I have an aversion to cold and grey Mondays in London town. Yesterday I told my assistant Toby I had to go home early to deal with an urgent and unavoidable domestic emergency. There was no need whatsoever for him to know it involved my pyjamas and a cup of hot chocolate. He smelt a rat.
“Hmm. Are you sure you won’t regret cutting short another day of sprinkling your interior design magic?” he said sarcastically.
Later Guido made me pasta pesto. By nine o’clock we were tucked in bed together. As you can tell life here is pretty exciting at the moment.
Under the blanket I enthusiastically thumbed through the December issue of Homes and Garden. On page 15 was an article about Christmas gifts for the most tricky of recipients. I wondered how Guido would feel about an artichoke shaped tea light holder.
“3 across, 6 letters, the clue is, Rue,” he chewed his reading glasses. He had the London Standard crossword propped on his hairy knees.
“Regret,” I said blinking. I paused. “I’ve had a few.”
“Really?” said Guido, “Like what?” It would have been midnight before I finished.
“Not buying that coat in the mid-season sales (it fitted like a glove), forgetting my mother’s birthday (she hasn’t spoken to me for a fortnight), and that time I tried to shake the hand of the Dalai Lama. How was I to know it would precipitate a full scale Police security alert up Whitehall?
Guido nodded sagely. “Yeah, I’ll give you that one. Having your head in an arm lock in front of an internationally admired icon isn’t exactly a great look,” said Guido.
Guido never regrets anything. Not even burning toast. He has this old wise tale his Cousin Fredo once told him involving regrets and how it had changed his view about them forever.
“It was Malaga. High Summer. He told me it was 1974.” Guido propped up his pillows. “Cousin Fredo was minding his own business. Taking a stroll along the seashore. He just happened to be wearing vintage Speedos and was smeared in muscle enhancing coconut body oil at the time. Guess what happened? Unexpectedly a big brawny fisherman emerged before him from the bushes like a Greek adonis. He asked Cousin Fredo if he would consider a private sail on his boat.”
“It brings new meaning to the phrase, checking out tackle,” I said.
“Cousin Fredo couldn’t think of anything more he’d rather do. He loved to sail, he loved to fish, and perhaps most importantly of all, he had a love that dare not speak its name for athletic fisherman who looked Greek. It was a dream come true. But, he just couldn’t go through with it. He got scared. What, he wondered, would the harbour folks think if he sailed home with no catch other than a big dude from the Peloponnese. Years later he told me he that was a decision he regretted for the rest of his life…”
“Poor Cousin Fredo,” I said closing H&G as a mark of respect. “I suppose the moral of the story is he wandered the beaches of Malaga forever more, searching for that fisherman.”
“Not exactly,” said Guido. “He moved to Germany in 1975 and opened a bar in Berlin with Stavros.” He rolled over and looked at his crossword. “6 across, 12 letters, the clue is, Laughable.”
“Preposterous,” I said. And I honestly meant it.