The Italian press have been having a field day with the arrest of a Frenchman and two Frenchwomen found in the ancient baths at Pompei having a sex romp while trying to re-enact the raunchy frescoes on the wall .
The French who were arrested after being spotted going over the wall have said they intend to return to finish what they had started so to speak at a later date.
This follows on from a British couple found in broad daylight having sex on a bridge in Venice. They too seemed surprised about what the fuss was about in the most romantic city in the world.
What with skinny dipping northern Europeans in Rome fountains and Florence rivers, nude tourists sun bathing in public squares and tourists taking a bath no less in various fountains after camping out on the streets this is the year when the more law abiding Italians, prudish by nature, are having to get used to the ways of the young from the northern countries.
Quite nicely the papers seem to blame Italy for it all. It is they say a romantic country and perhaps the tourists just can’t help themselves. Others blame the mess the country is in politically though quite how that fits I have no idea. Renzi is a fool so come on Chardonay lets jump naked in the nearest fountain doesn’t really add up. One even blames the fact that in the South of Italy there are acres and acres for landfill sites and that especially in the South the locals happily toss rubbish from their cars and over their fences to litter the countryside.
What most don’t seem still to realise is that most of these excesses as the Italians see them are drink fueled. I have yet to see an Italian male drunk in public down here and trust me I spend plenty of time in local bars researching this subject. They make lots of noise but either hold their booze well or watch what they are drinking. At home most take a few glasses of wine with their meals but going on a bender is almost unknown. The young do do shots in the bar but normally just the one and then that is it. The great majority of women over 25 in the South maybe 90%, take no alcohol at all.
Were it the same for the Northern European youth who invade Italy each summer. It is no Costa Brava or Ibiza but boy they enjoy themselves.
All this talk of booze reminded me of a joke I was sent the other day . An Italian Mother Superior in a convent is dying and asks a nun to get her a glass of milk. The novice nun seeing a bottle of whiskey used by the priest who visited on occasions near the bottle of milk decided to put a generous measure in the glass with the milk. After the Mother Superior drank the glass the nun asked what piece of advice she would leave them with for their lives ahead. The Mother Superior looked at the nun and said ” don’t get rid of that cow whatever you do.”
That in turn reminded me of a true story I heard many years back. I was crewing on a boat going from Henley on Thames to Ramsgate. It wasn’t just any boat but one of the original Dunkirk Little Ships that crossed the Channel and ferried troops from the beach to the waiting Royal Navy ships anchored in deep water. Indeed this one still had the marks of the hobnail boots of the troops on the deck planking.
We were doing the sea bit at night and rightly the owner had insisted on two of us being on watch as we motored down to Ramsgate. I was sitting with James Burke the TV presenter who was going over with the owner the following day for the yearly commemoration ceremony on the Dunkirk beaches.
He had just returned from doing a Tomorrow’s World piece in the USA and had had he said the misfortune to be on an aircraft that on approach to LAX found that the front nose wheel wouldn’t come down. The Captain advised everyone about this and that he was going over the sea for 30 minutes to drop most of the fuel before landing without it on a bed of foam being laid by the fire brigade. The good news he said was that the cabin crew would be coming through the cabin with free drinks for those who wanted a little Dutch courage. James said that in the row alongside him there were three nuns who began to cross themselves and chant to their rosary beads. The trolley arrived and James asked for a miniature brandy and the stewardess gave him two. She then turned to the nuns and immediately apologised ” so sorry sisters’ and started to move on. “one moment” said one of the nuns “we will have three whiskeys each please ” . James said the whole plane exploded in laughter and people were still chuckling when the aircraft made a perfect landing on just the main undercarriage with the nose slowly plopping down into the thick foam. They all walked away and he had this great story to tell.