Wednesday, September 28, 2005

La dolce extremely vita

TO ITALY, for a brief break away from Shelley and Charlie’s impending marriage. (Yes, I’ve now caught up, thank you.)

And what a strange place it was. The “luxury” villa Mrs B and myself had rented turned out to be half a mile from the nearest road and down 200 steps. There was no such thing as “popping out to the shops”. Every excursion had to be treated with military planning. Trust me, even Chris Bonington wouldn’t want to trek to the car only to find out that he’d left the keys on the dining table.

And it also had one of those strange toilets where a sort of shelf collected faecal matter (I am trying to be discreet) and, given its location, a complete absence of binmen. I tell you, if I’d wanted to spend my days cleaning toilets or lugging rubbish about I’d have been born in Wales.

And the drivers … I’ve never seen such naked aggression since Mrs B’s last hormonal imbalance. I had a moan at the car hire people for fobbing me off with a Vauxhall-sized saloon instead of the Alfa Romeo I’d asked for. Well, when you’re halfway round a mountain top hairpin bend and a tourist coach is coming the other way, you’ll wish you’d got a Mini.

Add all that to a society equipped with the organisational skills of a colour-blind wino playing with a Rubik’s Cube and it’s amazing that we enjoyed ourselves as much as we did. Thank God for the food and wine.

I RETURN to find the newspapers getting agitated about the jailing of a 73-year-old woman for failing to pay part of her poll tax bill. A retired vicar is already in chokey for a similar offence.

Why the outrage? These people are old enough to understand the laws of this country. Why shouldn’t they pay their way? And as for the cost of keeping them in the nick, while they’re banged up at least they’re not getting their meals delivered on wheels, so we’re saving petrol and doing our bit for global warming at the same time.

They’re also not mithering GPs with their eccentric bowel movements, bringing the police force to a halt because they’ve given all their life savings to that nice man from the electric board who came to check the water pressure in the gas meter, or clogging up supermarket checkouts while trying to pay for their tin of cat food with some pre-decimal coinage lurking at the bottom of their purses.

Incidentally, why don’t we have set times for pensioners and dole scum to do their shopping? Say between 10am and 3pm? Then they wouldn’t be getting in the way of normal, hard-working folk who just want to pop in for a ready meal and a bottle of wine.

I suppose you’d have to change the time the supermarkets mark down the sell-by-date food, but that’s a small hardship for them to bear.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've long held the belief that senior citizens and people on the dole should be prohibitied from using public transport between 07:30 and 09:30, and between 16:00 - 18:00. They should also be banned from being in banks, building societies, shops, etc. between 11:30 and 14:30. There would, of course, be exceptions; perhaps it's working people who should be banned from Ca$h Converters at the same times?

5:26 AM  

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