Category Archives: General Stuff

Why is it never that easy(…jet)?

Standard

People at airports are just not normal.  I don’t know what happens, but something definitely short circuits in their brains somewhere.  Some how everyone forgets to act like human beings and instead become rude, ignorant, ill-mannered, inconsiderate imbeciles who are all absolutely convinced that rushing to the gate as soon as it is posted on the boards will a) make the plane leave more quickly, and b) ensure they get “a good seat.”  In reality, a) it will be a miracle if the plane actually leaves on time, let alone early and b) everyone has a ticket and therefore everyone has a seat.  All seats are exactly the same, except the first row, which have extra leg room, but unfortunately are already occupied by disabled passengers and their various hangers on.  If you are last on, they won’t make you sit on the wing or stand in the isle for the duration of the flight.

I’m not made of money, so unfortunately I don’t have a lot of choice when it comes to airlines.  My default option is always Easyjet.  They are less expensive (they used to be cheap, but sadly prices are creeping up and up), and are marginally better than Ryanair, who I am sure get passengers mixed up with livestock on a regular basis and will therefore NEVER get my business.

 The thing is; I know for a fact that everyone else on an Easyjet flight has also chosen to fly with them for exactly the same reason – budget, no frills, flying bus type airline who don’t charge you for carrying hand luggage.  As long as your bag fits into that stupid cage thing and you can carry it, you could be transporting gold bullion for all Easyjet care.  So this being the case, I am always truly amazed by the snobbishness adopted by the fools that have paid the extra £20 or whatever it is to get “Speedy Boarding.”  They stand in their special queue like Lords of all they survey, looking down their noses at the peasants that didn’t opt for the special upgrade.  In reality all you get is the ability to get on the plane 1st.  If there are 40 people with speedy boarding, you can still be at the back of the queue, so it kind of defeats the object for me.

Anyhow, leaving Alicantelast night, the gate staff informed us that there were too many passengers with hand luggage only.  There would not be enough room in the cabin for everybody’s bags and so they asked for volunteers to have their hand luggage transferred to the hold.  In return for this favour, we were allowed to jump the queue – in front of the speedy boarders.  Well, that was good enough for me.  I was the 1st to volunteer.  (See I am also slightly less humane at airports…. Perhaps it’s the aviation fuel?  Who knows!)

So there I was, at the front of the queue making my way down the tunnel feeling a bit smug.  I handed my bag to the ground crew and got on the plane.  I’ve never been faced with an empty plane before.  All that choice!  Ignoring the temptation of grabbing a row at the front (behind the extra leg room seats which are already full), I made my way to my usual seat; last row on the left – window seat, and settled down to read my kindle.  Of course I wasn’t actually reading.  Instead I was sending out hostile vibes in the hope that nobody would sit next to me.  Sadly, it wasn’t to be.  Despite the fact there were numerous empty seats elsewhere, two chaps came and sat next to me.  I scowled heavily at my kindle and made a few huffing noises.  Not that it ever makes any difference.  It didn’t this time either.  (More non-human behaviour!  What’s going on?)

So I settled in to the flight, leaning at a strange angle so as not to disrupt the guy sitting next to me.  I paid the customary €5 (yes that’s €5) for a soggy cheese and ham toasty.  The chaps next to me dole out €35 on toasties, bacon roles and ……CHAMPAGNE!  I know!  I told you airports make people crazy.  Not only is no sandwich in the world actually worth €5 but why on God’s earth would anyone in their right mind buyChampagneon an Easyjet flight?  Incredulously, they finish one bottle and promptly order another.  I decided that there were only a few plausible explanations for such bizarre behaviour.  A) They have been overcome by aviation fuel and are no longer in charge of their faculties.  B)  They do not realise that you can change €s back into £s.  C)  They are criminals and are spending their ill-gotten gains.  There can be no other reasonable explanations since “having more money than sense,” is disqualified by the virtue of the fact that this is taking place on board an Easyjet flight.

So they finish their champagne and settle down for a little nap.  This turned into a deep sleep accompanied by a cacophony of snores and the use of my shoulder/upper arm as a pillow.  I was not amused.

When we finally arrive at Gatwick – an hour later than scheduled due to a heavy head wind, naturally we taxi to the furthest possible gate.  I was faced with a 45 minute trek to the main terminal where I remembered that I’d put my carryon in the hold and had to go to baggage reclaim.  In the back of my head I was busy reassuring myself that since my bag was one of the last on, it would be one of the first off.  Sadly no.  It was THE very last bag off.  Grrr.  Cue more non amusement.

Finally I retrieved my bag and made my way to the car hire desk (the reason I am car-less is sadly another story involving my git of a brother and a write-off).  When I got there, the damned desk was closed, with a small sign instructing me to take to train to the other terminal where the office was manned 24hrs.  Just brilliant. 

I get on the stupid train.  I get off the stupid train.  I followed the signs to the car hire desks which took me outside to a balmy 4˚c (!!!!) at which point the signs just stopped.  Eventually I found a dingy looking taxi hut and a Rab C Nesbitt look-alike who pointed me down the 3 story ramp (lifts were out of order) and grunted something about it being at the end of the road.

Eventually, nearly an hour after the plane touched down I found the bloody car hire.  I was discourteous beyond comprehension in answering “NO,” when barraged by offers of upgrades, damage waivers, and fuel policies.  I was finally directed to my car – which by the way is the world smallest car, a Hyundai i10, and sank into the seat at gone 1am.

I don’t really remember the drive to my Mum’s house, suffice to say, I must have driven like a woman possessed since I made in well under an hour.  I collapsed into bed, trying to ignore the fact I would have less than 4 hours sleep followed by a 3 hour drive to the office.

As I’m typing now, words are blurry and I have developed dyslexic typing fingers – a sure sign that I should wrap this up.

Though my bank balance determines that Easyjet will still be my airline of choice, I think next time I will sit serenely in the departure lounge and just wait my turn.  Karma is a bitch and my smugness and lack of humanity was spat back in my face in no uncertain terms: a squished up 3 hour plane ride, last luggage, closed car hire desk and sleep deprivation.  That’ll teach me. 

Let the smug speedy boarders remain smug, I’m really quite happy as I am – last to board, last to get off, yet remarkably usually the 1st to leave the damned airport.

Sew many memories

Standard

The weekend just gone saw me celebrate my 32nd birthday.  Not being 21 any more and proving that we really are the sophicates we profess to be there was no late night raving.  Instead I had a weekend full of lovely meals out with friends and a few Cacique con Coca-Cola Lites to wash it all down with.

Saturday night was the official celebration and was spent with a group of friends at our local hostal/restaurant in Albanchez.  The food was brilliant – I opted for an Ox steak, but I think something may be lost in translation because I’m sure it’s just a traditional fillet steak.  Either way it was completely yummy.  The company was even better than the food and a good time (I think) was had by all.

Desert was provided in the form of a birthday cake made by friend Melissa.  As you can see, given the theme, I think she knows me too well!  Under all that fantastic icing was a beautiful Madeira cake.

I realise this is not the best picture I’ve ever taken, but apart from my onesie/monkey suit (which is truly an awesome present) this is one of the best presents I’ve ever had.  It is just a plain table cloth, but the idea is to use it to remember special occasions.  You bring it out on high days and holidays and get your friends and family to write messages on it.  Then you embroider over the writing in different colours for different events.  It can go on and on and each time you lay it out on your table you are reminded of good times past.  A brilliant idea from my friend Sam and something I intend to treasure forever.  I can’t wait to fill it up with memories – as you can see, I’ve already started embroidering the messages from last weekend.  Good times.

So there you have it – if you’re stuck for an imaginative present, give a table cloth and help preserve precious memories

Girls don’t do cars

Standard

Now I know all the feminists out there will disagree.  Listen, I can change a tyre, check the oil, change light bulbs, I even fitted a new bumper once.  What  I discovered today though is that I definitely cannot bump start a car by myself.  Trust me; I learnt the hard way!

So this morning the car wouldn’t start.  This has happened a few times recently so I wasn’t unduly worried.  We live on a hill and it’s easy enough to bump started once you get the car going.  Since my husband hadn’t had a good night’s sleep (apparently someone snoring… not sure who that was.. eh hem), I thought I’d do the decent thing and leave him to snooze.  I’m a big girl – how difficult can it be to bump start a car on your own?  I’ve done it before; easy peasy…. Or so I thought.

I managed to roll the car off the driveway on to the unadopted road we live on.  I even managed to get it pointing the right way.  I was really pleased with myself.  So I start pushing it down the road with the intention of getting it to the point where the hill starts, jumping in and hey presto – bump starting the car.  Doesn’t sound so difficult and I’ve watched my husband do it numerous times.

What I forgot to add into my “how hard can it be” calculations was that I am one of the most malcoordinated people I know. So there I am pushing the car to the brink of the hill and attempting to jump in.  Unfortunately, I’d pushed it a bit too far down the road so the car started gathering speed and I still hadn’t jumped in.  I tried, I promise I really tried to jump in but being the moron that I am, it didn’t go according to plan.  No.  Not at all.  Instead of the smooth entry I was hoping for, my foot got stuck under the pedals at the wrong angle meaning that I couldn’t haul myself in in the way I wanted.  I was left trying to run with the car on one leg.  Speed hopping whilst trying to steer a runaway car is apparently not my forte.  As the car gathered speed my speed hopping faltered and turned in to just being speedily dragged down the road for a couple of hundred yards instead.  “This is it,” I thought, “I’m going to die.”

Now people say that when they have a near death experience their whole life rushes before their eyes and they see bright lights.  I can confirm that it is not true.  What actually happens is that you think “if this doesn’t kill me, my husband will when I get in,” and “I wonder whether the council will mind if I plough through their Cyprus trees?”

Whilst contemplating how to tell me husband that not only have I totaled the car, I have lost a leg in the process I had an epiphany.  The handbrake!  So, whilst still trying to speed hop and steer the car I yanked the handbrake on and hoped the road plateauing would do the rest.  Thankfully I came to a clumsy stop outside a neighbour’s house, albeit at a strange angle, and breathed a huge sigh of relief.  There was pain screaming up my hopping leg, but I was still alive.

Much to my embarrassment, my ordeal had not gone unnoticed.  No, I’d come to a stop right outside some building work where my 5 foot nothing Brummie friend came careering out of the driveway, effing and jeffing and asking what in the hell I thought I was doing.  She thought I’d possibly had some sort of fit and fallen out of the car.  When I explained I was trying to bump start the car she fell about laughing.  Once she’d picked herself back up of the floor, she got out her jump leads and asked whether they might have been a safer option.  I couldn’t have been more grateful!

So, with the car now started I went off to run my errands.  I refused to look at my leg which was now agony since I thought that if I stopped to look I might not make it back to the house.

Finally I made it home.  All my plans of not waking my husband up went by the wayside as, with my bottom lip wobbling, I told him of my “little accident.”  He was not amused.  The anger soon dissipated though when I took my trousers and sock off to inspect my leg.  I had some nasty looking grazes on my knee and down my shin.  I also managed to lose some of my toenail and possibly the tip of my big toe.  I’m hoping he’ll ignore the fact I was wearing his sports socks and crocs at the time!

So there we have it.  The embarrassing story of why girls (well, this girl at least) shouldn’t do cars.  Next time… well let’s face it, there won’t be another time – I’ll get someone else to do it!

Happy motoring everyone!

 

Back down to earth with a bump and grumpy as hell – but things are looking up already!

Standard

Firstly I have to apologise for my complete lack of communication of the Christmas period.  I have no excuse, except that I am innately lazy.  That, and the fact I spend all my working life in front of a computer and I just couldn’t quite bring myself to do it when I was on holiday.  Sadly though, the holidays are over, I’m back to work, and here I am again.

The break was great but hectic.  I’m knackered and grumpy as hell this morning since my cunning plan of going to bed early last night went by the wayside in favour of the PDC World Darts Final and a few more chapters of Lora Leigh’s Kiss of Heat.  I definitely came down with a bump this morning when I had to crawl out of bed and get my head in gear for work.  Still, at least I know I’m not alone.

So what to look forward to for 2012?  I’ve decided not bother with New Year’s resolutions.  They’re a complete waste of time in my opinion, especially since everyone always chooses things like “I will go to the gym everyday,” and “I’ll lose 10 stone by February.”  We are doomed to fail before we’ve even begun.  So this year I wont be giving up smoking – mostly because I like it.  I probably won’t be going to the gym – mostly because there isn’t one here (and lets face it I wouldn’t go even if it was in my house).  I won’t be on a diet – mostly cos, well I can’t be bothered and I managed to lose nearly 3 stone last year just by not being in the office and sustaining myself on biscuits; working from home definitely has it’s plus sides!

What I have decided to do is take a couple of road trips.  Mostly just because we can.  Now we’re in mainland Europe, the world is my lobster.  I know we’re only on the 3rd of January, but I have at least 4 trips planned in my mind already.  We’re going to Catalonia and on into France, another trip to Granada and a drive across the border to see my brother-in-law in Portugal.  We may also have a Christening in Poland and a wedding back in the UK to squeeze in too!

All very exciting I know, but the piece de resistance must be Morocco.  Yep you heard it folks.  I’m going to drive over to Morocco.  Since its basically one big cultural, historical shopping trip,I’m really excited.  I’ve even (don’t ask me how) got my husband’s blessing!  He’s not one for cultural historical anything so wasn’t really that keen on going.  My mother piped up saying she’d love to go and my husband thought it was a great idea!  Hurrah!  (I think he’s just relieved he doesn’t have to come and traipse around after me and now has the perfect excuse to booze it up in Benidorm for a weekend).  So Mum and I are having a proper girly holiday, basically looking and buying.  Heaven!  Now, all I have to do is learn how not get ourselves traded in for some mangy old camels, and it’s a done deal.  Super excited!

We’ve had our first visitors book their flights for Easter already and there are countless others looking to come over and see us too.  All in all I think 2012 is going be a great, but VERY busy year.  I can’t wait.

What will it hold in store for you??

Happy New Year everyone!

 

Mini turkey & cranberry pies recipe

Standard

Mini turkey & cranberry pies<br />So at some point over the Christmas period we’ll be having lots of people over, not least to celebrate Mrs B’s birthday.  I’ve been looking for easy recipes that will make use of our left overs and stumbled across this one.  It looks easy enough and I think I might give it a go.  Our left overs might not actually last that long, and knowing some of the boys I’m spending Christmas with, there probably won’t be that many “leftovers” anyway, but its definitely food for thought.  (Sorry, bad joke!)  Any one else looking for inspiration should have a look:

Mini turkey & cranberry pies recipe – Recipes – BBC Good Food.

A week in Blighty and Lady Lipman makes it to the ball!

Standard

I’ve been in the UK for a week for work.  Although that allows me to catch up with colleagues and family, I’ve felt strangely cut off with the lack of facebook, goodreads, skype and so on.  It’s surprising since the connection in the UK is about a million times better than what we have here, but I didn’t have the time to check anything online whilst I was there.  It was a strange feeling.  There I was, surrounded by some of the people I speak to online nearly every day, yet I felt I was missing out on the usual rants that make the day go by so much more quickly.  Maybe it’s a sign of the times that we feel more comfortable telling the anonymous world about our day rather than popping round to a friend’s house or picking up the phone, but I for one really missed knowing what everyone in my circle was up to.  Ho hum.  Never mind – as you can see I’m back and merrily telling you all what I’ve been up to.

The journey to the UK was, for once without all it’s usual dramas.  The flight arrived ahead of schedule, I picked up the hire car (the reason I even need a hire car is another, much more irate story) and was in my home town shopping and stuffing my face full of Burger King in no time.  I did however find it a little disconcerting that there were several hundred more people in the shopping centre that there were at our local “international” airport.  I watched smugly as my fellow Brits ran around like headless chickens, scrabbling for the best bargains in Primark and thought to myself “God I’m glad I don’t live here.”  Now don’t get me wrong, it was absolutely brilliant to see everyone, but people were almost maniacal in their determination to grab their shopping with “sod you Jack,” written all over their faces.  I much prefer the slow meander of life over here.  Yes it can be frustrating when deliveries don’t turn up when you thought they would and sometimes the process of things just doesn’t make sense, but it’s all so much more relaxed.  Manana isn’t just a word, it’s a way of life.

So my shopping trip over I made my way down to Devon to the in-laws and the office for the rest of the week.  I am very lucky in that I actually get on with my in-laws and I can use their house as a base when I’m back in the office.  I have to say though that getting up in the dark, having to wear office attire and proper shoes and everything soon lost it’s novelty.  Driving to work leaves something to be desired too!  When I’m at home, my commute takes all of 30 seconds, and I can sit here in my pj’s and slippers if I really want to.  It was great to be back in the office but I wish the makers of Star Trek would hurry up and making tele-porting available to the masses.  It would be much better than having to fit all my make up into one of the stupid zip-lock bags at the airport and then hanging around for hours eating tasteless sandwiches at a fiver a go. I’d also forgotten that with office life comes the office illnesses.  Everyone was coughing and spluttering.  I spent the week holed up in a corner covered in alcoholic bacterial rub hoping I wouldn’t catch anything.  So far so good, but it’s early days.

Whilst I was in Devon it was my father-in-law Reg’s 81st birthday so needless to say there was much merriment, enough food to feed an army and gin and tonics flowing till the wee hours of the morning.  I felt like the guest of honour since everyone wanted to catch up and hear about our life in Spain and waxing lyrical about the Spanish weather.  It was a great night and I know Reg enjoyed having his friends and family around him.  He is impossible to buy for so i settled for a good bottle of Barolo.  I went to Asda to purchase said bottle – an experience I hope not to repeat.  It was bun fight of epic proportions.  Christmas certainly brings  out the worst in shoppers.  Everyone also seems to think they must stock up for a siege because the shops will be closed for 2 days over the holidays.  I’d forgotten all about the madness that is Christmas food shopping.  The woman in front of me at the checkout spend nearly £300 on a trolley full of booze and turkey.  And there I was feeling faint about the price of wine in England!

Lady Lipman

Finally the week drew to a close and it was time for the “End of Year Bash.”  As I’ve said before, it is always fancy dress and you are considered a completely loser if you don’t at least make some sort of effort – even if that effort means you get all Blue Peter and make yourself something out of sticky-back-plastic and an empty Fairy bottle.  This year’s theme was “Medieval Banquet,” and seeing as though they don’t really do fancy dress in Spain, I laboured lovingly over my sewing machine to come up with my Medieval Princess creation.  I have to say, especially as I didn’t have a pattern, I was really rather pleased with my outfit.  It looked the part and didn’t make me look like an idiot, so all in all, I’d say it was a winner.  Lady Lipman finally made it to the ball!  Hurrah!

Sadly all good things must come to an end, so I left the party and made my way back up to Gatwick, stopping en-route in Basingstoke to pick up some pals who were also back visiting.  When I booked this trip, the plan of going to work, setting up for a party, going to a party and then driving to Gatwick for a 6am flight sounded like a genius plan.  It wasn’t.  It was dark and miserable and not fun.  To add to my misery, I got to sit in front of the token idiot on the plane – you know that one you spot at the boarding gate and want to avoid at all costs?  Yeah.  That’s the one.  Added to that, the plane had more ill people on it than a doctor’s waiting room.  Not surprisingly, I slept for the whole flight, but was squished into the window, desperately trying not to touch any of the great unwashed who were sharing my air.  Unfortunately, this included my 2 friends, who are also full of snot, but I’m hoping they were breathing over the people in front of them instead of me.  If I get a cold I won’t be happy.

Back home now, wood burner on, tapas eaten, drinks drunk; Happy Days!