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.

Episode 16: Absolutely Fagulous

‘Mum, why won’t my Xbox work’?  Bellows a familiar voice from behind his bedroom door.

‘We don’t have any internet’ I sigh, and unpack yet another box. ‘WHAT????  How can I survive??  I can’t talk to anyone!  Even the goat house had internet, what am I supposed to do???’ 

‘Get off your arse and go outside and chat to real people?’  I mumble to myself and place a family picture against the wall to be mounted when ‘Lighting Guy’ returns from flattering the luvvies in sepia. Our worldly possessions had finally arrived intact the day before, delivered by a very nice man with a very big van.  Looking now at the mountain of boxes stacked against the walls I realise that I haven’t packed one kitchen utensil, not even a side plate or a fork.  But we had, in our wisdom, brought along the 4 foot long fibreglass sharks head which is currently residing on the balcony underneath the washing line.  Foolishly I had been under the assumption that every fleeing expat with a property to sell in Spain would leave their abode fully furnished, like a Wimpy show home from the 1980’s.  But we purchased from locals, and locals take everything with them, including the shower head apparently.

To add insult to injury we also have no hot water.  The ancient gas boiler didn’t even make an attempt to fire up. It just stood there, white and lacklustre, mocking my sweaty armpits with silent authority.  I wander back through the kitchen, trying to avoid eye contact with the ramshackle lime green Formica units.  I half expect Miss Jones to come wandering around the corner at any given moment asking where Rigsby is lurking.  Standing forlornly with my head pressed against the dining room wall, I try to calm the panic that I can feel, once again, bubbling inside of me.

Standing up straight and brushing Brian’s dog hair off my leggings, I look at the clock.  It’s barely 10am on a Saturday morning but without any wardrobes to place our clothes in, the outside world looks far more appealing than my current enclosure.  Dragging the petulant one out of his bed, we amble over to Miramar shopping centre and stand in line at the Moviestar desk, waiting patiently to speak to the solitary staff member who speaks English, hoping he can enable our access back into the 21st century without the need of a Tardis.

Two hours later we claim possession of a ridiculously extortionate phone contract with the promise that fibre optic will be installed ‘directly’ into our flat forthwith.

The midday sun beats down around scantily clad tourists and we decide to take a pitstop to fill our growling bellies at a local café.  My son orders enough food to feed a small army and I pick at his leftovers whilst clutching a chilled white wine, my personal buoyancy aid amid a sea of uncertainty.

Sitting at the table opposite me is a blonde woman of similar age who is talking rapidly into her mobile phone in French and flicking cigarette ash onto the pavement.  She catches my eye and smiles, raising her eyebrows in a conspiratorial ‘are people actually this stupid’ motion and slams her phone onto the table and inhales another round of nicotine.  Her brown eyes swivel in my direction and land directly on my rapidly evaporating glass of wine.

‘I think I’ll join you in one of those’ she says in perfect clipped English tones and waves the waiter over.  ‘Would you like another?’ she enquires then orders two white wines before I have time to accept her generous offer.  

Devoid of any real adult conversation since moving into our new home, I motion for her to join us at the table and my son, full of tapas and fresh Naranja,  makes his excuses and ambles back towards the direction of the flat, no doubt to see if the god of fibre optic communication has miraculously embedded itself into our walls.

‘Soooo’ my new platinum friend enquires with a wave of her hand, wafting a plume of smoke in my direction ‘What do the people with children do here in the summer months?  My 2 boys don’t start school for another 12 weeks, we’ve literally just moved over here from France and they need to find some form of activity apart from exercising their wrists on the Xbox….’

I smile and lean forward in my plastic chair, fuelled by lack of carbs and too much cheap wine. The person sitting accross from me is a complete stranger but I hear my voice engage before my brain has time to complain.

‘I’m also a New wife in the Sun, and I think I may have an idea….’

To be continued… Episode 17

 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 15: Breaking Bed

‘I told you it was too big!  The first time I laid eyes on it I said it wouldn’t fit up that tiny gap and now it’s well and truly stuck.  You’ll have to find another suitable entrance to shove it in if you’re determined to get it up!’

Storming back up to the apartment I leave my husband and two very confused Spanish delivery men encased on the communal spiral staircase lodged behind one very obstinate king sized mattress.  Slamming the door behind me I wipe the sweat off my menopausal brow and pick up a copy of the local Olive Press newspaper and fan myself back into some semblance of sanity.

Within 4 weeks of saying ‘I do’ to our little Fuengirola flat, papers had been signed, hands had been shaken and just 18 hours earlier the majority of the profit from our Hastings home had been handed over to three squabbling siblings in exchange for a set of rusty keys.  And now, before we can finally settle in to our new life in the Sun, we have to find something to sleep on, and that something is nestling quite comfortably half way up the shady staircase of our hastily purchased first floor abode.

‘Paula, stop moping and get your arse out onto the balcony, we have a plan B!’ yells a familiar voice from outside. Hauling said posterior off the marble floor I peer over the railings and see two tanned plus one beetroot face looking expectantly up at me.

‘Apparently, they are going to wrap a rope around it and I’m going to haul it over the balcony, well I think that’s what they said…either that or they are going to hang me so  PLEASE open the door and let me in!’

Reluctantly I press the buzzer, mumbling profanities to the silent walls and within moments ‘he who knows best’ puffs past me and heads out onto the sunny terrace.

Five minutes later a makeshift pulley has been attached to the railings and my husband stands precariously on the wrong side of the balcony facing the busy road.  One hand grips the wrought iron balustrade and the other a piece of cord which is attached to a very large and cumbersome mattress.

‘Don’t drop it’ I yell helpfully as sweat drips off his ‘verging on fifty’ fore-head.  The two delivery men, no doubt used to stupid foreigners purchasing products too big for their humble abodes, haul the bed above their heads and start the countdown.  My husband, tethered to the railings by his Dunelm dressing gown cord, leans precariously over the edge, nervously facing the pavement and grabs the hem of the polythene cover with the tip of his fingers.  Without further instruction, the younger of the two Spanish workers vaults onto his partners shoulders and gives the mattress a final shove and husband, bed and common sense fall backwards over the balcony railings, landing together in an ungainly heap upon the terracotta floor.

Brian (the brave) having watched all this from the comfort of a canopied shady corner, meanders over to see what is occurring and having found not one solitary digestive crumb en route,  circles the area a couple of times before settling himself on the mattress which is currently residing on top of my motionless husband.  Shoving the disgruntled hound off his coveted new bed, I grasp my spouse’s barely visible hand and haul him out from under his plastic prison and between us gently lay the troublesome slumberdown up against the apartment wall.  Delivery forms are finally signed and the other less cumbersome objects are placed in the rooms they were duly purchased for.

‘Well, that’s good, we finally have something to sit on, something to sleep on, and something to eat off and…er, something to look at until the Telly arrives!’. My husband’s eyes dart warily over to the cobalt black, four foot glass mosaic face I hastily purchased after several glasses of Andalucía’s finest export. I glare at him from the comfort of our new sofa bed and ignore his last remark.

Looking around the white washed walls , an empty shell full of possibilities, the truth hits home and I realise I will never, ever have to mow a wet lawn in November again. No mortgage, no biting winters, no more poundland….no more…

A thought suddenly strikes me and it chills me to the core, what properties am I going to covet now whilst watching channel 4???

To Be Continued… Episode 16

 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 14: The Twelve Nays of Christmas

On the car journey back to our borrowed house in the Campo, I had time to reflect on what we had learned (and achieved) in our first four weeks of being in sunny Spain…

1: The second hand jeep we spontaneously purchased in the same time it takes to consume several strips of the Colonels secret recipe had completed the full 1,374 mile trip from Hastings to Mijas without as much as a splutter with husband, hound and the complete works of Stephen King encased in its padded compound.

2: The menopausal woman and ‘get off, I’m almost a teenager!’ can, it transpires,  actually navigate their way via plane, train and automobile up into the Mijas hills and locate Heidi’s hidden house without the aid of testosterone, Google maps, Valium or Vodka.

3: All four founding members of the ‘Sod it lets go to Spain’ brigade were reunited within 30 hours of leaving the sanctity of Sussex and didn’t encounter one placard saying ‘Sod off, you bunch of Brexiters’ en route (We voted to remain….just so you know!!)

4: Brian is now afraid of kittens, with or without their heads attached and now truly believes he is part goat.  He can be found most mornings bleating at passing cars from his favourite view point on top of the shed.

5: Everyone survived drinking the Spanish tap water after standing in the kitchen for 30 minutes going ‘You drink it, No YOU drink it!  No, no we can’t have a wine instead; it’s not even 8am’

6: If you are foolish enough to forget that the Spaniards enjoy a day off from hurling your edible goods down the stationary conveyer belt, you may, as I did, arrive at Mercadona on a Sunday morning and stand sleepily in front of the automatic door for a good 30 minutes until you realise that shops actually close one day a week in Spain and you can, in all honesty, survive quite happily without replenishing your digestives every few hours.

7: Small local children roam the pitch black side roads when it’s waaaay past their bedtime and bolt about on scooters and bikes and give each other ‘backies’ down crowded pavements.  They don’t seem to care about being indoors or killing their virtual enemies online as they are too busy knocking over British tourists that get in their way in their haste to get the sweetie kiosk situated on every street corner.

8: There are jobs here in Spain; you just have to look for them.  If you are fortunate enough to get one with a working contract you will be automatically entitled to healthcare as long as you don’t mind filling in 17,000 forms and sending your various birth and marriage certificates back to their place of origin to get them verified and translated.  Our most recent lot of paperwork has had a lovely vacation in Vegas and came back with a stunning tan.

9: Moving house is stressful enough, relocating to a country where the only thing you can pronounce correctly is ‘Hello’, even more so.  Get everything in order before you leave home and be prepared to stand in various queues.  There’s a reasonable chance you may get to the front of the line before being sent a birthday card from the queen but remember, the locals take a three hour lunch break so take your butties and a flask of coffee with you to be on the safe side.  Trying to get your Residencia is hard enough, trying to do it while you are ‘Hangry’ is nigh impossible.

10: Wine is cheaper to purchase in the shops than bottled water.  Enough said.

11: You will ask to divorce your spouse on a number of occasions.  This is normal.  Trying to get your solicitor to call you back to see if the sale on your desired property is progressing before Brexit occurs will be frustrating and time consuming and you will shout at your other half A LOT.  If I had a Euro for every time my husband yelled ‘you wanted to move here!’  I would have enough money to purchase a hit man to kill him and have enough left over to get a facelift afterwards.

12: And finally, hearing your child starting to converse in Spanish to his school mates will make you prouder than the winner of the GBBO.  Waking up to the sun streaming in through the window and not having to take out a second mortgage to eat out more than once a month is exhilarating.  Knowing that all the people back in the UK who sucked air through their teeth when you said you were moving ‘away’ are still sat at home on a cold December evening while you are on the beach having a BBQ with all your new nomadic mates.

So, if you are one of the brave and have done all of the above (and more) and survived with your sanity intact, well done you!  If you are still thinking about making the move, what’s stopping you?

All that’s left to say is Merry Christmas one and all.  See you again in 2019 with more tales from a New Wife in the Sun!

To be continued … Episode 15

 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 13: To the Manor Burn

‘What the hell are you doing here, and more importantly, how on Google earth did you find us?”

I smile and grasp my nomadic friend to my breast and breathe in the heady scent of her travels.  Memories as ripe as a week old nectarine flood into my head and I’m instantly transported back to 1994…

…I’m age 27 and on a one way flight to Hong Kong.  I have no money, nowhere to stay and no idea what I am going to do once I arrive.  I blame Judith Charmers.  It was after a particularly horrendous shift working in Harrods (home to the obscenely rich and rigorously rude) the platinum blonde Irish presenter did a feature on us Brits working side by side in this affluent Asian city and suddenly, all thoughts of attending drama school become nothing but a distant memory.  Without rhyme or reason nor a week’s working notice, I packed up my troubles, purchased a one way ticket and spent the following 2 years of my young life living, laughing, surviving and residing on the 16th floor of  the notorious Chunking Mansions alongside a series of other misfit gweilo expats.  Working till dawn in Chinese karaoke bars to pay for our adventures and then wiping sleep out of our eyes at 5am to appear as extra’s alongside Jackie Chan in his latest action movie. Life was good, life was exciting, life was…

“How did you find me?”  I laugh between hugs “I can’t even find me living out here??”

“I was up in the Andalucía Mountains and I saw on Face book that you had moved to Spain so I thought I’d pop in and see you.  That Goat farmer across the road was really helpful, pointed me in the right direction and even offered me some fresh milk!”  My old acquaintance informs me with a smile a she wipes away the residue on her lips.

Dropping her rucksack onto the wooden floor and stretching out her aching spine, introductions are made and edited adventures are told.  As the final bottle of wine is emptied my newest housemate, of which normality was never an option yawns and closes her well travelled eyes.

Leading her up to the largest of spare rooms to sleep off the most recent of travels I close the door quietly behind me and make my way back into the lounge where my husband is sitting with an open laptop in front of him

“Why didn’t you say you had an interview tomorrow?”  He asks in a sullen tone

“Because if I don’t take the job then you won’t be any the wiser” I reply, almost shutting his fingers between the lid in my haste to close the incriminating email down.

He harrumphs his disagreement and I march off to bed alone with laptop in hand.

The morning is greeted with the usual array of animal activity, culminating in a sparrow flying through the bedroom window and crapping on the duvet before seeking solace behind the wardrobe.  My husband sleeps through the whole arm waving and bird poking adventure so I leave man and feathered friend alone to get better acquainted.

Leaving our guest to sleep off her adventures, I make my way downstairs and steal the jeep before anyone says they need running anywhere.  With the wind in my hair and Ricky Martin bellowing in my ear, I make my way to the hotel where I am to be educated on how to correctly apply sun cream and charm the tourists into buying my wares.

In all honesty, I don’t know how flogging specialised lotion could possibly be classed as a job but with a jaunt in my stride I walk into the foyer to be greeted by a very slim, very brown middle aged woman who instantly has me sign 39 forms on product confidentiality and then strides outside into the pool area to show me how to flog creams to bronzed sitting ducks.

Within 30 minutes I know without hesitation the job is not for me.  Firstly, having to get down on bended knee to talk to customers is not boding well with my clacking joints.  Every time I try to rise I have the grip the sun lounger with such force I almost propel one baking punter into the pool along with his half consumed pinacolada.  Secondly, the amount of spiel you are required to impart to the reluctant purchaser about skin damage makes me seriously wonder about my mahogany companion’s skin care routine and thirdly, when you are not flogging your creams and sprays, you have to stand in the sun, never in the shade to prove how well the product works!

Being the well adjusted, mature middle aged responsible woman I am, I cross my legs and make my excuses, head towards the toilet, veer swift left and make a bid for freedom out the front door and onto the street.  Swinging my bag over my shoulder I head towards the car, picking up a bottle of fizzy wine en route.

Becoming an adult can wait until tomorrow.

To be continued … Episode 14

 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 12: Pack to the Future

“And how would you like to pay the property deposit Senora?”

The reality of our purchase is finally starting to sink in and I can feel my palms getting clammy as we all sit in silence signing the Spanish legal documents.  I could be selling the family kidneys for all I can understand but we sign our joint names on the dotted line and then everyone in the office shakes hands in universal agreement.  Luckily enough we have already enlisted the help of the wonderful GLOBAL REACH and the monetary transaction proceeds seamlessly from one account to another so that’s one thing less we have to worry about.  Before you can say ‘I’ve changed my mind, I’ll spend that £10k in Puerto Banus on a pair pneumatic breasts instead’ the money is already in the grasping hands of the solicitors and the deeds are being drawn up.

Sitting afterwards on the wall outside the lawyer’s lair, the mid afternoon sun beating upon our weary heads, I suddenly realise that within a month we could be in our own home.  We will be mortgage free for the first time in our lives.  Granted, we will only have 53p left in our bank account to live on but you can’t expect to be a home owner AND afford to eat.

“So what happens now?” asks a bewildered husband.  “Do we buy furniture?  We sold all ours in the UK.  This must be the only unfurnished property for sale in the whole of the Costa Del Sol!”

I scratch my head. I hadn’t actually thought this far ahead.  I’d spent the last 36 months watching relocation programmes and planning our escape from Brexit, not looking in IKEA catalogues.

“And, now you know where we are going to be living, you can get a job” breathes my spouse into my ear “No excuses now!”  He smiles (rather maliciously may I add) and saunters off to purchase a coffee.

Little does he know that I have already got an interview lined up for the following day.  Granted, it’s a commission only position but really, how difficult can selling sun cream around various hotel pools actually be?  This time next year I’ll be the same colour as David Dickenson and I’ll be paid for the privilege.  Picking up my handbag I make my way over to the jeep and we all head back over the rugged roads in good spirits to our temporary house in the campo.

Brian the brave is the first to vault out of the car and I suddenly realise that we won’t have the luxury of a garden anymore.  No more letting him out to wee at 8am.  I’ll have to get dressed and walk him, come rain or shine.  He’d grown quite accustomed to the local goats and headless kittens surrounding the grounds and just last night he had appeared at the front door slightly delirious after his evenings ablutions, eyes rotating with some strange and pungent  foliage attached to the side of his mouth, a canine version of ‘Bez’ from the Happy Mondays.  It took almost an hour to coach him off the shed roof after attempting, rather unsuccessfully to fly alongside the fruit bats.

Entering the house, I go to put the kettle on and lean up against the cooker and stare at our worldly possessions lying in a discarded mound in the corner of the dining room.  All our pots and pans and furniture had been given away to family and friends and what stood before me was just a jumble of memories of our former life awaiting its final resting place in a small apartment in Fuengirola.  Tears pricked the back of my eyes as the weight of my decision rested heavily on my shoulders.

“Erm,.. Mum, there’s a woman walking up the gravel drive dragging a very large backpack and shouting your name and waving a bottle of wine at me..?”

Turning on my heel I squint out the window to see a very real ghost of my nomadic and hedonistic past walking confidently into our present and, no doubt about to change our imminent future.

To be continued … Episode 13

 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 11: The Good, The Fab and The Ugly

“So here we are at the final apartment lined up for today”,  yells our Commission driven Chauffer as he screeches to a halt and vaults onto the pavement with his front tires.  “Granted, it’s different from the rest we’ve viewed, but what it lacks in external beauty and glamour, it makes up for in location.  Go and let yourself in, here are the keys, I’m just off to buy some fags”

Standing on the side of the busy road, my husband turns to me in what appears to be a ‘Have you finally lost your mind‘ sort of way.  I wave the keys in the air and cross the road to a small concealed entrance nestling next door to what appears to be a second hand Spanish TV repair shop.

My son removes his headphones and looks up towards our destination

“You are kidding mum…  right?  We aren’t going in here are we?  Where’s the swimming pool?  In fact where’s the door?

Pushing them both aside and tutting at their lack of vision, I open the metal gate and head inside.  A spiral stone staircase leads us up to the first floor and after a quick tussle with a sticky lock, I open the door to our final property with a flourish.

Sunshine streams through the south facing windows and onto the speckled marble floor.  Stepping straight into the freshly painted white entrance hall the glaringly obvious fact is, there isn’t one item of furniture included in the apartment apart from a forlorn looking mattress propped up in the corner of the entrance hall.

“Well that’s your bedroom sorted” I yell over my shoulder to the boy child but he’s not listening, he’s already found the key to the balcony and is currently stood outside.

“Muuuummmm, is that the road leading to my school over there?’ he says, pointing behind the trees.

“Why yes, yes it is, what are the odds on that!”  I smile innocently.  “And look” I exclaim “There’s a supermarket on the corner and a Panaderia just to the right.  I guess it must only be a ten minute walk  down to Miramar, where the English cinema is, you could walk there on your own or with your mates after school, unlike the other two properties which are very pretty but not so central. The sea could be your swimming pool” I smile knowingly and meander back inside.

My husband narrows his eyes at me and I avoid his glare by cheerfully pointing out the space in the remaining vacant rooms.

“There’s an extra bedroom here too for when the family want to visit” I cut in before he has time to interject “We could then use this third one as a TV room and put in a sofa bed which would mean we still have a nice quiet dining room where we can all chat and have dinner together like the locals do”

I have it all worked out, an estate agent in the making.  Mr Veneers will be so proud of his protégé.

Begrudgingly my husband raps his knuckles against the kitchen wall and looks enquiringly into lounge.  I can see what he’s thinking.  Knock the kitchen wall through; bring the kitchen into the dining room.  I thought exactly the same when I first viewed the property.  I clench my sweating palms together, willing him to see the potential of this empty shell.

A voice echoes out from the balcony where my only child is still standing, leaning over the railings.

“So let me get this right, if we lived here I could get up for school about 8.15am and walk over the road on my own, meet my friends at the weekends and I wouldn’t need to be seen out in public with either of you two ever again?”

I nod my head in agreement and then look at my husband and aim my final arrow at the standing target

“And just so you know, the theatre is just a ten minute walk away but I thought you could buy that motorbike you always wanted…and ride that to work, then we could get rid of the car which would solve the parking issue”

Casually I walk back into the lounge and leave the men folk looking slightly shell shocked on the balcony, the realisation of my words finally taking effect.

The front door gently opens and the Porcelain Prince glides into the room and stands quietly beside me.

“Soooo… have you done my job for me?”,  he whispers into my ear.

Looking out onto the balcony I watch my husband and son talking animatedly and pointing up the road towards the town centre whilst laughing at the mopeds flying past on the road below.

My lips curve into a smile and I nod towards the ‘Se Vende’ sign hanging lopsided from the outside railings.  Nodding, He makes a scissoring motion with his fingers and rubs his hands in glee.

Our work here is done.

To be continued… Episode 12

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