A very good Bank Holiday evening to you all – I hope you have made the most of the sunshine and fine weather. One of my local pubs has already made the most of it by running out of the ‘reassuringly expensive’ lager that next-sibling-down enjoys, even though there’s still another day of the holiday to go, so we have had to repair to the next local along. Luckily, both places stock Sauvignon Blanc, so the Lifestyle Support Guru is not suffering at all.
Tonight, I wish to tell you about my ever-growing CV – quiz-setting, lunching, proofreading, lunching, making people smile (sometimes), lunching, annoying male siblings by talking too much, lunching, and now… MODEL! Yes, I have added MODEL to my list of accomplishments. And it didn’t take a lot of effort or practice to be a model MODEL – to some it just comes naturally and the LSG is the perfect example of that.
I shall set the scene, as usual:
– being a community-minded sort of person, I belong to a couple of local committees (‘community-minded’ is a lie, really – I only belong to them because they meet in the pub), and one of these committees decided to run a charity fashion show (at my suggestion, I’m pleased to say – yet another self-sacrificing suggestion, because, as I’m sure you realise, a fashion show wouldn’t really be to my taste at all…). Volunteer models were required, so, in my usual self-effacing way, I put myself forward as a possibility, along with four or five others. To say that the offer was snapped up would be an understatement, and I like to think that it was because of the LSG’s natural aptitude for modelling rather than through a lack of other volunteers. I also like to think that I was offering to be representative of the curvier end of the modelling spectrum – and this same thought was also clearly reflected by another volunteer in the following conversation:
Other Model: I’ve waxed my legs and put some tanning lotion on them ready for the show.
LSG: Really? I wasn’t thinking of going to those lengths. I’ll just be grateful if they’ve got clothes that will fit me.
OM: Oh, they’re bound to have some that will fit – they need all sizes of models, from ‘C’ over there (pointing to a tiny, incredibly slim committee member who normally wears a size SIX!!) to me and ‘R’ (pointing to herself and the wonderful, amazingly enthusiastic Rachel, who is the Chair of the committee) who can cover the normal/medium sizes; they’ll be bound to have your size and shape as well.
I took a large gulp of wine and smiled sweetly, whilst thinking evil thoughts. Other Model, do not think that you will get away scot free by making such underhand comments…
On the evening itself, there was a HUGE audience – thank goodness I am used to appearing in public and am not fazed by such attention. We were allowed to choose our own outfits, although one of these had to be a dress, a type of garment I haven’t worn since I retired over 7 years ago, but I am prepared to sacrifice my principles for a good cause (and the right size). I sashayed out onto the catwalk, displaying a broad grin (and an even broader behind, probably) and that was my next career launched!
It seemed to me that the most popular garment sold on the night was one that the LSG had modelled – a pink and white striped tunic, which looked lovely with a tan, and in the case of the LSG, a REAL tan, unlike the OM’s bottle tan (which didn’t really show up anyway – she’d left it too late for it to have any impact). Conversely, I didn’t notice lots of people rushing to buy the OM’s choice of dress, although I did persuade her that it looked absolutely delightful on her and she decided to buy it – but sometimes I don’t always tell the WHOLE truth…
Kate Moss, eat your heart out…
(On the plus side – my size! – the evening raised over £600 and the LSG added to her wardrobe, including a rather nice pink and white striped tunic which looks lovely with a tan, but which every other female in the area may also well be wearing!)
Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday.
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!
A very good evening to you all from the Lifestyle Support Guru! I hope you have all been coping well with the snow and biting winds – don’t you just love a British spring? I have some sound advice for you tonight about visiting exhibitions and how to get the most out of them. I have recently been to two very different exhibitions and I believe that I learned valuable lessons from both. The visits were made as a result of the male siblings’ interests, since one doesn’t come across many exhibitions about my own interests, specifically ‘A hundred ways to prepare a Pot Noodle’ and ‘Cork or screwtop? A wine drinker’s dilemma.’
The first exhibition was to do with properties abroad, with a view to avoiding the British winter, although that becomes more and more difficult as the years go by because the British winter now seems to last from August to June. This was perhaps the most fun of the two because I simply stood next to youngest sibling and said nothing. (This was, in fact, quite difficult because, as the LSG, I feel it almost essential to offer my valuable advice whenever I think it necessary, which is most of the time. I think this may be the reason that next-youngest sibling always allows youngest sibling to sit in the front of the car when I’m driving, with the words, ‘I’d like some peace and quiet.’) Anyway, I digress. My silence clearly disconcerted the exhibitors because they kept trying to make eye contact with me and include me in their conversation; they are obviously not used to a woman standing saying nothing, just nodding occasionally. I smiled mysteriously at times and at one exhibitor’s stand I actually said, ‘I’m his minder.’ Strangely, they didn’t look surprised – more scared, if anything. We came away with several brochures and a cotton carrier bag which I shall use for dirty laundry when I go on holiday.
The second exhibition was a photography one, which is one of next-youngest sibling’s interests. Unfortunately, when he first said it was a camera exhibition, I misunderstood and thought he said a CAMRA exhibition and I had visions of quaffing lots of pleasant real ales. This was, sadly, not to be, but it was too late to change my mind because he’d already booked tickets. Once we arrived, I told next-youngest sibling to wander off on his own because I didn’t think ‘camera people’ would have the same approach to a silent, smiling bystander as ‘holiday people’ – they would be more likely to take a photo of me and enter it in some ‘Photo of the Year’ competition and win because of the compellingly distinguished features of the LSG.
I headed straight for the nearest coffee outlet since it was still very early in the morning (about 10.15) and I’d only had one coffee instead of my usual two. I then wandered around some of the stands, but could find none selling handbags or linen tops, both of which are high on my list of ‘things I love’, along with Pot Noodles, Pukka Pies, prosecco and frozen peas, so, losing interest, I went for another coffee. It was only on the way out of the exhibition that I spotted a stand that might have some interest for me – leather bags!
Sadly, they had a slightly strange design meant only to carry cameras and their accessories, not a mobile phone; a diary; a fat purse; a Kindle Fire; a little foldup stand for aforementioned Kindle; a little pouch which holds a mobile charger, a power lead, several different connectors, earphones and a USB lead; a Murray Mint; a little notebook; several pens; some money-off vouchers for Majestic Wines; a comb, and a couple of spare contact lenses. We came away with two carrier bags, neither of which will be suitable for dirty laundry and will simply sit in the house while I try to think of what to do with them.
So, there you have it, dear devotees – exhibitionism can enliven your life!
The Strangest Question?
I always like to share my knowledge with you, as you know, so that you will always have a ready fund of useful hints and tips at your fingertips, ready for anything that life may throw at you, and I feel that I may have surpassed even myself this time.
1. Do not assume that Marks and Spencer will ever be fazed by anything that you may ask of them. Some of you will already know the bare outlines of this story if you have read next-sibling-down’s Facebook account, but it was a far more substantial experience in reality.
Next-sibling-down had explained to me that he needed to buy a small bra for a play in which he was appearing, but he didn’t like to ask his co-actor for one of hers, fearing being regarded as a minor Harvey Weinstein – heaven forbid! He knew I was going shopping (or, if he didn’t know, he guessed, since this is a favourite activity of mine, on a par with eating out) and asked if I would find a small, cheap bra. I had decided to do a major refurb of my underwear drawer(s), so this was no hardship. I strolled into M&S, spotting a few other items that might sneak into my bag (not in a shoplifting sort of way, I hasten to add!) as I headed for the underwear section. Having found enough underwear items for myself to satisfy (and even fit) a small Third World country, I went to the fitting rooms where there were two very nice assistants. The conversation went as follows:
LSG: I have a rather strange request which might surprise you.
Assistant: Nothing surprises us. We’ve had all sorts of requests over the years. (Other assistant nods in agreement.)
LSG: I need the smallest, cheapest bra you’ve got.
A: (With just the tiniest hint of surprise as she eyes my ample bosom.) Is it for you?
LSG: No, it’s for my brother. He needs to attach it to his shoe.
Still the eyebrows moved in only the tiniest acknowledgement of an unusual request.
I then explained the exact circumstances and the assistant couldn’t have been more helpful, and became thoroughly absorbed in the task, suggesting that an underwired, padded, colourful bra might be more visible on stage, especially if velcroed to a shoe.
We eventually settled on a special offer of two plain, white bras for a tenner (and I had an offer of 20% off as well), but the lovely assistant also suggested that I compare prices in Primark and bring the M&S ones back if I could get them cheaper at Primark. You do NOT get service like that in most places!
I mentioned Primark to next-sibling-down, but he had already taken the labels off and tried one of the bras on…
2. Dealing with past disappointments:
I read a quote recently which said, ‘No one remembers who comes second.’ and I thought, ‘I DO! I DO!’
I came second in a Miss Cilfynydd contest many years ago. There was a very good reason for this (to my mind, anyway!) – the girl who won was going out with the captain of the local football team, while I had ‘palled up’ (for want of a better phrase!) with the captain of the local rugby team. Since the competition was taking place in the local rugby club, one might have expected that the votes would have been overwhelmingly in favour of the rugby captain’s ‘squeeze’, but NOOO! The football captain had rounded up all his mates for the night and they greatly outnumbered the rugby captain’s mates – he hadn’t rounded them up because he hadn’t expected such a level of opposition – bit like Hillary Clinton, really.
But the best thing? Miss Cilfynydd decided she couldn’t be bothered to turn up and be crowned at the August Bank Holiday fete, so I got the crown and my photo in the paper! Second best is better than nothing, as Plato said (or was it Cicero? It may even have been the captain of the rugby club!)
3. This final piece of information is possibly the best you may ever come across and should be remembered for ever. It was passed on to me by youngest sibling, who knows everything about everything, especially if it’s scientific.
If you want to dispose of a body ENTIRELY, forget acid – use BLEACH. I have stocked up.
Sleep well! 😊