'Turn RIGHT', he said. 'Fuck's sake, bloody eyeties.
AND they can't even make a decent cup of tea.'
For complicated family reasons, the Colonel and I are having Christmas apart this year. We are being jolly brave about it as befits a former British Army Officer and a lachrymose gin-soaked gypsy. So tomorrow we are going to Venice for our own indulgent pre-Christmas jaunt. Neither of us have ever been there, and frighteningly for him, every guide book advises one to just get as lost as possible. This will be a far cry from our usual route-planned holidays; no maps to pore over, no tightly-packed schedules to bark out over a quick breakfast at 0700; just a labyrynth of waterways ('What, not even a bloody pavement?'), crumbling old buildings and bridges and possible flooding in the few streets there are. Fabulous.
I suspect he has packed GPS, stout boots, theodolite, flares, dried rations, back-up map and compass. I will not be surprised to see Scotty, his legendarily faithful Army driver, standing smartly to at the airport with an amphibious vehicle and more maps.
I am packing books, towering heels and something sparkly for Harry's Bar and some more books. And a black cloak for sitting morbidly in a deckchair on the Lido. Wish me luck.