HAPPY CHRISTMAS from Olif and her long suffering better half JS…
Round Robin December 2011.
Settle down with your mince pie and glass of sherry, Bing Crosby’s Christmas Carols, and de-stress!!!
“There are 100 sheep on our drive JS and they are sniffing around my poinsettia’s and your MG!! 2 cows and an enormous sheep dog have just done a whoopsie on the Land Rovers rear wheel.”
All electrics had failed yet again at St Blaise, consequently the electric fence was no longer emitting 2000volts, so in came the nativity lot, but no sign of the three wise men, or JS! nor a shepherd come to that. I go into action, wave my arms about like a true French tart, which seemed to only make matters worse. Then, out of nowhere, Supervet arrives, faces the enemy with a golf club in one hand and a pitching fork in the other, commands his troops (me) to switch the electrics on and we have confused sheep scattering, leaping into and over the live fence, 2 cows heading towards the fountain and the Pyrenean sheepdog marking his territory with Hugo, our partially blind, deaf 15year old Norwich terrier!
Life is so uneventful in these parts!
Cooler weather here now, birthday in November, must remember to come back next time as a spring/summer baby, the tan would be there, pool party for the birthday, BBQ and cocktails on the patio. Instead, it’s no tan, wrinkles show, have to wear clothes, and its dark by 5.30. This is not good for our Olif.
So we head off to Lanzarote. JS decides that we will first drive to the UK in the Land Rover tank, occasionally stopping off for a sample of the local vino, admiring parts of France we have never visited before, and parking up for the night in a small charming Logis de France, preferably with two lampshades, three cooking pots (cheminees and cocottes) and a squirrel on a tree (or is this the Michelin guide?)
Men seldom seem to get the urgency that women do when it comes to preparing oneself for such an epic journey. I have packed winter clothes for the UK, bikini bottoms for Lanzagrote, Christmas goodies for the kids and loo rolls!
5 minutes before departure and counting, JS announces that he hopes it doesn’t rain en route, all 1200 miles, because the window screen wipers, the headlights, sat nav and mobile phone chargers are not working.
“Must be a technical fault somewhere Nessie” I often wonder why my IBS seems to go into acceleration at times like this?
It didn’t rain, and for the first time in my life I have to say my navigational skills were beyond none (eat your heart out Bill Lancashire, your ex can now navigate and speak French…almost!).
We visited Montelimar so JS could stuff his pockets with nougat, Le Puy-en-Velay – green lentils for the roughage diet, Clermont-Ferrand to check out the rugby stadium, Tours so I could visualize myself living a chateau, Le Mans to see the circuit, the D-day beaches to recount my Dad’s war stories and finally through the tunnel to the UK. Told you I was navigating!!
We arrive in the UK, settle down in our premier inn on the Stratford road, always one to spoil me is JS and we are met by our buddy, Richard P.
He looks rather sad because he had just returned from a Wake in Hagley. Dorothy, a truly remarkable lady of 90, had passed away a few days earlier. She lived in a retirement village, was a very popular resident, and her daughter Ann had invited all the residents to the wake. However, average age of Mr, Mrs and Miss Retirement village resident was well over 80plus, so it would be an impossible task to ask them to come to the church, so to attend the wake in the residents lounge was the answer. The burial took longer than expected; it’s that popular time of year! When finally Richard, Alex and Ann arrive back at the lounge, there was not only no one to be seen, but all the food and sherry had been eaten and drunk, when old Jack turned up and looked at Richard and said “Excellent food and the best sherry I’ve drank for ages must be off now with the rest of the clan, its bingo night!”
“Oh yes, God bless Dorothy!”
All inclusive, excellent weather, heated pool, Puerto Calero in Lanzarote in November is a must. We attend the orientation “welcome meeting” the following day, with the other newcomers. We are introduced to Madge, not our Thomson’s rep (she hadn’t been seen since the airport run!) but the “Saga representative!”
It becomes clearly obvious that we are the youngest couple there, (the youngest!!) Wheel chairs, crutches, I can’t tell you how many Zimmer frames there were, (how on earth do they get them here on Ryanair). Several loo runs were taken during the one hour talk. Madge was asked to speak louder on several occasions, and I thought about handing around visiting cards as the resident physio. I finally embarrassed myself, when Madge suggested that the following morning there would be a 6km sea view hike across volcanic terrain, and to bring water and wear good strong walking shoes! I volunteered to drive the ambulance and pick up the Zimmer frames/people en route! Madge was not amused!
The Saga library was well equipped with Mills and Boon, learn Spanish in one day, and survival DIY books. JS suggested perhaps it was best not to swop my “Bomber Boys” fighting back 1940-1945, it could upset the residents. Madge was always full of enthusiasm, except at the airport drop off day when she caught red handed one of her Saga clients leaving with more than 10 library books. She told me that this “person” was well over her allotted 15kg hold luggage, and our Madge insisted the case was opened and there, for all to see were the carefully stamped, Property of Saga, stolen goods!!! The cheek of it!
A white chocolate massage in the hotel spa appealed to Olif. Presented with a soft fluffy dressing gown, paper flip flops and a minute unisex chuck away G String, I headed towards the changing rooms. Starkers, wondering which was the back and which was the front of the thongs, and indeed how on earth could a man manage(??), when in came the entire Saga walking lot for a quick thermal jet following Madge’s bracing mountain run. Except they were ALL MEN! No one told me this was a mixed changing room! Thank goodness I had recently had a bikini wax back in France!
Talking of G strings… when we headed back from the UK to St Blaise a week later we visited our friends in the Cotswolds. They live in a charming little village where the entire community focus around the church, bridge nights, coffee mornings, and drinking the famous local beer in the village pub… (So where are we?)
Gossip, as you can imagine, circulates here quicker than the Mistral wind. Apparently, a new resident has just arrived, a person who works nights, every night, in the neighbouring town. Travelling by bus from the village to her workplace, and then returns in the wee hours the following day.
She can be spotted, we are told by Jeffrey, by the lack of clothing, large expanse of flesh, and not at all resembling the usual village resident!
What is the world coming to?
Excellent journey home, all the tanks electrical faults had been resolved, Cheddar cheese, Marmite, Worcester sauce, new world wines and Germoline were tightly packed in the boot, along with two reupholstered antique chairs that Nancy and Jeff had done for us, with a small note from Jeffrey saying if we had any more upholstery to do he was only too willing, particularly as the Tuesday morning class had a new member recently!!
Tash and Cedric continue to improve their mobile home into a chateau, although they are “lying low” as I email. Sarkozy decided to pass a law two years ago stating that mobile homes were only to be used as second homes, so during 3 months of the year, during the winter months, not including bank holidays and weekends, the owners move out, except Tash and Cedric have not moved out!
I am told that they have to have a verbal warning first and then a stroppy letter from the owners.
Well, Cedric has rewired the owner’s mobile home recently, Tash regularly cooks scones and chocolate cake for them, so we are crossing our fingers all goes well. The fact that Tash has decorated her mobile home with 100 fairy lights and Santa up a tree doesn’t seem to bother her!
Flying BA in January, to the UK, how posh is that? No direct flights to Birmingham in the winter, so my man suggested that Olif travel in style. No charge for printing on line eticket, seats with leg room, no charge for the loo, and no scrambling for the best seat. Recently I asked some friends what the most extraordinary item they had smuggled back on a BA flight in hand luggage (how the chat goes after a little too much wine), anyway, these were their answers…
A lawnmower, successfully dismantled to fit into flight luggage, except forgot about the engine oil, which came through overhead lockers seats row 4-24.
A Weber BBQ from the States, this took the couple three trips and when finally put together in Callas, one screw was missing (typical!!).
The best of the lot were two dozen live lobsters, nestled next to Valerie’s 100ml dramatically different day cream and Colin’s PPP flight Manual. All went swimmingly well until they were delayed at Manchester, before flying into Heathrow, when scratching could be heard overhead!!
Smuggled Christmas crackers past the French border, chopped the Christmas tree down from the absent neighbours land, now for the mistletoe. In plentiful supply this year but ALWAYS just out of reach. Spotted by JS hanging just inside a nuclear power station barrier, next to an EDF pole, or in a field guarded by Chevrolet Bulls.
“Go on Nessie, I understand these animals, I’m a vet I’ll hypnotize them whilst you make a dash for the mistletoe.”
Latest bulletin from our President, Sarkozy, he is about to make prostitution illegal in France, but has postponed the date of execution until after Christmas, now isn’t that thoughtful.
All my Love Olif. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
NOW PANIC, AND GET GOING AGAIN WITH ALL YOUR CHRISTMAS DUTIES,YOU HAVE ONLY 7 DAYS TO GO!!!!!!
(Note from the Gerbil – because OLIF’s original posting blew-up my laptop and Word 5 times – I am late in posting this – sorry – me bad!)
Thank you all so much for my ecards, birthday cards and presents. If you forgot this year any of you, that is a disgrace and put it into the diary now…..
J&J. A little light reading whilst you are prostate! When laughing, watch out for the stitches!
Peter and Ann. To be read either by the patient or the patients nurse after the 4mile walk.
Keatley and co. Are you all ok, haven’t heard from you for some time.
TJ and Cuddles. Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Em, Chris, Ozzie and Darcey. Have a wonderful Christmas and we will see you in Jan.
Tash and Cedric. Turn the lights down!
JS. What do you want for Christmas?
M&M. OK Boss, a Christmas round robin for you to grammatically correct, copy and paste and photos on their way. (Gerbil – see apology above)
DD and Al. new computer working magnificently, not quite as quick as my brain of course but there you go!
Cag, J&J. have a perfect Christmas cooking, cleaning entertaining, and looking after the mums. Xxx
Bigman and Kate. Missing you as always, special calendar on its way.