Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Saturday night's alright for fightin'...

If I'd been on a fair ground ride for the last three days, it would have to be the dodgems.  Pottering along quite nicely when all of a sudden, I'm rammed up the derriere by some lunatic...

So, Saturday was the night of Binland's Christmas Do.  Mrs S and I had done a lot of work to find a good venue for the dinner, the only criteria being that there had to be music, and that it was cheap.  We managed both, and after some girly cocktails in a bar, we headed off to the venue, expectations high, and temperatures low (it was bloody cold and not conducive to a lacy party frock).  

Walking in, the pub was busy which we decided was a good sign, and having sat down, the food started to arrive.

Now there is a lot you can get for £15 (especially if you shop at Aldi like I do) but the pub's attempt at a festive three course meal was pitiful.  I had four prawns spread over two courses, and two and a half of these were in the Prawn Cocktail starter, resplendent with radio active Marie Rose sauce.  The main course, a Seafood Parcel, was a huge disappointment.  It looked lovely when it arrived, the crispy pastry surrounded by seasonal vegetables, and I grabbed a sneaky carrot off my plate as I waited for my colleagues' meals to tip up.  It was stone cold.  Not just lukewarm, but the sort of temperature you'd get from taking the veg out of the freezer and leaving them on the side for ten minutes.

But not to worry.  The Seafood Parcel was of a temperature which would melt asbestos and was labelled as 'dangerously hot' almost immediately.  Mashing the contents of the parcel (one and a prawns and a rather unexpected pepper sauce which would have been better suited to a sirloin steak) with the vegetables, they soon heated up and were now able to be eaten without setting my sensitive teeth off.

The evening went from bad to worse as fights broke out around us and the DJ played tracks which no one had ever heard of.  This was obvious as no one was dancing, choosing instead to sit at the table and shout at each other.  The 'ladies' (I am making an assumption here, as they were wearing dresses, but had the vocabulary of a docker) on the table next to us eventually attracted the attention of the bouncers, and it was a very brave man who quietened them down.

We eventually decided to vote with our feet, and walked to another bar down the road.  This had a better clientele (no fighting, swearing or spitting) but the live band that was performing looked like it should have defibrillators on its Christmas list. Finding a quiet booth, the four of us who were still standing carried on drinking and chatting, and I finally rolled in at around 1.00am

Sunday was Christmas Tree Erection Day.

We'll talk about this tomorrow as it deserves a page all to itself...

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Pinch me...

Yesterday was a very trying day.

It started well with mild hypothermia on my early morning walk but got steadily worse.  I was on my own in the sales department at Binland yesterday morning, because 25% of my team was laid up in bed, while the other 50% were on another jolly.  This seemed to be the day that everyone wanted to have a dig at me, and by the time I crawled out of there, I'd had what is commonly known as 'enough'.

But not to worry.  I was off to do a slightly festive shop, and was then heading to Mrs H at my local salon for some facial work, so I had some good things to keep me busy.  There were also a couple of parcels to drop off at the post office, which just happened to double up as a petrol station, so I had it all planned.

Let's start at the supermarket shall we.  All I was doing was bending down, looking at a shelf of cooker bulbs trying to decide which one looked familiar.  Suddenly, with no warning, I was goosed by a trolley.  Straightening up rather abruptly, I said I was sorry (why I felt the need to apologise is anyone's guess.  Being British has something to do with it I would imagine).  The man, for a man it was completely disregarded my apology and leered at me.  Now it's a long time since I've been leered at, and the assistant who was helping me with my light bulb choice said to me as the man walked by, 'He did that on purpose.  He had plenty of room to get past you.  Bloody pervert'.  

This made me feel a bit odd to be honest.  I'd been alright till she said that, so it was best foot forward, and catching him up at the foil and cling film, I said very loudly and slowly that if he ever tried doing something like that again, I would be shouting 'Pervert' to anyone who cared.  Luckily, his wife was just behind me, so hopefully, he might be able to walk again by Christmas.

So it was then off to the petrol station.  I filled the car up and paid for the fuel, and then got into the queue for the post office.  Having stood there for seven minutes, I realised that there was now a queue behind my car, and the 'gentleman' in the Shogun behind my car was pomping on his hooter rather insistently.  Almost throwing the parcels across the counter, I ran out to the car, with an apology ready.

'What is it with you f***ing women that you have to do the f***ing shopping in the f***ing garage?' he said, rather loudly.

I could have responded with many things, especially having just been goosed, but I decided I was better than that.

'And a Merry Christmas to you too', I said with a big smile, finishing the sentence with, '...you bloody idiot' once I was in the safety of my car.

Bloody men....

Friday, 8 December 2017

Super trooper...

As you know, we have a house guest in the shape of a rather handsome Westie called Sidney.  With Percy and Reg already here, my house is starting to resemble an old people's home.  All I need is an Ethel and a Wanda and I'll have a full house.

So the thing with Sidney is that he's not too keen on our staircase.  I don't know whether he has the same issues at home, but for some reason, he gazes at the staircase like it was Everest, probably thinking to himself, 'Why couldn't they have left me with someone who has a bungalow?'

When the husband's alarm goes off at 5.30 in the morning, I tend to get up.  I make myself a cup of tea, publish this drivel, and then go back to bed for half an hour.  Since Sidney has been with us, I've been getting up when the husband gets up.  And I've been staying up.  There seems to be no point in going back to bed with a cup of tea when I have a Westie downstairs looking pretty hacked off that he can't join me in the boudoir.

But this has its benefits.  First of all, I did the ironing before 6.00 this morning, then bought a  couple of last minute Christmas presents , and, wait for it....I made soup.

I had panicked on Wednesday night, as I had no lunch for yesterday, and then I remembered a tin of Carrot and Coriander soup in the cupboard.  This has been sitting in the cupboard in isolated splendour for some time, being ignored for finer fare like pasta and baked beans, but beggars can't be choosers, so I opened the can, and poured it into my soup flask.  It had a smell like no other, and I felt the top layers of my eyeballs peel off.  Screwing the lid on, I left it on the side to take to Binland later that morning.

And then I had a thought. Why not make my own?  Ferreting around the fridge, I found a bag of carrots, a rather limp onion and a potato with more eyes than The Fly.  Having boiled it for the allotted time, I got my blender out and whizzed it down to something which resembled soup.

It was much better than the canned stuff, mainly for the reason that it was carrot coloured, rather than looking like something out of a blocked drain.  

Mind you, it might have helped if I'd added the coriander.

Sidney is such a lovely, cuddly distraction.  It's no wonder I forgot...

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Christmas shoes...

'Make sure you put your drinking shoes on'...

These were the parting words from my 'young enough to be my son' boss, Mr W, as I left Binland yesterday lunchtime.  It's the Binland Christmas Party on Saturday night, and Mr W and me are the only two members of the sales team who will now be going.  The two youngsters, Master J and Master P have cried off for various reasons, most of them perfectly viable, and I had joked with Master J yesterday morning that it would be my responsibility to keep Mr W on the straight and narrow (by the sounds of it, this is a road seldom trod).  

So what on earth are 'drinking shoes'?  I pondered this yesterday while walking the three dogs around the field.  (This was interesting because my two have only one speed, which is Top, while our lovely house guest Sidney, likes to take a more ponderous walk, taking time to sniff every blade of grass.  Between shouting 'Whoa boys!' and 'Come on, Sid', we managed a lovely walk and the three of them are now firm friends. How do I know this?  Well Sid has stopped doing his Elvis impersonation every time Reg comes near and Percy has removed his nose from Sidney's derriere).

Anyway, I digress.  Drinking shoes...  

Would these be shoes with a wide area touching the floor (flats then) to aid balance after one too many?  

Perhaps they are trainers so that we can go from pub to pub quickly?

Either way, I shall be wearing my kitten heels, so I am hoping that I can show some Prosecco restraint and stay upright for most of the evening.  Also, as the two establishments which have the dubious honour of hosting our party this year, are quite close together, there shouldn't be anything more necessary than ladylike staggering between the bars.

I'm the oldest one going on Saturday.  

I do hope that they won't be looking to me to be the sensible one...

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Jet lag...

I'd like to tell you that I'm feeling completely back to normal after ten hours'sleep on Monday night.  I'd also like to say that I look as fresh as a daisy and that nothing is impossible because I'm full of vim and vigor.

I'd love to tell you this, but I'd be lying...

The husband and I managed to stay awake until 7.45pm on Monday night, the warnings still ringing in our ears as to what would happen if we went up any earlier.  Miss R is seasoned in the time/travel department, so I felt it wise to take her warning on board.

Waking up yesterday morning, I felt great, but by 9.45am I was in a complete free fall.  Having eaten my lunch at 11.00 'just because it felt like breakfast time', by midday my eyes were taking on the appearance of two slits in a pig's bum, and I felt like crawling back to bed for a power nap.  But I soldiered on, finally leaving Binland having not fallen asleep once thanks to industrial strength Nescafe (is that at all possible without just pouring the boiling water straight into the jar)and treats from the drivers' canteen.

The big news this week, is that we have a house guest staying with us for the next few days.  Sidney is a handsome 42 year old with a shock of white hair and a fetish for chicken.  He also seems to be quite keen on sidling up to me when I'm sitting down and rubbing his face up and down my thighs in quite a giddy fashion.  Before you think that I have moved on from the husband, I should point out that Sidney is a rather spectacular Westie.  He's staying here for the week while his mum and dad take a holiday and his snowy looks have caused quite a stir in Schnauzer Town.  

Percy has met Sidney before, so he was fine, completely ignoring him as he did the last time they were together.  Reg however, is another kettle of fish altogether.  He spent the first couple of hours trying to work out where this imposter stood in the doggy pecking order, finally realising that he was scraping the bottom of the barrel, what with Sidney being older than him, and also a Guest.  So far, Sidney has pinched his bone, a pillow and his bed (even though he's brought his own with him). Watching the three of them wandering around the house, it looks a bit like speed dating.

That would be speed dating for three male dogs..

One who feels he is superior to everyone else and has no need to interact with other dogs
One who craves love at all times but rarely gets it from anyone other than humans
And one who really doesn't give a toss, but who is rather partial to chicken and strangers' beds...

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

New York, New York...

So having spent the last four days in New York, forever looking at my watch and saying, 'Is it really that early?' yesterday was spent looking at my now five hours fast forwarded watch and asking the husband, 'Is it too early to go to bed yet?'  I now fully understand why they call that night flight back from the USA the 'red eye'.  It would appear that 11.45am was too early to go to bed, but from the husband's point of view 2.27pm was just fine.  I just kept going.  Cleaning up the house after having the children in charge (fat Percy, no milk, and Reg had eaten half a pot of Vaseline) it took every ounce of self control not to simply collapse on the sofa when I was doing a little cushion plumping.

The trip was fantastic though.  When I last checked in with you all, we'd pedaled around New York and lived to tell the tale.  We followed that up with an open top bus tour (more of a stand still as the Friday traffic was obscene) and we then headed to the Rockefeller Centre to see their Christmas displays, and to take the Willy Wonka-esque elevator to the 67th floor so that we could see a lit up New York laid out before us.

Saturday taught Miss R and me that the husband was not to left alone unsupervised for more than twenty seconds.  All we'd done was go into the supermarket for some stamps.  In the few seconds we were there, the husband had been approached by two ex-cons, eager to find out how he stood on the whole God/Love thing.  It turned out that Ex-Con-Don (how great to have a name which also described what your background was so succinctly) was heading into the city that very morning to introduce the President to his new company, which insisted on every American wearing beige (a throwback to the uniform he wore when in the 'pen').  He then started talking about how we could help him with his plans which would involve money.  Quelle surprise....

On Sunday we had a fantastic walk around Central Park, where I spent a most enjoyable couple of hours stalking various dogs and giving them 'pats'.  This is a New York phrase, and I will be adopting it with immediate effect.  

It was then to the insanity which is Times Square where we stumbled into a Cuban bar called Havana (not very imaginative).  A couple of Pina Coladas later, and we all needed feeding, so we ordered the Cuban Platter.  Even as I write now, I am still completely in the dark as to what the three flat fritters were on the plate.  All three of us tried them, and all three of us left them...I think.  After the Pina Coladas, God knows...

So we're all back, safe and sound.  

New York was fantastically daft.

We fitted in beautifully....

Sunday, 3 December 2017

I will survive...

What a couple of days it's been.  Let's see if I can condense the last forty eight hours into half a page of A4...

When Miss R and I had started planning this trip to New York behind the husband's unsuspecting back, I suggested that a cycle ride through New York might be a good thing to do.  I suggested this because I know that the two of them love being on two wheels.  Not for one second, did I take time to consider the fact that I am a couch potato of the King Edward kind and am better equipped for minor gardening than the Tour de France..

We picked our bikes up from the hire shop, along with a Barry Manilow (without the face lift) lookalike called Kevin who had the 'luck' to escort us through New York.  There were nine of us altogether, and I was by far one of the oldest (only the husband and Kevin were older) and I was definitely the unfittest.  This became apparent on the first hill, when I did a passable Darth Vader impersonation for the first ten minutes.  After this, it was all flat and the two hours passed really quickly,

The husband stayed behind me all the way round as he was rather nervous about unleashing me on the unsuspecting New Yorkers, but everything went beautifully until the last corner, when weaving in and out of traffic, following the lunatic Kevin, I almost face planted the wing mirror of a school bus.  It was only the rapid action of leaning over the handlebars so that my nose skimmed rubber which saved the day.  So I am very proud to say that I cycled through New York and didn't die.  Quite an achievement...

We've done all the touristy bits, such as the open top bus trip, Grand Central Station, the Rockefeller Centre and we've also played New York Bingo.  Between is, we've managed to tick off burgers, pancakes, waffles, beer and maple syrup, and the husband managed a coup with a chilli dog today.  Just pretzels to go, and we'll have a full house.

But the funniest thing we've come up against is that no taxi driver has known our hotel.  They drivers over here obviously don't do anything like The Knowledge, like our taxi drivers have to do.  Here are some of the highlights:

Taxi Number One :  No idea where our hotel was, so used his phone as a sat nav.  Cost?  $19
Taxi Number Two : No idea where our hotel was.  Continued conversation with wife for the whole journey, having put the address into his phone while driving.  Directions interspersed with love talk with wife and heavy reggae music.  Cost?  $18
Taxi Number Three: No idea where our hotel was.  Couldn't find it on sat nav.  Husband tried to be helpful, telling him that the hotel was in Brooklyn.  The driver then muttered something unintelligible in Chinese before saying that 'Brooklyn was too big; and throwing us out of the car.
Taxi Number Four:  Husband directed him home. Cost $14.

On Sunday, we are planning more cycling, this time around Central Park.

My derriere is thrilled...