Well, I’ve done the motorway dance for the last time. From tomorrow I am officially working from home before going on maternity leave.

I’m a little sad; I loved my bright, corner office with its view of the city below, and it’s closeness to the hustle and bustle of busy anonymous minions, who pass each other on the pavement, avoiding eye and physical contact. I’ll miss those moments in the coffee houses and bars where I went to indulge my need to confess.

Now and then I find myself wondering if this is what I really want. Am I going to be fulfilled, changing nappies, having a child attached to my swollen, sore nipples, driving a push-chair around the village, listening out for the screaming as my baby demands attention? Am I going to love the little bundle enough not regret giving up the busy, fulfilling life I’ve worked so hard to achieve? It’s only for a few months I tell myself. Then…? Then what?
Is it unnatural that I am having these doubts at almost the eleventh hour?

He’s looking forward to fatherhood. No doubts there. But he’s not the one carrying the mammoth, kicking load under his skin; not the one dreading the agony of child-birth.

But enough about me.

……..Following on from CHANGES…….

“My sister told me that she’s warned you about me,” Giovani said lightly, after we’d driven in silence for about five minutes.


He laughed softly. “It’s okay. She tells everyone that I’m a black-hearted, evil, seducer, who can’t be trusted with men’s wives, sisters or daughters.”

“Is she right?”
“Of course she is. I enjoy women, and I hope they enjoy me in return.”
There followed another minutes silence, while in my head I played back exactly what Vitalia had said.

“Be careful of my brother, he’s a devil with women. There are at least three children out there who could call him daddy. Oh, he admits responsibility, and he’s very generous when it comes to providing for his bastards and their mothers. But he won’t marrying any of them. We have a saying in Italy ‘Perché acquistare la mucca quando puoi avere il latte gratis?”

*(Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?)

“Hasn’t he heard of condoms?” I asked.
“Oh he’s heard of them, I’ve come across reams of the things in the glove compartment of his car when I’ve been looking for something else. But he’s like all Italian men, lazy when it comes to birth control. Some men are just like dogs who like to spray their seed around, just to check their virility. What better proof of virility than sticking a bambino in a woman’s belly.”

It was a fifteen minute drive along the coasts twisting and sometimes narrow roads. Marco talked of his future plans for the business and the new yacht in particular.

I wasn’t surprised that women found him hard to resist. He had an easy charm, an athletic physique, a dangerous glint in his deep brown eyes, a mildly cruel curl on his full lips and a warm smile that could melt a polar ice-cap.

We were stopped at the harbour gate by a plump uniformed guard with a big, black, down-turned moustache; hairy, muscular arms extruding from his short sleeved shirt, and a big gun at his hip. He checked our credentials and then pressed the button that activated the tall aluminium sliding gate.

I’ve always considered that super-yachts were toys for insanely, disgustingly wealthy people, who couldn’t think of anything else to spend their money on. Several of my clients have owned such toys, spending as little as a week or two on them each year. A waste, when you consider that the basic cost of ownership starts at around £5,000,000  and can go as high as £50,000,000 or even a £100,000,000 plus, if you happen to be born a prince in a country with oodles of oil trapped under the sand.

There were six super yachts anchored in the bay, their hulls gleaming, chrome and glass glistening in the early sunlight.

“That’s it over there,” he said, pointing at the biggest.
My jaw dropped, my eyes popping out of my head as I took in the shiny jewel. Vitalia’s description hadn’t prepared me for the size of the craft, its blue, glass-shiny hull reflecting the almost still water.

“I can see you’re impressed,” he laughed.
“And you own this?” I gasped.
“Well….me and the bank. The original owner was in financial difficulties and needed to raise cash to save himself from bankruptcy. We picked it up for a tenth of its true value.”

I understood when he told me the name. I’d read about the case and what had happened afterward.
“The crew know we are coming,” he continued, pulling wo small bahs from the boot of the car, “so they’ll be ready to cast off as soon as we are aboard.”
“Welcome on board, Sir, Madam,” said the blonde uniformed officer in clipped educated English, as we reached the gleaming gang-plank. Which wasn’t a plank at all. “Everything is ready,” He bowled slightly at the waist.

“Thank you, Thomas,” said Giovani. “We can get underway immediately.”
“Yes sir.”

I could go into raptures of description about the boat and the décor, and the tinted glass, leather, crystal, gold and all the infinite number other things that turned me green with envy, but I won’t. But for those who are interested in such things and are dying to know something about the ship, or super-yacht - it is about 120 metres in length, and would’ve cost the original owner somewhere in the region of £75,000,000. It had a crew of fifteen. The belly was stuffed with toys and on the roof…..I think that’s enough, or someone out there will know the one I am referring to.

If you know it, keep it to yourself.

That’s a world that I lived in for a day, and I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same again. I could get used to being waited on hand and foot. To be looked on as almost a goddess. Try though I did to tell the crew that I was only a guest, and that I didn’t usually enjoy or have the use of such insanely expensive toys, I knew that from that moment I would always be, in their eyes, a member of an ultra privileged group.

Ah me. Why wasn’t I born rich?

The baby is sitting on my bladder again. Must dash..........

Life’s twists and turns

It’s been a while since I’ve seen Christian. My excuse is that I’ve had a lot of other shit to deal with over the four or five months since I came back from Italy. You already know what I’m referring to.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that other people’s lives continue in parallel with your own, and that as we are concentrating on negotiating life’s twists and turns and dark alleyways, they too might be hitting their own metaphorical brick walls.

The last time I visited Christian he was playing house with a tall, muscular, black Adonis. His art and graphics business was going from strength to strength, thanks to introductions from a certain Italian gentleman of our acquaintance.

I wasn’t entirely surprised to get a call from him yesterday in the middle of the day. He didn’t say very much that might have given me a clue about his state of mind, but there was something in his slurred words and the tone of his voice that warned me that he was once again wallowing in the darkness of self loathing, into which he periodically descends.

At around four I left the office and drove the four miles to his dock-side apartment. Christian lives on the eleventh floor.
“What do ya want?” was the aggressive voice that came at me over the intercom when I pressed the buzzer.
“It’s me,” I said.
“Yeah-h-h-h..... and this is me, bitch. What da ya want?”
“To come in. I told you I’d visit after work,” I said.
He grunted something inaudible and a second later there was the electronic buzzing as the security catch popped.

When he opened the front door he was partly dressed in a short red and black silk Kimono. I say partly, as it was draped over his shoulders, but was left wide open at the front, and he wasn’t wearing anything beneath.
“Nice to see you too,” I said to his dangling alabaster penis. He squinted at me through bloodshot eyes, his usually hairless chin untidy with at least a weeks growth of fine blonde stubble.
Christian has always bordered on being OCD when it came to tidiness and personal cleanliness, but today he looked as though he hadn’t washed for days, and the apartment looked as though he’d thrown a party for a hundred chimpanzees and they’d gone leaving empty wine and vodka bottles, half eaten pizzas and Chinese take away cartons on every surface. There was also the unmistakable aroma of marijuana, vomit and stale sex.

Throwing himself down on the only clear seat, he picked up a dark-blue glass marijuana Bubbler, reached for his lighter, flicked the wheel, sucked in the vapour at the mouth of the tube for a few seconds, holding in the smoke, before letting it out in a slow trickle. Then he held the Bubbler out to me.
I shook my head and patted my bulging belly. “I don’t do that any more,” I said.
“Disgusting, isn’t it?” he said, catching me looking around the messy room. His upper lip twisted into a facsimile of a sneer. “But frankly, my dear, I don’t fucking care anymore.”
“What’s happened?”
He took another hit from the pipe,then sat back on the seat, his knees wide.

“The stinking shit got out of bed last week, after he'd spent all night buggering me, packed his things and walked out.”
“Why? I thought you two were happy as a couple of magpies.”
“He got tired of fucking me, that’s what.”
“Of course that’s not the reason he gave while he was packing his leather pants.”
“Oh?” I said again.
“The fucking black bastard came out with the old chestnut that he wasn’t ready to settle down, and that life was too short to be tied down. But I fucking know the slimy, fucking bastard was already stuffing his big fucking cock into some other fucking asshole somewhere. I asked him straight, ‘are you fucking someone else?’”
“What did he say?”
“ ‘No-one in particular’, that’s what he said. Of course you know what that means…? It means the slut is sticking it into any fucking hole that’s available. I hope his ass bleeds and his fucking cock withers. To hell with him and all his kind, that’s what I say! Since he went I’ve sucked at least a dozen cocks - a different one every day – sometimes two a day.”
“Christian, you need to be careful?”
“Who gives a god-damned shit anyway.”
“I do. I don’t want to see you catch something nasty.”
He took another hit from the tube and drew his legs up under him.

My eyes settled on several untidy lines of white powder on a small table against the wall. This was something new. He’d snorted coke a few times before and I’d tried it once or twice, but from the look of the empty plastic bags and the little silver straw lying in the powder, he was no longer an occasional user.

“How long have you been like this,” I asked.
“What’s today?”
“Ah-h-h…….about two weeks - give or take. You sure you don’t what a hit? It’s good stuff. Primo shit. I got this guy who only deals in the best powder. He can get anything; uppers, downers, snow…. I wouldn’t trust him though, he’s a criminal. I mean his prices are criminal. The bastard held me up for seven grand the last time.”
“Seven thousand! That’s a bloody fortune.”
“Hell yes! But I was throwing a party, and you can’t have a party without the right amount of flakes. It’d be uncivilized.”
“I mean that’s a lot of money to stick up you nose.”
He sat upright, the sneer back on his pip. “Don’t come all high and mighty with me. I know things you know….!”
“I wasn’t-“
“You’re a fucking cunt - you know that?”
“Why so complementary?”
“Well, I don’t see you for months and now you sweep back in and get all judgemental and shit.”
“First of all I didn’t swoop, you called me, remember. And second I’m not judging you - I’m just saying that you can’t afford to throw away all that cash.”
“Don’t you worry your pretty, little head; there’s lots more where that came from.”
“Not if you don’t go out and do the work there isn’t.”
“I bloody do my best work when I’m high.”
“When was the last time you did any work at all?”
“Don’t lecture me woman, you’re not me fucking mother.”

There’s more, but I just heard the front door opening. We are going out to dinner with some friends of his. Frankly I could just as easily stay in and wallow on the couch with my big belly.
I’ve been suffering a lot with heartburn recently and the baby is starting to wriggle around in its cage.
Only another three weeks and I can give up the daily commute.


Things have certainly changed in the old bar in the few months since I was last here - it has new owners, a new facade and has gone up-market. Inside, the long corner benches and straight backed chairs have been replaced by large, curved, maroon-red leather buttoned sofas and chairs; the wooden tables by opalescent smoked glass; the blocked floor by gleaming chess square tiles and the plain walls by an eclectic mix of ebony and alabaster blocks and uneven ceramic tiles. Subdued lighting is reflected from the perfectly smooth, ice-white ceiling, by large inverted fawn coloured flying saucers.

The sporty blonde behind the bar has had her nose ring replaced by a discrete ruby stud and there’s a new tall, Polish barista with agleam in his eye and a small upward pout to his full lips. Is he gay or is he not? He did give me the once over, but not in the way that makes a woman slightly wet. So I suppose he is.

I miss my secluded spot over in the corner, and I miss the Banker-boys, who could be relied upon for a hot strip stare as I walked by. There is a new set of suited business types with over white teeth, designer stubble and well manicured nails. I caught a syllable or two concerning property as I made my way to a vacant couch. Their looks washed over me, noticed my bump, and that was that. How to make a girl feel undesirable, boys….

There are others - couples, but none of much interest, except perhaps the well dressed pair two tables away; one platinum blonde, pale skin, thin as a stalk of corn, a little too much mascara on his eye-lids; the other in a pin-striped suit, pink shirt, red socks and Etonian tie. They, it seems only have eyes for each other.

A pretty waitress with blonde streaks in her auburn hair and dimple in her chin has just gone away with my order for a prawn salad, with sliced avocado on the side. She wasn’t sure about the avocado but she was going to ask, she said.

So, where were we?


I’d swam in and out of sleep all night, battling torrid dreams one minute, and then counting the seconds in the darkness when I shot to the surface gasping for air. The last nightmare was like those I’d had a hundred times before – darkness and almost endless horizon, me naked, running, fleeing from something or someone I couldn’t see, my feet slipping and sliding in a thick gooey molasses; silent screams, terror…... A re-occurring nightmare; my guilty sub-conscious punishing me with warnings and consequences - ‘you can run but you can’t hide from yourself’ it was saying. Finally, around six-thirty I gave up, slid out of bed, drew on a robe and went to sit on the balcony, the pictures from my last dream flickering in my head.

He was ready to leave at nine. The smile on his face as he took my day-bag from me was friendly enough, but for an instant I thought I saw a carnivorous gleam in those dark eyes, that sent a small shiver scurrying down my spine. I told myself that it was my imagination running riot because my disturbed sleep.

My Lunch has just arrived…..with the sliced avocado. I’m famished. Hope they have some chocolate iced cream.



wine and glasses - you are reading this in England you will know that it is late January, the rain is falling steadily – as it has for most of the day – the US President is busy making friends and influencing people, and the world is holding its collective breath to see how the other powerful nations and organisations will take his presidential out-pouring. I shiver, but not because it is cold, but because I can see a dark cloud on the horizon.


It feels like an age since I felt the warm Italian sun on my skin. But, as might be guessed, it is not the memory of sunny days and sultry nights that lingers most in my mind, it is the people, their warmth and their welcome – and yes, the temptations that my stay with Vitalia and her family brought into my life.
The months have not diminished the skin tingling memories and feelings that sent my pulse rocketing, and the heart banging like a drum in my chest.
Did I do right, or wrong? I will let you decide.


We were lying on loungers by the side of the pool, soaking up the afternoon sun and sipping from tall glasses of iced Long-Island tea, which typically isn’t tea; the vodka, gin, tequila and triple-sec it contained was going straight to my head. Vitalia had apparently developed a liking for it during her visit to New York the previous June.
“You’ll enjoy the experience,” she said, her eyebrows arching as her brown eyes slid unashamedly over me. “How do you stay so slim?”

“Exercise, liposuction, and periodic bouts of self imposed starvation,” I replied.
“Well I exercise…. almost every day, and look, I’m still carrying a God-damned kilo-and-a-half of fat on my ass and three on my hips.” She crossed herself quickly, glancing up at the sky in that typical catholic apology for taking the Lords name in vain.

Her hips and bottom were thicker than when I’d last seen her, but then she had given birth to two beautiful children, and she still had a passion for gelato (iced-cream), pasta and burgers.

“But you look wonderful,” I told her.
“Yes, for a prize-winning heffer.” She took hold of the surplus fat below her navel.
“That’s not very much,” I said.
“Be warned, this is what children do to a woman’s figure. They bring stretch-marks, saggy breasts and a belly soft as a pillow. Take my advice, don’t get pregnant.”

“Your children are so lovely,” I said.
“Oh, they’re lovely enough and I wouldn’t do without the little darlings, but that doesn’t mean I don’t resent what carrying them for nine months did to my figure.”
“But think of the compensations.”
She laughed softly. “I could always sell them, if we needed the money.”
“Well, if you ever decide to auction them, I’d be interested in buying at least one.”

She slapped her thigh with palm of her hand, “Sold, to the lady in the pale blue bikini. Anyway, I was telling you about the yacht. It’s a real beauty; a little over ninety metres long, and luxurious as heaven. I wish I could come with you, but I have to take one of my little blood sucking darlings to the dentist in the morning.”

Just about then we were interrupted by Vitalia’s mother carrying a large tray of damp grapes, freshly peeled and cut oranges (from their orchard) and juicy pineapple rings.