Tuesday, 1 September 2009

AUG 31st

Aug 31st. Oh what a day! I drank coffee and orange juice in Pisa. Lots of Italian tourists ask me the way to the tower and I tell them what the Venetians say, 'sempre diritto.' In Venice that gets you nowhere but in Pisa it takes you to the tower.

I browsed in the bookshops and then decided to go to Livorno - went back to the hotel and picked up all my luggage, packed it all onto Rosie, and set off. That was a mistake. I should have thought of this before. I can lock up Rosie but I can't secure the luggage. So I can't leave her and I can't check in for the ferry until 9pm. And the problems are mounting. The Sat Nav fell off. I have become totally dependent on it. I trust it's every instruction. Something is missing in the mounting. I don't know what. I'm driving with it in my left hand. This isn't safe. And the oil light keeps flashing and now the fuel light has come on. Calm down, Mike. Stop at a garage and refuel and get an elastic band to secure the Sat. Nav. Refuelled at a self service, cash only, no mechanic petrol station where a kind Dutch camper van driver gives me an elastic band. I try and find the ferry. Livorno is buried under a million huge containers with large lorries everywhere. They know where they're going. I don't. Thank goodness I'm so early. And then I find the ferry at the end of a maze of unfinished road building. And look what happens to the roads when a little yacht wants in. The arrows tells me where to go. The cones tell me I can't go there. Then I find it. That's when the guy says, 'Come back in six hours.' So I drive into Livorno. Everyone in Livorno rides a scooter. There must be a Vespa dealer. I drive around until I find it. He checks the oil. 'Basso!' And he tops it up. No more problems left for today. It's only stupid o'clock and I'm still far too early. But I find a dirt track that takes me down to a place by the river. You can see the boats go by - you can spend a life forever.

There's no one to touch with my mind and I lay me down and unwind. The tide's rising and the river is flowing backwards.


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