Confess: We have ways of making you talk

Who did it? Was it YOU?

Who did it? Was it YOU?

I have been a Pecora Nera (Pecora Nera is a black sheep, for you non-Italian speakers Ha!) for as long as I can remember. I dreaded the days when my mum would angrily shout my brothers’ and sister’s name one after the other, until she finally got her act together and settle on my name. I have found myself in some sort of trouble for most of my 52 21 years.

A classic example was the Ritz Crackers episode.

Another food item I love

These crackers got me into a lot of trouble.

There was an unspoken rule in our house. No one was allowed to open a pack of biscuits or Ritz crackers unless my mum had either: a) said we could open them or b) she had already opened them. If the pack was already open, then to a certain extent we could grab a handful and hide in the bedroom eating them eat one or two of them, providing we left more than crumbs in the box. No one ever dared to finish a box of crackers, the consequences were quite severe. My mum would say “Peter, go and make me a cup of tea and fetch the Ritz Crackers”. She knew they had been scoffed, I knew I had scoffed them, we both knew I was in trouble.

One evening, when I went foraging for food, I found to my dismay, that the box of crackers was unopened. But as I moved it to see what delights were hidden behind it (maybe an opened packet of chocolate digestives),  I noticed that this particular box of Ritz Crackers didn’t feel very heavy. It should have weighed 225 grams but it felt as though it was missing two or three crackers.

I investigated further and to my horror, shock and amazement, the box had very cleverly been opened from the bottom. A quarter of the pack had been eaten and the box carefully resealed. I knew for sure my brothers and my sister were not stupid brave enough to pull a stunt like that, which left only my mum.

I vividly remember the evening, when my mum decided to eat the Ritz that she has secretly opened and there were only three and a half  crackers left and three innocent children plus one suspicious looking black sheep.

Ok so this post is really about one of you out there in bloggo land who needs to confess to a deed most foul. One of you filled out a form on the Italy Magazine. com and nominated my blog of madness for Best Living in Italy Blog.



I know it was one of you lot, because I have interrogate Mrs Sensible and she denies it. Scooby Doo is not ‘yet’ allowed in the house, (Mrs Sensible keeps dropping hints, and the hints will get big when the snow comes) so he is not guilty which leaves one of you.

Out in the cold and the rain

Out in the cold and the rain

It wasn’t me, I only found out because I am a stataholic and I followed a referrers link back to the awards.  Who ever did it,


Merry Christmas

Christmas truce Scooby Doo and Gilda Style.

Can a Machiavellian cat and an incredibly fat, but short-legged dog call a truce over Christmas?

Two months ago Scooby Doo adopted us and moved into my garage. At the moment he is in arrears with his rent, I sat down with Scooby Doo and discussed his lack of payment; the following day he left half a mouse. Obviously I was less than happy with the payment, so I gave him a stern talking too. The following day Scooby Doo left me a small brown slightly warm lump in the middle of my garage floor. I have left further payment discussions to Mrs Sensible.

I am patiently waiting for NHS Supplies to come and collect their cat

I am patiently waiting for NHS Supplies to come and collect their cat

I am not really a cat person, I like dogs, big dogs that can chase and fetch sticks. I have repeatedly suggested to Mrs Sensible that we should rescue / buy a big daft dog. Mrs Sensible always points out that we have Gilda.

Gilda is the incredible fat but short-legged dog that belongs to Luigina and lives next door.

Gilda in trouble yet again
Gilda in trouble yet again

Link to Gilda 

Gilda and Scooby Doo have a love hate relationship, Scooby Doo hates Gilda and Gilda loves to chase Scooby Doo. In November I posted the pictures of the great cat chase  between Gilda, Lila and Scooby Doo. Sadly earlier this month Lila passed away to doggy heaven.

The great cat chase

The great cat chase

Last week Mrs Sensible shouted me

Mrs S: PN!! Quickly come here.

PN: Nope I am busy. (I think I was catching up on blogs from fellow bloggers either that or I was chilling on the sofa)

Mrs S: You will never believe it, quick where is your camera?

PN: Uffa! It’s here, why?

Mrs S: Quick look out of the window.

And there it was, Scooby Doo and Gilda eating cat food from the same tray. I was not surprised that Gilda was eating cat food, Gilda eats anything, she is the only dog that eats grass because she is hungry and doesn’t barf afterwards.

Gilda and Scooby Doo enjoying a romantic meal together

Gilda and Scooby Doo enjoying a romantic meal together

I was so surprised, I had to check that it was Gilda, so I called her “Yo! fat dog you are supposed to chase the cat” Gilda looked suitably ashamed.

Yo! Fat dog, you are supposed to chase the cat

Yo! Fat dog, you are supposed to chase the cat

Now the real question is, have they called a truce because it is Christmas? Will the truce last till boxing day?

Clearly the fat dog likes cat food

Clearly the fat dog likes cat food

Merry Christmas from Mrs Sensible, myself, Scooby Doo who is in temporary residence and Gilda the incredible fat but short-legged dog.

Mrs Sensible & Pecora Nera, featured on !!!

Gosh, the kind lady at has added my little blog of madness to their website.

Internations is a web site where expats can meet up with other expats, to discuss job opportunities or more importantly where and when the next pub crawl, beer festival social gathering takes place.

I was asked to submit a photo of sunny Italy so I gave them this one.

Sunny Italy

Sunny Italy

On hindsight I should have sent this one.

The spare bedroom

The spare bedroom on the day we moved in

Because this is what the spare bedroom looked like until Mrs Sensible told me to sort it out.

Please go and have a look how I have managed to infect a sensible web site with my strain of madness. LINK

A big red box will appear, either join (which is a good idea) or click the X in the top corner so that you can read my post… and then join.

8 things about a Black Sheep

I have been tasked with telling you nice people, 8 things you need to know about Pecora Nera.  I could keep my mishaps to myself, but then I would have to decline the award that the nice lady at Sandcastles in Portugal gave me.

Ok, here we go.

Number 1

When I was 13 I was asked to be a cox for the Sheffield Rowing Club. It was great fun, I used to sit at the back of the boat and tell a crew of men or women what to do. I loved it! We raced all over the country and the two crews I raced with were very successful, we even won a Gold Medal at the Vesta International Championships.

One weekend it was peeing it down raining rather heavily. On that fateful day we arrived late at Nottingham Regatta. By the time we had  rowed to the starting position, my boat was a quarter full of water. We asked the umpire if we could empty the water out of our boat. The umpire told us that we were late and if we didn’t come to the start position immediately, he would disqualify us. I wonder if he is related to Mr Cretino?

So we started the race with enough water in the boat to take a bath in. As the oarsmen took their first stroke, all the water in the boat was forced down the boat and into my lap. As I frantically bailed the water out with my little hat, the crew slid forward to take the second stroke and all the water rushed down to the bow of the boat (the bow is the pointy bit at the front). I was just trying to work out why all the water had disappeared, when two of the crew at the pointy end stopped rowing. So I shouted at them, I told them to join back in as soon as they could. Ronnie, a huge tall Irishman, shouted back: ” We are f&%$ing sinking!!”  There was no Kate Winslet to hold my hand as my boat slowly but surely disappeared below the waves.

Pecora Nera sinks at Nottingham Regatta

Pecora Nera sinks at the Nottingham Regatta

 Number 2 (can things get worse)

When I was nineteen, I decided to host a Christmas party in my little flat. I invited my friends from the local pub including Sarah and Julie (I think those were their names). Both of them declined my party invitation, because Joy (I am 100% sure I have her name correct) was due to perm their hair on the night of my party. While I was drinking my pint of beer, I suddenly had an incredible idea. I would invite Joy and she could perm and set the two girls hair while we all partying: easy peasie lemon sqeezy. Joy and the girls agreed.

My hair needed cutting, as it was getting just a bit too long. So Joy suggested she could perm it for me (remember these were  the 70’s). Obviously I promptly declined the offer; you see… I can be sensible at times, just like my wife. However, after 2 or 6 drinks it actually did seem like a bit of a wheeze to have my hair permed.  So, having being asked again, this time I agreed.

Joy, who was no longer the Sensible hairdresser that I knew from the pub, giggled while she poured the solution on my head. We all got another drink and sat down and gossiped danced the night away. All of a sudden, Joy let out a shriek we all turned to her, and she said ” oh my gosh, you still have the perm solution on your head!”  I then looked at Sarah and Julie who were suddenly collapsing in a giggling heap. I personally didn’t understand what the problem was, even after Joy dragged me into the kitchen to wash the solution out of my hair.

Never get your hair cut at a party.

Never get your hair cut at a party.

I don’t remember much more of the party, I vaguely remember dancing to We are family and Le’ Freak.  I remember waking up the following morning with an enormous hangover; as I rubbed my poorly head, my fingers felt a mass and I mean a mass of tight frizzy curly hair, not unlike the picture above.

Number 3

When I was seven and unable to swim, my older brother took me boating in Stamford Park in Manchester. All of a sudden the heavens opened and it started to rain, which is not unexpected in rainy Manchester; knowing that I couldn’t swim, David took the decision to head for the island in the middle of the lake rather than the safety of the landing stage, where the boat owner was waving to us. As we reached the island, David said: “Quick, get out and I will steady the boat”.   I really believed him… duh! With one foot in the boat and one foot on the island, the little boat slowly drifted away. It is amazing how quickly one learns how to swim.

My very first swimming lesson

My very first swimming lesson

Number 4 (Are you still with me?)

Whereas I was slightly inebriated when I had my perm ‘done’ I was stone cold sober, when it seemed like a good idea to have a tattoo printed on my body. My younger brother had a mermaid winding itself down his leg, whereas I (mainly because I was sober and I thank the Lord I was) decided to have a discrete tattoo done. I wanted Pecora Nera (Black Sheep) printing somewhere about my body; and to this day it is still there. Mrs Sensible has obviously seen it, and the Germans at the sauna saw it.



Number 5: I ate at the same restaurant 36 times in a three month period.

Three times a week for three months,  I went to Maso Restaurant and indulged in their fine food,  in a vain attempt to persuade Miss Sensible to go out for a meal / drink with me.  She kept turning me down with excuses such as: she needed to wash her hair… she was too tired or had a much more sensible thing to do than going for a drink with a crazy Englishman. Not one to take a hint, I would simply rebook another meal.

Ah! I am sorry Miss Sensible isn't working tonight, try again tomorrow

Ah! I am sorry Miss Sensible isn’t working tonight, try again tomorrow

Number 6: I have been a pilot taa raaa.

My elder brother is stinking rich; I am poor as a …. well poor. My brother has his own plane, it even has a go faster stripe down the side. One weekend he offered to take me flying. As we flew over Lincolnshire he let me take the controls of the plane and asked: “Have you ever gone cloud hopping”, “cloud hopping?” I asked.

“Yes: you head for a cloud and pretend you are a battle of Britain pilot”. So David and I went cloud hopping, neeeeeooowwww; the plane went as we shot down through the clouds. As we burst out of the cloud into the sun we shouted Rat tat tat tat tat and pretended to blast the imaginary German Luftwaffe. We were having a great time until the local air controller asked in a very British clipped voice “could you please confirm your direction. Ooops! Once a Pecora Nera always a Pecora Nera.

Fortunately I didn't decide to fly for an airline.

Fortunately I didn’t decide to fly for an airline.

Number 7

I am a dog man. I like pussy cats, but I prefer dogs. I want a big daft dog that will chase sticks; however, at the moment I have a cat that sleeps in our garage and he isn’t really our cat. I had to dissuade Mrs Sensible from putting a collar on him yesterday. We feed him twice a day, he has been deflead and has thanked us by peeing on the stairs and leaving a little parcel for me in the garage. Mrs Sensible said he does it because he knows I won’t let him into the house.

Scooby Doo lives in a box in the garage. Although he is not completely happy with this arrangement.

Scooby Doo lives in a box in the garage. Although he is not completely happy with this arrangement. PS dear NHS supplies if you want your box back, you may come and fetch it.

8) I have been awarded The Woman’ Skirt Award, hence the 8 facts about me.

Woman's Skirt Award

Woman’s Skirt Award

And 8 other people who deserve this award? Very difficult to pick only 8 Mrs Sensible and I went and visited them a week ago, Mrs Living in the Langhe was wonderful, their little dog Otto was fab, I can’t remember much about Mr Living in the Langhe. This lady is not scared of trees. Yvonne from Ytaba. Maybe I will invite Mrs Sensible and I to her part of the world. He makes me laugh even on a Monday. The man has more blogs than I have fingers.. Ralf is as mad as me. A really nice blog. A great blog for all you budding writers.

And last but not least ANDY, who comments on my blog. Andy, now you have an award, go and start a blog.

You 8 now have to write a post, include 8 things about yourself and nominate 8 other blogs. To read the proper rules go and visit HERE