How strange that other people’s travel screw-ups are so boring when one’s own are so fascinating. Just this one, then no more Rome:
Looking idly at our return tickets we notice that our sleeper to Monaco leaves Rome Ostiense at 11.50pm. We think ‘Ostiense’ is the name of the station, like New York’s ‘Pennsylvania station’, which doesn’t mean you have to go to Pa. to get aboard. (Even when sung by Tex Beneke.) But we find that Ostiense is a Metro ride from town - and the Metro is closed. Information office? That’s closed too. (One of the reasons I like travelling with Mrs is that she doesn’t panic. It may be pretence: she may be paddling like mad under the water, but the possibility of missing our train and sharing the streets of Ostiense with the local wine-tasters seems not to bother her.)
We find that the 11.20pm to Civitavecchia stops at Ostiense, but we don’t know how long it takes to get there, so this is the option we choose – it being the only option there is. We finally board our sleeper with two minutes to spare. Sleeper trains always remind me of Cary Grant in North by North-West. The implication is that he and Eva Marie Saint sack up together – which I submit would be a physical impossibility.
But now she’s left me. She’s in England and I’m here. It’s an eerie feeling - we won’t see each other for four days. Fortunately she’s left me enough food to permit 5,000 lumberjacks to survive a six-month siege. Anyone know how to do the miracle of the loaves and fishes in reverse?
It’s the first of May – as the refrain from Mountain Greenery goes - ‘Spring is here, so blow your job/Throw your job away’. There’s a blackbird in the Douglas fir outside the window who knows it’s spring, and sings his heart out all day long without repeating a riff – I can hear him now. (Must get that double glazing checked.)
But it’s a black, black day. It’s 40 days from the start of the World Cup and Wayne Rooney has broken his metatarsal and is unlikely to play. England’s chances have plummeted. Even the news that, in the same match, Chelsea (a London soccer team named after Bill Clinton’s daughter) humiliated Manchester United to win the Championship, is tainted, because there was a clause in Rooney’s contract when he was transferred to Man U. that said Everton would get a few million if Man U. won the Championship. Yes, a black day. Bye bye, blackbird.