It has suddenly become unaccountably hot, and today was St Peter and St Paul's day. They are the patron saints of Rome, and so the entire city takes a day off and decamps to the beach. Alas, Peter and Paul are not the patron saints of the commune where I work, so no holiday there. But the day still had an impact, mostly because of the traffic.

It took two-and-a-half times longer to get there through the press of traffic, and having exhausted my self-improvement tape and the lure of the radio I took to gazing idly out of the car window. Every few seconds a scooter, motorbike or moped would zoom annoyingly past. It occurred to me, once the annoyance had subsided, that of the 6 possible combinations of number and gender of riders, one was entirely absent. There were men on their own, and women on their own. There were men riding pillion behind men, women behind women and, overwhelmingly, women behind men. But where were the men comfortable enough to ride behind a woman? Nowhere. Not a one.

I don't know how this will be interpreted, but I confess that I think I would be happy to be driven by a woman on a motorbike or even one of the sofas on wheels that passes for a scooter these days. It hasn't happened yet. And I suppose I might baulk at the offer if one materialized. But right now, and in this morning's jam, it seemed to me a pretty attractive possibility.

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