No filter

Sitting in my new Venetian office, I watch an elderly Italian couple attend their pot plants. No one understands why I have moved here from London. I am currently staying in a bog ugly hotel until early November and sleep has become a luxury.

On boycotting takeaway pizza, I am witnessing my body metamorphosis into a leaner machine than before. Many evenings I have gone to bed hungry and longing for a continental breakfast.

Come nightfall I go running along the quayside and this only accentuates my physical condition. Streaming past the tourist starlings at St Marks Square, I skip over ornate bridges and race passenger boats and cruise liners. It feels easier and necessary to run longer and harder over here.

Venice Night Canal

Venice is like a spooky romantic ghost story after midnight, where you develop a heightened sensitivity to the elegant stroking of a Gondola’s oar. For sheer aesthetic beauty, I am simply not a gifted enough writer to handsomely describe what I see.

I have been forced to be more social than I am otherwise inclined. Ambivalent friendships have been sparked up with passing strangers and drinking Spritz cocktails is far cheaper than beer.

Venice meanwhile is virtually crime free and gigantic rats appear once the tourists have gone to bed. The plague of a medieval Disneyland that nobody has paid to see.

Between the kingdom of the living and the dead

I don’t how know I get myself into these situations. A mid-summer calamity formed the genesis of my Italian journey. It pains me to think about it even now. How could I have fucked up so badly. Incidents of virtually no significance throw me to the stars or plunge me into speechless depressions.

I wish I felt more nervous, it would be more fitting, or perhaps my sense of ease is a reflection of the times. English as an international language, internet on tap and a globalised workforce.

On travelling to Venice for a new job, I arrive at the airport with a milky sky sinking behind the Adriatic. Looking at the old maps in my guidebook, it’s remarkable how little the city has changed. How is electricity even possible? For now at least it’s dry and warm.

Stumbling into deli stores and restaurants, I immediately realised I have to urgently learn some Italian phrases and numbers. It’s tiresome nodding, smiling and handing over excessively large notes.

In my experience, buying petty junk food alone is ruinously expensive in Venice and I don’t want to eat pizza every night because funghi is easy to pronounce. Meanwhile I have to forgive myself for being an island monoglot, I have been hired for English language skills after all.

For now at least, that’s my forte.