Arrived in Rome in a spectacular thunder storm. The flight was boring except for two amusing young women in the seats in front of me. They were best described in Norfolk dialect as ‘slummocking mawthers’. The words say it, don’t they? Squeezed into off-the-shoulder tops and tight pants, they each had a sort of two-tiered muffin-top, as we call it in Australia. And they were getting drunk. The steward was topping up their vodka and tonics the whole flight and it was only 4pm. By the time we arrived in Rome they were giggling – a lot. YAY girls you gonna get laid in Rome if you carry on like this – do take care. As an older women I am often invisible and without value to women their 20s and 30s. Past my use by date, as far as they are concerned. Accept that I have long, long silver hair and enviable bags and clothes and jewellery. Rich bitch, they would call me. So they threw me a glance between eyeing up the steward. I did that too, but discreetly.
The plane landed and the floor in front of them was strewn with empty plastic glasses and chocolate wrappers – that explains the 20lb sausages in the 10lb skins. But they were happy and they would learn – quickly I hope. We made a speedy exit at the airport and I was alongside them when I spotted my pick-up for the hotel. The sign said ‘Lady Jessika Jenvieve’. An elegant chauffeur greeted me as Madama and raised a large monogramed umbrella over me as he carried my case to a waiting mercedes. This is the life, I thought. My two young friends stood gobsmacked in the rain. I hope they fall in love in Rome as I hope to fall in love with Rome and out of love with the man who has made me so unhappy.
My hotel is old and elegant – the Principessa Isabella next to the Villa Borghese. The balcony has shutters so I can sleep with the windows wide open like I do at home. I have taken over the bar and expect to finish the bottle of campari by the end of my stay. Taught the barman to make Campari Australiana. I expect to be very popular.
Tomorrow the Vatican. Glad I brought a marmalade bagel for my supper.