Donald MacInnes: The Italian sea grotto was blue – so was my language

In The Red

Relief is a wonderful thing. Therefore, I happily distribute big, sloshing gallons of it by announcing that this week shall be the last dominated by anecdotes from my honeymoon. Enough's enough. Next week I get back on-message. Or as close to it as I can manage.

So, for the last time, allow me to direct your mind's eye to Italy, its delicious island of Capri and the famous Blue Grotto, a very nice cave with a very small entrance. After catching a motor launch from Capri town, you transfer shakily to a rowing boat sculled by a local bloke, who will guide you through the mousehole-sized opening so you can ooh in wonder at the blueness therein. Before that, he rows you over to another boat, where sweaty, disinterested men with hairy faces take €12.50 from each punter. With four people in our boat and a dozen such vessels doing dozens of trips every day, this is clearly more goldmine than blue cave.

Having paid, we joined a bobbing queue of boats waiting to enter the grotto, the opening of which is so small that punters have to lie on their backs while the oarsman grabs a chain and pulls the boat inside. When it was our turn, I wasn't lying down flat enough and very nearly left my nose, chin and lips smeared on to the top of the arch. This terror, though, was worth it. Inside, boats circled in the dark, their oarsmen crooning "Volare", while we found ourselves silhouetted against azure light like a Bond film title sequence.

After 10 minutes, our bloke yanked us back through the opening into the sunlight and rowed us over to our boat. We climbed on board and thus began the most insistent tip hustling I have ever encountered. Our guy held out his hand and began to repeat what a wonderful time we had had and how nice his singing had been. I put a €10 note in his hand. He regarded it much as one would a fresh Labrador stool. He parped air through his lips. Mindful of the fact that his over-enthusiastic yanking had nearly seen me leave my lips on the cave wall, I wasn't keen on giving more, but his glare tweaked my tourist guilt, so I gave him another fiver. This didn't help and he reached sharply toward my pocket. My slumbering aggression immediately exploded into something kinetic and very Scottish (think the Hulk, only greener, from seasickness) and I called him a [bad adjective] cheeky [very bad noun] and he seemed to get my drift. And drifted away.

The lesson? If you ever feel pressured into undeserved tipping, release your inner Glaswegian. Never fails.

Independent Partners; Do you need financial advice on your investments, pension or insurance? Book a free consultation with an independent Financial Adviser at VouchedFor.co.uk

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

    SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 - £21000 per annum + uncapped commission: SThree: As a graduate you are...

    Ashdown Group: Junior Application Support Analyst - Fluent German Speaker

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn