Episode 26: Divan Intervention

“What on earth is a blanket trip and who in their right mind needs blankets?  It’s almost 30 degrees out there and it’s not even 8am!”

Blotting the sweat which is trickling at an unhealthy speed down into my cleavage, I explain once again to my confused husband what my latest form of employment actually is.

“It’s not just blankets, its mattresses too and they are all made from the best Marino wool that ewe can buy.  Anyway, I’m more than happy for you to find me my dream job, just as I found you YOURS in the theatre!” and I slam the door behind me and head for the stairs.

Unfortunately my dramatic exit is cut short when I tentatively have to reopen the door to retrieve my forgotten helmet and then slam it for a second time.

Mumbling to myself, I gingerly place my buttocks on the already blisteringly hot moped seat and head towards my latest form of employment.

I’d spotted the job advertised online a couple of weeks earlier and it sounded relatively easy.  All you were required to do was stand in a hotel foyer and book people onto free locals excursions.  The only catch being before you reached the chosen destination; a detour was made to watch a well presented sales pitch led by two charismatic women in a factory outlet in Malaga.  All this was made more enticing by the fact there wasn’t actually any hard sell on the beds and coffee and cake was provided along with a glass of sherry.

 The promoters were so passionate about the products I was almost swayed to purchase a mattress and a pair of wool innersoles myself but then remembered I needed neither and in all honesty, had no money left for such frivolity.  But several pensioners did purchase the products and the mood was good humored as we left the factory and headed towards Mijas village for the complimentary day out.

A car horn suddenly beeps loudly behind me and I realize that the traffic light has changed from Red to Green.  Within minutes I am parked outside my local hotel and straighten my crumpled blouse before heading into the embrace of the air conditioned building.

“Blanket trips anyone? Free trip to a Ranch afterwards, tapas and drinks included…plus a free stallion if you can fit it in your hand luggage” I smile at the elderly guests making their way to breakfast.  Some look at me as if I’m trying to sell them funeral plans but others happily sign up with the promise that the sales pitch in the factory isn’t hard and the coach is air conditioned.  Every signature on the sheet contributes towards my pay along with the knowledge that I will start Tour Guiding on the coach once a position becomes available.

 The morning finally draws to a close and I pack up my clipboard along with my sales pitch and head home, stopping en route to pick up some fresh bread from the Panaderia.

Opening the apartment door I immediately hear the voice of my son yelling into his Xbox alongside the dulcet tones of Jeremy Clarkson omitting from the lounge.  Placing the still warm rolls on the counter I await confirmation of my return but I wait alone, technology taking precedent over human contact.

As I stand forlornly by the vibrating fridge I am struck by the realization that my son isn’t suddenly going to start playing in the streets with the local Spanish children, he’s almost a teenager and the online forums are now his virtual playground. My husband quite happily works in a local theatre; he isn’t ever going to be the next Bill Gates.  He enjoys lighting the luvvies and in his spare time watching middle aged men drive fast cars and talk crap and get paid millions to wax lyrical about Ford Mustangs.

Retracing my steps, I pick up my keys and retreat back to the front door.  But blocking my path is the one family member that’s always pleased to see me, Brian the ever hopeful.  Shaking in anticipation he reaches up to me with his dirty paws and looks me in the eye, happy in the knowledge that he has a warm bed to sleep in, food in his bowl every night and most importantly, people that love him.

“Maybe we should all be more like you Brian, grateful for what we have’ I whisper to my furry companion and he replies by gratefully licking my nose.  Picking up his lead we head outside into the fresh air and away from the internal noise.  Moving to Spain was my dream and the reality of the situation isn’t easy.  Work is vastly underpaid, families still argue, the language is a barrier but the one thing that there is here in abundance is sunshine and cheap wine, and that brightens even the darkest of moods.

“Fancy a sausage sandwich?” I enquire to my four legged friend and he replies with a wag off his tail. Smiling to myself I cross the road and head into the shade, just another expat strolling the avenue whilst trying her best to find a new life in the sun.

Paula is taking a break from Blogging for the summer but will be back in the autumn.

To be continued… Episode 27

 A New Wife in the Sun is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.

Episode 25: Peters and Me

‘No dahhhling  you have to chase Billy around the table THREE times, swing left, punch right and then have a cigarette.  Make notes in your script if you can’t remember’ yells the director

‘But… but you told me yesterday to do it the other way round?’ I shout uncertainly into the dazzling spotlight but my reply is met with a deafening silence so I wander back into the wings and join the other cast members who are sat laughing at the confused look etched onto my weary face.

‘Don’t worry, that’s what he does’ whispers the elder of my onstage sons ‘he changes his mind and then blames us.  Don’t waste time questioning it.  He’s been directing here for over 30 years and he isn’t going to change’

Sighing with resignation I reach down for my script, erase all my previous notes and scrawl my new ones onto the rapidly disintegrating paper.  Looking out onto the stage I see the young male lead circling the stage with his imaginary kestrel and wonder, not for the first time why I put myself through this unpaid torture.

From a very early age I required verification that I was indeed, different.  I would perform comedy sketches to strangers on the tram after our weekly shop at ‘Quick Save’.  My mum would struggle up several flights of stairs as I gave my rendition of ‘Paper Roses’ to anyone that would listen and after a particularly torturous trip on the 11c bus to exchange some Hoover parts, she finally decided to give someone else’s ears a bashing and entered me into a local talent show hosted by Uncle Peter Webster.

This legendary seaside show was the highlight of the Blackpool summer season. Hundreds of proud parents would watch the fruit of their loins destroy some harmonious melody or tap dance themselves off the stage.  The winner being decided by the audience members so the more family you coerce with the promise of Dandelion and Burdock and Pork scratchings, the better.

Unfortunately, if you were entered in a heat with an Irish child you may as well just cut your losses and head home with your stick of consolation Rock.  So many siblings attended the show they had to sit on each other’s laps and fists would fly if “Baby Connors’” tuneless horn-Pipe rendition wasn’t met with adoring applause from the surrounding parties.

The highly desired prizes lined the glistening stage, sat in untouchable supremacy.  Dolls houses and giant teddy bears fought for dominance while eager faces stood staring whilst wringing sticky fingers, their dreams held in a stranger’s hand, awaiting their names to be called from the wings.

It was on a summers afternoon in 1972 that my 5 year old skinny and confident self  marched onto the stage and sang ‘Where’s your mama gone’ to a packed audience and amazingly, chirpy chirpy cheep cheeped my way to first prize which was a shock even to me as I was sure the blind 7 year old piano player would pip me to the post with his Liberace tribute act.

Deafening applause greeted my return to the stage and I briefly caught the shocked but proud look on my mother’s face, no doubt imaging her future self having to trail to auditions in the wind and rain with her very own Lena Zavaroni incarnate doing vocal exercises on the last bus to Bispham.

Uncle Peter Webster held out his hand to take mine for our bows but I bypassed the smiling compare and headed straight towards the row of gleaming prizes. Without hesitation I clutched A giant purple doll to my chest which was almost the same height as me and yelled ‘look mum I’ve won’ into the audience.  Laughter surrounded us and from that moment on I knew I was never going to be normal.

A rapid prod in the back brought me out of my 1970’s reverie and I was dragged back into a world where strangers were no longer called uncle and dolls that yelled ‘Mama’ when tipped forward have been eagerly replaced with technology and greed.

‘Mum, can I have a few Euros; I’m not in this next scene and I’m FAMISHED and I remembered ALL my lines, unlike you’, my son says with a cheeky smile

Reaching into my pocket I drag out whatever change I have and watch my boy, all gangly 12 years of him confidently run out of the door, not a care in this world, adamant that a future onstage is where his heart lies.

Stretching and reaching for my script I catch sight of myself in the mirror.  My mother’s eyes look back at me and I realize now, I’m in the same situation as she was all those years ago, a parent with a child who holds dreams of stardom in their hearts.

‘Act 1 beginners to stage please, beginners to stage’

Brushing my wilting beehive back from my aging brow, I paint a frown onto my working class face and do what I do best, pretend to be somebody else.

To be continued – Episode 26

 A New Wife in the Sun is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.

Episode 24: Tellyhubbies

‘So, let me get this right…you spent the afternoon in a field, quaffing chilled white wine while intermittently stuffing your trap with iberico ham as the sun beat down on your botoxed brow, talking crap to a gaggle of creosote realtors and it was at that precise point you suddenly decided, in your imminent wisdom, that doing absolutely nothing in the middle of a nowhere wasn’t the right career path for you? Paula, what DO you actually want to do work wise because we are running out of options here!!?’

Avoiding eye contact with my ever patient spouse I raise my shoulders in a non committal shrug and rotate the anemic looking chicken around the frying pan one more time. At the ripe old age of 51 I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up but I do know that I never want to be thought of as normal or, in this case, an estate agent.

The doorbell suddenly bites through the uncomfortable silence and my husband shakes his head in my general direction then rushes over to invite a long awaited guest inside our home.  Placing the spatula onto the kitchen worktop I wipe the mid August sweat of my forehead and plant a forced smile on my reticent lips.

A tanned giant of a man suddenly blocks the light cascading through the door and I notice that our visitor is clutching what looks like a satellite dish. His face looks vaguely familiar but before I have chance enquire my husband interjects.

‘Paula, this is Dan the TV man. In a short while he’s promised to reacquaint me with my old friend Jeremy Clarkson’ and promptly whoops in delight at the prospect of finally having Freeview British TV installed in our home.

Dan, the aforementioned man, catches my eye and lazily smiles in an ‘I have a large piece of equipment and I’m not afraid to use it’ sort of way and I suddenly realize that the peace residing in our humble home would be no more.  Conversation becoming nothing but a distant memory, early nights cast aside in favour of Keith Lemon’s antics.  

‘Anyone fancy a cuppa?’ I say to the two retreating backs, but silence greets my liquid invitation.

‘Please yourselves’, I mumble to no one in particular and flick a cobweb off my inherited Spanish chandelier.  Brian farts and rolls over, staring at me with his strange almond eyes and dribbles on my BHS slippers.  I sigh and watch the men folk pointing skywards on the terrace and sucking air between their teeth as they both point out inappropriate spots for the dish to take up residence.

Within minutes the huge white metal umbrella has been installed high upon the wall and our tanned entertainment messiah, nodding his head in approval promptly goes in search of the lounge. At a loss as what to do now, both of us trail after him like silent apostles and sit quietly on the sofa while he works his magic on our dust covered flat screen, forcing  us out of the Spanish technology doldrums and back into the future.

The television that had sat for so many months in enforced solitude suddenly roars back into life and we are instantly greeted with the familiar face of Fiona Bruce waxing lyrical about one elderly gent’s inherited Ming vase which turns out to be a fake and is actually worth the same price as a bag of Wotsits.

‘Well that’s your lot, I’ll see myself out.  If you want anything else give me a call, I’ve got fingers in many pies…. be it Chicken or Kidney’.

At the mention of this Northern Delicacy Brian’s ears suddenly perk up but my husband is sat transfixed by the television, lost in a world of heirlooms and disappointments.

 I make my way to the front door to bid farewell to our latest tradesman and once again I’m struck by how familiar his face appears to be.

‘I can’t place who you remind me of?’ I say as he struggles down the stairs, his arms loaded with cable and tools.

With a cheeky grin he turns, grins and replies ‘Tom Cruise?’ and at that precise moment Dan the TV Man misses a  step, stumbles and goes tumbling down the few remaining stairs, equipment showering down around him as he hits the marble floor with an unceremonious  thump.

‘Its fine, I’m fine’ he yells upstairs and I stifle a smile as he stumbles out into the afternoon sunshine.

Suddenly it comes to me, which comedic genius he reminds me of, someone we all know and love. I would tell you but the answer is nestling in the blog…

To be continued – Episode 25

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.

Episode 23: Plots Landing

‘And just to summarise, the libro del edificio must be handed over before completion.  Is everyone clear on that?’

Several heads nod in agreement and chat animatedly about the merits of real estate protocol.  The middle aged French lady sat next to me on the sofa is rapidly taking notes on ipad but all I can feel in my hands is the glimmer of perspiration alongside the heavy weight of responsibility.

 Gazing forlornly out the window I realise how easy Estate Agents must have it back in the UK.  All they have to do is sit in a nice cosy office, sipping cappuccinos and pointing out the advantages of having a combi boiler and a South facing rear patio to mortgage eager customers

NOT FOR THE SHORT SIGHTED

Here in Andalucía the process is slightly different.  Not only do you have to source the property by pounding the streets, craning your neck for ‘Vende’ boards which appear to be written in Crayola, you then also have to make contact with the owner via phone or smoke signals in their native tongue then try and convince them that paying 5% of the asking price for an agent to market their home is the only viable option if they genuinely want to sell their home before the inevitable apocalypse occurs.  Only after all this has been agreed and signed in blood, sweat and fears  you begin to research all the relative information and debts associated with the property which invariably involves 13 siblings and an ancient Micmac burial ground nestling beneath the Bougainvilleas.

‘I think that’s enough information for one day.  Lets head over to a site that’s currently being built on and liaise with the developers over a glass of wine’ yells our invigorated sales leader.

My ears suddenly prick up and I grab my handbag in anticipation of the hard earned liquid refreshment on offer.  Several trainees from the group pile into a sign written Fiat Punto and we head off in the direction of Marbella.  I look out the window and wonder if there will be any unadopted sandwiches to accompany the fluids we have been promised just as my stomach complains loudly about its lack of contents.

‘Here we are!’ yells our enthusiastic mentor and I look outside only to be greeted by a large span  of wasteland with several people in suits standing proudly, pointing into the empty space whilst clutching glasses of chilled champagne, smiling with commission purchased teeth.

I heave my ample buttocks out of the confines of the car and stand uncertainly on the perimeter of the nothingness.  A man with a mahogany tan comes forward and places a glass of something sparkling in my hand then starts to converse with the rest of the group in Spanish.  I try and make myself less conspicuous by nodding occasionally whilst sipping the contents of my liquid lunch.

Looking around at the other candidates I suddenly realise that a) I have nothing in common with anyone here apart from the fact we are all breathing and b) I don’t care about square footage or deeds or who owns the right to the footpath to the left of the gravel.  I don’t care about making pots of money or having a fancy car.  I care about having a bit of fun in the sun and doing what I do best, which in all honesty, isn’t much.

The developer finally stops talking and everyone shakes his hand and pats him on the back. For all I know he could have been discussing the dimensions of the ‘new and improved’ Prisoner Cell Block H. My stomach rumbles in anguish over its lack of solid contents and I make my excuses and head over to a group of people that may or may not be holding plates.  On closer inspection they are surrounding a man who is slicing a giant ham with gusto so I stand in line, pointing greedily at the carcass and my mouth begins to water in anticipation as he piles the meat onto my plate.  Grabbing several pieces of bread from a nearby table I head off alone to find a decent size piece of rubble to sit upon.  Balancing the food on my knee, I cram the bread into my mouth and turn my face towards the sun.

LOOSING THE PLOT

‘So, how are you finding training?’ echoes a male voice from overhead.

Attempting to swallow, but without success I nod my head in what I hope looks like an enthusiastic motion and wave my arms around me to denote my agreement over the luxury apartments that are to be built upon this barren land.The  man nods and smiles then heads back towards the eager crowd and I sit alone, wiping my greasy fingers on a napkin, knowing full well that this frock, on a rock, with her hock will absolutely, undoubtedly, undeniably not be returning tomorrow, or any other day to pursue a career in real estate.

All that’s left to do now is inform my husband of this decision…

To be continued – Episode 24

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.

Episode 22: Careless Vespa

‘I’ve decided to forego my soul and become an estate agent’

My husband, a man used to my vast array of career choices just nods his head and continues to eat his all bran

‘I’m serious, a friend of a friends husband is one and he says you don’t need any qualifications and it’s the easiest way to make decent money along the coast and he’s prepared to train me up.  I’m starting tomorrow’

 I finally pause for breath and await his approval.

‘Go for it Hoogstraten, I’m more than happy to become a kept man.  Is there any more milk in the fridge?

I shouldn’t be surprised by his reply.  I have had a fair few careers since I left school in 1984.  Over a 100 at the last count.  My husband has had two.  Most people count sheep when they go to bed, I count the numerous opportunities that have been handed to me.  The trouble is, I love a good interview, I just don’t usually like the actual job.

My first foray into gainful employment was a season as ‘Henry the Happy Howler’ in Pontins, Blackpool.  That job was short lived as I overheated on the first Summers day whilst clad in the orange dog suit,  passing out on top of a small child currently having his photo taken with my alter ego.

Then as an only child I suddenly decided I wanted to care for others people’s offspring and not just crush them so I promptly took a position as a nanny for three small kids aged one, three and five.  If I’m honest, the main reason I wanted the role was because it was based in Israel and after a brief stint as a hairdresser I wanted to see much more than just the inside of a pensioners beehive.  Unfortunately on arriving in Tel Aviv, I realised my teenage self didn’t actually like the fruit of others peoples loins or the reality of working a 15 hour day, or working at all if I’m honest…

Anyway, I digress. I was now going to make a fortune selling property and purchase me some Botox and a bit of liposuction with my first proper Spanish pay cheque. 

Staring at the contents of my wardrobe I realised that anything resembling office wear had a size 12 label in the collar and I was currently verging on a stout 16.  Slamming the offending closet door closed I consoled myself with a ham sandwich and promised to cut out carbs starting from tomorrow.

The sound of rainfall dripping onto the air conditioning unit dragged me from my slumber the following morning and I forced my ever expanding hips into a pair of ‘all you can eat’ leggings and a borrowed blouse.  By 9am I was ready to make my first million and headed outside to straddle my latest mode of transport, a second hand blue Vespa purchased only a few days earlier which sat alongside my husband’s larger bike.

Staring down at the wet seat I realised mopeds were only fun when the sun shone and not on rainy days but as training was being held in the managers house over in Mijas Golf I had no choice but to clamber on board and hope that none of the other trainees thought I was incontinent when I walked into the room with a moist bottom.

Twenty minutes and several wrong turns later I finally located the property.  Brushing the rain off my visor I stared up at the big detached house then down at my sodden attire. A knot formed in my stomach as I gingerly reached out to push the doorbell on the gate.

Hesitating, I let my hand stay mid air.  Uncertainty gripped me and the bell remained untouched.  Clutching my helmet, I bowed my head and turned back towards the bike.  Whom was I kidding; this dog was way too old to learn new tri…..

The door behind me suddenly opened and a masculine voice cut through the air

 ‘Hola!  You must be Paula.  Come in!’


To be continued – Episode 23

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.

 

Episode 21: A Mother Day in Paradise

‘Hello Ladies, congratulations on all your auditions, they were all excellent.  You’ll be pleased to hear that none of you are actually playing the part of the Kestrel, hahahhaaaa’

We all smile politely at the director whilst snatching glances around the room at the other cast members sitting expectantly around the table.  I catch the eye of my dimpled friend from the previous week and she gives me a knowing wink.

‘The reason we are here today is to have a brief read though of all your roles and to get the feel of the play.  Shall we start with introducing ourselves and which character we are playing?’

A blonde lady with a West Country accent starts us off and we rotate round the table.  Library assistant, farmer, delivery person and finally it’s my turn to speak up.  I clear my throat and look up at the expectant faces.

‘Hi I’m Paula, I’m new to the theatre and I’m playing Mrs Casper’ I smile and raise my palm in an uncertain wave.  I look around the table and see a few surprised expressions, so I swiftly return my misplaced greeting into my lap where it rests like a bird without wings.

‘Fabulous’ Booms the director ‘ let’s get cracking!’

An elbow nudges me in the ribs.  I turn to my left and a voice whispers in my ear ‘I went for that role’.  I nod my head solemnly and stay staring at my script, afraid to meet the eyes attached to the voice.  I’m fully aware from previous experience that ‘Woman in Shop’ doesn’t really compensate when you’ve auditioned for a principle role, so I clear my throat and keep my ego and opinion in close check.

A couple of hours and several accents later we are released from the confines of the dusty theatre and I quickly make my excuses and head back out into the sun.  Ambling through the streets of old town Fuengirola I raise my face toward the mid summer heat and breathe in the heavy scent of freedom.  I still can’t quite believe that we own outright our little apartment in this bustling, non apologetic seaside resort and within ten minutes my key is rattling in the front door and I wearily let myself back into our own private corner of utopia.

“I’ve sold it!” yells my husband as I walk indoors and I know instantly that the Xenia, our little warrior princess of a jeep is no more.  Sitting side by side on the balcony we sip a glass of wine and chat about our next mode of transport.

My son, only recently released from the wilderness ambles out onto the terrace and plonks himself on the sofa next to us.  I can still smell the mud caked into his pores but his eyes are clear with excitement.

‘So, as it was my idea, can I have a moped too?’ he looks at us in anticipation, already revving the engine with his mind’s eye.

‘No you can’t!’  I reply in no uncertain terms’ but you can help us choose which one you fancy sitting on the back off…your dad is getting a 125, less embarrassing apparently than a twist and go’ I say winking  in my husband’s direction.

With reluctance my ‘I’m almost a teenager’ accepts his passenger status and all three of us look online at shiny vehicles with two wheels as opposed to our usual four.  Within the hour we have contacted a local chap who deals in second hand bikes who is prepared to bring a couple over so we can have a test drive the following morning.

And so without drama, we all sit companionably together and watch the sun set over the Andalucía Mountains, laughing at the adventures which have already occurred and eagerly awaiting the ones that are yet to arrive.

A New Wife in the Sun is having a month off over Easter so I shall resume blogging when all chocolate has been consumed

To be continued – Episode 22

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.

Episode 20: The Ham That Rocks the Fable

Ten minutes later I gently close the auditorium doors behind me and stroll back out into the afternoon sunshine.  Several expectant faces look up from their scripts in anticipation of their name being called to head into the inner sanctum.

“How did it go?” a female voice makes me jump.  A striking brunette, slightly older than me is stood with a glass of wine in her hand.  Dimples form in her cheeks and she motions for me to join her at the table.

“OK, I think?’ and smile, pleased that I may finally have a drinking companion and order myself a glass of white wine and sit down beside her.

“Have you done any plays previously here at the Theatre?”  I politely enquire and take a sip of my chilled confidence booster.  She shakes her head and a slight frown forms across her smooth brow “Almost, but not quite…” 

Before I can ask what that sentence means her glass clinks against mine and she leans forwards, dimples in place once again ‘May the best Mrs Casper win’ and winks in my direction, and I smile at her good natured camaraderie, only slightly marred by the fact that we are in reality, hoping that the other ones acting skills are, in essence, crap.

“How did it go?” my husband enquires as I saunter back into the apartment an hour later, slightly rosy cheeked and tipsy, tottering uncertainly on my kitten heels.  He pauses, cheese toastie half way to his mouth and shakes his head.  He knows me too well.  I love auditions.  The adrenalin, the unknown, the fact that I have only one chance to make a first impression, waiting for the phone to ring, if it rings at all…  It’s like being a teenager all over again, minus the acne and love bites.

“OK I think?” and then my phone rings… caller unknown.

Grabbing it I put it onto speaker and motion for my husband to be quiet.

Before I’ve even had time to perfect my Judy Dench inspired acceptance speech a familiar voice echoes down the line.

“Mum, it’s me, I’m absolutely knackered, I’m on their phone, I’ve lost my charger, we’ve been camping in the woods the last 2 nights, almost got eaten by a wild boar, Then we went swimming in the lake in our undies, anyway, the course has finished, can I have a penknife now?  Come and get me and bring a KFC, I’m famished, bye!!”

Without having breathed one solitary word I replace the phone back on the table.  Looking towards Brian I shrug my shoulders and he replies with a wag of his tail anticipating a tennis ball appearing from behind my ear or failing that, a digestive from up my sleeve. 

Heading out into the evening sun we spend 15 minutes trying to remember where we parked the Jeep then the following 30 minutes trying to get the vehicle started.  The engine is as flat as a supermodels chest and I can feel the first sign of panic starting to set in, imagining my son, patience not being one of his virtues, foraging in the forest in search of the lesser spotted chicken dipper.  Finally, we manage to flag someone down with a set of jump leads and the neglected engine finally roars into life.  Looking beside me I notice Brian has found a disregarded packet of monster munch and is currently sporting a pickled onion flavoured food bag on his snout.  Kneeling down I pull the crisp wrapper off his face and shove him into the car. Sweat trickles down my back and I my stomach grumbles in protest at its lack of contents.  A phone suddenly starts to ring.  My bag is jammed under the car seat and as I pull it out, the contents go flying around the jeeps interior, all apart from my favourite lip gloss which makes its escape out the open window, seeking a new life in the Alhaurin countryside.

The phone goes silent then immediately starts to ring again and I grab it, knowing full well it will be my son asking why he hasn’t been picked up yet.  Wiping the sweat of my brow I press the answer button

“Hold on, we’re bloody coming, your dads got a flat battery and Brians snorted that much MSG his eyes are rotating faster than a fairground Waltzer.  Have you had a wash at all this week or am I going to have to hose you down before you step foot back into civilisation…?”

Pausing for breath I wait for my sons reply but an all too familiar theatrical male voice finally cuts through the silence instead “I take it that’s a yes then to playing Mrs Casper?”

To be continued – Episode 21

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.

Episode 19: Much Ado About Blogging

I’m sat in front of the silent laptop, fingers hovering expectantly over the keys, willing the phrases I use so freely on a daily basis to transport themselves from body to technology.  I promised myself I’d write a witty account of our relocation but unfortunately, my aging grey matter has other ideas.  

 I close my eyes, trying to recall how it felt as we took our first steps into our New life in the Sun all those months ago.  I rub my forehead and look out towards the mountains through the window, seeking divine inspiration from my elasticated smalls which are currently wafting themselves dry on a hastily erected rotary line, but they offer no words of wisdom, not even an opening pun.  I sigh and get up of my seat.  I may as well bring the washing in while awaiting the cascade of witty one liner’s to take up residence in my currently uninhabited brain.  

Letting myself out onto the balcony I kick an unidentifiable chewed dog toy along the tiles for ‘Brian the brave’ who hurls himself along the slippery surface, performing a skater’s turn before his head makes contact with the back wall.  I pick up a couple of dead leaves from a potted plant and then saunter back indoors to the welcoming glare of the empty computer screen.  A clap of thunder echoes overhead.  I catch a glimpse of several T shirts still waving at me on the line and let out an audible sigh.  How the hell I am going to recreate our adventures onto Spanish soil from over four months ago if I can’t even remember to bring in my clean cottons when I’m standing right in front of them!

Slamming the laptop lid resolutely shut I get up and mumble profanities all the way to the biscuit tin and consume several sponge fingers before I’ve even made it to the comfort of the sofa.  Brian does his best Paul McKenna death stare, willing the sugary treats to fall in his direction while shadowing me from room to room.

“If I give you a digestive will you go and write my Blog for me?”  I enquire to the salivating hound but the canine one is too busy drowning in his own expectant dribble to adhere to my pleas.

My husband ambles into the lounge, scratching his early morning shadow while simultaneously breaking wind, takes one look at my thunderous expression and crumb laden torso and promptly leaves the room again.  “Don’t forget you have that audition today for KES at the theatre at 3pm” he yells from the safety of the kitchen “You’ll be good in that role, the mother in that is a right misery, you can do some method acting!”

Within two hours I am transformed from Ena Sharples into Ivy Tilsley with makeup and hairspray applied and kitten heels adorned.  Standing outside the theatre bar I feel a nervous flutter of excitement, armed only with the prospect of standing on an unfamiliar stage with just a script and my ego to hand.

People of all ages are milling around tables, comparing characters and perfecting Yorkshire accents.  I sit on the outskirts watching the women my own age chat good naturedly to each other before their name is called and they head towards the stage, the heavy doors closing behind them, their rendition of this Northern classic to be heard only by the directors in charge.

I toy with the idea of having a swift vodka beforehand to calm my nerves but then decide ‘Karaoke Kes’ may not be what they are looking for.  I see a few familiar faces sat on the table opposite and smile uncertainly in their direction, but I am not invited into the inner sanctum, I have as yet to earn my stripes, I look down at the script before me and mumble random lines into my diet coke.

“Paula Lesk….lesch…lasch….skovitz?”  I lift my hand uncertainly and rise from my seat and head towards the Theatre doors.  An elderly lady places a number on my blouse and I look down.  Number 13, just my sodding luck.

Straightening my shoulders and fluffing up my hair I place a nervous hand onto the velvet clad door and enter the unknown.

Two men are sat waiting by the stage, hands outstretched and smiles adorning their confident faces.

“Ah, I take it you are lighting guys wife, we’ve heard all about you” they laugh conspiratorially.

Taking a deep breath I look them directly in the eye and in my best Yorkshire accent reply

 “Yeh, I bet you bloody ave!”

To be continued – Episode 20

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.

Episode 18: Where Eagles Scare

“Its 0800 hours, rise and shine soldier, these pots won’t wash themselves!”  I yell into the new recruit’s bedroom. 

My son opens one eye, looks at me, sighs, turns over and pulls the duvet up over his ears. 

“Can’t you stay at home mum and let dad take me to boot camp, you’re beyond embarrassing” he mumbles from underneath the bedding. 

“What, and miss your grand entrance into independence?  Not on your Nelly” I reply with a sardonic smile. 

Gingerly retracing my steps over the mountain of dirty clothes strewn across the floor, I noisily close the bedroom door behind me and try and ignore the ‘where’s my socks/hoody/trainers!’ dialogue that follows me around the apartment for the next hour. 

Once said items have been located (stuffed in the bottom of the wardrobe as usual) the whole family including Brian ‘the brave’ pile into the jeep and head up towards the Alhaurin mountains.  The temperature gauge at 9.30am is already heading into the 30’s as the summer sunshine beats relentlessly onto the singed Spanish countryside.  Boy child brushes his hands over his newly shaven locks and stares out of the window.  Brian attempts to consume an old Twix wrapper and my husband hangs one lanky tanned arm out of the window while its white twin hangs forlornly inside the moving vehicle.

“I still can’t get used to the fact that the theatre closes down for over two months in the summer” the older of the males says to no one in particular.  I nod my head in agreement.  Only 3 months into the position of lighting technician and already he has 2 months off.  Mentally I compile a list of things that need repairing around the flat, and that list increases steadily by the day.  Unfortunately the only room in our humble abode that currently has an air conditioning unit is the lounge so it’s akin to entering the Sahara desert when you have to leave the comfort of the chilled room and make your way begrudgingly to bed.  The first few hours of attempting sleep is usually spent on top of the sheets mumbling ‘it’s too hot, are you hot?  I’m really hot, get your leg away from me it’s too hot’.  Of course I hold the ‘I’m WAY hotter than you’ card, being age 51 and attached permanently to what appears to be an internal furnace with a broken thermostat.

After 17 wrong turns we finally arrive at the camp meeting point and a young lad on a push bike leads the way up to the area which is going to be home to my son for the next 5 days.

“You can drop me off here” boy child mumbles and makes a hasty exit from the confines of the stifling car.  Half a dozen teens are loitering around a large green tent listening intently while a man dressed in Khaki shouts out orders.  Spotting his latest recruit ambling towards the camp the Commando yells out towards my son  “You look tired boy, no doubt up to god knows what time on the Xbox, well there’s none of that computerised crap here, pick a bunk and fall into line”

My son, who never does what he’s told without argument, breaks into a sprint, drops his bag onto an empty mattress, puts his shoulders back and joins the other inmates without complaint

“I’m getting one of those for home” I mumble to my slack jawed husband, pointing at the confident man barking orders at the motley assortment standing before him.

After waving our goodbye’s we head back to civilisation in the car and I decided to broach the subject of selling our 4 wheel drive and replacing it with a couple of scooters.

“You can have a scooter, I’m having a 125” my spouse harrumphs then proceeds to make motorbike noises all the way back into civilisation.

I shake my head at the man beside me and smile to myself.  It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey.  In the 4 months we have been living in the Costa del Sol we have bought a property, got our son into school, submitted the mountains of paperwork to enable us to get healthcare and rescued our faithful hound from an attack of the Zombie Pussies.

Staring out the window an idea begins to form. What if I was to write all about our relocation, would anyone actually read about the adventures of a new wife in the sun??

To be continued – Episode 19

“Animal Farm”, featuring my ‘not so monosylabic child’, is showing at The Salon Varietes Theatre in Fuengirola from 22nd to 26th February – Book Now

 A New Wife in the Sun, as featured in The Olive Press, is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.

Episode 17: Saving Private Brian

‘Boot Camp?  Like in the Military?  I don’t even own any boots, only trainers.  Is Brian going too?’

My son stares at me through narrowed eyes, arms crossed, already a couple of inches above me in height and leagues ahead of me in attitude.  Prepared for his reaction, I silently place a flyer in front of him which explains the 5 day summer course based up in the Alhaurin hills called ‘Eagles Training Camp‘.  With a sullen expression he reads it, grunts a couple of times and then looks back up at me.

‘So, basically it’s like the scouts but with no dib dibbing, considerably hotter with mutant sized mosquitoes?’ He enquires.

I nod my head in agreement and remain quiet as he takes the pamphlet into his bedroom and closes the door.  I can hear the familiar sound of the X box controller being taken out of its stand and I reach for the phone, hoping he will forgive me in years to come for making this decision on his behalf. 

Thinking back to my own childhood filled with fresh air and conkers amid endless summer holidays, I smile at the recollection of my bygone youth.  San izal, a prerequisite in all the school toilets then once we escaped the confines of our dusty classrooms, playing kiss chase until the sun set over our freckled faces.  Faggots and peas or Findus crispy pancakes graced most of the dinner tables in our cul de sac, in fact anything highly processed and on offer at Kwik Save being the staple diet of most children of the 70’s, the more E numbers, the better.

Looking down at my weathered hands, I dial the number on the flyer and after a brief conversation with a lovely lady called Debbie, the wife of Micky (ex military, no nonsense) my only child is booked on the 5 day survival course which provides children & teens the basic skills to cope in the wilderness, and also how to deal with bullies in the real world.  The small selection of boys and girls would sleep in adjoining tents placed adjacent to the family house, high up in the hills and I smile to myself, wishing I was young again and able to happily function on a daily basis without the aid of HRT or Silverkrin.

Sitting on our apartment balcony I hold the still warm phone in my hand and look out over the street.  The world is passing by in a sunny haze of garbled conversation and noisy mopeds.  My son’s bedroom door opens and he walks over to where I am sat.  Silently, he places his arms around my neck and gives me a hug.  I smile up into his brown eyes, knowing full well the difficulties he faces, an English child in a foreign land approaching his teenage years.

‘Ok, I’ll do it, it actually looks good fun.  But I want to take lots of Haribo for snacks and get my hair cut before I go’.  Nodding my head in agreement I hug him back and fail to mention that he is already enrolled starting the following Monday and that, although the camp is in the wilderness, they conveniently have a tuck shop available on site from 3-5pm.

Brian places a paw upon my lap and looks beseechingly at me; it’s time for his morning walk.  Clipping his lead on, I bribe the boy child to accompany us on our jaunt with the promise of an ice cream en route.  The hairy hound is also partial to a lick of a strawberry mivi and we all set off before the sun has time to heat up the pavement below his naked pads.

‘Where’s the car parked mum?  I’ve not been in it for weeks’ my son enquires, as we make our way over the Miramar Bridge.  I point in the direction of the car park where our dusty jeep sits forlornly in the corner, patiently awaiting its next adventure.

Unfortunately, the one down side of living in the town centre is the lack of parking.  Food shopping is nigh impossible.  A trip to Lidl involves double parking outside the apartment, hurling all of the shopping into the communal hall, jumping back into the car, parking it several miles away, sprinting back on foot to the flat to find everything has already defrosted and henceforth, that evenings tea will consist of a various assortment of food items that cannot be refrozen.

‘Why don’t you sell the car mum and get a couple of motorbikes; at least we can leave those parked outside the flat…can I have 3 scoops?’ he asks all in one breath while perusing the assortment of sugar laden Helado’s on offer.

I stop dead in my tracks, of course, this is the obvious solution, why didn’t I think of it myself.  Flog the car and get a couple of mopeds, do as the locals do, when in Rome and all that.  After all, what could possibly go wrong?


To be continued… Episode 18

 A New Wife in the Sun is available for proof reading, wedding speeches, radio presenting and anything that involves not having to smile at people for any amount of time.