First of February, 2023 and the sun is shining, the sky is blue and the birds are singing.  It is warm!  In fact, I have just learned that it is to be warmer tomorrow and fifteen degrees at the weekend …  Welcome to Roma!  Less than 2,000 miles from Scotland, how stupid are we?  Opening the old green double door of Becca’s apartment – love the Roman doors –  I walked all of two hundred metres down to the Forum, the now familiar Trajan’s Column to the right and the Wedding Cake towering across the way, my favourite ‘umbrella’ trees reaching to the skies as they line the Via dei Fori Imperiali.  For days, now, I have promised to write a post but how does one concentrate in the wealth of such surroundings?  Perhaps, thankfully, there are no longer any benches lining the famous road on which, on our first visit, I would sit in the moonlight with my glass of foil-covered Chardonnay from the little shop next to our hotel (my idea of slumming it!), while Manny put his camera to work capturing the silent majesty all around.  At once, humbling, I never cease to struggle in grasping the history at every turn in this beautiful city.  To stand in the shadow of the Colosseum and imagine the crowds, the noise, the brutality once within; to look at the ancient pillars of the Forum and picture a thriving community, the togas and slates of my childhood Approach to Latin …  I still have a copy on my book shelves.  Who knew how privileged I would, one day, be?

Mind you, everywhere has its problems.  Just wish ours wasn’t plumbing!  No shower for me this morning as the water started to gurgle up into the basin heralding the blocking of the ancient pipes under the road once more.  Apparently, toilet roll is the problem.  You see, the Romans had no use for the unnecessary.  Does beggar belief that togas were white or cream, though …  Moving swiftly on, I am sitting by the window in a little boutique hotel – Hotel Nerva – just down the hill from the apartment.  Lovely and quiet, the staff are friendly and I have a fresh juice beside me which will soon morph into a Limoncello Spritz – so delicious and I am not a cocktail fan, despite my penchant for a Thursday night Zombie in my youth.  Limoncello Spritz.  Highly recommended.  Apologies, in advance, should this take a turn for the worse, though …  We were, actually, here last night sampling before dinner.  There’s just something comforting about the bar where everybody knows your name in this great big nasty world.

Talking of this great big nasty world, there are Scorpios in Rome.  Who knew?  Apparently, there was one climbing the wall behind the loo, one night, prompting Becca to, now, check under the bed – I mean, really, check under the bed – and her pillows before climbing in.  Add to that, her fixation with security.  I’d have more chance of escaping from Barlinnie than the apartment as I lie in bed listening to the bolts engaging in the triple locks!  Now, I have claustrophobic tendencies so better not to dwell.  There’s always the windows?  Well, if you can negotiate the outside shutters, the trellis of bars, the mosquito screen and the inside shutters.  Granted, it is the ground floor and she did have the living daylights terrified out of her by a stalker but …

Sadly, there’s no news blackout in Rome and the internet ensures the latest is to hand at all times.  No escaping the updates on Sturgeon as she continues her life’s bid to put Scotland in the gutter, then, although her transgender fixation seems to have hit a bit of a wall, ironically, at the hands of one of their own.  Isla Bryson.  Man, woman or beast?  No threat to a person with a cervix, formerly known as a woman, though!  None at all.  Then, there is the Sturgeon assault on Scottish Universities, the ones at which Scottish students can no longer get a place.  No tuition fees for our own.  Superb.  She failed to mention, though, that the reason tuition is free is because there is none – for Scottish students.  Well, that is, excepting the ‘disadvantaged’.  ‘Widening access’ denotes the latest stumbling block in the application process, for, in her transparent strategy to eliminate the middle-class (why qualify that with ‘students’?), grades have become irrelevant.  It’s one’s background which dictates one’s university place now – or lack of – and the more poverty-stricken the better.  Relatively safe to say, therefore, if one is not Chinese – as are a great many of the fee-paying students at Scotland’s four oldest universities – or one’s parents are not in possession of a Greggs’ Loyalty card, then, perhaps an apprenticeship is the route?  No matter the struggles and sacrifices one’s parents have made to pay for one’s education to, in turn, enable the opportunity of a degree.  Honestly, why should the whole country suffer at the hands of one grievance-ridden, poison dwarf with a penchant for white stilettos and infantile tantrums, driven by her long-held hatred of Maggie Thatcher (at whose feet, she should bow) and that massive chip on her shoulder?  Salt and sauce?  Which reminds me, beholden to the Greens affording her her required majority in ‘Tarzan’s Lair’ (read Scottish Parliament), the word is that meat is to be eradicated from all public sector menus in Edinburgh, obviously including schools, hospitals and care homes.  An exclamation mark pales in the wake of such lunacy …

I know, it is exhaustingly tedious but the damage very real, none the less.  Shout out for Dan on GB News who gleans the same delight in exposing the ‘White Stiletto’ as I – or me, even!  No GB News for me, here, but what of Jordan Trishton Walker the alleged Pfizer executive caught on video by Project Veritas telling it as it is, with bells on?  Boasting of Pfizer’s projected ‘directed evolution’ (read ‘Gain-of-Function) research – mutating viruses in order to pre-empt future vaccines – in a bid to impress his believed Tinder date, he spoke of the perfect ‘cash cow’!  Little wonder said video went viral on Twitter but, equally unsurprisingly, failed to be picked up by anyone other than Tucker Carlson on Fox News.  No-one.  Smacks of censorship which, of course, smacks of the sinister.  Of course, the information divulged only served to confirm that which has long made sense.  Big Pharma is a money-making conglomerate empowered by legal immunity with regard to vaccine injury and consolidated by a network of Yes Men with an eye on a piece of the pie – scarily, that includes Government regulators responsible for vaccine safety.  To quote Private Frazer from the iconic series, Dad’s Army, We’re all doomed!’, particularly in view of the speed at which this video and its ‘revelations’ have been silenced.  Apparently, it is rife with misinformation (read ‘truths which must be concealed at all cost’), its proliferation credited to ‘anti-vaxxers’.  Running scared, or what?  May I just take the opportunity to state – yet again – that the term ‘anti-vaxxers’ is a misnomer for those who value bodily autonomy and have refused to be forcibly injected with an experimental vaccine for which there is/nor can there be any long-term data; moreover, an experimental vaccine whose sparse, pre-rollout, extremely concerning data was, allegedly, ignored – if not, doctored – by Pfizer.  Food for thought or just a bottomless pit of corruption?

Back to the Forum, with haste!  You know, a friend of mine once introduced me to a quote which makes a lot of sense: ‘In order to progress, one must regress.’  I suspect he made it up but, sitting here in Rome, my understanding of those words could not be more clear; embarrassingly so.  Looking around at the majesty of the remains borne of an empire two thousand years ago, acutely aware of the history, the knowledge and the skills of its people, what have we done?  Developed a means for self-destruction; a noose by which to hang.  The apple is well and truly rotten now.  What a legacy to leave, to no-one …

To all those who care,
You can’t forever.
Time steals the years,
And your reflection in the mirror.
But I can still see the story in your eyes,
And your timeless passion that’s never died.
While your skin became tired,
Your heart became strong,
The present became the past,
And your memories like a song.
And though the moment at hand is all that we have,
You’ve taught me to live it like it is our last.
Since two words don’t say ‘thank you’ the way they are meant to.
I’ll try all my life to be something like you.’

Crystal Woods

Now, that’s what I call a legacy …

This is Trish, signing off.