Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Wednesday, 29th February

I sound more Welsh when I'm angry, and, right now, I'm Very Welsh Indeed. Not quite Bryn Terfel at the Millennium Stadium, more like Neil Kinnock at the 1985 Labour Party conference, but the Welshometer is creeping into the red. I drove 40 minutes across town to pick up some Euros from Sainsbury's (yes, I know, but they offered the best rate) and the young fellow in their foreign exchange booth is telling me that my payment hasn't cleared yet and he can't give me anything. I tell him I rang only an hour ago to check, and was told everything was ready. He apologises, but he can't do anything . I drive home. The moment I step through the door the phone rings. Inevitably, it's Sainsbury's. Everything is ready now. I drive all the way back. The boy hands over my Euros. He doesn't apologise. I'm not in a mood to accept one anyway.

This has wasted a whole morning when we had no time to waste. It's becoming increasingly obvious that we've massively underestimated the amount of work left. There's still a hell of a lot of stuff to be taken to the dump or to the charity shop, the place needs a good clean, and we (“we” in this case meaning “Caroline”, as I'm not really to be trusted with this) haven't even been able to start packing yet.

I spend the afternoon vacuuming and cleaning floors. I clean the windows. Then, I have to turn my attention to the oven. It hasn't been cleaned since before Christmas and the interior now resembles something from The Quatermass Experiment. I attack it with some kind of noxious chemical goo, emblazoned with all sorts of dire warnings, which renders down the unpleasantness into a thick, fatty black sludge. I knew there would be times when the glamour and excitement of The Project would seem to fade a bit. This is one of them.

Still, it's time for our final Italian class, following which everyone heads off for a bite to eat and a few glasses of wine. It's our final big farewell do and good fun, if bittersweet as always.

Home then, feeling happier about things, and we think we'll have a glass of wine or two before turning in. Caroline goes to check her email, just in case there's something that needs to be looked at urgently. There's a message from the owner of the flat we're renting in Italy. The harsh Venetian winter has caused the pipes to burst in the flat upstairs from ours, and, as a result, it's in no fit state to be rented out.

We fly out in just four days time, and we no longer have a place to stay.

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