April 2013 – Newsletter

So today was one of those rare ornithological moments. In the words of Monty Python, beautiful plumage, but it’s just resting. I could ask Jake to recite the rest, but he’s still in shock. Traitor, I hear you all shout in unison. Why because he won 60 squid betting against his own team, the mighty Wolves, however we’ll come back to that.

Ever with my binoculars at the ready, spotted in full flight this morning, in its natural surroundings, the lesser spotted Jason. So often now it seems to prefer a more secluded office environment, but Marie and I were treated to a brief view of his immaculate feathers in The Wolseley.  There was a brief courtship between him and the even rarer, lesser spotted Jayne, but if you know the history, Jason’s mere presence close to the nest may result in more than we bargained for. If you don’t know the history, you’re just going to have to look it up.

Michael is moving back home. After several months living away from his toaster, he is returning. Fresh Prince of Bel Air, with a new roof terrace, once again his neighbours can be treated to the kind of antics that would make Caligula blush. This time rather than from behind his blinds we all may be treated to ‘Babes in the Wood’ from behind frosted glass. Feed me another grape please.

Please note, Michael has been dieting and working out for his next performance. He has taken to walking round the shop in the tiniest of shorts flexing his muscles and shouting “Beefcake” a la Cartman. I’m really starting to worry what he may be putting in the protein shakes.

Really I don’t want a “Roid Rage” incident in the shop, someone suggested rohypnol. It’s bad enough with me when I’m highly strung. Yes I know, not highly enough I hear some or all of you say.

Except the truth is always blurred, and Michael is a delightful fellow.

My weekend was taken up once again with preparing the VAT. Oh yawn, but I did go and see Iron Man 3 in 3D. I really enjoyed it, however the 3D was rubbish, and Sir Ben stole the show as “The Mandarin”. Gwynnie looked great, but then there’s a little history there!

Inside us all, there is a thespian trying to get out. I’m sure Jake will have to go back to treading the boards. It looks like he will need something to distract him from the ignominy of League One football. I know that many of you like to strike up a conversation with him about football.

A suggestion; for the moment – don’t. You see he’s hurtin’ bad, on so many levels. He mourns the passing of the ‘Great McCarthy’, the money wasted on a new stand, where next season they’ll be shooting “One Man and His Dog”. He’s been hangdog enough for the last week, and to strike up a conversation may be a step too far.

But, let’s not forget spring is here. David has broken out the shorts. Now pale, even white legs I can understand, but David’s are still a worrying shade of blue and it’s not woad. He’s a Chelsea supporter and even that wouldn’t account for it, but like all football supporters it’s OK one minute and not the next.

Eventually the warm weather will get here and we can all warm our tired, old bones. I can turn that particular shade of orange that I always go. I will face the sun at noon, and chant in unison via Skype with Neil, and even Eugene, if he’s got time to stop partying.

Like all prayers, we’ll be asking for something, without actually asking for it. Let the summer be long, sunny and hot, like the shorts you all should be wearing.

Let’s hope that they get close to your knees, no “Daisy Duke’s” for the guys, and don’t forget to wash your feet and have a pedicure. Wear driving shoes in town and save the flip-flops for the beach or the park. Perhaps paint each of the toenails a different colour it’s a look I espouse, and it keeps people at more than an arms-length in the gym. Well when you’re in the kind of shape I’m in, all attention is unwanted and unrequired. Believe that you’ll believe anything, just give me a chance to rip my shirt off and run Matthew McConaughey style for a bus. Tony, don’t record that for YouTube, please!

Anyway, I’m a vain old sod, and I don’t care. They’ll come a time when I may have to resort to a Zimmer Frame, meanwhile I have 95 year old aunt who lives in a caravan in a field and hitch-hikes everywhere. No, it has nothing to do with longevity it’s about the madness in the genes.

At last the truth is beginning to surface.

Let’s round this off with a visit from Sunil. You know he’s the one who wakes me at all hours with a text to ask me what I’m doing. Well normally at that time of day I’m sleeping, like everybody else in my time zone. He picked up a cashmere cap to match his cape, I joked about a bobble for it in Chinchilla, and he shot me a look, as if to say “are you crazy”? When what he really meant was; why didn’t I think of that? He was happy with his blue cashmere over shirt. Sunil, you live in the Middle East, why?

Exactly, there is a little madness in us all. Sometimes it is more evident than others, but as long as we nurture it, never lose it, don’t let it run around unchecked, there won’t be too much chance that we’ll get arrested, or worse…….

Lastly, two quotes:

1: You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it. – Robin Williams (How did he get in here, separated at birth?)

Jake's handy work!

Jake’s handy work!

2: There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness. – Friedrich Nietzsche

Copyright © 2013 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

February 2013 – Volpe Newsletter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Emanuele created Sardinia from a drop of wine.

Emanuele created Sardinia from a drop of wine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOVE - British Heart Foundation

LOVE – British Heart Foundation

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

BHF Padlock

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

I have listed other suggestions below.

Oscars as they should have been:

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

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

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

 

Copyright © 2013 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

December 2012 – Volpe Newsletter

OK. So I didn’t get this out before Christmas.

I could give you all sorts of excuses.

1: Duran’s pet Chihuahua, “Elvis” ate my first draught.

2: I was abducted by aliens.

3: Every single computer where the original version of this was stored crashed, deleting all my work.

But, the truth is that I have only just surfaced.

Why, you might ask? Well I hid under the bed for a few days. You can’t be too careful what with the end of the world and all that. I managed to finish the ark I was building out of matchsticks, but then I couldn’t get it out of the bottle I’d built it in.

On the outside of the bottle, it did say “drink me”, and some of you who know me, know I can’t resist a challenge. Suddenly I was the size of a sugar mouse and I didn’t like the look of the Cheshire Cat.

So there it is. I stayed there until the effects of the hallucinogens had worn off. I missed Christmas and all the trimmings. I can only be glad I didn’t think I was a turkey or the Parson’s nose. Oh, the ignominy.

But now I’m starting to worry about the fiscal cliff. We have only 24 hours to save the world. How many times must we cry wolf, before we are all eaten? When close to the edge, I always feel like jumping.

Please hasten in the New Year when all will be serene, and I will feel less like a lemming. Then I started to think what lovely coats they’d all make, and I began to relax, and all was right with the world again.

Michael has headed for a beach with “Old Wood” in hand. On this beach they have a strict dress code. I’d tell you where it was, but I know you’d all be on the first plane there. He has threatened to thwart the dress code; Speedos are banned, but he has been honing his entire physique for a moment like this, and woe be tide anyone who stands in his way. Whoa Michael, don’t scare the horses! It reminds of the joke about making a horse laugh. You can look it up if you want? I’m not telling you here!

Those of you I have seen this year, or spoken too, or emailed, thank you. Also those of you, who have commented positively on ramblings, thank you. Those of you who were less than complimentary, also, thank you. I was glad I could get under your skin.

Thanks to Jason, Jayne and all the crowd at The Wolseley, to Vash, Michael, Darren, Suhul, Sunil, Mark and anyone I might have forgotten (OK Jake), I could mention so many more, but I am starting to well up like an Oscar acceptance speech, and we do only have 24 hours to save the world.

I know President Obama and ‘Dear Silvio’ will be reading this and they both have more important tasks in hand. The former the fiscal cliff, and the latter, well let’s not go there, but he’ll be back.

Normally I would make a list of all the resolutions you have imparted to me, but this year I think I will wait until the end of January when so many will be covered in glorious failure, and I can selfishly recount each one writ large in the newsletter.

Whatever your resolutions will be I wish you luck with them. I only have my best interests at heart. Remember I have a newsletter to fill. So whatever wagon you fall off of, makes sure it is large and fast moving, in this way you are guaranteed a mention.

For those of you want to save the world. Perhaps follow a little advice offered to Bono at a concert. Whilst on stage he proclaimed that every time he clapped his hands a child in Africa died. A helpful fellow in the audience suggested in slightly more vulgar terms, that he should stop clapping. Thank you for that one Darren.

So wherever you are spending the New Year, I hope you will have a wonderful time, and I hope that next year allows me to continue to follow this ideal.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”

 

Copyright © 2012 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

August 2012 – Volpe Newsletter

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.

Sent from my ipad

 

Copyright © 2012 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

July 2012 – Volpe Newsletter

Before I start, it appears I have a lot to answer for, namely the weather. I shall quote from May’s Newsletter:

“The drought is back on. Put away your hosepipes, the paddling pool in the window remains empty. Do you know how long it will take to fill, one espresso cup at a time?

Scorchiooooo.

Of course no sooner will I have said this, than the clouds will gather, the rain will fall, and I’ll go off in search of some sunshine: Jake has always accused me of jinxing everything.”

Oooops!

I take it all back in the hope that summer might make an appearance. Currently I am suffering from “Trench Foot”, and I haven’t even been to any festivals. I pity those of you who have. No, not really, you’ll only have yourselves to blame. Off in search of drugs and alcohol, and a few cheap thrills.

Talking of this Jake went to see Bruce Springsteen, had his foot trodden on and headed for the exit before Paul McCartney. He curses about it to this day.

And Jake is finally taking a holiday. Wonders will never cease. He is headed for Spain, and a week of sun, sea and sand, and probably alcoholic poisoning. It will be an all-inclusive resort, which really means he will head for the pool, lie down and have a tube inserted into his mouth. Via this method his food and cocktails can be regularly administered without the need to voluntarily move a muscle. The gag reflex and peristalsis will see to that. Yes, I had to look them up as well. But hopefully he will return refreshed, ready to except the reality of life in the Championship , for a season before relegation means free fall to the Conference. At least he doesn’t support Rangers.

Sunil has been to see me, and we did lunch. I only do this about once a year, because I am a breakfast man, and yes, we all know where! However this time we went there for lunch and Jason nearly fell off his perch. Have you been away Jason? Private joke and it was not at Her Majesty’s pleasure. More a day release I think.

One of this month’s highlights was supplied by Sunil who kindly serenaded us in the shop on the piano, via the hands free speaker on our phone. The young man is clearly talented, or perhaps he has Jamie Cullum trapped in a box, not quite as implausible as it sounds. But a little Bach went a long way to soothing the savage beast.

I keep being drawn back to Italy; Florence, Pisa, Parma, Roma and Lucca, funny how they all sound like ****stars. Or perhaps the names of children from bohemian families who spend their summer basking in the villa in the hills outside Ibiza town; too spaced out to venture into the pool, let alone a trip (substance abuse related joke), to the beach. Do I sound jealous and bitter? Yes? Good because I am. I will not be in Ibiza this year again, the pressure of work will keep me here, and as they say, home is where the heart is.

The only consolation is that I am in Italy regularly to keep an eye on a current project, and I have stayed in some interesting places. I woke one morning to find a note pinned to my door, informing me in Italian to keep the noise down, I was embarrassing their children who couldn’t sleep.  It was signed off with an angry face! Perhaps the visit of the waxer to my room was ill advised, but I didn’t think my howls of pain weren’t anything that their children hadn’t heard before. They’d obviously got the wrong room, and I had to have the note translated by the hotel who found it rather amusing. At least time I’d managed to avoid Madonna, she was in the room the other side of the family. I told you they had the wrong room.

There’s nought so queer as folk.

Well I’ve held off as long as possible.

The Olympics have started (or as unofficial sponsors have to refer to it – The Big Multi-National Sports Day).

I thought the opening ceremony was fantastic.  We had Ken Branagh dressed as Abraham Lincoln (yes, some people were not listening to the commentary), The Queen doing her bit for herself and country (was she on her own secret service…?) and of course the dulcet tones of Macca to round off proceedings – I say dulcet as I had nodded off by this point.

I think we have won a Gold Medal in nearly every event but I am finding it hard to keep track, so dizzying is our success. All have been won by our illustrious leader “King Yong Cameron”. There was a moment, when instead of the Union Flag, the cross of St Andrew was displayed, but this was smoothed over like our great leader’s brow. His ability to be present at more than one event has meant that we lead the medal table. He has also been making up the numbers in the crowd at those events where there were empty seats, and he will be playing in the tennis doubles as well as handing the baton to himself in the relay. It is rumoured that he will hop the 100 metres with Gideon tied to his free leg to slow him down. His personal best for this event is 6.2 seconds, I pity poor Usain, who I am sure will withdraw to avoid the humiliation.

However the star attraction will be his appearance at the beach volleyball. He will stride like a lion from his back door, a young Sebastian Coe unable to keep pace with his majesty. DC’s tight Speedos enhancing his reputation as father to the nation, the sand between his toes, the sun on his back…….

Eeew, I can’t keep writing this, I’m feeling slightly nauseous.

Oh, by the way, in the midst of all this excitement, I completely forgot to mention to anyone that we’ve started our “Closing Down” sale. You know the one, the one where we’re not really closing down, but everyone thinks we are.  Blame Dave for this.

Anyway, the sale is going on for a while and for the second successive year, I will be here for pretty much the whole time. Hang on, I’ve just realised why Jake’s booked a week off…

 

Copyright © 2012 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.

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.

April 2012 – Volpe Newsletter

So just when I thought I would put pen to paper in the old fashioned way, the heavens opened, washed away my notes, in the dog ate my homework way. Then they opened again, and again. Oh, I’m fed up with this. First chance I get I’m off abroad. You know me, any excuse. These tired old bones are fed up with the drought, goodness it has to be monsoon season somewhere. At least I could squirrel away my millions in an offshore haven, where the negative interest alone would fund a small country.

Many of you have asked how we have survived the downturn. My answer is always to throw caution to the winds and buy, buy, buy. Those of you who have been persuaded to purchase the pink cashmere overcoats will know they were the must have item for this season, do you not read the fashion supplements? It’s all colour, colour, colour here. Even when the outlook is Prada, Prada, Prada. Apologies, black, black, black, you know this season Adrian will be mainly wearing, I’ll leave you to guess, but it will include a tan, and as yet I haven’t taken the stripper heels off. Nick (Sarkozy) likes the way they make my legs look. Teamed with lycra and lurex, and a splash of silicone, nobody would know me.

Anyway, dear Silvio continues to keep us entertained; really, nuns taking their clothes off, cliché, cliché, cliché. I had hoped he would have shown a little more imagination, perhaps an imp tossing competition, no not what you think, but how far could we throw M Sarkozy and the diminutive chap from Naples? Obviously I can get away with this joke, as I too am of restricted height. Well they say the grass is always greener; now, if I could just only I could see over the fence!

Perhaps those heels of mine will help, or I know: “Oi, Silvio! Can I sit on your shoulders?” On second thoughts, that won’t make any difference, so much for standing on the shoulders of giants!

The mayoral election will soon be upon us. Boris has been swearing (plus ca change), Kkken has been crying and Brian; well wasn’t he a snail in the Magic Roundabout? They are all equally impressive; goodness it’s going to be a tough choice. I shall think long and hard before doing my duty. Who knows someone must be capable of ticking all the boxes. Then thoughts turn to me, me and me……Hmmm next time perhaps?

One amongst you has spent 60 hours flying in the last 6 days, and for a change it wasn’t Sam. Do I hear any increase on this? Sunil this doesn’t mean you, or you Andre, your chosen professions preclude you from this game! And no Mark, not you either, you are still banned, and freebees are not allowed. One Saturday after drinking half a bottle of me best Napoleon, Mark explained where I was going wrong in life, and of course he was right, but then there weren’t 5 of us in the bed at the time. Who said that in these difficult times, hedonism was dead? Of course it’s not, it was just having a siesta.

Now, I like to think I have skin like a rhino, and a gsoh, unlike a couple of people who had scant regard for last month’s newsletter. Shame on you, you really should know better, but then you won’t because you haven’t got this months. I should explain, they are known as “jokes” and “anecdotes”, much of which I direct at myself, and as you have not done anything remotely amusing, obviously these were not directed at you. So you are barred and just in case you are reading someone else’s copy, you are still barred, even if your future does involve something that people may laugh at on Youtube. No, don’t go searching for it you won’t find it, because I haven’t used your real name.

And, no, I haven’t taken it personally, whatever would make you think that?

Joke of the week, or as it shall be known. “It made Jake laugh”.

Archaeologists digging in a pyramid in Egypt, have found a mummy covered in chocolate and hazelnuts. Experts believe it could be Pharaoh Rocher.

There was another we both laughed at, but it definitely wouldn’t make it through the spam filters. However, if you want to look it up, it involves steroids and a female body builder. Once again, me, me and me.

 

Copyright © 2012 Adrian Holdsworth. All Rights Reserved.