Category Archives: Culture

Party Animal Aces It!

Party Party

As Lifestyle Support Guru followers know, I was invited to a pre-wedding party and I could well have made a complete and utter fool of myself by turning up at the wrong time, believing it to be an evening ‘soirée’ before finding out it was an afternoon do. As it was, the LSG achieved perfect symmetry by arriving at an acceptable time – a fashionable 20 minutes late – and leaving at 7.30 pm, the time originally planned for arrival. The only sad point was having to leave half a glass of wine because the taxi to take me home turned up unusually early.

Surprise

The afternoon went well, if you discount the bride-to-be – who has known me for several years, including two as her French teacher – introducing me at one point as Ian. I explained that I had not had any gender-reassignment surgery since I had last seen her and she seemed quite satisfied with that, so I shall simply put it down to one glass too many of French wine (which flowed copiously).

Conversations

It was lovely to see so many people whom I hadn’t seen for many years, including the delightful Mark who made so many French language classes a joy to teach, and it was even fun to sit on the ‘sad settee’ with two other women as we discussed Trump, Assad and North Korea while all around us others were reminiscing about the joys of organising school trips before Elf’n’Safety reared its ugly head. I also had a good conversation with the (Irish) husband-to-be about the likely team choices for the forthcoming Lions rugby tour. This may not have been everyone’s idea of a fun afternoon, but I was having the time of my life!

Airport – WHERE?

I think one of my enduring conversational memories (apart from the sex-change operation) will be talking to a friend and ex-colleague about my plans for a visit to Turkey in the near future, flying from Humberside because, as I said, ‘It’s such a small and friendly airport.’ ‘Oh,’ she replied, ‘I didn’t even know they had an airport there, especially for international flights.’ Her husband gave her what can only be termed ‘an old-fashioned look’ and asked me to repeat the name of the airport. ‘Humberside,’ I said. ‘Oh,’ she responded, ‘I thought you said Ambleside.’ Ambleside is a small village in the Lake District!

Under Lock and Key

I was most impressed when the bride-to-be’s father, when I asked for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, produced a set of keys and said, ‘I’ll fetch you one.’ ‘Wow!’ I thought, ‘This must be something special to be under lock and key, especially since they’d been telling me about the bargain they’d got for 2 euros 10.’ It turned out that it was only under lock and key because it was a party-size box that they had to keep in the garage because it wouldn’t fit in the fridge!

It was a wonderful afternoon and the party was still in full flow when I left, so I could easily have turned up at 7.30 pm and still had a good time! Not a sign of cocoa, slippers or ‘Casualty’!

Thank you, one and all, for a joyous afternoon – may your wedding be peaceful, happy and bright, whether you are the bride, the groom, the parents or just friends!

Gin Cheesecake

PS The gin cheesecake was delicious! (= Cheesecake made with gin and lime)

The Lost Weekend

An Old Classic

For those of you old enough to remember, this post’s title refers to a film starring Ray Milland and Jane Wyman about a man who goes on a bender and I immediately spotted the similarity between it and a rugby weekend in Llandudno. ‘Why Llandudno?’ I hear you ask, as you cut to the heart of the matter. A simple answer suffices – one member of the group had been conceived in Llandudno. No further details are necessary.

The LSG’s almost limitless patience was severely tested right at the start, I can tell you, when one of the Midlands contingent thought it would be good fun to get the meeting time wrong, arriving almost 45 minutes late. I shall refer to this sorry individual as TP (or TeePee), which stands for Tall Paul because a) he’s tall and b) his name is Paul. The other Midlands passenger was TT (the Tiny Tyke), who has been mentioned in previous posts.

Four hours later, instead of the 2½ promised by Google Maps, we arrived at our destination – this lengthy journey was partly due to the three satnavs in the car being unable to agree on the route to our hotel. The three satnavs were Google maps, TT and TeePee. I had printed out the directions to the hotel and asked TT to read these out to me because Google maps had gone into a sulk as we passed Rhyl and had stopped speaking to me (having been to Rhyl once, I can understand this). TWENTY MILES from Llandudno, TT started reading out the directions – EVERY SINGLE ONE, including street names, exits on roundabouts, left and right turns… Now, the LSG may have a superior brain and memory, but even she was going to have difficulty remembering all these instructions, so she politely asked TT to read them out once we got closer (I think the exact words may have been: ‘Shut up and don’t be silly. I’m not going to remember all those. Be like the satnav and read them one at a time when we’re actually in Llandudno.’ It had been a long day, Faithful Followers…).

We met up with the rest of the merry band, who had travelled from all corners of the globe – well, London and Hull, to be precise – and, after a reviving drink or two, we decided to go for a meal. The meal was pleasant enough and the bill was acceptable, but TT showed his Yorkshire colours when he rounded the bill up so that it would divide easily between six of us as well as allow for a tip … of £1.27.

The following day was taken up with watching the rugby in a pub chosen by the member of the group who had also chosen Llandudno as our destination for this year’s rugby trip. The pub was rather lacking in atmosphere – and rugby fans. In fact, it seemed to be lacking in Welsh people as well. (One of TT’s comments on the weekend overall was that he had been disappointed because Llandudno ‘isn’t very Welsh’. I think he may have been expecting to see hordes of women dressed in traditional Welsh costume, complete with tall black hats.) The nearest we came to another fan was someone standing behind our seats shouting that well known rugby chant: ‘Meat pie, sausage roll; come on, England, give us a goal… or a try.’ Youngest sibling even managed a few moments of shuteye in between games, but this is not unusual, since he falls asleep at the drop of a hat (Welsh or otherwise).

That evening’s meal was Indian… it was supposed to have been Chinese, according to TripAdvisor.

The journey home on Sunday was uneventful, mainly because the LSG knew where she was going and didn’t need to rely on TT, TeePee or sulky Google. The weekend was completed by an evening meal out with TT, TeePee and his new girlfriend (who hadn’t come to non-Welsh Llandudno). The LSG had opted for a casual look for the evening – i.e. jeans and trainers – because thinking of anything else to wear seemed too tiring after two days in Llandudno. Meanwhile, ‘new girlfriend’ had obviously had time to think about what to wear – a whole weekend, in fact! – and was dressed in a rather glamorous fitted red lace number and heels. Of course, as the LSG, I managed to rise above lowly feelings such as jealousy, thinking only that I would have somewhat resembled an overblown rose with a bad attack of ‘downy mildew’ should I have attempted to wear anything similar, whereas ‘new girlfriend’ looked like a willowy tulip. Shan’t be making her my new best friend.

And there you have it, Beloved Believers – a lost weekend in Llandudno. Highly recommended, but only once…

Words are all I have…

Words

As many of you know, the Lifestyle Support Guru loves words of all sorts – short words, long words, foreign words, words you can pronounce and words you can’t, and words that can make you smile, and it is with this in mind that I thought I would share some thoughts on words with you today.

Words can help you make career decisions:

For example, I have decided that I will not retrain as a phlebotomist, since the word is almost as difficult to say as it is to spell. The same applies to ophthalmologist.

Foreign Words

Foreign words can take people by surprise sometimes (even if that wasn’t the intention):
A close friend of mine (not the LSG, of course, because I would never use the wrong word) was once on a school trip to Paris where one of the students had been accused of stealing money from another (British) guest at the hotel. As the only French speaker among the staff (because it was a History trip) and the other British guests, the close friend had to translate for both the student AND the accuser once the police arrived. It was fairly late in the evening after a long day visiting various historical sites in Paris, so it would be fair to say that the friend was rather tired and perhaps not thinking as clearly as she might have when the accuser asked her to translate that he had made the assumption that the student had stolen from his wallet. It was when the French policeman’s eyes opened wide in surprise at the use of the word ‘l’Assomption’ that the close friend realised she had made the teensiest of errors – ‘l’Assomption’ refers to the ascent of the Virgin Mary to Heaven after her death and is a religious festival in France!

Wrong in Spain

This same close friend went to Spain at Christmas and, upon arrival at the hotel with an accompanying sibling, thought she would impress the receptionist (and sibling) with her knowledge of Spanish. However, upon approaching the desk, she realised that ‘We have two rooms booked’ had not been covered in her Spanish classes, although she would have been fine giving her age, profession, nationality, number of siblings and ordering beer and wine, all of which had been covered in the first five chapters. After a slight moment of panic before making the assumption (ha ha! See what I did there!) that the word for ‘room’ might be similar to the Italian, ‘camera’, she confidently said, with a smile, ‘Dos camareras’. The receptionist’s eyes opened wide, rather like the French policeman’s, since the friend had confidently asked for two waitresses. An easy mistake, I think.

Speedy Freda

And, finally, words can make you smile (again, unintentionally):
The much-loved mother of some very good friends of mine has just died. I know we all find it difficult to find the right words to say at times like those, but I thought the response from TT (the Tiny Tyke, who has featured in many of my tales and who has a Yorkshireman’s way with words – brief and to the point!) was a classic. I sent TT a text to tell him the news, because he had met Speedy, as she was affectionately known, when he had come on rugby trips to Wales. I read his reply while I was making my way round Sainsbury’s and I got some very strange looks when I laughed out loud.
What was his response? ‘I’m so sorry’? ‘That’s sad’? ‘Please send my condolences’? No, his response was: ‘Unfortunate.’ UNFORTUNATE? ‘Unfortunate’ is when you spill a cup of coffee on the cat; ‘unfortunate’ is when you trip over the said cat and break your leg; ‘unfortunate’ is not what you say when someone dies – unless he felt it was unfortunate that Speedy would now miss the 2017 Six Nations, due to start this coming weekend, and which she loved?
Farewell, Speedy Freda – you’ll live in people’s memories for a long time, FORTUNATELY!