Two Beers; a Curry and a fight

Comments 13 Standard

I was very excited about the Curry Evening and felt prepared and even, “in control”.  Then the guests arrived.  I was just in the middle of putting the chickens to bed ( they are lazy and wont put themselves away until I shoo them up their steps to their coop ) when the doorbell rang.  I was still running around with rollers in my hair and my dressing gown.  I had showered though.  Bonus in everything. Something! Well, nothing, as it would later appear…

David had turned up early and as he undid his scarf and coat told me he didn’t want a Curry.  Bit late to tell me after I had slaved over the Hob all day making 3 of the dammed things.  I took his coat and left him standing in the hallway.  I was a bit hacked off already.

Next through the door, and still before the allotted time for Bombay Blasters was Jon.  Jon and Murielle have just sold their house and are relocating to France.  I wasn’t sure if he thought it a blessing or not, as Jon is very hard to read.   He Is actually very well read but hides it well.  He prefers to be the contentious one at the party. A real Agent Provocateur!  He is also an Anarchist, which doesn’t go down well with David.  Local Councillor.  Or Bill and Jenny, who I love to death but are  straight out of The Shires and adore all things royal.  I allow them to choose their seats, rather than get involved.  Jon also drives a Jag. so the socialist bit of his Anarchic life style falls down.  I think he has little man syndrome.  Small man. Big Car. ‘Nuff said. Jon was obviously having a slow moment.  He likes to be contentious and he was.   Sitting quietly at the top end of the table, he learned across and said in a huge stage whisper ” are you still sexually active?” to Maria, the Portuguese neighbour.  I wasn’t sure whether she was going to laugh; have a heart attack or a case of the vapours, so I decided to serve the curry.

Bill and Jenny are very pleasant.  Very pleasant indeed.  Think ” rich and pleasant land” and country fetes and you have them, all tied up in a red check bow from Laura Ashley or Bodens.  Bill plays Golf with LM at the local ( Bull shit) Golf Club.  Jenny goes to Yoga and the Book Club unless it conflicts with the Bridge Night as, it would appear, it often does.  Its all very Middle England.  I just observe.  I shouldn’t snipe, I am probably just jealous.  A social Interloper.  I don’t quite cut it at the Golf Club and cant play Bridge or Poker.  No hope for me, obviously….

Anyway, it seemed to go down pretty well.  An odd amalgam of Peeps; plenty of red wine and some gentle bantering.  Then the Brexit question.   Of course, I voted out and still do.  It may be a rough patch we will sail through but like everything else, there is always an end to it.  I know it will be fine in the end, and if it isn’t fine, then it isn’t the end ( I nicked that from the Exotic Marigold Hotel before someone accuses me of plagiarism )

Jon didn’t want Brexit.  Bill and Jenny did.  The Portuguese Lady whose sexual activities were questioned over the chicken Jalfrezi naturally, didn’t want to go home.  After all, why should she as she seems to have a very nice home and a UK Pension.  How the heck did that happen?

I admit I was in the kitchen warming up the Camembert when it all kicked off but before I knew it, there was a shout of ” mind the curry” and ” grab the wine!”.  I hesitated and fiddled with the oven temperature.  What to do? What to do? What to do?

Once I had heard nothing more for at least 30 seconds I ventured the courage to walk back to the dining room.  It was mighty quiet there.  Bill and Jenny were sitting quietly sipping red wine. God that man can drink!  And fast!  I assumed it was more of a nervous reaction than quenching his thirst.  Murielle was mopping something off Jon’s face.  As it turned out it was curry but for a minute I thought it might be blood and Maria, Portuguese lady with good UK Pension was simply rubbing her hands.  I had missed something, but no one was saying.

So you probably think that the fight ensued when I was in the kitchen.  Not so.. it happened later.  Having a few spiky remarks made during the meal, the battle lines were drawn and Maria; Jon and Bill&Jenny began eyeing the exit nervously. Murielle didn’t eye anything.  She seemed to be blissfully unaware of anything.  Wonderful state of life to be in, that’s for sure.   The conversation which had started off so well became very limp and forced down one end of the table and very controversial down the other.  I sat, quietly, in the middle, rather like being at a tennis match.  Looking at one end of the Court and then the other.

Finally, and yes it had become a long evening, they took to leaving.  Once one person stood up.  In this case, Dave, the Local Councillor, everyone stood up.  ” Anyone want a lift home?” he enquired.  Eying up Jon who, Dave considered, would only act that way under the influence.    In any event, it didn’t matter as Murielle was driving.

So I was not quite sure how it happened but somewhere along the line, Murielle got into the Jag. Now whether it was excitement to leave the curry night or needing to escape an embarrassing moment I am not sure,  but she did what many did in her age range do and that is, mistook the first gear for reverse and having pressed foot to metal in no uncertain fashion she took with her firstly, my flowing shrub; secondly LM’s wing mirror on his ” toy” and thirdly the rear bumper of Bill’s new Audi.    As always in moments like this, we draw breath and wonder who will blink first.  In this case, it was Bill who wrenched open the door on Murielle’s side and shouted across her to Jon, who by that time seemed to be having difficulty in breathing and I wondered whether a call to 911 would be on the cards.  After all, he is 73!

” Why are you driving a Jag when you are a sodding Socialist?” seemed to be the question of the moment and not ” can I see your Insurance and have you seen the damage?”

Murielle by now had had an attack of the vapours and Jenny was using her old nursing skills and kept asking her to drop her head between her knees to save from fainting.  Not an easy feat when you have the steering wheel to negotiate before your head can drop neatly through your knees.  Still Jenny managed it with coaxing and pressure, although I did wonder if Murielle’s head would ever have the same flexibility again……

I looked at LM.  He sighed… ” I’m off to bed.  Let them sort it out” and with that he turned and shut the front door with a very determined hand.

  • To be continued…..( after clearing it with the Lawyers for Libel!)

 

 

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An Indian Stand off….

Comments 6 Standard

Its not going very well with the dress code for the Curry Supper.  I had agreed with the local Indian Restaurant for them to prepare several exquisite curries for us and also for some of their staff to serve it.  I really wanted to embrace the evening and get into character but the Manager refuses to play ball.

Originally he said he could send staff around to serve it as he was slightly over his man power quota and there were a few extra sleeping upstairs looking for work.  If I could agree to pay them, under the table, so to speak, I could have as many as I liked.  It seems that some personnel had come in, not under the table, but under the radar, and this is probably why he is happy for me to offer them some work whilst they await a knock from the Home Office.  Be assured, it will come one day….  ( the knock from the Home Office, not work from me!)

After discussing the Menu, we returned to the thorny question of the ( staff) dress code and I could see he wasn’t altogether happy about my asking them to dress up as Indian Moguls, complete with dangling daggers ( good literation there, ) and turbans.   I noticed him shaking his head over this, but I really wanted the whole evening to be themed and go with a swing.  What’s the point of having a party if you don’t get into character?  I asked him if it was the ruby stone  in the turban which was the “deal breaker”, but he said he just wanted them to turn up in black trousers and white shirts.  Apparently he  doesn’t feel this is the right moment to draw attention to quite how many of them are living about the Bengal Tiger Indian Restaurant!

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I admit to being very disappointed and cant understand it.  The last time I had a Christmas Curry Luncheon was when I was in Curacao.  I was lucky enough at that time not to be working particularly hard and had time on my hands, so my imagination could run free and it did!  It was also when I used to have access to the Pilot’s Emergency Credit Card.  (Now, obviously, a dim and distant memory. )

Anyway, I had the very novel idea that a group of gospel singers standing on the staircase greeting guests and singing Christmas Carols would be a great way to break the ice.  The local gospel choir were more than happy to oblige and even when I asked them to wear bright cassocks, with white surplus and a regal neck ruff, there wasn’t a peep from them.

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So much so, that it was rather the highlight of the night. A group of ten gospel singers welcoming the guests as they came through the door and  I really don’t understand why the Indian Restaurant cant oblige and do the same .   As they say, ” there’s nowt as queer as folk”

Talking of queer folk, I am also having to badger LM to get on with The Empire Quiz.  I told him that it had to relate to “our Empire”, but he wanted specifics and asked for a Time Frame.  I guess its no good raising questions on Rhodesia and Uganda, if the era he is looking at is post 1974.  By then of course we didn’t have much Empire left so the questions will be pretty few and far between.  I also had to remind him that questions about Arsenal, even though there were about during the Empire, would not be allowed and neither would anything on Golf either.  he had a bit of a sulk and said he couldn’t find questions on Aden or Egypt and would it be ok if they were all based arund New Zealand.  For some reason he isn’t getting into the mood with this Curry Night and I fear it will all be a bit of a damp squid.

Finally, we have just returned from our neighbours lunch do, where a very strange woman came up to me and said that Mrs C ( the sacked cleaner) wasn’t at all happy with me and would be seeking me out early next week. I wasn’t taking too much notice of this woman because I had previously overheard her holding Court on the fact that she takes her dog, ” Dolly” to agility classes each week.  When someone asked her ” why?” – she said she wanted to stimulate Dolly and thought this was great fun for both her and Dolly.  Fuck me!  In my day you only needed to stimulate the kids, not the bloody pets as well and before we know it, they will be taking fish for counselling on account of their water wasn’t changed every seven days or the temperate was slightly too cold for warm water fish.   So I thanked her and smiled at the ” heads up” about Mrs C and continued nibbling my olive and sun dried tomato on a stick which I reckon to be the 21st century equivalent of pineapple and cheese.

I don’t know how I have gone from Hero to Zero in the matter of time it takes you to “Jif ” up the bath, but there you are…..

Update!     It is now 201 weeks and 5 days since I met LM and no marriage proposal has been forthcoming yet!  Just saying…… ( and still counting, obviously!)

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Let’s flush it all away….

Comments 15 Standard

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  I ​am trying to take a quiet minute somewhere.  Currently I am coming to you from “The Gents !”  What the Gents toilet, I hear you say? Yep!  That’s right,but only because it’s quieter than “The Ladies”. I always nip into The Gents if I can. Close the loo door and sit there. Sometimes I even take a sweet in and suck it whilst contemplating. And yes, in case you wondered, I do open and pop it into my mouth before I sit down. So no cross contamination…..
So why would I want a quiet corner of the office?  After all, it is “closed season” and whilst that can relate to “huntin’ ; fishin’ & shootin'” for some of us, it also relates to the fact that we don’t have any students in unless they are “Late Bookers”  And, Late Bookers are the subject of this sorry little tale, today.
It’s still a busy time as we are preparing new programmes and selling to agents.  Currently it’s going very well selling to Danish High Schools a Work Experience Programme in Cape Town. I am rather pleased with this, but of course smugness is always the downfall of the Common Man…..
The current subject of my angst is the amount of students we get from Paris suburbs and when I say ” Paris Suburbs”, believe me, I dont mean the 8th Arrondissement, if you get my subtle drift!  Of course, with LM having taken himself off to Malaga for a boys week playing Golf, not only am I feeling quite abandoned but my work load has increased.
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Anyway, back to the toilet.   Sherry Much-Humper, is having a real problem with these boys.  Sherry is a lady of slightly, only slightly, advanced years and who does a good line in kaftans and very red lipstick.  Think Mama Cass for the dress style and she obviously read the Memo which said that red lipstick on older ladies is quite age defying and thinks that the more you slap on, the younger you become.  Obviously that’s not entirely accurate but I have to admit ( having gone out and bought ” Red Hot Mama” shade myself yesterday, ) it does help a lot.     So there we are having a problem with Sherry and the boys from the ‘Burbs.   ” ..its nothing personal”  I hear myself saying, but in truth it is.  They don’t like her and it ” aint gonna change!”
I did ask if she could be a little more flexible in the way she communicates with them but Sherry is now making this extremely personal and I cant change her mind. The most recent incident was when she was writing on the white board and they starting throwing pen knives ( so not a long blade, you can breath again) around her head.  It took a minute or two for her to notice because they do have quite good aims but the last but one blade just caught her hair ( it is long, flowing and, of course, Gothic black)  I asked them how they had got them into the Country and they told me that, apparently, ” fruit knives” are ok.  I didn’t want to argue….
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 By the time she had turned around and tried to see what was happening, the class was in floods of laughter and she was incandescent with rage.   In fact so angry was she that her cheeks had turned the same red as her lips and she looked like Aunt Sally from Worzel Gummidge
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The day before they had found a wastepaper bin ( metal of course ) and set fire to some paper in it.  I have to say their ideas in hacking her off are quite unique  and I would give them ten out of ten for application and persistence.  As for marking them on their improved level of English, well, lets just say its an ongoing project…….
Opps, there is a note on the door.  I have to vacate my quiet spot but I will leave you with some very uplifting music.   Heavens, it takes you back……
Just to say its currently 1641 days since I met LM and no marriage proposal has been forthcoming yet!   Just saying……  ( and counting, obviously!)

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!”  

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 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.

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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!

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…
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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?
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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”
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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?”
“Nope!”
” 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!
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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.
hat

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”
bloomies
” 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 !
ivana

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.
crying
 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.
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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
farhad

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…..

badass-girl-gun-hot-true-favim_com-456763

 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.
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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

WAKE UP! THOSE DAYS HAVE GONE AND WONT BE BACK

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!