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….


Security Forces and American Propaganda

Comments 23 Standard

I did say that the Unaccompanied Minor was tricky.  And she is!  It didn’t take her very long to show her spots – stripes and probably even her knickers if she carries on the way she is.  As I am having to go away in January I need someone ( reliable) to look after the house.  I cant leave it and the animals in the car of those males who currently reside here. ( Aladene and Mohamed and on occasions, Number 3 son!)  The last time I went away, I left Aladene and Mohamed in charge.  That was a huge faux pas on my part and I lived to regret it.


Shebah Dog.  Please don’t lock my Dog Flap any more..


For some bizarre reason ( probably fear of being broken into) they locked the dog flap so Shebah Dog couldn’t get out.  She was so distressed at not being able to use the garden that she broke through the dog flap.  Hence for the remainder of my time away, she had to sleep in the dining room at night to keep warm and the kitchen was freezing cold due to the 2 foot square hole where the Dog Flap used to be. Why it didn’t occur to them to block it up or get a new one is beyond me, especially as they seem to have Amazon on permanent speed dial, or the equivalent thereof.   No longer did Mohamed have to worry about Buggerlars ( as he pronounces them) because you could just put your hand through the broken dog flap and turn the key in the back door and walk in.  Added to that I had, in some very weak moment, offered to look after Bruno whilst Tomasso was away in Rome during Christmas, and so it would mean taking care of Shebah Dog and another highly strung one, whose manner is so unusual and unpredictable that he should not be looked after by anyone under 25 years old.  A plan needed to be formed.


Bruno.  Our Christmas Guest


Anyway, I digress.  

So I asked Number 2 husband if he would mind coming over and House Sitting whilst I am away.  He doesn’t normally mind as he gives him a chance to do something new and catch up with old Buddies.  Yes, I know, I am very kind allowing him to pop over and crash here when he needs an escape.   I had written about him before when he appeared about a year ago and caused a bit of an upset with Husband Number 3 and Mary.

But as I need him now, I am happy to swallow my pride and let him back in…temporarily. I haven’t actually seen Mary since the incident last year and so the way things are going I should be able to permanently eliminate The Unaccompanied Minor in a matter of days. She has become more of a pain that I could describe and a lot of sucking of teeth has gone on both professionally and socially for some time now. She needs to “GO!”

For some reason she seems to think that Husband Number 2 is a rich Russian Oligarch rather than an Ex Pat living out the last of his days at the Yacht Club in Minsk with a wife thirty years younger .  He is guaranteed to either smoke or drink himself to death and when I asked him why he stayed there in the unending cold he replied, quite simply, that he was still free to smoke where he will.


Husband Number Two.  A life affair with women and tobacco


So the Unaccompanied Minor has said she would be happy to come over and help from time to time which means she has her eye on another man to fall under her spell. I have lost track of the amount of men who she has left in her wake and I see Husband Number Two not being any different.

Aladene and Mohammed aren’t overly pleased and were hoping for the house to themselves but I cant trust them because if I leave them alone, then their whole daily schedule goes to pot.  They used to think it was absolutely fine to go to bed at 3 in the morning and get up about mid-day.  I told them they were not in the Gobi Desert anymore and whilst in Rome ( or Shoreham by Sea to be exact) they would go to bed at a sensible time and get up by 08.00am. for Flight School  Of course Mohamed being somewhat of a “smartarse” told me that the Gobi Desert was actually in Mongolia and China and the nearest one to them was the Sahara.  I replied that I didn’t need a lesson in Geography and was actually only making a point, to which he replied ” is that the last one of the day you will make?”


Take your glasses over Mohammed. Its 10pm at night!


Talking of the two boys I asked if they would be joining us for Christmas Lunch or going home.  Flight School closes for 2 weeks and they often try to get home to see their family.  Mohammed is dreadfully homesick and wants to visit his girlfriend.  It would appear that he was engaged at 18 to some girl he had met twice and who lives in Benghazi.  As Mohammed lives in Sirte, you can work out how often they get to see each other even if the route is along the picturesque coastal route. ( He flies into Tunis and then drives over the border )  Aladene of course seems to be living under the radar, having had his passport confiscated by Lunar House but at the same time, they wont allow him to leave. Its been like that now for over three years.  His day to day life, however, is spent very much at liberty so I don’t think he is under the beady eye of MI5 and in fact has already applied there for a job in the Arabic Section.  Watch this space….

Talking of MI5, it would appear they are looking for Persian speakers and Farhad ( my sobbing partner) has also decided to apply.


A life long supporter of The Shah


He thinks its another way of overthrowing the Ayatollah and bringing back the Shah.  When I said that the Shah had been dead ( and buried) for many years and he knew that     ” very well” he smiled and said it was part of American propaganda and  once we had removed the ISIL threat, the Shah would be back on his throne and Persia would return to the Old Days.

Another person who really shouldn’t be holding his breath between now and then….although I do agree that life for ordinary people was probably a lot less restricted then, than now.

Number Two has text me to say he has just crossed over the Polish Border and will be in England, soon.  This will be interesting as it would appear he is just over 1 month earlier than I require him. I try to call him back but his phone is switched off.  Its a nuisance because I would have asked him to turn around and go back home.  Because he is such a heavy smoker he always drives from Minsk to us because he says he can continue to smoke.  He also says he enjoys the drive and can contemplate the world. For a guy who has never read anything heavier than the Daily Express, I guess you could say that was something of an oxymoron!  Oh well, I will just lay another place for lunch on Christmas Day.

STOP PRESS!!  Just received a text from Aladene.  It goes like this…..

” Thank you Mrs for the invitation to Christmas Day lunch.  When is it?”


Aladene, a very special person!


If he didn’t have such an angelic face, I would slaughter him!

She Just Needs Managing…

Comment 1 Standard

Mary was always going to be lively… and need careful handling, even if it was by Clive.  Ladies who don’t seem to have had any children are always on the fringe of being slightly bonkers.. and I am happy to accept any flak that comes my way from that.  I have known a few – well maybe more than a few and after I have taken away the self centred and attention seeking genes, you are still left with the ” slightly bonkers” one.

Mary is no exception and currently seems to have stolen ” my best Gay Friend” without any sign of remorse.  So I rest my case!  She also has taken to demanding we run social evenings for her that she can just drop in on and then yawn in an exaggerated manger and deem us provincial; boring or slightly tedious.  One evening after the ” Pub Quiz” which is hold, ironically, at the Yacht Club she said it was all too boring to think about and with a swift emptying of her glass and bladder, she bade us Good Night and off she went.  I am still slightly miffed  and considering whether to ” row her out ” permanently or not.  Frankly, its all T>F>D>

In the middle of all of this Husband Number Two appeared one night and pressed his nose upon my sitting room window.  As it is now dark not long after 5pm and I had consumed a couple of Pinots, you can imagine the shock I had when I glanced towards the window and saw him peering in.  The fact that I momentarily screamed ( loud) and jumped up, made it all the more amusing for him.  

I don’t know why he cant just knock the door like other saner people rather than lurk around in the dark until someone spots him .  Of course he had probably needed to have a cigarette before I let him in ( depending of course upon whether I did let him in.. ) because he knows how much I detest smokers both inside and out.

Talking of smoking, I don’t see a lot of him now because he has moved to Belarus.  He likes it there because they don’t worry about Smokers but rather embrace them.  In the middle of it he got married. For the 5th time, I believe.  He has found a very nice girl from Ukraine who seems not to worry about the cigarette smoking and with tobacco there a fraction of the cost of it here, he is, as they would say, rather like a pig in muck!  The smoking is a huge thing which is why he cant fly anywhere.  He doesn’t like the idea of not being able to smoke exactly when he wants to and this is what happens when he checks into an Airport.  Very few of them nowadays have Smoking Lounges so he decided to give up flying and drive everywhere instead.  You may find this a little strange, especially when he drives from Belarus to England.  He feels he would rather drive for days on end through imaginary Borders ( well currently!) smoking exactly when he wants to and kipping in the car, rather than take a 3 hour flight and get it over with.  You can see why the

marriage didn’t last!! 

Anyway when he comes to England he usually drives past and sees if I have a bed available for him.  Not, of course, my bed, that sort of thing doesn’t happen anymore, but a bed where he can crash at any time and without any curfews.  Yes, Husband Number 2 is not only a chain smoker but a nocturnal creature who sleeps when he is tired and not before!  A word of caution.. never get caught in conversation with him as you are heading up to bed with the obligatory mug of cocoa, because he will sense he is being left alone and hijack you at the bottom of the stairs and there you will stay until he decides he is done with you.  Boy can that bloke talk!

Anyway he knocked the door and asked if I had a bed going….as you do… but sadly Husband Number Three had already taken the bed in the spare room owing to the fact that he had a lung infection and needed to be somewhere warm and dry.  His abode, sadly, is none of those two things and so when winter comes around I often find he catches a chill and has to camp out at mine for a week or so.  Sadly, Husband number 2 turning up unannounced didn’t help anyone’s chances and both were slightly sniffy towards the other at the thought that one had taken the other’s alternative sleeping arrangements

It was too late in the day to argue the toss with them and so I suggested that they become like the “Odd Couple“, a series from the 1960’s and share a bedroom.  As it was late and both were becoming grumpy, I could see they felt it the better option until the morning.

In the meantime, as Number 2 was unpacking and Number 3 was dosing up with Night Nurse, I had a brain wave.

Finding my phone I called Mary and suggested she high tail it over to mine and help me with ” my men!”.  I said that one had a severe lung infection which may even be consumption and the other was addicted to substances ( well cigarettes are in a fashion!) and I could do with her help tout de suite.  Before  I could shout ” Nurse, the screens please!” she had told me not to panic and would be over shortly.

Forty Five minutes later I answered a knock at the door and there, in all her glory was Mary, kitted out in a Nurses Uniform and a Mims Medical Journal under her arm.  She pushed past me and said ” where are the patients?” .  I was stunned into silence.  Never before had I seen a nurse dressed like that and if Florence Nightingale was about I am sure she would have had something to say about “Ann Summers” interpretation of a nurses uniform, complete with Velcro easy front opening!!  I recovered my senses and led the way to the spare bedroom.   Mary pushed past me and announced ” Boys.  I hear you are unwell.  Don’t worry… I am your Mummy for the week and I shall attend to your every need!” and with that she shimmied towards the bed; crossed her legs in a very provocative manner and said…”

Now, tell me exactly what your symptom’s are !”  

You don’t need to guess the reaction on their faces, but needless to say I think that Mary has found her vocation.

Clive you are, as they say, ” History Mate!”