Remember how I had my hair done in Rome during August? By a young dude with tattoos, who spoke no English? How I was terrified I’d end up with violet-coloured hair? Or no hair? Well, I had to go back again because the sun had pretty much bleached my hair.

I was a bit more confident going back though. The tattooed one smiled at me this time (as opposed to scowling like he did last time). I found out his name is Manolo – I guess this is how you spell it. No word if he’s related to Mr Blahnik. He did the colour too this time, so it’s a bit redder than I’m used to. But hey: the sun is like a laser beam here. Five minutes out in the glare and your hair has turned blonde.

I tell you, Manolo is an artist in the making. You’d think he was whipping up a mousse – the way he primped and fluffed my hair. As you can see from the photos, I have very fine, straight hair. Not much you can do with it really. But he took ages to cut it and ages to dry it. I think he’s probably the best hairdresser I’ve ever had. He doesn’t rush. And whilst he’s cutting, he often stops to stare at his work. A bit like waiting for the soufflé to rise.

I’ve always avoided male hairdressers. The only one I ever had, back in the 1990s, was determined to cut my hair super short and send it dark ruby red.

So much do I like Manolo’s handiwork that I’m going back for one last appointment on the day I leave Rome – October 8th – if for no other reason than to enjoy the head massage he does. Normally, I don’t like head massages. I don’t really like any form of massage. Not keen on people laying their paws on me thanks. But I make an exception for Manolo. He even makes a head massage a work of art with all sorts of coconut smelling lotions and potions. Not to mention the ability to nearly send me to sleep.

This time round, he yapped away in Italian and I managed to understand a bit of it. I’m going to miss Manolo. But there’s talk at work of a second contract in 2012, so maybe I’ll get to experience Manolo’s artistry again.

A few days before having the hair done - the sun had turned me practically blonde.

Manolo works his magic.

It's a bit more carrot-coloured than I'm used to - but with the sun here, it will fade fast no doubt.

Amazing what you can with an iPhone.

I picked the earrings up for Euro 5.00 - will do a blog post on them.

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