Its my dream, not his and LM moves out..

Comments 20 Standard

It would appear, dear Readers, that LM wont be proposing to me anytime soon.  He has, in fact, decided to move out, so I shall cease the amount of days that I have been counting since we met and realise that fate has once again dealt me a crushing blow.


I am not entirely sure what was the final card ” we” dealt but suffice to say that he has decided to kip in the spare room now for 10 days and although he still puts his washing in the wash bin and uses ” our bathroom”, there seems to be no thawing.

It seems to be coupled with the fact that I had a dream which I wrongly assumed to be his also, but in fact it wasn’t.  As Number Two Son said, rather sagely, ” Mum, its our dream, not his!” and I take this as a small bit of comfort that the next part of my journey will be without him.

no 2 son

The dream I have is to remodel my Dad’s house on the beach.  It was an undertaking that I would have preferred to have taken with LM but as he isn’t about, I shall galvanise myself and do it alone.  As The Pilot said whilst communicating with me recently from Lusaka ( where he currently lives with his wife ! ) , ” Nanooka, take a deep breath; wipe your sword and move forward.  You are stronger than you think!” and with this printed off and stuck to the front of my PC I am, indeed, moving on.

project 3

Its certainly not a trip for the faint hearted.  I have sold my house and will have to either camp in a caravan on site for six months or rent somewhere.  Personally, I would prefer camping out on site, but the Architect says he would prefer NOT to have me there, because apart from the Builders having to work around me, they also don’t want to be responsible for losing any chickens; cats or dogs.   So I will be relegated to renting a home for a few months and planning my future.

I see me growing old disgracefully; drinking a Gin Sling on the Balcony and throwing stones at the passerbys. I am obviously destined to be single; batty and have a house full of animals and not men, but  with a wonderful view of the Channel and the twinkly Wind Farms, what’s not to like?  It will be ” The House that Jack, (re) built…)

Its a new adventure and I cant wait….




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!)


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…..




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.


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 )

” 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.


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!


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…


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







A fish by any other name

Comments 20 Standard

We have two new members in the office this week.  Well three if I include Bruno!  Please note, however, I would prefer not to include Bruno.  So, who is Bruno you wonder?  I will get to him in a minute.  For now I want to tell you about two new members of staff.  ( Oh and by the way I haven’t forgotten about Farhad, our Persian friend who spits on the floor if you mention the ayatollah Khomeini…..not that we do, that often, but if it does slip out, then cover your shoes. But more about Farhad another day………

I would like to introduce Tomasso here.  Tomasso is from Roma, so that should tell you plenty. He does have a very catchy line in shirts and wears a beautiful ironed one each day with different cuff links.  He also said he doesn’t wear after shave but would prefer to call  it cologne.  Well whatever it is he is wearing, is so strong we don’t need any sort of air freshner in any part of the building.  Yes, you can smell him at 100 paces… so getting him out of the office so we could get some fresh air was a ” must do”   However his idea of business wear was as original as Akiels.  But I digress….  His first assignment with us hasn’t gone too well.  He had to take a group to Arundel for the afternoon before they went on to Portsmouth.  It all seemed to be going well but after the Castle he had to walk them across a field, by the side of the lake and out onto the main road to meet the coach.  We talked him through it.  We gave him a map.  He showed the coach driver ( who happened to be female, ) where she was to meet him and off he went.

An Italian in charge of other Italians.  Well, it seemed a good idea at the time.  About 30 minutes after the agreed rendezvous time, the coach driver called to say that her group had still not been seen making their way across the fields .  She was a trifle concerned.  I said to give it ten more minutes and then I would call him.  I didn’t want to contact him on his first sojourn in case he thought we didn’t trust him.  So we waited.. and waited.

After forty minutes the driver called back.  She was on her way to look for them.  She was, to put it mildly, concerned!  I called Tomasso and no answer.  I tried again and again.  Finally I got a call back… so if nothing else, we had made contact.  I wasn’t prepared for his reply.   ” Tomasso, where are you?”

“Lost. Lost.  On no, we are lost. Oh what can I do.  Alone out here in the wilderness”

“Well just a little bit maybe dramatic Tomasso.   You cant be far off track and lets be honest, its hardly wilderness.  Do you have any idea from the map?”   Silence followed.

” Tomasso…. do you know where you are? ”

“No No No” he replied in more than a state of panic.  This was, as they say in the movies, NOT going well.   I wondered about my next move when all of a sudden I heard a bit of a whimper.  ” Tomasso, is that you?  Are you crying”

Silence save for a sniff.  A muffled one, but a sniff.

“Tomasso, whats happening?”

“Oh I don’t know. Where are we?  It will be dark soon.  We will be lost in fields.  It will be like Picnic at Hanging Rock.

We will be dead.  All dead.  Oh I don’t want to die in a field in England.  ”

I didn’t bother to say any more.  What was the point. It was obviously walking around the Lake which put that idea into his head.  He was definitely showing his Italian Side and with that it was panic full speed ahead.  I called the coach driver and being a woman ( sorry about that Blokes!) she didn’t panic.  She said ” don’t worry, I will wander ( wander? oh please run…) down and see if I can find them in the field.  I know the route they should be taking.”

Meanwhile, whilst Tomasso was out having his own private drama lesson, I was left with Bruno in the office.   Meet Bruno….


Bruno and Tomasso

and yes, those teeth are real !!!     Sadly the trade off was if Tomasso went and looked after our Italian Group and impressed them with his chi chi Roma style, we would look after Bruno.  But Bruno is a small dog with a huge chip on his shoulder.  And whilst he is ok when Tomasso is around, when left alone he becomes a right royal pain.  Tomasso acquired him from his dead neighbour.  She died almost because of Bruno or more accurately because of him!.

Apparently because the old lady ill treated Bruno he bit her one day.  She deserved it, I am sure you will agree.  Sadly though he bit her on her freshly amputated leg. ( that’s the honest truth).  She had lost her leg because she was diabetic.  So he bit the stump and it became infected… she died!   He was homeless and so Tomasso adopted him.  He said he is normally very noisy but at the funeral he took Bruno and Bruno was very quiet.  Almost smug one would say.

Anyway, no one goes near him and we leave him to sleep in his doggy bed, which was purloined from an Italian hotel Tomasso once worked at .  We also seem to trip over dog toys and bones and he has only been here a matter of a week or so. No one has the nerve to move them and we leave them where they are dropped.  ( as the Pilot used to say, ” Jacks, this is about to become interesting!” ) and for once, I can concur with that.


Bruno’s Bed ( courtesy of Grand Hotel du Mare )

However he seems to smell a change in situation and when Tomasso leaves, then the little darling comes right to life and bothers and worries around our ankles.   With teeth like that, who would upset him but I do notice a lot of feet on the desks currently?

Meanwhile, Mohammed comes into the office having just stopped in on his way home.

” Ah Missis, bad day today.  ”  ( he seems to forget I have a name and always refers to me as Missis)

“Whats wrong Mohammed?  Not taken anyone down in the Sim (Simulator) today?”


Mohammed in his Aviators, just in case it gets sunny in The Sim


Mohammed now has to keep a very low profile at Flying School because the last time he was in the Simulator he showed off by trying to get an A320 to do a ” loop the loop”.  Needless to say, the Instructors were not impressed and he is on a Warning.  He, however, doesn’t seem to worry because, as he told me, his father paid someone in Benghazi to get him through his test there and, for some strange reason, he thinks the CAA will be just as open to that idea.!  Oh the ignorance of youth….

Anyway, the bad news wasn’t anything to do with flying but rather Mohammed having a fall out with lovely Soo from the Co-Op.  He fancied some fish for tea and popped into the Co-Op to buy some.  Sadly, however, he didn’t find any and so thought he would ask Soo where they were.  Soo, was very agitated by the question and said they didn’t sell any.  Mohammed was most insistent that he had bought them in there before and continued to stand his ground.  Soo thought he was taking ” the mick” and walked away.  That resulted in Mohammed getting even more irritated and shouting some curse in Arabic at her. Additionally, he popped his head into the Freezers moving everything about and sliding the lids to one side without closing them.  Eventually he was asked to leave.  He didn’t go easily either and caused quite a fuss at the check outs.  I asked him what he had said to upset Soo, because Soo is so lovely no one could or would want to upset her.

” Oh Missis, she was so rude.  So rude.  She lied.  She said they didn’t sell sea horses and I shouldn’t bring my dirty food habits to England.  She upset me, Missis, she did.  Because I know this lady lie to me.  I buy sea horses there all the time.  I don’t have dirty food habits”

It took me a minute or two to realise his idea of Sea horses, were really our ideas of prawns.  I slipped downstairs and went in search of Soo.  I explained to her and she started to laugh.  And laugh and laugh so much she had to grab the counter to steady herself.  I returned a few minutes later with King Prawns and dropped them in Mohammed’s lap.  As he opened them, along came Bruno, who had obviously smelt the fish.  Mohammed quietly shared them with him.  Well with teeth like Bruno’s, would you?

Oh and in case you are interested, the driver found Tomasso.  He didn’t get murdered and they all drove off happily to Portsmouth.  As for Bruno…. well he is currently on a 3 month trial ( along with his owner )   His bed is going to be moved to the cloakroom and I am going to demand Tomasso feeds him before he comes to the office.

Meanwhile, Mr Wu has been googling ” how to braise a dog” and leaves the window open on Tomasso’s computer.  Strange, but somehow I sense Tomasso wont be with us for too long. So until next time…..   arrivederci    🙂

 PS>   Tomasso and Bruno out on one of Bruno’s teeth filing walks.



Oil Paintings and Curry

Comments 19 Standard

I am a bit hacked off this week.  I seem to be both the Whipping boy and the Office Junior and its making me cross.  So cross in fact that when I had to nip out to Lidl this morning, as my Sainsbury Delivery hadn’t arrived, I bumped into one of my host families who asked if I was crossed as I had such a scowl on my face.  Well, lets face it, if you had to attack Lidl on a Sunday morning, you would be cross.


So the other reasons ( and yes, there are many this week) why I am hacked off are this;

1     I don’t like Rita popping over to ask me to run errands down to the Luvvies shop for her because she has been banned by them.  ( You may recall she got dressed in a hurry one morning in just her over coat and did it up in such a clumsy way, her ample bosom popped out across the counter whilst she was paying.  Pete almost disappeared in a puff of smoke ( well Rita and her bare boob at 7am in the morning is probably not a good look. )And Lyn was convinced that Rita had done it on purpose to lure Pete over to the dark side.  So they permanently banned Rita from their shop and consequently when she forgets something she knocks my door to go and get it. ( those of you with time on your hands, can read about it here…)

To say its getting inconvenient would be like saying, Donald Trump has a bob or two…a huge understatement!

2     Annoying fact number two is that I may have lost a host family of thirty plus years and its all because of LM.  Mrs T, ( not Margaret Thatcher but funnily enough they do share the same initials) had asked us over for one of her very famous Curries and we set off after the ” Rise in Terrorism” speech at the Ropetackle.  Now I don’t know if the Talk on Terrorism, which by the way was rather good, had made LM feel bilious or it was the 2 pieces of vegan banana cake that he had consumed in the interval, but by the time we were knocking the door, he had begun to complain of stomach pains.  I told him to ” man up” and put a smile on his face because even if he was feeling under the weather they had invited us for a meal and I wasn’t going to cook that night if he decided to cancel.

Now at the home of Mr and Mrs T you cant fail to recognise the oil paintings on the wall.  The paintings are of their previous dogs who, sadly, have passed away.  Both of them were toy poodles and both of them were called Fleur.  Well, that’s not strictly true.  One was called Fleur and the other was called Fleur Deux ( as in Fleur the 2nd!).   Anyway Fleur and Fleur Deux are positioned in such a wall that they can see what you are up to where ever you may be in the sitting room, or dining room.  In truth, its slightly odd but there you go and I guess I should be pleased that they are only painting and not stuffed animals.


And yes, before you ask, there is a replacement.  Only this time, she wasn’t called Fleur but Poppy, although she does still continue to be a golden toy poodle.  Its a bit like they have cloned them and when Poppy passes, then they will take another one out of the cupboard and continue as normal.  In any event I am not sure they have room on the wall for a third oil painting, even if they do reduce the size of them from 4 foot square to only 2!

I also have to report that Mrs T is a stickler for a clean house. And by default, Mr T is a stickler for a clean garden.  In fact he told me once over the Harvey’s Bristol that he liked to get up in the morning; sweep the patio and drive and then, if necessary, hose it down as well.  I thought LM should take note as the only water our driveway has seen is when it rains and currently we have a range of foliage to rival Kew Garden growing between the bricks.


I digress…… ( opps sorry for ellipses, but I am setting the scene )

So there we were.  LM on a low alcohol blond Bier and me on the Harveys and the two Fleurs, watching our every move in case we were going to run off with the silver (plate!).  I kept looking over at LM hoping that he would enter into the spirit of things, but he was ominously quiet.  Luckily, dinner was served and we took our places.  Mrs T had really got into character and had worn a sari for the night.  When I remarked how pretty it was and asked her where she got it, she told me that her neighbour ( who does happen to be Indian) bought it from Southall Market and had given it to her as a Christmas present on account of Mrs T having a lot of “Curry Nights”.

So there we were, making polite conversation and admiring both the Mango Chutney


( Sharwoods of course) and her freshly fried poppadum’s  and tucking into the curry with a haste that could border on rudeness.  Well, we hadn’t eaten a thing that day since breakfast.  As LM had eaten most of his dinner I started to relax and looked for second helpings.  It really was most delicious.  The Fleurs x 2 continued to observe. Silently ominous, or should that be ominously silent.   They must have ” seen it coming!”

Suddenly and without warning, and during the sweeping of the crumbs from the table by Mrs T and her brass dustpan and brush, up jumped LM from the table and rushed outside.  Mrs T looked nervous and puled the sari around her face a bit more and Mr T stood up.  It as one of those moment when you don’t want to watch but you know you have to and there, in between the potted begonias; the miniature golden fir trees and the dark oak steamer chairs, LM vomited.   Oh yes, almost projectile vomiting I would say.  Right across the patio; the chairs and the perennials.  Oh  F -U-C-K!


Of course there is that period in life when you think you have been standing, watching for at least a day but in truth its probably a nanosecond and in that nanosecond, Mr T had rushed out in the direction of the shed to get the hose and clean things up.

However, in his rush to reach the shed and hose the curry down before it dried hard in the sun and attracted the blue bottles,  Poppy had also rushed out and headed straight for the curry mess. I assumed she was going out to comfort LM but with him rolling and groaning on the grass ( not sure if he was even allowed to lie on the grass, but he did) and Mrs T still dithering with crumbs and her dustpan, Poppy got stuck in.  Yes before all of our eyes ( well not LM’s of course as his were closed whilst rolling on the grass) Poppy let her snout get stuck into that trough and ate the curry. Every last bit of Balti and Vegetable Fried Rice.

It suddenly went very quiet.  I started to sweat.  Mr T had still not returned from the shed with the hose and in that time Poppy continued to eat the curry and even lick the slabs clean.  A screech went up from behind me and Mrs T rushed out, carrying her sari in one hand and the brass dustpan in the other, shouting at Poppy to ” leave leave, oh Poppy be a good girl and leave”.  That  journey through the door to the garden was not particularly speedy with Mrs T because the sari was , if I am honest, wound a trifle too tightly around the legs and she ended up waddling and throwing her legs either side of her as she rushed past the still perfect Lupins ( ie not having been vomited on) and up towards the wilting begonias.

Of course by the time she reached Poppy, and Poppy had indeed ” left” ,the curry was gone.  Mr T emerging from the shed with hose in hand wondered what on earth to do but never having a minute without a task to complete, he calmly connected up the hose; lifted Poppy up under his arm and hosed down what was left of the curry sauce  ( very little, I might add) so that the patio looked as good as it ever did, even if the smell still lingered in the evening warmth

As you can imagine, the evening rather lost its zing after that and we made our excuses and left.  In any event, when I glanced into the kitchen, I saw that Mrs T was putting cling film over the sherry trifle and placing it back into the fridge.  Obviously we weren’t going to be offered anything else after a performance like that. Poppy had also incurred a Red Card and her bed had been moved to the Laundry Room ( “in case she does a whoopsie”, Mrs T confided to me, ” and ruins my Axminster” )

The journey back home was slightly depressing.

Just as we got in across comes Rita again.  ” any chance of getting me some milk from The Luvvies?” she asked

I looked at Rita.  I looked at the drive ( yes, still dusty and full of weeds) and looked back at Rita again.  ” Not a snowballs, Rita.  Not a bloody snowballs!”

And with that I went inside and slammed the door.