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Bon Voyage!

six weeks planned to within a centimetre of its life, and
confidently dismissed any qualms with a nonchalant wave of
our souvenir berets.
Looking back, we should have had an inkling of our fate a
month earlier, when I opened a message from Lucia – the
owner of our Tuscan villa.
‘Where is your deposit? I was expecting it several weeks
ago. Are you no longer interested in staying with us?’ Gripped
with panic, I replied urgently reassuring her that we were, and
that I would look into the delayed remittance straight away. I
spent a sleepless night constructing the conversation I
intended having with my bank the next day – each moment
bringing a new and better way of destroying some
unsuspecting clerk's life and self respect.
You know how it is. You run through the scenario a
hundred times in your head, always concluding with an
argument or sarcastic comment to devastate your foe and has
them admitting defeat and tearfully promising to rectify your
problem with minimal fuss and no cost (perhaps even offering
to compensate you for your inconvenience?). In reality – and
it seems as inevitable as poo – the problem stretches on for
days and days, then weeks, and in the end you’ve reduced
your life expectancy by at least a dozen years, and the problem
is only marginally resolved (at best).
This lesson was to be repeated over and over again in the
weeks to come.
I can’t recall the exact conversation with the bank clerk in
this circumstance, of course – but it ran something like this:
(Me) ‘Where the bloody hell has my deposit gone?’
(Clerk) ‘Which deposit would that be, sir?’
(Me) ‘The one I asked you to send off to Italy two months
(Clerk)‘I’ll just check for you and call you back in five
(Me – calling back two hours later) ‘Well?!’
(Clerk) ‘Well what?’
(Me) ‘Where’s that bloody deposit gone?’
(Clerk) ‘Which deposit would that be, sir?’
- you get my drift. Multiply the above by the number ten,
then factor in the need to eventually follow this up with an