Not Quite Myself This Week

Just back from a wonderful 9 days in Italy – or at least they were wonderful up to the point when I caught a virus. (Could Italian viruses be more virulent than the English version, which I can usually conquer in a couple of days?)

The girl in the farmacia was more interested in trying to remember the English word “spoon” (as in ‘take 3 spoonfuls a day’) than she was in deciphering my mangled Italian to describe my symptoms. On her recommendation I bought some revolting medicine at enormous cost (8 euros 50) and it made not a scrap of difference.

The train to Bologna and Easyjet flight to Gatwick were one long miserable silvery trail of snot in hundreds of tissues. (Appropriate for a Silver Snail.)

At this time of year all Italians seem to go into a kind of hibernation, away from brightness and colour. They dress uniformly in black and it’s not easy to stay cheerful when there’s gloom on all sides, especially with a rotten cold. Nevertheless, the caffe latte at the airport was soothing, and it was an unexpected bonus to arrive early enough to have time to kill before the train north from King’s Cross. We went to the British Library and were transported.

Then the literal transportation to canny Newcastle which felt very cold indeed. No matter. I can write without distractions.

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