If

Comments 6 Standard

Wonderful stuff…..

ComeFlywithme


Source: Google Images

If the things that mattered to you
No longer matter to you
Then there must be something wrong:
It doesn’t mean that you’re not strong

If the things that mattered to you
No longer matter to you
And you cannot find the love that you seek:
It doesn’t mean that you are weak

If the things that matter to you
No longer matter to you
On finding that laughter has lost its way:
It doesn’t mean that you have feet of clay

If the things that mattered to you
No longer matter to you
Search the chambers of your mind
Keep delving until you find

The things that mattered to you
They still matter to you
Your mind sometimes feels the strain
And troubles can be a source of pain

So that the things that mattered to you
No longer matter to you
When things go wrong:

View original post 12 more words

Its just another day

Comments 8 Standard

cossack_dance_02Arcardy is one of our Russian Leaders and visits us each year.    He usually brings about 15 Russian students who are very wealthy but always good fun.    Arcardy used to teach them Ballet, as he is also a Ballet teacher as well as an English Teacher and so they have known him for a long time.   Arcardy is also 65 years old and smokes like a Trooper and drinks like a fish!

The No Smoking signs don’t mean a lot to him. He comes into the Office and never thinks to extinguish a cigarette before entering. His idea of political correctness has yet to be determined!

If we don’t answer Arcardy immediately ( regardless of whether we are on the telephone or not; in a meeting or not or even, ( as had been known once) actually in the Toilet ) he will make a nuisance of yourself until he does get his answer.  I can recall speaking to a mother of a sick French girl and he came right up to my desk. He wasn’t really prepared to wait until I had calmed the anxious mother that her daughter was unwell but safe and so moved nearer and nearer to me until he was almost touching.  ” Out of my space” I wanted to shout!

I moved my seat so that I wasn’t facing him anymore when suddenly a leg whipped over my face and down the other side. It was Arcardy. He was patently not going to wait and was trying to get my attention in any way he could . So whilst I tried to regain my composure, he limbered up at my desk and threw in the odd “ jette” just to show off

Another one of his tactics is to smoke right in your face. I have given up now asking him to extinguish his cigarette before he enters the building but I do object to him sucking hard on his Sobranie and then blowing it out in my face. When I begin to cough – he laughs and feels he has won my attention, if nothing else.

He is always worried about keeping his Charges happy because a lot of them are from ex KGB families. He worries that if they go home unhappy, the father will send someone around to “ have a word” with him and that is something that Arcady doesn’t want to have happen. You can understand his thinking, I guess.

bonito

His latest reason for an appearance at my desk is that one of his students has thrown her mobile phone into the river. The father called Arcardy and told him to go into the river and try to retrieve it. Arcardy was torn between being sensible ( it’s a fast flowing river and we didn’t want it to be one man down) and keeping the father happy. In the end he came to me and asked if he could buy a mobile phone locally and have it back in time for end of lessons. He said that if the girl didn’t get her phone by lunchtime, the father would not be happy and he knew where  Arcardy lived in Moscow. Its one of the times I saw Arcardy not only chain smoke cigarettes but drink down 3 triple espressos. You can imagine how nimble he was at doing exercises by my desk that day!!

Another time a Mother called him and said she wanted her daughter to see Edinburgh. I tried to tell Arcardy that Edinburgh was in the north of the country and we are firmly on the very most southerly point. That still didn’t satisfy anyone and he said that if we didn’t get her daughter to Edinburgh for the weekend, his head would certainly be on a plate!

So we spent the best part of the day hiring a private plane from Shoreham Airport to take the daughter; Arcardy and 2 of her friends to Edinburgh for the weekend. Arcardy wasn’t pleased at flying in a small plane and again had a few large shots of Vodka to calm his nerves…… and here is a tip from Arcardy – if you don’t want a hangover the next morning, always eat a whole cucumber when having a shot or more of vodka, Apparently it calms the stomach and settles the nerves, or should that be calms the nerves and settles the stomach )

When he was away for the weekend, he conscripted one of the older girls to be “ in charge” of his group. Of course this wasn’t really necessary because we always have one of our own Activity Leaders with the group, but there isn’t telling Arcardy anything, regardless and anyway, he says that if we don’t do this he will be “ reported anyway”!  To whom, he never eludes!

I am, however, always sorry to see him go. His two weeks with us here in the Brighton always goes too quickly and I am sad when its time to leave. Taking him to the airport is usually quite a sombre occasion but I know that it wont be long before he drops me an email and books for the following year.

As they say in all the right places…. Nostrovia, which for anyone who reallys knows Russian will know that it is a miss-pronunciation of the word Na Zdorovie (На здоровье)

Anyway, in whichever language you speak…. Cheers!.. hic hic..

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Until next year and safe journey home….

Gerbils on the horizon

Comments 15 Standard

I took a call recently on the Bat Phone. 

Old-cellphone

This is slang for the emergency number, and no, I don’t know how it got its name… although I think we borrowed it from the highly successful Batman and Robin Series.

Batman

The phone call was from Mrs Bxxx.  Mrs Bxxx is a lovely lady who has hosted for many years and you can’t get much past her with regard to student’s behaviour.  In fact I would venture further to say that Wars have been won and lost with people like Mrs B in control of Troops. But I digress….

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 Anyway the reason for her call was that, as she put it, ” she was in a bit of a state…”    I wondered what the reason could be and I could hear that she was labouring her breath when the story unfolded.  I sat down and knew this could be a story to beat all stories.

 Apparently she had gone to the Linen Drawer where she always keeps her clean pillowcases and was about to put the clean ones in when a little face popped up at her.  She said she immediately screamed loud enough to raise the dead from their graves and dropped all of the pillow cases into such a heap that they would have to be ironed again. I was still no wiser as to the situation and began to list the many other things I could be doing when she continued her story.  Somewhere between laying down the pillow cases in her linen drawer and her about to close it tight, a little face popped up to say ” hello”

 When I say ” little face” I am NOT talking about a student.  No, I am talking about a Gerbil. 

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Somewhere between the students arriving and going into Brighton one or both of them had purchased a Gerbil and made it a super nest in the Linen drawer of Mrs Bxxx.  And not just any pillow case, I’ll have you know, dear readers, but apparently some with an extremely high thread count which means that not only will they mark quite easily but also crumple without a care in the world, notwthstanding that Mrs B had actually just ironed them to within an inch of their lives! Oh, and don’t get her started on the starch.  Yes, she had starched them as well….

 Surprisingly the little Gerbil didn’t mind Mrs Bxxx screaming at the top of her voice and continued to bed down in her best cotton as well as gnaw away quietly on the lace.  ” Oh heavens above, ” said Mrs Bxxx ” my best lace pillow cases all frayed and chewed, and I have had those since my wedding day”.   ( So readers that is quite some time as Mrs Bxxx is approaching 70, I would say !  Actually its probably 80, but I wanted to be kind)

 

I apologised profusely and said I would arrange to go around and bring with me the offending student (s).  She also said that she thought I should hurry up as the Gerbil looked like it could be ” in the family way” and she didn’t want another dozen staring up at her when she next went to put the pillow cases away.  I agreed and sped off to the class.

 As I was walking through the corridor I heard another eruption in the class of Richard who appeared to be about to self combust. Richard, although a teacher of extremely qualified means, does sometimes have problems with the care and control of his students. They seem to play upon his good nature and as recently as last week I was called to confiscate a football which seemed to have worked its way into the lessons and whilst he was explaining about the rights and wrongs of ” double negatives“, to the kids in the front, the ones at the rear were playing football off the walls.  So thinking it would be a good idea to drop by first and pin point the noise, I popped my head in the door to see a crowd of people, including Richard, leaning over a student and a rather large empty box.  Yes, dear readers it would appear you are there before me, and we had indeed another case of ” Gerbil in the House

 Gerbils 2

This time it was not one, but two Gerbils and they were now scampering around the classroom, having made another ” Great Escape ” trying to be trapped by excited students who thought this a lot better than learning all about phrasal verbs.

 Gerbils, it would appear, are full of fortitude and didn’t seem to care one jot about the noise around them.  They probably were enjoying their race to freedom and were in and out of legs and rucksacks without the slightest care in the world.  Of course this was a great diversion for the students although it’s fair to say that Richard didn’t see it in the same way and chaos was reigning however hard he begged for silence.

 I tried to shout over the noise which seemed to be resembling something like a Wednesday morning in a local Tunisian Souk ( or Souq).  Noise; Chatter; Smells and, of course, animals on the loose. It really was great fun. Finally, Andreas managed to catch both  Runaways, and we tried to reassemble the class, but as I am sure you can imagine, settling them back down to lessons was not an easy task. 

 

Lunch was early that day!

 As the day wore on, I took a total of 4 phone calls from Host Families who had discovered Gerbils in various places, although Mrs B’s does seem to have remained at the top of the list for ” interesting places to hide!”.  As she reported back to me later in the week, whilst she could see the funny side of it, she hoped her mother in law – who had been dead some forty years, wasn’t rolling in her grave over the state of her wedding present linens.

 When all Gerbils were rounded up, even the ones who appeared to be about to give birth, I herded them back to the Pet Shop and caused somewhat of a debacle myself.  Whilst in my quieter moments I did indeed give a little chuckle in the night at the amazed faces on host families and teachers who came across these little animals, I was not going to admit it to the local Pet Shop who sold these creatures, knowing they were foreign students and would not be allowed to take them home. No, he needed to be made to squirm and squirm he did.  At first he said there were no refunds and ignored my pleas, so I turned nasty and said that if he didn’t want a scene outside his shop, I would bring the students down there for a mass demonstration with placards.

demonstration

I suggested he should give all the students their money back if he didn’t want a mass Rally akin to Greenham Common on his doorstep and so having found he had no option but to do this, he handed over the thirty pieces of silver and also took back the Gerbils! As they say in Hip Communities, it was a ” bit of a result!”  Everybody but “him” was happy.  And, as always, after retelling the story to Mr Wu, he has the usual upbeat response…  ” Everybody happy… its all A-OK!”

mr wu

and indeed it was…..

16c47-smileyfacewinking

 

 

Suffer little children…..

Comments 59 Standard

Well draw up a chair.  Light a cigarette and take a deep breath.  This Blog wont be a pretty read… and its nothing new and its been done before, but forgive me if I do it again.

Once, back in the 1970’s I had the mis-fortune ( yes, that’s the right word) to work with some South Africans.  Both white ladies and both ex Brits who had gone out there twenty years before and returned when things got “sticky”.  By the mid 1970’s the Group Areas ( Removal) Act was well under way.  The white man began to sleep with bars and fortified houses and buses were noted by who they carried as opposed to their destination.

http://overcomingapartheid.msu.edu/index.php

I remember being quite young and very naïve about the situation ( after all it was so very far away..) and hearing them say it was quite appropriate for the Blacks to use a separate Bus and if they didn’t employ them for a few Rand a day, who else would?  They even argued that the Black community needed the White community to feed and clothe them.  Thankfully, we have moved on somewhat…or have we?

I cant keep being cross about the housing situation in South Africa, or can I?  When I go there I usually stay in a delightful and very colonial place called Simon’s Town.  Home of the Navy, or at least the Navy dockyard, it has a very British feel.  Its all rather pleasant and pretty and everyone has time for a chat.  Tourists keep the place buoyant, which is just as well when you remember that the Town, almost overnight, lost a good majority of its population when the Group Removal Act came into force.

The one thing in Simons Town favour and more particularly the Mayor at the time, was that almost without exception, everyone in that town voted for the Black and Coloured people to stay.  Petitions were drawn up; Acts ignored but in the end it was fruitless.  People who had made the town their home were suddenly miles away.  Without cars, it was impossible to get there each day to work.  Public Transport was scant, if at all.  Schools who had happily taught all colours were suddenly two thirds empty and the remaining scholars were white.   Fishermen who used to sell their catch on the Dock had gone; Cape Malays who had farmed in the area for generations had lost their home; their stock and their means of earning a living.   No one won…not even the “Yarpie!”  ( slang  term for White Afrikaners)

However Simon’s Town has a name for being one of the safer neighbourhoods in The Cape and this is put down to the fact that all of the residents fought tooth and nail to keep all “locals” there.   It would appear that on the whole, Black and Coloured people don’t bear a grudge towards the white man here ( fuck knows why! ) and both seem to help each other.  Its just a nice place to be and it all centred on the fight to keep the community together all that time ago.  Its still a bit odd though.  Young people matured and moved away.  Black and Coloureds only return to work.  The old (white) folks of the Town… and that’s all that is left now… walk along the beach each day and meet and drink coffee.  A lot of White Rhodesians having scarpered over the Border have settled here.  Most bemoaning their lot and living in reduced circumstances.  Their Black Zimbabwean neighbours having followed them, settled in Red Hill. No black faces here… almost like a Whites Only Club.  When will they learn?

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The Ex Pats still thinking they are living in Happy Valley and having a Gin Sling.

Meanwhile over on the Beach, the Black kids make a living looking for sharks and putting out shark nets each day.  The net bordered the whole beach and took ages to drag in at the end of each day….but at least the Whites can swim safely.

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How easily would you see a shark coming to you in these waves?

 

It was their final task of the day to drag the nets in and put them away

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However, there was an area called Red Hill and this was one of the many coloured areas.  It was very hard to define ” coloured” in those days and when you look at the photographs in the Link below you would easily think ” white”.  When it was earmarked for ” so called” development, people were moved on to another area and their homes ( many of them humble but secure brick farmsteads) were demolished.  Forty odd years later, the land is still undeveloped  and many say it was a ploy to forcibly removed all Black and Coloured People from the area.  You can read more about it on the link below and it has some rather interesting photographs.  Please note this was the original “Red Hill”  and as you will see, in a better state of repair than the one now called Red Hill.  It was a community, not a Township.  The informal settlement of which I am now writing is actually over the mountain top

http://www.groundup.org.za/media/features/redhill/redhill_2043.html

Now it is what they call an ” informal settlement” or a Township, although it is fairly small by Township standards.  Its quiet and self policing.  Its poor. Its desperate. Its filthy. Its overcrowded.   But it also has a huge sense of community ; of real hope for a better tomorrow and a resignation that this is ” their lot” so just get on with it.  I spoke with this lady.  Look at her eyes.

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Each time I look at this picture I see something different.  Hurt; desperation; confusion; pain.  She looks after 22 children every day.  22 children under 4 years of age whilst their parents go out to work.  She does this with the help of one young girl and not a lot else.  Her shack is 2 rooms.  The back room where she lives and cooks.  The front room is her bedroom.  In the day it is converted to her Nursery.    Can you imagine what she does when it rains and she has 22 children in there, including 5 or 6 babies who don’t have a cot, so she sleeps them widthways on her bed.

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I asked her when she could expect some sort of permanent housing.  She tells me, without any malice, that she has been waiting 20 years, so maybe some day soon!  She doesn’t complain.  Who can she complain to?  There are too many people like her.  You truly are pissing into the wind if you think building a few thousand small single story houses is knocking any fraction off the housing situation

When we went there we took some supplies.  When we arrived and got out of the car she looked at me.  ” I have been blessed by God, ” was all she said.  It made me cry.   She didn’t want my tears and I hurriedly wiped them away.  How can you believe in God if he allows you to live like that?  But she did…..   She was just grateful that someone had brought her some nappies; some Vaseline and those all important wet wipes.   We added to the list a sack of maize so that she could make some stew and soup for the children to have a hot lunch each day.  She looked at me and said she would make a huge stew for all of her neighbours to share this weekend.  That is what I mean, a real community.     What they don’t have in material things, they have shedloads of in terms of what is important.  ” Love thy neighbour and share and share alike”   On her list she asked for wet wipes.  I admit to being a bit surprised thinking them somewhat of a luxury.  She explained they didn’t have any running water.  Someone had cut the water supply six weeks ago to sell the piping and no one had been to them to reconnect the water with new piping.  So the only water these people have, is what they carry home on their heads, or by walking to the standpipe at the entrance to the Settlement, just off the main road. Wet Wipes meant she could at least clean the babies’ bottoms.     She also said that she was looking after 2 babies who were sick.  She didn’t have any paracetamol or anything like it to give them to soothe their temperatures.  It was hot inside and out.  Flies hovered around them and slept alongside the babies.  Right outside her shack ( please don’t think I am being disrespectful, its the term they use for their home) were two chemical toilets.  Almost full.  No shelter; no privacy.  If you wanted to use it, you did so in full view of the community.  I asked what she did.  She said the kids used it, but she tries to wait until she can go to the Town….its more private!

I glanced across and saw a Clinic.  Upon closer inspection I saw it was closed and stripped bare.  “Its been closed for 2 years now.  We used to get a Nurse every Saturday but they closed it and we have to walk now to Ocean View ( another Township but more established with shops and a school) if we want the doctor.   She looked at me as if I had a magic wand.  I looked at the floor, suddenly mindful of the dreadful imbalance.

I didn’t outstay my welcome.  The kids are curious about ” white people” but already know not to bite the hand that visits them.  The adults go about their daily business; acknowledge you politely but nothing more.  They probably think another white person come to look; stare; gasp and then go away.

I left there determined to try to help.  I returned to the Office and galvanised staff into action.  We are trying to raise 2000 GBP to prepare a porch and a concrete path around the Nursery before the rain comes.

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You can see from the picture that the road outside is mud.  The kids play in the mud and the dirty carpet is the only thing that stops the dust coming into the shack.  You can imagine, it doesn’t really do anything and when it rains, it becomes a soggy mass of fibre.   The concrete path will enable them to walk without getting filthy and the porch will keep some of them dry when they are forced to sit outside and eat.  I already have 5 people pledged to go there in June and do the work.  I just need to raise the money for the materials

We are contacting pharmaceutical giants to ask them to donate a basic First Aid Box.  They don’t have a Clinic but we are trying to get them a Medical Box of bandages; aspirin; TCP and things like that.  Even these basic things will stop the 45 minute walk to Ocean View.

And our Volunteering Project for University Kids means they will go there for up to 2 months and help the kids speak English.  Their language is Xhosa and is spoken when at home.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xhosa_language

Although they can speak English, its their second language and is often stilted .  If you cant speak English, schooling is hard.  The school in Simons Town now is 80% black.  We went to meet the Headmistress as we wanted to send some European kids there.  She was bemused by this request!  She has been one of the children removed from the area in the 1970’s and she returns as Headmistress to a school she was once removed from.  Ironical, eh? Its true to say there is an element of “ fuck you” in her but this makes me like her all the more.

What she has achieved with those kids in that school is nothing short of a miracle.  The Pass rate is now 97%.  She has encouraged them all to achieve things and points at the disadvantage she had when she was younger.   The conversation with her gave me hope and we decided to send our ” rich white European kids there” for an African experience.  We both exchanged a look.  I don’t think for one minute they will be unsafe but I do think it will be a wonderful lesson in life.  Their parents, surprisingly agreed with me.  Interestingly, all kids have to wear a Uniform and if you don’t have the Uniform, you cant attend school.  That’s right across the board.  So what do you choose?  Food for your family or school uniform so you can educate your child.  What a Catch 22 situation?

Although it is fair to say that there are now local Charities which raise money so that black kids can have a uniform to go to school.  Otherwise the cycle would never end.  No education…no progression.

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Simons Town’s hope for the future!

 

On a final dismal note to this rather depressing Dispatch and one which may help you understand why I feel so useless as well as so angry, I said to the lady at the Nursery…

” Have you thought about asking the Supermarkets to give you the food they throw out each day”

“Yes, but I have to register as a Charity before they give me any food, although they know we live here”

” Can I help you do this” I asked,

“No.  we tried” she replied

“What happened?”

” We cant register as a Charity whilst we are in an informal settlement.  We have to wait until we are in permanent housing.  We have waited 20 years, it cant be long now”

So the crux of this conversation was that the local government and huge supermarket giants know these people are hungry.  They know they need the food.  They know this informal settlement has been in existence for more than 25 years and yet because no one will acknowledge its presence, the red tape means they will continue to go hungry and Supermarkets will continue to throw food out in front of their eyes. So she continues to wait until they are re-housed and she can then register as a Charity, until then, as Marie Antoinette would have said ” let them eat cake”

Meanwhile back at the Beach.. no longer for Whites only, but during all my morning walks, I didn’t see one face other than a white one use it.  The answer is easy of course, the Beach is in a wealthy white area and difficult for Black and Coloured people to access.  Its a strange sort of inequality and part of the division is still there.

South Africa is a beautiful stunning country with some of the most vibrant and engaging people I have met.  During all my times I have been there, not once have I encountered malice; rudeness or indifference from Black or Coloureds. Only courtesy; helpfulness and a smile.   As you can imagine, with the Whites, they have an imperious streak of their own making.  Maybe that is unfair, many are pleasant and friendly it is true.  And many do their best to raise awareness and funds,  but I cant understand why change doesn’t move faster and how most White people can sleep at night.  If nothing else, its downright embarrassing.

As I was told I don’t live there and I don’t know the Policy! But what I do know is what is right and what isn’t… and currently…. Red Hill isn’t…

I make no apology for my feelings….. sleep well !

Steamy Weather and naughty Turks

Comments 30 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!

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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!”  

skyline

 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.

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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.

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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.

https://looneybitch.wordpress.com/2015/11/16/she-just-needs-managing/

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.

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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?”

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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.

farhad

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?”

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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

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!

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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?”

http://unst.org/web/

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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 ( https://contentedness.net/) 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!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/p04b183c/adam-curtis-hypernormalisation

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.

lenin

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….

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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!

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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. 

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