Ciao Milano

Wonderful view of Lake Como

Several years ago I spent a weekend in Milan with some friends. But it was so long ago I could hardly remember what the city was like. It was great to be back there the weekend before last to do a little bit of work, spend time with new and existing friends and visit another Italian city, Como, just a 30-minute drive away.

Last year part of my 30th birthday celebrations involved a trip to Dublin where I met some people from Italy. Since then we have kept in touch and the weekend before last we were re-united. It was only ever going to be a short trip so I woke up at the crack of dawn to catch a 6:30 am flight from Stansted. Once I arrived in Milan I took a bus to the city centre, walked around and met the others, including one of my best friends’ from London; a certain Mr Benjamin Fineberg who was already in town, at around 1:00 pm.

We all had a lovely afternoon walking around the Duomo area of Milan, seeing the sights, eating pizza, drinking Café

More amazing scenery

Macchiato and in my case feeling somewhat tipsy after a shot of Limoncello. After downing the shot I remember being distracted by some of the “local female talent” walking in the bar. Of course I am ashamed of this as I am devoted to my “special someone” but I am also ashamed of the fact that one of the people I was sitting with actually spotted me!

In the evening we all went for dinner with a couple of my work friends. Usually I am frightened to have pasta or spaghetti when out with friends or contacts as I am worried about it going everywhere. But on this occasion I did quite well even if I do say so myself!

After a brief walk along the Curso Como, one of the main roads in Milan, it was time to turn in for the night. After all, I had been up since 3:45 am that morning and was running on empty.

The following morning after a nice long lay-in and a traditional Italian breakfast― which unfortunately for me did not consist of eggs, sausages and chips which I have become accustomed to on my travels― it was time to grab a bite to eat near my friend’s university before heading to Como.

New Friends

Getting there was no problem, but we drove around a long time looking for a place to park! After finally parking we met up with some more people who showed us around the old city of Como. The place was beautiful and the views of the lake were stunning. We then found to a place to sit down for aperitivos, otherwise known as afternoon drinks (usually of an alcoholic nature) and snacks before dinner. My drink was so strong I was half cut by the time it came to dinner and my second pizza of the trip.

After dinner it was time to hit the dance floor and show the people of Como what they had been missing. Before showing off my moves a drink was in order and I ended up with a beer Stein which was almost as big as me. After somehow managing to get through that and knocking back a lethal shot, the name or content of which I have no clue, I am pleased to confirm I was officially gone for the night!

I don’t remember much of the 40-minute car journey back to Milan as I was fast asleep but I certainly have fond memories of a fun night.

After a good night’s sleep and a nice Tagliatelle for lunch it was time to head to the airport for the flight home.

A great weekend in Italy had come to an end but the good thing is that it won’t be long before I am back again!

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A Knockout Blow

It’s funny how a few drinks and a slip of the tongue can remind you of something you were trying to forget.

It was last Friday after several drinks when my friend Naomi made it clear she knew about something she was not supposed to. The source was obvious. It was her long-term boyfriend and good friend of mine Paul Windsor who did the damage. He told me he would not tell anyone but I guess it must have simply slipped out!

Around a month or so ago I went to the Post Office near where I work in Croydon with the intention of delivering a package containing a Sony PlayStation 2 which I had sold on Ebay. After collecting my ticket I stood in the corner with Paul and waited for the ticket number to flash up on the screen which would be my cue to approach the designated cashier.

While we were, waiting a customer appeared to lose her temper with a member of staff. No doubt annoyed at the long wait she began hurling an array of obscenities at the staff member. Her verbal attack seemed to go on for ages and her antics caught the attention of most people in the Post Office. She was so loud it would have been difficult for people to turn a blind eye even if they wanted to.

I remember muttering something under my breath to Paul along the lines of; “Maybe if she shut her mouth things would be more orderly.” It was never my intention to say this to her face, but unfortunately she heard me and subsequently lost the plot. I can’t remember exactly what she said but I recall her swearing and telling me that I should keep my comments to myself and that her boyfriend would kill me.

The crazy women eventually left the Post Office and after waiting another 10 minutes and realising there were still numerous people in front of me we decided to leave.

As we were walking back to the office and reflecting on what happened, I suddenly felt a blow to my head. It was the mad women from the Post Office. She had found me almost certainly by coincidence― unless she waited outside and followed us when we left― and was determined to vent her anger. The blow was followed by more obscenities which I never responded to and the whole incident was over in a flash.

To be honest I was shocked by what had happened but immediately laughed it off and put it down to experience. It was only a few hours later when I started to feel sick and lethargic that I realised how hard she must have hit me.

The fact I did not even get to send the package annoyed me more than the blow to the head and abuse. But in future I will not mutter anything under my breath in a public place especially in Croydon where it seems there are some crazy people seeking any excuse to cause trouble.

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A Stag with a Difference

Our Stag!

The build-up began on November 22 2010 when I received an e-mail from a certain Mr Adam Diamant regarding a stag for Miss Gemma Eisen. The prospect of a stag for Gemma not only made me smile―after all it is not often someone organises a stag for the bride to be―but the fact it was being arranged by one of her ex-boyfriends was a story in itself.

The e-mails went back and forth in the weeks that followed and a plan emerged. We would meet at the Pitcher and Piano Public House in Holborn on Saturday January 22 at 7:00 pm before heading to the Sushi restaurant next door for some quality cuisine and even better singing. We would then take a taxi to the nearby Reflex 80s club to dance the night away.

Myself and Mr Simon Lee Goldstein, a fellow Arsenal fan, arrived at the pub slightly late―We had to rush after watching Arsenal demolish Wigan that afternoon― and our late arrival meant we were forced to quickly knock back a pitcher of beer between us before heading to the restaurant.

Oh Dear!

On entering the restaurant we walked downstairs to our own room which provided sufficient space to eat and a perfect opportunity to showcase our vocals. There was a big screen, two microphones and Big El among the group who was itching to show us what he can do. As for Gemma, who by this time had got her head round the fact we were all together for her stag, it was a case of going with the flow and making the most of the copious amounts of alcohol being offered to her.

Those of you who know me well will be aware that I do not like Sushi. I have tried it several times before anyone asks but simply do not like the taste. In the days leading up to Gemma's stag I was confident that my dislike for Sushi would not be a problem as there would be plenty of other options on the menu to choose from. But once we made a group decision to order Kosher food only I knew I was in trouble. As the alcohol flowed, the food emerged and more and more songs were murdered by us raucous men, I soon forgot my long-standing dislike for Sushi and ended up eating quite large quantities of it. I even found myself eating Salmon Teriyaki which is unheard of for me!!!

After taking it in turns to serenade Gemma and Humphrey and Big Ell had finished the extra amount of food they had ordered for themselves, it was time to make our way to Reflex for some more fun and frolics. It wasn't long before we were dancing and singing along to some of our favourite tunes in a venue I had previously frequented for one of my more recent birthday celebrations.

Gemma was clearly having a great time and coping much better with the booze than certain male stags have in the past―Leo Brownstein and Richard Elton please don't think I am referring to you. She also looked great in the 80s attire we had acquired for her and was clearly relishing the attention she was getting from us handsome lads and Simon. Shortly after arriving at the club we discovered a dance competition was taking place at Midnight. Gemma and a few other boys took part―Gemma had no idea she was participating until her name was called― and did not let the team down despite none emerging victorious. Could I have done any better? Methinks not.

Gemma and the Ex!

At about 1:00 am we decided to leave the club and visit a traditional stag destination― a strip club― to complete Gemma's stag experience. After a short taxi ride we arrived at our destination. We may have been on a stag with a difference but were now at a strip club with a difference. The place had no strippers, very few women and was little more than your average bar! To make matters worse most of us paid £5 to get in!

The next idea was to head to another venue―Metropolis―an establishment often visited by groups like ours looking to view naked ladies and have private dances with them. On arrival certain people including Gemma―who was finally starting to feel the effects of the alcohol she had consumed― and myself were tired and wanted to go home. Some of the boys went inside to finish the night off in style while others headed for the hills.

A surreal yet thoroughly enjoyable night had come to an end. Gemma was a fantastic sport and however lucky she was to be surrounded by a group of men with such big characters―none bigger than a certain Mr Langdorf―we were even luckier to be in her company with the chance to kick-off her wedding celebrations a few months early.

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My trip to the Holy Land

The beautiful Eilat

What a great start to the year. Five days in Israel seeing some of my best friends; good food; half decent weather; great company. What more could I ask?

In January 2010 I was one of the best men at my friend Ben Gandz’ wedding in Tel Aviv. Almost a year on I could not pass up the opportunity to return to the holy land with my partner and another couple ― who unfortunately I also do not get to see that often because they live up North ― and spend some quality time with Ben, his wife Elinor, the latest edition to the family, baby Daniel, and lets not forget Max the dog. Another of my best friends, Edan Brodie, also lives in Israel so thankfully I had the opportunity to spend time with him as well.

After arriving in Tel Aviv on the evening of January 5― an hour behind schedule thanks to good old Easyjet ― if you think that’s bad wait until you hear what happened on the way home― we successfully made our way to Herzliya, where we stayed the night in the flat next door to Ben’s which is owned by his parents, before heading to Eilat the next morning.

Ben is one of the funniest guys I know and it wasn’t long before he brought a smile to my face. Before going to bed,

Together Again

myself and Richard (who is married to my friend Jocelyne) decided to accompany Ben and Max on a brief road trip to Elinor’s parents’ house. It was there Max would spend the next three nights while we were in Eilat.

We all took the lift down to the car-park and as the door opened Ben rushed towards the car thinking Max was following him only to soon realise he was still in the lift! Thankfully the lift door remained open long enough for one of us to spot Max and usher him out. Could you imagine if the lift had quickly closed, gone up or down a few floors and people saw Max sitting there all on his own?

Once we all made it to the car the next decision for Ben was to decide where to put Max. After a painful deliberation process where did Ben decide to put Max? Some of you may have guessed by now, the boot!!!

Thankfully Max survived the journey in such tight confines with me checking on his health every so often. We then took Max for a quick walk around the area surrounding Elinor’s parents’ flat before dropping him off. The walk was eventful in itself. First of all Max decided to relieve himself in the street leaving Ben with little choice but to clear up the mess. Secondly Max ended up getting in a fight with another dog. Myself and Richard were cracking up and Ben’s antics certainly set the tone for the rest of the trip.

What can I say?

The next morning at around 6:00 am we set off for Ben Gurion airport to catch our 40 minute flight to Eilat, which for those who don’t know is in the South of Israel. On arrival, Ben and Elinor checked into the Royal Garden Hotel ― one of the best hotels in the vicinity which Ben booked to help celebrate the couple’s first wedding anniversary― while myself, Katie, Richard and Jocelyn checked into an apartment which we would share for the next few days. The apartment was decent but not without its faults which will be revealed later.

While Ben and Eli, as we like to call her, spent some time alone that afternoon the rest of us decided to relax by the pool. Despite being fully aware that Eilat is nowhere near as hot in the winter as it is in the summer me and Richard decided it would be a good idea to see how cold the water in the swimming pool was. Richard was first to jump in and despite the look of pain on his face shortly after hitting the water, I jumped in straight after him. Both Richard and I have travelled extensively and swam in many pools but none of us had ever experienced such cold water in our lives. It was unbearable.

That evening we all had Friday night Shabbat dinner together in Ben’s hotel. It wasn’t cheap but the food was amazing. By the end of the night I could not move because I had eaten so much. After dinner we all sat down together for some light refreshments ―Tea Nana in my case― and sung along with the lady who was keeping us entertained in the background between catching up and reflecting on old times.

The next day was about relaxing and spending quality time together as a group before hitting Eilat town in the evening and partying the night away. Myself and my special someone even found time for a long walk in the afternoon before heading back to the room for an afternoon nap.

It was soon time to put on our glad rags ―a process in my case which was not helped by the power in the hotel going out while I was in the shower. Not only was I unable to wash myself, I also could not see anything! I can’t remember what day it was (My memory is terrible, perhaps because I am getting old) but another funny moment was when I nearly blew the whole place up! Somehow I managed to set a plastic cup on fire by dropping it in a small candle we lit to welcome in Shabbat. The cup went up in flames and things were getting quite desperate until my special someone saved the day!

Saturday evening: a night of drinking, dancing and all out fun. After another sumptuous dinner where once again I had too much to eat we began the night at a negillah bar. Baby Daniel was in the capable hands of one of the hotel babysitters so Ben and Eli were able to join in the festivities. After a good old smoke and some Mojito cocktails we headed to the nearby Three Monkeys Pub to drink some more and dance the night away.

Wherever I seem to go in England I always seem to know someone and the trend continued in Israel and at The Three Monkeys. An old friend of mine, Laura, whose name I could only recall after talking to her for about five minutes and posing for numerous pictures, turned out to be working in the bar. A similar scenario occurred around 30 minutes later. Another girl claiming to be aware of my existence approached me and once again I had no clue who she was at the outset.

After showing off our dance moves and in my case saying goodbye to the friends I never realised I had, it was time to turn in for the night. Myself and Richard, were in singing mode and generally feeling high on life so we treated Ben, Eli, Katie and Jocelyne to an array of West Life, Backstreet Boys and other pop numbers on the walk home. Richard was clearly on another level, so much so he even wanted to challenge me to a table tennis contest at 2:00 am. The fact I had been demolishing him the previous few days was his main motive. Unfortunately we were not permitted to play at such a crazy hour. But Richard was determined to be up at the crack of dawn to gain his revenge for the previous beatings.

I thought he was joking when he said he would wake me up at 8:00 am to play. It turned out he was serious. Tired and dreary eyed we headed out to play and after the first few games when my tiredness got the better of me I quickly returned to form and disposed of hum. It was now official. My new title was Andrew Pentol Table Tennis Champion Eilat 2011!

The rest of the day was all about relaxation and spending more quality time with everyone. In fact the day passed quite quickly― a little too quickly it must be said. It was soon Monday, the day we would head back to Tel Aviv for me and Katie’s last night in the Holy Land ― Jocelyne and Richard were not leaving for another few days. Thankfully our flight was not until 9:00 pm so we had the whole day to relax before heading off.

My Good Friend Edan

There was even time for an act of spontaneity en route to meet Ben and Eli and baby Daniel. Our apartments has an area where patrons can take to the water in Kayaks and seeing as it was our last day in Eilat the four of us thought it would be fun to take to the water. Katie and I decided not to change into swimwear, a decision we would later regret, based on the assumption it was unlikely we would enter the water.

Everything was going according to plan with the men doing the Kayaking and the girls relaxing and admiring the scenery. It wasn’t until Richard decided to spice things up a little by tying the two boats together that things went crazy. In an effort to separate the boats, mine unfortunately capsized and myself and Katie ended up in the water. The first task was to turn over the boat and the next was to actually try to get back on. Katie was going mad and in the end gave up trying to get back into the board and swam ashore.

I eventually made it back on the boat and after Richard returned my oars to me― yes he did leave me stranded at sea for a while― I was able to navigate myself back to the jetty. Katie was irate to say the least. Her clothes were ruined and she was freezing. I could not stop laughing which antagonized her even more. She barely spoke to me for the next few hours, but once the dust settled I think she saw the funny side of it all. All in all we had an oar-some time!

The rest of the day was spent drying off, walking, relaxing and eating. Before we looked round it was time to catch the

What a cute little dog

40-minute flight back to Tel Aviv. Our bonding session in Eilat had come to an end.

The next day Katie and I woke up nice and early as we wanted to visit with one of my oldest friends, Edan Brodie, before flying home. Ben took us to the station where we said our goodbyes and we embarked on an hour-long journey to Binyamina to see Edan. It was great to see him. He took us for a nice breakfast then back to his flat to chill out. He then dropped us to the station to catch a train to Ben Gurion airport ahead of our flight home.

We arrived at the airport in good time, checked in our luggage and were then handed the news that our flight was delayed for around five hours. This meant we would not land until 3:00 am UK time and not get home until around 6:00 am. We both new there would be little point going to work with a full day at work looming. How I got through the day at work is beyond me.

The delay, however, did little to spoil a trip which involved sun, sand, table tennis, good food, great company and let’s not forget a capsized Kayak. There are few things in life which are better than spending quality time with quality people in a perfect environment.

Let the good times continue!

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2010: A Year in Review

It was such an honour to be one of the best men at Ben and Eli's wedding in Israel.

As I sit here still feeling the effects of some overzealous celebrations on New Year’s Eve― why I decided to mix my drinks is beyond me― I thought it was the right time to reflect on my personal highlights of 2010 and look forward to 2011.

Last year began with a trip to Israel where I was one of the best men for my friend Ben’s wedding. The experience was one I will never forget. Not only was it a massive honour to be best man but it was also great to experience a wedding abroad, especially in a country such as Israel which is close to my heart. Speaking of weddings it was also great to celebrate those of Debbie and Nick, Jocelyne and Richard and Katie and David. There may well have been others so apologies if I have missed anyone out!

There were times last year when I felt I was living out of aeroplane. I certainly travelled more than expected and particularly enjoyed a work trip to Asia in May which enabled me to take in countries such as Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore, the latter of which I have visited on a few occasions. Other work trips included short visits to Madrid, Malta, Gothenburg, Cannes and Riga, all of which went well from a personal and professional point of view. The trip to Riga where my magazine’s annual Scandinavian and Baltic Conference took place was particularly satisfying as it was there I was given the opportunity to try my hand at public speaking for the first time. Thankfully― as far as I am concerned that is― everything well and I gained a significant amount of confidence from being able to cobble together a presentation in such a short space of time after someone dropped out at the last minute.

Despite the numerous work trips I still found time for a few holidays with my friends and girlfriend― Katie I promise I will write something about you soon! Finally after all these years I made it to Las Vegas and really did have an amazing time. It was everything I expected and a whole lot more and I really hope to go back again some day. What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas so unfortunately I cannot reveal anymore as I will be in breach of contract. Other trips included a week in Italy with my special someone and a boys’ trip to Dublin at the end of the year as part of my 30th birthday celebrations.

Viva Las Vegas

Finally after all these years I made it to Las Vegas and really did have an amazing time. It was everything I expected and a whole lot more and I really hope to go back again some day. What happens in Las Vegas stays in Las Vegas so unfortunately I cannot reveal anymore as I will be in breach of contract. Other trips included a week in Italy with my special someone and a boys’ trip to Dublin at the end of the year as part of my 30th birthday celebrations.

It’s fair to say I have the travel bug at present but it seems that my behaviour varies depending on the type of trip. I am more than capable of looking after myself when travelling with work― the one exception being my fall in Kuala Lumpur a couple of years ago which resulted in an extended break in Malaysia― But when travelling with Katie and friends my brain tends to switch off and I end up doing stupid things like locking the key in the room and generally letting everyone else do whatever is needed to ensure everything runs smoothly. It is almost as if I am reluctant to take on the responsibility.

In addition to the trips abroad, weddings, nights of carnage in London and occasional purchases, I have also been saving for a house which will represent my first step on the property ladder and see me move in with my special someone. At 30 years old it is simply unacceptable to still be living at home so the strategy has been simple. Go out, have fun and travel etc but make sure the required amount is saved each month.

Visting Taiwan was a great experience

So what are my hopes and dreams for 2011? The plan is to continue living life to the full which will almost inevitably involve travelling and spending quality time with friends, family and loved ones. But the ultimate goal is to move in with my partner and become a little more independent.

I look at what I have achieved in life up to now and to be honest I am fairly satisfied. Taking the first step on the property ladder in 2011 will be the icing on the cake and possibly act as a catalyst for bigger and more significant things to come.

Happy New Year and I hope all your dreams and wishes come true in the year ahead.

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Christmas, Chanukah or both?

Every Chanukah I light the Menorah and say the brachot

I may be Jewish, celebrate certain Jewish holidays and have been educated at Jewish schools, but does this mean I shouldn’t celebrate and enjoy Christmas?

The Jewish festival of lights (Chanukah) usually starts and finishes just before Christmas and I always light the menorah, say the brachot and perhaps attend a Chanukah party in Central London. We even used to give each other presents in my younger days. But at the back of my mind I would be looking forward to Christmas day which involves giving and receiving presents, eating consistently to the point I am no longer able to move and spending quality time with the family. The festive period also means time off work to re-charge the batteries which is something I look forward to every year.

Christmas Eve is also one of my favourite night’s out of the year and often results in a steaming hangover on Christmas morning, this year being no exception following the carnage of Faces Nightclub last night. The fact there are some Jewish organisations which arrange parties on Christmas Eve suggests there are plenty of Jewish people who like to get in the Christmas spirit just like me!

Don’t get me wrong. Chanukah is one of the more enjoyable Jewish festivals. It is always a spiritual experience lighting

Anything wrong with at least appreciating Christmas and all that goes with it?

the Menorah and saying the brachot, but for me it does not generate the same level of excitement as Christmas. Lets get one thing straight. I am not the only one who thinks this. Almost of all my friends―religious or non-religious―spend time with their families on Christmas day eating, drinking, watching films and relaxing. Is there anything wrong with this? Not in my eyes. Just because I enjoy Christmas doesn’t mean I am not proud to be Jewish and don’t enjoy celebrating as many Jewish holidays as possible including Purim and Simchat Torah. Christmas is Christmas and Chanukah is Chanukah. Christmas enjoys more of a build up whereas for me Chanukah appears to be over in a flash. Perhaps if I distanced myself from the hype in the build-up to Christmas day I would be able to focus more on Chanukah.

One thing is certain. There is no way I would ever discourage someone who is Jewish to completely boycott Christmas. I am not saying I would encourage them to dress up in Santa outfits, have Christmas decorations in their houses and eat a Turkey lunch on Christmas day, but I certainly wouldn’t discourage them either.

If the boot was on the other foot I would have no problem giving someone of another faith interested in a particular Jewish festival the opportunity to celebrate and learn more about it. In fact I would encourage anyone who is interested to look at ways of experiencing it and learning more. The long and short of it is that I am Jewish and proud and do not think I am doing anything wrong by celebrating Christmas. Perhaps, however, I do need to be more proactive around Chanukah time, remind myself of the various ways of celebrating and try to get more involved. The only trouble would be fitting this around the numerous shopping trips which usually begin around the start of Chanukah and sometimes end on Christmas Eve.

Who knows? Maybe this time next year I will be sitting here on Christmas day with my family recalling what it was like to celebrate Chanukah like never before a few weeks earlier. If, however, this doesn’t turn out to be the case and my knowledge and experience of celebrating Chanukah has not developed, it certainly would not be the end of the world either.

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Amanda Knox and Rafaelle Sollecito: Guilty as Charged?

At present a large chunk of my life is dedicated to the wonderful world of travel-retail and duty-free. But away from work I have always been interested in crime and am often gripped by cases such as the one involving Amanda Knox and her Italian ex-boyfriend Rafaelle Sollecito. Both are currently serving 26 and 25 year sentences respectively in Perugia for the murder of Surrey student Meredith Kercher around three years ago.

I am not going to pretend I am a lawyer, barrister or whatnot, but throughout the case I have smelt a rat. Firstly there is no obvious motive, secondly no murder weapon has been found and thirdly it is widely believed that DNA evidence used to convict the pair was contaminated.

The saying no smoke without fire also springs to mind which could mean Knox and Sollecito were in the vicinity when Kercher had her throat slit and were involved in some way, but a part of me feels Knox and Sollecito are innocent and that the real truth is yet to emerge. Once again I am no expert, but it seems there are grounds to suggest the original trial was flawed or that several elements of it were suspect to say the least. I guess it is a case of watch this space.

Innocent or guilty?

In the past week or so Knox and Sollecito have launched their appeals and a moral victory has already been secured with the judge agreeing to an independent re-examination of forensic evidence used to secure their convictions. The judge has also granted the entrance of a new witness, Luciano Aviello, a member of the mafia who is currently in prison and believes that Kercher was killed by his brother and an Albanian man.

The question is why has the judge agreed to both of the above? Perhaps he believes the pair did not receive fair trials or maybe he like many others in Italy are embarrassed by the case which is making headlines around the world and portraying the Italian judicial system in a negative light.

What must they be going through?

Having seen footage and read quotes from Knox’s address at the start of her appeal, something tells me she is not a murderer and is in fact genuine. Over the years I have listened to and watched criminals on television documentries speaking from their cells, attempting to show remorse and making out they have changed, but doing so without feeling. It is almost as if they are only doing it because they believe it might just secure an early release from a life sentence. There is something in the way Knox speaks which suggests she is genuinely suffering and fearful of the prospect that innocence may not be enough.

“Foxy Knoxy” as she is now known as may be no angel and as I said previously could well be linked in some way to this horrendous crime. But assuming she had no involvement in Kercher’s murder and the whole thing is one “enormous mistake” as she said this week, she must surely be contemplating the prospect of paying with her life― not physically as the death penalty does not exist in Italy, but in every other way possible― for a crime she did not commit. If this and all subsequent appeals are unsuccessful she will no doubt liken the 20 years or so ahead of her in jail to the death penalty. Let’s face it. If she was ever freed what sort of life would she have on the outside? She would be too old to start a family and surely be unable to fulfil her dreams and aspirations of the previous years.

Spare a thought for the Kercher family while all of this is going on. What must they be thinking? The fact that Ivorian drifter Rudy Guede does in fact seem guilty as charged and is likely to be behind bars for another 16 or so years (his sentence was recently reduced from 30 years on appeal) must be providing a small crumb of comfort. But the longer the Knox and Sollecito saga drags on, the longer it will be before they can grieve for Meredith properly and the longer it will be before they can properly set about the unenviable task of rebuilding their lives.

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