Up to the bar bright and early this morning to pick up the Tribune. It was a national holiday here in Italy yesterday and all the hotel and restaurant owners were clustered around the espresso machine when I arrived complaining that turnover was really,really bad. Even the government here thinks that GDP this year will fall by a whopping 5% - when you consider that Italy hasn't seen any real growth in the last three years another 5% fall is bad news.Everyone here (rightly) loves to criticise the Brits and Americans for having borrowed so much and for having lived beyond their means. The flip side of the story is that without the Brits and Americans and their maxed out credit cards there would have been much lower demand for all the cars and designer clothes that the Europeans make - that's why the downturn is hitting the hard working Germans even more severely than their profligate anglo-saxon cousins.That's also why the hotels and restaurants around here are suffering so badly - my guess is that bookings will probably be down 30% for the year.
The two boyz are as happy as can be. They greeted the cleaning lady at 7.30 this morning by barking away at full volume and rushing down to the gate to see her. If they had their way she would still be standing in the driveway throwing a ball for them. As it is the two of them have been spurned after half a dozen throws and have now settled down for their morning constitutional under the shade of the trees waiting for their next adventure.