Tag Archives: travel

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!

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!

Oop North at Halifax

The Lifestyle Support Guru is on a quest to introduce you to places you should visit before you die and Halifax is on the list. ‘Why Halifax?’ you ask. ‘Why not?’ I reply. There is, in fact, a very mundane explanation – I don’t like leaving the cats for more than 24 hours without some human interaction (it’s called ‘cleaning out the litter tray’), so somewhere within a 2-hour drive is ideal. And I like going ‘oop north’ – it’s another country! In fact, it’s another world!

Sheffield

Sheffield

The first thing that took me by surprise (just after Sheffield, which is where I consider ‘the North’ starts) was passing an Audi driver on the motorway who was in the nearside lane, even though there was plenty of space in the other three lanes. I have never seen this before although, sadly, I didn’t see any Volvo, Merc or BMW drivers following this brilliant example.
The satnav was set to take me to Halifax via the excellently-named Netherthong – how can you not go to a place with such a wonderful name? – so imagine my delight when I found there was an Upperthong as well! When I got out of the car at the top of a very steep hill in Upperthong to greet TOFU (Trefor of ‘Ull), I could fully understand why you would need both upper AND nether thongs (and preferably fur-lined) – the wind was a tad chilly in all quarters.
Having visited Barnsley on a Bank Holiday weekend, TOFU and I were not completely taken by

hot cocoa

hot cocoa

surprise in Halifax because it’s very similar – there’s just more of it. TOFU remarked that we seemed to have arrived ‘late to the party’ at 8 in the evening. One young lady on the dance floor in the first pub we entered had obviously consumed more than the recommended number of alcohol units and another young lady was more interested in watching her own boobs jiggle about as she sat bouncing to the music. Personally, I find a cup of hot cocoa more enthralling.
The next pub had karaoke in full swing when we walked in – ‘Kingston Town’ sung by Halifax’s answer to Orville is something that will stay with me for a long time, along with the young man dancing next to our table displaying a ‘Top Man’ waistband on his underpants. If you must

men's underwear

boxer shorts

display where you buy your underpants, at least go with fake Calvin Kleins, daaahlings.
We then headed to the nearest Wetherspoon’s, even though we knew we would have to spend a long time waiting to get served by staff who have never learned to smile. (I have only ever been in one Wetherspoon’s pub where I was greeted civilly, served quickly and with a smile – and that was because she was an ex-pupil!) However, the pull of a pub without techno-trance dance music or karaoke sung by Orville was, I have to say, irresistible.

There is some class in Halifax – TOFU heard one young woman ask for a bottle of rosé… with a

Joie de Vivre

Joie de Vivre

pint glass. His immortal comment, however, once we were seated, was ‘There’s a lot more flesh on display than perhaps there should be,’ as yet another person in shorts/hot pants passed us. I replied that that was perhaps why the textile industry failed in this area because people don’t wear enough of it. No fashion judgements were being made, you understand.
The night ended with that famous quote: “When a man is tired of Halifax, he is tired of life; for there is in Halifax all that life can afford.” ‘Who said that?’ asked TOFU. ‘Boris Johnson,’ I replied.

And the next stop on the LSG’s world tour? Who knows? Suggestions are welcome – as long as it’s within a 90-mile radius of Derby so that I can carry out my litter-cleaning duties!