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Book By: Mark Quay

Naples not a city of culture

Submitted:Feb 23, 2012    Reads: 4    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

27 Naples

It was one O'clock in the morning when the first of the Alarms I had pre set went off. This one a wrist watch beeped 20 to thirty times in total although it was not needed as I was already awake from my temporary floor board mattress designed to ensure I wasn't too comfortable. A cove kept me warm and this with a sheet I folded as neat as I could and placed to one side. Suit case already packed I changed into a few items prepared earlier blue peter style and ensured my passport plus flight ticket was in a wallet that hung from my neck.
The kettle boiled and I prepared a flask of chicken soup a necessary evil as it turned out. The fifty five minutes passed slowly until eventually suit case in hand flask in distinctive blue Athens bags over the back of my shoulder and out the front door locking it quickly ensuring no little black visitor crept in and I was on my way.

The sky was pitch black with so few stars that I could count them all on one hand. The moon hung over the church almost a full one looking down on me. Street lights guided me and I lost count of the number of houses with lights still on. Down cam pitch and across the empty road to outside Pizza place clock on its tower and dark roads either way.

A cat passed by white and unsure avoiding me the window in the flat above the chippie opened wide and later closed. A few cars and lorries passed by as I waited and waited. A police car and van seeking an open shop or garage out of luck. I was wearing extra warm layers and the soup kept me warm three necessary visits later and two calls It was over an hour late due to the forgetfulness (or perhaps intentional) act of Mandy before Douggie was heading down the Pitch and I deposited my black case in the boot. It was my turn to benefit from the back allowing me to sleep as my Chauffer drove hurriedly but more careful than I had known. He stopped a couple of times on route once for coffee and later for a visit to the welcome facilities and fuel as is his way.

Over the fantastic Runcorn bridge with its adjacent red brick railway bridge. Lit up at night and viewed from a distance fantastic but sometimes scary to drive alone over. The traffic as we got nearer to JL airport was heavy although it was only just approaching six O'clock in the morning as we passed the blue arch lights that where not as impressive as its predecessor and certainly not as eerie.

Arrival and we headed for Wetherspoons for brekkie deserved by the driver and myself while a pint of Strong bow cider for his craggy looking fiancé. We enjoyed our meal and waited Tony was among the first to arrive others passed by. The Kynstons joined us with Privet (Andrew Edge) and Brian Stubbs following on. The lovely Thwaite girls tall slim and excitable Laura our organises blonde and bubbly Dawn minus the usual greeting kiss and her tall elderly husband David Laura's uncle to Laura!

Time passed and eventually more of our party arrived some with tales about the city others chatting away nineteen to the dozen in the queue for our Easy Jet experience. I acquired a window seat which was good for sleeping in and enjoying the land views. As we flew to our Naples destination I could see a sea of blue below and enclosing us like an Igloo with a few puffs of white clouds.

Landing was safe on the grey dusty runway always a relief and the rush to be first off and through the passport control to the other side was not won by me. Our bus driver was waiting and when all had passed through and numbers counted checked carefully on to the bus and we were off. The local police where kind stopping the airport traffic it enable us to speedily cross to our transport no Japanese tourist where to be seen.

Immediately it struck me as strange as we travelled away from the airport Flats almost adjacent in need of repair this as to be the theme all the way to the port round and through the one way system to be dropped off outside the H2C hotel Napoli. I asked Tony and his opinion was the same our hotel stood out as complete and well maintained compared to the flats either side and behind. Although there was no stench the piles of rubbish and black plastic bags left uncollected was so noticeable. The strike was clearly taking its toll and the army services were desperately needed.

Into the room I was to share with John Shaw a seventy year old former railway worker from Bristol. Grey hair square glasses an aging face but a person who Dawn adored and mothered. He could tell a story often long winded and not always exciting but with feeling and an expression that showed how he felt.

Downstairs we gathered and eventually moved on Laura deliberately waiting till Mandy had gone so we could leave without her. At the start of our first stroll through the slums of Napoli we had Laura Dawn and David at the helm. Three Kynstons where joined by Andrew Edge and Brian Stubbs. Wheel chair bound Andrew was pushed along by his well built minder Jason. A former Rugby League player with tattoos to match and a body builders muscles I would want him on my side in any fight. Tony John and myself where joined by Mick Dunn, Mark and there where soon more in our initial party. First halt a bar on the port where we stopped for a drink or two our first pictures and a chance to watch the Japanese tour party pass by. Any one hungry we asked and yes was the answer so we all got up and departed although this was to be in tragic personal circumstances.
The famous "I was there"hat acquired in Istanbul airport and the result of many a comment especially when facing the wrong way was forgetfully left behind by myself. As I put on my hoddie jacket the most important and needed item was omitted never to be seen again. It is now a distant memory still on many a photo including in that bar its absence is noticeable in later photos and remains a tribute to the fact I was in Istanbul, other places visited and now Naples.

The next trek in search of a restaurant took us further along the port road through a fun fair followed and joined by a local black stray nick named Davy or David the dog. I am sure it was not connected in any way to the tall Thwaites of that name as he bravely and dangerously crossed the busy road and even followed us up the stairs either in the lift or on foot to the top of a road bridge.

From there it followed us into the main shopping street in the City a grand affair compared to what we had seen before and it was only after a few pics eventually realising he wasn't gonna get fed he stopped sheltering under a table outside a café bar as it began to rain. I then realised and noticed the absent head gear something I was asked about even by Laura and realised where I had left it. Not to worry I thought I will go back.

The street ahead could have been Milan or Oxford Street London so well lit up with boutiques clothes shops and grand looking arcades although some of the narrower side streets looked un appealing. No restaurant was open sadly as we progressed I apparently was one of the last.

Laura stopped to take a call and stood on the street corner chatting and describing where we where I cannot recall who was ahead but as the last person I decided I should wait with her. It is just the person I am no intention and patiently I waited close but not too close. Laura however did not appreciate my gallantry a thoroughly independent person did not require the services of a weakling like me, She halted her call and requested I catch up with the group with no reason to argue I did as I was asked although I think Laura carried her grievance further to me and was later to be off and funny towards me.

It was a side street bar where our large group gathered and drank much to the pleasure of the owner. The local "Village idiot" or nutter you wish to avoid joined us making fun. Later he was to encourage three school children to pass by shouting Juventus as they passed. I did not like this as I felt uneasy, we where being set up and was glad when we moved on though this apparently was not shared.

We sang songs and mixed with the Napoli supporting waiter when I rose joining in the Torres song two or three local girls turned round to watch and admire. Smiling but not joining in. An accordion player and Tamborine man serenade us with Steve stealing his instrument and playing it. They persisted until eventually he gave in and deposited a large note gratefully received and said good bye. It was when I had to get out and later return to my seat that I first noticed Laura and her attitude changed. Rude no, uncompromising yes! and a look to say what are you doing I am annoyed at you. Not a word passed her lips, she was unwilling to squeeze in as I requested but allowed just enough room for me to pass saying nothing.

Bill settled and another move onwards for a meal and coke. The restaurant we discovered was pleasant service good despite a slow pump that delivered it liquid alcohol contents slowly dripping like the slow Guinness perfect pint It needed a new cask or gas that was put in too late. There where newcomers joining us and our party was to rise only to reduce when we left with some heading to an Irish bar and the remaining members returning to the safety of the hotel hunger satisfied.

There are numerous stories of attacks stabbings and incidents that night and the night after fortunately no fatalities although the tales where no doubt embellished and Paul Joyce reports one fan who took great pride in showing off his wounded bum.

The street of this bar was well lit with refreshing and tempting ice cream on sale outside. Mick Dunn was the one who failed to resist the temptation although others may have joined him. In the dim lit bar we were made welcome with the waitress taking orders and sitting on a welcoming knee of which I am proud (I lie it was Steve Stead). Dawn was teasing wheel chair Andrew attempting to secure a Hypia shirt from him or maybe making her husband feel jealous. John Shaw the eldest in our group was joined by at least three other fifty year olds, two ladies. The three youngsters Brian Stubbs Trevor Kynston and Andrew Edge all where to depart early for an adventure and later to come back to the hotel with tales of how uneasy they felt in a bar leaving early walking through a tunnel and enduring a few threats and words. We had three or four other lads enjoying the atmosphere as our host where pleased and not a murmur as we hung up the branch flag in the dimmest end of the bar near the toilets and far away from the exit. Cramped in maybe we were and later joined by two new unfamiliar but welcome reds.

As the evening went on a local had been chatting friendly but implying others who were not so and I further become uneasy noticing local youths coming and going chatting on mobiles heading upstairs were an alcove was situated and a few band members had come down. Two facts stood out as I was not as kniave as other group members despite enjoying as we all had sing songs in comfort and secure environments through out Europe. The lads were on mobile phones going out and slow in ordering drinks I was planning my escape or who to hide behind and wondering how I could say to others or ask if any felt uncomfortable as I did.

Nervously I headed for the gents not wanting to "wet myself" if the inevitable happened and when I finished exiting the cubicle to wash my hands discovered a short local at the sink guarding the door and looking strangely as if he was removing a belt. I was not going to give him the opportunity of attacking me from behind or waiting for the water to become free. Washing my hands was an unnecessary luxury in the circumstances as I pushed passed him apologizing as is my nature and opened the door to rejoin my crowd. Relaxed in the safety it was less than thirty seconds I noticed my intended opponent return followed shortly by the attack.

In the corner we where defenceless with no escape and I would guess that what initially was four become eight at the door way entrance still probable outnumbered by us but younger and unwelcomed even by the bar staff,

One aggressive youth headed towards us mates behind him aggressively demanding we remove our flag from this "Napoli bar" This is Napoli he proclaimed in English get it down. An altercation started but was not violent as we quickly obliged not wishing to be provoked even as the sound of glass smashing which initially we thought was a glass accidentally being dropped.

In the dark barely lit area we were later informed that a bottle had been thrown passing by us how close we will never know. The ultras Villians or Napoli Hooligans had struck and put the fear of god into our group members especially the girls and those who feared for Andrew as much as themselves. We where defenceless and in at the time it felt what was never ending though really a matter of minutes may of ended quickly as the Police where called and they where ushered out followed by the bar doors being locked.

We settled up and were prepared to take expensive Taxis back to the safety of our hotel. However the bar staff called the police spoke to them in native tongue and advised us they would take us back to our hotel. Duly they did although our group failed to stick closely together as I would like spreading out and having to be called back. Once on the main road a bus was hailed and stopped the police officer ushered us on to the bus and joined us till our hotel stop.

Gratefully we all debarked and I thanked one officer personally for what initially was one had become three police cars escorting our group. For us they had seen off the Ultras and locals shouting and swearing at "Liverpool reds". The Ultras failed to get us it was a lesson learnt and we did not venture out again that night or the next. It was time to retire to bed.

Thursday October 21st Match day

After the danger from the night before which was still shocking some for days after the normality of the morning and a must do opportunity to visit Pompei. The ruins are genuine and though I did not know what too expect I was pleased at the chance to go with a large group of friends.

As is my way I rose early and popped my head through the hotel front door not daring to chance much of a venture. It was nice pleasant and not a sign of rain the idea day.

The breakfast hall I ventured into alone was sparse of any comrades but full almost with Japanese tourist I managed to acquire the last remaining table later to be joined by an eager John Shaw with eventually Tony and more slowly venturing down. I as usual ensured I had a filling and nourishing breakfast commencing with Cereal and plenty of fruit juice. The cappuccino was amongst the best I had enjoyed while the cooked part was ok at best. Cakes and Jam on bread was the concluding section of my delight.

Making our way too the Central station as we eventually did in the bright sun light we were careful seeking a safe route the streets were fortunately busy while the shops differed to those in the main street the night prior. I looked odd as I was wearing a scarf to protect my dry throat and also had extra unnecessary layers though it is credible to the camaraderie that I was respected.

Eventually we found our train and platform boarding together and huddled in one carriage. The graffiti on all the trains astounded us for it was out of fashion years ago. Amazing amused but not impressed by the childish and uncaring art work in front of us. As we headed out of the suburbs nothing changed endless rows of flats four five six stories high in need of repair with washing hanging out to dry plus the obligatory satellite dish. Only on reaching Pompei village of mystery did it come to an end.

En route was a café bar and street vendors. The bar providing a refreshment stop a further chat and photo opportunity prior to entering the scene of volcanic destruction many years ago. Over the wall into the area we could see some of the ruins a grass bank and the steps to further parts filled with a long line of visitors. Soon it was we eight who where in that queue. Dave & Dawn, Tony John and myself, Mick Dunn, Mark and Bill a happy group in the now hot midday sun. The ruins where just that stones that used to be houses and inns, Theatres and swimming baths some where the brothel was situated. We wandered round aimlessly taking a few pics mostly of ourselves although the most fascinating part for me was the pottery area safely behind bars containing humans', animals and pottery. It made an interesting photo.

In amongst the ruins a shop come café come toilet area this was where we purchased from the many varieties of ice cream available. The toilets were up stairs and the walk afforded great views from inside of further parts of the site. The facilities where fantastic and modern though most disappointing that they where not authentic in fitting with the ancient city.

In the hour and a half we wondered round I doubt that we saw less than a quarter of the ruins but for us and in the circumstances it was sufficient. We ambled back to the station and for our return journey I stood away from the main group seeking and failing to get a decent picture of the train graffiti. It was not until we arrived back at Naples Garibaldi station that I achieved my aim.

Wondering back through the shoppers and along the restaurant we stopped for a meal in a grand lower section with sea ferry theme. Another photo and meal finished we were again soon heading back to the hotel in time honoured fashion to change and board the coach destination Napoli football stadium.

Laura counted us on and off unusually but I believe due to her changed attitude towards me it was Markey my surname she used and not for others. She also gave me a dirty look as I deposited my empty Yoghurt carton in the bin on the bus It made me smile as I always do when some one especially a female has an uncalled for gripe towards me.

The police escort took us a long way round avoiding any narrow and dangerous streets or possible ambush. They had wisely chosen not to take us by the most direct route; It gave us great views of the city a swarm of flats that later on the return journey where brightly lit up. The cities inhabitants a reputed two million people where all within our view. Some fans waived at us as we got closer to the ground including some very attractive damsels standing on the pavement. Our bus entered into what effectively was a compound for visiting buses and fans taking us to the very edge of the stadium and visitors section where we disembarked. There was only one way to go now directed by the local police a familiar steward we headed in towards the stadium entrance although I took a detour en route. A Camera and reporter was around and to attract attention I got out my scarf fully stretched and was soon interviewed excitedly telling him we were going o win two-nil. Two-nil I repeated before running off to enter the stadium endure as Tony and John did ahead of me a search and enter underneath our stand.

A warm greeting of loud and vocal jeers was coldly received by us first few red inhabitants. The stadium was already heavily packed and did not get much fuller in the home section except possible to our immediate left. In the adjacent section fans wanted to exchange scarves without much luck although one short and attractive girl had a hand written apology for the "Villains" who stabbed our fans. She smiled happily and widely as we took her photo through the glass window her elder male companion near by. Rightly she felt proud and delighted at all the attention she received.

No more than four hundred fans made the journey perhaps fears of trouble had put many off and the late ticket sale did not help. Our section was not full and we were able to actually sit down for most of the ninety minutes. Yvonne arrived and I saw Danny, Tim Richards and Steve Mooney. Rob Thomas passed me by and I later saw though did not speak to a little French girl I had seen on numerous occasions and befriended via face book.

The Match

Napoli vs Liverpool
Last modified 21:44 21/10/10 Daily Mirror match report by David Maddock
Roy Hodgson must be hoping he can bottle the essence of Liverpool's European success, as his spectacular gamble paid dividends here in Italy. The Anfield outfit stretched their unbeaten run in the Europa League to seven matches with an assured display against Napoli even without their big stars, that belied their woeful domestic form.
Hodgson went into the match under massive pressure, admitting that he would be forced to take yet more criticism - and with it perhaps unbearable pressure - should his team have lost with Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres rested.
Instead they emerged with a valuable point that makes qualifying for the knock out stage look something of a formality now. Indeed, they were so comfortable the only complaint is that they didn't win easily.
For Hodgson, it comes as a relief after such unremitting pressure of recent weeks, and it offers the merest glimmer of relief as he now looks forward to a game on Sunday against Blackburn - he himself has admitted is must - with renewed confidence.
With the rather menacing figure of Frank Rijkaard lurking rather menacingly in the background, cheerily proclaiming he would take the Liverpool job at the drop of a hat, Hodgson knew defeat here was unthinkable.
While he can not yet claim to have turned the corner given that his side are now seven games without a win, he will take comfort from the fact his side are starting to look like a unit, and starting to respond to his tactics. His only mystery is why it has taken so long.
But then mysteries abound for Liverpool, particularly over their ventures into Europe this season, given the contrast between form on their travels and the depressing domestic fare they have served up.
Yet perhaps the biggest mystery of last night was quite how what looked a very ordinary Napoli team have managed to find themselves at fourth place in the Italian table.
They were downright pedestrian in the first half, and though the urgency of their passionate support motivated a better response after the break, they still look far from the quality you would expect from Italy's leading teams.
It is, perhaps, a statement on the general malaise that has gripped football in Serie A in recent years, with only Inter's expensive assembly of foreigners bucking that trend.
In fairness to Liverpool, it was also a comment on the relative strength of the English League, because the visitors to Naples certainly looked comfortable throughout, and they dominated the final quarter of the game to feel they were well worth victory.
They looked nothing like a bottom three team either, even without their top stars. Hodgson must be encouraged and at the same time slightly baffled by this performance, and wondering quite why his side can't produce their European form in the Premier League.
They had won five and drawn two in their Europa League quest, but more importantly had offered the security and sense of purpose that has been singularly lacking in English football.
Christian Poulsen, for instance, looks a completely different player in these games, and it is perhaps the difference in pace between the two competitions that is the key.
Certainly, Liverpool were more measured here, the brave decision by their manager to rest Gerrard and Torres looking far less of a gamble as the night wore on.
The Reds retained possession, and young players like Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing and teenager Jonjo Shelvy on his first start for the club, seemed to grow in confidence as the game wore on.
Indeed, Liverpool came so close to snatching a much-needed victory - some would say vital if the pressure on Hodgson is ever to ease below boiling point - when Ryan Babel was presented with a glorious chance to open the scoring on 69 minutes. A fine run from Milan Jovanovic, who had previously fired over from a good position, culminated in a clever pass which put Babel in space, but from a fine position he smashed his shot against the home keeper.
David Ngog found himself in a similar positon 10 minutes later with a similar end result as his shot cannoned off the desperate lunge of Napoli defender Paolo Cannavaro, but the striker had turned beautifully and deserved more.
Napoli didn't. Their only real chance came on the stroke of half time, and it was great work from Paul Konchesky that denied them, when he turned a goalbound shot from Marek Hamsik off the line.
Hodgson's gambling instinct even allowed him the luxury of playing Joe Cole for just a cameo 15 minutes, and for giving both Carragher and Konchesky a second half breather, but it did little to affect the Liverpool performance.
If the Liverpool boss has deserved the criticism that has come his way this season, then this time he deserves praise for the courage of his convictions. On another day, his side would have won comfortably, but as it is, they are in a strong position to quality from this group with two homes games left.
Even more important, perhaps, is that Hodgson's side visibly lifted in confidence as the night wore on, and with Gerrard and Torres rested for Sunday's massive game, he will be hoping that it can provide the watershed to his team's season.
Napoli: De Sanctis 5; Campagnaro 5, Cannavaro 6, Aronica 6; Maggio 6, Pazienza 7, Gargano 6, Dossena 5; Hamsik 7, Lavezzi 6; Cavani 5.
Liverpool: Reina 6; Kelly 7, Carragher 7(Kyrgiakos 46,6), Skrtel 7, Konchesky 7(Aurelio 65, 6); Poulsen 7, Spearing 8; Jovanovic 7, Shelvey 7, Babel 6 (Cole 74, 6); Ngog 7.
Report courtesy of Daily Mirror

The game was the best I had seen by a Liverpool team in Europe for a long time and destroyed the old cliché "The only thing that spoils these European trips is the Football". For once it was better than the night before, Pompei and the morning after combined.
The Konchesky clearance off the line, Babel missing a keen strikers golden opportunity and Ngog creating a fine but failed opportunity to score were the high lights of an enthralling encounter.

The return bus trip was a little shorter than our arrival although still in convoy and with roads blocked off so there was no traffic in our way. The usual holding back was disjointed as we first waited in our seats as the vast stadium emptied slowly. Even the players failed to reappear for a warm down perhaps a new policy or maybe they could complete this ritual downstairs.

As we waited at the top of the stairs little blonde Dawn complained that as she was short made even worse by Dave Towering above us all it was scary. The wait was annoying and longer than advised but eventually we where released and carefully took the stairway down towards the buses. The local Police stood and watched and waited the girls smiling which was nice as they looked very dull and attractive otherwise in the uniforms.

I discovered our bus and was counted in by Laura again no positive response and I didn't care that is how the fair sex can be sometimes usually for no reason!

Numbers counted and we were off arriving about fifty minutes later having sent and received a text from Jo Snow with little to say. After being dropped off the hungry group headed for the restaurant to purchase drinks and wolf down a limited spread that Laura had thoughtfully arranged. At 15 Euros a head it was expensive for what it was but better than I anticipated soon it was all gone as like a swarm of bees we choose and nibbled the various meet, a few sarnies and even some traditional English chips. Poor Laura who was sat on the same table as me though ended up with our backs to each other didn't get much although at least it was cheaper than a meal outside. She was more interested in the rugged looks of Andrews's helper, while I was invited by Brian to room 106 for some coke and to watch the Football. Tony and my room mate decided not to go and join the youngsters but was happy for me to do so which I did.

Two giant plastic bottles of cokes with my name on it where in the room and Brian a great host poured the first into a glass and left bottle and cup for me. In the end we struggled to get any Football despite which I was happy in the company of Brian, Andrew Edge Mark and Mick Dunn. Later Laura was to join us pushing in Andrew and waiting for late comer Justin her real reason for attending. Mark left early and I followed grateful at the invite although I had never intended to stay long.
Sleep and rest was good tired as I was I did not enjoy a good kip "the night before" as the words go but this was a better one ending as usual with an early rise.
From out room window we could see the back street and roof tops of adjacent flats that surrounded us, They where mostly in need of repair. Directly below a common feature in the city rubbish piled up and as I continued to watch in the morning two lads come round with trolley, a carpet they looked at was quickly disregarded with other items similarly dismissed prior to moving on.

The clock above an archway was just visible its chimes booming out every fifteen minutes and although I didn't take much notice some members of our party where affected by it.

Breakfast was a quieter affair with the Japanese tourists gone a different tongue was heard French I believe although I am not sure. I made the most of my meal and as often the case was soon joined by room mate John Shaw who wanted to go for a stroll with me to the Cathedral. Having already gone out once prior to breakfast in amongst the heavy traffic and taking a photo of a ship in the harbour I was delighted of this companion opportunity.

In the two hour window we had, we attempted to follow a map and instructions only later did we discover that due to a lack of street names we had missed the correct turning eventually arriving at the Cathedral situated off a main street. It was not a glamorous or full of character very plain and ordinary. Thinking back to Milan cathedral it was like comparing Jo to Laura a plain girl to a happy cheerful stunner!

A few pictures later and we where walking back taking a diversion along a fascinating street with gems of shops and a market stall adjacent to a narrow lane. Another photo opportunity for us. We returned slowly passing a Nun en route and stopped to watch two female traffic cops directing the traffic around an oil spill. They where quite glamorous despite he uniform and I felt obliged to take a photo. As we reached the corner of the Port road John suggested a coffee enjoyed on the street table where we watched the world go by. We were like many an old couple of old farts with time on our hands sat in the sun though not hot. Watching the cars, buses and scooters go by sometimes stopping at the traffic lights. Across the street the university enabling us to bird watch as the attractive young female students went by in either direction. By chance three familiar faces tall and happy David Thwaites with broad Yorkshire accent Laura taking a break from her beau! And Delightful Dawn ever smiling cheerful and agreeable to take our picture.

They moved on as others members of our party also passed by stopping at a near by bar and John and I when drinks were finished strolled back again round the hotel back to take a picture of "The curse of Privet" the clock in the Arch.

To our surprise a church was hidden away called "Maria SS. Della Purita" which we strolled round interesting and as John pointed out a rebuilt model as it was clear an extension had been built on. On and around the back amongst a forest into the square and back again we returned to the hotel to pack our suit cases and settle my drink bill prior to boarding the coach.

Tony had also enjoyed an interesting morning and with the group numbers increasing Laura counted numbers ticked off names. When I vacated a seat she moved in only to jump out again as I returned to my possessions getting up as she did not want to sit next to me.

My task on the coach to the airport was to finish of the remains of one bottle of coke handed to me by Brian. I failed miserably discretely depositing it in a rubbish bin at the airport. Outside I noticed the smokers as we entered including one short but attractive female probable in her late thirties or maybe mid forties. Later as I rode the escalator looking down at the lady below she spoke to me from the adjacent one in her native language. I smiled thinking she was making some comment as I was "enjoying the view" She changed tack and announced "you came for the game yesterday" yes I replied shyly having been taken by surprise and she moved on. Tony commented no need to be shy you spoke to her referring to Alison who had just passed by. Again I was taken back unaware but didn't bother to explain.

Time passes slowly when you want it to pass quickly hanging about in the airport waiting for our flight is like that. The one highlight was "Jim Beglin" left back from the mid eighties a great player despite the injury that brought his career to an early end. His sweet Irish accent and natural charm have always been admired lately on ITV but in his early days on Radio five live. I left him alone thinking once one person took a photo we all would although later he was seen chatting to one or two supporters much to the annoyance of his wife.

The flight home was uneventful tired I slept through the trolley doleys passing by. A charming stewardess with even sweeter Irish accent was the real darling of Dublin. Off and through passport control at John Lennon airport were I took a photo of the yellow submarine and waited for Douglas Moreton and Mandy Richardson. I waived good bye to my fellow travellers except for Laura who seemed determined to ignore me. She left I can guess where she was heading but Dawn made a point of coming over and giving me a great big hug and again asking if I would be at the Xmas party. No I replied "Vincy isn't coming over till after Xmas and I'm not coming on my own" "I don't feel it's fair" No one could argue with that.

The drive home was a happier affair than the one from Amsterdam with the two love birds at least talking and civil. I was genuinely able to praise the driving as I didn't notice any tailgating and the speed was not as excessive as usual. Mandy refused to agree criticizing the driving which I had not noticed and despite claims to the contrary I do not believe she would say anything to Douglas.

About eight O'clock we arrived at my house and I thanked Douggie before receiving a hug from his errant girl friend. Blackie was there to greet me running away from the cranky old women attempting to stroke him. The car left and I headed towards my front door followed by an eager black cat. Into my house and a few days of my depressing miserable existence that I fear some people don't understand. Yes I may go on great trips enjoy work, look forward to my Hong Kong visitor have many friends go walking and play chess. Even writing this and my other works.

There is only one person living in my house that is one to few and the second should be female. No has or ever will justify the idea of one or more people being denied the human right to a partner.

Inside I was able to uncover my arms for an itching on the back of one and small lump on another had annoyed me. On the back above the elbow on the right arm I discovered two lumps the size of marbles itching and scratching I later squeezed out some contents and spread on some germeline. A smaller but similar occurrence was on the left arm.

In Naples the Ultras failed to get me so they sent in the secret weapon. Yes the Multras pesky insects that bite and inject victims with venom had succeeded in getting me.


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