1 – You can get a shot of grappa in your Espresso for an extra 50c, usually to a ratio 50% grappa to 50% coffee.

2 – People really do say “Mama Mia” – I first heard a couple say it in a lift on our first day here and it made me smile.

3 – The screens on the metros never work and appear to be running Windows 95 – I have never seen more screens stuck on the boot up screen than on the Metro in Napoli.

4 – Man bags – There is no pretence that these bags need to be big enough to carry a laptop, a moleskin notebook and an on trend water bottle. These are little bags for you wallet, keys, sunglasses and probably, the way they smoke over here, fags. They aren’t that awful invention “the bum bag”, or even worse the American “fanny pack”. The are stylish bags that we would call “handbags”. I applaud your style and efficiency, men of Italy (and efficiency is not a word that can often be used much in Italy).

5 – They have the most tuneful ambulance sirens – albeit a lot of them. We were sat outside a restaurant in Napoli and one (of the many) ambulances went past in the distance. The girl sat at the next table began moving her shoulders and doing a little dance. Slightly inappropriate, but I can see why she got the urge. It was this same girl whose nationality I was struggling to place. At first I though she was English (she was quite pale and ginger) and I thought I detected a few English words, but earwigging the conversation with her boyfriend, she appeared to be making some very un-English sounding noises. It was later I realised that they were Scottish. Sorry Scotland.

6 – Even the metro drivers peep their horns – why? There are no level crossings and it is quite obvious by the hurricane of wind blasting you down the platform that they train is in the station!

7 – Mosquitoes – I have never been that bothered by mosquitoes but as I get older they seem more fond of me. I have been doing the old trick of taking vitamin B6 (apparently they don’t like the smell) but still they are biting me. I wonder if they like my baby blood? Just to explain, when I last gave blood, I was told I had “baby blood”. What this actually means is that my blood goes to neonatal units. I’m not sure if it is because like a a baby, I get emotional when tired, angry when hungry and have been known to throw my rattle out of the cot, or it could just be because I am O neg and therefore my blood is universal. Whatever the reason, the mozzies cannot get enough of it.

8 – Toilets – Mamma, Mia, where do you start on this one? Just always make sure you have toilet paper, wet wipes and a torch when visiting any toilet in Italy. Oh and a toilet seat if you have one (you might need a slightly bigger man bag for that though).

9 – Dogs- the Italians seem to love their dogs and they always seem to have them with them. They (usually) clear up after them and on the ferry they even had cabins that you could have your dog in with you, and kennels at the rear of the boat for them as well. Sweet.

10 – Recycling – they are big on recycling here. Both our apartments have had numerous recycling bins and the place in Sicily even had a kerbside collection, every day! (Yeah, what do you think of that WLDC!) They have recycle bins on the street, on the beach and even at an ancient Roman theatre. That’s how progressive they are.

11- Zebra Crossings – the way that you can stop oncoming traffic hurtling towards by simply stepping out into the road and giving it a hard Paddington stare.

12 – The fact that when the electricity goes off, they inform everyone that it is being turned on by sending a a van through the village announcing the fact. At least that is what we think the announcement was. They may have been selling fish…or there may be an election going on. Whatever it was, we had a power cut this morning. Not a great problem at 10:00 in the morning, except for the fact that it appears that the water is pumped, so no flushing toilet. Awkward. Still, it was back on within a few hours, so no harm done.

Well that’s it, we are done for another holiday, hope you have enjoyed these ramblings. Until next time. Arrivederci.

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