Category Archives: Travel

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…

The Importance of Being Hygienic

A very good day to you all from the Lifestyle Support Guru and I hope you are looking forward to the weekend. I have so many subjects to tackle, such as ‘Coping with Technology’, because everyone seems to be ‘coping with’ something these days, don’t they? The topics can range from ‘Coping with a blocked drain’ to ‘Coping with a broken fingernail’ or from ‘Dealing with a depressed dog’ to ‘Dealing drugs’. (Oops! Sorry – that should say ‘Dealing WITH drugs’.) I also wish to discuss ‘Becoming Rich and Famous’, but I have decided these topics can wait because I have had an experience today from which I have learned many valuable lessons that I wish to share with you so that your lives, too, will become more fulfilled and fulfilling, more varied and valuable, more like the LSG’s life, which is fulfilment personified, varied (or do I mean ‘variable’?) and valuable (not the same as ‘rich’, unfortunately, but I have plans for that…).
1. START your day with a visit to the dental hygienist. The main lesson to be learned here is that it is better than FINISHING your day with such a visit because the latter will require you to avoid eating anything that is even vaguely spiced (such as Beef and Tomato Pot Noodle), whereas Red Cherry Wheat Bites are completely spice-free, so can safely be eaten prior to your visit .
2. Call in at a well-known supermarket on the way home (other well-known supermarkets are available, so take your pick of whichever is closest to you) to check the air in your tyres because you have a long and arduous journey ahead of you the following day to meet youngest sibling in Keighley because it is national ‘Take your sibling to Keighley for his birthday’ day (well, there seems to be a ‘day’ for everything else, so why not?). There is a long queue for the air machine – you’ve forgotten that it is national ‘Check the air in your tyres’ day – so you head to another branch of the same well-known supermarket to see if the queue is shorter.
3. On arrival at the next branch, you find that the queue is of a similar length – it’s definitely ‘Check the air in your tyres’ day – so you decide that, rather than wasting your journey, you will call in at the café and revive yourself with coffee and a toasted teacake (a taste for toasted teacakes seems to develop with age). Whilst reviving yourself, you read the café’s copy of the Daily Express and discover that, according to a dating website, people with dogs are three times more attractive to people looking for love (or ‘my soulmate’ or ‘my rock’) than those with cats; in fact, you learn that even people with rabbits have more success.
Resolve to acquire more cats.
You then see a headline asking ‘Why does my Labrador smell?’, but life is too short to even begin thinking of an answer to that – and, besides, you’ve finished your teacake.
4. Remember that you are running low on toilet paper (I am unable to explain why I remembered this after eating a toasted teacake) and head for the ‘Toilet paper’ aisle, which just happens to be via the new ‘Spring collection’ clothing aisle (if you make a detour) and you spot a rather attractive navy and white top, just right for a long and arduous journey to Keighley, even though you know you have several tops in a similar colour combination. (Some of you may recall a post from some time ago where I debated the difference between a navy and white top and a white and navy top, but there is no need for debate here because you know FOR CERTAIN that you have neither a navy and white top nor a white and navy top WITH A VERTICAL STRIPE RUNNING DOWN EACH ARM.) Besides, there’s 25% off all items – Keighley, here I come in my new navy and white top WITH A VERTICAL STRIPE RUNNING DOWN EACH ARM! I may even find somewhere to indulge in a toasted teacake…

May your weekend be filled with toasted teacakes, toilet paper and cats – unless you’re looking for love? In that case, get yourself a dog. Me? I’m off to the Cats Protection League…