
It’s not going to be a seven course menu degustazione is it? Or more likely, a particularly small ‘amuse bouche’, or one of those sorbets to de-glaze your mouth between courses. Given that all around him are laying into him with gusto he will be nice and tender. Grind his bones to make my bread.
No trip to Mallorca is complete without a visit to 4 kilos
The yoga went well between the thunder storms, yet the cycling and running didn’t happen, the weather put paid to that. I changed hotels and headed north towards Pollenca, bad idea, on so many levels…
I’d hoped for some good weather to put the iAdrianS through his paces, but it was dull and by the time I had finished dinner in a lovely restaurant called Marisco in Can Picafort it was raining, and then it began to properly rain. I made it back to the hotel to be greeted by International Line Dancing Week.
No really, it’s true. At any one time there were 100 German men and women shaking their thing to ‘My Achy Breaky Heart’; when out the line stepped Daisy Duke, or will his name be Duke Daisy, a transvestite of well over six feet tall dressed as a blonde cowgirl. OMG.
I was having a conversation on Whatsapp with a young lady at the time, she asked for photographic proof, now she wishes she hadn’t, and is still being treated for shock.
So this has turned into a rather long, rambling newsletter, and there is no stopping me now, gathering no lichen…
Florence in the Rain
Storm clouds are building
After a long, damp day in Florence, I hopped on a train and headed through the Apennines. I followed this with a very late night fighting over a steak with Emanuele Putin in a misty Bologna.
As I walked towards the mystic portal, light surrounded me, a wooden door creaked open and I was warmly greeted by Vladamir Addone. What happened next is the stuff of folklore that has become Drogheria della Rosa.
The Portico Opens
So “Blatter, Valke and Platini”, sounds like a pawnbrokers; have all been suspended for a short period. One of them is very short, period! A source tells me that they have been placed in a sack with a snake to fight amongst themselves, on a boat to Australia. Let them deal with the immigration fallout from that one, and again ooooooh Mr Bond once they run out of food they will only be able to eat one thing; rat.
Clearly I’m using the newsletter to gear up for the launch of SPECTRE.
A little bird has told me that the former Toronto mayor Rob Ford is being ‘lined up’ to succeed Cepp the mushroom. Once again I am just throwing jokes around like confetti. Oh, how you spoil us your Excellency.
As his Excellency I now have a Palazzo all to myself in Bologna.
Finally when travelling by air, look around you.
On our approach to Florence, the woman next to me started to get excited, talking in an animated fashion into to her earpiece, something about looking for a clue.
In a flash, the Lycra lady leapt to her feet, shouted “Eureka”, opened the door to the plane and jumped out. The last thing I saw was her rear disappearing into the fresh air.