“D’you think I’m an oddball?” I asked Guido over dinner last night.
“Yeah,” he said without a moment’s hesitation or pause for intake of breath.
I realise this could be worrying. See below.
“Okay, forget the recent incident in bed when I got naked with that tub of ricotta cheese,” I said. “It happened to be the closest thing to hand at the time and I don’t remember you complaining.”
Sometimes in life you’ve just got to improvise.
“I hear what you’re saying but what I’m really asking you is – and please don’t in any way feel obliged to rush to a conclusion before you answer my next question – think it through fully before you answer it, but – am I weird?”
“Yeah,” he said.
Guido stopped chewing. He put his fork down. He stroked the back of my hand.
“Hey, what’s worrying you?”
We we’re eating dinner in a restaurant called il Giardino. It’s right on the square in Pollensa old town on the island of Majorca. It’s a lovely place, but I wasn’t really hungry and I’m pretty sure Guido wasn’t either.
Neither of us expected to be here right now because I have a stucco house in Notting Hill to refit before the end of the year and, as you know, Guido’s busy having a nervous breakdown simultaneously working two cafes.
This means that a thousand miles away in London:
1. an over enthusiastic, sweaty, highly tattooed, (did I mention sweaty?), demolition man is swinging his big hammer unsupervised in a listed building
2. overnight Guido’s parents have reverted The Spanish Onion lunch menu to circa 1974, and;
3. Banjo, an agency chef on a gap year from Melbourne, has been let loose at The Fish Kettle with an overt interest in avocados
I have to tell you it’s the perfect storm.
”Because your cousin Sofia told me with great pleasure that your cousin Mariana said I was a complete nut job.”
For the purposes of this blog I will now only refer to Guido’s cousins as The Ugly Sisters. I didn’t have the heart to tell Guido his cousin Mariana went on to tell me his cousin Sophia had called Guido a heartless opportunist. I have to say in the scheme of things I’d much rather be heartless than headless.
”Ignore them,” said Guido. He lifted up his fork again. Maybe he was hungry after all.
There is a reason I’m telling you this.
I put a blog post on here in September 2016 about Guido’s much loved Uncle Gustave. He owned a farmhouse and some land here. He was very old. He died in his sleep two weeks ago. Apparently he was found dead tucked up in bed clutching an empty bottle of VSOP brandy, a photograph of Ava Gardner on his pillow, and a big smile on his face. I can think of worse ways to go. We flew out for the funeral, much to the consternation of The Ugly Sisters, as the family gossip rumour mill is that Uncle Gustave’s left his entire estate to Guido.
It’s certainly amusing what the prospect of money does to some people’s head space.
The funeral is tomorrow. We will bid Uncle Gustave a very fond farewell. I’ll be the one wearing black acting like a total nut job. Guido will be as gracious and respectful as ever.