Monday, 30 April 2012

A little holiday magic

I have just returned from a week’s holidaying.  I went to France where it rained and, owing to taking food with us, we ate Tesco cheese and drank Spanish wine. Philistines, I know.

The rainy days got The Boyfriend and me reminiscing about one particular holiday of note.

Our holiday in the Caravan of no Comfort.

Times had been tight. It was a Sun £9.50 holiday. You know the one where you collect the tokens. I remember the paperwork arriving. There were several upgrade options available. My then housemate, 'Big Dave', talked me out of parting with any more money.

“Rach it’s a con. You’ve bought the cheap holiday and now they’re trying to tempt you into spending money. (He read the paperwork) Look – it’s double the price. Don’t do it.”

I have still not forgiven him for this advice. 

The caravans that are given to the people who have collected the Sun tokens are not the ones you see in the brochures. No, they are the ones that were decorated (and last cleaned) in 1971.

A week’s rain on the roof of a caravan is relatively annoying. Especially when the bed is so hard you cannot sleep. And so narrow you cannot turn over for fear of going clean through the caravan wall.

The sofas were so narrow you could not sit on them.

The kitchen was so small that The Boyfriend almost set it on fire whilst cooking. Who knew kitchen roll was so flammable? Luckily it flew with ease out of the very small window. (Regular readers - yes, this is the same one that likes to torch pork chops during the night – I really should learn.)

The only thing on this holiday that was not small was the vast amusement arcade where hundreds of winking, bleeping, slot machines competed with the psychedelic carpet for our attention.

But don’t worry, all was not lost.

Seeing an illusionist fail to make his assistant re-appear at the Cabaret show made it all worth it.  All £9.50's worth.

PS. I know you’ll be delighted to hear that the Sun’s token holidays are still available. The bad news is that they’ve gone up in price. 

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Navy Pants: A conversation with a school friend

Hannah: I saw on your blog that you’re going to run a half marathon - well done you. I wish I could do something like that.

Me: Gee thanks, but you totally could too. Come on, do it with us. (Have already become running evangelist and bore when unable to run one mile.)

Hannah: No really, couldn’t do it. Not a runner. Can’t run fast enough. In fact, run at half the speed of Usain Bolt. (Seems very specific quip)

Me: What?

Hannah: Yes, I remember when I ran the 100 metres at school in 1996. It took me 18 seconds. Usain can run it in 9.

Me: Doesn’t seem that slow to me.

Hannah: Well that was when I was 12. I'm not sure could maintain that speed now. Anyway -you would say that – you ran it in 14.

Me: 14? (Wonder how I have forgotten this fact and mourn missed opportunity of athletics career.)

Hannah: Yes, 14 seconds. I remember thinking how fast you were. I also remember you doing the long-jump and falling face down into the sand.

Me: Oh. (Imaginary athletics career comes to abrupt end.)

Hannah: Do you remember the navy pants?

Me: Yes. I have still not recovered.

(Navy pants were the gym briefs our school forced us to wear for athletics. Our all girls school field shared a fence with the local comp. Our lunch breaks fell at different times, which meant our athletic attempts were often witnessed by large crowds of the neighbouring school. Who heckled. The school told us it was character building.) 

Hannah: Ah, it was character building.

Me: If you say so.

Hannah: You know this half marathon, you’re running it with Nat aren’t you?

Me: Yes.

Hannah: Oh, it’s just that I can remember her in athletics too. Yes, I remember her doing the 800 metres and throwing up at the end of it.

Me: Great. (we’re both going to die and will never make it.)

Hannah: You know, you could always run it in navy pants. 

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Fair weather jogger

I have agreed to do something unthinkable.

I have signed up for a half marathon. This really is remarkably out of character, and the only reason I am writing about it is to ensure that I don’t shamelessly bail out. 

Dear reader, please do not think I am becoming one of ‘those’ people. You know the ones – they wax lyrical about how wonderful running makes them feel and use words like ‘free’ and ‘rush’ and ‘relaxed. I feel none of the above. I feel only sweaty, red in the face, and closer to death than I’d ordinarily like.

No I am not one of those people. I rarely feel the need to push myself, experience any kind of burn or commit to punishing schedules. In fact, now I am wondering how I can get out it - I do have an old knee injury come to think of it.

In January a friend announced that he was going to run the Great North Run this September. He has just emigrated to Australia. I wonder if I will go to similar lengths to avoid my ordeal?

Surprisingly this will not be my first race. A few years ago I ran a 10k. Well I say ran, jogged is a far more representative verb. Anyway, at the end of the run (no doubt due to endorphins and hysteria) I felt like I could have kept going. Please remember that it is very easy to say that you could have kept going once you are wrapped in tin foil and sipping lucozade. It is on this hunch, 3 years ago, that I ‘could have plodded on a little further’, that I have signed up to run 13 blooming miles.

This is a disaster.  
I will be humiliated as my bottom wobbles in my joggers. I will become a running bore who is only able to talk about ‘distance tracking’. I will probably have to do a little more than download the Nike Plus app and buy a new running bra. But that can wait until tomorrow, I've made a start at least.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

On Nagging

“You don’t know what you are letting yourself in for,” The Boyfriend’s mother told me when he moved in.

She was right. I didn't.

The Boyfriend produces a vast quantity of crumbs. To the point where I have begun to wonder if maybe he is a loaf of bread.

He keeps leaving windows unlocked – posing a serious risk of burglary. The other night he set the smoke alarm off at 3am due to a pork related incident.

I do not ask questions. But instead huff back to bed when I discover there is not, thankfully, a fire.

He tells me the following day that he thinks he ‘got off lightly for that one.’

Because to comment on being awoken at 3am, by the smoke alarm, owing to unattended grilled pork could only be the act of a NAGGING WOMAN, couldn’t it? 

Women get most of the bad press when it comes to rowing. Men, if we are to stereotype, occasionally explode in fury. Women are more frequently annoyed by so-called minutiae. We are ‘apparently’ the ones who niggle and poke and prod and berate all day… We are the ones, in short, who nag.

So why do we nag? Well, frankly it’s because we can see, in blinding clarity, the consequences of your actions. If you leave the window open and we are burgled, we will not be insured and will have to replace all our stuff. This is upsetting, expensive and completely avoidable.

So is burning down the house.

So Boyfriend, the next time I advance at you with a list of complaints, I am not trying to moan, nag or otherwise berate.

Rather I am trying to keep us alive.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some crumbs to tidy up. We don’t want rats now do we...