Let’s start with some music on this cold Sunday .
Toto was born in 1943 and started his musical career as a drummer before breaking through as a singer song writer. He won San Remo in 1980 and went on to come second in ’87, ’88, ’89, ’90 and finally second again in 2005. Poor guy won the Eurovision Song contest in 1990 and I guess is still trying to live it down.
A geographical fact I paid little attention to when we moved here was that Italy doesn’t run North to South but NW to SE. So if I went north from my house I wouldn’t happily go up the coast of Italy but head over the Adriatic, up through the snow covered mountains of Bosnia , over the snow covered lands of Poland past Warsaw up though Stockholm and into Lapland on the way to the north pole. If I went west I would go to Naples and south close to the east of Sicily. So whilst we are dead easy for Father Christmas to get to on Christmas Eve, a north wind is not great news. That is why today I found myself walking against a brisk and very cold northerly wind with a windchill temperature of 3C in full winter gear including a woolly hat where yesterday I was in a t-shirt. It is also why even in late May the wind can go round to the north and we are back lighting fires and digging out the winter clothes for 3 or 4 days.
Over coffee today in the Galante bar I read in the paper that over one million Italians are dependent on the political system for their livelihood, a rather frightening number. We have 1,067 MPs, 1,356 in regional government, 3,356 in Provincial government and 143,660 in the town councils. To support this lot are 390,120 support personnel on the public payroll plus another 38,120 just looking after the 1,067 MPs in Rome and finally a mere 487,540 full time public purse only consultants and other hangers on. Oh and about 100,000 of those are drivers who work the fleet of 629,000 government cars that sweep the officials around. That car number compares to 40,000 in the UK , 50,000 in France and 80,000 in the whole of the USA. And some people don’t think that Bepe Grillo is right ( Ms Merkel and Mario Monti I need your full attention here please) that before we do more austerity and raise VAT etc we need to sort the mess that is the political scene out first. Since austerity came in by the way we have added another 50,000 cars to the total.
Stil it’s Sunday and we are out for Sunday lunch to enjoy nice company, good food and lots of wine which is probably why it got in this mess. In the end it is very difficult to get too upset about it and the Italians just shrug and get on with eating, drinking and talking about food.
Now Toto also had one big international hit during his long career and that was
Oh and apropos yesterdays’ post on the bombing of Bari in 1943, the head of the 15th American Air Force group in Italy was Major General Doolittle a very famous US aviator whose massive contribution to aviation was to develop in the late ’20s the techniques and the training courses for the introduction of instrument flying which changed the whole aviation scene. Anyway in 1944 he was promoted to command the massive 8th Air Force group in England ready for D day and beyond. In May of that year he presented the American Distinguished Flying Cross to Flight Lieutenant Stan Jones D.F.C. D.F.M. for bravery while flying with American Air Crew on sorties over Germany whilst on secondment from the British Royal Air Force . Stan who always said that the really hairy bit of daylight bombing over Germany was crossing the English Channel twice because the British Royal Navy could see you and would open up with everything they had, was my father.