It feels like we are living in a dream at the moment. Everything is so surreal that my brain is having trouble believing it all.
As I write this, the sun is shining, the door is open and the sound of the silence is deafening. The only sound from the street is the occasional sound of a siren.
I’d love to write some cheery, ‘mother earth is healing’, ‘take the time to look after yourself, read books, get some jobs done’, platitudes but at the minute I’m in the middle of a major wobble and I’m scared.
Up until this point it’s largely been a case of keep calm and crack on. Friends have been making funny videos to post on Facebook, the jokes have been coming thick and fast and it’s all felt a bit like a public holiday but without the bank holiday crowds.
Obviously, Boofuls Lodging Emporium is closed to the general public and even to members of our own family. Now that Lashes is living in the next town it’s so very quiet here.
So. How to cope with it all?
It has been noted by close friends and family that in times of extreme stress I start cleaning. This counts as a time of extreme stress.
This morning I decided to turn our very large commercial kitchen into a domestic kitchen. As I’ve mentioned before our kitchen is very long and divided into three sections. At the top is cooking and food prep then it’s washing up and cleaning and at the very far end we have fridges, freezers and washing machines. It’ obviouly been designed to make you walk as far as posible as often as possible.
While I’ve been twiddling my thumbs it occured to me that we don’t need to have all the fridges and freezers running all with just a few items in them so I set to.
I have emptied all the fridges and freezers, condensing all the food into two small fridge freezers. I have moved a fridge freezer from the far end of the kitchen to the top end where the cooker is and I’ve moved all our personal crockery and cutlery to the top end of the kitchen along with our personal food and kettle. All this happened before Boofuls was out of bed. He stumbled into the kitchen bleary eyed and surveyed the wreckage of our kitchen. “Oh my Gawd! What have you done?”
“Had a bit of a change round.” He spent the next five minutes opening cupboards and drawers looking trying to assemble his morning breakfast.
After breakfast I decided that the planters at the front of the building needed to be watered and it generally involves carrying buckets of water about 100 yards through the house. There is a hosepipe next to the planters attached to a water butt on the flat roof but it’s never worked.
Stupidly I said I wanted to find out why it wasn’t working. I should have just left well alone. It turned into a proper ‘Right said Fred” moment. Just for the record, when I say, ‘Right Said Fred’ I’m talking about the Bernard Cribbins song not the ’80’s pop band.
First we tried various attachments on the end of the pipe. Nope. Nothing.
“I know, I’ll check the water butt.” Off I trotted up to the top floor and clambered out of the window of room 12 onto the flat roof. It’s at times like that when I realise how very short my legs are and I needed to get a bedside cabinet to use as a step.
After climbing delicately round the solar panels I turned the tap on the water butt. Nothing. Ok. Next. I took off the lid. Empty except for a breeze block. How the hell can it be empty after all the rain we’ve had? There’s a blockage.
Boofuls was standing on the pavement on the other side of the road giving me instructions via phone. “Look at the guttering, is it blocked?”
“Er…I think I can see the problem, it’s got plants in it.”Boofuls went to get the big step ladders, sliding them out of the window before then climbing out himself. That was a tight squeeze. Two people, one large set of ladders, a giant water butt (thought I would specify WATER butt in case anyone cast any aspersions as to the size of mon derriere), eight solar panels and a blocked gutter, all on a small flat roof.
Boofuls gingerly climbed the ladder to the guttering to remove the offending plant. I think my suggestion of waiting till it had finished flowering went down like a lead balloon.
Next we had to run some water down it. Hhhmmm, where to get water from? The water butt is empty and of course there is never a handy downpour when you need it. Boofuls said he was going to join a few hosepipes together and throw them up to me. I decided to stay and wait on the roof, enjoy the sea view and a nice, socially distant chat with one of the neighbours. While I was stood there a police car went past. I prayed the driver wouldn’t look up, spot me on the roof and think the neighbour was trying to talk me down. “Er love, don’t jump, you’ll get a nasty sprain from that height.” That’s at the low end of the roof. At the other side, the drainpipe side, it’s a fifty foot drop (built on a hill, y’see).
After a few minutes Boofuls arrived back with what seemed like a hundred yards of hosepipe all connected together. “Right, catch this.”
Catch this. Haha, he’s funny. I’m rubbish at catching. It’s generally a combination of flailing hands, raised knees and the skill of the thrower that allows me to catch anything at all, especially without my glasses. Anyway, he threw it with all his might and I flailed wildly. Magically it landed in my arms and I didn’t drop it. Pulling the hosepipe along the roof I climbed the ladder to the top and thrust the hosepipe into the gutter. That was fine and the water flowed beautifully until it reached the drainpipe. The one that feeds the water butt. It was blocked solid. Of course, it being blocked meant that the powerful jet of water that just went in flew straight back out and I got soaked.
Next idea. I need a pokey tool. Amazingly, I found a stick to shove down the drainpipe and loosen the blockage. After a few good pokes and a bit of rummaging around I managed to loosen it. This was while I was dangling off the top of the ladder and holding on the drainpipe for support – a bit too close to the fifty foot drop for my liking. I shoved the hosepipe back in and with a lot of gurgling noise and lots of debris flying out it cleared!!
Cheers all round!!
It’s amazing what makes your day when you’re on a lockdown.
What shall I do next?
As C-19 is starting to impact more on our lives we have discovered that it does have its humourous moments.
This morning Boofuls was on a committee meeting via a conference video call. From my vantage point in the living room it was quite amusing to listen to all the committee members getting their heads round technology they have never used before and the self conscious way they spoke. To be honest, some of them could have just opened their windows, they were so loud that everyone in the surrounding area would have heard them. Others sounded a bit pompous and self important but Boofuls, well, he just reverted to his mockney accent.
Not that he is a cockney or even a mockney, he doesn’t come from London at all but from Buckinghamshire, he’s a country bumpkin. The thing is, he is from south of Birmingham and therefore to a northerner he is definitely a cockney.
During the meeting I busied myself with some housework, looking after baby Douggie and playing with the dogs. At one point I was in the kitchen and this voice floated through:, “Ainsah the daw-ah lav.”
“Ainsah the daw-ah. There’s samwan at the daw-ah.”
Sam Wan? That sounds Chinese, I’m not answering the bloody door to him. I don’t want any Chinese germs here, thank you. I decided that I probably should answer the door in case it was someone important, it was certainly not going to be a guest. They are rarer than hen’s teeth at the moment. Having made my decision I ran the whole length of the house. Of course you don’t know how stupidly huge this house is but let me tell you that the kitchen alone is 33 strides from one end to the other. Then I had to traverse the dining room and then up the stairs to the front door. I got there breathless and red faced just as Sam Wan was turning to leave. Turned out he wasn’t Chinese, he was a Parelforce delivery driver.
“I’m sorry, I ran as fast as I could.”
He popped a box down on the top step and stepped back.
“I’m sorry I have to do this” he said.
“Do what? Ohhhhhh. That.” I said as I pointed to the box on the floor. “That’s fine, better safe than sorry. Thank you for delivering it.”
As it turned out I was very glad that I made the 100 metre sprint to the front door as the parcel turned out to be a late birthday present from The Rev and Gembolina. It’s a bottle of strawberry and vanilla gin. I’m not going to lie, I took the top off the bottle and had a little sip. It’s just lovely!! It’s still sitting on my desk and I’m working very hard to not keep picking it up and having more sips. I’d better put it away or I’ll end up plastered!!
That’s all from me for now.
Whatever you are doing and wherever you are, stay safe and well.
This story popped up on Facebook earlier. It made me laugh so I stole it thinking you might enjoy a Monday chuckle.
This is apparently from Hong Kong hotel brochure. I’m guessing not translated by a native English speaker and so much better for it!!
Obviously, it has been translated directly, word for word from Mandarin to English.
Our representative will make you wait at the airport. The bus to the hotel runs along the lake shore. Soon you will feel pleasure in passing water. You will know that you are getting near the hotel, because you will go round the bend. The manager will await you in the entrance hall. He always tries to have intercourse with all new guests.
This is a family hotel, so children are very welcome. We of course are always pleased to accept adultery. Highly skilled nurses are available in the evenings to put down your children. Guests are invited to conjugate in the bar and expose themselves to others. But please note that ladies are not allowed to have babies in the bar. We organize social games, so no guest is ever left alone to play with them self.
Our menus have been carefully chosen to be ordinary and unexciting. At dinner, our quartet will circulate from table to table, and fiddle with you.
Every room has excellent facilities for your private parts. In winter, every room is on heat. Each room has a balcony offering views of outstanding obscenity! .. You will not be disturbed by traffic noise, since the road between the hotel and the lake is used only by pederasts.
Your bed has been made in accordance with local tradition. If you have any other ideas please ring for the chambermaid. Please take advantage of her. She will be very pleased to squash your shirts, blouses and underwear. If asked, she will also squeeze your trousers.
When you leave us at the end of your holiday, you will have no hope. You will struggle to forget it.
I mistimed our walk to the beach today and although I’d checked the tide times before I set off the tide had come in much faster than I expected (rookie tourist error). There was no beach and the sea was too rough to risk a swim from the steps so Douggie the doggie and I went for a walk to a local country park instead.
Douggie found a muddy stream. It reminded me of when we used to walk on the moors and he’d go bog snorkelling.
He found a lovely muddy ditch to wallow in and then he pushed his way through a bunch of nettles and weeds, getting himself tangled halfway through so I had to delve in to help free him. He came out covered in those little sticky balls that get tangled in his fur. What a mess. Every time anyone walked past us, always with a big grin on their faces, I silently prayed that he wouldn’t shake.
There’s going to be a lot of grooming going on when he’s finally dried out. Yuk!It was funny to watch and I loved watching him wallow, he was having a great time but it’s fair to say that I don’t miss two tone dog. Give me the beach any day.
Talking of the beach. We had a huge Irish family staying with us at Boofuls Lodging Emporium a couple of weeks ago. One of the family stopped me to ask if there was a beach nearby. I was a bit surpirsed that she asked becaseu they’d been withh us a few days and I thought she’d have sussed it out at this stage. “Yes of course, we have a huge beach, just down the road. I’m surprised you haven;t already seen it.”
“Oh yes”, she replied, “there was a beach there the other day but it’s gone. It’s all covered in water now.”
It took everything I had not to laugh out loud but it got even better.
“Ok, it must be high tide, let me check my tide tide app for you. Oh yes, it’s high tide right now.””Well. All I want is to lie on a beach. Sure, is there not another beach here I can lie on.”
“Ummm. No. I’m pretty sure it’s high tide on all the beaches just now. Best try again in a couple of hours when the water has receded a bit.”
You know, I should play poker. My poker face is BRILLIANT. When I got to the pricvacy of the linen room though I laughed and laughed till the tears ran down my legs!
Wonderful translations from Around the World:
In a Bangkok temple:
IT IS FORBIDDEN TO ENTER A WOMAN, EVEN A FOREIGNER, IF DRESSED AS A MAN.
Cocktail lounge, Norway :
LADIES ARE REQUESTED NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN IN THE BAR.
Doctors office, Rome :
SPECIALIST IN WOMEN AND OTHER DISEASES.
Dry cleaners, Bangkok :
DROP YOUR TROUSERS HERE FOR THE BEST RESULTS.
In a Nairobi restaurant:
CUSTOMERS WHO FIND OUR WAITRESSES RUDE OUGHT TO SEE THE MANAGER.
On the main road to Mombasa , leaving Nairobi:
TAKE NOTICE: WHEN THIS SIGN IS UNDER WATER,THIS ROAD IS IMPASSABLE.
On a poster at Kencom:
ARE YOU AN ADULT THAT CANNOT READ? IF SO WE CAN HELP.
In a City restaurant:
OPEN SEVEN DAYS A WEEK AND WEEKENDS.
In a cemetery:
PERSONS ARE PROHIBITED FROM PICKING FLOWERS
FROM ANY BUT THEIR OWN GRAVES .
Tokyo hotel’s rules and regulations:
GUESTS ARE REQUESTED NOT TO SMOKE OR DO OTHER DISGUSTING BEHAVIOURS IN BED.
On the menu of a Swiss restaurant:
OUR WINES LEAVE YOU NOTHING TO HOPE FOR.
In a Tokyo bar:
SPECIAL COCKTAILS FOR THE LADIES WITH NUTS.
THE FLATTENING OF UNDERWEAR WITH PLEASURE IS
THE JOB OF THE CHAMBERMAID.
YOU ARE INVITED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE CHAMBERMAID.
In the lobby of a Moscow hotel across from a Russian Orthodox monastery:
YOU ARE WELCOME TO VISIT THE CEMETERY WHERE FAMOUS RUSSIAN AND SOVIET COMPOSERS, ARTISTS AND WRITERS ARE
BURIED DAILY EXCEPT THURSDAY.
A sign posted in Germany’s Black Forest:
IT IS STRICTLY FORBIDDEN ON OUR BLACK FOREST CAMPING SITE THAT PEOPLE OF DIFFERENT SEX, FOR INSTANCE, MEN AND WOMEN,
LIVE TOGETHER IN ONE TENT UNLESS THEY ARE MARRIED WITH EACH OTHER FOR THIS PURPOSE.
Hotel, Zurich :
BECAUSE OF THE IMPROPRIETY OF ENTERTAINING GUESTS OF THE OPPOSITE SEX IN THE BEDROOM, IT IS SUGGESTED THAT THE LOBBY BE USED FOR THIS PURPOSE.
Advertisement for donkey rides, Thailand :
WOULD YOU LIKE TO RIDE ON YOUR OWN ASS?
Airline ticket office, Copenhagen : ( only here ? ? ? )
WE TAKE YOUR BAGS AND SEND THEM IN ALL DIRECTIONS.
A laundry in Rome :
LADIES, LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES HERE AND SPEND THE AFTERNOON HAVING A GOOD TIME.
Heres a story I came across while I was looking back at a few old posts. It made me laugh out loud as I remembered it. I hope it makes you chuckle too.
Here’s a little snory story for you
Since weeknights have become a no alcohol zone in our house in an effort to economise, lose weight and generally get healthy, I’ve noticed a welcome but totally unexpected side effect. Boofuls no longer spends most nights snoring and I no longer spend most nights cursing, digging him in the ribs and shouting at him to ‘”Turn over and SHUDDUP!!” Usually followed by, “Right! That’s it! You’re p***ing me off now. Go and sleep in the spare room.”
Peace, perfect peace. I’m loving it. I’m loving getting up in the morning and not spending half the morning trying to get my poor brain out of it’s sleep deprived fog.
Weekends, however are the perfect reason to open a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc and partake of a wee drinkie.
Last Friday night, sauvignon blanc-ed to a nice fuzzy level, Boofuls and I retired to our bed.
Sure enough, within a few seconds – yes, that wasn’t a typo I did mean seconds, how that man can fall asleep so fast is beyond me. It’s like turning off a light – Boofuls was asleep and snoring gently. I’d decided to read a couple of chapters of my latest Harry Potter.
Within a few more seconds the snore fest had begun and the volume level began to rise. Soon it was reverberating around the bedroom and I was starting to suffer from sense of humour failure.
Now you may or may not know that I’m not a woman known for my tolerance. I let the cacophany continue for a few minutes with the occasional “shuddup” or “turn over”. It was obvious he was dreaming by the twitching and muttering that was going on in between the snores but I soon got bored of listening to it and as normal announced. “Right! That’s it. You’re p***ing me off now, go and sleep in the spare room.”
He jumped, grunted and in the most pathetic voice you can imagine said, ” I can’t. I don’t know where it is.”
Oh how that tickled my funny bone! I was apopleptic with laughter and stuffing the duvet into my mouth in an attempt to not laugh out loud and wake him up too much.
” Well, love. Get out of bed, turn right, open the door and walk up the landing and it’s the first door on the right.” By now I thought he’d be fully woken up and noticing my sarcastic tone but instead he thanked me gratefully for my directions, got up and went on his way!
I laid there laughing till the tears poured down my face and my stomach ached. The following morning he didn’t remember a single thing about it.
I love a good game of sausage roulette in the morning. I mean. Who doesn’t love a game of sausage roulette?
Wash your mind out right now!
Sausage roulette involving actual sausages from the butcher. Honestly, what are you? Twelve?
Never heard of it? It’s a game we hoteliers love to play on a daily basis. How many guests have we got in? How many are going to want sausages? How many shall I actually cook?
It can be a risky game. I’ve held my nerve on many occasions and won, doing a little victory lap around the kitchen with a roasting tin devoid of sausages held aloft. I’ve lost my nerve on many occasions and wished I’d held tight. I’ve never outright lost and needed a sausage and not had one but I’ve had sausages leftover on many occasions. Douggie the doggie never complains and neither do the staff.
This weekend I was going to win. No doubt about it. Three vegetarians, one vegan, four meat eaters. Strangely, I have discovered that the fewer guests we have the more likely they are to want a full English breakfast so I put in four sausages.
The vegetarian/vegan group came down to breakfast first. I stood in the kitchen awaiting their order, hand on the freezer door ready to pull out a pack of Linda McCartney’s.
“One scrambled egg on toast. One hash browns, tomato and beans. One hash browns mushrooms and beans and one full English.”
“Veggie full English?”
“No. Full English, bacon, sausage, the works.”
“What? No. They can’t. They’re vegetarian.”
“Not today they’re not.”
Bugger. I set to making their breakfasts and then contemplated my hand in the game of sausage roulette. Four people due for breakfast. Only three sausages. Hold my nerve or cave?
I held my nerve. The next couple came down for breakfast. “Two full English, Please.”
I was starting to panic. Two guests, one sausage.
Then I remembered that I’d caught sight of the remaining couple when they checked in. Fair to say they enjoyed their food. I caved. In went another sausage.
The last couple came down. The washer upper, Lashes and I stood and waited with bated breath for the order to come in.
Boofuls came in with the order.
What’s going on? First it was months and months of stupidly hot weather. Now it’s storm after storm after storm. It’s so windy! I wondered if I was going to end up under a fallen down tree, it was so windy. Wild? It’s worse than that, it’s livid! Great for drying the washing except that the washing will end up in Somerset!
Last night I had to take Douggie the doggie for a walk. The rain was sweeping down and I wondered if I should put on my waterproof trousers. Nah!! It’s only that fine rain, we’ll only be out ten minutes, it’ll be ok.
Ten minutes, soaked to the skin later I was trudging upstairs for a change of clothes. It’s true you know. That fine rain DOES soak you through!
Tonight we will be braving the wind, but thankfully not the rain, again when we go out for our nightly stroll and training session on the local leisure centre car park. Douggie the doggie is competing in a heelwork to music Halloween themed competition and we have got a whole routine to put together in a month.
Night after night we train on the car park, watched we know by the leisure centre staff on the CCTV. We know this because as we leave they are occasionally outside the side entrance on a break and make comments such as “Britain’s got talent for you is it then, love?” My answer to that is of course no. Douggie the doggie in that situation would just plonk his backside on the floor and start scratching. Even for a massive dog lover like Simon Cowell that isn’t really much of an act, is it?
What I should do is film Douggie in training when he performs brilliantly time after time and show that to our trainer. The reason being that Douggie has very definite diva tendencies when it comes to performing. If all the elements aren’t exactly right or he feels even slightly ill at ease he just won’t do it.
At a fun charity demonstration a few weeks ago we were all lined up ready to start our routine. Douggie watched me with his eyes shining, ready to do his new dance to music from The Greatest Showman. I gave the cue to start the music. Nothing happened. I gave the cue again. The man doing the music shrugged. Douggie looked at me as if to say, ‘well get on with it, I’m ready’. The music was clearly not going to play.
While we waited Douggie and I showed off a few moves and tricks just so we weren’t standing there like lemons. He did really well.
Still the music didn’t play so we left the arena.
When the music system had been fixed we were given a new place in the line up. IN BETWEEN TWO CRUFTS PERFORMERS!!!
Douggie, clearly thinking he’d already done his bit he wasn’t about to do it again no matter how many people were watching. He flatly refused to play. I jollied him on and he gave me the dog equivalent of two fingers. Oh, the shame!
It’s a long walk to get out of the arena when a hundred disappointed eyes are watching you.
Our trainer has suggested on more than one occasion that I get another dog as Douggie hides his dancing light under yet another bushel while I protest, “But he can do this PERFECTLY at home.” Don’t worry, Douggie. I won’t be trading you in for a collie just yet.