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You all seemed to enjoy the story of me making an arse of myself, so here’s another one to round out the day.

On this joyous occasion it wasn’t me making a prat of myself. Plenty of time for more tales about me.

The scene is in the gardens of the Belvedere in Florence/Firenze. It’s a hot summer day. The view across the city is one that has graced a million postcards and guidebooks. The Duomo with its campanile, the pantiled roofs, the river Arno, the Ponte Vecchio…

Butterflies flit gaudily around. Bees buzz languidly; there is no hurry in this time of heat and plenty.Swifts swoop and dive and twitter.

Lunchtime. Office workers stroll and chatter on the paths. Couples saunter along, hand in hand.

On a grassy bank, a young Italian man sunbathing. He looks like Adonis. Curly black hair, noble nose, high cheekbones, a strong chin, well defined pecs and abs, toned legs ending in long elegant feet. He is already the colour of unset honey, but he’s topping up. His arms are behind his head. One leg is artfully raised to tan the inside of his perfect thighs. He wears only a pair of mirror shades and the skimpiest of dark grey briefs; his clothes are neatly folded and piled next to him.

He knows he looks like a god.

A group of schoolgirls walk past him, take one look and burst into giggles. Italian schoolgirl giggles sound like a clear rill rushing over sun-dappled pebbles. They pass us, still hysterical, occasionally glancing back.

We draw level with this figure. I’m admiring the view of Firenze. Alison, not unexpectedly, is eyeballing this descendant of Jove and Juno. Suddenly she too breaks down in laughter.

‘Wassup?’ I say, my reverie at the beautiful city rudely interrupted.


So I looked. The young man sprawled as elegantly as one who lives on the Capitoline Hill.

Except his right testicle was protruding from his briefs and sunburned to the colour of a tinned tomato.