Category Archives: friends

Good times


Boofuls Towers is a bit quiet at the moment. In fact, we only have one room booked out this weekend so if you fancy a nice weekend in Devon, give me a shout, I am certain I could find a little discount under the fridge.

Anyway, making the most of the peace and quiet we decided to crack on with a few jobs. Room seven has been beautified, just in time for the hotel inspector’s visit.

What a pularver that was, untucking my beautifully made beds so she could feel the mattress.
“It’s a bit lumpy, time you changed it.”
“It’s a new bed.”
“Hhmm, well put a topper on it then.”
“It’s got a topper on it, all our matresses have toppers on them.”

It was like she was determined to find something to criticise even when there was clearly nothing. Overall, she told what we need to do to improve our star rating and surprise, surprise we already knew. Fancy us knowing what needs doing in our own house?!

It does make me wonder what exactly it is that we pay for with Visit England other than using the logo and having the star rating plaque outside.

We started her tour in what we knew was our worst room and progressed from there. Suggestions were made to change the usage of a couple of our rooms from family rooms to suites. tempting idea, not taking kids but it’s oh so lucrative. These suggestions fell on stony ground with Boofuls who, when he heard them, just harrumphed and walked off.

When she reached room 7, which I’d been saving till last, she actually let out a squeal of delight. “Now THIS is what I’m talking about.” Obviously the bright yellow wall teamed with graphite grey worked for her. I must say, I’m very pleased with it. Even though I had a few collywobbles when I chose the colours but it does work, I’ll post photos for you when I get around to taking them.

So. Back to yesterday.

“Let’s have a bar night.” Boofuls said last week.

A bar night is when the hoteliers with bars fill up the long winter evenings by all going round to each others bars for food and drinkies. The host provides everything for the evening and it can get a bit pricey but then everyone takes a turn so it evens out over the course of the year.

For ease of catering we decided that cheese and biscuits would work well for the food. Beer, wine, prosecco are generally the drinks of choice so we make sure we are well stocked up. Approximately twenty hoteliers rocked up and with seconds of them arriving the party was in full swing. I have never seen a party kick off so quickly. There was no polite small talk, it was straight in to belly laughs and general silliness. What a great night.

Boofuls and our, bordering on being a giant, friend decided to have a karaoke. Dear Lord, what a racket.

People had tears streaming down their faces, I’m not sure if it was because they were laughing so hard or because their ears hurt but it was hysterical to watch.

It’s a hard job being a hotelier and during the summer we don’t even see our friends but my God, we make up for it in winter.

Next social – Tuesday!

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My brain hurts


Oh my Gawd!!!

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like this, slightly queasy, slightly dizzy, slightly blurry vision, extremely windy and with a little man inside my head using a pneumatic drill.

I feel terrible. Do you feel sorry for me?

No? Oh. I see you’ve put together my symptoms and come up with a diagnosis of ‘major hangover’.

You’re not wrong. Yes, it’s self inflicted.

Now anyone who knows me well knows that even though I come across as a party girl I am in fact a very light drinker. Our next door neighbour, also a hotelier, caught me putting water into my wine once and was disgusted with me. Now I get teased about it all the time when we have a hotel ladies get together. The hoteliers social life is about to take off as it is, in case you haven’t noticed, October. A week or so to gather up a bit of energy and then the party season will start right up until March. We were begging for a break from it all last year. “Noooooo….not another bloody party, I caaaaaaaaaaan’t. It’s more knackering than working!”

Actually, now I come to think of it, it’s already started. That’s how I came to be out last night.

A really lovely hotel manager and her oppo and I hit it off as soon as we met. Always doing other things we kept saying, we must meet up for a drink sometime. Anyway, ‘some time’ was yesterday. “Come out for gin cocktails and a curry. Bring Boofuls”, came the missive.

It would have been rude not to.

Have you noticed how gin has become a fashionable drink recently?

Served in a goldfish bowl sized glass with half a rain forests worth of greenery in the form of herbs or other ‘botanicals’ in it. Mine was served with star anise and rose petals. Very pretty, very nice. I only had one to their two.

We chatted, caught up with the gossip, debated where to eat and generally chilled out, we were having a lovely time. Until the only other person in the bar came up to our table. A woman, probably in her thirties and very, very drunk came up and put her arms round one of our friends. “You’re so beautiful. Can I come and join you?” She staggered around a bit and we all looked in horror at each other. The silence was deafening.

Eventually, Boofuls piped up with, “Well, not really, we are going out to eat in minute.” “Thash ok *hic* I’sh come wiv ya.”

Once again we all stared at each other and then at the table top. Not wanting to be rude but absolutely not wanting the extra company. The table top became utterly fascinating as we all stared at it. Eventually, she got the idea that she wasn’t joining us and staggered off, straight to the bar where she picked up a glass of wine from someone’s order and started drinking it. At that point she got thrown out. WE heaved a sigh of relief. I bet she has a humdinger of a hangover today.

Anyway, we toddled off, after much debate, to a local Indian restaurant. Boofuls hates Indian food but he was out voted on the basis that they serve English food as well, as long as he wanted an omelette.

It’s ages since I’ve been for an Indian, it was delicious. The waiter brought our wine. After one mouthful each we realised he had brought chardonnay rather than the sauvignon we’d ordered so he rectified his mistake while saying, “just finish the other bottle off.” So we did. Oh God.

MY little head was starting to feel a bit swimmy when we left the restaurant. All in all it was a brilliant night out.

Shame that Douggie the Doggie decided to alert us that he was going to have a seizure at 2.30 this morning. Take it from me, nothing will sober you up faster than that. I leapt out of bed, got him downstairs and dosed him up with his tablets. It always scares me giving him an extra dose but if I can catch a fit early enough I can stop it in it’s tracks. As it did last night. The only trouble then is that he goes into such a deep sleep that I spend all night feeling his chest to make sure he’s still breathing. So, Douggie’s world record of over three months without a fit still stands.

Now I’m sitting here, contemplating going back to bed and watching my snoozing dog. The world is making waking up noises and my brain isn’t giving me ‘it’s morning, get moving’ signals. Actually, my bed is looking more attractive by the minute. No work for me today so… beddy byes it is for another hour. G’night all, I have to go and sleep off my excesses – so I can do it again tonight!

I love October, I may have to go back to watering down my wine if I’m going to survive, though.

Well I just don’t know


“What’s up that we haven’t got an invitation to bezzie mates for croissants and champagne this Christmas morning?”

” Well, I just don’t know. She hasn’t even mentioned Christmas Day. It’ll be weird not going there  for our Christmas morning breakfast, we’ve done it every year since she moved to Littletown many years ago.”

“Ask her.”

“No. I don’t want to basically invite ourselves. If she wanted us to go she’d have invited us. She must have other plans. She hasn’t mentioned anything though.”

That was the conversation between Boofuls and me earlier this week.

Yesterday Lashes requested that she come and spend a few hours with us today as Len was working, Munki was with TTF and she didn’t want to spend Christmas Eve on her own. Not unreasonable.

Up popped one of my little thought balloons.

“I know! I’ll invite bezzie mate and hubby for drinkies. If we aren’t going to see her Christmas Day we’ll see her today instead.”

So, I invited bezzie mate and hubby. Lashes came to visit as planned, Big N dropped by, The Rev, Gembolina and the kids stopped by, one of the neighbours popped in and we had a lovely time chatting and laughing uproariously while the wind howled and the snow made a dismal attempt for a few minutes at giving us a nice, festive backdrop to the festivities.

Eventually I asked the question the whole family was willing me to ask:

“So, Bezzie. What are you doing this year that you haven’t invited us for breakfast?”

She looked at me silent and shocked for a minute.

“What!?!  What d’you mean? You’d better be coming for breakfast. I’ve bought loads in and I’ve already set the table.” ( I would have used the English term, ‘laid the table’ but I didn’t want any Americans choking on their advocaat, or egg nog as you call it).  What made you think you weren’t coming?”

“You didn’t invite us.”

“OHHHHH SHIIIIIT!!!!  OHHHHHHH MY GOD!!!!!! ‘ Course you’re invited!!! You don’t need inviting! It wouldn’t be Christmas without you  all coming for breakfast. OHHHHH MY GOD! That would have been awful!!

Heh.

I love my bezzie.

One extreme to the other


Have you noticed it’s been a bit quiet on the blogging front recently?

It’s been anything but quiet on the home front. In fact it’s been globetrottingly glorious. Well ok, globetrotting might be a bit of an over statement. We’ve been to Spain, got back for four days and then went off to Torquay to see Boofuls’ brother again but this time we hired a cottage and took Lashes, Len, Munki, Batty and Dangerous with us as well as Douggie and the doggie and Little Ted the bichon puppy.

Spain was nice. Hot. Very hot. We went with a couple we met at the wedding fairs and have got to know, a florist and her new hubby. We shot their wedding in January. Anyway, they very kindly invited us to stay with them and we gratefully accepted. We stayed in their holiday house which by pure coincidence is in the same village as my old school pal.  Bonus!

It was lovely to catch up with Señora Janbo, just a shame we didn’t get to spend more time with her.  All in al it was a quiet, grown up, sophisticated holiday with adult conversation, restaurant dining and lazy days on the beach.

Then it was back home for four days to do the washing, pack a whole different set of clothes and set off to our rented cottage in Torquay with the gang.

Not that this trip wasn’t without it’s difficulties. Poor old Douggie had a major seizure right in front of me the day  before we set off.  The poor little sausage was like a wrung out cloth after it, it did cross my mind that he wouldn’t be fit enough to take the journey but I reckoned he’d be happier with us than without us and he got to sleep all of the six hour journey.

The photos are al over the place but you’ll work it out! Enjoy.

Copyright Copyright Copyright Copyright Copyright Copyright Copyright Copyright Copyright Copyright Copyright So, having made it to Torquay we began a whole week of madness.

The kids were told it was ‘almost no rules week’. Pancakes with a halloween shape theme? Fine. It took about two hours to make the buggers but all the kids joined in creating the witch, cauldron and devil shaped pancakes and loved it. One of the pancakes looked a bit like Jesus, we were going to sell it on Ebay for thousand of pounds  – but we ate it instead. I can honestly say that this is the first time I’ve sat at a breakfast table, or any table for that matter,  juggling sausage rolls and tangerines. I even managed to juggle a sausage roll straight into Douggie’s waiting mouth!

Zoo, model village, ferris wheel, arcades, swimming, children’s fun house, dinosaur house, eating out, crabbing at the quay, playing on the beach, afternoon cream tea, halloween dressing up and pumpkin carving? Why not?  You name it – they did it. I’m exhausted!

Douggie was delirious with joy when he saw the sea. That’s all he needs for the perfect holiday. I spent many hours throwing stones into it for him to chase.   Little Ted turned out to be rather less keen on it and complained every time his little French tootsies got wet. He did however get to make lots of new friends on the beach and on the plain and had a thoroughly nice time.

All in all it was a week. of pure madness and I loved almost every minute of it.  Now we’re home I’m just exhausted but cooking up a plan to move to Devon. I lived there for a while as a kid and loved it then. Still love it now. Tell me again why we live in the industrial north when we could live by the sea?

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Good News!


This morning was a major red letter day for Boofuls and me.

At 8.30 this morning, for the first time in 5 months, we had a dance lesson with John. I was really quite nervous about seeing him again as I didn’t know what to expect.

You may or may not remember that he was taken seriously ill in December and on several occasions his family were told he had only a couple of hours to live. The doctors wanted to turn off his life support machine but relented in the face of furious opposition from his wife and dance partner.  Shortly after that event the doctors said they could do no more for him and sent him home to die, “But expect him to die in the ambulance on the way.”

Against all odds John has fought his way back to health.

It was a thinner, frailer John who greeted  us with warm hugs and kisses this morning  – but it was still the same old John on the inside.

Just like the old times, we laughed, chatted and even occasionally did a bit of dancing for the hour we spent with him. he certainly hasn’t lost his sharp wit or  teaching skills. It was blooming marvelous.

Happy days are here again!

Welcome back, John. We’ve missed you.

British Sausage Week


It’s British  Sausage Week!

Everyone, bring out yer  bangers to celebrate !  Ooh – er Missus, that sounded a bit rude – by bangers obviously I mean sausages not the other meaning. We can’t have people running round the streets bare chested shouting ‘Look! I’ve got me bangers out for British sausage week.”

Oh, there is so much scope here for  a whole post of Benny Hill type smut but I  am resisting  the almost overwhelming urge to regress to the level of a twelve year old boy and moving  on swiftly before I lose the battle:

What do you mean you ‘ What the hell are you talking about now?’

British Sausage Week, of course.  Didn’t you know about it?

Let me explain.

Thursday. My favourite day of the week.

Thursday starts with an early morning dance lesson. We’re still on the Paso Doble and it’s progressing nicely, thank you. Thursday’s  lesson deserves a whole post to itself so I won’t say any more just now.

Thursday is the day me Bezzie mate and me get let off  our respective  leashes for a few hours to catch up on the gossip, get a spot of lunch, throw in a bit of shopping because it would be rude not to, and then we generally round off the afternoon by going  to the spooks  for  a bit of God bothering at our local spiritualist church. We know how to live!

The chosen lunch  lunch venue this week was Oswaldtwistle Mills, known locally as ‘The Bubble Factory’.  I’s a nice place to spend a couple of hours as long as it’s timed correctly so you manage to avoid the  pensioners who arrive by the coachload and then rampage round the place wreaking havoc on your shins with their zimmer frames and motorised wheelchairs. A posse of pensioners with a determined gleam in their eyes like aged Hell’s Angels, wheelchairs in formation coming at you at speed, can be a bit daunting while you’re nosying through the nick knack section. The  best course of action we’ve found is to leap out of their way before they reach you in order to protect your ankles and absolutely DO NOT MAKE EYE CONTACT! That can lead to a full half hour discussion about their latest body part replacement while you look around wildly searching for an avenue of escape. “I’VE GOT NO SPLEEN, YOU KNOW.” They’ll announce at full volume at you as a good enough reason to snatch off you  the item you’ve just been longingly holding and planning to buy.

So, avoiding the marauding pensioners, we made our  eventually way to the fancy food section so I could peruse the goodies on offer and hopefully pick something up for Friday’s  dinner party.

Puh-lease!  We’re supposed to be leaving the smut behind us! When I sad ‘pick something up’ I meant food! Tsk!

As we walked drooling past the puddings, the cheese and the baked goods we arrived at the butcher’s counter and saw this sign:

Source: Martin the butcher via twitpic

Try you (sic) hand at sausage making? That sounds like it could be a lot of fun! Come on!

“Can we have a go?” I enquired, just  as bezzie mate’s eyes alighted on this picture:

Noddy Holder, British Sausage Week
Source: http://www.nfmft.co.uk/html/british_sausage_week_2011.html

“Oh. My. GOD!!! She squealed with delight as she came over all unnecessary. “Look at this.” She waved a leaflet under my nose, wafting it round excitedly. It took a moment for my eyes to be able to adjust to the frantic wafting but I finally managed, after grabbing hold of her wrist to keep it still, to make out that it was none other than Noddy Holder himself.

Her hero. Hard to believe, aint it?

We were both big fans of a band called Slade in the seventies. She had a bit of a thing for Noddy Holder when we were kids. Obviously, she still has.

” ‘Course you can have a go,” said the butcher, smiling at  bezzie mates squeals, ” come back in twenty minutes and we’ll be ready for you.”

Twenty minutes later we presented ourselves back at the butcher’s to clock in as trainee sausage makers.

Well. What can I say?  It was hilarious!

First we were led to a sink to wash our hands, an easy enough task you might think for women of our mature years.  How exactly does one operate a sink with no taps?  We stood their scratching our little blonde heads (our own, not each others) until the answer was shown to us by the good humoured  butcher in charge of   middle aged, slightly manic, amateur sausage makers.

The sink had a knee operated tap. Durr. Did I feel stupid!

We were shown how to thread the slimy, cold sausage skins onto the nozzle of the filling machine and proceeded to churn out a lovely looking six foot long sausage each. Not too shabby at all, if I do say so myself. Next came the linking of said sausages. Bezzie mate took to it like a duck to water. “Push them through at 12 o’clock, pinch, twist drop. Repeat.”

That sounds so easy, doesn’t it?  Could I get the hang of it? Could I hell!  Much hilarity followed, most of it at my expense. Those sausages flipped and flopped and  dropped and did everything but link. Big fail in the sausage linking task. The butcher got fed up of watching me destroy the six foot long sausage and  took over proceedings. Eventually the  sausages were linked and off they went to be sold in the shop. Our sausages! Sold in the shop! Ha!

Here were are with our bangers on display.

Source: Martin the butcher via Twitpic

Post 550!


I would have celebrated at 500 but I forgot and didn’t realise till 506 or thereabouts and that seemed a silly number to celebrate. So – Yay!! Happy anniversary, blog.

***

So, back at the ranch………here we are still at the geriatric Valentines dinner dance. (eeeewwww, that just put a picture in my head of the ‘after the evening ends’ events that I really didn’t want – ha ha, now it’s in your head too!)

I’m not saying we were the youngest by a long way, pushing 50 as we are but I fully expected to be asked for ID on the way in.

The tables, bare of everything, particularly cutlery which personally I think is a bad sign if you’re attending a dinner, looked a bit sad sprinkled with a sparse amount of confetti hearts with  a couple of sad looking balloons floating dolefully above as if to say, ‘we’ve been short changed lads, there’s no sign of love’s young dream here.”

I’ve been thinking about the menu. I suppose that serving oysters and champagne isn’t a lot of good for pensioners on the pull. On reflection, they would probably have needed the  pie, chips and peas to help them keep their, um, ‘ strength’  up!

Anyway, I digress.

Events took a strange turn after the meal. It somehow turned into a kind of Ladies Evening. Gifts were distributed and glasses clanked in the traditional ladies evening manner. Odd.

 It did explain why some people were dressed up to the nines but others were more casual. It turned out that they had had to cancel their ladies evening due to the snow so they (Lodge Master and Lady) thought they’d combine it with Valentines Day. The end result was that the evening didn’t really know what is was supposed to be and ended up being nothing but a bit strange. Had they told everyone what the plan was instead of just a chosen few then it might have been a bit more successful.

Now, I don’t want to sound churlish (but I’m going to) but lets talk about the afore mentioned ladies’ gifts.

There are many things I really like in this world, toiletries, perfumes, any kind of girly, feminine gift normally goes down a treat, I’m really easy to please on the present front. But if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s lavender. Even a whiff of it makes me feel nauseous.

 Of course to make my night complete the gift was a lovely little hand care set – all lavender scented. Bezzy mate’s dad suggested I put it under my pillow to help me sleep. When I pointed out it was more likely to make me throw up he then suggested I put it under B’s pillow to make him sleep – and then winked  and then laughed  in a lewd way.  I was really shocked!!!  It takes a lot to make me blush but this was my bezzy mates dad who I’ve known since I was knee high to a grasshopper. You don’t expect references to bumping uglies from your bezzy mates dad!

Of course there was a raffle but by 11.20 pm it still hadn’t been drawn and we’d lost the will to live at that point so we donated our tickets to the pensioners around the table and left.

There’s loads more I could tell you for example about the ex dance teacher who felt the need to tell my boobs that someone round the table was a bit strange because …….look a bit closer to home for strange, mate.

 I could tell you about……. but I’m bored with it now.

Fancy going to a Valentine’s Day dinner dance? Not bloody likely!

Peaceful


What is it about Sunday mornings? They have a special feel to them, that ‘ no need to rush, just take some time and relaaaaaaaaaaax’ feel.  Have a leisurely breakfast and enjoy the peace and quiet, ah yes, Sundays are special.

Talking of breakfasts, they have been getting very cosmopolitan in deepest Lancashire.

 It hasn’t always been that way

It’s not that many years ago that I walked into a shop and asked for macaroni,  they looked at me like I was from another planet. Of course it didn’t help because I still had traces of my Mothers ‘posh’  accent.

 “You’ll not get any o’ yon fancy stuff round here, love.”

Shortly after that in a different shop  I stupidly I asked for olive oil. “Best go t’ chemist fer that, love. ‘As ti got an earache?”

 What?!   Forget it, give me a pack of lard instead!

So, moving on in time, now the shops are stuffed with all manner of lovely goodies from all over the place. Who’d have thought you’d ever be able to get tamarind paste in Darwen?!!  Anyway, I digress, back to Sunday morning breakfast.

Hhhhmmm, danish pastries, baguettes, brioche or croissants? So many lovely choices,  every one  of them brilliant with a cup of freshly brewed coffee from a coffee bean, not from a jar.

You know, I’m amazed that croissants ever caught on  round here. lanky folk like to get value for money and lets face it, a croissant is really nothing but an empty pastie.  I can just imagine the first purveyor of fine croissants here getting complaint after complaint:

‘What’s to do wi these pasties? Tha’s forgot t’ put t’ filling in ’em yer gret puddin’.

***
Out shopping with my good friend Jo last week, I was distracted somewhat by the pain in my mouth.  I thought I was threatening to get a monster crop of mouth ulcers. The pain grew steadily worse and worse until my poor gums literally went purple and I thought three of my teeth were going to fall straight out.
Then the pain decided to travel up my face and into my ear,  my mouth doesn’t hurt any more but I have a cracking case of neuralgia.  
have you ever had neuralgia?  It’s kind of horrific and funny at the same time.
It tends to attack one side of the face, in my case the left side.  half of my chin is really tingly and the other half isn’t. Half of my scalp can’t stand a hairbrush near it but the other half ‘s fine.  The  result of that is that I look like mad Martha –  but just on the one side.  You know that comedy act where people wear a different costume on each side of their body to play a one person double act, I could do that, sane Lesley, mad Lesley.  
It’d be ok if it wasn’t for the burning sensation and the stabbing pains, not too keen on that bit if I’m honest. 
***
So, plan for today.  You can probably guess.  Dancing at the Tower Ballroom.  I found out that they have a season ticket so it’ll be worth us getting that and saving a few quid as it’s not the cheapest day out.  After that we are going to dinner at my old violin teachers.  She’s very fierce but very funny. 
It struck me the other day that all of my closest friends are exceptionally strong women.  The kind of women who appear to have balls of steel ( except my violin teacher who really does have balls of steel) .
 When you get to know them really well you realise they have the same hang ups and issues that every other woman has and every one of them has a heart of pure gold, that’s why I love ’em.  And of course they have they added bonus that as friends you are able to pick them.