Yep, he's back! All shiny and new looking. When Trigger went away he was somewhat filthy after our adventure together up north, so not only did 4th-Dimension do a remarkable job on him, but he was cleaned and polished too, to look his best for our reunion. I should have been working hard yesterday, writing new scenes for a current film script I'm working on, especially as the deadline is this coming Monday and I'm only a third of the way through it! But the sun was shining, and the thump thump thump of Trigger's engine was too hard to resist, so off we went round the roads of joy in East Lothian. Great to be back together.
I also had another reunion with a certain person yesterday, this time in the evening at a restaurant in the city, together with one of my closest friends, Andrew, and a fine bottle of Chianti.
Chianti always takes me back to 1994 and Florence, Italy, where Andrew and I, together with a mix of other close friends, enjoyed a weeks jaunt to Tuscany. What a joy it was, visiting historical places such as Sienna and San Gimignano (trying saying that after a bottle of Chianti!), a small town made up of varying sizes of towers, and in the past the taller the tower, the more wealthy and important you're standing. Not much has changed there over the centuries, nor in man's need to boast about the size of his . . . well, whatever.
Sienna was an incredible experience, and for those as old as me reading this, will know what I mean when I say it was a Mr Ben moment. We had purposely timed our visit there for the world famous Palio di Sienna horse race. A brutal, sometimes fatal, bareback horse race around the Piazza del Campo in the centre of the city, where thousands of spectators cram in to watch. We waited in the heat for around 6 hours to watch the few minutes that was the actual race! That said though, the entire day was thoroughly enjoyable. Sienna is very much a preserved medieval city and on the two days that the Palio is run, on 2 July and 16 August, the town is decorated in medieval insignia, and the people wear the costumes of the period. It is very colourful, and a little surreal, stood watching this in 20th century jeans and t-shirts.
The modern version of the Palio dates back to 1656 and has been run every year since. Seventeen Contradas, or areas of the region, participate, but not all race on the day. I had chosen to back Tartuca, the tortoise, on the day, and I still have the flag tucked away somewhere as a memento of the day, just as Mr Ben would have after his adventures. The twist to the whole thing is that it is the horse that wins, not the jockey, so if a horse loses it's mount, which frequently happens, it can still go on to win. And it is quite brutal; on the day we were there one rider was trampled and had his leg virtually severed, and at the end of the race a spectator ran out to congratulate the winner, only to be hit and killed by the excited horses.
Florence was our base, and for me, by far, it is my favourite Italian city. In fact I'm tempted to say my favourite European city. I have been fortunate to visit Italy numerous times, and a similar group of friends returned years later to base ourselves in Rome and travel south to Naples and the Almafi Coast.
Probably the most energetic visit though, goes back to 1998, when I was there with my best friend Pauline. We landed in Verona with our mountain bikes and cycled north and east in an arc that took us through the Dolomites and eventually to Venice. An Awfully Big Adventure, as Pauline named her journal at the time.
But I digress dear readers. Last night the reunion was with my ex-wife Lorraine. It was a most enjoyable dinner and conversation, at times quite heated in strong debate, but above all it was a terrific expression of communication between good friends. Considering the company it was also nice to be able to relate a story of someone new in my life, that has currently been pulling my heart strings. I can sense a widening of eyes and renewed interest in this ramble by those who know me, and who know it has been some time since I have shared a passionate moment with anyone. And you may, or may not be keen for more details.
But that's for another day when I may, or may not, tell all to you.
I'll end today on a note of good news. Which is rare these days. Maybe there's a market for a good news paper? I recently retreated from my daily dose of TV news programmes, and from purchasing a daily newspaper (which is also good for the environment) as it was all stories of murder, death and financial collapse. Maybe love entering my life, regardless of how brief it may be, and Trigger returning has given me a thirst for happier times.
The good news I speak of is that next year will see the last Big Brother series on UK television! There is a glimmer of hope that as far as the dumbing down of TV content goes we may well have reached the bottom and could be on the way back up.
Miracles do happen occasionally.