" … but I might lie on that floor in front of the fireplace, pillow under my head, on a night when watching snow fly outside the windows palls a bit, Fido by my side, iPad in hand, reading and sipping a glass of amaro. The Celt in his chair, the tired shuffling of his feet suggesting it's time for bed but he's waiting for me. So we close our iPad, Fido and I, the Celt helps me off the floor, and we go to bed, he to sleep, Fido to his basket, and I to lie awake next to the Celt, watching the snow the while convinced I can hear it over the two of them softy snoring. My hand under the pillow next to mine, my eyes will close soon enough, as the snow continues to fly behind my lids… "
The major theme of this blog has always been home and because of what I came to perceive as my superficial exploration of the theme, it has become a burden. I don't want to stop writing – despite appearances this last few months – what I want is to explore that which interests me more than the facile surface of home – the wider, more universal meaning hidden, mostly, in a blizzard of fatuity.
The man needs a vacation, you might think; and if you did so think, you'd be right. And this weekend, the 35th anniversary of when we met, the Celt (more in need of a vacation than I) and I will fly to Rome. We're staying at my favourite hotel, just along from the Piazza del Popolo, with views up the Pincio. Nothing is planned except a visit to an exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale.
Walking around Rome is one of the most perfect of pastimes – though there have been times when, feet so tired, I wondered how I'd ever get back home. I learned on that first visit to Rome to take a hotel at the bottom of a hill – the Spanish Steps (the widest and most tourist-thronged stairs in Europe) being absolutely no help at all when one almost has to be winched up for a drink at the Hassler Hotel.
After Rome we go to Milan where likely I'll be parked in the Duomo whilst the Celt and a friend from Amsterdam, now living in Geneva – and whom we've not seen for twenty years – go boutique-hopping together. I cannot abide shopping for clothes, though yesterday, whimsically, I bought myself a new Barbour. We have tickets for Leonardo's Last Supper and I'm very much looking forward to seeing the Duomo facade with its combination of Gothic and Classical styles.
After Venice we fly to the north of England for a visit with my family, where it's likely not to be snowing – but if there's snow on Pendle Hill then I'll be pleased. Thereafter to London for a visit with the Celt's family and our oldest friends. We're back at New Year.
Joyous holidays and a happy New Year to you all. Auguri!