As I head back on my long journey to Italy, I’ve devised a thrilling set of New Year Resolutions that will impress you all with their audacity and nous:
1) I will avoid ‘those’ airport Panini like the plague, especially the ones with wilted lettuce leaf glued on and cheese from the dark ages.
2) I will travel light (yes, and elephants can fly)
3) I will be a picture of patience at the airport arrival carousel, even if my case is the last to emerge down the swanny er conveyer belt.
4) I will limit my coffee intake pre-flight to avoid that, ‘We’re all gonna die!’ feeling encroaching all the merry way.
5) I will smile my way winningly through passport control, even whilst emptying the entire ample contents of my bag into the plastic tray and being bleeped by the machine.
6) I will learn ten new Italian words every day (might run out after a while...)
7) I will steer clear of Strachino every other day (but indulge voraciously on rest days)
8) I will visit Beppe’s cafe on the dot, twice a day, for a therapeutic Cappuccino.
9) And, observing columnist Ryan Donohue’s advice, I will exercise my eyes by reading a new book every week. Oh! He meant exercise of the jogging kind ...
10) I will run up the entire Adriatic coast before and after work (once a decade).
Feeling virtuous after compiling this list of resolutions, I am enthusiastically packing everything and trying to stick to my second resolution.
When the airport staff see me arriving, they always run for cover.
It’s a modern miracle how they manage to squeeze my worldly goods onto the plane every time.
As regards my first resolution, it’s also best to avoid the multiple airport chocolate chip cookie experience or you will emerge from your final plane a strange unfamiliar species and sad reflection of your outward bound Muesli-filled self.
Factoring in the sweet and salty snacks, I will probably resemble a dishevelled yeti upon arrival or, perhaps, ‘The Snowman’ – bescarfed, pale, chunky and cold.