Thursday, 7 June 2007


Not-So-Innocents Abroad

ben trovato writes:

This is the Authorised Account of Anticant’s travels to the lake shores of Italy, Any scurrilous anecdotal reportage on other blogs is purely apocryphal.

Oscar Wilde feasted with panthers. Robert Louis Stevenson traversed the Cevennes in the company of a diminutive cross-grained donkey. Anticant ventured forth with a Lilith-like White Leopardess and a lineal descendant of Apuleius’ loquacious Golden Ass. Strange to relate, he lived to tell the tale.

The tediums of air travel, with its ridiculously long check-in times and interminable security procedures – we even had to take our shoes off: trousers, mercifully, were reprieved – did not damp the trio’s enthusiasm for the expedition, though the two days of quite heavy rain during the week’s lakeside stay did disappoint a little. However, in the intervals between showers the sun obliged quite warmly, and sitting upon the hotel terrace and jetty, watching boats go by and sampling the local vino and home-baked pastries, induced a mood of unaccustomed near-serenity. Anticant even resisted the temptation to check out the Burrow postings until nearly the end of the week, though when he did so he immediately alerted the Beadle to secrete the Snug keys in the inner pocket of his uniform knickers, in anticipation of a marauding raid by the Wild Woodlanders which fortunately did not materialise.

Some scrumptiously tasty food was consumed, and an abundance of strong liquor poured down the throats of the insatiably thirsty trio. This sometimes led to verbal skirmishings but these never degenerated into fisticuffs – although through a linguistic confusion Anticant had been mistakenly identified by the hotel staff as a world-famous boxer!

Returning to Blair’s Britain provided the usual nasty culture shock, with planes late, coaches missed, and tasteless fast food airport sandwiches. A plot to smuggle in a litter of five adorable baby kittens from the hotel gardens was canvassed but reluctantly dropped.

And was there mischievous mayhem, skulduggery and prankishness? There was – but the Court Circular Reporter’s lips are sealed, and supposedly inside revelations elsewhere are to be severely discounted on pain of withdrawal of Snug free round privileges.

So back to business as usual? Not quite, as Anticant’s attitude to blogging, as to much else, is for the time being at least considerably relaxed and liable to result in some summer lassitude and less anxious attention to the endless sad goings-on in the lousy world outside the Burrow.


trousers said...

Nice to hear some reporting back, if somewhat oblique. Stay relaxed anticant, even at the expense of your ongoing posts, if it does you good (but do post at some point).

Scrumptious food, abundance of liquor, verbal fisticuffs (and the rest)? Sounds like a good time was had.

As regards your paragraph about returning to Britain....oh, tell me about it. I'm off to Berlin in two weeks (no doubt I'll start banging on about this ad nauseum) and boy, is the plane journey home a real comedown. Clouds, rubbish coffee, "out of order" signs everywhere.

I shall, however, be scouring the net for scurrilous anecdotal reportage. Isn't it time lavenderblue got her own blog? This could be the ideal moment...

Richard W. Symonds said...

Welcome home - the world nearly came to an end while you were away...but we just managed to save humanity from the brink without your help.

zola a social thing said...

"Just managed to save humanity from the brink"?
If you had been in Germany you would see that humanity is needing all the help it can get right now.
Sorri : i have action fatique syndrome.
But as I return to a fairly hopeful and restful week I an happy that the old Grumpy Aunt is getting ready for the wicked fray.

Do we really have the energy to do this?
BTW : Bush was pissed this morning after already spilling his beer over the table last night. But his morning meeting with the new French Napolean went ok.

What is this BAE ? That was asked by a few at the G8.
Blair replied that it, certainly, was not " British Antisocial Efficiency". Could it be, asked another, Brit-Arms-Encephalitus?

Bush stepped in and said that it was a British-American Entity.

Zola said fuck nose ( and was banned again).

ranger said...

Welcome back to the hum-drum drumming of Blair's Britain. From the happy tone of this post it sounds as though getting away for a while to the beautiful lake shores of Italia was just what the doctor ordered. Funny how a bit of early summer sun on the brow can change one's perspective as well as help turn a head and a mind away from the depressive goings on in the world and towards the brighter side of things. Looking forward to frolicking about the warm summer snug then.

Merkin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Merkin said...

There is a real art to speaking 'foreign'.
For me, 'foreign is a different language.
Foreign is the language you speak to explain things to people who don't speak English.
I speak foreign very well having had lots of experience of teaching students to express themselves from an early stage.
Not everyone can do this.
Now remember, 'foreign' includes the panoply of existence, utilising words, actions, smells and everything else which leads to a non-clinical marriage.
This particular night, our dear fiend decided to crash early.
He asked me to explain to the staff that he was only a stone's throw from burial in Italy and we should make allowances for wheelchair as well as bathchair cases.
Fine for me.
Sure enough, by this time I was on the way to being a basket case but said that, no probs, I can explain.
Ha ha, didn't reckon on the redoubtable Lavvy Girl who thought to 'stick the oar in' using her knowledge of 'foreign'.
Interesting results.
She tried to explain to the waiter that Anti's retiral was due to his being tired - him being so as an important writer of books.
Now, the waiter spoke great English but Lavvy's attempts to speak 'foreign' led her to miming 'books' as a word.
Now, you may think it is easy to mime 'books', but not as simple as doing the standardised forms of TV charade programmes.
That is, big books, small books, paperback books, hardback books, porny books etc.
Think of the hand movements !!
The upshot was that the waiter understood 'books' as 'box'.
He started to mime boxing, doing a Muhammed Ali dance while repeating 'Boks, Boks, Boks'.
By this time Lavvy was agreeing to everything.
The upshot was that the staff were informed that we had a famous world champion boxer staying at the hotel. Together with the spirit of Pound and Joyce.
Problem was, they thought The Merkin was The Bodyguard and I spent the last 4 days fending off all the autograph hunters who were stealing Lavvy's knickers from the bedroom at every opportunity, thinking they were mine no doubt.
Still not as bad as the Russian Gypsy Midgets story.
It has to come out at some point.

ben trovato said...

Anticant knows nothing of any knicker-stealing, knicker-waving or knicker-removing that may have gone on during the intrepid trio's lakeside sojourn. However, he swiftly realised that besides wheelchair cases, bathchair cases, and basket cases, he was surrounded by nutcases and his Joycean stream-of-consciousness brooded upon the impending incarceration awaiting his increasingly demented Ezra Pound nonlookalike bodyguard.

Mind you, the mischievous Merkin does produce a delightful brand of Decanterbury travellers' tales. Whisky Galore wasn't in it, as the astronomical bar bills testified. Oddly, Italian hotels don't seem to stock Dry Martini. Wisely, they realise the tasteless stuff is only fit for export. So Anticant stuck to tonic water. He needed it!

Ms Melancholy said...

And a wonderful time was had by all? I do hope so.

Emmett said...

DEAR Aunty, as your nephew Wookers, I may say you lot have /not/ lived until one day you shall have sampled the round of Minnesota small-town festivals. In fact, this subject is so entrancing (and, the demand for titanium-lined innards so absolute!) that I expect I will have to submit at later date a full write-up. Suffice it, now, that SWMBO & I have spent the past two week-ends regaling ourselves with LOTS of bingo, tons of grease, all deep-fried in various forms & gallons of the phenolic seepage these middle-western hogs call 'beer'.... Also, we have attended amateur art-fairs, a cemolition-derby (!) and the graduations (from high-school) of a load of importunate nephews with too-close-set eyes and shovel ears -- the Windsor phenotype is indeed alive & well among these southern Minnesota german-american hyenas! And so am I....

ANYWAY, Welcome back,


anticant said...

Thanks, Ms M! Yes - I think it was a memorably special time for us all, with plenty of sunshine and laughs despite the intermittent downpours. As neither Lavenderblue nor Merkin had ever been to Italy before, it was an initiation which they relished, as you will see from comments here and on Merkin's site.

The mingling of such an abundance of artistic temperaments did provoke one or two moments when I was obliged to remind my companions that I had gone for a holiday, and that if they wanted therapy it would cost them £60 an hour! Thankfully the hint was taken.

Gosh, Wook, our vacation sounds more sedate than your local happenings - even though we did find ourselves on the fringes of a Berlusconi election rally and the Merkin was with difficulty persuaded to refrain from breaching the peace and turning the air blue with one of his inimitable outbursts of democratic free speech.

Emmett said...

NO, No, Berlusconi & crypto-mussolinean party-rallies ain't a patch on these gangs & relays of mine, of fifth- and seventh-generation stay-at-home & pre-diabetic, half-witted, German-Americans with buttery early sweetcorn odd bits drooling their chins -- the horror being that I /am/ indeed connected to these folk, through my mother. But, I'm glad you are back. how close was you to Pallanza?

AND, How close on your heels were the /carbanieri/ (sp?), when you lot scarpered off?

Wook Some More

anticant said...

Pallanza is on Lake Maggiore. We were at Sirmione, on Lake Garda - a very pretty little place on a virtual island, with a medieval castle where Dante is said to have stayed. When I have sorted out computer glitches, I will post some photos.

lavenderblue said...

And it is high time that I gave my own account..............
Back later today..........

Merkin said...


anticant said...

The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? Not a hope! My lips are forever sealed.....

lavenderblue said...

with a kiss ?

boldscot said...

GrumpyOne, can I ask you to have a look at my latest story of small town corruption and give a comment?.
Stick up for retired people !!

Tartar.Lion.Tamer said...

Outrageous misfortune is the only thing that has saved OurAnti from being at the brunt of our fantasy about the four Russian Gypsy Midgets but it is only a matter of time.

zola a social thing said...

Am I right to suspect that the Pink panther is needed here to de-code the messages?
Hope so.
As a tribute to our dear Peter Sellers I seek only de trove.

BTW : Lavender seems to be slowly emerging in re-covering mode as the baldScot just refuses to lie down.

anticant said...

Four Russian Gypsy Midgets would be light relief after being sandwiched between Lavvyblue and Merkin on an aircraft.

lavenderblue said...

Shades of Sirmione.
A very beautiful place.
After the vileness of Stansted it was heaven to look out onto Lake Garda on a scented summer night and start to relax.
The first ferry to come into view had the legend 'Goerthe' emlazoned on it.
Sets the scene somewhat.
Sirmione is a delight : soothing to tired eyes and mind.
Soft quiet refined pastel shades , imagine a paint chart and mentally flip the pages at the beginning:pinks,peaches,taupe,creams and bleached whites, pale blues,mostly hand-washed to a wonderful finish......all clustered together around the brighter colours of the flowers in pots and beds.A diorama. Almost too much to take in.Almost Utrillo.
And so to Breakfast.....a display of food to tempt your very soul.
Anticant devouring cherries in yoghurt by the too....
and always, the fresh pastries.
Like a victorian sideboard, groaning with food, we set off for our walk-about.
Drifting happily through narrow streets, stopping to look at little alleyways, back to the verandah at the hotel to sip something cool, and wait for dinner.
I don't actually recall much TonicWater being drunk.
Wednesday was a perfect day.
The rain did little to dampen our enthusiasm, even though quite torrential at times.
And later, walking alone through the streets very late one night, it was warm and soothing,the powerful scent of the flowers hot in the air.
'Take me wandering through these streets where bright lights and angels meet'.Oh,yes.
One night, heavy with food, we had to cross to the hotel from the restaurant.Not far.Just Wet.
Merkin lost control ( no surprise there then) with the garishly coloured umbrella supplied.It resembled a multi-colourd dead daddy-long-legs.The umbrella, that is.
Suddenly - Anticant was off !
Lickety split,splat,full steam ahead.Sure footed as a mountain goat,swift as a gazelle, he leapt through the rain, his Raspberry Pink Suede Loafers skimming over the puddles...and there I was, in one of my frocks, wet, and tottering on strapless,toeless,backless summer sandals in a vain attempt to keep up.
Magnificent !
Sketched a couple of views, mostly took photos.
Anticant didn't much care for some of the ones I had taken of him
in his sunhat and dark glasses.
Said he looked like the Mafia.
Ah,Don chiAnti,no less.
Sitting on the shaded terrace with Anti I heard a kitten crying, a bad cry, if you know what I mean.
Found the tiny little creaturs eventually,so very tiny with watery eyes, and carried it up to the other four kittens, I so wanted to bring it home.Although the many cats are fed daily, they are suffering from what appears to be mange, and several have milky eyes.Inbreeding, I doubt whether anyone will have the sense to get them neutered.I hate sights like that.

And so all is over.

A big,big thank you to Anticant, who will be getting a personal letter togther with a sketch of Sirmione.

And now ?
well, like the song says.
'Hey I put some new shoes on
and suddenly everything is right.
Short on money but long on time
Hey I put my new shoes on!
Hello New Shoes
Bye Bye Blues

boldscot said...

We saw the ferry Goethe and in the distance a kayak following.
Pretty damn suspicious if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Do we wait for the photographs from the secret agent that followed? Will we get the real truth?
With the best of intentions ..... watch this space.

lavenderblue said...

With no good intentions camera does not lie.

Gledwood said...

I'm glad you're having an entertaining time at these Italian lakes .. are you any where near the dolomites? ... just wondering ... hi i hopped in here via friends of friends blogs to see where the voyage would take me,,, pretty entertaining waters so far. I'm at gledwood2.blogspot if you wanna come by you're most welcome. See you later hopefully & all the best to you
Vol 2...