Vanity, be thy downfall…..”

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


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


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


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



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

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

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

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

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


Come out of your Ivory Tower and listen to the People

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

Time for a quick Joke and to lighten the mood.   

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


Questions anyone?????


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



An In-House Coup and yet more Lemons

Comments 13 Standard

I have had a super holiday.  Thank you very much.  Lots of trying out the languages ( I love it when we don’t spot a Brit for weeks!) and plenty of sun and exercise.  It was great.  I admit that I even impressed myself with my French and felt rather proud when I made myself understood in Italian without the aid of my hands or funny pictures or even Google Translate.    

first day

( this was us just as we were leaving.  Poor car was so loaded up, but what’s the point of travelling light?)

However upon returning to chez nous I thought I had walked into something akin to a political coup.  What changes!  What surprises!  Firstly, my lovely bambini had been moved off the drive and used. After having the guts caned out of her, she was ceremoniously dumped on the pavement outside.  I don’t know why they couldn’t be bothered to return it to the driveway but I was quite worried when I was told that No 1 Son had borrowed it when his van broke down.  Getting a van load of equipment into a two seater sports car doesn’t bear fretting over because it will only raise my blood pressure, especially if the leather seats have been scratched but when Alaedene spilt the beans and told me that he had seen him driving it through the High Street like the phrase, ” drive it like you stole it Mate!” I admit to being slightly nervous.  I have yet to catch up with him. Number 1 Son, that is!

I also thought that Number 3 Son may grasp his chance of his escape whilst I was away and finally move in with his girlfriend.  I cant say I am overly pleased as he has dumped Uni and an expense free existence but its his life, not mine.  H has found a job and he says he ” really loves it” so I have to stand back.  So that’s one man down as you might think but sadly no.  One man down and another 3 in residence.  Yes, whilst No 3 son has moved out, it would now seem that Number 2 son has moved back ” I love being home again.  Its like a haven.  I always feel relaxed here!”

no 2 son

Well he may do but I am not sure I concur.  As having returned home, I found that he had snaffled away my best pasta ( okay, its only pasta but it was given to me by Andreas Ferret so it had a special place in my heart.  Sadly, the huge chunk of Parmesan also given with said pasta now resembles a chunk that even Mickey Mouse would sniff at ) and the batteries have been removed from the TV remote to be used in the once defunct Play Station 2. W T F????

Additionally, lovely Lexi, the girl that can do no wrong in the office had needed somewhere for her Spanish boyfriend to live as he was let down on a room in Brighton.

lexi flexi

For some reason she thought it would be fun for him to come and stay at my place whilst we were away and be very quiet until he could find new accommodation. In truth he was not a nuisance and he has now left.   And to finish off my grand return, I hear news that Number 2 (ex) Husband is on his way for his yearly vacances and is currently en route from Belarus.  he always stays with his when he is in the UK.  Not sure LM is overly pleased about this arrangement but what can I do… its been going on for so long now.  However his arrival is not imminent today because as he usually drives from there to us due to the fact that he smokes so heavily he cant be without nicotine for even the short plane transfer it will be another day or so.   This means that all of my bedrooms are going to be in use but worse than that, I have no means of escape as even when I disappear to the Rompa Room, some bugger seeks me out and stands either talking to me, over my shoulder whilst I am trying to work ( beyond annoying) or brings in a cup of tea ( did I ask for one?/) and thinks that a cup of tea equals ” oh hello. Do come in. Pull up a chair and tell me your woes!”

So frankly, let me tell you, IT DOES NOT!!!  1b078-angryfaces8

On the first night of the holiday whilst we were dining out under the gaze of the Chateau at Fontainebleau, we had a text from Irma telling us that Mr NoseHair and her had a bit of a disagreement ( apparently it was one pinch on her bottom too many) and he was moving out one day earlier.  I asked where he was going for the last night and she told me that it was all sorted and he was off to his friend, Mustapha in Brighton and Mustapha had already saddled the horses and was on his way.  There was nothing I could say but it did taint the end of his stay and ruined the start of mine.


( yes I know the image is upside down, but pretend you are looking at the view from one of the many lakes surrounding the Chateau.  Works for me… )

So you can imagine my surprise when on my return to the Office I find that Mr Nosehair wants to return and in fact has increased his weekly hours from 15 to 25 – but no Irma to teach him.  As his demands are many; varied and GREAT we had to do a lot of calling in favours to get him placed.  In the end we asked the lovely Murielle to take him.  Murielle is French, as you probably guessed, but her English is faultless ( well better than mine at any rate) and she has an en suite bathroom to offer him.  Also being a Parisian she has a certain style about her that he will appreciate and it goes without saying that she is a super cook.  She will compliment her very bourgeois lifestyle with her socialist husband and his strident views which always makes for entertaining after dinner talk.  So whilst Murielle will be whipping up a soufflé in the kitchen, her husband can be putting the Brexit Vote Debate to rights with Mr NoseHair.  I do worry that Mr NoseHair may cause Murielle to combust in a puff of smoke but she reassures me ( endlessly) that she is capable of controlling any man after living with her husband for 40 odd years.  She also says that  as his main passion, after his lemons, is shopping, they can have many pleasant afternoons doing exactly that and she does, after all, know the best place to purchase a cashmere cardigan with leather elbows.   cullen-cashmere-cardigan-sweater-for-men-in-derby-grey~p~5087y_02~1500_2

After that resounding piece of evidence, and showing me her Costa Coffee Loyalty Card, there wasn’t a lot more to say.  After all, have you ever known an Egyptian man not get excited over a cup of espresso in Costa Coffee??

Talking of Brexit, as I briefly did, I was surprised how many people in Italy took my hand and commiserated now that we were ” on our own!”  However the real Biscuit Taker was a American chap from California who said how he sympathised with me over the decision and how he hoped it wasn’t the end of ” us Brits!”  He continued by saying that now we wouldn’t have the backing of the Americans he hoped that we would do ” okay!”.  I was about to drown him, because the conversation was taking place whilst I was trying to do a few lengths in The Med but thought better of it.  The easiest way to get rid of him was to say that I was actually in favour of it, which I was, and with that he looked at me in horror – forgot to close his mouth but did swim off in the other direction.  Okay, I admit I also said that I found it rather pompous of a lot of Americans when they assume that GREAT Britain can not function without the hand of America guiding them and that I for one thought that any war film produced by Americans should be issued with a Warning that it is ” pure fairytale” and the element of fact based events in most films produced by them makes Walt Disney look like Chainsaw Massacre.  Okay I probably did mix a few metaphors but it seemed to make the point and I noticed that the following morning at breakfast, when I went up to get my egg flipped at the poolside buffet, he hung back and tucked into the Muesli.

City of San Remo, Liguria, Ligure, Riviera di Ponente, Italy, Europe.

City of San Remo, Liguria, Ligure, Riviera di Ponente, Italy, Europe.

So back in the room, I am.  Slightly testy but ever so refreshed.  I shall bore the pants of you all very soon with pictures and anecdotes of our rather splendid European Road Trip

( ps… we are off in a minute to look at a Camper Van.  I fancy doing it all again next year but taking it slowly and exploring more of the countryside)

(pps…. I have just been rejected for adoption.  Well, I am not being adopted, I applied for it.  But the Dogs Trust would not let me take Elvis the Basset Hound away as they say he was of a rather nervous disposition and they didn’t feel that my household would offer him the best possible start in his re homing journey.  I admit to feeling rather taken aback and whatever suggestion I gave they brooked it!  I can tell you now, I am appealing their decision and if anyone would like to sign my Petition, please feel free to contact me.  I already have the backing of our local Councillor, although as the Dogs Trust said, ” if she works for you, I don’t think her opinion is particularly unbiased”.)  Elvis is pictured below with Sally his girlfriend.  I offered them both a home



Lexi is “back in the room”

Comments 10 Standard


I survived on a few hours sleep last night.  Having done the horrendous drive to LONDON, as all the trains were down yesterday due to the inclement weather, from the south cost. We arrived at the o2 building just in time to see Barry Manilow take to the stage.  Having been an on/off fan for quite some forty years, it was a great night, although I do remain rather dubious about women of a certain age waving luminous green sticks around in the darkness.  I remained firmly seated; feet tapping ever so slightly and finally gave in when Copacabana came on.

So by the time we got home and turned the TV on, we could see that the Brexit was going to be a reality and it was so exciting I couldn’t sleep.  After a couple of hours recuperating, it was wonderful to see that we are leaving.  Britain COULD be Great again and change is always good.  ( sad that Cameron is off, but there we go. Cant have everything)   I truly believe that once in a while you need to put your head over the parapets and see what else is out there.  We don’t have much of a military any more and Russian could quite easily wander down and invade us and its very likely that the French will lift their barriers and help the Migrants across La Manche, but I still remain optimistic ( and that’s from a woman who makes her living educating students from the old EU)

I started my day on the back burner and more so as I was the only one in the office, interestingly, who voted to leave! Yes, I know my office comprises of (legal) Migrants but it was still odd.   Will the Brexit affect me? Possibly. Probably. But in truth what the heck can you do with something until it happens?  Anyway we had a busy day.  Summer School starts tomorrow and that’s a whole new beast to what we had had in up to now

Featured Image -- 1781

School groups of 50 plus kids at a time are rotated to individuals from across the Globe.  We will have to deal with Ramadan; rich Russian kids who demand an en suite bathroom; Chinese who wont mix; volatile Spanish and insular Japanese. Oh and the French who just shrug their shoulders. Yes, yes, maybe I am typecasting but I want to engage with you  the many events we will encounter during the next eight weeks.

So, who are we gonna call ( to help us us.. ) ???


Lexi, of course   🙂   🙂

 Yes, Lexi is back in the room!  Who is Lexi, I hear you ask ( well those of you who may be interested?)  Lexi, real name Aleksandra, ( Aleks to her friend) is Number 2 son’s ex girlfriend.  (Still with me?)  She comes to us each summer and does amazing things around the Summer School.  She is Polish, so you probably already have a picture. A hard worker and great fun to boot!  She came to England 5 years ago speaking little English.  Today, she is at University taking a degree in Theatre/Stage Make up and Design.  Not bad for a kid from Poland who didn’t have more than 3 words of English.  When the relationship between her and No 2 son failed, he insisted I sack her. But I didn’t want to.  She is an admirable Worker Bee; amazing with our media and brilliant with the students.  Who would want to sack her? Amazing energy; a great zest for life. Fun… oh I could go on.  And anyway, I love her to bits.  My surrogate daughter that I didn’t have.    No 2 Son remains 2 hacked off” she is still in residence.  Oh well…..

So Summer School is starting.  The sun will come out and slowly, very slowly, I feel the malaise like a mantle, slip away

Oh and for those of you interested in our summer sojourn its going to be Bodrum.  Its going to be hot; hot; hot but it will be great to laze in the sun; sleep; read and swim.


All good..all so very good.

Our Junior Group below, who have just arrived.  “Is it always this cold?” they asked…

Hang onto your hats.  It can only get worse…..

irmas group




Its all T.F.D. lately….

Comments 15 Standard

Somewhere along the line I am getting things very wrong.  We are two months away from a 3 week break in the school curriculum, which means time to get away and we cant find anything to do or anywhere to go.   Of course that’s not strictly true.  Our ideas are several and varied but nothing that really makes us jump up and down and say ” yes!”.   I feel slightly uncomfortable about that.  How can I feel like that? Its slightly immoral.

Florida is out of the question ( I wanted to drive through the Keys and visit Hemingway Country) due to the humidity and possible hurricanes.  Its raining in South Africa and anyway, I am off there in November.  We have done Camper Van trips for 2 years and so feel something new should be done.  We missed the last cabin on the boat trip up the Croatian Coastline.  What else beckons…..

Its part of the malaise that I am currently feeling.  It must be to do with getting older and getting stale.  I no longer feel able to view anything at work with interest or amusement.  ( I cant even Blog about the current saga this week.  2 kids have Mumps and its spreading like wildfire.)    I tried horse riding today and kept looking at my watch to see when it would be finished so that I could get back home and so on and so on

We have been invited to two parties over two weekends and the excuses are already on my lips.  I wont go.  I simply wont.  I have tried meditating but I am too angry to sit quietly and think about sucking a raisin. I cant be imagining raindrops falling over leaves or water tumbling over stones.  I pace the floor at night unable to sleep and then crave sleep in the day just to escape and shut things out.

( Up the Revolution, Brother!)

Brexit was discussed amongst our friends over the weekend.  I looked at them around our table.  From socialists to conservatives and Imperialists in between. Any decision wouldn’t really affect them , or me.   Shall we stay in; shall we leave.  My thoughts have ebbed and flowed.  In truth as I cant make a decision and stick with it, I know I probably wont even vote. Currently I don’t even care. I hope the rest of the UK is not as apathetic as I am.

But then when I think about other situations.  Awful situations around the world and try to feel ashamed at how small my ” problems ” are… it still doesn’t seem to help.   I try to engage people in my passion in South Africa, but again, no one can see beyond mess and violence.  So no one is interested in what I would like to do.  In truth I would like to take off; spend time with these lovely people; teach English; hang out. Spontaneous; generous minded.  But how can I leave the business I have?  As the Pilot once said to me… ” Jacks, be careful what you wish for.  You have created a beast”  He was right and the beast now controls me…)   When I visit the Masi Township I always hook up with this lady.  She is probably 20 years younger than me but 50 years wiser.  And she does such great works for her community.  I have never felt anything other than warmth and kindness from her.

Mama Charlotte

All of the profits that we receive from the students we send to Cape Town, are sent back to the local community. Its a drop in a very large ocean and it doesn’t do the trick.  It doesn’t salve my conscience.  It isn’t tangible enough for me.  I want to be in it.  In the thick of it.  In truth of course, I don’t have any problems and just need one of those proverbial kicks up the arse I used to give my boys.

I am off to bed and hopefully tomorrow I may feel better, but I wont hold my breath!

Night night……    Too late