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Cat woman

So if you’re hoping this blog is about a fit female in leather trousers with cute cat ears, a selection of bullwhips and perfectly rounded bosoms, you’re on the wrong blog. That’s gotta be disappointing, but I am sure you can find a specialist website for your needs.

No, this blog is about my Saturday spent with my sister doing local charity work supporting at a monthly cat re-homing show for a brilliantly run cat charity.

How it works. Once a month we go along set up tables and chairs and unload a big van of cat stuff. We build about 15 large flat pack cages and then amazing volunteers who temporarily foster stray cats and kittens between re-homing shows, bring them in and put them in the cages so members of the public can come in and hopefully permanently adopt one, giving these fascinating, loving though sometimes passive aggressive animals in fur jackets, a home.

If someone wants to re-home a cat or kitten, before they are allowed to take it home, a trained volunteer follows them back to their home, like a pervert, and checks their home is suitable. If it is, they can return and take the cat or kitten home the same day. See no leather trousered, over rounded breasted female super hero here with steel spring-loaded climbing pitons.

Anyway, there are a few characters (many in their late 80s – good on em) and many unwritten rules. One, is that the lady in the kitchen who sells lunches and teas and coffees who appears not to like cats or people, runs the show. You are not allowed into the kitchen (god help you if you do) and if you want a cheese roll it is purely down to her if you get one. You can tell those who are good at influencing as they come away with a piece of carrot cake.

There’s another lady whose chair I accidentally sat in. It was definitely made apparent to me I needed to get out pronto. I’d love to see her go in the kitchen! I’m not sure how that would end but I’m pretty sure it would involve some flying cheese baps!

Anyway. We had these two gorgeous kittens who came in with their mum and the mum’s mum  All of them were cuddled together. I immediately took to this little black one, cuddling her and forming an instant bond, confirmed by her pawing gently at my face much to my sheer delight. We formed such a relationship, that even though my husband warned me no more animals, it was worth considering getting her and a divorce. He’d pissed me off in the morning and she was chewing on my hair lovingly, so it seemed the best option for all concerned.

Whilst working through the divorce settlement in my mind, or a cheaper option of murder, it happened. The little kitten was chosen. I eye’d up the people who were going to take her, (instantly understanding how a father feels assessing if a boyfriend is good enough) and wiped tears away from my eyes, I thought somewhat subtly.

Not so. The lady going to take the kitten clocked how upset I was and came over and put her arm gently on me and said, ‘it’s OK. If you fostered her you’re going to be upset. I can give you my mobile number and you can come and see her anytime’. ‘Oh no, I didn’t foster her, I only met her an hour ago’, I said. ‘Oh’ she said, visibly stepping back from me and retracting her arm. I was about to take her number too!

After the kitten left, the poor mum cat, still with one kitten, was pacing up and down her cage mewing profusely. She was so upset. I said to my sister, ‘poor thing, she’s missing her kitten. I wonder how long she will be distressed for?’ ‘Not long, don’t you remember our kittens?’ She replied.

What my sister is referring to is the fact she brought two kittens from one litter a few years back and I brought one too (Walnut, aka Mr Nut, height 20cms, weight 3.5 kilos, skills – running like a pantha, likes – cuffing the dog’s beard, dislikes – everything, particularly dog’s and their beards).

A week after taking our kittens home we felt bad that they were separated, so we agreed I’d take Walnut off in his carrier for a day out at my sisters to she his brother and sister. Good chance for some pictures for the family album we mutually agreed.

When I told Tony what we had planned he said, ‘don’t be a twat’, followed by, ‘blah, blah, blah blah, blah’ and more use of the word twat, peppered with something about cats not viewing family in the same way and it being a fucking stupid idea and would just stress the cats out. His rant ended with him saying he was having no part in it, followed by him jumping in the car and driving with me the half hour journey to my sisters, with little Nut in his carrier in the back. Driving along, I said it would be a good day out and good for Walnut’s development, turning the radio up every time he cried.

We got to my sisters, went inside, put Walnut’s carrier on the floor leaving it closed up and before my sister had even flicked the switch on the kettle, there was lots of hissing followed by furious head shaking from Tony.

My response was, ‘it’s alright honey, they are just getting re-acquainted’. With that, I opened the carrier and took the lid off completely. Immediately the two kittens swung in for Nut, swiping, and hissing and lashing out, an angry little team (kettle still not on).

Then, poor Nut took off and flew under the sofa followed by his furious siblings with their razor like sharp claws fully extended. More head shaking from Tony now complimented with disapproving looks and numerous statements like, ‘I knew this would happen. Call yourself an animal lover!’ resulting in me immediately re-evaluating my life.

With my terrified kitten trying to make himself invisible in an Amazon box, I had to admit defeat. I scruffed a petrified Nut and put him in his carrier, leaving after a total visit time of about 10 minutes. No cuppa. Didn’t even get chance to open the Wagon Wheels I’d brought.

Back in the car, the journey home went like this (with me not actually saying a word). ‘You’re a fucking twat, who does that, who takes their cat on a day trip to see their brother and sister’…’meow’…’you have totally freaked him out, listen to him’…’meow’…’he is so distressed you absolute twat’…’meow’. Yer, there was no real change in the conversation it was that on repeat other than one additional comment, ‘oh and stop keep turning the radio up to pretend his not crying’. That poor cat cried all the way home.

So, my sister had a point. This mum probably would forget her kittens by the time she caught her next blue tit.

My thoughts were distracted anyway. I am being trained to be a pervert. To follow people back to their homes to see if they are suitable. And my co-worker (one of these brilliant guys in their 80s), told me we had a job on. This time, while he was looking for me to tell me about our visit, and found me contemplating the closeness of animals to their spouses and telling those not yet reserved the universe would re-align to their way soon, the people we were to follow had already headed off.

That meant one thing. An A-Z apparently. I did say to my co-worker, I can use sat nav. But this brilliant and wonderful guy just said, ‘we don’t use that’, and lay his map out on one of the cafe tables where there was an absence of anyone eating cheese baps (no shit). He told me we needed to be in 9D. Jeez, every argument I’ve ever had over a map came back along with that complete inability to understand the information I was looking at.

I did show as much interest as I could in ‘9D’. He needed some help reading it and I was struggling to see the streets. So with my nose pinched like I was about to jump into a pool, I drew in closer to the map. The nose pinching is because I have a condition where my nose drips like a tap in certain conditions, and I suspected 9D might cause a rush of nasal fluid.

Nose pinched and reviewing the map, I still had no idea where we were heading, especially when our journey spanned two separate pages. I suggested again I use sat nav, and it was met with, ‘don’t believe in it. Always used maps, always will. Never an issue for my generation’. In the end, I just gave up, pretended I knew where I was going as co-pilot and off we went.

On the way to the car, I secretly looked up the address on sat nav, turned the sound down on my phone, and when he said, ‘right, where we off to then?’, I answered, with sat nav directing me in my left hand down the side of the seat and the door, whilst I pretended to follow the map, on my lap, with my right finger. When we arrived he said, ‘see, we don’t need sat nav’. I just smiled, a complete fraud! The return journey and our next job worked the same. With him saying, ‘so you can read maps’.

We got back and after re-homing the majority of the cats, started packing up and sweeping up the cat biscuits, including fat bloated ones soaked in water.

I came home and wondered in the car if tonight would be the night I would get to win tickets on the cruise on Ant and Dec. I’ll put matching socks on just in case we’re surprised on our sofa and placed on their screens. I did send an application last week and when it asked for a video I sent one of Tony dancing to ‘Word up’ some years back with just a hat strategically placed.

When I got home, I thought I’d spent too long with cats, so to balance out the love I took Winston (dog) for a long walk. What a lovely spring day. It was a nice walk until I saw a trail of white feathers. More than just from your average bird, and a trail into the bush, I broke through the brambles, getting my feet and arms scratched to buggery, concerned a swan may be in trouble and in need of assistance. After cuts and scratches from the growing blackberry bushes and other angry bushes, I found someone had just gone nuts it seemed ripping a pillow apart! Who does that. Wtf!

Oh and I started reading some diaries from when I was a kid that I’d found as I sort shit out in preparation for new wardrobes. I sat reading them fascinated. I started with the ones aged 11. It seemed in January 1984 I was quite pissed off. After an argument with my sister, I dipped her toilet brush down the toilet and put it back in the holder and annoyed with my mum I put a half cucumber in her work handbag!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Easyjet or just regret!

This blog picks up from my previous blog where we arrived at Gran Canaria’s airport to fly home from holiday, back to Southend Airport and we’re waiting to board the flight on their hottest day of the year and I am a shit scared flyer.

So boarding didn’t actually happen, not to us anyway, as while we were still waiting to get through the gate those already on the plane were off boarded.

Word quickly spread from the other passengers, not from any ground staff, they had been told to get off due to ‘a technical problem with the plane’.  Just what every nervous flyer wants to hear and for the second time that day I was pleased I had not gone commando (see previous blog) as my bowels needed the extra support of pants as they were also threatening to off board and just as quickly!

Once again, by another passenger, we were advised that they were calling an engineer to fix it. At which point I turned into B. A. Baracus and basically said ‘I ain’t getting on no plane’. I think I might have said ‘f’ing’, before plane.

Our airline, easyjet, continued to make no announcement about what was happening. And we continued to get updates from other passengers. ‘Latest is the engineer will be here in an hour’. ‘It’s a gauge that’s gone’. Er who are you and why are you giving me technical updates which basically amount to the probability of me surviving this goddam flight!

Tony, my husband, asked me if I was ok? ‘Er, no. I’ve basically gotta get on a broken plane that’s broken!’ ‘An engineer has been called in to fix it’. ‘Yer, a bloke that’s probably on the beach somewhere right now, drinking Sangria, dancing to a mariachi band, and pissed off being called in. That makes me feel really good’. ‘It’s ok, he will be experienced’, Tony said just before he started laughing loudly looking out to the plane saying ‘he’s here, he’s just arrived in a golf buggy thing wearing a sombrero’.  ‘Great what’s he gonna do shake his maracas at it!’

Still no announcements, just information via other passengers that veered from, we will be flying at 2am (great, 11 hours in an airport), to, nope we are going tomorrow. There were no easyjet staff. The only guy that was there to represent easyjet told us just that and no more. ‘I’m here to represent easyjet but I am not part of them and have no idea what is happening’. Whatever question you asked, he repeated this.

We sat down for a while in a bank of 4 seats next to two other passengers. My legs facing away from them in a clear, I do not want to engage in polite conversation with you way. Some people can’t pick up on body language, as a desperate attempt was made to engage us in conversation. ‘They are probably checking the wings are still there, they just need a bit of oil on it, they’re getting an elastic band as we speak, that’ll fix it’. Just keep looking at your shoes I think.

But the conversation doesn’t stop there. Immediately everyone starts to share their ‘I was so delayed once stories’. ‘All you can hear is, people talking to their partners saying, ‘do you remember the time we went to Egypt and got delayed, it was terrible’, ‘yer we got delayed coming back from America, you’ve never known anything like it’. God it went on. Everyone with a story, everyone described in infinite detail and everyone thinking they had the far worst experience.  There was a sense of pride that went with the stories.

I felt sorry for a couple excited to be going to Southend for their holiday. Not because of the delay, but because they are going to Southend for their holiday! The delay building a sense of anticipation that it will be worth the wait. Er, it won’t. A bloke is telling them you’ll like it. Yer, if they want to buy a kebab and go to a strip show at any time of the day.

A day out in Southend one afternoon is where Tony and I understood the definition of broken Britain. We’ve known each other since we were 13 and our birthdays are a day apart, so it is tradition for us to go to Southend and basically get smashed.

A bit drunk one birthday, we went into a bar. A woman in a short, orange dress came up to Tony and while I went for a wee (just a short one mind, no lipstick application or anything), she offered him sex. This was unfortunate as he had just ordered two tuna baguettes. So unable to leave and not wanting the sex, we took them outside and sat at the tables.

That’s when we clocked the strip show sign. Underneath advertising a list of snacks, it said the show started at 1pm. It was bizarre, people were sitting around eating cockles and winkles waiting for this. There was a bloke with his shirt off, all red, throwing his baby up in the air with the sign just behind him. With some careful positioning we caught a snap, while Tony pretended to snap me eating my baguette. But sure, maybe this couple stuck in the airport waiting to visit Southend will like it!

Anyway, having now been stuck in the airport for hours, we went to get some wine in the bar. Something got lost in translation (in a good way) when I asked for two large wines (see the picture). Quite happy to keep going to the bar to get wine in that quantity (already feeling quite drunk), I was disappointed to see the shutters go down. And looking around, I realised everything was shutting.  And not only that, there were only two food places left open and with sandwiches now at a premium, and still no flight update, people were starting to shove and push for a cheese toastie.

We then decided we’d just get wine from duty free and get hammered. So off I went. I grabbed a bag of sweets to replace the small child’s shoe that was eaten by our dog while he was looked after by his foster family and spent about 20 minutes locating the only bottle of wine with a screw top. I found a couple of shot glasses with bull fighters on (my principles had long gone) and made my way to the till. At which point, I had no boarding pass and had to leave my purchases there and walk the 20 miles back to the gate to get it.

On the way back to the gate, I clearly had time to reflect on our situation and the fact the latest rumour was we’d fly tomorrow but with no real updates or announcements or wine in bull fighting glasses, I wanted answers.

So, I went up to the representative, basically a man with a badge saying happy to help but whose words were less congruent, when he kept saying, ‘I can’t help’ and while everyone was patiently queuing for a voucher for a meal, I turned into an idiot. I embarrassed myself by going up to the unhelpful guy and telling him that I spoke on behalf of all the passengers (no election took place), and we wanted hotels for the night as it was against our human rights to sleep in an airport (twat).

Once again he said he couldn’t help. ‘Well you’re not worthy of that badge’ I told him. This strong and adult argument was sure to win him over and get us hotels. There is no doubt the seriousness of my argument was undermined when I got my note book out which had been chewed to shit by my puppy, I slapped it on his podium saying I was going to write down everything he said. Why, no idea. Just cheese toastie deprivation I guess which had impacted my mental functioning hence not thinking to actually just live stream!

Not only was I speaking for all the passengers (idiot), I was walking around with copies of ‘what happens if my flight is delayed’? Leaflets I found randomly strewn in an area of the airport. No doubt left by some other stranded easyjet passengers whose skeletons I’d find later.

I read out paragraph 2 repeatedly, (with excessive finger pointing I might add) which clearly stated we were ‘welcome to a hotel’. Not just entitled, but ‘welcome’, as I kept emphasising to this man. The queue turned into the House of Commons with lots of jeering, ‘yer’, though no-one called anyone a ‘pleb’ or fell asleep as far as I know.

Then, people started coming up to me and asking me questions. ‘I’m trying to get back to my brother’s wedding in Oz, what do I do’? ‘How do we use the food vouchers’? ‘Are we getting hotels’? I had become the people’s voice.

After about an hour of this and being told to ring the easyjet centre in the UK (helpful when it’s closed), and then speaking to the easyjet rep in Spain only for her to put the phone down on me (21:03 that went in the book for me to do absolutely nothing with later), we had a discussion in the queue about our strategy. The basis of the strategy was me saying, ‘we’ll get it sorted’, when a better strategy would have been to just shut up!

Some people had emails now from easyjet telling them accommodation was being booked for us and yet the Live Update board on the easyjet website basically said, ‘you’re on your own, fuck off. Find your own accommodation’.

It seemed there was nothing available on the island. At which point, I did what any self-respecting leader does. I sorted myself out. I arranged for us to go back to our apartment as it was empty tonight. It was only 1 bed and we did make some half arsed offers for people to stay, but only after first mentioning it was small, cramped, 1 bed but they were welcome to join us if they wanted to sleep on the tiled balcony. Everyone declined but in doing so we felt it was agreed we should go.

But how to get out of the airport? Well, this helpful security guy took us back out through security. Of course it wasn’t embarrassing to see the security lady at her station laugh at me as we went by, as they switched off the equipment and finished their shift. If you didn’t read yesterday’s blog, I basically flashed her my pants in some confused exchange about swabbing me and my stuff.

If you have every tried getting a cab at an airport that’s closed it’s not easy. Though eventually we did find one. Once back at our hotel, I enjoyed getting all the jokey status updates on Facebook about our ordeal! Thanks friends J

I didn’t want to go to work tomorrow, who does at the end of holiday, I didn’t mean like this! At least we have somewhere to stay and our flight is confirmed for 10:15am tomorrow and I found a beer in the fridge that we left for the maid. Yer, she’s not getting it. Oh and after all week of moaning there weren’t enough towels I opened a draw and found a shit load and a spare toilet roll so we didn’t have to ration out square by square yesterday being too tight to buy a 1 euro pack and leave the majority behind!

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The Russian revolution man

Time to come home from Gran Canaria back to Essex. Last day of holiday is like a year’s worth of Sunday nights and New Year’s Eves all at once, when you don’t want to go back to work and think of everything else you’d rather do with your life with vague promises of making some changes.

I moan about going home and say, ‘the only thing there is to look forward to now is the Russian revolution on the history channel in full colour and high definition’. My husband Tony asks, ‘you looking forward to that then?’ ‘Nope, that’s kind of my point’.

Still at least our flight isn’t until 5pm and our cab to the airport is not until 3pm, or at least we hope, given some basic arrangements with the taxi company about them meeting us outside ‘the shop’ at a time I think we both understood to be the same.

It is the only nice day we’ve had since we have been here. Oh yer, everyone is on the beach today. Everyone is on the sun beds and splashing in the sea. Everyone is getting tanned and not shivering their tits off as we have all week.

After spending time sulking about going home and then taking snaps of basically everything, we went off for a civilised lunch and some Sangria, before a leisurely stroll back to the apartment to get our stuff and head to ‘the shop’ to meet the cab. Calm, relaxed, sunglasses on.

Of course, there was no cab there. And for 15 minutes we were sure one wouldn’t arrive until a car pulled up, which I can only describe as something between a stretched limousine and a hurse. It wasn’t in good condition. Every time we accelerated it sounded like a low inbound helicopter coming into land. Tony said, ‘Jeez, I’ve not been in a car this screwed since the Gambia’.  Hard to hear him as we accelerate again.

The traffic was horrendous getting to the airport. The bloke tells us it’s the hottest day of the year so far (of course it is, we’re going home) and everyone is off to the beach. Gotta love that, it’s 3:30pm and people at work are like, ‘yer, about the conference call, I’m off to the beach’.

We got to the check in and prided ourselves on being the first to check into our flight. ‘This is the way to travel’, we said, exchanging proud glances, looking forward to a bit of civilised duty free shopping and a beer before hopping on our flight, though I am already transitioning into a nervous flyer quicker than Michael J Fox becoming a werewolf in Teen Wolf.

Off to airport security. It’s a mystery to me how flying from the UK its belts off, boots off and liquids in plastic bags. Over here none of this happens and I wonder whether they are taking this seriously or just thinking of getting to the beach on this the hottest day of the year.

There does appear to be an adequate level of attention as my stuff is pulled over. There was the initial conversation of, ‘have you got liquids in this bag’? ‘No’, followed by the security guy pulling out a large bottle of water, shaking his head and then putting it in the bin. Then he pointed at a security woman and I deciphered that his miserable grunts were informing me to go over to her. Yep definitely the case as this non-smiling, hard faced woman was calling me over with her finger.

Mrs Happy then started swabbing basically everything I owned. Inside my case, bag, you name it, it got swabbed. She pointed at my stomach and said some things that made me feel tense. She definitely wasn’t asking if I had a nice holiday and wishing me a pleasant flight!

She pointed at my stomach again. At which point I started lifting my dress up thinking she wanted to swab my stomach, like they do when you go into hospital thinking, I’m glad I didn’t go commando today. This was one of two options left to me when I discovered last night I was a pair of pants down. The other option, which I took, was to wash a pair in a dishwasher tablet. They are clean but crunchy.

With my full briefs on partial display to this lady, she frantically set about pulling my dress down for me, saying ‘no, no, no, no’. And then, she burst into hysterics. Even with the basic exchange between us, I knew she was saying, ‘what are you doing you twat’? She swabbed my tummy through my dress, laughing. She patted me on the arm, laughing. And she told the miserable grunter, laughing. They were both in hysterics. ‘Yes, funny, we laugh’, I said in Pigeon English in a way to bring us together, though my pants had just done that.

I look at Tony and he is shaking his head. ‘What have you just done? Did you actually just lift your dress up to that woman’? ‘Yes’, I said, looking back to see the woman bent over, still laughing. ‘Why the hell did you do that for god’s sake’? ‘Because I thought she wanted to swab my tummy’. ‘When have you ever known them do that at the airport’?

He had a point but in my defence, she just kept pointing at my stomach aggressively and I’ve taken 4 anti-mental flyer tablets (only supposed to take 2) and had a shit load of Sangria and I’m stressed as hell about flying and it all happened quickly.

‘Oh well, she was a miserable cow when we arrived. Now look at her. I’m just spreading the love’, I say. I think I’ll be spreading the love for a while judging by how much she is continuing to laugh, she’ll be telling co-workers for years, ‘I had a woman lift up her dress once’. Oh god, now she’s  actually doing the motion of lifting up a dress to other co-workers now also laughing. Bastards.

So, my bag not only does not stand up and has fallen 118 times in the last 10 minutes (obviously I exaggerate to make the point), and the handle does not fold down, but both wheels have now jammed and are not turning. My case is basically just using them as skis. This prompts me to ask it if it’s ‘f’ing kidding me?’ And in an attempt to get one up on the bag, I turn it over and drag it on its stomach, repeatedly calling it a piece of crap and kicking it up the arse.

Our flight is called. As we walk to the gate, I remember why I fell out with this bag before. Coming back on a flight previously, I lost my boarding pass between entering the gate and the plane. Every single person on that flight went round me while I frantically searched my bags. They stepped over my case and its permanently extended handle, as it had naturally fallen over upon immediately coming to a stand. I eventually found the boarding card bastard nestled into the pages of my book (still not read).

I was the last person onto the aircraft that day. Everyone was seated and looking at me. Stressed, nervous about the flight and the wheels on the case rolling and stopping in an ad-hoc  fashion, I kicked it along the gang way. The stewardess telling me to put my bag up the front as there was no more space above my seat at the back. Her offers of assistance ignored, I lifted the case/piece of crap up and in doing so, in one complete action, the handle forced its way up my floating shirt and as I lifted it into the overhead locker, it took my top up and flashed my lacy bra and a bit of nipple to the entire flight.

There exposed, I saw in slow motion every face on that flight looking at my chest. Tony just staring at me further along the plane with a look of embarrassment and disappointment which I’d like to never see again.

We are now boarding. I have my boarding pass, my dress is in its rightful place, I haven’t flashed anyone but I have transitioned into nervous flyer. We will be on our way shortly back to London Southend (er, it’s just Southend). Soon back to reality. Insert sad emoji here.

Ps, the picture is of our bags that just don’t stand!

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Little sausage

Just landed in Gran Canaria, we go through airport security, or a place where a bored guy just waves us through, while I am using my bag to cut off people who don’t appear to understand the concept of queues. How very British.

We have a cab waiting, and meet the guy. He introduces himself as Jo, not very Spanish I think, and I say my name, to which he immediately responds, ‘argh, you’re a woman’, with genuine surprise. There’s lots of laughing and awkward head nodding. Then he shows us to the cab.

We get in the car and he puts our bags in the boot. It gives me chance to ask Tony, ‘why did he confirm I was a woman’? ‘I don’t know, it shocked him maybe’, ‘Yer that’s not helping’.

Jo comes and gets in the car too and for the first time I actually hear where we are going. Just before you go on holiday people always ask, ‘where are you going’? I can answer as I always know the country, but then they ask, ‘where abouts’? To which my standard reply for all holidays is, ‘not far from the airport’. They must think I like planes. Then its, ‘are you staying in the North or South’? I just pick one. Then its ‘what’s the weather like’? Say a number. The latter, I should have looked into as I am already freezing in my shorts.

We get to the general area of where we will be staying and Jo tells us to stay in the cab and relax while he jumps out to helpfully locate our actual apartment. ‘What’s he want’? I ask suspiciously. He goes down one road and comes back, then down another and comes back, down another and comes back now shaking his head. Tony farts. ‘Great, the poor guy is out there looking for our apartment and you’re in his cab farting. I don’t think he meant relax that much’. Tony’s defence, ‘everyone farts in cabs’, like that’s an inherent virtue of human nature.

Eventually, Jo’s found our apartment. He gets our bags out, tries to stand them up and forces the handle up on mine. Good to see he is having the same issues. Then we start the process of paying. I tip, not knowing whether I have just giving him more money than he will have seen in a life time or have deeply offended him.

He walks us round to the apartment wheeling our cases for us saying, ‘you relax’. The lady who is due to meet us at our apartments isn’t there. Tony calls her.  No answer. ‘OMG we’ve been scammed’, you immediately think. Yer that doesn’t go away when he tries another 4,5,6 times with the same result! Eventually he gets through and she says she will be 8 minutes (very precise). Jo laughs at the short time frame we are given and says, ‘haha, Spanish time she will be at least an hour or maybe here tomorrow’.

Jo says he will wait with us for the lady to turn up. I repeat internally, what’s he want and did I just pay his mortgage off with that tip to warrant this interest? He convinces us he will look after our stuff and that we should go and have a beer. Off we go. Not used to a friendly cabbie, we laugh, somewhat nervously at how he is probably riffling our bags or just plain running of with them.

1 hour later, the lady arrives. We say goodbye to Jo and he writes his name and number down so we can get him to take us to the airport when we go back. That’s when we learn his actual name is Panchos. He is lovely and the lady who meets us is lovely. Turns out the island is full of just really nice people, just intent on us having a nice holiday (the two we met anyway)!

Once inside the lady shows us a map and points out all the interesting places to go. We hope our faces politely say can we just skip this part. We are sure your old town is very lovely but we are merely here to drink Sangria.

After she goes I ask Tony if it’s safe to drink from the taps. ‘It’s not 1987 honey’.

We go out to have a nice meal. We sit down and 14 days later the waiter comes to take our drinks order. As he walks off Tony says, ‘jeez what a dream boat’. I laugh my head off. ‘Dream boat, I am a woman and I have never found reason to use that term’. He’s right though, so we just keep ordering loads of tapas just so we can spend time with him and we fight over who will actually place the order. When Tony says, ‘well take one of the small sausages’ please, internally I am dying and want to say, ‘actually, we will take any size sausage, either of us, what ever size sausage you have, will be great. We’ll take one for the team’.

The rest of the meal is spent with me vaguely listening to our conversation while following Dreamboat’s arse around watching like a complete pervert as it bends and straightens gorgeously as he wipes tables. I just want to reach out and stroke it. You have to understand, Tony is my soulmate and my best friend and we just are laughing at this and my interest in him very light-hearted.

Then, Tony spots a man coming along to the tables selling Oakleys, followed immediately behind by a bloke selling roses. ‘They better not come here, I’m not interested’, he says. The Oakley bloke passes by and doesn’t stop, the rose guy passes by and doesn’t stop. ‘Why didn’t they stop’? He asks as suprised as Jo/Panchos learning I was a woman. ‘I dunno, maybe your face telling them not to. You didn’t want them to anyway’. ‘I know, it’s nice to be asked though’. ‘What so you can tell them no’. ‘They’ll probably burn your retinas anyway’. ‘Yer, just like mine’, I say pointing to the hole in my sunglasses. We laugh.

I tell Tony the worst place I visited for people selling stuff was Barbados. When we arrived I was like, I don’t think that’s right that they move people selling Aloe Vera plants on, it’s their livelihood. Then the next day I was like, right, can you take this seller down and put his coconuts up his ass.

Tony says, ‘this place is like Byron Bay’. That’s were we spent our honey moon. It’s in Australia and is a place with a great energy and anything goes. People dress in all sorts of get ups from suits to hippy shit. Here there are people going by in puffer jackets and scarves, shorts, then some fancy heals go by and sparkly tops and then there was the lady in the red skirt (tutu like) and gold lycra top. Me, I’m in the shorts and full on summer get up. I’m freezing but I have no jumpers or jeans, nothing other than 100% cotton dresses. I want to be the lady that goes by in jeans a jumper and knee high boots.

Tony observes that everyone here is either a runner or a smoker. That’s true, loads of runners and loads of smokers. That prompts a game of ‘runner or smoker’, to everyone going by.

We talk about how, today I’d sent a message to Winston (dog’s) wonderful holiday family to tell them he eats shoes, as we forgot to tell them. As if to prove it I sent a picture of the shoes featured earlier in my blog. I was mortified that this didn’t reach them in time and to basically hear back that yes, they know with a picture of a small child’s eaten shoe. So, not knowing the size, we discuss ideas on what gift we can give in exchange for the shoe. The numerous pen knifes, lighters and the eye burning Oakleys just don’t seem right. Nor does the bikini glad ornament with Gran Canaria splayed across the breasts.

At the end of the meal we move the tip around on the table, both wanting to look like we were the one who left it in case he decides to give us a bit of extra sausage. The coins move around like we’re playing chess.

We walk home and I say ‘Ola’ to the dogs we pass but a bit like a Gentlemen’s Club, I have a no touching rule our of respect for Winston. Though he has shown no respect having pinched a crying small kids shoe. The ‘no touching rule’, has nothing to do with the time I surprised a dog with my ‘ola’ in Mexico that basically wanted to chew my face off.

 

Lone Charlie

This blog picks up as from when we arrived at the airport to fly to Gran Canaria.

The first thing I notice getting off the train and walking into Southend Airport is the Air Traffic Control tower. You can see people in it, that’s how small the airport is and how close you are to it. ‘I’m not sure there’s enough people in there for my liking’, I say, the nervous flyer kicking in. ‘Honey, they don’t just use their eyes, they’ve got like radar, they don’t need loads of people. Besides, you’ve spent your whole career streamlining the numbers of people doing a job’. ‘Yes and if I was rating them on efficiency I’d be happy, but I am rating them on my safety and I’m not’!

We get inside the airport and I start to walk towards the check in desks. ‘No we don’t need to check in, we did it online’, Tony informs me. ‘Oh. It’s amazing just how much of my life happens without me actually knowing’, I say at the same point I’m actually thinking, have we got any Euros?

We head towards the departure lounge. ‘Do you know it only took me 16 minutes to pack my case’? I say proudly. ‘Yer, because you spent most of your time filling up water bowls for the cats’. I laugh out loud, like literally lol.

We get to security and unload our liquids into the clear plastic bags. I fill up three. ‘Jeez, how much have you got? You don’t need your bar of soap in there or your makeup brush with powder in it. Take them out’. ‘No, you do, it’s liquid’. ‘What liquid in solid form…you’ve got half your bloody suitcase in them’. ‘Yer, well my suitcase is like a fine wine. It matures over time. I add shit to it each time I travel’. In the queue there are three separate double takes from people looking at the bags I am struggling to hold, each one spewing it’s contents out like its vomiting. One of the double takers is a woman in security, already eyeing me up. Still, I am happy at her level of diligence.

There’s a constant VT with a voice over playing saying, ‘in order to enjoy your security experience, please take your shoes off, your belt, blah blah blah’. I laugh, ‘in order to enjoy your security experience. It’s hardly a red letter day. Can you imagine. Merry Christmas honey, I got you a security experience at Southend airport’. ‘Ridiculous’, Tony agrees. ‘Like we will be remembering this for some time to come and saying throughout the rest of our life…do you remember the time we went to security at Southend airport. It was such a great experience’. We laugh. ‘What’s so funny is look, no-one is actually listening to the VT, they are all wearing belts and boots and being told to take them off and holding the queue up’, I joke.

We go through security and the security woman who’d been eyeing up my bags asks why I have so many. I neglect to tell her it’s because my bag is a fine wine. ‘Is this all yours’? ‘Yes’. ‘Ok. That’s quite a lot and the bags must shut and you don’t need your soap and makeup brush in there’. Tony was right on both counts, doh! I’ve now become that annoying person in the queue holding everyone up. ‘Are you travelling alone’? ‘No, I’m with my husband’. ‘Ok, it should be fine on this occasion. Just take the lid off the toothpaste so the bag can shut’. That frigging toothpaste lid!

Once through security, we go past the duty free area. A lady in a far too fancy neckerchief stops and asks if we want to try different flavour vodkas. Of course we do, der. There’s 4. We keep her talking and entertained and get to try all four. Even though I have no taste. I don’t tell her that though because I don’t want to be judged for just wanting to drink free shots of vodka.

We sit down and have a coffee. Tony moans, ‘it tastes like shit. Did they pour it from a flask’? We get chatting, you know, just about stuff. ‘Have you ever heard of Lone Charlie honey’? I ask. ‘No, whose that’? ‘Well I think his name is Lone Charlie. He was the last person to kill using a bow and arrow on the battle field’. ‘And when was this’? ‘First world war I think. Apparently he didn’t agree with guns’. ‘No, but he was ok killing people’. ‘Apparently so’. ‘Well I wouldn’t have thought it was an effective form of fight against machine guns’. ‘No, me neither. He worked that out though because he pulled out a knife and slit the throats of loads of Germans’. ‘Right, thanks for enriching my life pre-holiday experience with that’. ‘Your holiday experience was already enriched going through airport security remember…remember that time we went through airport security’, I joke. ‘Anyway, what made you think of this Lone Charlie bloke’? ‘Dunno, just interesting I spose’.

‘I wonder whether they will extend this airport’? I enquire. ‘Dunno, they’ve already thrown the vicar out of his church over there’, Tony tells me pointing. ‘Have they’? ‘Nah, I’m just kidding, but his sermons are interesting now I bet especially his weddings and funerals…dearly beloved we are gathered here today’, he says in a shouting way, then making the sound of a loud low flying aircraft. I piss myself.

Southend airport is the equivalent of having all your family over at Christmas. It’s a bit crowded and there’s not enough seats. But it is close by and I like it. Not many flights take off from there.

Our flight gets called and we’re off. ‘Are we in the right queue honey’? I ask. ‘Well there’s 4 gates and one flight being announced, what do you think’?

Tomorrow my blog will pick up from the actual flight itself. Complete with accounts of romantically blowing cotton trousers and trashed sunglasses.