Steamy Weather and naughty Turks

Comments 13 Standard

Just got back from KL.  Pretty hot and humid there.  Oh and yes, a spot of rain as well!  And boy when it rains, does it rain!


Standing at Baku Caves

Having walked to the top of the steps in searing heat – hundreds of them as well, and avoided the rabid ( literary) monkeys, I was glad to get back to terre firma.  And boy, was it hot and this was only about 0930hrs….

Anyway back to the grey and murky Blighty.  Love it and just in time for Christmas.  Having a few days away from the Office is not really to be recommended.  I like to get away but I like to stay in control.  Oh Irma, where are you when I need you  ( as a point of fact she is currently in Manhattan.  Her ex husband works for the Trump Organisation.  How that will fare she doesn’t quite know, as her husband, like Irma is from Havana…)  But he has invited her there for Christmas and she is having a super time, staying just near the Lincoln Centre.  Of course its very cold there, but Irma, being Irma, can always create a bit of a diversion and currently is sporting something rather fetching in fur hats.

irma-hat         irmans                                                                                                                                                                She said she is enjoying her husband spoiling her again and maybe she will see where he lands when the Trump Organisation is in place.  She said Manhattan is in her blood…. so maybe she wont come back!!

I had previously fallen off the horse ( again) and needed a break which was why we went to KL.  I don’t know why these horses spook but I have fallen off more times lately than in my entire life.



I aim to be careful now but after a fall and being concussed and time in the Hospital, we decided that it was time to have some sunshine and meet our Malaysian Agents before the season kicks off.  I have to tell you 11 hours on an Air Malaysian flight is not the best experience, especially when they only had seats available in coach..  ( They don’t even have fresh milk for the tea, F F S)

Okay, back to work.   The first thing we ran into was an irate Mrs Wimble.  Now Mrs Wimble has been a host family of mine for about twenty years and does a fine line in leopardskin leggings.  She usually teams these with matching boots and, get this, her car seats match her bottom half.    You can see its an interesting impression, she gives, when  first meeting a student.    Please add to this that she is probably 4 stone overweight; has lost 3 of her front teeth and her hair is in the tightest of corkscrew perms.   But, we love her anyway.


Her car is also a talking point.  Its a Robin Reliant.  Do you remember those?  And yes, I am sure you wonder if they are still on the road.  Well, this one is ….. and its driven with great care and attention by Mr Wimble.  ( Mrs Wimble sits neatly in the front seat with her bag on her lap)  I think however she has a contrasting bag, usually fuscia pink, so that she doesn’t morph into the car seats which, as I said before, resemble her leggings. It would be a tragedy if she got lost between seat covers…  I do not jest……

However the cause of angst this morning was the fact that Mr Wimble had come out to the front of the house to take his first early morning Fag and saw something wrong with his beloved Robin Reliant.  In fact he stood there for a moment ( so he tells me ) neither inhaling or exhaling, merely sucking.  Somewhere in the night between locking up the car and coming out this morning, someone had dragged his Robin Reliant to the wall and upended it so that it rested, very gently against it.  One tremble; one puff of wind and I daresay the thing would topple over and what would the result be then?    Mr Wimble wasn’t sure what to do but one thing he was sure about, was who the perpetrators were !

Yes, last night he had got into a bit of a ruck with the two Turkish boys staying there.  He had told them they had to be in by 10pm and they wanted midnight.  Mrs Wimble entered the fray saying that she had treated them very well and given them tinned strawberries and evaporated milk that night for ” tea!” and so they should be thankful for that and respect the curfew.  They sulked off but did, so she tells me, appear just before 10pm

The Turkish boys however, not one to be blamed for any injustice whether perceived or not, flatly refused to admit it was them but said they would help right it.  Mr Wimble had tried earlier to lift it down without damage but was worried he wouldn’t be able to hold it and it would bounce down and the front snap off.  Well come on Guys, it is only fibreglass after all.  So the Turkish boys after their mandatory cigarettes, this time shared with Mr Wimble,  huddled around the Robin Reliant and hatched a mean plan with him.  They tried to manoeuvre it around and away from the wall but it would appear that the Robin had other ideas and once it had swivelled around they all lost control and it crashed down.

There was a moment silence, so Mrs W told me. No one moved.  No one spoke.  I don’t know if that was shock or a horror but when they all pulled themselves together, this was what was left…


The car had crashed down on its side and the wheel had been driven in, by sheer force, into the engine.  Apparently that was the time to light more cigarettes.  Mr Wimble was silent.  Mrs Wimble, however, was not pleased and made it her sole mission that morning to let me know.  What to do?  Oh, what to do?

Meanwhile, Irma is sending me more pictures of her Manhattan skyline.  Folks, I fear, we will soon be ” one man down!”  


 EDIT and UPDATERegarding a couple of comments below, please can I clarify that ” a fag” is a term used to refer to a cigarette…. and although can also be used in a Boys Public School it is not relevant to this Blog.  Additionally, Robin is ” not a Fag from a British Public School ” but a type of 3 wheeler car, which surprisingly is not in production now…..Many thanks to Mick and Hariod for pointing out my social faux pas! 


Security Forces and American Propaganda

Comments 23 Standard

I did say that the Unaccompanied Minor was tricky.  And she is!  It didn’t take her very long to show her spots – stripes and probably even her knickers if she carries on the way she is.  As I am having to go away in January I need someone ( reliable) to look after the house.  I cant leave it and the animals in the car of those males who currently reside here. ( Aladene and Mohamed and on occasions, Number 3 son!)  The last time I went away, I left Aladene and Mohamed in charge.  That was a huge faux pas on my part and I lived to regret it.


Shebah Dog.  Please don’t lock my Dog Flap any more..


For some bizarre reason ( probably fear of being broken into) they locked the dog flap so Shebah Dog couldn’t get out.  She was so distressed at not being able to use the garden that she broke through the dog flap.  Hence for the remainder of my time away, she had to sleep in the dining room at night to keep warm and the kitchen was freezing cold due to the 2 foot square hole where the Dog Flap used to be. Why it didn’t occur to them to block it up or get a new one is beyond me, especially as they seem to have Amazon on permanent speed dial, or the equivalent thereof.   No longer did Mohamed have to worry about Buggerlars ( as he pronounces them) because you could just put your hand through the broken dog flap and turn the key in the back door and walk in.  Added to that I had, in some very weak moment, offered to look after Bruno whilst Tomasso was away in Rome during Christmas, and so it would mean taking care of Shebah Dog and another highly strung one, whose manner is so unusual and unpredictable that he should not be looked after by anyone under 25 years old.  A plan needed to be formed.


Bruno.  Our Christmas Guest


Anyway, I digress.  

So I asked Number 2 husband if he would mind coming over and House Sitting whilst I am away.  He doesn’t normally mind as he gives him a chance to do something new and catch up with old Buddies.  Yes, I know, I am very kind allowing him to pop over and crash here when he needs an escape.   I had written about him before when he appeared about a year ago and caused a bit of an upset with Husband Number 3 and Mary.

But as I need him now, I am happy to swallow my pride and let him back in…temporarily. I haven’t actually seen Mary since the incident last year and so the way things are going I should be able to permanently eliminate The Unaccompanied Minor in a matter of days. She has become more of a pain that I could describe and a lot of sucking of teeth has gone on both professionally and socially for some time now. She needs to “GO!”

For some reason she seems to think that Husband Number 2 is a rich Russian Oligarch rather than an Ex Pat living out the last of his days at the Yacht Club in Minsk with a wife thirty years younger .  He is guaranteed to either smoke or drink himself to death and when I asked him why he stayed there in the unending cold he replied, quite simply, that he was still free to smoke where he will.


Husband Number Two.  A life affair with women and tobacco


So the Unaccompanied Minor has said she would be happy to come over and help from time to time which means she has her eye on another man to fall under her spell. I have lost track of the amount of men who she has left in her wake and I see Husband Number Two not being any different.

Aladene and Mohammed aren’t overly pleased and were hoping for the house to themselves but I cant trust them because if I leave them alone, then their whole daily schedule goes to pot.  They used to think it was absolutely fine to go to bed at 3 in the morning and get up about mid-day.  I told them they were not in the Gobi Desert anymore and whilst in Rome ( or Shoreham by Sea to be exact) they would go to bed at a sensible time and get up by 08.00am. for Flight School  Of course Mohamed being somewhat of a “smartarse” told me that the Gobi Desert was actually in Mongolia and China and the nearest one to them was the Sahara.  I replied that I didn’t need a lesson in Geography and was actually only making a point, to which he replied ” is that the last one of the day you will make?”


Take your glasses over Mohammed. Its 10pm at night!


Talking of the two boys I asked if they would be joining us for Christmas Lunch or going home.  Flight School closes for 2 weeks and they often try to get home to see their family.  Mohammed is dreadfully homesick and wants to visit his girlfriend.  It would appear that he was engaged at 18 to some girl he had met twice and who lives in Benghazi.  As Mohammed lives in Sirte, you can work out how often they get to see each other even if the route is along the picturesque coastal route. ( He flies into Tunis and then drives over the border )  Aladene of course seems to be living under the radar, having had his passport confiscated by Lunar House but at the same time, they wont allow him to leave. Its been like that now for over three years.  His day to day life, however, is spent very much at liberty so I don’t think he is under the beady eye of MI5 and in fact has already applied there for a job in the Arabic Section.  Watch this space….

Talking of MI5, it would appear they are looking for Persian speakers and Farhad ( my sobbing partner) has also decided to apply.


A life long supporter of The Shah


He thinks its another way of overthrowing the Ayatollah and bringing back the Shah.  When I said that the Shah had been dead ( and buried) for many years and he knew that     ” very well” he smiled and said it was part of American propaganda and  once we had removed the ISIL threat, the Shah would be back on his throne and Persia would return to the Old Days.

Another person who really shouldn’t be holding his breath between now and then….although I do agree that life for ordinary people was probably a lot less restricted then, than now.

Number Two has text me to say he has just crossed over the Polish Border and will be in England, soon.  This will be interesting as it would appear he is just over 1 month earlier than I require him. I try to call him back but his phone is switched off.  Its a nuisance because I would have asked him to turn around and go back home.  Because he is such a heavy smoker he always drives from Minsk to us because he says he can continue to smoke.  He also says he enjoys the drive and can contemplate the world. For a guy who has never read anything heavier than the Daily Express, I guess you could say that was something of an oxymoron!  Oh well, I will just lay another place for lunch on Christmas Day.

STOP PRESS!!  Just received a text from Aladene.  It goes like this…..

” Thank you Mrs for the invitation to Christmas Day lunch.  When is it?”


Aladene, a very special person!


If he didn’t have such an angelic face, I would slaughter him!

Vanity, be thy downfall…..”

Comments 67 Standard
just right

Saw my friend Sue last week.  Her opening words to me were “ when I read some of the things you write or believe, I wonder why I like you!”  Praise indeed and I duly thanked her!


Sue is the one with the red coat and matching hair.  She would never wear ( true) Blue!


Sue is the Ying to my Yang and a good balance for my opinions. She is also a good listener and I cant tell when she switches off from one of my ” I Love Trump” Campaigns.  She is also a jolly good egg and wonderful company.  If I am more right wing than Genghis Khan, then she is so far left, she makes Polly Toynbee look like she is a handmaiden for Putin…well you get my drift. On paper Sue and I have nothing in common.  I make a comment and she raises her eyebrows.  Sue, however, being a lady of very strong views, albeit slightly mis-guided most the time, (!)  is dealing with my eccentricities ( as she calls them) in the only way she knows and moving to Unst in the Shetland Isles.  I have to ask….” was it something I said?”


Stunning for sure, but did you have to go this far away?



Yes you can imagine that she is another one of the many millions who didn’t want to leave EU and didn’t think Trump should get in. Out of all of the people I am in contact with, I have yet to meet anyone who said they would vote for Trump!  In which case, the result MUST have been rigged.     US-VOTE-ELECTION

Also I haven’t met anyone who actually liked our Hillary.  Indeed, we do live in strange times.   So anyway, Sue’s feelings about my views, takes me very neatly on to the Trump/Farage saga ( and don’t worry I am not doing politics all the way through) It would appear, if I may make myself so bold, that the current Government have still not learnt a single thing!

My good Blogging mate, Hariod Brawn ( points me to a very interesting revolution that is going on quietly with the common man. Its a fascinating subject and I thank him for drawing my attention to it. But it is also a case of ” we are all doomed Mr Mainwaring!”   He is another who sucks his teeth when I make these random comments because H is a gentle man with a gentle cause.   Do try to find time to watch this though and thank you Hariod!

I have watched a lot of this debate and really do concur.  Politicians, especially what I would call the “Chinless Wonder Set”  really do need to WAKE UP!  If Brexit was a call to arms, then they should have got ready and noted this.  However it would appear that they felt it was more a ” hold your course and steady as you go” even if with a new Captain at the helm.

So,I am taking the rather pragmatic view that Trump can run a business (or three) and whilst some of you ( okay, all of you from what I can make out) don’t think he is an ideal businessman and so by default not an ideal President, you really do need to change your mind set and hold on tight.  THINGS NEED TO CHANGE and that is the word on the street, otherwise why would Hillary have lost??  Oh and please do keep quiet in the “three and halfpennies” and stop banging on about the Electoral College Vote) and why did Brexit happen?  You lost and we need to move along now.   It’s going to a Russian Uprising all over again.


Come out of your Ivory Tower and listen to the People

Whilst I ” love” Boris and know he is an extremely intelligent man he is still one of the Establishment and whilst Teresa May thinks she has made the swift hop from Grammar School girl to Inner Circle Tottie, I can tell you that, in reality, it never happens.  People don’t just hop over invisible class boundaries. You are there by birth, not achievements!


She needs to listen to what is happening out there. Sadly, the fame seems to have gone to her head.  Reality Check please !! If America is a business and we are looking for a way in then we need to get that elite invitation via a Third party.  Isn’t that the usual business way of doing deals?  You want an introduction, so you network.  Trump is saying loud and clear that the “Third Party Introduction” Britain is looking for is Farage.  And yes to strike an odious pun, currently Trump does hold the Trump Card.

Okay, so” we” don’t like it and most definitely Government doesn’t like it.  But if we carry on this way then I see a reoccurrence of Maria Antoinette and the “ let us eat cake” sketch.  And yes, we are gonna starve….


Teresa May – anyone can lose their head or their job!


Sometimes, whether we like it or not we have to give in to what is going to be the easiest option for the best result.  There isn’t a lot else on the table and we are starting to believe some sort of media copy that we can be Great again.  Well, yes, I daresay we can but to do that you need to cut both your losses and your pride but still keep your head!  If we don’t give in , in the short term to Trump ” suggesting” Farage gets a place, then we can go and sit on the naughty step and watch other trade deals being made around us. We will be punished.

Now before some of you Liberals get all excited and say we have to stand up to Bullies and not let him rule us, then what is the option in both the short and long term? Being sanctimonious wont help the JAMS….. Pride will surely be their downfall and when we end up with nothing, don’t say I didn’t tell you so. Pride and Vanity make very lonely bed fellows.

It doesn’t matter whether you like Trump or not.  Its a simple question of economics.  He has what we want and need.  There is no entitlement to this.  If we want it, we have to go and get it and accept some of it on his terms.  If we want to play schoolboy games and sulks and thereby keep Farage out of negotiations, then I fear we may well be towards the back of the queue when it comes to Trade.  And whilst a long weekend at Buckingham Palace, (hopefully after the horrendously expensive restorations have been completed) will be offered, believe you me, I don’t think its gonna be a deal breaker. And we can pout, pirouette and stamp our feet all we like, if you want to play with the big boys, then we really do need to ” grow a pair!”

Time for a quick Joke and to lighten the mood.   

  Trump went to stay at Buckingham Palace and walking through the corridors with The Queen he said to her, ” Well, Liz I have to say you make a good job of keeping this place clean and tidy”

To which the Queen replied in that wonderfully posh voice and you should imagine her reply as such ” Well, one (Juan) does what one ( Juan) can”

” That’s just great Liz.  Shame you are employing Mexicans though!!                      ( Get it? )

Wake up Britain.  For far too long we have been liberal with this and liberal with that and suddenly its not cool to be liberal, but it is cool to eat; work and have a fairly recognised standard of living… or not.  Go and be proud outside Parliament Square and see where it gets you.

On a very simpler term, it’s used in business every day.  Networking! However much you hate it, it is a valuable tool.  When I think about doing business with a new Company, I ask my existing ones if they know of them.  When I want an introduction, I see who can do it.  And when I need to swallow my pride ( so very hard for ME to do ) then I will if it gets what I want.  A signature on a contract.  This way, I look on it more of a success than a failure.  Hollow victories throughout the world are made by cutting noses off to spite faces.   Our Government was definitely hacked off that the local, and somewhat uncouth, kid on the block made it to Trump before them.  He cut corners; he holds the ace card.  Rather than making it personal ( and My God how they have done that) why cant they see that he is British and negotiating a very fast entry admission ticket to the Trump Table.  I think it would rather “cock a snook” at the EU and Obama, who snidely said that if we leave EU, we will be at the back of the queue negotiating trade deals with the US!  ( Of course that was when he was confident Hillary will be the heir apparent)   Putting Farage in the Hot Seat with Trump would just send the right ( F.U.) message to the EU that they were wrong and more importantly, it would show that leaving the EU was totally the right thing to do for all the Brexit UK Doubters.

So for now, whilst  I am not any sort of Politician or Specialist, I look at it in the simplest of terms and say to take personalities out of the equation.  See what they have to offer and do what we can to get it done.  And, if it really hurts Ms May and Boris the Buffoon to give Farage a job, then so be it. But on that basis, heads will definitely role and Teresa May will  end up like Maria Antoinette  without her head or a job  and most definitely at the back of the Job Queue.  I do hope her CV is up to scratch!


but we soon could be if we don’t ” wake up!”


Questions anyone?????


 In all of this I forgot to mention my illuminating day in London.  So that will have to wait until next time. 


Unaccompanied Minors and Bars of Soap

Comments 12 Standard

I  had to take a Sype call from The Pilot the other day.  He wont use traditional methods as he says he likes his calls to be encrypted. Well you cant be too careful. Secret Squirrel and all that…

Sssh… careless talk costs Pilot’s their lives.. allegedly  )

He said that he had been having chats with Peeps in Washington and for now he thinks it would be better if we kept hold of the diamond.  He says that it will be a more secure commodity as it is and in times of trouble, remember The Jews.
He feels that having diamonds or gold will bring a ” better return”  ( his words, not mine) than dollars and thinks we should hold on.  As it needs two bloody signatures to release this stone I can hardly disagree. I am now avidly watching the price of diamonds against dollars to see if he is right.   So for now I have to accept my fate and leave it there, giving, as The Pilot would have me believe, more return for my retirement than if I cashed it in ( on the Black Market, naturally) and brought the money to the UK under my petticoat.   The Pilot also puts a lot of store by his friends in Washington, but I do think its only because they have the correct post code.  Most of them are simply sycophants of those that actually wield the power, and if photocopying Bank Statements on the quiet for the CIA does it in exchange for Green Cards, then that’s fine with me.  Personally, I wouldn’t want to be found beside a photocopier at 10pm by my employer or worse, his Henchmen, but if they want that risk and blood rush, then who am I to question?

I still wouldn’t do it, however much I wanted a Green Card.

Talking of doing untoward things, Mr Wu bought in 144 travel soaps for our Homeless Cause the other day.  We had been doing a Campaign amongst our Host Families asking for unwanted coats; hats and gloves for the local Homeless and whilst they were about it to donate either a bar of soap or a tin of soup.  Donations had been well under way when Mr Wu turns up at the office with a large box.
He plonks it on my desk and smiles.  Its a very endearing smile with a hint of smugness. He looks at me and then the box and points at it.  ” Inside for your campaign.  Soap for homeless people”
“Oh Mr Wu, thank you so much” and I move to open it.
So imagine my horror when I see a whole box ( yes, 144 ) of small bars of toilet soap inside.  All wrapped and all with ” compliments of Mandarin Oriental Hotels” stamped across the front.  And not any old soap but, apparently, ” fine milled aloe vera soap with oils from the Orient”

Mandarin Oriental.  Unknowingly helping our cause.

” Mr Wu, did you take the whole box of soaps from a hotel?”
” Its ok, its ok….”  and he waves his hands and smiles.
” How is it ok?  Isn’t that a bit like stealing?”
” No, no, its fine.  You see if I go there once and take soap, they expect it.  No one cares.  Everyone is happy.   So I said to Hotel Manager, I am esteemed customer and I come to you many times.  I never take soap before so please add up the number of times I have stayed here before and give me that amount of soap”
( I admit to being stunned into silence at this point )
” So the Manager he went and counted and said 12 times”
” Okay, Mr Wu, so if you stayed there 12 times, shouldn’t you only have 12 soaps?”
” No, because I said he had to include my wife, my son and my daughter.  A bar of soap for each of us!”
” Okay, does that come to 144 then?”
” So how did you get a whole box”
“Oh easy.  We worked it out and sometimes, we all come together and sometimes just me and my wife and sometimes just her and daughter and sometimes me alone.  So it got to about 87 times.   I asked Manager to double check because I wanted to have all of the soaps I was entitled to”
“…and?”  I cautiously asked
” Oh, its fine.  He looked at me and said would I be happy with a whole box just to make sure we didn’t forget any visits there.  And I said, yes, a box of 144 soaps will be A-OK.  See, everyone is happy”  and he pushed the box nearer to me, clapped his hands and smiled.  Don’t you just love that man’s logic!

Old Town Hall Square, Praha  – view from the Tower

Having returned from a weekend in Prague  ( F **KING FREEZIN’) I took myself off for a Literary Supper in Brighton to continue with the culture.  Prague was full of culture and I loved the way you could turn on a sixpence and find Concerts and Operas and Ballets on every corner.  So many wonderfully sumptuous places to experience them, that I almost forgot I wasn’t living in the Austro Hungarian Era.   Anyway, off to the Literary Supper and I was obliged to take the Unaccompanied Minor.  ( More about her another time.  I think she is going to be rather tricky)   Anyway, I took her as I had two tickets and no one else could come.   She turned up in a ridiculous hat with at least a six inch brim all around it.  And a black one. F F S…. why Black?  As we entered the room I reminded her to remove it otherwise it would hack off other people around us. It would surely block their view of the stage.  She shot me a witheringly look but in fairness did as I asked.

Its a Literary Supper, not a Funeral. Please dress appropriately!

I have to say that there is a huge element of Bull Shit there as well.  I cant be doing with it and when LM asks me why I persist in going, I say its entertainment value and so I can come back and tell him about it.  He doesn’t seem convinced and says I am really a Voyeur looking into a land I will never be invited into.  What rot!
So there we were in the toilet queue afterwards.  Well, not me, but the Unaccompanied Minor was.  I was merely standing there, to one side, talking to her when a rather shrill voice piped up at me ” I hope you aren’t thinking of pushing in!”
” No, I am merely standing talking to this lady who is in the queue”  I point to the Unaccompanied Minor.
” Oh that’s good then because I don’t like people who push in”
” No, I am not pushing in, I am merely standing here”
” I shall keep an eye on you… I wont forget you aren’t in the line”
There was a lot about her I didn’t like.  Firstly, she had on a dress which was far too low for an informal evening.  Secondly, she was also far too old to wear something in cheap cotton.  If you intend to arrive with chutzpah, at least make it a decent piece of cloth! Thirdly, don’t wear clinging clothes if you are vastly overweight  ( she was and did or should that be she did and was) and finally, and the worst sin of all, don’t forget you met me the last time and so speak as if we hadn’t met before
” Do you know what? ” I turned to her and said ……. but before I could finish the sentence she said ” Oh is that a Lulu Guinness bag?”  and she lifted my bag up to inspect further.
” No its not” I replied rather loftily and pulled my bag and hand back.
She stared again.  ” Well it looks like Lulu Guinness.  Are you sure?”
Our eyes locked.
” You had better move down or you will miss your slot for the Bathroom!”
She looked and shuffled along.  By this time the Unaccompanied Minor was already in there and taking an inordinate length of time.  What could she be doing?
“Look, its a Bloomingdales one.  Not the usual Brown Bag but one of their special editions”
“Oh a Bloomies, a Bloomies.” she shrilled and clapped her hands and did a little jig.  ( I promise you I couldn’t make this up) and she lifted my hand again to inspect it further.
“I can see it is now.  How fab!  Did you buy it here”
” No. New York.  Please keep moving otherwise you are going to be overtaken”
“Do you want to go in before me?  I don’t mind.   Oh Bloomies Bags, that takes me back.  I used to be a reporter there you know.”
” No, I really don’t need the toilet, however many times you ask.  A reporter? Really? You don’t say!”
” Yes, I write for the Evening Standard now and that lady behind me was the Editor for the Sunday Express.  Who do you write for?”
 Suddenly I had broken through her barrier.  Whether it was because I didn’t queue jump or because I had a Bloomies Bag, I truly don’t know, but there you go.I was her equal and because I was her equal, I had to be a reporter.   What better way to forge a friendship that in the Queue for the Ladies holding a Bloomies Bag.
The Unaccompanied Minor took forever.  I was tempted to knock on the door and shout
” hurry up!”  She was playing with her hat again and adjusting the ridiculous veil which was attached to it.  As she came out, so did a man behind her.
” Did you just share a toilet with a man?”  I asked her in astonishment
” Well I was bursting to go so he said I could use the toilet and he would do it in the sink!”
I took her arm and led her out of the building.
PS – Word on the (Praha) Street is that the electing of Donald Trump has met with much excitement.  As one resident said dryly, “at least he knows where the Czech Republic is” ( thanks to Ivana!)…. not many of his predecessors seem to !

The new American Ambassador to the Czech Republic

More tears than an ocean

Comments 25 Standard

I have been having a very interesting discussion with Farhad today.  I love him so much he makes me want to cry.  Farhad and I do a lot of crying together.
We usually manage to cry at least once a week, especially after his weekly Facebook post of the Shah.  He cries for the Shah and the fact that France and then us, by default, didn’t let him in. Because of this, his beloved Persia has fallen to ” infidels and shit heads”  His words not mine!  About this time,  he takes out a very white linen handkerchief and dabs his eyes.  This, in turn makes me cry and we both end up snivelling over the desks. I worry about him being homesick.  He says he will never be allowed to die there and then gets out the photograph of his grandmother who he said died in ” PERSIA” without him being able to say goodbye to her.  That is cue for another bout of tears, from both of us.  Its a bit like a Greek tragedy really.
 LM does a lot of sucking his teeth and glaring by this stage.  I ignore him.  He isn’t very empathetic.
The rest of the Office think we are mad.  Aladene doesn’t like him ….. and Farhad doesn’t like Aladene.   Alaedene insists on calling him an Iranian – to which Farhad refuses to answer.  Once when Farhad had enough of it, he held up his religious token in front of Alaedene’s face and growled something in Farsi at him.

Alaedene all smiles, as his team has just beaten Farhads! 

Aladene in turned shouted ” Allah Akbar” or something like that.  Its true I didn’t hear clearly, but I am sure it was along those lines.  Its a very sticky truce they have.
Farhad is a very snappy dresser.  I have never seen anyone shine their shoes as much as he does.  In the summer when I make him, ( much to his chagrin) wear a company Polo Shirt he still has his shiny shoes on, although he does stop at wearing shorts and shiny shoes.. that is far too much.  Instead he goes for an Italian Loafer, similar to Tomasso’s

My Sobbing Partner

However, I do think Farhad is also an Agent Provocateur.  Once, Mr Wu said something along the lines of ” its the same for all of us British…” and Farhad immediately said he wasn’t British but Chinese, to which Mr Wu said he was Hong Kong /British Subject in that exaggerated Chinese accent that he sometimes puts on.  Mr Wu finished off with reminding us that he was, after all, a member of the Conservative Party.  A hush immediately fell over the office.  Whether it was out of respect or confusion at this remark, I didn’t dare ask!
If its a really bad day when Farhad has the group or excursion that Mr Wu wants, then Mr Wu annoys Farhad by telling him that he went to a party once in Hong Kong where he met the own of Lacoste and told Farhad that his Lacoste polo shorts are not made in Paris on the Left Bank as he stupidly assumed, but actually in a Kowloon sweat shop and still sold for an inflated price to any idiot who will buy them.
The good news however is that I have to go to Cape Town ( again) . Yes, its a tough job but someone has to do it.  And, as always, I am happy to ” take one for the team!”   We have 45 French students arriving in February and I need to check everything is fine with the School there.  By way of contrast, we have arranged for them to spend two days in a local Township High School.  I don’t mind and I think it will be very beneficial, but the Agent is a trifle worried, so to reassure them I said I would pop over ( as you do…)
Also, as previously eluded to, I have a blood diamond languishing in a vault in Joburg. It was part of my previous life but that doesn’t mean to say that it should stay there forever.
The Pilot is due to be there at roughly the same time, so I shall fix a rendezvous with him and go and retrieve it. ( we both have to sign to get it out of the vault. F F S )   He isn’t top of the list of people I want to see when I am there, but its a means to an end.

If anything occurs to stop it seeing the sunlight, he had better run fast…..


 Its a very nice stone, even if it is ” one in the rough” being neither polished or cut.  I initially wanted a square one but fell in love with the slightly odd style and have been told that once cut and polished, it will look just great.

H – this is one I found earlier and is merely used for illustrative purposes.

Currently, I have no desire to cut or polish anything and aim to sell it on and try to get the tax back!  My main worry would be getting either that or the money out of the country, and yes, I have thought about driving up to Botswana and flying out under the radar!  As the Pilot will be flying down in a VVIP BBJ then he wont be subject to the same rigorous restrictions that I, flying economy, will have.  I have asked if I can cut him a deal and he take the diamond out in his Nav Bag but he merely looked at me and said ” Jacks.  Have you completely lost your mind?”.  I shall safely take that as a ” NO!”
The best bit of that time will be staying in Simons Town, amply looked after by my two most favourite people in the world. Wayne and Margaret.  I am sure you can work out who is who from the photograph.  Ho Ho     I just love these people to death and they make me feel most welcome when I stay there.
margaret and wayne

Wayne and Margaret.  Two very decent human beings.

Simons Town is a wonderful coastal town, towards Cape Point and is steeped in history.
  ( I attach a link for those who wish to know more.)
The town still has a wonderful colonial air about it and I covet the  second hand shops every time for wonderful gems from a bygone time. Usually, these gems are being sold by ex Rhodesians who have come over the Border hoping to regain some of that
” Happy Valley Life” they used to have.  Sadly, they have been relegated to walking, en masse, along the beach each morning, reminiscing about the good old days and bemoaning what has happened to them.  I don’t have a lot of sympathy, sad to say


And talking of crying, every time I meet them again ( my favourite peeps ) I cry.  When I first arrive, Margaret looks me in the face and says ” Hello, Miss Jackie…welcome home!”.  And indeed, its just how I feel… a homecoming.  I just love her to bits

Before I sign off, a funny story from Margaret.  It goes like this..
“Well Margaret, how goes it?”
” Oh you know Miss Jackie.  Good and bad.”
“Are you liking your new home Margaret”
“Yes, Miss Jackie, but you know I have to pay for my power now.  I never had to before”
“Oh really Margaret.  What a shame.  But maybe that was because you used to hook it up to your neighbours supply”
( she smiles) ” Yes, Miss Jackie.  Maybe that is it”
“How is it now, Margaret, that Zuma is in power?”
She purses her lips…” Miss Jackie, I have never known such a mess.  That is what happens when you put a black man in power!”   ( and you will have seen what Margaret looks like, which was why her comment made me smile… )  She looked at me and winked.
Its one of the most wonderful countries I have ever seen.  A great contrast of beauty. Gentle and rough. Wonderful people, and somewhere, somehow, its in my blood.
It really is my second home – faults and all.  I simply adore it.  That’s it folks…
I shall leave you with my favourite song, currently.  🙂    I bet you are all feet tapping after this…..
The lyrics are just brilliant.  Simply brilliant.

And as they say in the veldt….  Totsiens!


Everyone is A-OK!

Comments 16 Standard

Some days are better than others.  Some days work well and you ease through them without pain or effort. Angst seems a distant memory.  Other days require, a sucking of the teeth and a modicum of patience.  Yesterday was one of those ” latter” days.

It all started with a visit from the Transport Police.  I had to admit I was rather startled and as I was still on my first skinny macchiato I didn’t feel particularly sharp.  Tomasso buzzed them in and Alaedene went and busied himself in the kitchen.  Even though he is here       ” legally” and on a Tier 4 Visa, he still fears, very much, contact with any Official.


Don’t bother me! Go stop the rumpus at Brighton Station

“You responsible for them ( tut, tut, poor use of grammar !) students at the Station?”

He asked without any preamble or Good Morning.  That was enough to set me off….

” Good Morning Officer, how are you?”

” So, yes or no?”    I could see this wasn’t going to go well.

I sighed and noticed that my coffee was going to get cold ( which makes me cross, cold drinks that is, unless of course they are Fluffy Ducks, the recipe of which is linked below )

” What have we done wrong?”  I tried to smile but I could feel that chilly imperious tone in my voice creeping in.  Well when you are only five foot tall, an imperious tone is al you have as a choice of weapon.

” Taken all the “Metros“.  That’s what you have done. And not just today, but every day.  None left for commuters.  Take one.  That’s fine, but not the whole bundle.  What’s your game, then?”

I sighed and pushed about a dozen Metros further under my desk, hoping he wouldn’t notice.  Especially as I hadn’t read any of them!  ( for those who aren’t familiar, the Metro is a free newspaper readily available, most of the times, (!) at local Railway Stations for commuters to read )  metro-cover-long-e1331721871698   …..and if you thought reading the Daily Mail was intolerable, flick through a page or two of this, and suddenly it becomes more like  the rather chi chi New Yorker and people may not be so sniffy about it!

 Bruno, excited by new flesh in the Office gets off his bed in the kitchen and comes and looks.  He glances up at the Transport Copper and gives him a sort of half smile or maybe that was just a predatory stare.  I wasn’t in the mood for caring.

“Blimey, shouldn’t you get those teeth looked at?  They could do someone a lotta damage!”  Yes,I did resist the chance to say,….” hopefully it might be you!”     Tomasso tried to coax Bruno back to his bed with a Kibble, but Bruno wasn’t haven’t any of it and continued to sniff around his feet.  I was in two minds wondering if Bruno might just bite him, and not sure if I would have minded or applauded him.   I mused on the better things he could find to do, such as quell the Commuter Uprising on the Brighton concourse due to the constant cancelling of trains and striking of railway employees which now, in my very humble opinion, has been on going for far too ( bloody) long.


Get back to work, “Southern”.  You have made your point. Sympathy lost.   No one cares  any more ….

They drone on about Passenger Safety and having more Guards on ( hence the strike) but lets face it, herding people into carriages like this is way beyond Health and Safety.  Poor Commuters have no other option but to ” take it up the backside!” and travel like cattle – and pay for the privilege into the bargain – whilst the Railway Employees are flexing their vocal cords outside most train stations along the South Coast.   The words ” Bomb” and     ” Arse” come to mind… but I restrained myself. JUST!  So yes, probably they could do with something to read whilst waiting for a non existent or suddenly cancelled train.

To explain…..   Mr Wu had this brilliant idea that he would give each student a Metro each morning to read on the coach.  It probably seemed a good idea at the time and of course it does assimilate them into British culture as well as improve their reading but in truth, it doesn’t work.  He makes them line up just as they are scrambling onto the coach ( enough to irritate them as they always want to make a bee line for the back seat ) and gives each of them a Metro.   But when you think that most of our coaches hold between 53 and 75 students, that is a lot of Metros to ” lift” from the Station concourse.  He nips around there first on the way to seeing a coach off; grabs a couple of armfuls of papers; throws them into his car and speeds off to the meeting point.  Then they are duly distributed to the students with great aplomb.

Worse though, ( yes there is worse!) he has now decided that this kind gesture of his should cascade down to office staff.  As I cycle to work and usually past his meeting point, he had got into the habit of throwing said papers at me…… rather like they do in America.  I cant say I was overly amused.  Throwing the morning newspaper at me, when I am on my bike across the morning traffic is very dicey.  Of course he isn’t throwing the newspapers directly at me, but trying to get them into my basket ( which is usually full anyway so there isn’t a lot of room for manoeuvre) as I speed by.  You can imagine that at the beginning his aim wasn’t the best!  I am still undecided whether I should speed up so he cant throw them quickly enough.  Slow down and enable him to get them into my basket, or better still, find another route to work.  Anyway, the first time he did this, he so took me by surprise, I swerved and nearly went into a parked car.  ” what are you doing Mr Wu?”  I shouted at him.  He didn’t seem fazed.  Par for the course…..

” Metro. Metro.  Daily newspaper.  For everyone in Office.  Please give one to Mr Dick.  ( I have to say when he says “Dick”, he really means “Dec”, but I don’t know if his accent is just poor pronouncing it, or he hasn’t heard us properly when we introduced “Dec”.  Either way, Dec isn’t happy being called Dick, as you can imagine.     I have digressed.

So there I am on day 2 coming along the road and Mr Wu has me in his sights.  I don’t know what to do.  I can see him and he can certainly see me.  I just keep going.  There we go, newspapers in hand; arm up ready to chuck them in my basket.  I smile and keep cycling.  He misses and 8 newspapers float in in the wind across the morning traffic and all over the road.  I have no option but to stop and help.   Safely collected for fear of a Litter Warden reporting us, I snatched the screwed up mess off him and shove them in my basket.  ” Thank you Mr Wu, but in future please don’t bother.”

“Ah, no bother.  No bother.  See you tomorrow” and he bows as I cycle away

An Indian newspaper vendor ties newspapers on his bicycle early

Loading up my newspapers after having received them from Mr Wu.  Just another ordinary day in the office.

Tomorrow comes and there he is again, but this time the newspapers are rolled up with an elastic band keeping them in place.  He comes over to my side of the road, stands just on the edge of the pavement and as I glide by, he leans over and throws, successfully, the newspapers into my basket.  I smile and he salutes.  Mission accomplished.

So now every morning, I have to play chicken with the Metros and he feels very smug when they plonk in my basket.  I almost feel like one of the Mule trains, so laden up am I by the time I get to the office and for what?   Absolutely nothing, as sadly, no one in the Office wants to read them or cares a dam about feigning to. Hence the pile at my desk when the Transport Police arrive.

Oh yes, back to the Transport Police.   ” I am very sorry.  I will speak to Mr Wu and ask that he doesn’t take any more Metros from your stand”    He seems pacified by this and wanders off. ” Check that dog’s teeth.  They don’t look healthy to me”   I smiled and nodded.

Now I have a valid reason to ask Mr Wu not to throw newspapers at me each morning and as he also is of the same mind as Alaedene where ” authority” is involved, then I can safely ask him not to do it, in case the Transport Police pay a visit to his house.  He certainly wouldn’t want that.   The downside of course is that we wont have any more newspaper piles for T shirt painting.  Oh well….

Back at Mission Control, aka ” home!” we are decorating the sitting room.  LM seemed pretty happy about this in the first place but now seeing that it is encroaching on his Golf Time has become pretty pithy about it.  Currently he isn’t speaking to me on account of my having gone out yesterday and bought a dresser for the dining room. Actually, it isn’t a real dresser, but a wonderful old desk that has been slightly restored and has a beautiful patina on it that you want to stroke every time you walk by. Well I do anyway.  I tried just after breakfast to take his hand and get him to stroke the top.  He whipped it away and said he wasn’t rubbing any wood regardless of how soft and shiny it was.   It has a wonderfully deep drawer I shall line with velvet and put all my cutlery into.  The cupboards either side I shall fill with my dinner service and the top can be a platform for my “tat” I have collected from my various travels.  Oh it will look divine, fear not!


I think it has a certain charm and will look delightful in the dining room in a subdued light

LM prefers more of a look from Ikea or Harvey Nicks, sad to say……

.” Does it have woodworm” he asks.  I shake my head but it has got me wondering.

” Oh well if we get short of firewood, I know where to come”

“You don’t like it, do you?”

” Not really, Its ok. ” and he wandered off.

The word “OK” is never fine with me.  It’s a sort of “dammed by faint praise” kind of word.  And I don’t like it.  As I write this it is stuck in transit between the hallway and the dining room.  He wont offer to carry it in and he knows its blocking the passageway.  Every time he walks past it, I hear a huge sigh as he is breathing in, quietly complaining about the lack of room to get by.   I am hoping that he will finish painting the ceiling and come and give me a hand.  Otherwise, it wont look very tidy for our Annual Curry Luncheon which is taking place in two weeks.

He has just poked his head around the corner and asked me to nip out and get some more paint.  As I am hoping this could be the start of a thaw, I shall leave you now and seek supplies…


I will let you know how it ( all) goes…..







A fish by any other name

Comments 20 Standard

We have two new members in the office this week.  Well three if I include Bruno!  Please note, however, I would prefer not to include Bruno.  So, who is Bruno you wonder?  I will get to him in a minute.  For now I want to tell you about two new members of staff.  ( Oh and by the way I haven’t forgotten about Farhad, our Persian friend who spits on the floor if you mention the ayatollah Khomeini…..not that we do, that often, but if it does slip out, then cover your shoes. But more about Farhad another day………

I would like to introduce Tomasso here.  Tomasso is from Roma, so that should tell you plenty. He does have a very catchy line in shirts and wears a beautiful ironed one each day with different cuff links.  He also said he doesn’t wear after shave but would prefer to call  it cologne.  Well whatever it is he is wearing, is so strong we don’t need any sort of air freshner in any part of the building.  Yes, you can smell him at 100 paces… so getting him out of the office so we could get some fresh air was a ” must do”   However his idea of business wear was as original as Akiels.  But I digress….  His first assignment with us hasn’t gone too well.  He had to take a group to Arundel for the afternoon before they went on to Portsmouth.  It all seemed to be going well but after the Castle he had to walk them across a field, by the side of the lake and out onto the main road to meet the coach.  We talked him through it.  We gave him a map.  He showed the coach driver ( who happened to be female, ) where she was to meet him and off he went.

An Italian in charge of other Italians.  Well, it seemed a good idea at the time.  About 30 minutes after the agreed rendezvous time, the coach driver called to say that her group had still not been seen making their way across the fields .  She was a trifle concerned.  I said to give it ten more minutes and then I would call him.  I didn’t want to contact him on his first sojourn in case he thought we didn’t trust him.  So we waited.. and waited.

After forty minutes the driver called back.  She was on her way to look for them.  She was, to put it mildly, concerned!  I called Tomasso and no answer.  I tried again and again.  Finally I got a call back… so if nothing else, we had made contact.  I wasn’t prepared for his reply.   ” Tomasso, where are you?”

“Lost. Lost.  On no, we are lost. Oh what can I do.  Alone out here in the wilderness”

“Well just a little bit maybe dramatic Tomasso.   You cant be far off track and lets be honest, its hardly wilderness.  Do you have any idea from the map?”   Silence followed.

” Tomasso…. do you know where you are? ”

“No No No” he replied in more than a state of panic.  This was, as they say in the movies, NOT going well.   I wondered about my next move when all of a sudden I heard a bit of a whimper.  ” Tomasso, is that you?  Are you crying”

Silence save for a sniff.  A muffled one, but a sniff.

“Tomasso, whats happening?”

“Oh I don’t know. Where are we?  It will be dark soon.  We will be lost in fields.  It will be like Picnic at Hanging Rock.

We will be dead.  All dead.  Oh I don’t want to die in a field in England.  ”

I didn’t bother to say any more.  What was the point. It was obviously walking around the Lake which put that idea into his head.  He was definitely showing his Italian Side and with that it was panic full speed ahead.  I called the coach driver and being a woman ( sorry about that Blokes!) she didn’t panic.  She said ” don’t worry, I will wander ( wander? oh please run…) down and see if I can find them in the field.  I know the route they should be taking.”

Meanwhile, whilst Tomasso was out having his own private drama lesson, I was left with Bruno in the office.   Meet Bruno….


Bruno and Tomasso

and yes, those teeth are real !!!     Sadly the trade off was if Tomasso went and looked after our Italian Group and impressed them with his chi chi Roma style, we would look after Bruno.  But Bruno is a small dog with a huge chip on his shoulder.  And whilst he is ok when Tomasso is around, when left alone he becomes a right royal pain.  Tomasso acquired him from his dead neighbour.  She died almost because of Bruno or more accurately because of him!.

Apparently because the old lady ill treated Bruno he bit her one day.  She deserved it, I am sure you will agree.  Sadly though he bit her on her freshly amputated leg. ( that’s the honest truth).  She had lost her leg because she was diabetic.  So he bit the stump and it became infected… she died!   He was homeless and so Tomasso adopted him.  He said he is normally very noisy but at the funeral he took Bruno and Bruno was very quiet.  Almost smug one would say.

Anyway, no one goes near him and we leave him to sleep in his doggy bed, which was purloined from an Italian hotel Tomasso once worked at .  We also seem to trip over dog toys and bones and he has only been here a matter of a week or so. No one has the nerve to move them and we leave them where they are dropped.  ( as the Pilot used to say, ” Jacks, this is about to become interesting!” ) and for once, I can concur with that.


Bruno’s Bed ( courtesy of Grand Hotel du Mare )

However he seems to smell a change in situation and when Tomasso leaves, then the little darling comes right to life and bothers and worries around our ankles.   With teeth like that, who would upset him but I do notice a lot of feet on the desks currently?

Meanwhile, Mohammed comes into the office having just stopped in on his way home.

” Ah Missis, bad day today.  ”  ( he seems to forget I have a name and always refers to me as Missis)

“Whats wrong Mohammed?  Not taken anyone down in the Sim (Simulator) today?”


Mohammed in his Aviators, just in case it gets sunny in The Sim


Mohammed now has to keep a very low profile at Flying School because the last time he was in the Simulator he showed off by trying to get an A320 to do a ” loop the loop”.  Needless to say, the Instructors were not impressed and he is on a Warning.  He, however, doesn’t seem to worry because, as he told me, his father paid someone in Benghazi to get him through his test there and, for some strange reason, he thinks the CAA will be just as open to that idea.!  Oh the ignorance of youth….

Anyway, the bad news wasn’t anything to do with flying but rather Mohammed having a fall out with lovely Soo from the Co-Op.  He fancied some fish for tea and popped into the Co-Op to buy some.  Sadly, however, he didn’t find any and so thought he would ask Soo where they were.  Soo, was very agitated by the question and said they didn’t sell any.  Mohammed was most insistent that he had bought them in there before and continued to stand his ground.  Soo thought he was taking ” the mick” and walked away.  That resulted in Mohammed getting even more irritated and shouting some curse in Arabic at her. Additionally, he popped his head into the Freezers moving everything about and sliding the lids to one side without closing them.  Eventually he was asked to leave.  He didn’t go easily either and caused quite a fuss at the check outs.  I asked him what he had said to upset Soo, because Soo is so lovely no one could or would want to upset her.

” Oh Missis, she was so rude.  So rude.  She lied.  She said they didn’t sell sea horses and I shouldn’t bring my dirty food habits to England.  She upset me, Missis, she did.  Because I know this lady lie to me.  I buy sea horses there all the time.  I don’t have dirty food habits”

It took me a minute or two to realise his idea of Sea horses, were really our ideas of prawns.  I slipped downstairs and went in search of Soo.  I explained to her and she started to laugh.  And laugh and laugh so much she had to grab the counter to steady herself.  I returned a few minutes later with King Prawns and dropped them in Mohammed’s lap.  As he opened them, along came Bruno, who had obviously smelt the fish.  Mohammed quietly shared them with him.  Well with teeth like Bruno’s, would you?

Oh and in case you are interested, the driver found Tomasso.  He didn’t get murdered and they all drove off happily to Portsmouth.  As for Bruno…. well he is currently on a 3 month trial ( along with his owner )   His bed is going to be moved to the cloakroom and I am going to demand Tomasso feeds him before he comes to the office.

Meanwhile, Mr Wu has been googling ” how to braise a dog” and leaves the window open on Tomasso’s computer.  Strange, but somehow I sense Tomasso wont be with us for too long. So until next time…..   arrivederci    🙂

 PS>   Tomasso and Bruno out on one of Bruno’s teeth filing walks.