Two Beers; a Curry and a fight

Comments 19 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!)




An Indian Stand off….

Comments 7 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!


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.


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!)


I recapture the castle and Curry is on the menu… again!

Comments 12 Standard

Its that time of the year, again, when I do the Curry Lunch complete with either Bombay Blasters, or for the more lily livered, some Fluffy Ducks!  The last time I served Fluffy Ducks, someone queried it was a bit of a ” play on words!” but sadly, I’m not that clever. Its just some Advocaat; .Lemonade and fruit juice whizzed up.  In fact I think I published the recipe here a year or so back……

Curry Lunch is something I have been doing since The Pilot Days and its just a tradition that has continued.  Maybe not as grand as previously but certainly more fun.  We always have some great Curries; lots of “falling down juice”; a dress to impress code and of course the Empire Quiz.    The Empire Quiz is something we play between Courses.  It allows the Curry to settle before we bring the ice cream out.  Home made, of course.  The questions are becoming harder and harder, or probably just more obscure as we scour the history books and On line Quiz Sites for new and unbeatable questions.  LM always likes to take it seriously.  He says there isn’t any point in taking part if you don’t play to win.  I heartily second that and we always have great fun with the Men against the Ladies, don’t ya know…


I always like to get into character when we have a Curry Luncheon.  I used to ask the Indian Restaurant to pop over with the food and hang around to serve it up.  The thing is, they wanted to do it in black trousers and white shirts, but I wanted them resplendent in feather turbans and sashes and curled shoes and a dagger hanging from their belts.  The manager told me most of his staff came from Southall and so the nearest thing they had for a dagger hanging from their belt was when they went ” up town” on a Saturday night for protection.  That was not the image I wanted in my head but he relented and said that if I wanted to hire the costumes, he would get ” his boys” to wear them.  They only did it the once… the following year they insisted on the black dress code again.   I really don’t know why.  After all, who wouldn’t want to wear a black feather ( in their hat) with a faux ruby holding it all together.?  Boys from Southall, apparently!!

Anyway in the middle of all of the fracas of Empire Quizzes; Fluffy Ducks and what to wear I have carried out a bit of a coup.  The house had been looking slightly worse the wear for a month or so now and I did feel that Mrs C, the cleaning lady, was pushing her proverbial luck.  I had got used to the fact that she used to take everything out of my drawers and rearrange them and I accepted that if I wanted my rather nice Bohemian glassware on show, it would only be when she had gone home and I had got it out of the back cupboard again but when my bath had slowly, but very surely lost its shine, I knew something had to give.  Or as the Mitford’s Pa used to say ” its the thin end of the bloody wedge!”

Its true to say that it has only been one week since she left with a pout and a pirouette but its been better.  I am almost in Seventh Heaven that now when I clean my bath, it sparkles appreciatively back at me.  My glassware is exactly where I want it and even though I have put my back out , there isn’t any dust under the bed or behind the doors.  So I am vacuuming and washing floors with a bit of a spring in my step but no doubt will get fed up with it once I get tired; busy; overwhelmed or all three.  Meanwhile, Mrs C now has me on her “Hit List” and I am walking around the town avoiding her in case there is a showdown at five paces outside the French coffee shop.  Still, if nothing else I have found a pretty, albeit more circuitous way to dodge her bullets and cycle to work.  It adds another fifteen minutes onto a ride which normally took ten, but I am thinking its great for the lungs and keeps me away from the wrath of Mrs C.   I have also noticed that the Alpaca’s are calmer now and I did think that maybe her keep letting the chickens out to roam freely with the Alpacas and nip their toes wasn’t the best way for any animal to start their day. I think she was doing it in a fit of spite but she wouldn’t have it.

The chickens are roosting neatly in the Willow Tree and snacking on some Brussel Sprouts and the Alpacas don’t spit and snort so much now that they are not being attacked by Dora; Daisy and Dolly before the sun has even risen over the fence, let alone gone down over the yard arm.  Yes, peace reigns even in Animal Farm…..

Anyway the extra time it takes me to cycle each morning along the towpath and past the houseboats allows me to listen to my Binaural Beats and activate my higher self. Its such a great route and often quite magical, or it is to me.  If nothing else, the style of the houseboats always raises an opinion or six.  I am also getting to be quite a dab hand at working out Menus on the hoof and can now dictate into my phone when I think of a handy Menu as well as listen to the Binaural Beats  via my IPod.

Life is taking on a slightly calmer feel now and even though my hands resemble an attack of housemaid’s chapped fingers, ( due to using lots of bleach and chemical products to clean the house) I find that now I am chatelaine of my home again, it really is much more fun.   Now you will have to excuse me, I am just off to starch the napkins….





Let’s flush it all away….

Comments 15 Standard

  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.
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….
 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
aunt sally
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!)

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.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Until next year and safe journey home….

Gerbils on the horizon

Comments 15 Standard

I took a call recently on the Bat Phone. 


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.


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….


 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. 


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.


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…..




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!


Standing at Baku Caves

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

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

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

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



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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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