- Driving Licence
- [Saturday 26th July 2008]
Yesterday night I didn't sleep all that well, the humid heat that is embracing Florence is tough to overcome and the tension from the examination the day after was doing the rest.
It has been quite a long time since I did not take a "proper" examination, I think that the last one that I have had was in Reading in 1999, my finals at Uni.
Needless to say that the level of tension for this motorbike driving licence test was not even a tenth of what I felt in 1999! After all failing a licence test is not quite like failing the finals at Uni...
I arrived at the driving course around 11 in the morning, maybe a good twenty minutes earlier than that, tension mounting...
In Italy driving tests have nothing to do with actually being able to drive. It's all a big fake exam, where you are required to have a driving stance that normally you would not have, like never passing the 50Km x Hour speed limit, excessive use of indicators (I think you put them even if you turn your head around to look at some fine women!), no road rage cussing or swearwords, respect of that red sign with that white English word that says "STOP"...
Who does that!?
Anyhow, the first part of the test is a set "course" where you are asked to drive the motorbike through some cones, in an "8" shaped track and you have to do an emergency brake, nothing majorly serious, but it gets tricky when hands are sweaty and the heat of the exam mounts up.
Passed this point you get to have a go on the streets, with the examinations following in a car behind, telling you were to go by using the horn once to turn right and two to turn left.
This is the part that I had more difficulties with, mostly because (and I cannot explain why at all) my brain associated 1 horn turn left, 2 horns turn right... Well, probably is some weird left side of the brain/right side movements thing...
Strange brain functions aside, I managed to pass the driving test with no major mistakes, so now I need to concentrate on which motorbike to buy! I really look forward to it, the few times that I managed to drive my dad's bike it was really a good feeling, and I can't wait to get more experience so that the rides are even nicer!
- Snorting Cocaine off the ass of an Hooker
- [Monday 14th July 2008]
We owe John this new expression, this piece of greatness in the universe of "bizarre phrases". I found that it fits perfectly the long weekend spent in England.
I could talk about what we have done, where we went and what we ate during the period spent in England for the first "2, Radstock Road Reunion", but I won't. This post belongs to feeling and images, the previous one is more descriptive if you prefer to take a look at it.
It has been 9 years for me since I left University, I managed to see some of the guys during this period (especially John, but also Rob when he came to Florence), and of course we kept track of each other's adventures on the Maison.
But I realized how this is only the tip of the iceberg, I realized how much I really miss them all and being around with them.
Yes it's too simple, we just hanged around for a day, forgetting all our problems, immersed in a lifestyle that doesn't belong to us anymore. It's always easy to look at things in retrospect and "appreciate" them a lot more than what they used to be at the time.
I am aware of this.
But still, I miss those communal nights by that "modern fireplace" that is TV, talking about life, about crazy things (brownie points?!?!), about what happened that day at Uni and about that "bitch of a professor who I really hate"... It seemed like nothing changed, the night at Rob's and the morning after, having a marvellous breakfast (as we never could afford to have in Radstock), it seemed as we never really left the house.
There are sides to human nature that escape me.
I would have never thought, fifteen years ago, that I would eventually move to England, that I would meet people that changed my life completely (like these guys have) and have a subliminal bond so strong with them that even if we don't see each other anymore when put together in the same "pond" we continue interacting as if we never left that suburban, scabby and lovely house in Reading.
I thought more than once that If I had listened to my father I would have never met John, Tim, Chris, Rob, Jon, Tom and Simon as I would have stopped playing Role Playing Games a long time before going to Uni.
It was very hard for me to leave Reading this time. I was on a bus sad, watery eyes, thinking at what a person should never think (especially when he/she grows older)...
When I arrived, overloaded with luggage and a guitar, at that very square in front of Reading Station, the world seemed at my feet. I had dreams, plans, a huge adventure in front of me. I was certainly looking at life under a different prospective.
I miss that.
I miss the evening spent with Chris playing the very first Championship Manager, I miss talking to John in his grandmother's house, I miss Rob and ICAR nights, I miss Tim explaining me the theory of infinite jam in "Jammy Dodgers", I miss cabling the house with Jon so that we could have the phone upstairs and I miss the jokes, the woes, the life that we had.
The reality is that while everyone seems to have had a good development, and now is busy leading their life with kids, jobs, and whatever else, I feel as I am stuck in the swamps of shitness.
And while everything else stinks (apart from Chiara and my life in Florence with my friends and family), I look back, and the most that I can get are those watery eyes. Where is that spirit gone? Where are those bags and that guitar?
Thanks guys for having met up again, it was absolutely great.
I really hope that we can do this more often, not only every 10 years...
Now the cocaine trip is wearing down, things are turning sad, the chemical induced euphoria is turning into sadness, I'd better pay the hooker and get on with life...
- The Accounts of a Great Day
- [Friday 11th July 2008 - Sunday 13th July 2008]
Of all the titles that I have thought about to describe the weekend spent in England for the glorious "2, Radstock Road Reunion" this is probably the one that summarizes at its best the events that occurred during the three days spent between London and Reading.
We owe this quote to John, who's been repeating it for quite some time, but it was a great reply to a very innocent question made by Tim (I think): "..so what do you do at weekends then?"...
FRIDAY 11th JULY
The trip to England started quite early for me and Chiara, around 5 in the morning, with a Meridiana flight to Gatwick. We arrived in London quite early, and to our surprise John came to pick us up at Victoria Station, letting us into his company's offices so that we could get a coffee and leave our bags. I am not allowed to disclose the nature of John's work, neither where he's currently employed, but I can tell you that from what I could see it's by far the best company that I have seen so far in my life.
The day in London was quite long, we went to see several things and walked a lot, eventually had a marvellous dinner at a Lebanese restaurant (great choice from John here), and headed back to John and Chie's place for a good night sleep.
SATURDAY 12th JULY
The big day. We arrived at Reading quite late, Rob and Jon were waiting for us at the station... I saw Rob during his honeymoon in Florence, but Jon it was since 1997 that I did not meet. He changed his hairdo and his car, but fortunately kept the great personality and sense of humour!
We soon headed off to Rob's place, in Lower Early, where all the others were waiting for us. Tim and Chris did not change that much during these years, once again it was great to see them!
We dropped our bags and off we went to start our day.
Chiara and Kate went to Oxford and we parted at the stop in front of the Computer Sciences building on Campus.
All together again, walking towards the CS Building, I guess that we looked a bit different compared to 10 years before, but watching the guys in front of me, chatting, laughing, being serious, brought me back in the past once more. We got some pictures made and we headed off to the Union, where many things have changed since we were there, mostly for the worst, but I guess that we are looking at things through nostalgic spectacles.
It was time to walk towards Sibley Hall (my accommodation in 1999), and then off to the mighty "2, Radstock Road", the place were we all lived.
The street towards Cemetry Junction and the house has not changed a lot, the shops are more or less the same (apart from MEDINA being closed, our kebab supplier of choice).
2, Radstock Road
Our corner store (Hargunns) changed the signs, from a scabby, dirty yellowish plastic to a new shiny red one.
And then "her", the house. We immediately spotted that our fridge was outside the door, meaning that Mr.Ahmed finally decided to throw it away. We could tell it was our fridge because of some dents that we inflicted to it.
Being outside term the house is empty, Mr.Ahmed already looking for some new tenants (little sign on the window).
More picture ensued, more memories came out and we decided to move down towards the canal.
My memories of the canal were not all that good, it always looked like a dodgy place where it was easier to get stabbed (and subsequently eaten by rats) than feeding the ducks.
Now it's all chirpy and nice, a lot of families were there, and generally it looks like Reading is making an effort to increase the reputation of that place. We moved quickly into town and decided to stop at the first pub for some lunch and the first mandatory rounds of beer! The pub of choice was a new establishment that was conveniently placed in front of the Back of Beyond, a pub that nobody really liked, but I really do not know the reason why.
That was the second pub of our day, right at the beginning of Broad Street, it's impossible to tell what we were talking about, there is too much to write, but a mix of memories and experiences plus the usual jokes. It was like 10 years ago, nothing had changed, by now we were all back to student level!
Pub crawl had to pass through the Purple Turtle, one of our favourite establishments, here we were joined by Tom, changed in appearance and in the fact that does not consume alcohol anymore!! Now it was really all of us!!
This is one of the few pubs that has not been conquered by the "chain pub" franchise glory, serving great ales from the area. Great atmosphere! Here one of the highlights of the day.
The two founders of GARP (the Role Playing Games Society in Reading), the society that was responsible for our meeting (I would have never met any of the people in the house if it wasn't for GARP), happened to be there!!! I think that they were quite surprised to see seven people thanking them and taking pictures together, they obviously did not remember about us, but we did know who they were and that was enough. Life is very strange, nobody could have imagined such a thing to happen and it did...
We then went to Pizza Express for dinner, where we managed to regress even more to one of our typical students behaviour "look at nice women at that far table and NOT approach them adding stupid excuses for it"... I think that we have heard someone blaming lack of initiative on "being married" (yeah...), "being gay" (John, but that was another "fill rouge" of the day), "being tired of women" (understandable)...
Anyways, meal was ok (I guess) and we then progressed to our last pub of choice, for the last pints and then by midnight we arrived at Rob's place.
Jon and Tom were the first to leave the party, having to drive back home, while the rest of us stayed over at Rob's place. It was simply great to sit all together in Rob's lounge, talking about lots of things, like we did at Uni, late at night, drinking some tea and exchanging opinions and experiences. I miss that.
SUNDAY 13th JULY
The day started with a great breakfast made by Rob, more chatting, more laughs. Eventually at lunchtime Tim and Chris left, we were waiting for Simon but unfortunately they could not meet him as he arrived a bit too late.
We got to meet Simon instead and we moved to the centre of Reading for some lunch. Initially we went for some Sushi, but the place was closed. Then another sandwich place but it was closed too, so eventually we ended up at Nando's, apparently a South African chain restaurant that serves spicy Portuguese food...(miracles of globalization)
Then it was time to say goodbye, and we went back to Gatwick to then hop on the plane to Florence...
What a weekend, what a reunion. I am so totally happy that we made it all together in reading once more, it was truly a great thing!
- Pigs on the Hill 2008
- [Sunday 6th July 2008]
The yearly edition of "Pigs on the Hill" (here for Last Year accounts).
This time the surprise was the fact that Luca's wife (Laura) is expecting a baby and that was a jolly good piece of news.
The party is quite standard, we eat a lot, we drink a lot, and after going through a massive amount of pork we end up with some grilled chicken (to clean your mouth) and a barbecued "Tomino" (cheese). Lovely.
- Asian Business Trip
- [Sunday 22nd June - Friday 4th July]
And here are the pictures of the trip that got me to Hong Kong for some typhoon action, to Seoul for some rotten fish, to Japan for a reunion with Kutsunugi san and a marvellous stay at some onsen in Fukui, and finally to Taipei where I could admire the Taipei 101 once more.
There isn't a lot to say about the trip, which was heavy as hell.
I had a marvellous time in Japan, it was more than 6 months since I didn't go there and I really enjoyed staying there, it's really like a home for me.
That's all enjoy the pictures!
- Gaia's Christening
- [Saturday 21st June 2008]
Ok a step back in the past, before the business trip...
Chiara and I went for a motorbike ride to see Chiara's daughter's Christening and take part at the party afterwards.
Nothing much to say really, it was a great day and a good training with the motorbike, despite a little accident that saw Chiara hurting her leg on the scolding hot exhauster.
Gaia looked beautiful and everyone was happy!
- Lounge Music
- [Thursday 3rd July 2008]
Boy it's already JULY!! The last three weeks have been characterized mostly by business trips and hand shakes, rather than "actual" life.
I am bound for a flight to Zurich, leaving in an hour, from Hong Kong. Then I will be home in the morning of Friday, where basically I have the FULL DAY already booked and scheduled with a gazzillion things to do...
Though I guess that I will just want to go to bed, "you've gotta do what you've gotta do"...
That's it really, the lounge is nice in the space of 24 hours I will touch 4 countries (Taipei, Hong Kong, Switzerland and Pizzaland), I just hope that I can get some rest on the plane...
Wanted to post some pictures but I realized that I left the cable in the suitcase, so...
Will write when I am in Florence!
- Lox, Lorenzo... ME!!
- A little introduction about the author and the blog itself. Plus contacts and CVs... You never know!
- A Selection of the best pictures that I have taken all over the world during the years, all nicely indexed by year and geographical area. Jolly good!
- History of this Blog
- A collection of all the articles that I have wrote so far, divided by month/year.
I have had the bad idea of writing my e-mail address on the board before, so this time I'll try to prevent some spam to get to me by putting this little image.. Let's hope it does the trick!
A reminder to Myself
Left and right
Like day and night
That's what makes the world go round
In and out
Thin and stout
That's what makes the world go round
For every up there is a down
For every square there is a round
For every high there is a low
For every to there is a fro
To and fro
Stop and go
That's what makes the world go round
You must set your sights upon the heights
Don't be a mediocrity
Don't just wait and trust to fate
And say, that's how it's meant to be
It's up to you how far you go
If you don't try you'll never know
And so my lad as I've explained
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
You see my boy it's nature's way
Upon the weak the strong ones prey
The human life it's also true
The strong will try to conquer you
That is what you must expect
Unless you use your intellect
Brains and brawn, weak and strong
That's what makes the world go round