The Italian

That first morning after the return from the Alps is always the hardest, I feel. Looking out of the window back in the UK, you can’t help missing the craggy, snow-capped horizon and there really isn’t anything like the cold mountain air filling your nostrils, your lungs, your mind. But my timing is strategic; I choose the very end of the season, so on my return, everything is warmer but most importantly, temperatures and people.

I collected the various animals from their various abodes for the week (there is definitely a gap in the market for a magical, as yet mythical place that looks after ANY animal – how wonderful it would be to have them all under one roof) and tried to get back to normality. I have a good friend who loves Dorothea, but if anyone is considering keeping chickens, it can be difficult to get them looked after for the week. As it was, I had to transport her hen house, so the poor bird had to travel in a borrowed butcher’s van . . . bad enough for me, being vegetarian, but I can’t imagine what it must have been like for her, with the more-than-faint aroma of ill-fated chickens who had passed on under violent and bloody circumstances.

Back to Tinder then and date number two with The Italian. He was late and it was a nippy evening, so I almost called it a night, but then I noticed a smiling, long-legged chap bounding toward me. Just wow.

‘Sorry sorry sorry!’ he apologised, with the dulcet, lilting tones you’d expect from a beautiful Italian man.

I didn’t actually reply for a moment, I was so struck by his beauty. Late? Was he? I hadn’t noticed.

We went for a drink and he liked to talk, so I did a lot of listening. I like to talk, but I was seriously struggling to comprehend most of his words. Like many people I know with heavy accents, he spoke at a rate of knots but with passion, so agreeing or disagreeing with anything was dangerous territory.

I did understand a few things though, like the fact that he was a Buddhist, a vegetarian and ate raw food all the time. He had a cute, black, peaked cap that he wore at a jaunty angle and I couldn’t help laughing when he removed it, as it had been hiding a completely shaved head. Nothing wrong with that, except that he was a hairdresser . . .

We met up again and ate at an Italian restaurant, which I found strange, as I thought he only ate raw food, but there we are. I let him choose, being Italian, and it was, without doubt, the most delectable Italian meal I have ever tasted. I was tuning in to his accent and understanding a lot more, but actually finding that it was hard to be a part of the conversation.

We met up one more time down on the boardwalk and I had come to the conclusion that our relationship was platonic, which was fine. He was, indeed, beautiful, but quite hard work, to be honest and clearly not even slightly romantically inclined toward me. I dropped him home after our date and he asked if I’d like to see his Buddhist altar. I felt I knew him by this time and as there was no romance and I was quite interested to see what a Buddhist altar looked like, I parked up and followed him into his abode.

He held the door open for me and I think I caught a glimpse of an altar (maybe it was Buddhist – who knows? I’ve never seen one) before the light mysteriously disappeared and he was closer to me than he had ever been on any of our ‘dates’. I have to hand it to him – he was smooth. And definitely interested in more than friendship! But I wasn’t and fortunately I had seen where the light-switch was and while he fumbled with me, I fumbled for the light-switch to reveal a look of shock on his face. Rejection must be hard when you are unaccustomed to it but maybe it was a lesson for him. A lesson for me too: ‘Buddhist altar’ is clearly a euphemism.




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