God preserve us from Italian theatre directors. I'm probably being unfair, but they seem to waste more time than they use, talk more than they instruct then debate to mask their own lack of preparation, keeping an awful lot of people waiting in the meantime. We're now on our second production in a row directed by Italians and the joke's starting to wear a little thin. Back home nello stivello they are hidebound by union regulations; whenever they come to us, they seem to almost take a perverse joy in wasting our time and being unproductive, a sort of theatrical version of the age-old chestnut about Germans abroad, behaving totally differently when not at home. Strangely, this only seems to apply to the men; the women are invariably very efficient and courteous.
Enough about that. We're off to a friend's farewell party, this evening. After four years in Toulouse she's heading home to Köln. We'll miss her, she's a good egg. She enjoyed an awful lot about life here, but didn't crack the big one: meeting that special someone and giving her existence her another dimension. Although many French men have found her attractive (and she is), she found that being a foreigner was a serious obstacle to a stable relationship. I don't know whether this is true, but I can certainly vouch for the fact that many single foreigners in their second phase of life have great difficulty getting French partners round these parts. I have no statistics to base this assumption on, but there does seem to be a 'them and us' feel to how couples are formed. I met Mrs. Fingers in London, so it's impossible to say whether or not we'd have got together if we'd met here.
Anyhow, off to the party. Then it'll be time to put the clock forward. Argh!