Thursday, 4 September 2008


Would you like to start a collection of kitchen utensils featuring the Loony Tunes characters? Or if you’re of a more religious bent, perhaps you’d prefer to collect the saints-on-cards, a different saint featured each week. Jesus must be thrilled, I’m sure that is just what he had in mind in terms of saving humanity. Failing that, what about the prestigious collection of the works of Jules Verne, bound in the highest quality leather and including detailed hand drawn maps, only €1,99 for a different edition each week? Now that would surely compliment anyone’s book shelves. Every year in September there are an incredible number of adverts on TV for these ‘collectibles’ that you can get from your local newsagent. It seems that we need something to lift ourselves out of our collective despair as our tans fade and we all go back to work after the August holidays. Apparently, starting a collection of tiny model pedigree dogs is just the thing...

Olympic fever ran pretty high here in the summer so gym subscriptions, which are usually up in September, must be through the roof too. It’s like the Italian new year is now, not in January and resolutions are made with religious fervour.
'I’m not eating bread any more', declared my other half, 'and I’m going to have fruit and yoghurt for breakfast every day!' Well, I have to take my hat off to him: he’s gone two weeks without touching so much as a bread crumb and I’d guess from the amount of melon rind and apple peel left around the house that he’s munching his way through a fair amount of fruit too. I haven’t even had to hide the bread in the oven yet. Bravo.

In any case, collectibles and healthy living resolutions aside, what really makes going back to work a more bearable is knowing that everyone else in Italy is in the same boat. Everyone, from national news readers to my postman is tanned chestnut brown (except me of course, I’m still pushing to make pale English-Rose a trendy look) and everyone wears their tan with an air of resistance. It’s like they’re saying,
'Look at my golden skin, I went to the sea, I stood on the shore in my speedos randomly splashing water over my rippling torso and muscular thighs… (sorry, got distracted for a moment there, back to the point) 'as long as my tan is here then I can hold up my head and say: yes, I holidayed.' Unfortunately, the memory of the holiday fades proportionately with the tan and conversely, backtoworkitis increases. The next public holiday isn’t till All Saints day on the 1st November and horror of horrors, it falls on a Saturday this year. The 1st November is (literally horror of horrors) the day for remembering the dead when everyone goes to the cemetery, so it’s hardly a jolly day either. Unless you’re a florist of course.

Oh well, I don’t want to worsen my backtoworkitis by dwelling on it too much. I’ve chosen this year to ignore the existence of all my clever-clogs friends who managed to get their holidays in September and to console myself with my collection of Police Badges of the World (first one only €0,99). It’s the Arizona state police badge this week so I’m pretty excited.

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