THE MARTINI CONNOLLY FAT LADS AT THE BACK ITALIAN TOUR IN AID OF THE ALZHEIMERS SOCIETY Day 1
1. Always prepare for a curve ball at the airport, especially when it's 3 blokes who ordinarily have women, organising their every move.
NO TOOLS BUT YOUR MATES:
2. Our first airport mishap was security confiscating my 3 cool tools. Tbf they didn't adopt a ‘computer says no’ attitude and told me they would pop them in lost property and they should be there on our return.
CHECK YOUR PASSPORT:
3. Whatever you do, DON’T take your son’s passport instead of your own.
Being a ghinger, Conno ordinarily has a pale complexion, however the pallor of his skin was Lil-lets white and his freckles shone out like a million tiny suns. He had brought his 12 yr old son's passport.
“I've done all that training for nothing.” said Conno. 3 weeks in his garden can hardly be described as ‘all that’, but respect to him!
4. Realising there wasn't another flight for days, drastic measures were called for. We were 30 feet from passport control, Conno mentioned Midnight Express. To hell with it we thought we were last in the queue and the staff wanted us on the plane. We rapidly put in place a number of diversion tactics. Rob stared at his flip flops, Conno dropped his paperwork on the floor at the last minute and I notified the woman on the desk that a girl had just told us to tell them she had to go for a quick poo, so please could they wait for 5 minutes. Of course the girl had said toilet but I got an uncomfortable laugh out of the attendant!
FORGET ACTING LESSONS:
5. You could not script 3 more guilty looking geezers. It could have been a cut scene from Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels, the looks on our faces were that of slapstick panic / horror. But in no time, we are speeding up the tarmac and Rob was discussing the chances of a Guantamano Bay experience for Conno at Italian passport control.
Tough decision which of the passport controllers was least conscientious; which queue to go in? Massimo looked particularly not arsed. Dio bless him! He took Conno’s 12 year old son’s passport, checked the photo and the details and then handed it back.
IT’S HOT IN PISA:
6. Add that to the list under hopeless preparation.
Other than my spoke breaking, the ride to my Dad’s house went without incident and it must be said Conno is a demon; a veritable Stephen Roach. Apart from the fact that he was at the back for the whole ride, save the monster climb at the end, where he took all the glory.
ALWAYS POP THE BONNET BEFORE YOU TRY TO STEAL A CAR:
7. After 63 miles and it turns out 5,400 feet of climbing, we arrived home, starving and around 4,726 calories lighter! A quick shower and we got into Dad's Opel Estate with the intention of heading out for supper. It was as dead as a Dodo! No surprise, with dirt an inch thick on the windows, obscuring every view it was clear that the car had been insitu, in the field for the last 12 months.
Rob thought his Salford van hire experience was sufficient that once the car was on the road he’d be able to bump start it, so for an hour, the three of us pushed and pushed the ‘tank’ out of the wet field, in our flip flops.
What an effort and then, Rob managed to steer the car into a tree, tbf he was going backwards and it actually turned out to be a good thing because otherwise the car would have dropped into the ditch 30 feet below. It all seemed a good and sensible idea at the time.
We were wondering how we were going to move the car so our cousin could get past in the morning to drive to work and so I rang a pal who popped round with some jump leads. Undoubtably we should have started with this idea in the first place but all my blood was in my legs, not my brain. As I popped the bonnet I saw that somebody had disengaged the battery. This is the finest bit of car mechanics I have ever produced and a couple of minutes later we were mobile and on our way to dinner and the biggest steaks you could wish for.
NEVER ADMIT ANYTHING/DON’T TELL MARTINO:
8."Make sure that plonker does not drive my car” my Dad said. “It has no insurance, no MOT and no brakes.” By my calculations that's about 12 penalty points.
Unlawful taking of a motor-vehicle, maybe a three month prison sentence? And also the slightest possibility of drink-driving on the way home. But, who drove? And were they drunk?
Paolo, Rob and Conno are raising money for The Alzheimers Society.
You can donate here: