Open-up Diaries: Day Six

Mary Hargreaves
3 min readMay 4, 2021

Cars, renovations and impractical mini-breaks

Photo by Nick Nice on Unsplash

After a bank-holiday hiatus I am back and worse than ever. Welcome.

I spent the weekend itself eating and drinking far too much and making every attempt possible not to catch hypothermia. On Monday, I stared at the rain as it smacked against the window and wondered what the point was.

Today, our car got recalled for a software update that, if left uninstalled, would cause the engine to catch fire and kill everyone within a five-mile radius. That’s what the guy on the phone said, anyway. I’m not sure.

Anyway, I drove over to the garage in Bury at the most ungodly hour of the morning, and arrived only for the software guy (mechanic? programmer?) to tell me that I could collect the car at 5pm. It was 8.30am, and I had no other means of transport. I sat on a solitary chair and watched BBC Breakfast and had lattes made for me by the friendly receptionist and then had a walk to the petrol station. It was a lovely day out.

While I sat, I got chatting to the gardener-cum-cleaner of the car showroom, who told me that before the pandemic, he used to fly to the Costa del Sol every Friday evening and get the early Monday plane home for work. Can you imagine. The thought of it made me want to die. Anyway, he’s going to retire out there and buy a holiday home in Italy so that he has somewhere to fly to at the end of the week. The mind boggles.

I ate so much yesterday and still felt hungry. I had about half a loaf of bread, snacks, yogurt, a giant barbecue and some pasta. Am I OK? Probably not. Today I had a bean sandwich, because there weren’t enough beans for normal beans on toast and I only realised at the last minute. 4/10 would not recommend.

I have been a slave to Duolingo this past week. I have a nine-day streak and I’m number three in the Ruby League. If this means nothing to you then congratulations, you have a life. Do you know how many tenses the English language has? Twelve. Do you know how many there are in Italian? Twenty-one. And they’re all stupid.*

I’m reading a thriller in Italian, and I have to say it’s quite dull. The pace is somewhat impacted by me studying every sentence for ten whole seconds. I’m not going to tell you which one, because it’s probably quite a good book if you can actually comprehend it in its entirety, and I’m not a one for slaggery and slander.

*They aren’t. Well, not all of them.

We may finally — finally! — have some movement on the house renovation plans. We got the surveyor/engineering/council plan thingies sent over (like I said, I understand everything very well) and we can now move forward to the next step. Hooray! We might even be living in it by the time we retire.

I’m going to go and sell another piece of my soul to the green owl of Duolingo, or he might murder me in my sleep. Ciao!

Mary Hargreaves

Author writing about writing and all things Italy.