Wheels On Fire

www.lifestylesupportguru.comA very good evening to you all from the Lifestyle Support Guru, and a somewhat belated Happy New Year (or HNY as many people wrote. Why not go the whole hog and just use MC for Merry Christmas and HB for Happy Birthday – saves all that tiresome effort of writing or typing the whole thing out!).

Tonight, I thought I would regale you with the tale of a friend who recently had the misfortune of having to be wheeled through Alicante airport. When I say ‘wheeled’, I mean that she was in a wheelchair, rather than attached to a set of wheels like some strange living suitcase – no way she would have fitted in Ryanair’s overhead cabin lockers! How did this come about? you may well wonder. I shall recount the tale as she recounted it to me.
This very good friend had gone on holiday to Spain over the Christmas period with two siblings, to get away from the hurly-burly of a British Christmas. It was a very enjoyable time, visiting the local bars to get the authentic feel of a foreign country. We went – sorry, THEY went – to places such as ‘The Bog Road’, ‘O’Leary’s’, ‘O’Riordan’s’, all filled with people who had lived there since time immemorial, or at least since the 1970s. There was one upstart newcomer bar called Bushwhacka, but the friends couldn’t see that lasting long because they actually measured out the drinks such as Baileys – rather than just pouring them until you said ‘Stop – AND charged an incredible 3 euros for a large glass of wine, compared with the ‘proper’ local bars which charged a more www.lifestylesupportguru.comacceptable 2 euros. One other bar which showed potential was called Miguel’s (or something equally foreign) and had a lovely tapas menu as well as an owner who only spoke Spanish.

 

The siblings were quite prepared to spend the holidays there, improving their foreign language skills and working their way through the tapas menu. Imagine their disappointment when they turned up the next day and saw a notice on the door; ‘Cerrado hasta febraro’ – ‘Closed until February’! Miguel obviously hadn’t realised quite how much business he could have had over a 12-day period with the siblings.
So, what does this have to do with the friend being wheeled through Alicante airport? Well, nothing, really – I was just trying to give some local colour and tell a tale!

Without boring you with details, suffice to say that, for unknown reasons, the good friend had developed some problems with breathlessness during the holiday and it was thought best to ask for assistance at the airport for the return journey.
www.lifestylesupportguru.comUpon the siblings’ arrival there on the day of departure, a very nice young lady turned up with a wheelchair and wheeled the friend off to the special queue for the less mobile, followed by one sibling wheeling two suitcases (the other sibling would be following a few days later). They joined a queue of other similarly afflicted people, none below the age of 70, apart from my friend – God’s waiting room, indeed! Once through the security check (helpers on either side of the stand-up screening machine in case anyone wobbled or fell over), the wheelchairs were all lined up alongside each other to await a helper to take them to the aircraft – this was true GTA! (No, not Grand Theft Auto, more Geriatrics To Alicante!)

 

Luckily, the friend had her sibling to push her along – the airport was pretty busy, but the sibling managed to find a space for a wheelchair to await the announcement of the flight departure. (Did I mention that this space was in an airport bar and that every other wheelchair-bound person had found their way there as well?)
All went well, including the friend being ‘offloaded’ at East Midlands Airport via the mobility lift from the plane, during which time she made a friend for life – between getting in the mobility lift and going through passport control, this other invalid had told the friend her full life story, from where she’d been born to why she was on the mobility lift.
The only worrying part was when they seemed to be one wheelchair short and it looked as if my friend was going to have to be loaded back onto the plane and returned to Alicante like some piece of discarded and unwanted baggage. Maybe the siblings could have claimed something on the insurance?
The friend has made a full recovery – well, when I say ‘full’, I mean as full as is possible for a lazy, overweight person who avoids most form of exercise other than walking to the pub. Good night!

A Christmas Message from the LSG

A very merry Christmas to you all! I am delighted to share my Christmas message with you all today, especially since it’s after Her Majesty’s, so you will already have fallen asleep in front of the television stuffed full of turkey or nut roast and several glasses of champagne, prosecco and wine – that’s you stuffed full, of course, not the television – and you will now be ready for some uplifting words of wisdom and support to help you through the rest of the evening and the days that follow until you can fall meekly into 2019!

Even though I have the body of a weak and feeble woman – my doctor might disagree slightly with that description – I have the heart and stomach of a demi-god and can help you negotiate a safe path through the trials of a hectic time until you can relax with a small glass of dry sherry at the end of the day and watch whichever repeats may be offered to you as entertainment. (I can recite verbatim almost every script from Morecambe and Wise!)

I hope you enjoyed Christmas morning, although I suspect many of you were probably up around 4 am with the excitement – and that’s just the adults! – and are now ready to fall asleep again. I hope you haven’t already run out of batteries or found that you bought the wrong size and won’t be able to get any now until tomorrow. If that’s the case, the rest of Christmas night is going to be a disaster, I’m afraid. You’re going to have to resort to Monopoly, Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit instead of Hungry Hippos and Lego robots.
If you went to church, I hope you took a good slurp of communion wine in preparation for the fray.
I shan’t send you a message from God because I don’t know which god or gods you worship, or even if you worship one. That is entirely up to you – personally, I favour the Ancient Greek and Roman ways of worshipping different gods for different things and I particularly like Vesta, the Roman goddess of the hearth, home and family – how can you not worship a goddess who created delightful dishes such as Vesta curry, paella and chow mein? And I think she had a son called Pot Noodle.
Anyway, I digress. The Christmas message I want to send to all of you is one of hope, faith and charity.
Hope that you made it to the end of Christmas day without trying to murder that ageing aunt who insisted on telling you how much better she could have cooked the lunch if only she could stand for long enough, but you resisted the urge to tell her that she should have stayed off the sherry in that case!

Faith in yourself to cater for all the family, including the picky eater, the vegetarian and the vegan, the one who won’t eat sprouts and the cousin who insists on ONLY eating sprouts – just be glad he left straight after lunch to visit his mother!

And charity – the charity to keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you … to meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two impostors just the same.
I’m sure I’ve used those lines before …
https://amzn.to/2SpzNe8 Available in the UK from Amazon via www.lifestylesupportguru.comAnd in case you want to know what I got for Christmas, just look at the accompanying photos to spot the treasure from youngest sibling, brought all the way from Australia.

And you will, of course, enjoy looking at the genuine Armani watches I bought from a lovely street seller as a Christmas treat for myself, one in black, one in white (genuine plastic watchstraps, and one works on what I call ‘Armani time’, falling behind by about ten minutes every two hours or whenever it feels like it – but that’s what you get for paying a lot of money for something).

And, finally, Christmas lunch in the sun – not a turkey or sprout in sight!

A very merry Christmas to you all!

Livestock Lessons

A very good day to you all from the Lifestyle Support Guru! It has been a little while since I offered any advice, but this morning I had to visit the vet’s, although I was 24 hours late and I feel that this was meant to be, otherwise I would not have witnessed scenes which taught me a lot in just half an hour.

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Molly

I was late because Molly the Mobster had realised that something was up yesterday when I didn’t have a second cup of coffee because I was taking her for her booster shot and I didn’t have time for a second cup. She shot off and hid under the bed in the spare room and I was unable to reach her – she just sat there purring as if to say, ‘Ha! I’m smarter than you! I know your exact habits!’

 

 

Thank goodness the vet doesn’t charge for missed appointments! Therefore, this morning I made sure I had a second coffee, thus fooling her completely. She followed me meekly downstairs, expecting treats, where I was able to pick her up and shove her into her carrier. She then sat there emitting a pathetic miaow from time to time, but I hardened my heart and carried her to the car.

So, where do lessons learned come in to this feline tale? Well, as soon as I got to the vet’s surgery, I realised I was seriously underdressed – there is now clearly a uniform for visiting the vet. It is as follows:

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1. Leggings in a bright pattern, preferably with flashes of pink.
2. Pink trainers.
3. A turtle neck jumper, with splashes of pink.
4. A gilet, not necessarily pink, but preferably Barbour.
5. Blonde hair tied up in a loose bun (à la Meghan Markle).
6. A stretchy hairband (with the regulation flash of pink) holding aforementioned blonde hair off the face.
7. A white dog (any size).

I was wearing plain black trousers and a rust-coloured (luckily not rust-covered) jumper, a bobble-covered navy woollen jacket and nice, comfortable ‘granny’ shoes in an understated grey and I had a black cat with me rather than a white dog. I felt this was suitable attire for visiting a place that was going to take money off me – don’t look as if you can afford the exorbitant fees!

And this was where the second lesson came in. While I was studying the visions in pink sharing space in the waiting room, a man came in carrying a dog lead, but with no dog attached – my first assumption was that he had come to collect his pet, but no … he had come to let off steam! He started haranguing the poor receptionist about having to pay extra to his pet insurance company over and above the £800 a year he was already paying. £800!! I felt his pain! Apparently, the insurance company had told him that it was https://amzn.to/2TBNcRBthe vet’s fault for taking the dog’s tooth out when he brought him in for a scale and polish. (For a nanosecond I thought maybe I had wandered into the dentist’s by mistake.) Apparently, the insurance company wouldn’t pay for the extraction and were trying to say it was the vet’s fault for taking the tooth out in the first place. The receptionist was very patient and explained that this was the insurance company doing their usual thing of trying to wriggle out of paying for procedures. She then went on to say that they charged less than other vets (try telling that to my bank card!) because they know that the insurance companies will do what they can not to pay for ‘little extras’ (they are probably run by Philip Hammond). The man calmed down and went off, still carrying his empty dog lead and muttering to himself about rip-off insurance companies. And the lesson? If you want to take your anger out on someone, go to a vet’s surgery! (But I’m still wondering why he brought his dog lead with him.)

Molly was then called in to see the vet, who said she had lost weight (Molly, not the vet), but nothing to worry about, all the while looking at me as if to say, ‘Maybe you should follow Molly’s example.’ We then went back into reception where the following animals were called for: Holly (a nervous dog), Polly (a yappy dog) and Poppy (an old, grey dog with a sad face). Lesson 3? It is now clearly a legal requirement to give your pet a two-syllable name ending in ‘y’. I am well within the law.

Enjoy the rest of your day!

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Home Help

www.lifestylesupportguru.com/home-helpA very good afternoon to you all! It is a little while since I offered you any advice, which is very remiss off me because some of you may not be living life as fully as you might without me here to help you avoid any little pitfalls and stumbling blocks along life’s rocky road. Today I wish to discuss domestic problems – not that I have any problems, of course, because I am a living Domestic Goddess, but I have come across a ‘Help’ page in a Sunday paper which answers readers’ questions about household/domestic problems. I felt that the ‘experts’ didn’t necessarily address the problems appropriately, so I felt I should offer alternative solutions. Here are some of the questions that were raised, with a brief version of the experts’ answers (because they did tend to ramble on), followed by my much more succinct and useful answers:
1. My indoor aloe vera has root rot. What can I do?

Expert: Aloe vera dislikes excess moisture or watering. Take your plant out of the pot and remove any soil residue from the roots. Cut any rotten bits with sterilised scissors. Gently tease away any unaffected pups (baby plants growing off the mother plant). Clean, wash and dry the pot. Add a new mix: half soil, half sand. You may add a teaspoon of perlite to absorb excess water. Repot the mother plant in this new soil. Repot any pups with the same half-soil, half-sand mix. Do not water too much.
LSG: Throw it out.

2. I used to have a good relationship with my neighbours, but in the past year they have built an enormous bike shed and a storage shed against our low boundary fence — right under my kitchen window. Then, last week, they built a large bar within a foot of the fence. It’s positioned so that all of their guests can stare into my garden. Is there anything I can do?

Expert: Generally speaking, there is no right in English law to the enjoyment of a view (the expert then rabbits on for ages about tort law, nuisance and a lot more).
LSG: Build a bigger bar that overlooks their bedroom and invite more guests.

3. I recently had the moss removed from my roof. How can I stop it coming back and preserve the tiles?

Expert: Most mosses thrive in moist, shady conditions. Reducing overhanging branches or removing trees to allow sunlight onto the roof will inhibit regrowth. Any work on a roof should be risk-assessed, with appropriate measures taken to prevent falls.
LSG: Get the roof thatched and then the moss will blend in perfectly. Any work on a roof should be risk-assessed – make sure your ladder is long enough.

4. My washing machine stinks.
Expert: Liquid detergent (even biological) used at low temperature does not seem to kill bacteria, which builds up. Washing powders for whites contain bleach, so do a hot white wash (60C) every week. Run a very hot wash with laundry powder once a week. Dry the rubber seal. Use the hottest wash with bio powder. Spray rubber seal with anti-mould or bleach. Keep door open.
LSG: Buy a new washing machine.

www.lifestylesupportguru.com/home-help5. My wife and I often forget to turn off our bathroom tap. We are 79 and 82. Sometimes we leave the water running for hours. It is a single mixer tap: to turn it on, we lift the handle up, but we forget to push it back down. Is there a device that can remind us?

Expert: The best suggestion I can make is to fit a self-closing “non-concussive” tap, which you press to turn on — the sort you often get in motorway services. They only run for a few seconds unless you hold them down. My only concern is that, as you get older, a push-button tap may be more difficult for your hands to manage. If you can use it, however, it would certainly solve the problem.
LSG: My only concern is that neither of you can cope with remembering to push a tap handle down when you must be able to see/hear the water running, but more especially when your water bill arrives. Book yourselves into the nearest residential care home while they still have double rooms available.

First world problems, eh?

Another Film Review

A very good evening to you all! The Lifestyle Support Guru here with another insightful and incisive film review. The film, a French one, was suggested by Mrs Marzipan (who featured heavily in my last post). She was accompanied by her husband, Mr Lederhosen (who also featured briefly in the same post and who, for once, had not managed to come up quickly enough with a DIY project to get out of the afternoon’s entertainment).
The film was called ‘Les Gardiennes’ and had been positively reviewed in some newspaper or other, although Mrs Marzipan couldn’t remember which one – I have a feeling it may have been ‘Farmers’ Weekly’.
www.lifestylesupportguru.comThe film was about how the women in France coped while their men were fighting in the Great War and, since I enjoy films about the two World Wars, I thought this would be an interesting ‘take’. Well, for the first hour, I thought we’d accidentally bought tickets for a screening of ‘Countryfile’ which had been filmed in an agricultural museum. We had long scenes of women haymaking, while the older men of the village stood around drinking homemade wine; every so often, a younger male member of the main family would turn up on leave from the front, give a little help in the fields, have a nightmare or two about the hostilities, then gaze into the distance for a while (as they always do in French films) before going back to fight.
A young woman, Francine, an orphan, joined the cast to help on the farm and, of course, fell in love with Georges, one of the sons of Hortense, the matriarch of the family. The tempo was upped a bit by now because Hortense, after falling over as she was guiding the plough (too much homemade wine, I suspect), decided to mechanise the haymaking and we were treated to a ten-minute scene of how this machine worked – fascinating! I was waiting for Hortense to get swept into the machine, but no such luck. Given that there was a war on, how did they manage to get the money? By selling homemade wine to some dastardly American soldiers who had not yet been sent to the front.
www.lifestylesupportguru.comI’m not sure you want much more detail – a tractor featured, and we were treated to five minutes of that being driven around the farmyard – and Hortense didn’t get run over, sadly.
Meanwhile, Francine has been getting more involved with Georges – they go off on a picnic and ‘cement’ their relationship, so to speak. I was most disappointed because they didn’t touch their picnic at all, leaving the baguette sticking up out of the wicker basket to go stale. 😊

www.lifestylesupportguru.comHowever, things were not meant to run smoothly – as Georges was being driven to the station by his mother to go back to the front, they pass Francine selling some wine to one of the dastardly Americans who is trying to kiss her – of course, Georges gets completely the wrong end of the stick (or baguette?) and Hortense encourages him in his mistake. Briefly, Francine gets the push and, of course, she finds out she’s pregnant but, although she writes to Hortense to tell her this, Hortense throws her letter on the fire.
As the film was going on, the year would be shown briefly when action changed and I (naively, as it turned out) assumed it would finish in 1918. It was when 1920 flashed up that I whispered to Mrs Marzipan and Mr Lederhosen, ‘I just hope this isn’t going to continue into the 21st century – we’ll be here all night.’
All ends happily – sort of (this is a French film, after all!). Francine, who has come into some money, is leading a happy life as a singer, and Georges turns up where she’s singing, and he looks thoroughly miserable. Hah!

We felt in need of some refreshment after all this agricultural misery, so we repaired to the bar for some wine. With eyes bigger than our thirsts, we ended up not finishing a bottle of wine and Mrs Marzipan and Mr Lederhosen insisting that I take the unfinished bottle home with me. Picture me getting on the bus home with a half-finished bottle of wine sticking up out of my handbag. Luckily, no neighbours were on the bus, so I think I got away with it!
Enjoy the rest of your evening! 🍷📽️🚜🥖👩‍🌾