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.

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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….

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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.

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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…..

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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.

bruno

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!

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.

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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!

we_are_not_alone__by_iblamechrissy-d5k2bv5

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

 

Questions anyone?????

 

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

.

Unaccompanied Minors and Bars of Soap

Comments 12 Standard

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

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?
photocopier

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”
hong-kong-exterior-home

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!
dsc_0010

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

Everyone is A-OK!

Comments 16 Standard

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

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

police

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

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

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

” Good Morning Officer, how are you?”

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

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

https://looneybitch.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/an-easy-recipe-for-fluffy-ducks-and-only-serve-at-christmas-please/

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

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

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

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

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

strike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Indian newspaper vendor ties newspapers on his bicycle early

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

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

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

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

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

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

desk

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

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

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

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

“You don’t like it, do you?”

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

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

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

curry-l

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