Alis Grave Nil

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Funny Things that Happen in a Yorkshire Village

The thing about living on a quiet country lane in a quiet country village is that you get to know people quite quickly.  We see the same cars coming up the lane where we live, the same people taking their dogs for a walk, the same old lady on her bike, not that I'm hiding behind the curtains with binoculars or anything.  Everything becomes familiar, so when something or someone different comes along, you notice straight away. 

Just lately, the lane inhabitants have been noticing a large shiny black Bentley driving past every now and again.  Now there are not that many of us living on our lane and only a couple of farms at the end of it, so we have all been wondering who the blonde lady driver of the big black Bentley has been visiting (just out of interest, you understand).  One of our elderly neighbours, Mr Forrester (80 years young) decided to investigate.  The big black Bentley had driven past his house and he hadn't seen it coming back down the lane again.  Mr Forrester jumped into his little tractor and set about his investigation - he had carrots to collect from a field, you know!  He arrived at the end of the lane where there is a small lay-by.  Parked up was the big black Bentley and a white transit van.  "Wonder where the people are?", he asked himself.  They were nowhere near the farms or any houses.  Suddenly the door of the white Transit van opened and the blonde lady appeared, looking slightly dishevilled, followed by a man, presumably the white van man.  Mr F could see inside the back of the van and there was a mattress on the floor.  The moral of the story is, even if you think your little assignations are secret, there's always a Mr Forrester collecting his carrots and then reporting his findings to the rest of the village. 

Another funny thing that happened was when we got new neighbours in the rented bunglow next door to our house.  It was a couple, maybe in their late 50's.  I used to see the lady walking her dog up the lane every afternoon.  Can I just put this politely, dear amis?  I think she had a drink problem!  We used to find empty vodka bottles behind our greenhouse and one day my husband, Roberto, drove past and saw her rolling around on the grass, unable to get up. 

We rent a shed to a young mechanic called Scott.  He's always doing up old cars in the shed and he doesn't cause any problems to anyone.  He reported to us one morning that the previous night the  lady next door had come to see him and shouted at him for making too much noise.  Well, we hadn't heard a squeak that night.  However, Scott felt bad about it and went into the shop where this lady worked and apologised the next day.  She said "I don't know what you are talking about".  She couldn't remember doing it. 

As for our other neighbours, well that's a story for another day chers amis.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Christmas chez Printemps

Now that most of our building work is finished, we can finally start thinking about Christmas. Roberto will no doubt announce the night before Christmas Eve that we are going into Hull in the morning so that he can buy my Christmas present.  This happened last year, but to be honest, mes amis, it was actually quite magical.  The snow and ice were still lying as we ventured into Hull at 7.30 am on Christmas Eve morning.  It started to snow again as we arrived but the town was quiet, hardly anyone around.  We went round the department stores to get my perfume for Christmas but could we heck as find the aftershave that Roberto wanted.  He likes the same one that Keith Richards uses.  He will kill me for telling you all this, but he also has the same watch as Keith Richards (his every day watch, that is).  Roberto was a bit disappointed that we couldn't find his aftershave, so he suggested a trip into York in the afternoon.  I said, "Christmas Eve, York, snow and ice all over the roads?  I don't think so Roberto".  "Okay", he said, "I'll settle for Old Spice until after Christmas".  Result!

Christmas Eve is my day of preparation.  I get everything ready, peeled, chopped, stuffed etc, so I can just fling it all into the oven on Christmas morning.  I make my trifles, one for me and one for our friend William.   This has become our little tradition.  Both William and I hate Christmas pudding - bleurgh!- and love trifle sans sherry.  I love Christmas Eve, especially if there's an old film on TV in the afternoon, like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  I  have a little sniffle when  Dick Van Dyke sings Hushabye Mountain to the kids who are being kept prisoner under the castle.  Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a little sniffle at Hushabye Mountain. 

Christmas chez Printemps is a relatively quiet affair.  It's just myself, Roberto, a 6 kg turkey and Michael Buble singing his Christmas songs.  We used to invite Roberto's elderly aunt until her attempted suicide by a deliberate overdose of paracetamol and morphine (in our house!!) in 2008 and our Christmas and New Year was spent in and out of hospital visiting her.  Please don't feel sad and think she was a poor little old dear.  As soon as she came out of the hospital, she was sitting up in bed putting rollers in her hair so she would look nice for her visit to her own doctor the next day and telling all her friends on the phone that we were keeping her prisoner.  Suicidal, my a**e!.....More fruitcake, anyone?

Anyway, mes amis, I must dash.  I have much to do.  I have to hang up new curtains in my new living room, light the wood burning stove and then sprinkle fairy dust liberally round my house and make some Christmas magic. 

A tout a l'heure, chers amis.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Musing on Flat Screen TV...Just for me (allegedly).

The painting is never-ending in this house.  On Sunday, I happened to run out of paint just as I was almost finished painting our new utility room.  We had a mad dash to the outskirts of Hull where I bought EXACTLY the same tub of paint that we had before.  Got home, finished painting utility room with new paint.  Job done.  When I went into the utility room this morning to check out my work, the paint was a slightly different shade and the whole lot looked patchy and 'orrible.  I will have to start all over again.  I wondered if someone at the paint factory perhaps had a hangover and put the wrong ingredients in on the day they made my pot of paint?  Next painting job is the Forth Bridge!
Roberto is in his element.  He bought himself a new 46" flatscreen TV, after weeks of research and price comparisons.  He has been bending my ear about getting one for ages.  Now he has finally done it and is a very happy bunny. The only thing is, his friend William, the farmer, will say that his flatscreen is bigger than Roberto's and there will be some playground bickering between them about whose is the biggest ("my dad's bigger than your dad"). You know how it goes, girls. Like anyone really cares, guys! The prize for the best excuse ever for buying a large flatscreen TV goes to my husband, Roberto Printemps.  His words were, "I bought the flatscreen for you so you can watch the final of Strictly Come Dancing on it". 

I am getting quite excited.  Tomorrow, for the first time in 4 months, I will be on my own in my own house.  There will be no builders, no husband, no plumbers, no sparks.  No Roy (builder) sitting at my kitchen table at 7.30 am having a cup of tea, no music blaring out of the radio, nobody singing (apart from me, of course!). Just complete silence.  Wonderful!  The work is still not finished but they are going on another job on Thursday.  Yipeeeeee!

Silence is golden. 

Friday, 2 December 2011

On Stripping............WALLPAPER!

Well, if I do say so myself, Molly has excelled herself today!  I had the lovely job of stripping wallpaper in our hallway .  Don't you just love it when men ask you to find something and you spend half an hour looking for it, only to find that they found said thing two minutes after they asked you to look for it and then didn't tell you?  Roberto (husband) had asked me to find the wallpaper stripping machine.  I searched the house from top to bottom, only to find that he had located it in his shed two minutes after he had asked me, and then forgot to let me know....Grrrrr!  Think I will lock him in his shed for a few hours (I will call it the naughty shed).  Anyway, wallpaper is well and truly stripped now in our hallway.  New plaster has been prepared for new wallpaper (see, I know all the builders' terms now).  I have also made 20 cups of tea for Roy (builder) and Roberto, who are building an arch over our driveway.  They couldn't feel their feet because it was so cold, so I even made a cauldron of home made soup for them.  I have well and truly earned my glass of wine tonight. 

We are going back to the carpet shop in Hull tomorrow to choose another stair carpet.  The one we chose was too patterned and I don't want my house to look like an old lady house (sorry, old ladies!).  God, that means I'll have to listen to Tony in the carpet shop droning on about what carpets Sarah Beeney chose for her Renovation Nightmares TV programme...AGAIN! It also means that the three Bandidos will be back here soon to fit the new stair carpet.  Oh joy!

Our living room is slowly getting back to normal.  I thought we might have to remove a window to get our sofa in the other night.  It was a bit of a struggle but we managed it in the end (a bit of swearing was involved, as usual).  Can't wait to make my living room look like Christmas magic. 

Roberto's Libyan friend, Shaz, called in today (he big doctor man).  He wanted to ask Roy and Roberto to do some work for him.  Apparently Big Mike the builder/plasterer had quoted him £50,000 to build a two car garage (you're having a larf aren't you Big Mike?).  Big Mike must have seen Shaz's big Mercedes and priced the job accordingly.  Anyway, Shaz was admiring their work and told Roberto he liked our house so much that and he would give us his house in Hull (eeek!), his big Mercedes and 200 camels for it.  I told him to "barter-off", or words to that effect. What the hell would we do with 200 camels anyway? 

It's nearly wine o'clock, mes amis.  Have a good weekend.