Fabio and Maurizio are 18. They are sitting on seats on the train Le Shuttle. The train is leaving Paris and is due to in London in three hours. Maurizio is reading a book, English in Fifteen Lessons. Fabio is looking at a magazine, an English magazine, but Maurizio cannot understand English very well. He looks at the pictures of the girls. Fabio asks Maurizio for advice.
“Come si dice….?”
“Ah, ah, we agree to speak English. “ says Maurizio. “‘How do you say…?’
“O.K….How do you say ‘I am Sagittarius. What star sign are you, baby? What are your name baby?’”
“What is your name?” Maurizio corrects him.
Fabio looks in the mirror and combs his hair.
“What is your name, baby?” he says. “What star sign are you?”
Fabio combs his hair and repeats, “What is your name, baby?”
He makes strange faces in the mirror to practice his sexy look.
Everyone in the compartment stares at the two boys.
Maurizio is embarrassed. He goes to the buffet car for a coffee.
A man smiles at Fabio.
“Hello, mate! First time in England?” he says
“First time,” agrees Fabio; but he doesn’t want to talk to the man.
The man is two metres tall and very thin. He is very badly dressed. It is difficult to understand him. He speaks in a cockney accent. His name is Paul.
“I don’t like France,” whispers Paul. “Everybody speaks French.”
The train is under the English Channel by now.
“I can see you are very attractive to women. Be careful in London, there are a lot of dodgy characters: be careful for your money,” Paul says.
“What does ‘dodgy mean?” asks Fabio.
“Thieves, dishonest people who steal.”
“Oh, we are careful,” says Fabio. “we have got money for our holiday”
“Put them in a safe place” repeats the man.
Fabio shows the man his money belt. “It’s in here. And Maurizio’s money is in his bag. In the blue rucksack. It’s sure”
Paul looks around the carriage.
“I are going to meet many nice girls in London.”
Fabio smiles “I think, I already love London.”
“ O.K.. You look like that actor, you know, that Tom Cruise.” adds Paul.
Paul is very friendly. He helps Fabio adjust his coat.
“Now you look like a real Italian stallion,” Paul says and then shouts: “look.”
Le Shuttle is coming out of the tunnel. Fabio is fascinated. They are under the sea…. Fabio turns to talk to Paul, but “Where is that man? That Paul” asks Maurizio
Fabio and Maurizio never see Paul again.
The train arrives at Waterloo Station in London. Fabio checks for his ticket but his money belt is empty. No ticket and no money. And Maurizio’s money?…..nowhere. too. They have forty pounds between them. Fabio is near to tears.
“I hate England,” he says. “let’s go back home.”
“I am not going home,” says Maurizio.
“We’ve got no money,” says Fabio.
“Well, we can get a job.” Maurizio is decisive, ”And then we can hitch-hike round England.”
Chapter 1 : looking for a job
Chapter 2: new friends
Chapter 1 – Looking for a job
Fabio and Maurizio are in London with only £40. They are standing in Victoria Station. They are wondering what to do. Fabio knows the name of one hotel, ‘The Savoy’, so they telephone The Savoy. A room costs £340 per night. Fabio is desperate. The station is cold and the London winter light is grey and dull. People seem not to notice the two boys with their rucksacks sitting in the corner of the busy station. Rome seems to be a long way from London. Fabio takes a decision.
“I am telephoning my mother and going back to Italy.
“Oh come on,” says Maurizio. “We can manage.”
“I suppose you know a cheaper room,” shouts Fabio. “I suppose you know where two people can sleep and eat for £40 a night.”
Maurizio opens his notebook.
“Yes, I do. Kent Hall Hostel, 0181 8020800, £16 pounds a night. Russell Villas, 0171 828 2424, £60 week with TV and fridge.”
Fabio is quiet for a moment. “And a job? Where can we find a job?”
Maurizio is looking through his book.
“Gainsborough Studios in Highbury,” he reads. “They publish lists of available jobs every week.”
“How do you know?” asks Fabio.
“I use the Internet.”
Fabio is pleased that they have somewhere to sleep and the chance of a job.
The boys book into a cheap hostel and find work in McDonald’s at £3.00 per hour. They are delighted. From schoolboys to workers in three days. Now they work in a foreign capital and nobody helps them. Fabio doesn’t like the cold and the wet of London and he doesn’t like working in a fast food restaurant much. The worst thing of all for Fabio is English girls. The boys talk to girls occasionally, but the girls never talk to Fabio because he doesn’t speak much English. McDonald’s pays little and after they pay the rent and buy some food they don’t have any money left. Maurizio wants to save money to tour Britain so the boys don’t go to discotheques and nightclubs. Fabio often thinks to leave McDonald’s and go back to Italy until they meet Ingrid and Ute.
Ingrid and Ute are two German girls they meet on the tube. The girls are looking for work.
“ I can tell you how to get a job. Surf the Internet,” says Maurizio.
“we are working at McDonald’s fast food,” explains Fabio. “We’re looking for some new employees for our next sales campaign.”
Maurizio is staring at Fabio. “You fry chips. You’re not directing the next sales campaign.”
“Just a question of definition,” smiles Fabio. “How do you say ‘Mi fai venire l’acquolina in bocca’ in English?”
“You make my mouth water,” suggests Maurizio, “But don’t say it. Ingrid’ll be angry.”
Fabio turns back to her.
“You make my mouth water, baby” he says and gives his sexy smile.
“Eat a Big Mac,” suggests Ingrid. The girls don’t want a date but they want a job. Fabio speaks to his boss and, the next day, Ingrid and Ute are serving in McDonald’s with the two Italians.
Chapter 2 : new friends
The four young people soon become friends. They work with each other; they go out in a group in the evenings; and they explore London together. Ingrid and Ute are saving money to visit Ireland. The girls live in a hostel in Earl’s Court. They go out all the time. Ingrid shows the boys a kiosk in Leicester Square that sells theatre tickets for only £6 instead of £20. The tickets are for shows performed that day. The boys see two musicals in this way and a Shakespeare play. Ingrid, Ute and Fabio do not comprehend a word of the Shakespeare play. Maurizio insists he understands and enjoys Hamlet, but he falls asleep in the third act.
Ingrid and Ute go to pubs most evenings. London Pubs are all different. One night they go to ’Dirty Dicks’, near Liverpool Street station. The novelty in that pub is that it is very dirty. Cobwebs adorn the doors. The girls like ‘The Backpacker’, always full of young forefingers at the weekends. Fabio likes playing pool in ‘Elbow Room’. One night Ingrid tells him he looks like ‘Paul Newman’ in ‘The Hustler.’ “In his time, Paul Newman was the sexiest film star in the world.”
Of course, the kids communicate in English. Fabio learns English really quickly and now he can talk to Ingrid. He even tries to think of places to take her. Their best trip is to Hyde Park.
Hyde Park is a vast green space in the very heart of London. Fabio and Ingrid arrive at the park in the morning and watch the people riding their horses. They take a boat on the Serpentine. Fabio rows and Ingrid gives him chocolate ice cream.
Later they walk along the Serpentine. Fabio looks at the couples kissing on the grass. He wants to kiss Ingrid. He tries to take Ingrid’s hand. At that moment Ingrid shouts.
“Look, there is the statue of Peter Pan!” Ingrid runs to the sculpture.
The statue is of a small boy.
“Oh,” says Fabio. “Peter Pan from the Walt Disney cartoon.”
Ingrid looks annoyed. “No. Peter Pan is an English, children’s story by J. M. BarrieI like it a lot.”
Ingrid looks lovely and Fabio decides to kiss her. However, he never gets the chance. The girls find a job in Dublin and leave McDonald’s that week.
The boys accompany them to Euston station. Ingrid and Ute are very excited. Fabio buys a German magazine for Ingrid to read on the train. Ingrid shyly gives him her picture.
“if you want to write to me…?” she asks.
“Of course….,” Fabio promises her. “Bye.”
Fabio and Maurizio stand and watch the train leave the station.
Two weeks later the boys get their last week’s money from McDonald’s and leave for Manchester.
Chapter 3- Manchester Hooligans
The boys hitchhike to Manchester. They wait for two hours at a service station in the rain. Fabio is wearing a thin jacket. He is totally wet. He begins to get angry, very angry.
“Why didn’t we get the train?” he asks Maurizio. “You are more Genovese than Roman. You never spend a penny if it is not necessary”
Maurizio is fed up too, he is very cold.
“And we haven’t got anywhere to sleep,” adds Fabio, “And I do not want to go to Manchester. I want to go back to Italy.”
Finally, they get a lift. A car takes them to Moss Side in the centre of Manchester. Moss Side is one of the most dangerous areas in Great Britain.
When the car stops a dirty little boy says, “Want me to keep an eye on your car, mister, for a pound?”
The driver gives the boy two pounds. He smiles at Fabio and Maurizio.
“If you don’t pay these kids to look after your car, they ruin it.”
Moss Side is dirty and depressing. It is three o’clock in the afternoon, but lots of men are standing on the street talking.
“Why are we here?” complains Fabio
The boys are hungry and go to a pub for lunch. Everything in the pub is blue and white. The mirrors, the carpets, the lights and the wallpaper are all blue and white. A blue and white sign reads:
Manchester City – The world’s Greatest Football Club.
Several of the customers are dressed in blue and white and some of them are wearing football shirts. Everyone is drinking beer. Fabio is really excited.
“ It’s the business, Maurizio. I like this pub.”
“Let’s go somewhere else,” says Maurizio.
Fabio starts to laugh. “We want to see the real England. This is the real England, here the Italian tourists never come. Genuine, friendly, working class people drinking beer.”
“Are you looking at me, mate?” asks a man. He is about thirty-five. His arms are covered in tattoos. ’Mum’ says one, ’Death before dishonour’ says another. Fabio smiles, but this makes the man angry.
“What do you want, pal?”
“We came from Italy to pay homage to our blue and white heroes,” interrupts Maurizio.
The man relaxes
“CanI buy you a drink?” says Maurizio. The man orders a pint of brown ale and sips his beer.
Fabio whispers to Maurizio, “Don’t be afraid.”
“Shut up,” hisses Maurizio. “These are dangerous, violent people. Tell him you like Manchester United and let’s get out of here. “
But it is too late. Fabio is talking to the man.
“Listen, I am a Lazio supporter. “Fans of two great clubs can shake their hands in friendship,” smiles Fabio. The man hits Fabio, only twice and Fabio goes to the floor.
Chapter 4– At the pub.
Some men stop the fight before Fabio is badly hurt. The boys decide they don’t like British football and, particularly, they don’t like British football hooligans. They both like music and spend two weekends in various Manchester nightclubs. Most of the English young people drink a lot of beer. The nightclub they like best is ’The Haçienda’, in the centre of Manchester.
The club is incredibly popular. There is a long queue to get in. The queue is full of young people dressed in the height of Manchester fashion, t-shirts and baggy jeans. The girls wear make up and jewellery.
Fabio nods to a girl in the queue, “Don’t you think she looks like Ingrid?”
Maurizio laughs. “Ingrid is probably with some Irish boy in Dublin by now, Fabio. Forget her.”
Fabio starts to talk to three girls ahead of them in the queue.
“I am Italian,” he smiles.
The girls wear a lot of make up and are all drinking from a bottle and laughing. They are not impressed with Fabio.
“Can I have a drink girls?” asks Fabio.
“What is it?” he asks
“Wham’s Dram,” smiles the girl. “A wine and whiskey cocktail. Keeps the cold out.”
Fabio’s head buzzes. When they arrive at the door the bouncers search them: they are polite but firm. They search everyone who enters the club. They even make Fabio take off his shoes to see if there is something hidden in his socks.
“What are you looking for?” asks Fabio
The bouncers ignore him and make the boys empty their shoes.
Finally, they enter.
The Haçienda is a new experience for the boys. A fire-eater is throwing flaming sticks into the air. A woman acrobat is flexing and relaxing her muscles in another corner. Crazy, children’s cartoons appear on one wall, and an old Batman film on another. Everywhere teenagers are kissing and young people are laughing. Best of all is the music. The boys leave at 4 o’clock in the morning, eyes bright with excitement, and join the queue for hot dogs at a nearby stand.
“That was amazing,” says Fabio. “That was a great night.”
“We have only got £200,” worries Maurizio. “We can’t stay in Manchester much longer.”
British music is famous and London is a world famous music centre. However, London is not the home of British music.
The ‘Mersey Sound’ (the most popular exponents were the Beatles) was born in Liverpool, and Ireland has produced several world class music acts.
During the 1980s Manchester became a music centre of the world. Teenagers all over the world copied Manchester fashions and re-named Manchester ‘Madchester’. They developed a Manchester look (baggy jeans, tennis shoes and hooded tops). They wore t-shirts that said ‘Jesus was a Mancunian’ and started going to nightclubs. The climax of the Manchester movement was the ‘Second Summer of Love’ in 1989. Manchester young people said they had re-created the spirit of the hippies of San Francisco in 1967. People started travelling from London to Manchester every weekend to participate in the Manchester club scene.
The most famous of these clubs was The Haçienda. When Manchester became fashionable record companies started searching for Manchester bands. Groups longing to become famous claimed to be from Manchester, even if they were from other parts of Britain. Many famous English bands came out of Manchester during the nineties. ‘Take That’, one of the most commercially successful bands of the 1990s, are a Manchester band. Manchester has also produced Joy Division, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets and Mock Turtles. Probably the most famous of the Manchester bands was ‘Oasis’. Oasis claim to be the new Beatles and make much of their Manchester roots but Noel Gallagher, the group’s creative energy, moved to London and wrote his songs there
Manchester is built on industry. It was the home of the Industrial revolution. A group of inventors thought of ingenious machines to spin cotton. Clever businessmen built factories to exploit the inventions. People moved to Manchester to work in the factories and a huge city was born. Numerous inventions developed during the 18th and 19th centuries.
In 1948, the world’s first computer, Baby, was built in Manchester. In 1998, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the computer the Computer Conservation Society made a copy of the original computer. Maurizio, who loves computers more than women, wanted to go to see the model of Baby before leaving Manchester.
An eccentric Victorian genius, the mathematic Charles Babbet, designed this computer in the 19th century. Few people believed a ’calculating engine’ was possible and electronic engineering could not produce a machine to realise Babbet’s theories. Babbet’s mathematical formulas were the same as those used for modern computers and could be used only when electronic engineering advanced.
Baby was different from the other computing machines developed during the Second World War. Baby could store and run programmes. Baby was the predecessor of modern computers. It was built by Tom Kilburn and Freddie Williams fifty years ago. Freddie Williams wrote and ran Baby’s first programme. Professor Williams helped the Computer Conservation Society reconstruct the copy of Baby.
Baby’s double is over 2 metres tall and more than 5 metres long. It is in the Manchester Scientific and Industrial Museum. Building the giant machine was difficult. Professor Williams was still alive and had detailed notes of how he built Bab, but some of the original materials are not available today.
The Computer Conservation Society said that the computer pioneers, like Kilburn and Williams, are heroes. Their achievements changed the lives of everyone, but the two inventors are not recognised. Most people have heard of Bill Gates but who knows the names of Kilburn or Williams that made the computer revolution possible? That is why the Society decided to honour them and to reconstruct Baby.
Unit 4 – English legends
“I want to go to Cornwall,” Maurizio tells Fabio. “I read a book about King Arthur.”
“Who is King Arthur?” asks Fabio.
Maurizio explains. “Understanding the legend of King Arthur is fundamental to understanding English literature.”
Fabio yawns, “That is pretty boring, Maurizio.”
Maurizio is shocked
“Mauri, I don’t care what people did a thousand years ago. I don’t like literature I like pop music, game boys and girls.”
Maurizio is silent. He thinks for a moment. “The legend of King Arthur is about love, Fabio. Arthur had girl troubles, too.”
“Mauri, I don’t care about Arthur’s girl troubles. I care about my girl troubles. I want to meet a girl.”
Maurizio smiles, “Don’t worry about Ingrid. She’ll be okay.”
“Who cares about Ingrid?” asks Fabio. “Not me. One chick is like another for Fabio.”
“That’s lucky,” smiles Maurizio.” She’s probably met some boy in Ireland and I bet she is having a great time.”
Maurizio wants to talk about King Arthur and he launches into the story…
The Legend of King Arthur
According to tradition Arthur was born in Tintagel castle in Cornwall.
Arthur was trained to be a knight. He learned noble manners and he learned to fight. He had no idea who his father was or that he was born to be king of Great Britain. By the time Arthur was fifteen years old Britain was in complete chaos. The nobles prayed to God to choose a king and God sent a sign.
A sword appeared. The sword was in a stone and on the stone there were these words:
“Whoever can take this sword from the stone is the rightful king of England.”
Arthur was still a boy, but he pulled the sword out of the stone and became King of England. Arthur soon conquered all of Britain. He was the rightful king. Arthur built a round table to symbolise the equality of the brotherhood (nobody can sit at the top of a round table). Only the noblest, bravest knights could become Knights of the Round Table. The knights loved their king. While the knights were loyal, Britain was strong. Then, the noblest and most faithful of the knights, Lancelot, fell in love with King Arthur’s wife, Guenevere. For many years Lancelot and Guenevere resisted their desire because it was unlawfu.
The Round Table was strong and the knights departed on their greatest adventure – the search for the Holy Grail (a holy relic from Christ’s Last Supper with his disciples). In the end, Lancelot and Guenevere’s love caused a war between Arthur and Lancelot that divided Britain and split the round table. Arthur’s illegitimate son, Mordred, tried to take the throne. Lancelot returned to fight for his king. Together they defeated Mordred, but Arthur died in the battle, in a war that destroyed the kingdom. According to legend Arthur’s corpse rests at Glastonbury and hippies, new-agers and various other groups consider Glastonbury a magic place. Every year hundreds of thousand young people arrive in Glastonbury to listen to popular bands at the Glastonbury Festival.
Unit 5a – to Glastonbury
Fabio agrees to go to Cornwall. The boys hitch hike until they arrive in Cornwall, a peninsula on Britain’s Southwest tip. The journey is long, but exciting. The boys travel from Birmingham to Bristol in the cab of a lorry. The lorry driver remembers when he was a boy the same age as Fabio and Maurizio,
“I was in Borstal. I swam across the Medway River to escape,” he tells the boys. They see Spaghetti Junction, Britain’s largest and most complicated road intersection. The lorry driver leaves them in a crowded lorry park on the M4. The big trucks smell of diesel. The boys try to get a lift to Cornwall.
Eventually they find a sales representative that takes them to Newton Abbot in Devon.
They only wait ten minutes for the next lift. An American tourist and her daughter take the boys to Lands’ End, the bottom of Britain.
Fabio loves Cornwall. As they travel south the weather gets warmer and warmer. The Cornish coast, called the English Riviera, is very hot and palm trees grow on it. In fact, the “North Atlantic Drift”, a sea current from Mexico heats its waters.
Maurizio buys two books, ‘The Legend of King Arthur’ and ‘Cornish, the Language of Kings’.
Fabio hates both books, but he especially hates ‘Cornish, the Language of Kings’. Cornwall has its own language and Maurizio decides to learn it. He looks through ‘Cornish, the Language of Kings’ and practices Cornish on Fabio.
The Six Languages of Britain
The British Isles have six native languages; Cornish, English, Irish Gaelic, Scottish Gaelic, Manx, and Welsh.
All these languages influence modern English.
The first inhabitants of the British Isles, after the Iberians, were the Celts. They spoke Gaelic, a language of Germanic origin. When the Romans conquered England in 43 A.D., the southern Celts escaped to Wales. Their language is still spoken today, it is Welsh. Welsh is not a dialect of English, it is a different language unintelligible to English speakers.
Until the 1970s, Welsh speaking children were not permitted to speak the Welsh language in Welsh schools. Now Welsh is used in all schools and all government employees in Wales are expected to speak English and Welsh. Other languages of Gaelic origin still survive today in Scotland and Ireland. For several hundred years Scottish Gaelic was prohibited in Scotland.
However, until the 1940s many Scots spoke only Scottish Gaelic. In modern Scotland, people speak English, and even the few Gaelic speakers have English as their first language.
In Ireland, Irish Gaelic nearly died. It survived in the country and on the Islands, but now more and more people learn it.
The other two native English languages are ‘dead languages’. Nobody speaks Cornish, the language of Cornwall, or Manx, the language of the Isle of Man, as a native language anymore.
Chapter – Saint Ives
When Maurizio reads The Legend of King Arthur he learns that knights were polite to women. So, for several days, he is always opening doors for girls and helping old ladies across the road. Maurizio also wants to show he is brave. After he reads that Lancelot often slept out under the stars, he persuades Fabio to sleep on St. Ives’ beach one night.
“It will be nice to sleep by the water,” he says. “ We can look at the stars and listen to the sea breaking on the sand, and we need to save money.”
When Maurizio says this it is daytime. The sun is shining on a bright blue sea, but when they arrive at 10.00 p.m., the moon is small and the beach is dark and cold. They can’t sleep because the sea, so romantic in The Legend of King Arthur, is noisy. Worst of all is the cold: it penetrates every part of their bodies. Around three o’clock they walk up and down the beach to get warm.
Just before dawn the beach turns from black, to blue, and to grey. The cold grows worse at dawn and then the beach begins to get warmer. The boys finally sleep, but only for two hours.
At six in the morning, a policeman wakes them up and tells them it is prohibited to sleep on the beach in St. Ives. Fabio remembers the film ‘In the Name of the Father’. He whispers to Maurizio in Italian to be careful.
“The police are really dangerous in Britain, be polite.”
However, the policeman is a very friendly, young man. He tells the boys where they can wash in a public toilet.
“Go to a camp site,” he advises them, “ Or to a youth hostel, that’s the best bet. It’s cheap and more comfortable than a beach.”
That day they hike across Bodmin, a high empty moor and see a lot of wild horses galloping across the down. They eat fried fish and chips by the sea and go for a Cornish cream tea with scones, jam and cream.
Unit 6b – At Tintagel
The boys choose to go to Tintagel for two reasons, to see where King Arthur was born and to meet Cornish girls. They take the policeman’s advice and book into Tintagel youth hostel. It only costs £8.50 a night. They sleep in a dormitory with four beds and cook their own food. The youth hostel is on top of the Glebe Cliffs with a stunning view of the coastline.
Maurizio and Fabio are lying on their bunk beds when their room-mate arrives. He is fifty-one. He has long white hair that hangs down past his shoulders. He wears a beard, beads and his feet are bare. He also carries a flute. He calls everybody ‘man’. Best of all he speaks Cornish. Very little, the boys discover, but the Cornish he knows is very useful for him. The hippie enters the dormitory of the youth hostel and says.
“Fatia genough why?”
Maurizio is on the top bunk. He sits up quickly and bangs his head on the ceiling.
“Ma yehes genam. Fatia genough why?”
The man shakes his long, white hair. “I don’t speak much Cornish, man.”
He shakes hands with both the boys
“Hi, brothers,” he says. “My name is Gon”
“I’m Maurizio,” says Maurizio. “And this is Fabio.”
“And where are you from brothers?” asks Gon.
The boys tell Gon they are Italian.
“That is cool,” agrees Gon. “That is exceptionally cool.”
Gon thinks many things are cool. Maurizio’s Cornish phrase book is cool. The view from the windows is cool, but the coolest thing, according to Gon, is Tintagel itself. Gon comes to Tintagel every year to ‘recharge my batteries, man’
“Meditate, man,” he advises Fabio. “I have been coming to Tintagel for twenty years to meditate and then I move onto Glastonbury.”
“Looking for girls?” winks Fabio.
Gon is shocked. “No, man, it’s for the vibes. We are in the ancient kingdom of King Arthur. Tintagel is bewitched.”
Tintagel is dedicated to the King Arthur industry. Gon takes them to ‘King Arthur’s Cafe’. He stops outside and begins to speak Cornish with Maurizio.
“I offered him something to eat.” Maurizio explains to Fabio, and adds dramatically, “In Cornish.”
“Thank you, brother,” says Gon. He goes into the cafe and orders a sandwich, a coffee and a cake.
Maurizio pays the bill and smiles when Gon says, “Gromercy.”
Chapter – Tintagel
Gon shows them the ‘King Arthur Hotel’, the ‘King Arthur Bookshop’, the ‘King Arthur Car Park’ and stops outside the ‘King Arthur’s Arms’ pub.
He looks expectant and, when Maurizio says nothing, he asks, “How do you offer someone a
drink in Cornish?”
“A vynnough why cafus banna?” says Maurizio quickly.
“That is very neighbourly, brother,” says Gon
Maurizio explains that he wasn’t actually offering Gon a drink, he was translating into the Cornish language, but he is too late. Gon has ordered a beer at the bar and tells the barman to get the money from the boys. Maurizio and Fabio sit and stare while Gon drinks.
Gon finishes the tour by taking the boys to see the remains of Tintagel castle. The ruins are high above the Atlantic. The only way to get to the castle is a high, narrow bridge. The bridge is wet and slippery. The boys can hear the waves crashing below.
“Don’t you think Tintagel is a bit commercial?” Maurizio asks Gon.
“Commercial?” repeats Gon.
“All these ‘King Arthur’ shops and pubs and…”
“Well, man, I suppose it is commercial in a way, but it’s magic. Everything to do with King
Arthur is magic. Do you know what is written on Arthur’s grave?” asks Gon solemnly.
‘Here lies Arthur, Britain’s once and future king’. Arthur will rise again. He rests at Glastonbury. That’s why there is the Glastonbury Festival.”
“What is the Glastonbury Festival?” asks Fabio.
“What is Glastonbury, man?” Gon explains that Glastonbury is a magic place. It is a source of primordial energy for the new age.”
“ There have been festivals since before the Druids.”
Fabio is falling asleep but he wakes up when Gon says, “Every year people go to Glastonbury to celebrate life and make love.”
“Love,” he echoes. “Mmmm.”
The boys decide to hitch hike to the Glastonbury Festival. However, Gon says he will drive them in his old microbus painted with flowers.
Unit 7a – The journey to Glastonbury
The boys like Gon. He rages about capitalism and society and he is excessively mean. He never spends a penny unnecessarily. He asks for money in the Cornish language so often that even Maurizio pretends he doesn’t understand.
Whenever they go to a bar or have to pay for petrol Gon says, “I have forgotten my money, man.”
However, the journey up through Cornwall and Devon to Somerset is pleasant. They sleep in the van and stop to swim in the sea. Gon knows all the cheapest places to shop. He is a good cook. He makes them elaborate vegetarian meals on a stove he keeps in the van. He is always careful to get the money for the food before they eat.
Gon likes pubs. When the boys pay for him he takes them to interesting pubs all over the West Country. When they don’t go to pubs Gon drinks home brew, beer he makes himself. It is horrible. Fabio and Maurizio cannot drink it.
Gon has been a hippie for thirty years and tells the boys stories about his youth. Gon drives slowly through the West Country to Glastonbury. The microbus is very slow: it is so old that Gon stops every 20 miles or so to let the engine cool down.
As they get nearer to Glastonbury the roads are full of cars and the cars are full of young people.
Whenever they see an old van driven by an old hippie Gon shouts, “A freakmobile, a freakmobile!”
He holds two fingers high and shouts, “Peace man.”; sometimes the drivers answers ‘Peace’ too.
7b – Ways to get into the Festival free.
Finally the boys arrive in Glastonbury. Glastonbury Tor dominates the valley.
The ticket to enter the festival ground is fifty pounds, but Gon does not pay it.
“I don’t agree with paying, man, a festival should be free.”
Gon explains the different ways of entering Glastonbury free.
“ Method One is with sun tan lotion. “ and Gon shows a bottle of sun tan lotion to rub on their arms.
At the ticket office people are queuing to pay £50. The organisers stamp their arms.
“The stamp is read by an ultra violet light reader,” explains Gon. “And there is a lamp that reads the stamp.
“Put the sun tan lotion on, little brothers,” smiles Gon.
The boys stand in the queue rubbing the sun tan lotion onto their arms. Around the entrance are several big security men.
“ Let’s not bother,” whispers Fabio. “This won’t work. I don’t think Gon is very intelligent”
“No, he isn’t very intelligent about most things,” agrees Maurizio. “ But he is clever about not spending money. If there is a way to get in without paying, Gon will find it.”
Gon puts his arm under the light. There is no glow because there is no stamp.
“Sorry, pal,” apologises a large security man. ”No stamp, no entrance.”
Gon smiles and shows his bottle of sun tan lotion.
“I am wearing sun tan lotion, brother, and it blocks ultra violet light.
“Pay your fifty quid like everybody else.” says the guard
The other security guards look aggressive and Gon leads the boys away.
“Will we have to pay, Gon?” asks Maurizio.
“Pay, man? Fifty pounds? No, no.” Gon stares into space.
“Maybe it is time to use plan two.”
Plan two involves the boys standing on the roof of the van and Gon driving close enough to the fence to let them jump over. Plan two was a non-starter. The security men stood by the fence and waved the van away
Then Gon remembers his hippie youth.
“Listen, brothers. In 1973 I got into the festival by sneaking through a tunnel under the fence. If the tunnel is still there, brothers, we are in business.”
The little hole is still there, and five minutes later the boys are inside the Glastonbury festival.
7c – The Glastonbury Festival
The festival is fantastic. A hundred thousand people are smiling. Techno dancers, smooth, young men in well-ironed jeans, students and Indies mix with entire families; mum, dad and the kids enjoying the views. There are enormous dance floors inside the festival and a market. There is even a circus area.
“Worth fifty pounds brothers?” smiles Gon.
The boys nod enthusiastically.
“Well, I got you in and saved you all that money. Could you spare me ten pounds?”
Fabio gives Gon ten pounds.
“Ten pounds each, little brothers,” says the hippie mournfully.
Maurizio opens his money belt and pays ten pounds to the Hippie.
For most of the festival Gon is in the beer tent talking to various old hippies. The beer makes Gon mellow, but he is always careful about his money.
Glastonbury is an amazing and unique experience. They meet new agers who advocate radical life styles. They meet hippies who explain the legend of Arthur. They meet a group of ‘Diggers’ who want England to become an anarchist commune. They meet hundreds of people. The people are different and their ideas are new but one thing does not change. Fabio cannot meet girls.
Unit 8a – A question of technique.
Fabio speaks to huge numbers of girls: teenage girls, girls in their twenties, mums, daughters, hippie girls with flowers in their hair, indy girls in well ironed T-shirts. Fabio talks to any girl he can. Sometimes the girls smile, a few of them laugh, but no girls want to talk to Fabio. Nobody even asks Fabio’s name. Two girls, young, blonde and beautiful pass by.
“Hey, baby,” Fabio smiles. “You make my mouth cry.”
“You make my mouth water,” Maurizio corrects him.
The girls are puzzled and walk away. Maurizio stops and sighs,
“Fabio, it is a question of technique. Change your technique. Make the girls talk to you.”
Fabio shakes his head philosophically,
“But girls won’t talk to me if I don’t talk to them.”
“You won’t get anywhere with girls by being humble.”
Fabio points to a group of young women watching a sword swallower.
“Pick them up.”
“What does ‘pick them up’ mean?” asks Maurizio.
“Abbordale, rimorchiale, don Giovanni”
“Right, I will.”
There are three girls in the group. They are young, pretty and surrounded by boys. The boys are all trying to talk to the girls.
Maurizio gives Fabio a pair of sunglasses and makes him sit on the grass with a copy of The Economist magazine. Fabio speaks much better English now, of course, but he doesn’t understand The Economist.
“That doesn’t matter,” says Maurizio. “Keep reading the business section and don’t look up. Whatever I say, or whatever the girls say, do not talk.”
Maurizio produces a pen which he puts behind his ear. He pulls a very serious face.
Maurizio approaches Suzie, the tallest, blondest and best looking of the girls .
He looks serious, nervous and worried.
“I am sorry to bother you young ladies,” he says in a high unnatural voice, “But could you stand over there? You are disturbing Fabio.”
“Who the hell is Fabio?” asks one of the girls aggressively.
Maurizio smiles and points to Fabio. The three girls turn. They see Fabio and they gaze curiously at him.
He ignores them and keeps reading The Economist.
“I know he is unreasonable, but really my boss is a very nice young man,” Maurizio smiles. He is one of Italy’s youngest multi-millionaires and that makes him a little, only a tiny, small, little bit, arrogant, unfortunately.”
“I don’t believe your boss is a multi-millionaire,” says the dark-haired girl. ”I don’t believe he’s your boss either.”
Chapter A funny, wet afternoon
“He’s my boss so I humour him”, Maurizio explains.
“Is his dad rich?” asks the girl with brown hair.
“No, no. His dad owns a shop in Italy,” Maurizio is truly inspired now. “A spice shop. That’s why he named the group he created after spices.”
“Your boss discovered The Spice Girls?” asks Suzie. Her eyes are wide with excitement
“Oh, no! Oh, I wish I hadn’t told you. Don’t tell anybody. I beg you. Please. He hates people to know that he is a talent scout, and right now he is meditating so please be quiet.”
The girls are hushed and expectant.
“Can I meet him?” asks the blonde girl.
Fabio, who can hear the conversation, nods his head enthusiastically.
Maurizio looks sorrowful, “Fabio can’t meet any girls this week.”
“Because he is selecting members for his new group, and he doesn’t want to meet any girls unless they are interested in a career in pop music.”
The three girls want to meet Fabio, and Maurizio leads them over to his friend.
Suddenly, the skies open and pour rain down on their heads. The fields of Glastonbury are full of mud but Fabio thinks he is in paradise. He spends all afternoon talking to the three girls. Of course, the girls soon realise that Fabio is not a successful record producer. Fabio never really remembers what they did that afternoon only that he laughed a lot. He remembers looking at Suzie. She is a very pretty girl, but Fabio thinks Suzie is not as good looking as Ingrid. After that, all through the wet funny afternoon he thinks about Ingrid in Dublin. He hopes Ingrid is thinking about him.
They all go to the beer tent. The girls are still friendly, but they depart.
Gon appears. He is with a small serious man and carrying a bag. He passes the bag to the boys.
“Listen, little brothers I have got some business with my man here. Take this out to the van and keep it hidden. I’ll see you in an hour.”
The boys take the bag and step out into the rain. Their legs are covered in mud, but they are laughing about the girls. Gon’s van is parked with several thousand other caravans and campers. The boys search under the wet sky and finally find the van.
Chapter – You’re Nicked
The boys are entering Gon’s van when a man stops them.
“Is this your van, lads?”
“No,” says Fabio.
The man leans over and holds his arms. Three other men creep round the van. Maurizio and Fabio are both held tight. They can’t move. They are terrified.
“We haven’t got any money,” screams Maurizio. ”You can’t rob us.”
“We’re police officers,” explains one of men.
“Let me go immediately,” says Maurizio. ”My uncle is a lawyer in Rome and my father is part of the Italian government.”
One of the policemen has opened Gon’s bag.
“There’s half a kilo of marijuana here,” he says.
One of the policemen turns to the boys and says, “I am arresting you on suspicion of drug trafficking. You are not obliged to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court.”
The policeman smiles “You’re nicked.”
The policemen take the boys to a large car and drive them to the police station. They pass through a back entrance and into a long, sad and depressing corridor. It is painted in yellow paint and lit with a yellow light. It smells clean. The door is covered with iron bars. A policeman open the cage. The boys are ordered to empty their pockets and take off their shoes. They are locked in separate cells. The police leave them alone for five hours.
Maurizio screams at the door. He again tells the police that his father is an important lawyer. He says he wants to speak to the Italian ambassador.
“I don’t even smoke cigarettes,” he screams. “I DON’T TAKE DRUGS.”
Fabio, alone in his cell, can hear Maurizio shouting. Fabio says nothing, he is afraid. The cell is small and no one comes. Nobody knows the boys are imprisoned. Fabio thinks no one can help them. After four hours he thinks the police will leave him there forever and that he will never be free. Eventually, the door opens and Fabio is taken to a room. A policeman is sitting at a table.
“Sit down, Fabio,” he smiles. “Tell me about the marijuana”
Fabio explains the whole story.
“So, you’re saying that this man, Gon, owns the drugs?” says the policeman.
“We traced Gon through his van and he is helping us with our enquiries in Harlow. He should arrive soon.”
The police leave the boys in the same cell to wait for Gon. An officer brings them food served on a metal plate; the boys are provided with a plastic knife and fork to eat the food: But they can’t eat it. They are too depressed and frightened. At about half past ten that night they hear someone shouting, but most of the time there is a profound and frightening silence in the cells.
Eventually, at about midnight, the door is unlocked and they are taken to the Interview Room to meet Gon. The boys find it difficult to recognise Gon. He is standing with the two policemen who drove him from Harlow. He has cut his hair and shaved his beard. He is wearing a suit.
“Do you know these boys?” asks a policeman.
“I certainly do,” says Gon. “They are two Italian boys whom I helped. They had no money so I gave them some money and I let them sleep in my camper.” Gon waits a moment, “I am 53 years old, officer, I don’t smoke cannabis.”
“Gon,” says Maurizio, ”You gave me that bag. They’ll put us in prison if you don’t confess.”
Gon looks at the policeman. Gon, in his suit, is a picture of middle-class respectability.
“I helped these boys because they haven’t got much money, and now I am under arrest,”
The policeman looks puzzled
Unit 10a – A letter from Ingrid
The boys spend the night in the cells. They don’t sleep and they don’t talk. They are worried. Fabio remembers various films he has seen about English and American prisons. Maurizio remembers that Gramsci wrote books in prison and tries not to despair. However, the next morning at six a.m., they are free. The police investigated Gon: he has a record for drug dealing. The policeman explains to the boys.
“Be more careful when you make friends, lads. There are a lot of dodgy characters about.”
The boys catch a train to London and go back to Kent Hall Hostel. They have little money left. They decide to get a job with McDonald’s for a week to buy a flight ticket back to Rome. They check in at the hostel and, surprise, there is a letter for Fabio. Fabio reads the letter. Everything changes.
17, Shamus Drive
How are you?
We are enjoying Dublin and my English is much better (though I still can’t understand the Irish accent.)
Dublin is really exciting and, guess what? We’ve got a flat!
Well, it’s my birthday next week and I am having a party.
You have never been to Ireland so why don’t you come over with Maurizio?
Lots of love
Unit 10b – The journey to Ireland
The boys have been in England for six months and they are both a little homesick. They are proud that they are living by themselves in a new country, but they are tired. Their arrest and their night in the cells in Glastonbury have shocked the boys and they are not so sure of themselves. They want to go home and let their parents worry about the future. They are full of new experiences and they want to tell their friends all the things they have done in Britain.
After he reads the letter Fabio suggests that they go to Ireland.
“You want to see Ingrid,” laughs Maurizio.
“It is nothing to do with Ingrid. I want to see Dublin. Ingrid is just a friend,” explains Fabio.
“That’s lucky,” says Maurizio. “She’s probably got some Irish bloke by now.”
Fabio says nothing. He turns red.
Maurizio agrees to travel to Ireland, but there is a problem. The fare from London to Dublin is too expensive.
“We can’t pay that,” says Maurizio. ”It costs more than the fare to Rome.”
They are standing in the enquiry office at Euston station.
“Can we hitch hike?” asks Fabio miserably.
“Not unless you can hitch hike across the Irish Sea, sir,” says the clerk. “There is a four hour boat ride from Holyhead to Dublin.”
“We’ve only got £350,” says Maurizio, “And we must get back to Rome.”
Fabio is looking at a map of the British Isles.
“Do you know how much the boat is from Stranraer to Larne?”
“Just a minute, sir.” The clerk looks in a book. “£12.”
“Let’s hitch hike up to Stranraer, get the ferry across and hitch hike down to Dublin.”
Maurizio is unconvinced, but Fabio is passionate. He holds Ingrid’s letter.
“But we decided not to hitch hike any more”
“I know, but I want to see Dublin.”
“You want to see Ingrid,” complains Maurizio.” and you want to risk our lives to see Ingrid.” Fabio looks so sad that Maurizio goes to an Internet cafe and surfs the web. He comes back to the hostel with a plan.
“We can hitch hike to Stranraer, get the ferry to Northern Ireland and get the train to Dublin. There is a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Rimini on the 15th. It costs only £300 and we can see Ingrid.”
That night the boys begin the 400 mile journey to Stranraer. It takes nearly two days. Fabio has seen a film about an Irish terrorist. Fabio is very impressed by Brad Pitt starring in it. So he buys himself a khaki jacket, and he doesn’t shave for days to grow a beard and look like him.
They arrive in Stranraer at 6 o’clock in the morning and cross over to Larne in Northern Ireland. The journey only takes two hours and costs £10 each.
Unit 11a – Belfast.
Fabio is proud that he looks like Brad Pitt, but when they arrive in Belfast at sunset he is nervous. He has read too many articles and seen too many movies about Ireland and Irish terrorism. Now things are different. But this country has a long story of fights and rebellions.
Appendix – History of an 800-year war.
1171 King Henry II of England and his army land in Ireland.
15th Century The English rule Dublin and a small area near Dublin called ‘the Pale’. The expression ‘beyond the pale’ originally meant outside the Dublin Pale and not English. The expression is still used in English to mean uncivilised and savage.
16th Century Henry VIII and his daughter, Elizabeth I, conquer more of Ireland. English soldiers crush Irish resistance.
17th Century ‘Plantation of Ulster’. English and Scottish protestants emigrate to Ulster (Northern Ireland). They are given the best land to farm. The Catholic natives are left with the poor land and have to work for their Protestant masters. Today, most of the good land in Ulster is still owned by the protestants and the Catholics are still angry about it.
July 12th 1690 ‘Battle of the Boyne’. William of Orange, protestant King of England defeats James’ Catholic army at the River Boyne. Ireland becomes a British colony. The Battle of the Boyne is still celebrated by Protestants today.
300 years… Resistance to British rule in Ireland.
The English are finally weakened in the 20th Century.
1916 ‘The Easter Rising’ Irish rebels take control of a post office in Dublin. The British crush the rebellion using paid spies and a large army.
1921 The IRA (The Irish Republican Army), using small guerrilla units, defeats the armies of the British Empire. Southern Ireland is named Eire and becomes an independent catholic state within the British Empire. The Protestants of Northern Ireland (60 % majority in Ulster) refuse to be part of a catholic state. The island is divided between the Catholic south (Eire) and the Protestant north (Ulster).
Many Catholics say that the division of Ireland was illegal and they want Ireland to be united.
1968 Ulster’s Catholic civil rights movement demands equal rights with the protestants.
The Catholics ask the British government to send troops to protect them from the exclusively protestant police.
1969 The Catholics decide the troops are anti-Catholic.
‘Bloody Sunday’. British troops shoot thirteen Catholics dead in Londonderry.
1972 IRA starts bombing British mainland.
1981 Bobby Sands, an Irish prisoner, dies after a hunger strike. Ten other prisoners starve themselves to death to protest about British treatment of Irish prisoners
1981 – 1994 A long three sided war between the IRA (catholic guerrillas), the UVF (protestant guerrillas) and the British Army. No obvious victor, no conclusions and no peace.
1995 President Clinton arrives in Northern Ireland from the USA.
October 1997 IRA leaders shake hands with British Prime-minister Tony Blair and the three sides in the war try to make peace.
Unit 12a – Dublin
The train from Belfast to Dublin takes 3 hours. Fabio remembers how their money was stolen on the Paris to London train. He is very nervous. He clutches his money belt and glares at any suspicious characters coming near his luggage. Even more than thieves, Fabio worries about his appearance. That evening he will see Ingrid.
He changes his clothes three times during the journey. By now, after three weeks, his beard is just beginning to show.
“Do you think I look like Brad Pitt?” Fabio asks Maurizio.
“Who…?” Maurizio asks Fabio.
Fabio looks disgusted. He opens his rucksack and changes his clothes again. He takes Ingrid’s letter and reads it once more.
The boys arrive in Dublin at midday on Saturday. Dublin is a capital on the far North West of Europe. It is often cold and wet and windy, but today it is hot and sunny. The streets are full of people, happy people. The shops are brimming. On the streets young people sell cheap jewellery. The boys walk up Grafton Street to look a present for Ingrid. They don’t find it, but they can watch the buskers: guitarists banging out blues songs, mime artists and jugglers. The boys forget all about Ingrid and her party. They pass into Henry Street and smell hops from the Guinness brewery. Guinness offers free beer to visitors. Maurizio is unable to resist something for nothing. He drinks too much beer. He is soon slightly drunk and completely stupid. He starts an argument with an old Irish teacher about English literature.
“Let me tell you this, lads,” insists the old man. “English literature is nothing (the old man pronounces it ‘nuttin’), nothing without the Irish.”
“All the great names in British literature” says the man, “are Irish.”
The old man is small, grey, drunk and very angry. Fabio doesn’t like Guinness and he wants to see Ingrid. He drags Maurizio away, but not until Maurizio has made a promise to meet the old man at the Dublin Writers’ Museum in two days’ time.
Unit 12b – Ingrid’s party
The boys are soon back on the street. They buy a scarf for Ingrid and search for the flat. Fabio is very nervous now. He can’t decide on a look. He goes into a pub and asks to use the toilet. There in the ‘gents’ he changes from his imitation of Brad Pitt into Power Games. He remembers that Ingrid is a fan of Nick of the Back Street boys.
“Do you think I need a shave?” he asks Maurizio.
Fabio’s beard is nearly invisible like the skin of a peach. Maurizio shakes his head.
“You don’t need a shave.”
Fabio decides on a mix of his Brad Pitt beard and a striped t-shirt that looks like one Nick wore in a Back Street Boys video. He pats his hair and they go to Ingrid’s flat.
“Are you nervous?” asks Maurizio.
“Me?” Fabio tries to be cool. “Why should I be nervous?”
“Maybe Ingrid has got another boy.”
“Of course she hasn’t. She’s …” Maurizio stops. “Why should I care if she has got another boy?”
With his Brad Pitt beard, his Back Street Boys t-shirt and just right hair Fabio is almost unrecognisable.
When they arrive the party is in full swing. The flat is at the top of a short staircase. The stairs are blocked with people chatting. Of course, there are a lot of Irish people there. The boys also meet Germans, a Spanish girl and several Iranians.
An Irish boy stops them, “Who are you?”
“I’m Fabio,” Fabio explains.
“Well, I don’t like the English,” shouts the Irish boy.
“I’m not English,” smiles Fabio. “I am Italian.”
“That’s all right then.” The Irish boy holds out his hand, “Brendon O’Keefe”
Fabio and Maurizio shake hands.
“Where is Ingrid?” Fabio shouts a little over the noise of the party.
“Who is Ingrid?” asks Brendon
“Ingrid and Ute are giving this party,” explains Maurizio.
“Oh, I wondered whose party it was,” says Brendon solemnly.
Fabio can’t stand it. He rushes into the party to look for Ingrid. The party is packed. Dancers dance, several boys sing. A few solemn Irishmen are chatting in Gaelic. The flat has only three rooms and there are about seventy people inside. In the kitchen, talking to a tall Irishman, is Ingrid. She is laughing at a joke as Fabio squeezes in through the door.
Ingrid has cut her hair but she looks the same. She turns and sees Fabio.
“Fabio,” she screams. Ingrid kisses Fabio’s cheek and introduces him to the tall Irishman, Declan.
“Where’s Maurizio?” she asks.
Fabio does not want to talk about Maurizio. He doesn’t want to talk to Declan. Fabio wants to be alone with Ingrid. He wants to tell her about his long journey from London to Dublin. He wants to know if she thinks he looks like Brad Pitt. However, Ingrid has other ideas. She runs round her flat talking to people. The party doesn’t finish until 4 am and, when it does, Ingrid and Ute clean their flat with Maurizio and Fabio’s help.
At 5 am the girls go to bed and Fabio sleeps in the sitting room with Maurizio and ‘Goethe’ the cat.
The next day is Sunday. Ingrid and Ute want to go to church and the boys go with them. This is not what Fabio imagined. He pictured himself alone with Ingrid, walking hand in hand along a rural river in Ireland. Instead, they are in a cosmopolitan European city and never alone. Ingrid seems to have forgotten the afternoon with Fabio in Hyde Park.
On the Monday, Maurizio must go to the Irish Writers’ museum and Fabio, Ingrid and Ute all go with him. It is a pleasant afternoon. They meet the old teacher and discuss literature, but Fabio wants to be with Ingrid by himself.
The Irish Writers’ Museum.
Any list of great English writers must include some Irish names. It is ironic and strange. The little island, in the North West of Europe, with a small population has produced a huge number of great and important English language writers.
The Dublin Writers’ Museum is a tribute to Irish literature. It is a useful place to visit for anyone with a serious interest in literature. However, it is a pleasant and unusual place to see if you are in Ireland. The museum, in the North of Dublin, is in a Georgian mansion house. The building itself is worth a visit. The house is beautifully restored with decorative tapestries and coloured glass windows.
The oldest and most fascinating book in the place is the Book of Kells which is over 1000 years old. The book of Kells was hand written and illuminated in the 9th century. It is difficult to imagine how much patience was required to create such a perfect thing as the Book of Kells by hand.
The museum is full of details of the lives of famous Irish literary men.
If a visitor gets bored with literature there is a restaurant and coffee shop. A useful service for Italian visitors is the foreign language tours which explain things about the museum and the exhibits in Italian.
Unit 13 – A flight back home.
A week passes and Fabio gets more and more unhappy. On the last afternoon Ingrid takes him to the zoo. They are in the monkey house when Ingrid slips her hand in his. Fabio is not sure what to do. He is almost in heaven. He is embarrassed and he is sure that his hand is dirty and he pretends not to notice. Ingrid squeezes Fabio’s hand and Fabio squeezes Ingrid’s. Hand in hand they walk out of the monkey house. They are laughing.
“You didn’t say anything. I thought you didn’t like me anymore,” says Ingrid.
“I hitch hiked 800 kilometres to see you. I risked my life in Belfast,” replies Fabio, “And then I thought Declan was your boyfriend.”
The young couple exchange a kiss. Fabio thinks he is in paradise. Instead of talking about girls all the time he has Ingrid and she is perfect. However, two days later they are in Dublin airport. Maurizio has booked them two cheap tickets to Rimini. Ute and Maurizio go to look in the airport shops and Ingrid kisses Fabio for the last time.
“Will you write?” she asks.
Fabio nods. He is too sad to speak. He squeezes Ingrid’s hand and then it is time to get on the plane.
He doesn’t speak until they are over Northern France.
“I am going to ask that air hostess out,” he says. “What’s the English for ‘una romantica sera a Roma’?”