Monthly Archives: August 2012

Go West, Old(er) man

A welcoming….are you mad sir? Don’t you remember me at all?

Continuing the newly coined tradition of digressing with the first sentence; I heard a track from ‘Go West’ on the radio for the first time in a decade today. It was not a pleasant experience. Despite my (increasingly frantic) pleas for mercy, the radio did not cease this attack until the aforementioned ‘song’ had been completed.

Where are my manners…Bad Manners…Buster Bloodvessel…aaargh!…welcome back to…um…Hoylake – and here of course! I am sitting here, late afternoon, cold beer in stomach (the temperature has been in the low 90s for some time – typical BC summer), paint all over me and my carefully chosen set of sacrificial clothes, after three days of determined painting of a few rooms in the house. We choose to paint rather than ‘paper – wallpaper is a strange and weird concept over here – everyone just paints their walls (praise the lord). Only another half of the house to do then!

In answer to your question, despite a reputation to the contrary (carefully fostered over 18 years as a rozzer) I am quite accommodating to visitors and charge only a small rent for a week’s stay, plus of course cleaning duties and making four out of seven evening meals. Oh and cutting the grass and pulling some weeds. And finishing the painting. The dogs need walking too. Sounds like fun doesn’t it?

Putting my hilarious quips to one side for a moment (the audience breathes a huge sigh of relief) yes of course you would be very welcome to visit!

On the holiday topic, we are going away in a few days with friends to a stereotypical Canadian log cabin on the shores of a beautiful lake, where I shall play with my boat, do lots of fishing, reading, playing of cards and gazing at a light pollution-free sky, where I hope to see the milky way properly. My kids are coming with us, and so there will doubtless be plenty of dock – jumping, cannonball-ing and camp fire roasting of ‘smores’. The dogs will be with us too, swimmong and, once alongside a hapless human,  liberally shaking at regular intervals to ensure that we don’t stay too dry.

Smores – since you asked – consist of a biscuit/cracker type thing onto which one places a freshly camp-fire roasted (and therefore nuclear) and gooey marshmallow, followed by a wafer of chocolate and another cracker/biscuit. Once constructed, they are to be eaten immediately and with relish. Deadly for a diabetic like me, so I of course love ’em. I commend them to you, sir.

I’m looking forward to our break and then coming home to push all the rubbish under the bed because my mum is coming out to visit a week on Friday! It will be the first time I’ll have seen her since my dad’s funeral, and she hasn’t been out here since 2003 so it’s a big deal for her and us.

I do heartily recommend you get out here some time (I know the flights are not cheap) as the scope for travelling is vast – you can comfortably head East in a fairly straight line and not turn back for five days while staying in the same country. I totally understand the ‘staying rather than living in’ principle – although I’m not too sure that it applies out here…be careful!




All Quiet on the Western Front

I don’t get the French sense of humour; I’m sure they won’t get mime. Sorry, I mean “mine”. Or maybe I was right the first time.

Well, here I am, back in Ye Little Olde Electrificatory Shoppe in Hoylake, doing a 5 day stint so the manager – my old Friend Chris – can have a deserved week off with the wife and kids. Not sure how relaxing it’s gonna be going camping with 5 young kids with a weather forecast of rain interrupted by brief showers, but that’s summer holidays in the UK for you.

Me, I’ve just come back from 7 nights in the ancient town of Agde and 2 nights in the charming university town of Montpellier in the South of France, followed by 2 nights camping in the less exotic but prettier looking Llangollen in North Wales.

Earlier in this blog, I asked the question Sud de France – Oui ou Non? I now know that I wouldn’t want to live just anywhere in the South of France, as I might have previously thought/suggested. Montpellier is one of the nicest cities I’ve visited (and I’ve been to many) and I certainly wouldn’t mind going back there sometime for a long weekend. Agde, on the other hand, was just OK; if it hadn’t been for its close proximity to the Mediterranean, it might not have been a great place to go holidaying. But the sun was warm, the wine was cheap, and I was there alone with my beautiful wife, so a good time was had.

If I give the matter proper consideration, spending a week or two out there is one thing, but selling up and moving lock, stock and barrel would be another – I can admit that to myself now. The main issues, as most people have always mentioned when I tell them I want to live in the South of France, are the language and cultural “barriers”. I can understand (if they speak slowly) and can make myself understood (if I speak slowly), and no doubt given time I would become fairly fluent (I lived in France for a few months back in my late twenties, and could communicate fairly easily towards the end of my time there). But I guess I’ll always be English and they’ll always be French, and they won’t get any of my jokes. Few enough people understand me here in the UK without exacerbating the problem…

In my last post, I summarized by saying that the only things I’d miss about the UK are real beer and real sausages and Cheddar cheese, and the only outstanding things about the South of France were the weather, the space, and fresh baguettes. Not a convincing argument to up sticks and relocate, I guess. In response to my post, you gave a very convincing argument for the charms of British Columbia. As I may have said, my only experience of Canada has been a fortnight in Nova Scotia. It was jolly nice, and we think we could happily live there for a long spell. But BC sounds a bit more civilized and a bit less cold. I wonder if you have a guest room and a welcoming manner, on the off-chance that we’re in the area for a week…?