Tuesday 1st September.
Our Venice adventure ended today and we were returning to Port Cogolin for a few days. Breakfast in our room came a little after nine and together we enjoyed our last breakfast in Venice for this trip. I hoped my health would let me return in the future.
We washed and packed and I thought back on our time spent here. We had not really done that much, but I think this time it was about just enjoying the place. We loved our hotel room and had spent lazy mornings there breakfasting, reading and writing. Our room was such a lovely place to be, lying on the bed, or sitting on the sofa, with the balcony window ajar listening to the bustle of the city below coming in. Shopping of course is always fun here and we did a lot of that. The Murano glass visit was a new experience for us and since we assembled and hung our own chandelier earlier this year, Peanut has been fascinatingly looking at chandeliers, assessing their intricacies and breaking them down in her mind into their component parts. Yes, Venice as always has given us a lovely time.
We went to reception ordered a water taxi and checked out. The taxi meandered through the busy narrow canals and emerged onto The Grand Canal just by The Rialto Bridge between the bridge and the fish market. I bought Peanut the first leather gloves I ever bought her on the Rialto Bridge back in about 2006 when we came here on a day trip from the Dolomites with a bunch of fellow MINI drivers. This trip the lady got mask earrings off the bridge. I got a kiss in 2006 and I got a kiss this time round too. That’s the important bit.
At twelve we drove out of Piazzale Roma, crossed the long bridge to the mainland and pointed at Port Cogolin. The sat nav said 18.30 for our arrival. I did the first 2 hours, the motorway was wide and fast and SilverBeast purred along at the Italian pace set by the drivers around me.
We stopped for lunch in a service station and had pizza and chips each. If we had known we would have had one portion between us – they were huge!
Peanut took over for a big middle stint, I reclined my seat leaned a pillow against my window and had an afternoon Gentleman’s nap.
An hour later Peanut’s hand reached for mine and woke me. The tyre pressure warning light was on and Peanut had slowed to 50. An HGV behind us honked at us as he overtook. We were too slow for them forcing them to down change. A big deal for truckers. I told P to put her hazards on, whenever a truck loomed behind then they could set themselves up to overtake without down changing. It worked no more tooting horns.
It wasn’t a blow out the car handled fine, though a little soft. We cruised to a service station where there was air. Unfortunately, the air worked but the gauge didn’t. We hadn’t packed our own pressure gauge. Schoolboy error by us on a long road trip. I pumped a hefty amount of air into each tyre and we carried on for the next service station.
The gauge worked. I aimed for 37 psi all round. As it happened all were there or there abouts. We concluded that it was an all round lowering of pressure that had prompted the Tyre monitoring to trigger a warning. We decided to drive home to Port Cogolin and check again on Friday, just to be sure it isn’t a slow puncture. Visually we could see nothing. In Italy we had done a lot of farm tracks and hit a few potholes so with hindsight we should have checked our tyres before leaving Tuscany for Venice. Another school boy error.
The handling was definitely right now and Peanut put some more miles behind us. I was wide awake now and we put our iTunes onto random. An hour from Monaco the music cycle hit a golden patch and we had a sing song in the car where appropriate. Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain (F1song) got Peanut right in the groove and she drove this 3 and a half hour stint superbly. She had found a Chevrolet muscle car to follow. He was fast but not crazy fast and we hung onto his shirt tails. I think he enjoyed it too teasing us on a straight opening it up a bit and so on it was fun.
T Rex and The Jeepster blasted out. Such simple light words. Look up the words. I think you know my nickname is Beastie, or The Beastmaster. I loved this song and told Mrs P my full title had just got longer. I am now il Maestro, Beastmaster The Jeepster! God I’m vain aren’t I? Well yes I am but to be serious the first step to having someone like you – the real you – is to like yourself, to like the person you see reflected back at you in the bathroom mirror each morning.
Dean Martin did a stint on the stereo too and we swayed, smooched and sung in the car to Amore and Sway. Sinatra’s My Way helped us along our road and Pavarotti belted out E lucevan le stelle from Tosca, which made me want to sing but, I can’t speak Italian! This was so good I played it twice. Dire Straits made me reach behind the seat for my air guitars, classic and electronic, as we did 9 miles listening to the sublime Private Investigations. A few Abba songs had me clapping and singing and Frankie Goes To Hollywood put us through the emotional mangle with The Power of Love. “I’ll protect you from the hooded claw” is a line that always makes us think of our cat Ola, as she raises her paw to warn our other cat Alfie to stay away. He never listens and we fail to protect him from the hooded claw.
It was a fantastic series of songs that came up in a row. We swapped drivers and I did the last short stint home arriving back at 19.15. A good run with few traffic hold ups. 15 minutes later we were unpacked and drinking tea. We read. I’m 5 hours into the 61 Hours Jack Reacher book that P has finished and she is getting slowly into Michael Connelly’s the Fifth Witness.
A day of not a lot, yet a day of fun, of singing and clapping and driving and laughing. But stage left in the pantomime, dark in the corner, the evil witch lurked, as my back had ached all day.