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.

To be or not to be, where is the greenroom? – Ep 5

So here we are, our family of four, finally living in Spain.  I actually can’t quite believe it.  The dream we never thought would happen is now our reality.  And unfortunately, reality involves getting a job.

Having met my husband at the local Am Dram society in Hastings several years (and dress sizes) earlier, I decided to make contact before leaving the UK with the Fuengirola equivalent known as the ‘Salon Varieties Theatre’.  After peddling my wares on Face Book messenger, I happened to mention that my husband is an electrician and they replied forthwith explaining that their lighting technician was about to retire in April and would my husband be interested in applying for the position?  Bears and woods instantly sprang to mind.

Now, before I go any further, can we briefly talk about ‘Dream Jobs’?  We all have that one thing we would love to do for a living.  I’d love to write a book.  A book that you can hold in your hand, to sniff the ageing paper, to turn over the corner of the page when your eyes grow weary and laugh out loud in a room full of people and not care because for that brief moment in time, you are that heroine in chapter 12.

To see my name on a dust cover would be better than waking up without pillow marks embedded onto my crepe face.

My husband’s school leaving wish was to work in the West End, to bring the performers to life in front of a live audience.  With his dream still intact he escaped the clutches of the local secondary modern age 16, gangly and unprepared and sat innocent and eager in front of the careers advisor who instantly poured water on his ambitions by replying ‘No son, that’s a career for fantasists and rich people from London.  Get yourself a proper job. People will always need plugs and sockets and wires changing. Become an electrician, you’ll always be able to put food on the table then’.

So that’s what he did 30 years ago, he became an electrician. A job he enjoyed but never loved.  And now, on offer, in a resort 1300 miles away is a chance to turn back the clock.  So, after a brief ‘we’re here!’ call, off we trot, showered and shaved (and that’s just me) to meet the people that have the potential to reinstate a young mans dreams on an older body.

An hour later we are sat outside the Theatre bar, drinking fresh orange juice and waiting with sweaty palms to meet ‘the board members’.  The tables surrounding the thespian haven are adorned with middle-aged laughing people. Men with perma-tans, women with white teeth, everyone appears happy in their skin and at ease with their choice.  A mixture of Spanglish echoes around us and I whisper to my husband to stop jigging his legs up and down, this was a job he had done voluntarily on his own time for the past three decades; the only difference now is that he would be paid to do it.

A firm hand is placed on my shoulder and I look up into smiling brown eyes.

‘So, you must be the power behind the throne!’ laughs the stranger in my direction and introduces himself and also what his role is on the board and finally, what would be expected if Marcus was given the job.  An attractive lady joins him and warmly kisses me on each cheek.  Both members talk passionately about their time in the British speaking Theatre then lead us through velvet clad stage doors into a hub of adrenalin filled activity.

On stage a rehearsal is taking place.  Young and old high kick their way into the wings while a director booms instructions from the front row of the auditorium.  I look up at the lights and breathe in the smell of the greasepaint.  Teenagers with languid expressions awaiting their time in the spotlight come to life as they are released from the confines of backstage and leap like adrenalin fuelled antelopes onto the boards.

Turning to my husband I smile but he is lost within the lighting control desk, eyes alight with all the possibilities ahead akin to Mr Spock faced with the new and updated Starship Enterprise.  I look towards the man and the woman who greeted us on arrival; both look at ease with the roles they have been given in order to keep this well preserved British Galleon afloat in a Spanish ocean.

The man senses my gaze and leans against the door.  ‘So what are you going to do for work here?’  He asks enquiringly?  Before my brain has time to engage with my mouth my truth tourettes steps in to reply on my behalf

‘In all honesty…  I have absolutely no bloody idea’

He laughs and nods his heads towards my husband

‘Well, the job’s his if he wants it, his references are excellent, I think you’ll both fit in well here, what you think?’

I look him in the eye and smile and reply on behalf of my husband

‘Sir, I think we’d both like that very much’.

(For more information on the upcoming theatrical season please follow the link below)

http://www.salonvarietestheatre.com

To be continued – Episode 6