Mrs R pronounces Rimini as Rih-meany. This is a good example of her lack of rigour, and also her turncoat ways, for she writhes into conniptions should anyone dare to produce her surname as "Rum-tay", for example. She also stutters over Vuitton, L. Annaeus Seneca and Cyclophosphamide, but I extend the hand of forgiveness, for she is a woman of mean intelligence and even meaner disposition. Noblesse oblige. For myself, I will admit to a weakness here, for I have never been able to learn Italian. I know many of you will swoon at this news, having admired and loathed my facility with languages over the years. I don't know how to explain it. There is not much I can't get my tongue around, as some will be happy to attest, but there is something about the singsong quality of that parlance that escapes me. I suppose it might also explain my avoidance of Max Bygraves. Who knows? Rest assured, I have packed a little phrase book, so that I might dredge up such useful rejoinders as Veramente, signor poliziotto, la sua faccia era gia cosi quando l'ho incontrato, or the ever-popular Cazzo! But I will rely mainly on the proven tack of speaking slowly and loudly and refusing to use public lavatories. This has stood me in good stead in many places, including Algiers and County Monaghan.
I will take the Alitalia flight tomorrow, late afternoon, from Heathrow, which will be as beastly as ever, and arrive at Le Meridien Rimini in time for an oily evening repast. This is not a holiday; I cannot emphasise this strongly enough. This is a promotional freebie, which means work; yes, hard work, and plenty of it. I am there at the behest of a gnarled old magazine editor who wants the skinny on the newly refurb'd Ekstasis Spa, and I suppose I will be obliged to submit to all manner of strange and unnatural treatments, including high colonics and flagellations. What an appalling prospect for an Englishwoman in her prime. Anyhoo, keep an eye on your least favourite fashion rags in the coming months to see me in my bright yellow
Agua Bendita, being worked over by a twig-yielder in the old fashioned way. I hope.
My mailbox is oft-times crammed with yelps of despair from hopeless women: what should I pack for my hols? they cry, in an irritating way. And, Mrs Pouncer, what is a capsule wardrobe? I can do naught but sneer at such faiblesse. You should know instinctively what to pack, and I shouldn't have to spell it out. And to the second query, I say capsule, schmapsule! There is no such thing! Who are these harpies (Hadley Freeman and Laura Craik) who think two skirts, a dress and a seersucker sunbonnet should be enough for three weeks on Cerf Island? It would hardly be enough for a weekend at Port Seton, and I should know. My counsel to you is as follows: toiletries - none. Buy what you need when you get there. Ditto sunscreens and parfums. A good book - I would go for something like the British National Formulary, but anything published by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society is good. A biro, a jar of Marmite and a plug adaptor. Some ludicrous underwear. Some painful shoes. A Leg Avenue sequined bikini. A Prada organza tunic. A Butler and Wilson tiara. A tub of Agent Provocateur's Creme d'Amour. A Zac Posen minidress (yellow), some Betsey Johnson bangles, a bottle of Estee Lauder's Pure Colour Nail Lacquer in Fuschia, a Russell and Bromley Hobo bag. I do hope this helps. Possibly some (K. Musgrove) would also pop in a Pacamac, but that's Cleveleys for you.
Arrivederci. Che cosa facevano i tuoi nonni durante guerra!