By Maggie Millar
How can I help you today? So began the intro from ‘Richard’ at some call centre in deepest nowhereville after I’d been waiting on the line for AGES. “I need to find something out about my account” I say. “No problem,” he replied, “but first you need to answer a few security questions.” Deep breath, ok, shoot. “Where were you born?” Answer: Kirkcaldy. “Can you be more specific?” Fife? “I need a bit more than that.” Eh? What more could you possibly want? Method of delivery? The name of the midwife? “No...just more.” Erm...Scotland? “That’s it! Phew! Now, how can I help you?” Then my phone gave up - kid you not.
La Dolce Vita: By the time you read this I’ll be back from a city break in Rome. In years gone by, when my life was carefree and easy - i.e. before kids - my mother and I used to take a city break every year and, despite getting dragged along to Sound of Music tours in Salzburg and being forced to look at a dozen lace shops in Bruges, they’ve been a brilliant chance to have some mother-daughter bonding time. We’ve had a five year hiatus but on this trip I’ll get the chance to drag her around the Coliseum (Bruce Lee/Chuck Norris poses optional) followed by a cup of tea at Babington’s at the Spanish Steps. I’ve even brushed up on my smattering of Italian. Sum of it is: “Buongiorno. Il conto per favore?”
Which reminds me: This is not strictly an event which happened this week but I can’t help myself. Donkeys years ago, after returning from a trip to Rome, I went to an Italian restaurant in Kirkcaldy. The young handsome Italian waiter spoke in heavily accented English and, keen to show off my command of the lingo, I asked him for “Il conto per favore.” “Eh?” he replied, then bent down and whispered: “I’m really from Cardenden.”
This week... Looking forward to getting my nose stuck into Lynn Barber’s new book ‘A Curious Career’.