Honeymoon Day 1: World War T

It’s challenging being a Briton abroad. We sort of carry the weight of the average impression on our shoulders. You try to be extra polite, extra gracious and extra embracing because you are extra aware that we have an international label of extra fussy.

Dalaman Airport, Turkey emptied the plane promptly onto two buses. Great! We knew we had a few hours ahead of us in a hopefully air conditioned car (though if it was just rolled down windows, that would be okay too – we’re not fussy!) – leaving the plane so quickly was a bonus!

And then came the queue for Passport Control.

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Except it wasn’t a queue. It was a mass. A mass of mainly British holiday makers. A mass of mainly British holiday makers in 28 degree heat. A mass of mainly British holiday makers in 28 degree heat with one thing on our unified mind:

Protect your queue – for Queen and Country!

The photo is from about the halfway point and just before my realisation that Husband and I would have to jiggle into a snaking line of tourists that was making its way more directly to one of the Passport booths. At the point we joined, along with how many others, you couldn’t even see the booths.

An angry and likely overheated teenage boy to my right was eliciting advice from his more quietly angry mother about what to do as more and more people merged with their ‘queue’.

Don’t let them in,

She said with all the certain control of any good matriarch,

There’s too many…

A boy of about five or six to my left had already declared his exasperation at everyone joining his queue. I’m beginning to think it’s something they put in our water.

About a fifth of the way to go, we heard a whistle behind is and could see the crowd trying as best it could to part, fanning back in a reluctant Mexican wave for a man in a wheelchair. Yes, the same man who had been bouncing spryly up and down for the toilets, the trolley and for Husband to get past him, in the seat at the end of our row on the plane. Clever old people. However, the look of unabashed delight as he flew through the mass was sort of worth it. More whistles came, more suspect wheelchair inhabitants, along with large groups of family trailing past us behind them.

Behind me, a conversation broke out.

Well, now you’re in our queue!

I’m not in your queue.

Yes you are. You were in that one, and now you’re
in this one!

[sheepishly] I’m not in your queue.

I turned to see the speaker of the first more tense interlocutor and beheld a red faced bespectacled English man berating a younger, more embarrassed looking Englishman with scrunched up shoulders, sort of caught between both queues.

Because there were no queues.

And when that happens to the British – when one of our great underpinnings of polite society is challenged, we descend into chaos.

Or, because we’re British, terse verbal exchanges with other holiday makers.

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Reading Challenge 2014 So Far…

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I thought I should make a list to see how this resolution’s going…

B – Bellman & Black, Diane Setterfield – 1/5

F – Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, Matthew Quick – 4/5

G – The Girl on the Landing, Paul Torday – 3/5

H – The Husband’s Secret, Liane Moriarty – 4/5

L – Life After Life, Kate Atkinson – 4.5/5

M – May We Be Forgiven, AM Homes – 4/5

N – The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern – 4/5 

R – The Rehearsal, Eleanor Catton – 3.5/5

W – What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty – 4/5

 

Ohhh – I thought I had read more!

Any suggestions would be appreciated for the many missing letters!

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Wedding Week Day2: It’s Too Late to Change!

I was sitting on the sofa last night, slotting the Order of Service invites into the cards. These things have taken me a while. It started on Saturday when my printer decided to hiccup, throwing the whole ‘can I even print them’ question into the equation. I printed 20 successfully. Then I ran out of ribbon after the first 16. Proactive Friend, who had lent a hand with the mind numbing double sided tape exercise disappeared to Bluewater and returned with three new reels the next day. By Monday, All 62 were printed. I finished sticking. I finished binding with ribbon. Now, to insert the pieces, drop them in the rubbish brown box that I should do something to prettify.

Boyfriend, a little more engaged now that the World Cup has abandoned him, decided to flick through the completed versions only to notice that I had forgotten to put his friend’s name in bold to show that he’s a reader. Boyfriend asked me to re-print – it would only be the inserts. Um.

On another note, the bridesmaids are in rebellion. Possibly the subject of a later post, their dress hunting has been for me the most M. Night Shyamalan part of this process – they were going to wear blue – but they wore pink! They were going to wear pink – but now they’re wearing cream! They were going to choose their own outfits – but then they couldn’t decide! They were going to wear different dresses – but now they’re wearing the same! They said they liked the dress I eventually chose – now they don’t!

When Cousin asked if she could change out of the (news to me) unflattering dress, I didn’t act with poise or nonchalance about the fact that it is just a dress, I made a snippy comment instead. I have since realised the error of my idiocy and within twenty minutes retracted the refusal and told her and Sister to wear whatever they want in the evening. For crying out loud, it is just a dress.

For Sister’s perspective, maybe check out her account of the last few months in The Aftermath – I felt a little bit Bridezilla after reading that! And maybe I should have read it earlier than three days ago!

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Wedding Week: Day 1

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It’s Monday.

 We are getting married on Saturday – at 2.30pm in case you’re interested.

Downstairs, there are forty something Order of Services to be bound and decorated with pink stripe ribbon; there are about twenty serviettes left to be rolled and wrapped in raffia, the delicately hand written heart wood pieces to be attached.

 Boyfriend and I are finally listing the songs that will make it onto the playlist. We decided to ‘go personal’ and ask for three songs from each guest, and add a selection of our own choices. This equates to nearly seven hours of music. We only need music for three and a half. Editing is required.

 Seating is still to be finalised. I still have to subtly find out the surname of a close friend’s boyfriend (without giving away that I have completely forgotten it despite her telling me only a few weeks ago), and I also need to find out whether another friend is bringing a husband or a mother.

 We still have to buy the wine for the reception. My eyebrows are in dire need of some hot wax attention. Suitcases are to be filled with honeymoon clothes. Mum still has to buy flowers, the bridesmaid’s owed money and my bridal hairstyle –as yet unarranged – is likely to be a slightly back combed and sprayed version of my normal hair.

 Boyfriend has put the imitation Champions League Cup Trophy over his head.

 I am upstairs having a Blue Moon. I think this is the best way. 

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World Cup Final 2014 vs Titanic

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Half time has hit after forty something minutes and Boyfriend has flicked the TV set over to the best choice Channel 4 has made in a long time… Titanic. The iceberg has just hit, as though the schedulers knew that millions would be growing restless at half time and manipulated that ‘impossible’ moment to air just as viewers around the country started flicking.

For the record, I was able to enjoy Mr. Andrews circulating the ship in a state of abbreviated concern (as I now understand it through adult eyes, ‘gormlessness’), evil Cal framing Jack, Rose’s lips becoming puckered to a state of near apoplexy for every shocking turn of events within ten minutes (this particular portion shoved a lot in – the iceberg, the diamond emerging from Jack’s coat, the coat that she thought was Jack’s bearing a label with someone else’s name, Jack being taken away, Cal’s facial spank, Mr. Andrews’ timely reminder that she was the lead character in a tragic love story that also wanted to blithely comment on life and class).

As the ‘I’ve had enough of football thank you very much’ option the broken boat film is a lazily genius inclusion within the TV listings. In fact, I’m not sure why I’ve stayed down here where the second half’s started, instead of running upstairs and watching the film in bed. As Boyfriend is a massive sports fan, as opposed to a normal person I’ve endured many a World Cup inspired docuganda** slot generally focusing on the humble roots of now world renowned players, who have become sources of actual national hope. And now, because I watched but only ten minutes of the football fan’s black mirror, the comparisons between Titanic and my World Cup weeks are startling. Weeks of humble roots, national pride, national hope, the impossibility of Spain leaving so early, the shock that no one was shocked about England’s early departure***.

Such is the great comparator that Sports Fan Boyfriend at 79 minutes in has speculated,

I wonder what’s happening with that boat…

and we’re back to Channel 4 – Cal’s shooting at Jack. Boyfriend fact checked and now we’re back – still 0-0. I may have disappointed him with the lack of truth behind the World’s Greatest Love Story. Ever. IDST.

The last three weeks have been tiring, demanding of commitment and the suspension of reality – even as I have observed the elimination of countries that I’m convinced will be there to the end, I need to know what happens. Regardless of whether I care for the last ones standing. And I could be saying exactly the same if I had watched the film from the very beginning. Three hours can be just as much of a commitment as three weeks – the hope, disbelief humble roots and impossibility is loads more intense in a tight time frame. Honest. It’s true.

So, thank you Channel 4 for offering the absorbingly terrible film to cover the period stolen by the World Cup final. I saw this film eight times in the cinema, and cried every single time. It was like a therapy. It was permitted time to be devastated by the death of LOVE. There’s no doubt that within the next hour the roads from Brazil to London will be filled either with sobbing Argentinians or sobbing Germans****. Because the fans invested. They hoped. They made it this far. AKA, Jack and Rose on the wardrobe door*****. Because of the inevitability of tragedy, Titanic was always the only other viable option.

It is a mathematical certainty.

WC Titanic

**Have I just made a word up? If so, docuganda is the preparation of facts that are true, including a series of familiar to the facts talking heads and pointed photo or video montages relevant to the fact. A docuganda is distinguishable from a documentary, as the facts are set up to show that the factual event is part of something with a universal, ethical, philanthropic heart.

***This used to be a source of domestic mourning – this tournament it was a clinical roll of the eyes and the hope that another European country would get there instead).

****Actually, do Germans sob? They seem so together the majority of the time?

***** A helpful lesson on what to do if you’re shipwrecked. The answer is ‘share the available space out of the water’.

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My 2014 Reading Challenge

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In the last few years I have noticed that when I see people reading, I am hit by an childish sense of rageful envy; wherever they are and whatever they’re reading, I can sense their abandon of the rest of the world. I walked or drove to work so didn’t have a commute to read on, and after work activities – noble pursuits of housework and ‘organising myself’ quickly descended into slumming on the sofa while the TV shouted at me.

The only times I really read were from the moment we turned up at airport and then as soon as  we had gathered all the books we planned to read in a single week, I would binge until the last book of the holiday had been read, usually dragging it into the afternoon or the next morning of our arrival home. Then I would close the book/switch off the app (I have only recently started to use the Kindle iPad app and have to say it’s really not as emotionally distant as I had thought it would be) and vow to read as much now that i am home. Of course I never did.

I read all the time as a teenager, a possibly pretentious attachment to books that were written anything longer than twenty years ago, which has helped as a backdrop as there’s no way I’d now plough through A Clockwork Orange. I’m less patient, more fussy, and need to be hooked much faster than as a teenager when I’d read anything and lose whole evenings to the pages. Aah, it makes me nostalgic thinking of it…

In an attempt to fix this, I created a New Year’s Resolution that would mean I would have to read more, namely to read a book with a title for each letter of the alphabet. Three months into the year, this is going okay so far I think…

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Paris

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Wedding Planning – or not

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This is a picture from the second week of January when I decided to bite the bullet and throw myself wholeheartedly into this wedding planning lark. Being a keen organiser (read – uses lots of stationery to procrastinate from doing the thing that’s supposed to be organised), I went shopping at the local Ryman and invested in a large pink folio, twenty pastel coloured dividers, some sepia coloured paper and an A3 2014 planner. I printed a to-do list from the internet, crossed out the things that I was very unlikely to need to do (arrange a videographer/interview wedding singers – that sort of thing) and put it in the folder.

Someone at work very kindly brought me an amazing book which even though I’m not naturally crafty has made me decide that I definitely need flowers in teacups on the tables a la –

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So I dreamt last night that it was my wedding day. The problem in the dream was that I nothing had been organised – hardly anyone turned up, there was nothing to eat, we had no idea what to do in the ceremony and I was getting married in a nightie that I had as a child. I asked my Mum to find the petticoat, which I dream thought would make it less nightie-ish but she just said she didn’t know where it was. By the end of the dream, I was crying a lot and moaning at the husband to be and perked up when I saw some people walking in for the reception who I dream thought I had forgotten to invite – in fact now I think of it, a part of the dream featured me writing a fax in crayon and sending it to their office. A great new idea for wedding stationers no?

I think my brain’s trying to tell me to do some wedding planning. That nice folder, magazine and book are stranded in various parts of the house, and there’s only four months to go. Hmm.

Some bits – the important bits are done –

  • Dress
  • Ceremony venue
  • Reception venue
  • Catering
  • Save the dates sent
  • Seat covers (they’re an actual thing to do)

Am sure there must be more…

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Scenes from a celebration that no one else has noticed yet

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My sister blogs. She blogs a lot. When I read her posts, I get an overwhelming sensation of how easy it must be – because she sort of calls me, and says oh she’s just blogging, and then she sends me links and then I forget to read them until I see her a second or third time afterwards, at which point she’s a little annoyed and it looks as though I’m uninterested, whereas, actually, based on what I read the first few times, I’m actually – hard to say it – intimidated.

The fireworks are an uncanny image of what’s happening now that I’m actually sitting here writing – seriously – there’s a massive celebration going on in underground scenes and pockets of society that we just aren’t hearing about yet – and they’re all enthralled because I finally started a new blog. Yes. Really. It’s that big a thing. The plan is to sit here and type away, with the ads between ancient episodes of Friends on the Comedy Channel as my only company, in the dark – it really adds to the atmosphere – so as long as I keep typing word after a word and I’m not thinking about what I’ve actually started again.

This is my third – no fourth attempt to blog. I’m really easily put off by the voice in my head that says ‘this has to be really funny, relevant, and whilst resoundingly of the moment, written with superbly memorable phrases and tales that sink into the subconscious and turn readers into robots who just want to read my blog all day long.’ I have decided to give up on that and do what my sister does – just write.

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…Abandoned for a life of crime

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Dear Boyfriend

I’m writing this because it has been days since we spoke. When I try to talk to you now, your eyes are hollow, they’re hollow and they’re tired; your fingers twitch constantly, you sit forward, suspended on the edge, a world of crises and escapes that wholly swallow you and then you throw yourself back – why can’t you just relax?

Maybe it was me. Maybe I should have paid more attention to your uncertainty. That first evening, how it started with you stealing a car to drop it back to a dealership – you were elated that you had succeeded, that the mission was achieved.  Then I remember the next evening, that moment you crept into the kitchen when I was cooking dinner and you told me about the violence, that gratuitousness, you called it. I wasn’t strong enough. Perhaps I told you too much how my brother had enjoyed it, maybe you thought it would get easier, that you would start thinking for yourself and stop having to follow orders and plans. You talked about the randomness of the violence, its uncontrolled nature and the way it had to be. I carried on cooking, I just carried on cooking and when I looked up again, you were gone. 

I watched you one evening – I don’t know if you saw me. You were stalking around a neighbourhood and you stole a bike. You climbed onto it, cycled it up a wall and fell off. Soon after that, you decided to start walking again. As I saw it, I knew it would never be the life you’d choose – what with you being a criminal who can’t even steal a bike. 

So when was it that it truly took you? Was it being enticed by the first dancing girl you’ve seen in too many years, was it the way that the victims bounced when you threw them out of their cars? Was it the way that your crimes became cleverer – that you finally got a phone? Was it one of those amusing radio stations as it played out your crimes – it must have been because you turned to me and said ‘that was me.’ 

I returned home from work and you looked at me – I thought you had come back. But you spoke only to tell me how good it is – that if only I could get into it, I’d understand. And then you disappeared again. I know your plans for tonight: you’re going to sedate me with a takeaway, distract me with a KFC Mighty Bucket for One and as I chew on my chicken you’ll go further away; you probably won’t even eat your mini fillets. 

This isn’t you – alone in a too big world full of hills and a sphere of weapons, driven only by the desire to have nice things that you can only get from this miserable, empty life.  

Boyfriend I miss you. 

Please, go back to playing FIFA. 

 

 

 

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