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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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Shit or strawberries

Holiday fun in Gran Canaria continues…woke up on the sofa in my swimming costume with vague memories of Tony snoring in the night and randomly grabbing my costume from the balcony not thinking it was right to lay unclothed on another person’s sofa. I woke up with one of the boob pads under my pit.

Our morning greeting went like this, ‘why are you in your costume’? ‘You were snoring’. ‘Doesn’t answer my question’.

We get dressed and go to book another massage. We were going to book to go to the Fish Spa to have our feet nibbled but Tony said let’s save money and just use the ped egg.

As we walk, Tony reckons his cheap shorts are so hot his sperm count is lowering with every step.

We had a massage, 2.5 hours. I had the same little bloke as a few days ago and I watched as his feet slayed out trying to massage me like he was pushing a car up hill. At the end of it, this time it felt like there were warm pickles pressed into my eyes and head. I preferred being bashed on the forehead with his balls.

When you are massaged that long basically it opens a direct line to god. You become so chilled. I joke. ‘I spoke to God Tony’. ‘Did you, want did he say’? ‘Open an espadrille shop and never leave this island’.

We were told to take it easy, to drink lots of water and chill. I plan to go back, do some diaphragmatic breathing and meditate. Though actually back at the apartment, I ate crisps. Apparently, ‘a lot of crisps’. The walk back was hard, couldn’t keep my flip flops on with all that patchouli oil. They stuck to my feet so not a lot of flop going on.

After a siesta we go out for beer. ‘Honey, incoming, you’re 12 o’clock’, I say to Tony as more street performers come over for money. ‘Is it alright to say we paid them yesterday’? He says. ‘Just avoid eye contact, look at your shoes or phone now’, I tell him.

‘No’, I say assertively, waving off a lady approaching us from the front, who unfortunately is the waitress and looks somewhat annoyed/bewildered.

It’s cold. I say, ‘that’s it, I am bloody freezing, I’m going to have to get a jumper. I’m going to the shop’. Once there, I have to think long and hard about just how cold I am and how much I need the jumper, when the only one suitable is a zip up hoodie that says ‘me baby’. I decide I’ll risk a further bout of pneumonia. I head back to our table.

‘Did you get a jumper’. ‘No, I could only find one that said, me baby’. ‘Jeez, how cold would you need to be before wearing that’. ‘Exactly’.

Someone else comes over and hangs about. ‘Have they gone’? Tony asks speaking to his phone. ‘No, they are still in the area where they could claim potential payment’, I say from my vantage point looking at my sandals.

I moan, ‘oh bloody hell, now there’s an old guy coming over selling stuff…I’m about to feel like I’ve pushed a baby bird out of it’s nest when I say no…and look he’s followed by that old skinny guy in flairs. I’m gonna have to give him something he’s been walking since 1973’. ‘He’s going to think those TV screens are the devils work’. ‘Brilliant, now there’s someone with a crutch followed by someone in a mobility scooter, oh no, his reversing our way. Let’s get the bill’.

Yer, getting the bill is never quick here. Basically, you need to grab someone’s throat and shake them to get it, or ask them for the menu, your drinks, an ash tray, your food (inc desserts) and the bill all at once if you want it in a timely fashion.

We are both trying to make contact with the waitress non too subtle, basically standing up and doing full body twists looking for her. I’m starting to mentally answer the question Tony had about how cold would you need to be before buying the ‘me baby’ hoodie. It’s about now.

Still waiting for our bill. Tony asks, ‘you made eye contact yet’? ‘No, you’. ‘No, I thought you had’. ‘Why’s it my responsibility’? ‘It’s not’. ‘Right well get eye contacting’. ‘With whom, there is no-one here. There’s 5 members of staff but they’ve all gone. I’d bloody sack the lot’.

‘Quick, get the bill’, Tony says holding his breath. ‘What’s the matter’? ‘Someone is pumping raw sewage and it smells like rancid fish tank when your fish are dead’. I have no sense of smell so I can’t smell it. ‘What like when you’ve left them a few days and don’t know they’re dead’. ‘Er no, you don’t do that’. ‘Well I did I had a lot of responsibilities as a kid’. ‘I don’t need to know about that now, I need to get away from the smell of shit. It’s like I have my nose stuck on a cow’s arse’.

I am in hysterics. Eventually the waitress comes over and says, ‘do you want a coffee’? ‘Do we want a coffee…er, no I think we are ok thanks. It’s been a lovely meal, great, thank you. Muchas Gracias. Enjoy your day’, Tony says paying. ‘I love it, you have been moaning about her all that time and then you are so polite’. ‘What am I supposed to say, no I don’t want coffee it stinks of shit here’!

We go to the shops and I have a fit of giggles about the shit which Tony is still moaning about. I am literally crying at the veg. My laughter reaches uncontrollable levels when they play the Spanish teletubbies, immediately followed by Bryan Adams, everything I do. I am literally wiping tears away from my face, saying, ‘what self respecting DJ does that’. ‘Shut up, stop laughing, everyone is looking at us’, I’m reprimanded.

We go to the shop that sells two things. Sweets or fags, which we just find hilarious. Kinder egg or 20 Marlboro?

We walk home and Tony’s sandal starts making a fart noise. It must be from our oily feet. I find this a lot more hilarious than it actually needs to be.

We get in the lift. ‘Jeez, how much perfume did that woman who just got out have on. It smells like strawberries. It’s so strong. Great, you go from shit to strawberries in 60 seconds. It’s giving me a headache’. I am literally crying.

We go out to sit on the veranda. The second I sit on my wicker chair, the seat makes a straining nose before separating from the wicker back as the two back legs buckle in. ‘Jeez, you’ve just broken the chair you fat cow’. ‘Well you broke the coffee machine you skinny bastard’. Once again, I am just dying as I get a new chair. ‘Can we talk about politics or something I am about to have an asthma attack laughing’!

‘Are you having a nice time, you haven’t said you are’? I ask wiping tears from my face. ‘Don’t be so needy’, is the response.

Tony starts reading out one of those survey things called, 1’2 things your man does to show he loves you’. ‘Number 1, he loves you showing affection’, pissing myself I say, ‘er, you tell me I’m needy’. He continues, ‘number 2, he holds your hand for no reason’. ‘No, you only hold it coz you need help walking’! ‘Brilliant. Screw this, let’s have dinner’. We make dinner. The picture shows the scene we cook in. Excited I use the only function I have on my Smart watch to time the spaghetti only to find the symbol that looks like an alarm is actually just the volume button for when your phone rings!

We watch TV stretched out on the sofa. I put my pillow on his buttocks saying, ‘they’re the best buttocks on the island’, biting one. ‘Owe’. ‘That didn’t hurt, it was all pocket’.

I fell asleep in those bad boys watching a film that went on far too long. Basically, there were some bad men on horses, looking for other bad men not on horses. Some prostitutes were involved. Some money was involved. I kept waking up and thinking, jeez it’s still on!

At the end of the movie I say, ‘that was a long film wasn’t it’. ‘Er, most people can watch a two hour film. It was only long because you kept asking every 2 minutes how long it had left and stop farting’. ‘I’m not, it’s my feet on the sofa look’. ‘It’s your bleeding clowns feet’.

I get up sulking. ‘What’s it doing’? ‘I’m clearing these pepper seeds off the kitchen surface so we can have a coffee in the morning’. ‘You mean so I can make you a coffee in the morning’. ‘Er, I’ll be sleeping there (points to bed), so if you’re so inclined you want to make a coffee in the morning that’s up to you (shit, I hope he makes me a coffee in the morning)!

We go to bed. I make it quite well known I am still annoyed with him by swishing my hair and reluctantly offering up my lips for a kiss. ‘It’s annoyed ain’t it’ (hah, it worked). ‘Nope, I’m not’ (so am).

I turn over to switch off the light saying a short, ‘night’, before, I switch the main lights on by mistake, then off again, then on, ‘bloody hell’, he moans, the wardrobe lights come on, then Spanish music starts blaring out (oh it seems that can be played out on the veranda too). ‘What the hell are you doing’? ‘I’m having a personal Spanish disco in bed, what do you think I am doing, I am trying to switch the lights off…you wouldn’t have any light in your life if it weren’t for me’. ‘Is this some profound shit or are you still talking about the lights’? ‘Just go to sleep’, I say. ‘You go to sleep’, he replies. ‘I can’t sleep because you keep talking’. ‘Well I can’t sleep because you keep flashing the bloody lights’.

I eventually get the lights off and shove my ear plugs in so far I think they’re in Tenerife! I know within half an hour I’ll be in my swimming costume again on the sofa with his bloody snoring!

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The wrong trousers

I wake up feeling like my mouth was hijacked in the night and force fed kebabs. My mind immediately connects the following thoughts. Damn those little sausages… Hhhmmm dreamboat. The waiter with those jeans that had no belt and they just perfectly hugged him.
We get up. Only temporarily you understand, to take in the view of the beach from our ample terrace. ‘Is that Dreamboat in the restaurant down there’? I ask Tony with an inappropriate level of excitement in my voice. ‘Right, get in off the blinking balcony, you’re not allowed out here again’.
Tony gets up and makes a coffee asking, ‘you on sugar today or what’? ‘Yes please…but can you wet the spoon first and then dip it in the sugar, I just have the few granules on the spoon’. ‘Too late…too long interval after yes… anyway, why can’t you drink coffee like a normal person and why do you change the way you have it every day’. ‘Gotta keep a relationship fresh’.
Just chilling lazily drinking our coffee in bed. We watch the news and listen to two stories. One on how the police have downgraded the priority of domestic violence and another on how camping in Scotland is to be made illegal.
I comment, ‘so they’ve downgraded domestic violence but upgraded the importance of camping in Scotland, brilliant’. Tony responds pretending to be on a radio… ‘Yer can we get an APB out on a camper. He’s eating a sausage. Repeat he’s eating a sausage’. Hhhmmm dreamboat and his sausage. He continues, ‘hilarious, there’s now a news article on how far you can drop a golf ball. There’s people dying in the world and all we’re interested in is how far you can drop a golf ball’. ‘Just out of interest, how far can you drop a golf ball’?
We talk about one of our friends who also has MS and how she is also getting a FES but may have to pay for it. A FES is a type of shoe that sends electrical pulses that can help a person who can’t walk very well walk better. There’s three types from basic to more advanced. We have an appointment next month for Tony to get fitted for one on the NHS (UK free health service).
We get talking about this. Tony cracks me up, ‘you can bet I get the basic shoe on the NHS’…immediately making the sound of a moving piston. ‘Yer, you’ll be like Robocop’. ‘I’ll be like Wallace in the wrong trousers. I’ll be like hitting the walls and my legs will still be going’. I get up and start moving my legs like I’m in Wallace’s wrong trousers complete with sound effects saying, ‘this will be us walking down the street with me shouting wait for me Tony and you saying I can’t. I’ve got the wrong trousers…Winston even looks like Gromit’.
My turn to make coffee. Great I get to spoon dip the sugar. Tony comes into the kitchen. ‘What the heck. Why’s the kitchen soaked’? ‘Because I can’t quite get the taps right yet’. ‘There’s no quite about it! You can’t get them to work at all. Period. I wanted to make toast’. ‘That’s alright I’ll just dry the sides down’. ‘You’ll be better off using the mop. It’s like the frigging pipes have leaked in here’.
Someone in the apartment next door has a piano. They’re playing it and they’re good. It’s like having a concert pianist next door. It adds a dramatic feel to being in the shower but it’s very melancholy by the time I am cleaning my teeth and I’m near depression when it’s time for toast.
Tony asks, ‘where do you wanna go for lunch’? ‘To be honest, I’d be quite happy to go where we went last night’. ‘Yer I bet you bleeding would’.
A lady from a learning disability charity calls me. I am doing some volunteer work with them but she doesn’t know I’m away. My phone is turned down but my smart watch starts ringing. ‘What do I do honey’? In panic I answer the phone and talk into the watch together. Tony is absolutely beside himself with laughter and I don’t quite get why. He’s saying,’ speak into your phone you twat’, while I am still talking to my watch and phone, and I’m swatting him away with my hands while he starts taking pictures of me, which makes me wave my hands even more furiously at him.
The call ends or at least the caller says goodbye but I go from phone to watch not knowing what to do to end the call my end. Tony is still pissing himself saying, ‘you’re like Dick Tracey’. ‘Ssshh’, I say quietly, ‘she might be able to hear’. Tony is in tears.
I moan,’I don’t think I want this watch it’s shit. It can’t take calls, it can’t do email, it’s shit ugly, and it needs to charge for 24 hours just so I can tell the time once or twice a day. And look the clock face doesn’t even stay permanently lit up. I have to switch it on every bloody time I want to see the time. No casual clock watching and oh is that the time, must dash, any more. Oh no, I’ve got to switch it on, wait for it to do it’s thing and clumsily check it and then make excuses and leave. Seamless’.
Tony is in hysterics at this watch drama and laughs, ‘well its got a calculator and an alarm’. ‘Great. So does my phone. Though they’ll come in handy when I need to add up just how much electricity it takes to tell me the blinking time and when I’m timing the frigging spaghetti later. That’s it. I’m getting a new one on the flight home’. ‘No you aint. You get one every time we go abroad’. ‘Er, we haven’t been away on a holiday abroad for 2 years. Our last successful holiday was when we went to Great Yarmouth’!’ Yer and look what happened there’. ‘That’s got nothing to do with me getting a watch that I didn’t get’. ‘Alright Dick Tracey.’ ‘Get lost’.
What actually happened in Yarmouth was we were out walking Winston late and pissed when I saw a cat that had been run over and was bleeding. I took Tony and Winston home and tried to locate it. There was a bunch of drunken youths (this is a shit end of town) and I asked them to help. They laughed and told me to fuck off.
So I did. I saw the cat in a garden and I opened the iron gate in the front garden  (about 12am) meeting some resistance from the gate. It appears safety was of the utmost importance to this person as they’d placed a heavy terracotta pot against it probably to prevent some one from doing the very thing I was now doing, walking around in their garden late at night.
The cat went under a BBQ cover and was swiping after me before it jumped over the gate. There’s me trying to shut the gate, reapply the pot in its position before charging off after it.
Along come a pissed couple and they stop to help/scare the shit out of it making it charge off again before leaving. So I rung a local vet, called the emergency line, waited until 1.30am and several pees up an alley later, and no assistance, I went home. Next day we drove for hours looking for it. See I didn’t get a watch.
Anyway from Great Yarmouth to Gran Canaria (which to be honest is the way round you’d wanna do it).
We just chill. You know lunch and people watch. We’re just about to get the bill/wait annoyed for 14 days before I say, ‘wow, look honey, look, coming along now the lady in the brown trousers has the biggest Camel toe I’ve ever seen’. ‘What, where’?  ‘She’s down by the sea now. She might come back this way in a second’. ‘Right I’ll get another beer in then, I don’t think I’ve like actually seen one before’. ‘Oh no she’s going the other way and now you’ve added 2 more days onto the holiday ordering that beer’.
This conversation is happening while a lady is playing I would walk 500 miles and then Superman on some bagpipes. She comes over. I say I have no money but unzip all the compartments of my purse to prove it. After the last compartment she walks off. ‘Well that was awkward. Why didn’t you just say you didn’t have money without all that purse shit and is that Winston’s hair you’ve got in the back of your purse’? ‘Yer it’s my good luck charm. That’s why I can see camel toes and you don’t. They’re like Mermaids’. Someone starts playing Jaws on a harmonica. I think that just involves blowing from one end of the harmonica to the other to the theme of Jaws.
As we walk off excitedly I say, ‘look, look look, honey’, ‘What is it? Is the camel toe back’? ‘No, it’s the scientist from Back to the Future. He’s looking for the clock tower. He’s a dead ringer’ ‘Bloody hell yer. Look he’s talking to that other bloke. Do you think he’s asking him where he parked his DeLorean’? ‘Nah he’s asking what year it is and if he’s seen Marty Mcfly… I like his shirt though’. ‘What you can see of it. Most of him is trouser. His trousers are pulled up so far he could actually be Kenny from South Park’.
We come back for wine and a siesta and an hour later I’m woken up to ‘I’m easy like Sunday morning’ blaring out the TV. ‘Jeez, wtf’. ‘Yer the TV just started playing that really loudly for some reason’.
I lay on the sofa and watch TV while Tony makes coffee. He sits down. ‘Why are you watching German TV that looks like Holby City’? (UK TV hospital drama). ‘ Well its just on’. ‘You can’t be arsed to change the channel can you’? ‘No the remotes over there out of reach’, ‘well pick it up with your bleeding clowns feet’ (earlier blog). I say, ‘Nah, anyway I’m trying to set up a Twitter account to promote my blog. It seems to think I’ve got one. Apparently I’m just following Richard Branson and Gino D’Acampo’. Pissing himself Tony says, ‘give me your bloody phone’. Then laughing harder confirms, ‘you are actually just following Richard Branson and Gino D’Acampo’. ‘Yer, I know. Ridiculous right. I can’t even taste so why would I be interested in following bleeding Gino and anyway, you’re a Chef’.
I’ve only been here a short while and already the bread and booze is swelling me up. We have to take all our snaps now and I have to sit my chair behind Tony’s to make my face appear the same size as his in every selfie. I can also no longer decide what to wear based on the weather (its pants) but on what I can get into that doesn’t split my belly in two making it look like a bent over arse.
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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.

 

The diary of a nervous flyer!

This blog picks up from us about to take a flight from Southend Airport to Gran Canaria.

We walk up the stairs of the aircraft. The lady in front is dolled up. Toes all done peeping nicely through sandals, a simple expensive bag on her arm and a husband carrying her bag. Her hair blowing gently, elegantly in the slight breeze, her neatly ironed linen trousers slightly blowing in a romantic way. Sunglasses on her head ready to come down on landing or crashing into the sea.

Me, I’m carrying both cases as Tony has MS. So I am sweating, puffing and chewing on my own hair in the breeze. And my sunglasses are slung in my bag with a hole in them as Winston (dog) ate them one Sunday when I had a nap. I’m also stretching the concept of my ‘one size’ fits all shorts. Got no chance of getting anything in the pockets, I thought they were sown up and was disappointed to find they weren’t.

Lugging the cases up the plane steps. I complain, ‘Jeez what the heck have you got in your bag honey, it’s so much heavier than mine’? ‘Er everything we need’. I know he is right so I keep quiet with my tightly clamped pockets.

On the final steps, Tony hands me my packet of ‘anti mental flyer pills’ that the Doctor prescribed.  We enter the plane and I immediately view it suspiciously for quality of cabin crew and leadership. Not because I am so into my job in HR (though I am) but because I know working in HR there’s a hell of a lot of under performers who need to be performance managed and never are, and I eye each steward suspiciously looking to see if there are any signs of this on the flight.

We get to our seats. There’s a lady sitting in the aisle seat so she has to get out to let us in. Yer, she’s not happy about that! I apologise and she smiles but at the floor in a way that says, I am being polite but you are really pissing me off. I know because I’ve done it. it was the look I gave the premature pee’er on the train when storm Doris hit. Every second delay in getting my stuff for the flight, I fear she will add time on letting me get to the exits in the event of an emergency. I’m already thinking she’s a cow. But I have to say ‘bless you’ when she sneezes as I need her on my side. In the event of an emergency, I will be clinging to her or Tony’s leg like a koala in a tree repeatedly saying, ‘save me, save me’.

Sitting with my head in my hands about to take off, I say, ‘why does everyone have to keep talking. They should just be quite’. ‘Because normal people are excited about going on holiday’. ‘Well I just don’t get that. We should not be in the air. We are not birds. It’s that simple’.

The captain speaks and immediately I am listening out to see how alert and capable he sounds. I am satisfied. Though I’d rather he didn’t focus on telling us about the on-board paninis and just stuck to doing pre-flight checks. I don’t want him to tell me about the hot focaccia capresse (whatever that is). He is about to take up this aircraft with god knows how many people on board. I don’t think he should be concerning himself with bread based snacks.

There’s an announcement about turning your technology to flight mode, but I don’t think enough focus is played on this. I vocalise this. None to quietly hoping to prompt my fellow travellers to check their tech.

They play the usual announcements which include a mention that there are flotation aids on board for children. I ask, ‘why do only the kids get flotation aids because if we crash we all want to float’. It’s met with a ‘shhhhsss’ from Tony very aware of the parents and the small kids behind.

They tell us to fasten our seat belts (no shit) and to keep them buckled in case we ‘hit unexpected turbulence’.  I think they should change the language from ‘hit’ to in case we ‘meet’ unexpected turbulence and why is it unexpected I ask myself? It is 2017. We should know this shit. Siri can tell me the likely % of precipitation and if I need an umbrella today for goodness sake.

I ask Tony, ‘can I have your coat please to put my feet on’. ‘Er, why’? ‘I don’t like to feel the vibrations under me and it dumbs the vibrations making it feel more like I am in a car’. ‘Well why’d you want to sit next to the wings there’s more vibrations’? ‘Because I like to look out and see they’re still there. If they are that’s a good thing and I wanted to be near the emergency exits in the row in front (normally I count the rows from my seat to the emergency exit because in the event the cabin fills with smoke, I want an advantage over other passengers as I head efficiently to the exits, trampling across them including parents blowing up flotation devices for their kids).

With my head in my hands, Tony starts to annoy me. Not because his legs look skinnier on the seat than mine, though I do note that, but because he’s munching Pringles. The distraction takes me momentarily away from my own safety and makes me very annoyed. I hope he’s not going to do that all the way, I think to myself. I need to concentrate.

I tell Tony, ‘just so you know I will be telling you to f off during the flight if you speak too much. It’s not fair but I need to concentrate on staying alive and I won’t be helping you off the plane in the event of an emergency, MS or no MS. I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is’. ‘Jeez you already look like you’re in the brace position’.

The air steward asks the passengers in front near the emergency exits if they could read the notices on their seats about how to open them. I don’t care how nice her nails look and how big her smile is, I don’t think, ‘read that’ constitutes an adequate safety briefing. I am beginning to regret taking the tablets the doctor prescribed, on the plane steps. They take an hour to kick in. Shit, I wish I’d had more of that free vodka from fancy neckerchief lady.

The captain comes on saying he ‘hopes’ we have a relaxing and safe flight. See this is where it’s a paradox for me. I want to know they are taking safety seriously and all the passengers on board are too. But when they say ‘safe flight’, it implies safety is a concern and we could be potentially anything other than safe and we just have to ‘hope’ were safe.

We take off, immediately I think about my life and what I have and haven’t achieved and how I probably have only a few hours to live. I have been known to text my family at this point and say, ‘you guys know I love you right’. I focus on a pet’s face, today it is Mr Nut (cat), to relax. Shit, if I die what will happen to him. Shit now I’m not relaxed. I’m now worried about flying and the future of my pets.

Slight turbulence. I jump. My hands do this weird thing like they are breaking into an uncontrolled Mexican wave. ‘Jeez it’s like sitting next to someone with MS. Sit on your bloody hands if you’re going to do that’. I should have taken his advice because the next petrified spasm sends my drink all over Tony’s legs. ‘Er, great, I’m soaked’. Ridiculously I say, ‘no, it’s just a shadow on your leg isn’t it’?

Look at Canvey Island honey, it’s like the French Riviera. ‘Er, don’t ask me to look out the window. In fact, can you shut the window blind’. ‘So you want to see the wing but you don’t want to see the wing’. ‘I’ll tell you when I want to see the frigging wing and it’s not now’. I get a token ‘you’re doing well honey’, before Tony puts his head phones in. Me, I pull out my Dalai Lama, The Art of Happiness  book. I take it on every flight as I want to die happy.

The woman next to us is miserable throughout the entire flight. I lean in to Tony and say, ‘she even looks bloody miserable in her sleep’. Eventually she wakes up and starts watching a film on her Ipad. Tony says, ‘I need a wee’. ‘What you telling me for, tell her’. She must pick up on the vibe because she unclicks and goes to the toilet. ‘Quick, let’s go for it’. To help Tony get out with his balance, I pick up her Ipad. ‘Shit, shit, shit’, I say as during the action I hit the play button and it moves on from where it was. In a very high pitched voice Tony’s telling me to stop it. After about 4 seconds of it playing I do. We get out into the isle and Tony’s dragged his bad leg out with her handbag hooped over his foot. We piss ourselves.

When we all take our seats again I ask Tony ‘do you think she will notice about her film’? ‘Of course she bloody will, it’s starting at a different point’! Then we laugh about all the important film changing words that could have been spoken in that 4 seconds, ‘I love you’, ‘his dead’, ‘I’m pregnant’, ‘I’m leaving you’.  Tony tells me, ‘if she has a go at you, you can argue with her in Spanish with the string of B words you spent 6 weeks learning when we were in Mexico. Never get why you started with B’. ‘Yer bitch might be good to know but I can now only remember butter…and I started at B because it felt less far away from Z and motivated me.

Finally the pills and Prosecco kick in. It didn’t dumb down the words from the pilot with less than an hour to go, ‘we are flying at 39000 feet mid-way across the waters on the coast of Morocco’. Unnecessary! I do not need to know how high I am or that I am crossing open seas.

We’re about to land. ‘How long do you think it will be before people take their seatbelts off after we land’, Tony says. This is how it actually went down, ‘we have now landed at Gran Canaria, please wait for the plane to finish taxying before’…click. Then isle seaters immediately spill into the isle to frantically grab their stuff. The middle seaters move into the freed space and turn into Mr Ticle, just putting their arms out into the isles and grabbing their stuff. The window seaters do a half stand, half crouch awkwardly waiting to grab their stuff at the first opportunity. Tony and I stay seated and pride ourselves on being the last to leave the plane.

I made it! I’m alive. We’re in Gran Canaria!

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.

Yeah we’re going to Ibiza 

Not really Ibiza. Gran Canaria actually. Today we go. 

First words I heard from Tony were ‘get up’. I ignored them for a while and snoozed until I heard them again.

I got up and went down stairs to do shit. Shit unrelated to travel, which prompted from Tony, ‘it’s 8.03am, the cab comes at 9.30am and your in your pyjamas and faffing’.

I carried on faffing. This results in Tony coming into the kitchen and asking, ‘what’s that’?’ A satsuma, I’m eating a satsuma. That OK? ‘.’Great you now have an hour and 20 mins and you think now’s a good time to eat a bleeding satsuma’. ‘Everyone needs breakfast’. ‘Yer everyone is packed by now and ready to go and then they have breakfast’.

Shit I thought to myself, he’s annoyed. Maybe now isn’t a good time to ask if he knows where my travel bag is.

Clearly his words did motivate me as I rushed into the shower/there was no actual rushing. When I got out and reached for my towel I’d soaked a triangle of it. Yer I didn’t realise just how much I relied on that actual triangle to dry.

I packed. Total packing time 16 minutes including time to locate a second blue sandal. For some time it looked like it would take much longer as I had one blue and one orange fliplop, both left feet. Oh and my sun hat is completely flat. Looks like it’s a pizza base.  Continue reading “Yeah we’re going to Ibiza “