I am seeing some old friends this evening with whom I enjoyed a very amusing holiday in Tuscany many years ago. We were a group of ten and were staying at a villa which had been divided into various apartments, all sharing one swimming pool and one landlady, a glamorous signora of a certain age called Carla. Carla's boyfriend was handsome and at least 10 years younger and they were most hospitable.
One of our friends was arriving four days into this holiday so a few of us drove into Florence to meet him at the station from his train which was due to get in at 9pm. We were early and sojourned to a local bar for a drink. When we arrived punctually at the station there was no sign of any train. On making enquiries we were told that we were at the wrong station and should in fact be on the other side of the city! We didn't have a good map so we instructed a taxi driver to drive there, saying that we would follow him in our car. We arrived at the other station at 9.30pm. It was deserted. The train had arrived punctually, the passengers had disembarked, there was no sign of our friend. Our friend had a military background and we assumed that he must have taken a taxi to the villa. We drove back.
On our arrival, there was an extraordinary sight: on the gravel drive in front of the villa was an armchair, a mattress, a small table and various cds lying on the ground. It was a very warm night so we imagined that somebody had decided to sleep outside. There was, however, no sign of our friend and we were worried.
Half an hour later he arrived. He had been taken all around the hills by the taxi driver who was charging him E150 for the ride.
In the morning, our other friends told us that they had heard an almighty row going on the previous night and that a lot of furniture had been thrown out of one of the upstairs windows. Carla emerged, beautiful as ever, to serve us our breakfast. We then spotted her boyfriend. He had a huge black eye!