I’ve long suspected that I would never have made hero (the past transitional conjunctive tense or whatever it is is appropriate here because at my age I doubt I’ll see many opportunities to prove my mettle), but these past few days in Rome have pretty much convinced me when it comes to cowards I am fully qualified to go for gold.
This bloody itching has continued non-stop and to be honest the last thing I wanted was to be more than 1,000 miles from home in a hotel which had allocated me a shower so tiny, if you bent over to pick up the soap, your arse was already in the room next door (though the rest of the room was fine, I’ll add, to be fair). It was – is – incessant and on top associated red blotches – or I hope they are associated or my GP will most certainly be working for his next pay rise when I see him on Friday – plus areas of dry skin which makes it seem as though I am wearing a hair shirt (though despite being brought up mainstream RC, I never have and I can’t conceive of how folk to it for pleasure) which make every movement unpleasant have pretty much ruined the trip.
Once here, of course, it seemed daft not to go and watch the Six Nations game at the Stadio Olympico, but I wasn’t really in the mood (though in the event several plastic beakers of Peroni did help). My flight – I am writing this an hour and a bit before take-off – isn’t until five minutes to ten (i.e. 21.55) and I had originally planned a trip down to Ostia, the old port of Rome, and have lunch there somewhere. Well, dear reader, I really wasn’t in the mood. All I did was to walk the ten minutes from my hotel to the Termini rail station, jump on the bus to Fiumicino airport and sit out the rest of the day, trying to keep as still as possible. I got here just after noon and it is now just before 9pm (21.00 for all you eurofreaks). Knowing that I had the best part of a day to kill, the first ten minutes dragged as no time has ever dragged before.
Once they were out of the way, I set about getting through the next twenty, then the next thirty. Each minute lasted a lifetime – well, actually a little longer. After an eternity that first hour was out of the way – 1pm, yippee, just under another nine hours to kill, sitting in an airport several thousands miles away from comfort. My mood was for most of that time foul, and it was then that I fully realised, although I have long suspected it, that I would make a completely shitty Arctic explorer, the kind of stout fellow, usually British, Norwegian and Italian who thrive on totally bloody discomfort. (Incidentally, given how cold it is up there and down there at both poles and given that they are swaddled like I don’t know what to keep our the cold, what exactly do they do if when they need a dump?)
Matters looked up a little once I was able to get onto the free airport wifi, free, that is, if you are prepared to give them five euros, and then courtesy of a useful browser plugin, watch the League Cup final between Manchester City and Liverpool. (It went to penalties and turned out to be quite a match after a boring first half).
After that, of course, it was down in the dumps again, and that is where you find me now. In fact the only reason I am writing this bollocks is to give me something to do to take my mind off it.