Hurrah! AC Milan won the football. In the city where I used to live, I can imagine the scene. The thronging piazzas and bars, the hugging, the kissing, the jumping up and down, the beeping of the car horns, the grid-locked traffic now filling what, a few short hours ago, would have been empty streets - everyone glued to their TV screen. In my head that's where I want to be right now. In my sixth floor apartment in my handsome brownstone Rinascimento building, peering down on the rooves of cars, the tops of heads, seeing the lights, hearing the voices, feeling the energy and smelling the air. This is Italy. A land of optimism, passion and football mania. In England the same passions are more devisive, less endearing. I'll never forget when friends of ours visited. He was a dyed in the wool Chelsea fan. I took them to lunch on the Navigli (canals) - a little bar, some football memorabilia. We sat outside in a weak sun, me enjoying sharing with them these lesser known spots. Paul went to get another drink. He came back, a little giggle in his voice: 'I think I've just seen Cesare Maldini'. He was Italy's national coach at the time. I felt good that I’d provided, unwittingly, a little football high-point in the weekend for our friend. When we finally dragged ourselves away from an idle lunch, I showed them round a few more places, then we went home. That evening we decided to pop over to a restaurant just a stone’s throw from our flat. A simple pizzeria restaurant, full of buzz and chatter and the smells of a wood oven. We sat ourselves down. Ordered our bottle of red. There was a big party of people celebrating a birthday. A classic Italian family gathering. Paul started chuckling. It was Maldini again, this time with his famous football playing son, Paolo – star of the AC Milan squad and captain of Italy. Twice in one day. Of all the bars and restaurants in Milan, both places at opposite sides of the city. And both times without pretence or celebrity. Just getting on with their lives. It made Paul’s weekend. It made me think, ‘God, I love this place’. It’s hard to be unhappy in Italy. There’s always something to put a smile on your face.
I’m tired of England right now, you see. This fight to save our school has, to date, been all-consuming and exhausting. And ultimately so senseless. I’m tired of talking about it, thinking about it, worrying about it. The children have become feral, feeding themselves, taking themselves to bed, practically driving themselves to school. After the ‘big meeting’ last night with the Idiots in Suits where the parents and Village Hall Trust gave a presentation in front of 200 people, followed by questions, we went to the pub. Drained, still reeling from the surreality of it all. From the short notice, from the short-sightedness. The children got to bed at 11pm. One had to do SATS this morning, unbeknownst to me. Amidst all this chaos and uncertainty, their tiredness, the children still performed exceptionally well. Their performance a direct reflection on their teachers and their environment. The very environment the Suits are trying to destroy. I could weep. But I won’t. Instead I will fight. I needed a day off today though. A day to sort the laundry. Make sure the children have socks again and I have pants. To put a little order back into our dismantled domestic life.