Today I came to the end of another little stint on a cruise ship - just 4 days this time, from Athens to Venice. Got a text from some old friends who were coming on to take over from me, we had a morning's overlap so met up for lunch at "Cafe Caribe", one of the ships evil all-you-can-eat buffet-a-thons. You come on the ship as a passenger, they say, and you leave as luggage.
We sat by the big picture window 15 stories high looking out at the Venician skyline as we ate and caught up. It was very pleasant. Present were: Fraser Hooper (www.fraserhooper.com) - a very funny clown (yes) and someone so completely nice that I'm convinced he must have some bodies chopped up and frozen somewhere; George Fuller - a sexually adventurous and lovely American contortionist; and Pete Dobbing (www.dobbing.com) - a street performer so relentlessly cheerful that I went through a phase of not liking him just because of that, until I realised that that was more of an issue with me than him. They are all very sweet people, and equally good performers. They will know how much it pains me to admit this.
I have spent a very large part of my life having long chatty lunches and (more often) breakfasts with street performers, and it's pretty much the only thing I miss about not working at Covent Garden any more, so this was a very welcome treat. At the buffet there were little silver bowls of orange jelly, so I had one. Mainly I had one because, y'know - jelly, but also because it felt like a vaguely celebratory lunch. Kinda - "Look at us, we're all on a nice gig. Yay for not failing at life! So far."
The last time I was in Venice I stumbled across a gorgeous-looking suit shop, so I made a point to try to make it back there this morning. You know how when you go shopping for clothes you often have a very clear idea in your mind of what you want, then after hours of trudging around shops you realise that it doesn't exist and you should just suck it up and go back to Uniqlo?
Well I knew exactly what kind of suit I wanted. And they had it. The shop was run by two glamourous and elegant middle aged women who, when I tried on the suit, skittered around me measuring and pinning and told me that if I came back in an hour the suit would be tailored for me. Good deal. Off I went to wander around venice, get some pizzette (small cold pizzas fresh from the bakery. Yum), then I was back, and leaving the shop with a fitted suit and new tie (It's a rule, buy a new suit, buy a new tie.) and feeling very fucking pleased with myself.
Oh yeah, I have a tailor in Venice.