Monday, 28 January 2013

A Grand Adventure

Take a straw poll around your office, your family, your circle of friends. Ask them where their ideal holiday destination would be.  I'm betting that the majority of answers would centre around the luxurious - white Caribbean beaches, maybe a stay on an Indian Ocean island; spa resorts - rest and relaxation.

While all of that sounds attractive, for some reason (and I really don't understand this) I have always been strongly attracted to travel a bit further afield - just about as off the beaten track as the average Westerner gets without rowing the length of the Amazon.  If there were no obstacles, the place I would visit in a heartbeat is Tibet.  

Ideally, I'd get there by flying to Moscow and then taking the Trans-Siberian Railway as far as Beijing (an adventure in itself!)  From there, it is possible to take another train south to Lhasa.  Rather than a hotel (and I omitted the word 'luxury' there deliberately does such a thing exist in Tibet?) I would like to stay with a Tibetan Nomad family - sleep in their tents, experience their lifestyle before they are all forced into towns and cities by the effects of global warming.

I totally accept that I probably have a romanticised view of this whole experience.  Quite possibly I've watched one too many David Attenborough documentaries!  Nevertheless, the 'roof of the world' and the incredible sight of all those prayer flags fluttering in the wind against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains and bright sunshine, stirs something in me.  

So how to do this on a budget?  

Money Supermarket is running a competition - neatly entitled A Grand Adventure - which asks that you choose your ideal destination and then say how you would survive on £1000 excluding travel.  For me - fairly simple.  The life of a Tibetan Nomad cannot be particularly expensive.  I'm not envisaging much layout on Yaks or any other kind of quadruped.  I'm kind of hoping that the arrival of a blue-eyed redhead in their midst might cause enough interest for the Tibetans  to offer me shelter in one of their Yurts for the duration of my visit and maybe I could trade free English lessons for being allowed to share their lives for a very short time?  How would we communicate?  I've no idea but I imagine we could find something to yak about.  (sorry - that was truly appalling...)

As for the food, well.....  Let's just say that the prospect of tea containing salt and with a good dollop of dri* butter in it doesn't fill me with happy anticipation any more than the prospect of raw or dried Yak meat or Tsamba which is ground Barley flour to which salty butter tea is added.  This is a staple of most Tibetans' diets. All of which put together means hardly any outlay of cash and loads of weight lost.

It's win-win.  Who needs an expensive spa?!

* A dri is a female Yak. Yaks are male and can't give milk.

Monday, 14 January 2013

In which the Shah is a Xenophobe

It is Monday morning.  The Shah is getting into his suit, ready for another long week at the office.

As I walk into the bedroom, he is huffing and puffing and fiddling with his belt.

Me:  What's the matter?
Shah: (irritated) bloody Americans!
Me: WTF?
Shah:  This is the belt I bought in New York.  It's the wrong way round.  I like the buckle on the other side.  Bloody Americans...
Me:  Erm, so you could just take it out and put it through the belt straps from the other side...
Shah: (dumbfounded)  Whaat?
Me:  (Demonstrates)  Like this?
Shah:  I knew that....

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Round Robin

Darlings!  Thank you all for your gorgeous reams of letters received over Christmas.  It's just soooo wonderful to hear all your news - although I must admit I was just the teensiest bit confused by the unsigned letter which contained no names, just lots of first person crap achievements and a couple of blurry photos of some fat people. However, I feel I must reciprocate as so many of you have gone to so little much trouble.

So much to tell you - where to begin?

We are all in the rudest of health. My darling husband has excelled this year in his job and has finally been allowed home after I paid the fecking ransom transferred back from Kuwait where he spent 6 months roasting his arse off enjoyed an extended stay at the hottest period of the year.

The children are lazy idle feckers working hard towards their respective exams.  Son finishes his degree this summer and we expect he might scrape a 3rd if we're lucky have high hopes for stellar success in his finals.  Daughter will be taking her A levels.  She is aiming high and hoping to gain a place at the University of Shitsville if she's lucky a leading University as far away as fecking possible in the north of England.

When not studying conscientiously, they both enjoy getting drunk and falling over an active social life.  Son keeps in touch with a variety of plebs and losers local friends who have not gone to University as well as those who have and worked harder than him and ended up at Oxbridge.  Bastards.

Daughter, meanwhile, likes nothing better than dressing up like a two bit trollop following the latest fashions and going clubbing with her tarty TOWIE-like girlfriends.

They are nightmares delightful children of whom we feel justly proud. When asked what they would like for Christmas, they replied "a new car,you stingy old cow" "why mummy, we don't want anything material, we just want to be able to help those less fortunate than ourselves."  Feckers. Bless!  

My job is, of course, busy and demanding but still never fails to piss me off to the nth degree enrich my existence beyond measure.  My colleagues that bunch of snivelling bastards form a warm and supportive community that stabs me in the back at every opportunity cocoons me in love.

Our rustic homestead we don't call it Crap Cottage for nothing charms all who visit.  The Shah and I like nothing better than to have another blazing row in B&Q discuss our latest DIY project.  The fucking roof's leaking again and that idiot said he'd fixed it.  The slagheap out front quaint cottage garden is overrun with vermin tempts a variety of wildlife.

Our darling cat, Paddy, brings rats, mice, birds and any other variety of dead animal joy to our lives.  His hilarious antics if he pukes in the bedroom once more he's a goner keep us all endlessly amused.

Well, that's about it from us.  We are looking forward to an even more smug successful 2013.

Lots of love,
CQ xx

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Is it next year already?

Christmas at Crap Cottage – a black comedy in 3 Acts

Dramatis Personae:
The Shah – a dribbling goon, well known to all regular readers.
Moi – underpaid, overworked, under-appreciated, overwhelmed.
Daughter – Teenager – nuff said.
Son – slightly older but no more mature version of above.
Granny – think a posher, stone deaf version of Catherine Tate’s sweary Nan.

It is Christmas Eve.  Granny is in residence. She is not sure why she is here but she thinks she may be visiting for Easter.  The Shah is now on holiday – he invariably (and inexplicably) becomes irritatingly skittish at Christmas.

Me:  Dinner’s ready – come and sit down everyone!
Children (fighting viciously):  Shotgun not sitting next to Granny.
Shah:  Anyone want a drink?
Granny:  DEFINITELY! (Grabs proffered glass of wine, downs it like it’s a shot. Burps loudly).  WHAT’S THIS? (Pokes food on plate)
Me: It’s Lasagne.
(She then spies the Shah doing a hideous parody of a Hindi dance in the corner of the kitchen for no apparent reason.)
Granny: WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH HIM? (Refills own glass)
Me: How long have you got?
Children: (snigger wildly) He’s a mad fucker, Granny.
Granny:  I'm not the Pheasant Fucker, I'm the Pheasant Fucker’s son and I'm only fucking Pheasants....ooh, hang on, that’s not quite right, is it?
Children (snorting so hard, Lasagne comes out of their noses). HAHAHAHAHA
Moi: (bangs head hard on wall).  AAAARGH.
Granny:  Refills glass again.  And again.  And again.

It is Christmas Day.  Hungover teenagers are asleep.  The Shah is once again dancing in the kitchen.  It’s a sort of fish-slapping dance without the fish, he taking the part of Michael Palin.  I ache to play John Cleese.  Like this:-

The rest of the day passes without incident, mainly because I have taken the precaution of sewing a funnel into Granny's mouth which has made everyone a lot happier – especially her.

It is three days later.  Extra visitors have arrived just in case I haven’t had enough of cooking, clearing up, gritting my teeth and smiling such a rictus grin that there are dried flies on my teeth. 
Granny:  I’m sorry everyone – the hospitality is appalling.  I can’t offer you any-fucking-thing.
Me:  Don’t worry – I’m doing all the cooking.  It’ll be fine.
Granny:  Oh good.  In that case, how do you get a drink round here?
Children:  Snigger
Me: Sigh
Visitors: Would you like to hear our opinion on world politics and medical ethics?
Me and the Shah exchange glances.
Me:  Erm, not really – (scrabbles around hopelessly for a diversion)  Um, where are you going on holiday this year?
Visitors: Blah blah blah blah blah
ShahPulls a face behind their back which makes me and the children snort with laughter. 
Granny (half cut):  WHERE’S MY FUCKING EASTER EGG?

Fades to black.

Happy New Year.  I think.