lifestylesupportguru

humour for the not so graceful getting older

Category: Holidays

Lost And Found

Today a mystery was solved, one that has kept me puzzled for weeks, but I am going to see if you can solve the puzzle yourselves by answering a straightforward multiple-choice question (think of it as SATs for older people – you will get SUCH a sense of achievement when you get a score that will allow you to enter the University of Life [don’t you just HATE that phrase??]).
I will set the scene:
A few weeks ago, I bought a rather lovely black(ish) t-shirt (lovely longer length and loose enough to hide lumps and bumps, so many of you will understand – and empathise with – my joy) in readiness for holidays abroad (no one told me I wouldn’t actually need to go abroad to get sun and warmth this year). You may ask why I bought a dark t-shirt for holidays in the sun, but trust me when I say that black(ish) sets off a tan beautifully!
I took it with me to Cyprus and Spain (yes, yes, I know teachers are paid FAR too much and get HUGE pensions, which is why I can afford all these lovely holidays – I’ve heard it all before). It wasn’t cheap (yes, yes, I know teachers are paid far too much etc, etc, but I worked on the premise that it would last me a good length of time).
So, where does the mystery come in, I hear you cry (along with ‘Teachers are paid far too much and get a good pension and too many holidays’).
Well, the t-shirt mysteriously disappeared after I got back from Spain at the end of May. I knew I hadn’t left it in Spain because I’d worn it on the journey home (black is a far more useful colour to wear on a plane when turbulence may cause you to spill your red wine). Where was it? I looked through the pile(s) of ironing (anyone fancy a full-time job?) and checked my wardrobe(s) in case I had put it on a hanger under another item of clothing, but no joy (although I did find several other items I’d forgotten about – yes, yes, I know, teachers get paid too much… and all that stuff).
This was now beginning to occupy my mind a lot of the time (doesn’t take much, to be brutally honest), so imagine my complete surprise when I came out of the shower this morning, went into my room and found the t-shirt lying in a crumpled heap at the bottom of my bed! How could this be? I asked myself. A disappearing t-shirt suddenly reappears at the bottom of the bed? Surely, only Molly the ‘gangster cat’ could do this, in much the same way she will suddenly materialise on the bed in the middle of the night and take over two-thirds of it without you noticing until you try to turn over. (Teachers are paid FAR too much if they can afford to keep a cat…)
So, here is the question:
You lose a rather lovely, plain black(ish) t-shirt and wonder how it can have disappeared without any obvious reason. Is it because:
a) It disappeared into the black hole that also swallows odd socks and new bras which then turn up again for no good reason a few months later?
b) It has been lying at the bottom of the wardrobe after falling off a hanger and the gangster cat has been using it as a bed and you didn’t notice because both she and the t-shirt are black?
c) It has been lying in a pile of ironing (full-time job still available) and sibling picked it up with his own t-shirts, thinking it was one of his?
Answers should be written on a postage stamp (which only teachers can afford) and affixed to a homing pigeon (affordable by everyone) to be sent to the LSG, c/o the Cayman Islands (because I used to be a teacher).

I look forward to your deductions, Adoring Acolytes!

The Traveller’s Guide to Cyprus

A very good evening to you all from Cyprus! Yes, the Lifestyle Support Guru has finally managed to get away on holiday – one can’t count recent visits to York, Huddersfield and Sheffield as ‘holidays’, since they are just classed as ‘moving around oop north for a day or two’, which are not really holidays at all.
This holiday started badly, I’m afraid – the alarm went off at 5.30am a couple of days ago! How can they even let that time exist? The day should always start at something like 8.30am and move sedately on to the evening, allowing for gentle pauses along the way for food and drink, or catching a plane. Nevertheless, younger siblings and I made it safely to the airport where next-sibling-down proceeded to consume a Belgian waffle with chocolate and cream at 7.30 in the morning. I managed a small cup of coffee. Youngest sibling went to the toilet.
But I am sure that you do not wish to read about such mundane happenings, even if they are part of the LSG’s fascinating life – I only tell you these things to make you realise that you, too, can be like the LSG: you may not have a sibling who will eat chocolate waffles at 7.30 in the morning, but you probably have a spouse, a better half, a rock, a soulmate, a child, a friend, a ‘hun, r u ok?’ – ANYONE! – who can fulfil this role. But I digress… having been here for three whole days, I am now an expert on how to blend seamlessly into Cypriot life so that you appear to be a native. So, here it is – the LSG’s Guide to Life as a Cypriot:
On the first morning, the siblings decide to walk down to the harbour but you decline because you have somehow forgotten to bring a small handbag for the evenings (those who know the LSG well will realise that this is an amazing oversight), so you say you will wander to a nearby shopping centre to see what they have to offer. The fact that the walk to the harbour would take up to an hour and the walk to the shops a mere ten minutes has NOTHING to do with this decision.
Imagine your surprise upon entering the shopping centre to find that the first shop is Marks and Spencer! (Actually, that’s a lie – the first shop was Holland and Barrett, but that isn’t classed as a SHOP as such, because how can one get pleasure out of buying vitamins?) You wander in (to M&S, of course, not H&B) – just out of curiosity, you understand – and ask an assistant if they have any small bags, at which point she looks sad and leads you to the ‘bag area’. She was right to look sad – there was a choice of TWO! In fact, two is not even a choice in my mind. She will try her best to sell you a beige bag, but your eye will have already been caught by a rather fetching lime green one. You can almost hear the assistant thinking, ‘We’ve been trying to sell those damn things all year.’ But the LSG is not one to follow the fashions and trends of ordinary people – oh no, if lime green takes her fancy, that is what she will get. AND a rather nice white t-shirt in the sale also happened to jump into the shopping bag – I will swear ON OATH that the same item wasn’t available in the Derby branch of M&S last week.
The next thing to do in your attempt to become a Greek Cypriot is to get a haircut – by a hairdresser from Bradford, of course. By now, no one will ever think you are anything other than a born-and-bred Cypriot, although you draw the line at joining the siblings in learning how to scuba dive…the LSG would not wish to cause any riots by appearing in public in a wetsuit.
A coach tour of the island is, of course, obligatory – especially one that mentions a visit to a winery. Unfortunately, we booked the wrong one and ended up on the tour that visited the church of the tomb of Saint Lazarus, he who was raised from the dead. I must admit to a little shiver down my spine when we went into the crypt and saw an open sarcophagus. I looked quickly around but could spot no obvious 2,000-year-old person loitering in the shadows looking like he’d just come back from the dead, although there are one or two at the hotel who could give a good impression of him.
We also passed the rock in the sea which is reputedly the birthplace of Aphrodite, the most beautiful woman ever known, although the LSG is giving her a good run for her money.
One good thing came out of the ‘raising the dead’ tour – a rather nice lemon hooded jacket jumped out at me in Larnaca (I like to think that Lazarus played a part here – I see him in lemon), just the thing for the evenings, which are still a little chilly – and a lovely contrast to the lime green bag. All that is needed now to make me look like a bowl of citrus fruit is a pair of orange trousers. There may have been some in Marks…
One final (sort of serious) point – Greek Cypriots are incredibly friendly and chatty, but if you say ‘kalimera/kalispera/efkharisto’ at some point, their faces light up with absolute joy!
The LSG is now fully immersed in Cypriot life and could be taken for a native.
The (Welsh) Brit Pack is here and living the dream! Kalenikta!

Top Travel Tips For Turkey

International Travel

As many of you know, the Lifestyle Support Guru is an intrepid explorer, offering travel advice on such far-flung places as Huddersfield, Halifax and Hull. This evening, my advice will be about Turkey, home of delights such as…Turkish Delight!

I am here on a mercy mission because DOT (Dai of Turkey) has been taken ill and it was decided that the quickest way to help him recover was to send me out…

Top International Travel Tips

So, what advice can I offer you, my Faithful Followers (FFS for short)? Follow these Top Travel Tips and you will not go far wrong:
1. Do not assume that Turkey will be hot and sunny – this is what you will be told when you check the long-range weather forecast, but this is simply to lull you into a false sense of security so that you only equip yourself with light clothing, a pair of sandals and no raincoat. (I am a little cross that youngest sibling didn’t force me to take at least one jacket – what’s the point of a youngest sibling who doesn’t tell you to cover all eventualities?) When the downpour starts, as it does most days – but not at the same time every day, just to fool you further – you will find that the only protection from the rain that you have is a toffee-coloured mini-umbrella with a pattern of cute cartoon cats all over it, found at the back of a cupboard in sick sibling’s apartment (no, I haven’t asked). Much as I love cats, I do not necessarily wish to be seen carrying an umbrella covered in them!
2. Travel in the capital of Turkey is easy – as long as you are not easily frightened. Taxi drivers (of which there are many) have two speeds – 100 mph and ‘BRAKE’!!! You will also find that, on the whole, seat belts are there purely for decoration – I think I have found only one taxi so far where you could actually clip the belt in securely. I have developed a technique of using one hand to hold the seat belt across my body – which would serve no purpose at all in an accident – whilst clinging on to the handle above the window with my other hand. Not pretty, but it makes me feel better!
3. Learn a little Turkish (and believe me, when I say ‘a little’, I mean ‘a little’ – you would need a lifetime to get past the basics, fascinating though it is to listen to the language). A little goes a long way and I have particularly impressed local people with my mastery of ‘Thank you very much’ – Teşekkűr ederim, pronounced something like ‘teshkweredereem’. (Do not try this at home unless you are closely supervised.) It has brought a big smile to people’s faces whenever I’ve used it (in fact, the cleaner nearly collapsed laughing when I first tried it), although I am a little concerned that I may be putting the emphasis in the wrong place and I am actually telling people, ‘I am leaving you all my money when I die.’

I think that’s enough for the first lesson, but look out for ‘the tale of the confused taxi driver’ and ‘making friends with the hospital lift attendant’, along with ‘guided tours of the hospital departments a speciality’. That’s all still to come!

Words are all I have…

Words

As many of you know, the Lifestyle Support Guru loves words of all sorts – short words, long words, foreign words, words you can pronounce and words you can’t, and words that can make you smile, and it is with this in mind that I thought I would share some thoughts on words with you today.

Words can help you make career decisions:

For example, I have decided that I will not retrain as a phlebotomist, since the word is almost as difficult to say as it is to spell. The same applies to ophthalmologist.

Foreign Words

Foreign words can take people by surprise sometimes (even if that wasn’t the intention):
A close friend of mine (not the LSG, of course, because I would never use the wrong word) was once on a school trip to Paris where one of the students had been accused of stealing money from another (British) guest at the hotel. As the only French speaker among the staff (because it was a History trip) and the other British guests, the close friend had to translate for both the student AND the accuser once the police arrived. It was fairly late in the evening after a long day visiting various historical sites in Paris, so it would be fair to say that the friend was rather tired and perhaps not thinking as clearly as she might have when the accuser asked her to translate that he had made the assumption that the student had stolen from his wallet. It was when the French policeman’s eyes opened wide in surprise at the use of the word ‘l’Assomption’ that the close friend realised she had made the teensiest of errors – ‘l’Assomption’ refers to the ascent of the Virgin Mary to Heaven after her death and is a religious festival in France!

Wrong in Spain

This same close friend went to Spain at Christmas and, upon arrival at the hotel with an accompanying sibling, thought she would impress the receptionist (and sibling) with her knowledge of Spanish. However, upon approaching the desk, she realised that ‘We have two rooms booked’ had not been covered in her Spanish classes, although she would have been fine giving her age, profession, nationality, number of siblings and ordering beer and wine, all of which had been covered in the first five chapters. After a slight moment of panic before making the assumption (ha ha! See what I did there!) that the word for ‘room’ might be similar to the Italian, ‘camera’, she confidently said, with a smile, ‘Dos camareras’. The receptionist’s eyes opened wide, rather like the French policeman’s, since the friend had confidently asked for two waitresses. An easy mistake, I think.

Speedy Freda

And, finally, words can make you smile (again, unintentionally):
The much-loved mother of some very good friends of mine has just died. I know we all find it difficult to find the right words to say at times like those, but I thought the response from TT (the Tiny Tyke, who has featured in many of my tales and who has a Yorkshireman’s way with words – brief and to the point!) was a classic. I sent TT a text to tell him the news, because he had met Speedy, as she was affectionately known, when he had come on rugby trips to Wales. I read his reply while I was making my way round Sainsbury’s and I got some very strange looks when I laughed out loud.
What was his response? ‘I’m so sorry’? ‘That’s sad’? ‘Please send my condolences’? No, his response was: ‘Unfortunate.’ UNFORTUNATE? ‘Unfortunate’ is when you spill a cup of coffee on the cat; ‘unfortunate’ is when you trip over the said cat and break your leg; ‘unfortunate’ is not what you say when someone dies – unless he felt it was unfortunate that Speedy would now miss the 2017 Six Nations, due to start this coming weekend, and which she loved?
Farewell, Speedy Freda – you’ll live in people’s memories for a long time, FORTUNATELY!

Tips for a Top Christmas

A very merry Christmas to all my Faithful Followers (FFs), Delightful Devotees (DDs) and Beloved Believers (BBs) – this sounds rather like a bra advert! – who, as I write, will be in the middle of preparing for the festive jollities and may well be feeling somewhat stressed. I am here to offer some information on how I am preparing for the days ahead in the hope that you may be able to use some of this information in future years, since I fear that it may be too late for this year.
1. Take the cats to their holiday home and feel a little sad that they seem to settle in very quickly and may have already forgotten you before you have even left the building. However, the plus side is that you can now pack your suitcase without having to check every ten minutes that one of them hasn’t sneaked inside.
2. As you are returning home, you decide to call in at Sainsbury’s for something to eat, since you have very little in the fridge, apart from a couple of old slices of low calorie corned beef (see an earlier post for information on low calorie corned beef), some Brie and a rather smelly Stilton (thinks – ‘but I do have a bottle of port that would go nicely with the Stilton…’) and you are completely out of Pot Noodles. The car park is so busy that they have attendants guiding you to parking spaces and you are pointed towards a tiny space between an estate car and a large Freelander which has, of course, parked over the white line between spaces (this is a privilege reserved for those who own unnecessarily large cars that they can’t park properly). Even with the LSG’s tiny car and superlative parking ability, you realise that this is going to be more than just a tight squeeze and that you will not be able to get out of the car even if you manage to park it, so you drive off and find your own parking space, well away from any spatially-challenged 4×4 owners.
3. Decide that you will have the Sainsbury’s Christmas Lunch Special, since, in your mind, you can still hear your mother saying, ‘You’ve got to have turkey and sprouts at least once at Christmas.’ (inside, you are still a child crying, ‘Why?’, but you do as your mother tells you). Whilst waiting for the festive feast, you peruse a copy of the Daily Mail and realise that you are living in a different world from the Mail’s, where anger, rage and disgust seem to be the default emotions. I always feel as if I have been slapped across the backs of my hands with a wooden ruler after reading this fine example of unbiased, open-minded, British journalism.
Eat three Brussels sprouts (two more than usual) in penance.
4. Get home and realise that you STILL haven’t written many Christmas cards and that any you may write now will not arrive in time for Christmas (especially since you haven’t got any stamps either), so it looks as if you may have to send them late and include one of those dreaded Round Robin letters explaining why your card is so late – would they believe it if you said that you had been helping out at a homeless shelter or delivering food parcels to lonely old people? No, I didn’t think so, either.
5. There is only one thing to do to rescue you from sinking into a deep depression (other than going to the pub, of course – that will come later…) – check in online for your forthcoming holiday to a warm and sunny destination where you can sit and sip a chilled glass of white Rioja as you are soothed by the sound of the sea gently lapping in the background and contemplate everyone else having to listen to ‘Mistletoe and Wine’ for the 100th time (although you know you may tire of ‘Feliz Navidad’ after a little while).
6. Send email to siblings to apologise for not sending Christmas cards, but explain that you have been helping out at a homeless shelter and delivering food parcels to lonely old people.

Have a lovely Christmas, everyone!

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