He replied that he was protecting her from mosquitos in the absence of a net.
Gertie slept with one eye open for the rest of the night.
As did Myles, although it was on his Cialis enhanced knob which eventually tickled him under the chin to wake up to a glorious Venetian Morning.
They both dressed for breakfast and went down to the Breakfast Room in an uneasy silence.
The room was quite full with most of the seats and tables taken.
There was a full Sky TV film crew and several well- known actors buzzing back and fore for the continental breakfast.
Myles recognised the one off the television as being Ricky Gervais.
“ Don’t look know’ but there is that bloke David Brent from the Office!” said Myles quite proud of the fact he was in the presence of celebrity.
“ What Orifice?” asked Gertie loudly holding her ear-trumpet aloft.
“ Didn’t you have enough last night….you dirty bugger!” she continued.
“ Not the orifice…Extras etc…..!” he said innocently.
“ No Extras for you Myles …you had more than enough to last you another decade last night!” said Gertie.
Myles gave up.
He was intrigued to see a ginger tall man with glasses that looked like the bottom of milk bottles arguing with a bald Mancunian and what looked like a baby in a High Chair.
He couldn’t remember any of their names but they were all friends of Ricky Gervais.
“ Are these seats taken?” asked a young American Tourist.
“ No… help yourself….I’d only have to talk to her otherwise !” replied Myles.
“ Hi… the names Hank Marvin Haggler and this is my new wife Gloria….were from New Joisey…and we’re on Honeymoon!” said the young Yank.
“ Hello!” said Gertie looking up at the stranger, who was completely the opposite of her own husband being tall, dark and handsome.
Gloria sat down opposite her husband and looked longingly at him.
Myles looked at the beautiful young woman and then back at his wife of 50 years and wondered how a butterfly could turn into a caterpillar and then a deaf’s head moth.
“ Pass the sugar….sugar?” asked Gloria.
“ Okay …..pass the honey…honey !” asked Hank in reply.
“ Do you know …..interrupted Gertie….I have been married to him for 50 years and he has not ever once said anything like that to me!” moaned Gertie….getting in her first of many moans of the day.
Myles looked at his wife and said without a hint of emotion on his face.
“ Pass the milk you old cow!”
The silence was deafening apart from Gertie’s hearing aid of course.
More whine than the whole of the Italian vineyards.
“ This Venice water….it’s not like the clear blue stuff you get in the Venetian in Las Vegas !” said Hank sounding disappointed and trying to change the subject.
“ Well that is because everything in America is fake….fake water…fake cosmetic surgery and fake orgasms!” said Myles bitterly.
Another awkward silence prevailed followed with the American couple moving to another table as soon as one was free .
Gloria whispered to her husband ….” I hope that doesn’t happen to us!” .
“ It won’t !” said Hank…..” Say isn’t that the bloke who upset all the Hollywood A Listers at the Golden Globes?” said Hank pointing at Ricky Gervais.
On the adjoining table, the Sky TV Film crew was in uproar, as Ricky kept pinching food from the plastic tray in front of Warwick Davies and bouncing croissants of the bald-head of Karl Pilkington.
His sidekick, fellow bully Stephen Merchant sniggered at the scene and at their misfortune in a Twonks Tea Party.
Multi- millionaire Ricky had all the power and money and what he said went.
Like a real producer, telling his henchmen when to laugh and how to laugh.
Poor Warwick and Karl had to kow-tow to his bidding like ‘Idiots Abroad’ on a whim.
It was not like Ricky had done them any favours…other than make them World Famous Millionaires.
You could say if you weren’t an atheist like Ricky - that they had sold their soul to the Devil.
Gloria turned to Myles and said….” And that is the reason we never had children” she said pointing at little Warwick.
“ That’s a bit harsh isn’t it…even by your standards!” said Myles.
She then pointing at Karl, Stephen & finally Ricky.
Who just laughed like a hyena and made Derek-like expressions at the old pair.
Gloria finally plucked up enough courage to ask the celebrities for their autographs.
Ricky happily obliged asking politely who the autograph was to be made out to.
“ My husband Hank Marvin…please !” she said .
Hank waved from the other table.
“ I’m Hank Marvin too!” said Ricky picking up a sausage and eating it greedily.
“ He is a ‘shadow’ of his former self !” said Merchant following Ricky’s lead.
Both attempts at humour were lost on the young American woman, who was too young to remember the 1960’s band or that Cockney rhyming slang existed.
“ Do you want any of the others?” asked Ricky passing the pen to Warwick Davies.
“ Ewok from Star Wars…Willow Huffgood…and of course DER LEPRECHAUN !” said Ricky in a scary voice.
Warwick duly obliged in ‘shorthand’.
“ Him?” asked Ricky pointing at the bald Mancunian Twonk .
“ I’m sorry I don’t know who he is!” said Gloria.
Ricky thought this was hilarious.
The American woman didn’t have a clue who Karl Pilkington was.
“ I am sorry I should have introduced you….pointing at Karl….An Idiot…and then at the newly married New Jersey woman….A Broad…!”
Laughing at his own joke Ricky nearly fell off his chair.
Warwick Davies punched the plastic food tray with his fist in hysteria like a spoilt baby.
“ And him?” asked Karl in turn pointing at Stephen Merchant.
“ It’s okay I already have ‘Beaker from the Muppets’ autograph from Disneyland!” said Gloria.
It was Karl’s turn to join in this time as Merchant’s face went redder than a baboons arse.
Myles and Gertie had decided they had heard enough and needed to get some air away from the puerile banter.
Even their own company was preferable to this lot.
Grabbing his walking stick and her tripod wheeler walker, the pair stepped out into the magnificent Italian Sunshine to explore the Ancient City once the centre of all World Trade.
As she passed a stall Gloria picked up a postcard showing the Grand Canal and the shining white Rialto Bridge.
“ I must buy this one- if only to make Elsie at number 42 jealous that I have been abroad, do you know she hasn’t stepped one foot off British soil ever- the closest she came was as a Land Girl picking tomatoes in Guernsey….she’ll love this!” said Gloria.
“ Don’t forget to tell her that Venice is a lovely place but that all the streets are flooded!” said Myles sarcastically.
“ Good idea!” said Gertie ignorant of his jibe.
“ Do you want to go to go to see St Theodore and his crocodile in St Marks Square or the Rialto bridge that featured in Shakespeares’ a Merchant of Venice?” asked Myles hopefully.
“ What about a visit to the Pound shops or Charity shops followed by a McDonalds or KFC?” suggested Gertie.
“ Gertie- this is Venice not Merthyr- thankfully they don’t have a High Street dominated by multi-nationals unless you count Guchi & Prada…!” replied Myles.
“ But they have an Ann Summers shop…..look at all those masks in the window!” said Gertie.
“ And that one has a massive nose…is that for their Italian Prime Minster…Silvio Pinocchio …I think he is…the one who held all those Zumba Zumba parties!” said the Sun reader.
“ That mask my dear is to denote people of influence in Venetian Society ….the Doctors mask always had a bigger nose than anyone else…the mask was used as a primitive defence against the bubonic plague as people were more ignorant…like you…as they believed the disease to be carried by airborne germs rather than by fleas on the back of rats….!” said Myles trying but failing to ‘Educate’ Rita.
“ So if the disease was carried by rats….why didn’t Merthyr people get it?” asked Gertie.
“ One really big reason…Merthyr didn’t exist in the 14th Century!” said Myles.
“ It was a hamlet back then!”
“ See Merthyr people have smoked for years ….cigars that long ago!” said Gertie once again displaying she had gone to a failing school.
Myles just shook his head in desperation.
He may as well talk to her about the plot of a tv soap.
“This is this World famous St Mark’s Square!” announced Myles triumphantly.
“ Good, I’m knackered !” said Gertie without even a glance at the beautiful architecture.
As she sat down at a chair outside the a café bar called ‘La Dolce Vita’ Gertie was pleasantly surprised as two handsome Italian waiters fought over her attention.
“ 10 Euros Pleeze…!” said the first one Don Giovanni.
“ But I haven’t ordered anything yet!” protested the Pensioner.
“ It is a charge levied to sit down at a seat in this square and its view of the Basilica!” said the oily skinned lothario.
“ What about the table?” asked Myles.
“ Nothing- but who in their right mind sits on a table?” replied the second Italian Hale Caesar.
“ Me…!” said Myles putting his foot up on his wife’s tripod and sitting cross-legged like the Dalai Lama on the glass table and obscuring the view of the Basilica with the back of his hand.
The waiters upon receipt of the Ten Euro note from a disgruntled Gertie, left the eccentric Mad Dog Eenglishman out in the Mid-Day Sun.
“ You always have to show me up don’t you….you think you are so clever….so superior to these Spanish …..!” replied Gertie.
Myles didn’t both to correct her ….he hated Latin in school but hated being ripped off as a tourist even more.
“ Where too next then my little bundle of Joy?” asked Myles sarcastically.
“ Il Ghetto…the Jewish Quarter….La Fenice or the Rialto ?” he asked hoping the haul around the narrow claustrophobic streets in this heat would see her off.
“ What about that Bridge that Alec Guinness built ?” said Gertie.
“ Your ignorance astounds me sometimes !” said Myles.
“ You have less Culture than Tory MP Maria Miller!” he said snidely.
“ Max Miller…..I used to love him…Wheeltappers and Shunters on a Saturday Night…and then bingo!” said Gertie nostalgically and very deafly.
“ Does everything in your sad World revolve around Bingo?” asked Myles.
“ That’s roulette!” replied Gertie.
Myles looked at her …her deafness had got worse and was now almost equal to her stupidity.
She was now only hearing certain words that she chose to hear…selective deafness …a condition known to affect men but not normally women.
“ C’mon I’ll show you the way to the local BINGO hall…!” he said .
“ Great!” said Gertie moving a little quicker on her tripod walker following the mention of her favourite word.
After another 15 minute walk they arrived outside the magnificent La Fenice Opera House.
“ That’s not a bingo hall!” protested the gasping old dear.
“That’s where the posh people go to hear fat people singing at stupid prices!” said Gertie.
“ The Three Tenors!” sighed Myles looking up at the hub of Venetian Society for over 400 hundred years.
“ More than that to get in there…..is that fat black woman singing there tonight?” asked Gertie.
“ Who?” asked Myles wondering what gem his ignoramus of a wife was on about this time.
“ Oprah….Oprah Winfrey?” she spouted.
Myles closed his eyes in temper.
If it had not been for the presence of a French Tourist filming a video he would have happily strangled her on the spot.
“ Time now for the piece de la resistance - !” said Myles.
“ Oh yes….I am busting too….it’s like Merthyr Town centre since they closed the Bus Station toilets…I have to find a bog soon or I will have to pee in that canal there!” said Gertie letting out a loud sulphurous fart.
“ You will have to excuse my wife…she is a little deaf!” said Myles apologising to Jean Michel Jarre .
“ Apologies….you may need more Oxygene soon!” said Myles.
“ Zut Alors!” came the reply as the cameraman wiped some shit off his lens.
The pair shuffled on like the ‘waking dead’ to the white Structure known as the Rialto Bridge.
“ This my dear is the most famous sight in Venice- this bridge dates back to Medieval times when Venice was the capital of Europe if not the World….the hub and trading centre for famous merchants like Marco Polo!” briefed tour guide Myles.
“ I like his mints but I think Trebor ones are better…you don’t get the hole in the middle!” said Myles taking the piss out of his wife before she had the time to react.
“ I know Marco Polo didn’t make mints….I’m not completely stupid!” said Gertie.
“ Who was he then?” asked Myles.
“ I don’t have to tell you!” replied Gertie defensively.
“ Come on I promise NOT to laugh….who was he then?”
“ That guy from Gladiators….they one they banned because of his drug taking….or that bloke from Made in Chelsea!” said Gertie trying to hedge her bets .
Myles broke his promise and pissed himself.
“ Marco Polo was an explorer and Venetian trader who is reputed to have started the ‘silk road’ to China!” said Myles.
“ Why would he have a Milk Round in China?” asked Gertie once again mishearing the important part.
“ Never mind!” said Myles treading the boards at the entrance to the famous Italian Bridge.
“ I’m sorry Sir but the bridge is closed today for the filming of a television series!” said a heavy duty bouncer .
“ He looks like Marco Polo from Gladiators!” whispered Gertie.
“ You can’t just close a bridge off to the public on a whim ….on whose Holy Orders…. A Papal Bull from the Pope in Rome?” asked Myles.
“ Higher than him….Ricky Gervais!” said the Scottish Bouncer Big Lonsdale Braun.
“ But there are other people on that bridge too!” protested Myles.
“ They are the crew!” said the impassive guard.
“ Oh those must be the ones Ricky asked me to get the ice cream for at breakfast this morning at our Hotel!” said Myles using brains to defeat Braun.
“ What hotel are you staying at ?” asked Big Lonny suspiciously.
“ Doge’s Palace….we were the couple arguing at breakfast!” said Myles.
“ Okay….if you’re getting the ice cream in ….mine’s a cornetto…have you seen the price on them here?” said the muscles from Musselburgh.
Myles limped away to the ice cream vendor and was disgusted to find they were 15 Euros each.
He had to buy ten.
It was a real job to carry them all.
Hidden behind a rubbish bin, lurked Lurkio the rabid dog.
He had already stolen one ice cream off Myles the day before and saw him as easy meat for a second one.
As the pair of pensioner were waived passed by Lonsdale, busily chewing on his cornetto bribe, both Myles and Gertie made their way onto the most famous bridge in all of Christendom.
Gertie motoring up the incline on her little tripod that afforded her mobility.
Myles still capable of walking unaided listened intently as the TV scene played out.
“ An Idiot Abroad Scene 5 Take 3….Gobbo the Hunchback on the Rialto Bridge” shouted Derek-tor Ricky Gervais to the entire cast and crew.
Warwick Davies, all 3 foot 6 inches of him came out of the scenery dressed as Gobbo Di Rialto, the Hunchback of Venice in a bright red raincoat.
“ Don’t Look Now” said Myles.
He knew full well that his wife of 50 years always did the opposite of what he asked her to do.
Gertie opened her eyes wide as what was a remake of her nightmare unfolded.
Karl Pilkington appeared on the scene , naked bar a golden oak leaf to hide his ‘acorns’, as Ricky had put it , chased after the little blighter towards Gertie with a serrated knife shouting “Come back Gobbo you’ve pinched my nuts….come back with my Pound of Flesh!” in the worst Venetian accent ever.
The pair were heading straight in the direction of the frightened woman, who leapt onto the top of her Tripod three-wheeler for safety, away from the onrushing dwarf.
At the same time as Gertie was distracted, Gobbi the rabid dog seizing his chance ran at full pelt towards the shopping tripod and the now unguarded cornettos.
His bulk and frame combined with the wheel movement on the sloping bridge sent the old woman tumbling over the side off the Rialto Bridge into the turbulent waters of the Grand Canal below.
Myles couldn’t have planned her death any better if he had set it up.
As Gertie flew through the air….horrified bystanders saw her false teeth fly out and land with a splosh in the grey lagoon liquid.
The film crew were in uproar as they thought it was part of a stunt act hired by Ricky himself.
Stunned Ricky stopped the scene and shouted at Warwick.
“ It’s your fault get after her…!”
He picked the mini-actor up by the scruff of the neck and slung him off the bridge.
“ You too Golden Globes!” ordered Ricky to Karl.
“ I ain’t going in there Pal….I’m seen the Manchester ship canal and that is bad but this is a SHIT Canal...!” he protested.
Arriving on the scene came the local Jewish Venetian Policeman, Massal Toff to investigate the accident.
“ Did he try to kill her?” said Massal pointing at Myles to the gathered crowd.
“ He was reported as being unstable by the receptionist at the Doges Palace yesterday?”
“ No…it was an accident…!” said Karl defending the old man.
“ A Hunchback dwarf and a rabid dog knocked the old lady of the bridge!” said Stephen.
“ And you are …..?” asked Massal.
“ Stephen Merchant!” replied the googly-eyed ginger.
“ Of Venice!” quipped Ricky.
“ What are you some kind of comedian?” asked Massal aggressively.
“ Well I am actually!” said Ricky.
“ Idiot!” replied the detective.
“ No that’s him!” said Merchant pointing at Karl.
“ And if you are a Venetian detective….you must be….SHYLOCK HOLMES?” asked the all -powerful Ricky.
“ Any more outbursts from you and I’ll arrest you for obstructing the course of justice!” warned Massal.
“ Look Tom Cruise & Brad Pitt couldn’t shut him at the Golden Globes in Hollywood …what chance have you got!” said Karl.
“Am i reading this statement correctly….Gobbi the rabid dog…gobbled Gobbo the Rialto Hunchback…that sounds like Goobeldegook to me!” said the Policeman.
“ Are you taking the piss….hunchback dwarf….rabid dog…? …that sounds like a bad plot in ‘Extras’ on Sky TV!” replied Massal.
“ So you do know me then !” said Ricky smiling inanely.
“ No !” said Karl realising he had finally for once the opportunity to get one over on his Boss.
“ Ricky here threw Warwick off the bridge in temper!” said Karl.
Ricky looked at Karl with daggers coming from his eyes.
“ You do realise that ‘Dwarf Tossing’ is still illegal in Venice?” questioned Massel.
“ That’s why Warwick didn’t bring his wife on location with him!” responded Ricky trying to laugh it off.
“ Is it a strict liability offence?” asked Karl.
“ Meaning that WHOEVER you are …no matter or not if you are a celebrity you cannot be seen to be above the law in Venetian society?” asked Karl stirring the shit (with a huge pole into the Grand Canal).
“ And who says travel doesn’t broaden the mind!” said Ricky looking at the monster he had created.
“ Yes….!” Replied Massal…“ but sign this autograph for my kid and I’ll let you off!”
A call came through on Massal’s mobile.
He listened intently and then ended the call .
“ Good news Mr Soginist…they have found your wife clinging to a red and white barbers pole 300 yards down in the Lagoon….they have taken her to the Santa Maria Dei Miracola Church to give thanks…the same thing happened in the 15th Century where a man survived after half an hour underwater….the bad news is they haven’t found her false teeth or that Dwarf yet…!” he glanced at Ricky disapprovingly.
Myles put on a happy face as he put his Wife’s Life Insurance Policy back in his pocket grudgingly.
Ten minutes later Massal got a second call.
“ Luckily for you… Mr Gervais your little friend was literally fished out of the Lagoon by a local fisherman who couldn’t decide at first, if he had caught a baby humpback whale or a demon in his net …..it was only when Warwick quoted Shakespeare to them did they believe his story he really was an actor in a Mini Theatre Company!”
“ Ah well ….said Ricky looking pensive from the centre of the Rialto bridge…The Quality of Mercy is not strained eh Massal….” All’s well that ends Well!”.
“ Get that dwarf dried out and let’s get on with the next scene….it’s costing me money!”