Ciao Dear Readers!
I have just returned after a lovely stay in Italy, based in Milan (no – before you ask inexplicably I was neither in nor at Milan Fashion Week). I was visiting the now very grown up children, with their own children, who I looked after as an au-pair several decades ago, while brushing up my Italian skills with a whole week of speaking no English whatsoever. I even got through Gone with The Wind in Italian. A long film at the best of times , but with Italian style frequent advert breaks….
I practised my vocabulary by telling anyone who would listen all about my job as a South East England Blue Badge Guide and the many fascinating places they would be able to visit should they drop into Kent sometime.
I obviously made a strong impression since, as I write, I am dimly aware of a flurry of flight bookings and am braced for an impending influx of my Italian friends requiring a very personal guided tour of South East England.
First off – the nine year old son of my one time ‘ littlest Italian bambino’ (now 6 foot 2..) is obsessed with mazes and he may now be arriving ‘in famiglia’ in August to check out those near where I live at Hever Castle, and an easy outing away at Hampton Court Palace and Leeds Castle.
Meanwhile the fascination with all things to do with our Royal Family among people without their own continues. While in Italy I was cross- examined on every detail of The Royal Wedding, the changes to the Royal Succession, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the – in their opinion – ‘new improved’ Prince Harry (who during my visit was ‘beating’ Usain Bolt in the 100 metres in Jamaica so was hot news).
The teenage daughters of ‘my little Italian charge now mother of two’ are therefore planning their visit for a personalised guided tour of Windsor Castle, and in particular the Queen’s Dolls House. No doubt they will also expect the odd trip to Harrods and Buckingham Palace thrown in as well – anywhere they may dream of catching a glimpse of a member of the Royal Family and in particular the aforementioned eligible Prince.
Kensington Palace which re-opens in just a couple of weeks on 26 March after extensive re-furbishment will obviously be a must for them and it will give me an excuse to visit it too, although I may not be able to organise tea with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
These visits from Italy may clash with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and/or The Olympic Games at a time when we Blue Badge Guides are likely to be busier than ever – but there will always be time for my Italian family.
This coming week Dawn and I are briefly abandoning our guiding duties to do a course specifically on guiding at the 2012 Olympic Venues. We will therefore be able to take my Italians for a Blue Badge Guide experience of the Olympic Park too. Although possibly not while Usain Bolt is running the 100 metres for real, no doubt with Prince Harry watching – sadly I’m not going to be able to get them tickets for that!
Alla prossima volta