I should just say, Bounder only takes me away in order to undermine me. I’ll be complaining to somebody about how he makes my life a daily living hell, and I see a look in their eyes which says “But he took you to Rome! You must be a monster!”. I received such a look when I was telling somebody that when Bounder brings me breakfast in bed, the toast is always cold and the tea is often in the wrong mug. It looks worse written down.
Anyway, Rome; score! And, as if to add insult to injury, we stayed in a REALLY NICE HOTEL. Bounder’s idea of luxury accomodation is a large canvas square with a hole in it. It’s called a poncho-tent and can be worn and camped under simultaneously. It does actually exist, because he made it.
I love staying in nice hotels, partly because I’m a normal person, but also because they make Bounder tut. Little sachets of shower gel make him tut even louder. Bounder’s beauty regime involves soap and toothpaste; shower gel is a namby-pamby step too far. He stares at the little sachets with incomprehension. I have bought beauty products that make him swear out loud. On purpose.
As we flew into Rome, lightning struck The Vatican and The Pope resigned. Bounder and I are not particularly religious, but neither are we characters from The Omen, so I felt a bit got at. If we were religious I would be Catholic; extravagant and superstitious with a love of the Baroque. Bounder would be Protestant; austere and ascetic with a bizarre fanboy love of anything Scottish.
I was surprised that he suggested a visit to The Vatican, as usually, anything for which a city might be famous is strictly forbidden.* It’s because he’s a bit swarthy and arrogant, and hopes to be taken for a local. So after years of oppression, I jumped at the chance to release my inner tourist.
St Peter’s Basillica was impressive. Everything you’d expect from the most massive and expensive church in the world, really. But number one on my list of Vatican treasures are the Swiss Guards. They’re a bit like the Guards outside Buckingham Place in that they sit in little boxes, and do a very solemn, marchy swap at the end of their shift, but their outfits are about a hundred times more flamboyant. I imagined breakfast in bed delivered by a Swiss Guard and understood how Veruca Salt felt about the Oompa Loompas.
I was also allowed to visit The Ancient Roman City in return for my accompanying Bounder on a tour of four very plain, unfamous churches. We even saw the Trevi Fountain, which was just about the most touristy experience I’ve ever had. In spite of myself I felt compelled to throw in a coin to ensure my return to Rome. I was shocked when Bounder did the same, mumbling something about not letting me come back on my own to score a Swiss Guard. Bless. Either it’s his age or I’ve finally managed to break his spirit. O Bounder, mio amore.
*Paris: “Let’s go on the Bateaux Mouches”
Venice: “Ooh Gondoliers”
“Are you serious?”