May Newsletter 2016

Mothers!

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

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?

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.

http://blackvenusinn.co.uk

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?

http://www.reevesrestaurantdunster.co.uk
At least you’ll read about it here!

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!

Haircut?

Haircut?

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.

Queen Scratch

Queen Scratch

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.

Inkadelic

Inkadelic

We Club Tropicana’d it at Pikes for an afternoon before I allowed Neil to do a little work.

Is that the Bus Stop?

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

Fondente!

Fondente!

Photos of Monica Bellucci. 

SPQR - Monica Bellucci

SPQR – Monica Bellucci

Try saying it.

Sapphire rings.

Should have put a ring on 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.

http://www.fiftyeightmilano.it

On the way back

On the way back

So into the finishing straight.

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

Mozart – He shoots, he scores


Mental Scars

Mental Scars

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

Carp Beach Towel – SOLD OUT


Crane Beach Towel

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.

Sundae Lunch

Sundae Lunch

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!

Not Mother!

Not Mother!

Copyright © 2016 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.

March 2010 – Volpe Newsletter

March has arrived and preparations, or at least media speculation for the World Cup is in full swing. I’ll leave discussing the General Election until next month. It will guarantee that I have something to write about, and perhaps someone on one side or the other will have decided what they might want to do once they have charge of the piggy bank and the hammer.

My apologies if you do not share our obsession with the failure with the English national side. If it makes it easier, Scots aside, it would be as easy to insert any national side instead of our own, and in place of the World Cup, your competition of choice. I am sure the sentiments would be the same. Unless of course you are Canadian, and contrive to ensure that the playing surface suits only your team, and in the case of Americans, games that only you play.

After all, we are talking of infighting in the squad, last minute injuries to key players and before long an incident in a nightclub involving, well I can only leave you to guess. Fingers crossed and just hope that Wayne Rooney’s monthly salary, which is far too large to write on the back of a postage stamp is enough to keep him motivated. What does sound greater the current rumoured £150,000 per week or £600,000 per month? We revel in the vain hope that we may win if only, everything and luck is on our side, that Stevie G and Fat Frank can play together because it’s clear that John and Bridgie can’t and now won’t, or only with each other’s toys. And of course that the WAGS stay in Sun City, perhaps, happy in the company of lifeguards, waiters and pool boys, apologies if these are among your chosen professions I do not wish this suffering upon you.

As you know from the last news letter I recently travelled to Milan. I stayed in some apartments close to the Duomo, and the Galleria. It’s many years since I have visited this fair city; more like, I’ve tried to avoid it as best I can. As I suspected Milan still has little to offer me, and I have oft complained that the cities in Italy empty in the evening leaving a weary visitor few places to enjoy, and the best places to eat are well outside the city. It was a great culinary festival known as Milan Fashion Week, Internationale versus Chelsea and the apartments next door were rumoured to be full of models. This offered a distant glimmer of fun. In a word: No. The trip only got better when the French air traffic controllers’ strike delayed my flight back and I spent a couple of hours on the tarmac at Malpensa, and what’s in a name?

Anyway, back to the burden of celebrity, I imagine that means “well known”. Well let me explain you’re not, and you know who you are. No I’m not being a bully, and talented means “offering a skill of some value”. Let me explain Panto doesn’t count, and in your case your best is definitely behind you, you know, behind you. Sometimes it just passes over their head.

Since it’s the first thing that most people discuss with me, and it is an English obsession: the weather. Yes, it has been cold, and no I can’t do anything about it. Of course I’d rather be on the beach in Ibiza, but the weather is no better there. If I was there I would have my friend Neil (The Tattooist), and his problems with his sciatica, for company. No, I’m not being selfish. I remember what I was like with my gout but I just wouldn’t want to sit around like a grumpy old gits discussing our health.

STOP PRESS: What did I say, poor little David now needs an operation and looks like he’ll miss the World Cup, but it does mean that now there’ll be no way of getting away from Victoria….

Whether the Weather:

1: As I said, I can’t do anything about it, and no, I’m not going to do that stupid dance, just in case. We have the Morris Dancers for that.

2: The first day of spring is March 21st, we’re not there yet….

3: British Airways are going on strike, so the chances of getting away now rely upon collective Willie waving.

4: The clouds on the horizon really are clouds, not some metaphor for the economic climate, which appears overcast and foggy, and the long term forecast has been dropped.

5: Don’t just look at holiday brochures: book something. You know a holiday at home isn’t going to be good enough and it won’t be any cheaper. You tried it last year and all you did was moan about the cost of things.

6: Look, I had a part time job at Butlin’s, trust me I know….

7: No, Pontins, Warners or Centre Parcs aren’t going to be any better. Get some vitamin D, rickets is thing of the past.

8: Sorry I just had to stop for a moment and warm my hands over the candle. Well you wouldn’t be able to read my scratchy handwriting.

9: And the first day of summer is June 21st, so try and hold back on the shorts and the Birkenstocks please, even though the sun might make an appearance today.

10: After all that lovely cold weather put paid to all those horrible germs that you carry around.

11: Boys and girls, spring also heralds the beginning of “Duran Watch”. You know you’ve been waiting for it, and those of you who know Duran, will be watching…

12: Soon it’ be time for those intimate waxings, named after faraway places, Hollywood, Brazil, Las Vegas and Land’s End.

13: Unless you really want to attract my friend Hogan, who is very hirsute in his pursuit

14: JLS will release a cover of Seasons in the Sun, and for Jake’s benefit we will be buying him a box set of Cafe Del Mar, he loves it so much…..

 

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.