Category Archives: Holidays

Top Travel Tips For Turkey

International Travel

As many of you know, the Lifestyle Support Guru is an intrepid explorer, offering travel advice on such far-flung places as Huddersfield, Halifax and Hull. This evening, my advice will be about Turkey, home of delights such as…Turkish Delight!

I am here on a mercy mission because DOT (Dai of Turkey) has been taken ill and it was decided that the quickest way to help him recover was to send me out…

Top International Travel Tips

So, what advice can I offer you, my Faithful Followers (FFS for short)? Follow these Top Travel Tips and you will not go far wrong:
1. Do not assume that Turkey will be hot and sunny – this is what you will be told when you check the long-range weather forecast, but this is simply to lull you into a false sense of security so that you only equip yourself with light clothing, a pair of sandals and no raincoat. (I am a little cross that youngest sibling didn’t force me to take at least one jacket – what’s the point of a youngest sibling who doesn’t tell you to cover all eventualities?) When the downpour starts, as it does most days – but not at the same time every day, just to fool you further – you will find that the only protection from the rain that you have is a toffee-coloured mini-umbrella with a pattern of cute cartoon cats all over it, found at the back of a cupboard in sick sibling’s apartment (no, I haven’t asked). Much as I love cats, I do not necessarily wish to be seen carrying an umbrella covered in them!
2. Travel in the capital of Turkey is easy – as long as you are not easily frightened. Taxi drivers (of which there are many) have two speeds – 100 mph and ‘BRAKE’!!! You will also find that, on the whole, seat belts are there purely for decoration – I think I have found only one taxi so far where you could actually clip the belt in securely. I have developed a technique of using one hand to hold the seat belt across my body – which would serve no purpose at all in an accident – whilst clinging on to the handle above the window with my other hand. Not pretty, but it makes me feel better!
3. Learn a little Turkish (and believe me, when I say ‘a little’, I mean ‘a little’ – you would need a lifetime to get past the basics, fascinating though it is to listen to the language). A little goes a long way and I have particularly impressed local people with my mastery of ‘Thank you very much’ – Teşekkűr ederim, pronounced something like ‘teshkweredereem’. (Do not try this at home unless you are closely supervised.) It has brought a big smile to people’s faces whenever I’ve used it (in fact, the cleaner nearly collapsed laughing when I first tried it), although I am a little concerned that I may be putting the emphasis in the wrong place and I am actually telling people, ‘I am leaving you all my money when I die.’

I think that’s enough for the first lesson, but look out for ‘the tale of the confused taxi driver’ and ‘making friends with the hospital lift attendant’, along with ‘guided tours of the hospital departments a speciality’. That’s all still to come!

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!

Tips for a Top Christmas

A very merry Christmas to all my Faithful Followers (FFs), Delightful Devotees (DDs) and Beloved Believers (BBs) – this sounds rather like a bra advert! – who, as I write, will be in the middle of preparing for the festive jollities and may well be feeling somewhat stressed. I am here to offer some information on how I am preparing for the days ahead in the hope that you may be able to use some of this information in future years, since I fear that it may be too late for this year.
1. Take the cats to their holiday home and feel a little sad that they seem to settle in very quickly and may have already forgotten you before you have even left the building. However, the plus side is that you can now pack your suitcase without having to check every ten minutes that one of them hasn’t sneaked inside.
2. As you are returning home, you decide to call in at Sainsbury’s for something to eat, since you have very little in the fridge, apart from a couple of old slices of low calorie corned beef (see an earlier post for information on low calorie corned beef), some Brie and a rather smelly Stilton (thinks – ‘but I do have a bottle of port that would go nicely with the Stilton…’) and you are completely out of Pot Noodles. The car park is so busy that they have attendants guiding you to parking spaces and you are pointed towards a tiny space between an estate car and a large Freelander which has, of course, parked over the white line between spaces (this is a privilege reserved for those who own unnecessarily large cars that they can’t park properly). Even with the LSG’s tiny car and superlative parking ability, you realise that this is going to be more than just a tight squeeze and that you will not be able to get out of the car even if you manage to park it, so you drive off and find your own parking space, well away from any spatially-challenged 4×4 owners.
3. Decide that you will have the Sainsbury’s Christmas Lunch Special, since, in your mind, you can still hear your mother saying, ‘You’ve got to have turkey and sprouts at least once at Christmas.’ (inside, you are still a child crying, ‘Why?’, but you do as your mother tells you). Whilst waiting for the festive feast, you peruse a copy of the Daily Mail and realise that you are living in a different world from the Mail’s, where anger, rage and disgust seem to be the default emotions. I always feel as if I have been slapped across the backs of my hands with a wooden ruler after reading this fine example of unbiased, open-minded, British journalism.
Eat three Brussels sprouts (two more than usual) in penance.
4. Get home and realise that you STILL haven’t written many Christmas cards and that any you may write now will not arrive in time for Christmas (especially since you haven’t got any stamps either), so it looks as if you may have to send them late and include one of those dreaded Round Robin letters explaining why your card is so late – would they believe it if you said that you had been helping out at a homeless shelter or delivering food parcels to lonely old people? No, I didn’t think so, either.
5. There is only one thing to do to rescue you from sinking into a deep depression (other than going to the pub, of course – that will come later…) – check in online for your forthcoming holiday to a warm and sunny destination where you can sit and sip a chilled glass of white Rioja as you are soothed by the sound of the sea gently lapping in the background and contemplate everyone else having to listen to ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ for the 100th time (although you know you may tire of ‘Feliz Navidad’ after a little while).
6. Send email to siblings to apologise for not sending Christmas cards, but explain that you have been helping out at a homeless shelter and delivering food parcels to lonely old people.

Have a lovely Christmas, everyone!