Hello, I’m Blake! I’ve never posted anything on this blog before but I’m Jemima’s partner, ah hem… Fiancé! Jemima and I recently returned from a whirlwind tour of Rome, Venice and Scotland, during which I popped the question on a gondola in Venice (very romantic). We were travelling with my grandmother and sister and seeing as it was a bit of a family affair I thought I’d write a little intro and provide a backdrop to our trip. What can I say…… It was perfect, every single moment in time we spent during that trip was a perfect moment in life to be cherished, I wouldn’t change a thing and it couldn’t have gone better…….
Ok so my grandmother Wilma (who, incidentally, I love very much) is 76 and perhaps we didn’t quite consider how uneven the roads in Rome actually are. On our first night in Rome, after a delicious authentic pizza and pasta meal, my poor grandmother took a tumble and fell into the curb, raising the concern of some passing Italian locals who I quickly ushered away. The next day Gran was feeling fine (or so she said) and all four of us had an amazing day out at the Vatican which I’m sure Jemima will elaborate on further. The day after that, however, she wasn’t feeling as spritely. Jemima organised a house-call doctor to visit and a very lovely Italian gentleman came to assess her. He was of the opinion that we should get some scans and tests to make sure everything was ok. We had already booked a tour of the Catacombs for that day, so Jemima and my sister Courtney went off and enjoyed that for the day which I accompanied my Grandmother to a very nice little private hospital where they x-rayed and ultrasounded my Gran to find she had indeed fractured a rib. Bed rest was ordered by the doctor. So I guess that was the first little stumbling block, poor Gran was trapped indoors for most of the trip whilst Courtney, Jemima and myself did our best to see as much of Rome as we could.
Incidentally, we did a fair job of it as I’m sure Jemima will confirm. The Coliseum, The Forum, some great Italian dinners and a trip to the 1942 Worlds Fair (which I dragged poor Mimey along to). When we left Rome and transferred to Venice, however, a series of misadventures would follow that would test the patience of all of us.
Firstly, I was pick-pocketed at the Rome train station, I can’t really explain how it happened but a young woman was distracting me while another man took about 10 euros out of my hand as I was paying for lunch. Then my dear sister (who is Type One Diabetic) experienced a hypo on the train. Luckily we picked up on that one early and got some coke and food into her quickly to avert danger. Meanwhile Jemima started to mention that something was stuck in her eye, at first we thought it was a bit of dust and would pass, more on than to follow.
Upon arriving in Venice we discovered that in terms of uneven surfaces Rome is a flat concrete car park compared with the ornate patchwork that is the streets of Venice, topped off with little bridges to test the strength and stamina of my darling fiancé-to-be who was lumping both her and my grandmothers’ bags from the water bus to our hotel room. Once we had settled into the room it was evident that something, albeit small, was firmly lodged in Jemima’s eye. We attempted to dislodge with some eye wash from the local chemist but it was having no effect and concerned about it causing further irritation or infection I decided we should go to the nearest hospital to have it removed.
My sister, Jemima and I walked about 40 mins to the hospital, which was nice enough but of course would involve a long wait. So I accompanied my sister back to the hotel with the view to return to my darling Jemima to wait with her at the hospital until she was called. “I’ll be back within the hour, I promise” I said to her as I kissed her on the forehead and left her in the waiting room of the hospital. My sister and I returned to the area of Venice where our hotel room was, to find that at night time it all looked a little different. Also at the same time all the alleyways and streets looked exactly the same. It wasn’t long before we realised we were lost.
At the time I didn’t think we had the full address on hand (although I realised later I did), the people who rented us the room were not answering their phone and my grandmother at home was unable to give directions. At this point I think I sunk into a kind of madness as I ran around the alleyways and streets desperately trying to recognise a door or a street sign. My sister and I were lost, desperate and getting quite upset. Eventually my grandmother made it downstairs on her walking stick and walked into a main street where I eventually found her. By the time I finally made it back to Jemima at the hospital it had been four hours. Not too long after Jemima was called in and the doctors, after an initial misunderstanding about what the problem actually was, removed the offending black object from Jemima’s eye and affixed a very handsome looking eye patch to her face. We walked back to the hotel in a kind of daze, and ate a kebab on the way home. All in all, the rest of the holiday went mostly without further incident (except the washing machine flooding the living room at one point, and us being late to the airport when we left). My sister, Jemima and I went on to see some pretty amazing sites in Venice. St Marks Church, St Marks Square, The Doge’s Palace, the mansion of the Monsignors and of course Jemima and I took a fateful boat ride through the timeless canals of Venice. After our engagement Jemima and I got lost in the alleyways, had an amazing dinner and topped it off with some cocktails (Sidecars, our trademark drink) in the Hotel Danieli while a very talented piano bar pianist played and sung ‘Just The Way You Are’. It was truly magical.