One Last Adventure.

It was binge watching A New Life In The Sun that did it. I didn’t even know that the programme even existed until I found it on catch up and started to get all involved with watching other people trying to run a bar/restaurant/pop up nightclub in France/Spain or anywhere else that was in Europe where they have better weather than us. Hoping that they’d all make it and not have to come back to England feeling that they’d failed, to listen to all the people say ” I wouldn’t have come back if it had been me.”  Usually from the people who’ve lived on the same street all their lives and are frightened that they might get a nosebleed if they step out of their own postcode.

It got me thinking.

I’d like to think there is one last adventure, one more time of taking a risk and trying something new. Nothing quite as drastic as buying a barn in France or a restaurant in Spain but it doesn’t stop me thinking that maybe I wouldn’t mind working and living for a while somewhere hot. I’ve put the dream of moving to Gibraltar to bed, but I can’t stop thinking that there has to be something else to try before I have to call it a day. Years ago before I was a wife, mother and mortgaged to the hilt I used to sod off for the summer, working in various hotels or bars and I loved it.

Tresco.

The first year I did it I went to Tresco, one of the islands of the Isles of Scilly which is just off Penzance. Working as a chambermaid in a gorgeous 5 star hotel on a private beach, there are no cars allowed on the island and only one pub. As a 20 year old that was devastating for there to be only one pub and the novelty soon wore off going to it as it was quite a trek from the hotel, plus the locals didn’t really appreciate a group of noisy “outsiders” invading it.  The lovely Tresco where I burnt half my face off after I fell asleep in the sun one afternoon and had to wait nearly a week before seeing a doctor as he only visited every Tuesday when he came over by boat.

Woolacombe.

Another hotel working as a chambermaid in Woolacombe in North Devon and what a beautiful place it is. A blue flag beach which attracts a lot of surfers in the summer so it has that holiday feel and definitely more than one pub to go to on a night off. I liked the fact it’s not a particularly large place and has a lot of charm and as I was living in Bath at the time instead of Manchester, it didn’t feel as though it was too far away from home  Lovely Woolacombe where I caught the guy I was seeing in the pub with another girl.

Gibraltar.

I went to Gib looking for work as I already knew a friend who’d gone out there and she loved it, she met me at the airport and took me to where I was staying. I’d booked into the cheapest place for a week and in that time I was hoping to find work and luckily for me I found a job through an agency a couple of days later which was working in a hotel bar, the added bonus being it provided accommodation. As some of my shifts was working in the evening that gave me all day to be at the beach, and when I changed jobs to work in the bar at a restaurant on the marina, it was even better. At that time the border to Spain was closed so it became a bit claustrophobic as Gibraltar is quite small with a village mentality, and we all know how people like to gossip, you get told about the things you’ve done before you’ve even thought about doing them.  But I loved it there, it’s right at the bottom of the  Costa del Sol with English money, national curriculum in schools, and I happened to be there when Charles and Diana started their honeymoon, waving my little flag as I watched them drive through Gibraltar. It’s a weird little place and you either love it or hate it, I stayed a year and had a ball. Fabulous Gibraltar where I had my heart broken.

Life goes on and after getting married and having our family my ex and I decided to do our own “A New Place In The Sun” and emigrated to Australia. We sold up and went looking for a new life in Melbourne and thought we knew what to expect but there were a few surprises. We stayed two years and I was more than ready to come back by then and inevitabley had to listen to people asking why we’d come back, if it was them they wouldn’t blah blah blah but like I said, I like to think there is one last adventure.  Saga holidays are always looking for reps in the summer though am I right?

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Ghosts Of Christmas Past Part Two

Another year has flown by and Christmas is around the corner yet again, another excuse for some of us to go down memory lane and remember some of the more memorable Christmas times, but not all of them for the right reasons. Christmas isn’t just one day though and over the years  things have happened in the run up to Christmas, in the few days between Christmas and New year, and New Year’s Eve itself.

Like the time I had to have a neighbour arrested  as she’d been to a house party and couldn’t remember who was looking after her kids. She decided they must be at my house even though her kids and mine weren’t even friends, and not believing me when I said they weren’t with me (at 3 o’clock in the morning) she tried to break in. She was so adamant that I had them that the police searched my house from top to bottom before taking her to the police station. It turned out that they were at the party with her and she’d forgotten to tell them she was leaving.

The time a few of us mums got alcohol poisoning at the school fayre after drinking two plastic cups of warm wine.

The time I’d gone Christmas shopping with a friend who spent every penny of the money she had for Christmas presents in the first shop we went into, on herself. She treated herself to a lovely dress and shoes from Wallis and that was it, game over, we had to come back home before I’d even bought anything. It’s a good job she looked fab in that outfit.

The time we lived in Australia and spent Christmas day on the beach, twice.

The time I went out to bring a bike in from the garden shed on Christmas Eve and slipped on the step that had iced over convinced I’d broken a leg.

The time I went Christmas shopping with my young daughter knowing that when we got back my friend had called round with a hamster that I’d agreed to have as my friend had just got a kitten, the kids loved it.

The time years and years ago when an idiot I was seeing drove all the way from Manchester to Bath (where I was living at the time) in a snowstorm on New Year’s Eve to pick me up to drive all the way back to Manchester as he said he had two tickets for Peter Stringfellow’s club The Millionaire.  He dropped me off at a friend’s house and said he’d come back once he dropped his car off.  He didn’t come back and I didn’t see him again until 6 months later, just his way of making sure I wasn’t going anywhere that night.

The one time I bought a Christmas hamper and because I wasn’t in when the Rotary club came round with their float, someone gave them two tins of salmon.

I’m sure that there’s lots of other instances but one Christmas I remember was when I was a child and both my sister and I got a doll for Christmas. In those days parents didn’t buy every single thing that was on a child’s Christmas list, you got one main present as well as an annual, chocolate coins, an apple and orange and a couple of other bits, all in a pillow case. Anyway I got a Sindy doll but my sister got a Tressy.  A Tressy doll had hair that grew when you pressed her belly button and there was a wind up thing on her back that pulled the hair back in, next to her my Sindy looked drab and boring. Sindy had short dark hair but Tressy was far more glamorous and to top it all, after a couple of days Sindy’s head fell off. She didn’t go back to wherever she’d come from and get replaced as there were probably no consumer rights back then, so I lost interest and probably drew all over Tressy’s face with a ballpoint pen in temper.

Every parent wants to give their children the best Christmas, to buy every toy that’s on that Christmas list (even though not many kids will be able to tell you what they got last year) as proof of how much you love them. As you get older you realise that corny as it sounds it’s not what’s under the tree, it’s who’s around it that matters.

True story.

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