Using Rome's deep underground Metro system as much as we did brought another irritation into consciousness to add to the huge list of everyday irritating things: the way that the rubber handrails of escalators never keep up with the steps, so you have to keep repositioning your hand every few seconds. There. now I have reminded you, this will haunt you forever too.
I found a bar close to the hotel which specialised in catering for international youth - very similar in feel to our own Bell Inn here in Bath, but with the facility to pack back packers together on a racking-system in communal dormitories. I went there every night and sat listening to English in a variety of accents, it feeling a little like home from home.
After a while, I became fed up with being surrounded by hedonistic youth - particularly as I was pretty much ignored by the pretties - unlike The Bell, where they fawn over me in respect and admiration.
I also became fed up with being surrounded by white-haired culture-buffs of my own generation, so there was no escaping the conclusion that I was just fed up with being surrounded by anyone, regardless of age.
People have often commented that Rome is just never quiet. There is always an ambulance or police vehicle trying to negotiate unregulated intersections, sounding their identical sirens - in the same way that cicadas are absolutely identical - and the sirens are modelled on Johnny Weissmuller's call as he swung through the trees on a vine. Think Johnny Weissmuller having contracted the same condition as Stephen Hawking, swinging through the trees with the same voice simulator, and you will know what I mean. There. That's another thing I have put into your head.
Bottle collections, overhead aircraft hitting the air-brakes as they approach the nearby airport, more pre-dawn bottle collections (I played a large part in this, for which I take my share of the blame), heated conversations which sound like arguments, ordinary car-horns as cars have heated arguments, music - live or otherwise, the building sites which are everywhere, cutting steel and yet more travertine marble - it never stops, it only goes into lulls.
One night, I found myself remembering a radio show from my childhood - 'In Town Tonight' - and I had not even thought of it since my childhood. You have to be well over 60 and British to remember this program and the introduction: "Once again, the mighty roar of London's traffic comes to a halt (the mighty roar comes to a halt here) as we bring you..." I bet Weave remembers.
It has always been the same, only the noise has changed. There is a photograph of Piccadilly Circus taken in the late 19th century, and the whole area is blocked by horse-drawn, Hackney carriages. In 18th century Bath, they would pay a boy to lay straw over the cobbles outside the house of a dying person, to deaden the noise of cart wheels on the road. Much of Rome is cobbled, and almost every car has a severe rattle on the rear axis, presumably as a result of the cobbles and the holes where they have gone missing - these holes are everywhere.
We got back home, sat in the kitchen at lunchtime and marvelled at the quietness. We temporarily forgot the warning of our taxi driver, that the university students had come back to town and an important rugby match was about to be played out over the weekend...
Two Bellites. Now you know what I am saying.