Excuse Me??

This time last year I had such a good holiday in Ibiza, on my own, that I decided to do it again and because I’d left it last minute to book I was pretty limited on what was available, so I ended up staying in the same hotel as last year and as usual that meant my single room was overlooking the bins/car park. Not really a problem as I didn’t intend to spend much time in it apart from sleeping, just annoying as this seems to happen every time I go anywhere on my own. Of course there were different people on holiday this time, thankfully no stalker, but there is one thing that stands out on this holiday that I won’t forget.

It wasn’t the group of four lads who had come away on a lads holiday and obviously some time after the holiday had been booked one of them had got himself a girlfriend and she’d ended up tagging along.

It wasn’t watching the hotel cat run off with one of the parrots halfway through the parrot show.

It wasn’t listening to a group of women over 40 who were absolutely slagging off one of their group, whilst giving me pitying looks that I had come on holiday alone.

It wasn’t the man who was leaning across my table for one while he talked to someone he knew, knowing that he was totally blocking my view until I had to ask him to move, which he wasn’t happy about.

It wasn’t the 25 older Spanish women who arrived on my last day who were a breath of fresh air as they insisted on line dancing to most of the songs being played by the pool.

It wasn’t even overhearing a woman telling a group of people  ” I couldn’t eat my salad tonight it had too many alopecia.”  That must be a new name for jalapenos.

No it wasn’t any of those things, it was when I was out one evening, sat alone on the terrace of a bar when a young woman came out for a cigarette and noticing I was alone she asked could she sit at my table while she smoked. We started chatting and a woman sat to the left of me with her husband decided she’d join in the conversation telling us that she was 64 yrs old with a daughter of 45 and a grandson of 25. We both just looked at her and said “Right” before carrying on our conversation before we were interrupted, with the older woman muttering about rude people. A couple of minutes later the young woman asked had I come on holiday with someone?  Hearing that the older woman turned to me and said ” Yes, we were wondering that, why have you come on holiday on your own?”  Oh I see, you’ve clearly been talking about me then so it’s time you were put in your place love.

“It should have been my honeymoon.”

That shut her up.

It doesn’t bother me going on holiday on my own, but it bothers other people, especially older people.  The women hold on to their partners that little bit tighter and don’t even give me eye contact never mind a “Hello” in case I get ideas about running off with their Fred (Fred should be so lucky) but that’s ok. What is NOT ok is to be so rude and to ask someone WHY they are on holiday alone so that woman deserved the answer she got.

No wonder my ears were burning all week, and I thought it was sunburn.

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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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Move Over Shirley Valentine

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ll know that I’ve just had a week in Ibiza. Alone. Not front page news but you would think so by some of the reactions I get when people find out that I went on my own. “But what did you do on your own?” is the most popular question, and I always reply with “Had a good time”.  I understand why it’s a big deal for some people but faced with the choice of having a week off work and waking up on Monday morning with rain in Manchester or sunshine in Ibiza it’s not really a difficult choice to make so off I went.

I like meeting new people and luckily for me I’m a good judge of character (although we all make mistakes ) but as much as I’m friendly I don’t want to be someone’s babysitter on holiday and now and again I have to be brutal. Ibiza this time proved to be a mix of a particularly needy, nasty excuse of a man, ladies who although holidaying on their own wanted someone to sort their entertainment  itinerary  and a lovely guy who wasn’t very confident on his first time on his own.

On my first evening there I was in the hotel restaurant when I noticed “D” on his own a couple of tables away. He seemed friendly to the staff and as I was sat “enjoying” the Spanish white wine that was so dry I wouldn’t have even put it on my chips, he came over to my table. “I’m out of my comfort zone, would you care to join me?” D was a similar age to me but not really my type, although the older you get the more you realise you have to diversify on that one. So I joined him where I found out he was an ex copper, been married twice and didn’t speak to either of his exes and didn’t seem to have a good relationship with any of his grown up children. He then went on to tell me about a very unhappy childhood, although he was waiting for his parents to join him a few days later. He didn’t seem to have many friends and when questioned about why he left the police he was extremely vague.

Alarm bells were ringing.

Sat on the terrace I listened to various tales of what happened while he was a copper, some of them interesting to be fair, when he suddenly decided we were going out somewhere. “No. It’s late, I just got here today and I’m tired. In fact I’m going to call it a night.” He pulled his face but I was already making my way back inside. “See you tomorrow” he said. Oh how right he was. The next day was a beautiful sunny day so I made my way to the beach where I soon realised I’d forgotten my sun cream. After an hour or so I left my towel on the sunbed and made my way back to the hotel and as I was sat in the bar area D came over. “Hey, where have you been? I’ve been looking for you.” Christ no. “Down at the beach, going back there in a while”. “Do you want some company?” I looked at him. “No. Quite happy on my own thanks”. But I could tell he was annoyed. “See you later then. What time are you going for dinner tonight?” “Not really sure, don’t want to commit to a time”. (but I’ll bet you’re going to wait for me) And he did. No idea how long he’d been there hanging around reception but when I finally showed up and went to the bar he was there like a flash. ” Hey D, you already been in?” ” No, I was waiting for you.” As we went in to the restaurant together he lifted my hand up to his mouth and kissed it.

That’s when I knew he had totally the wrong idea.

Something had changed and instead of talking about himself he chose to mention my trip to the beach. “You’re quite selfish aren’t you? I realised that this afternoon when you said you didn’t want company.” I laughed. ” And you’re obviously quite needy aren’t you D?”  He then told me how he was so irresistible that his last girlfriend had been 26 yrs old, absolutely gorgeous, but he let her choose her career over him. Not to mention the 62 year old neighbour who he bought a fridge freezer from who was forever texting him wanting him in her bed. “She likes them young” I stifled a yawn.”Wow. So in demand aren’t you?” He then decided to tell me how he was good at two things. “If we were in a terrorist attack I would get you out alive, no one else could.” I’m sure I must have looked doubtful at that information but he carried on. “And I’m really good in bed.”  That was it, enough is enough. ” Do you know what D? You’re making me feel really uncomfortable and actually, I don’t have to sit here and listen to this.” I got up and left him sat there at the table. Next time I saw him I said “Hi” but he just blanked me and did that the rest of the week I was there but it just amused me. Luckily for me he wasn’t the only person I spoke to.

As always we have the stereotypes that we all see on holiday. Such as the chavs who kicked off when they were told to cover up after trying to come into the restaurant in swim wear.

The guy who wore the same t shirt every day to every meal.

The three women who thought they were in their own version of  Real Housewives of Anywhere.

And the group of women with loads of kids who sat them all on a table with grandma at mealtimes so that they could have some fun in a different part of the restaurant.

But every time I’ve been away on my own the people who tell me “Oh I could do that. Totally on my own with no kids, husband, anyone” are always usually the ones who have never stepped outside their postcode without someone holding their hand.

Fact.

 

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It’s Not Me It’s You.

When you’ve been single for a while (ok, a long time) after a while you start to think that maybe, just maybe, it could be that the problem is you. Perhaps being too chatty on dates, or too quiet, wearing the wrong outfit, being too loud, not really giving someone a chance, not really listening, you can focus on any number of things but then I think back to some of the dates I’ve been on.

To the guys who can’t decide where to meet (most of them) let me tell you that a woman wants a man to take charge so it’s a bit of a turn off when I’m making all the arrangements for a first date.

To the guys who would rather I went to meet them at their local pub on a first date because they get a nosebleed if they go out of their comfort zone, let me tell you that already, you’re not making me feel that I’m worth the effort.

To the homophobic, ignorant, vile narrow minded guys who say they don’t understand how I could live with a gay man, and I probably won’t find anyone because of it, there are no words.

To the guys who say I would have been perfect if I was three inches taller/blonde hair/thinner/younger I say have you looked in a mirror lately because that moisturiser isn’t working.

To the guys who assume that there will be sex on the first date so you’ve booked a hotel room, you’ll never know how good it could have been.

To the guys who’ve apparently got in a relationship in the two days between organising a date with me and meeting up, I hope she’s got a couple of kids you didn’t know about.

To the guys who post the (only) picture on their profile that’s a few years old, please don’t. There’s not always a first aider around when we meet and I nearly die from shock when I see that you’ve lost all your hair and are three stone heavier.

To the guys who seem up for a laugh and then turn into a grumpy old man who complains about everything from the price of the parking to the price of a coffee on a date, let me tell you, it makes you unattractive.

To the guys who say they’re not really looking for someone then text/message every other minute asking how you are, what are you doing, when are you seeing them again, sort your head out.

To all the young guys who ask do I have a problem with the age gap? The answer is yes, please don’t be offended but I’ve probably got tights older than you.

To all the guys who’ve shown me pics and videos on our date of their now deceased partner, or new car, golf clubs, and even grandkids, it was probably my yawning that put you off.

And to the guy who forgot my name on a date on national television. Well, we all know the answer to that one.

So after careful consideration and realising that not every one is on the same page, I’ve come to a conclusion.

It’s not me, it’s you.

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