Allergic to E?

Nooo, not that sort of E.

Life provides enough hallucinatory satisfaction.

Sandra Danby @sandradanby on Twitter has nominated me for this:
the-allergic-to-e-challenge-logo-25-6-15

And sooooo 

‘What Fun!’ – I thought. 

A task, a summons, a trial. 

To scrawl an account of script minus that non-consonant symbol twixt D and F. 

Hmmm. 

Possibly a tad arduous, laborious than first thought. 

This is a situation for much constraint –  an additional hour por favor? 

I challenge Sue, Matthew and Jo

24 things about love and marriage… …no horse, no carriage

Shoes

On Food

He dislikes celery, tarragon, mustard and yoghurt.  I like everything except innards.  But I do like Callos, which is essentially a bowlful of pig’s innards.

We love Middle Eastern flavours – no meal is ever complete without the magic of spice.

We both love to cook and hate to be criticized on our efforts.

chili

On heated discussions

I shout.  He sulks.

I throw.  He ducks.

I have a smart mouth – he has a patient(ish) nature and knows when to shut up.

irishcalm

On the arts

We love art – our first date was Warhol at the South Bank.  It was shite so we went for a pint. That was better.

We once went to Paris on the proceeds of something very dodgy and spent all our money on cheap Left Bank food and a very expensive book on Dali – there was an exhibition on in a fancy hotel where all the guests smelled of money.

We love music.  All music.  The Kindle might actually be fused to his left hand.

On family

Our kids have (perhaps unfortunately for them) a mixture of our looks and personalities – but are like chalk and cheese.

The best noise in the world is a houseful of our kids and their mates having a great time.  No matter how many or how loud.  Spanish kids are LOUD.

Both of us are hopelessly disorganised – it’s lovely.  Our kids at all ages and past times jump out from the most unexpected places – pictures in drawers and boxes. We’ve never had a photo album except our wedding album.  And I’m not actually sure I know where that is.

On growing up

Still not managed it.  Despite the bigger numbers – it doesn’t seem likely in the near future.

We love a party, and always will.

We drive everyone mad because we speak at the same time.  Wear earplugs to our house.

On work

These days?  A little role-reversal.  Work to live – never live to work.

He’s my cha-cha.  We have all realised I was always rubbish at housework.

But I can spell. He can’t do that – uh-uh.

On Social Media

He doesn’t even know his own telephone number.  Nope.  Not happening.

I, well…you know that already.

On Spain

We have a mutual dislike of bingo playing, fish and chip eating, and chavvy twat expats.  But we enjoy finding the other kind and spending time with them.

We love it here – after 9+ years we’re still discovering something new in every day.

But…

The one thing we do miss about England…is Sunday morning and the papers in bed.  And gigs.  Live music.

Strange but true

I once walked him to Peckham station in the early hours and went home to bed. An hour or so later, I  got up, showered, breakfasted, caught a number 63 bus, then a train and went down to Victoria to catch a tube one more stop to work at Sloane Sq.  As the doors opened he was sitting there.  He had fallen asleep and, well…ever seen that movie Sliding Doors?

The difference between Spanish and Expat parents

kids calm

Well, can you spot the differences?  An example.

Idling around a quiet hotel pool recently, the only sound to break the idyll was a gentle murmuring from other guests, and just the scrape of a sun-bed being positioned, or the ppffft aerosol of more SPF applied and of course the laughter of happy kids in the water.

hotel-swimming-pool-1065275_1280

The low wail that led to a screech like a fire engine, sudden and LOUD, made us all sit up and focus towards one end of the pool, as the lifeguard jumped in with a panicked splash and emerged with a girl of about 7, hands to her face and blood gushing forth.

Her parents were next to us, Padre slowly levered himself up putting down his book and Madre walked with no particular hurry to the shower area where the lifeguard was sluicing the kid down.

She had smashed her front tooth – and was inconsolable.  Wails of “I want to go home” and “I miss my friends”, “I’m ugly now” mingled with snot, sobs, tears and big shuddering intakes of breath.  Madre placated, cuddled and crooned, and after 5 minutes pushed her off and told her to shut the F**k up. Padre went back to his book.

girl-563719_1280.png

Which is about typical.  I had to giggle – she was pushing for the underage Oscars.  Everyone nodded, smiled and went back to sunbed arranging and SPF application  The kid shut up.  She forgot about her tooth and went back in the pool.

I turned over to face the sun and spied an expat couple who sat at the side of the kids pool (about 1 foot deep) whilst their kids played. Constant cries with loudly projected voices of “Play nicely Thomas”  “Be careful Jake” “No splashing your brother” accompanied them.  When they left, flustered, anything but relaxed, with their equipment and kitchen sink, kids in all-in-one suits and Tintin-type swim hats – it was only about 22 degrees –  Mum and Dad fussed and held their hands and instructed not to walk too close to the pool. They were just short of a lead.

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What if they had fallen in?  Well, I guess someone might have fished them out.

Have we become fussier?  What happened to risks and tough love? When I fell over as a kid  – most days – I got a splash of iodine, a sugar sandwich, and was sent back out to play, the blood hastily wiped as it ran and congealed into my once-white sock. A lovely big knee scab afterwards that would itch and beg to be picked along the edges as it healed.  Like a big fruit pastille.  I still have the lumps and marks today. My mother was right about the picking.

So, can you spot the difference?

Virtually me!

Hi Ho

Going to work used to be an actual place.  It involved someone else doing my tax, uniforms and shifts. With travel and all weather, and real people to contend with. These days I’ve discovered something different – and a whole new ‘me’.

It’s not just about being self-employed, working in pyjamas, or flicking over to helpful groups on Facebook between gigs.

I’ve discovered it’s rather satisfying to mould my own destiny, and I seem to have created a lifestyle I like and enjoy.  Being internet based, or being ‘virtual’ – doesn’t mean being out of touch.

A Clear Focus

Quite the opposite, I find I have become far more focussed than I would have thought possible – I’ve uncovered the leader in me – I had no idea one was lurking there all these years!

Folk often ask me how I can work all day on my laptop – they’d hate it, it must be so boring.  Far from it.

I use much more different mindsets and skills to master problems, than before.  I’m capable of juggling 4 or 5 different companies and jobs in an average day – one minute I’m writing snappy content, the next I’m extolling the virtues of chemical-free beauty, promoting a festival, handling a team of bloggers, using social media skills, or fronting a customer service role.

Communication is direct and easy.   I’m happy with conference calls, webinars, shared file drives, instant messaging.

Deadlines are met, problems are banished, things get done.

I never take on a role I might not be able to fulfil – and I only work with people I think I can get along with. So far, so good.  Who can say that in the ‘real’ world?  Can you?