Or, “British comedy duo cause car crash in Sicily”
Diametrically opposed in so many ways, Amy and I are often compared to a comedy couple – Patsy and Edwina from AbFab and more recently to a parallel Italian tv duo.
Our stage name “Amy et Clarence” originates from a rather dire French exchange experience, when, aged 13, we were sent to the rainy little port town of St Malo and spent a week hiding from a scary French family, making documentaries in a self-constructed den under our beds (of which Amy worryingly retains film footage and threatens to pull-out at my wedding – one very good reason to never get married). The family apparently misread the form documenting our identities, or else had never seen a double-barrelled name and so took to calling me “Clarence” for the week. Thus “Amy et Clarence en France” was born.
It was Amy who came up with the plot for the fourth chapter of our adventures all’esterno. Two months of trying to impress the dashing dark Italians at Goldman Sachs in the shared lift of her Milan office (only to lose face walking into glass walls) led to a desparate phone call some weeks ago.
“Lulu, what about a mini-break to Sicily?”
“I’d love to Amy, but June is a bit chaotic with my exams…I’ll see what I can do.”
A further examination of my calendar confirmed it was definitely not a wise time to leave Rome. A Facebook campaign launched by Amy, however, proved persuasive. The above photo of Patsy and Edwina with the suggestion we hire a convertible accompanied by the slogan “Sicily ’12” was a stroke of propaganda brilliance. I smiled, “too fun to miss”.
In partnership with the girl once famous for obsessively maintaining her gel pens in their original plastic pocket, the lead-up to our trip was surprisingly disorganised. Immersed in exams and visitors flitting through Rome, I began to notice alarming messages being channelled south from Amy’s Milanese office which questioned her mental stability in the face of endless rainy days.
Me: “D’you think driving is going to be…erm…alright?”
Amy: “No. You’re driving though, remember? I mean, obvs we haven’t thought this through fantastically well but that’s part of the charm.”
I agree. “Even if it all goes horribly wrong it will still be the best holiday ever.”
“I’m happy to drive. But we need a back-up in case I completely freak out i.e. you.”
Amy: “Well I was kind of guessing that I’m the back-up unless you’re planning on enlisting one of the locals.”
Our romanticism prevailed for some time. Till Amy had a slap back down to reality at home in England and became newly horrified by the danger and expense of the world’s worst and second worst drivers navigating the chaotic cities and perilous cliff-top roads of Sicily.
So, backpack clad and wearing sensible shoes, ready to navigate the island by train and bus, the start of our adventure was a less glamorous affair than originally planned. Feeling queasy after a tumultuous landing I glided through Palermo’s non-existant security procedure to be warmly greeted by Amy’s amused smile and bright golden yellow shoes.
That’s not to say we didn’t cause some peril on the roads…In the smaller towns of Sicily out of tourist season we attracted some extensive attention. In fact, I’d go so far as to say we were a hit attraction all over the island, never failing to detract male drivers from taking their eyes off the road to leer back at the oddly-paired exotic girls until forced to resume a safe driving position. Things got perilous on our final morning, walking to the bus stop, when a gust of wind raised our skirts and one man was so entertained that he bumped straight into the car infront. Fortunately, damage was minimal and no-one was injured.
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