SILH (8) Desparate Finale

‘And when you’re looking for your freedom
Nobody seems to care
And you can’t find the door
Can’t find it anywhere
When there’s nothing to believe in still you’re coming back,
You’re running back, you’re coming back for more.’

Take To The Limit. The Eagles. 1975.

John and Mudguts returned to the mainland, so I lost my buddy and my new leaf had well and truly turned. After all my ‘adventures’ I was put on a gruelling training regime to ensure I didn’t have the energy or time to cause any more trouble. This involved running up and down a mountain every evening, about 6 miles and diving all day. I washed in the sea. One day I  dived seventy five feet and climbed into a hole looking for Grouper as I slid back out of the hole, empty handed, I was stuck.

This isn’t a pleasant feeling with seventy five feet of ocean above you and a snorkel full of seawater. The Master had impressed upon me that panic will kill you. I’m so glad he did. Although I was swallowing desperately as my body searched for oxygen I analysed my situation and concluded that my homemade weighted backpack had snagged on a rock above me. I dragged myself back into the hole and pulling myself down, slid out and up. Air has never tasted as good as it did that day.

That was enough excitement for one morning, Master had a cold and couldn’t dive so I had been alone. I returned to the van in time for lunch. Shortly after my return two Guardia Seville arrived and stated that a vehicle had been broken into across the road and all the luggage stolen. I hadn’t been there, the Master was dozing and obviously not well so they seemed happy enough and left. Thirty minutes later a car skidded into the car park and two plain clothed officers got out. I wasn’t overly impressed with their interview technique. After smashing my head against the side of the van they bundled me into their car instructing The Master to report to the police station at six pm. We drove to the Dutch guys camper (remember him?) he identified me as a cushion thief, we drove to the local shop and the lady identified me as the attempted cigarette thief. We then drove to the police station and played a game ‘good cop, bad cop.’ One of them beat me. repeating the same question, ‘Why did you steal the cushions?’ In between the beatings ‘good cop’  held me up, encouraging me to tell the truth and he would stop his friend. I wasn’t about to confess to something I hadn’t done. I reflected upon the American campsite Mudguts and I had bombarded, stopping the traffic in Javea and generally being a nuisance and wondered if this was what they called ‘Karma.’ I do remember falling to the floor, hoping for some sympathy, I got a kick in the stomach so, deciding this was not a good ploy I got up. Six pm came after five hours. I was removed to the foyer with tissues to stem the flow of blood from mouth and nose.

Bad cop turned into good cop, put some paperwork in front of me stating gently that if I signed it I could go. At that very moment the Master arrived. They shut the door on him, but he shouted through the door. “Don’t sign anything.” Which he repeated three times before a policeman opened the door and quietened him. Meanwhile, ‘bad cop’ had become warm, friendly and sincere. He explained it had all been a terrible mistake and once I signed the papers I was free to go. I didn’t sign the papers so, my new found friend shrugged, smiled and helped me to the door. The Master helped me into the van, but before firing it up he turned with a grin on his face. “British Consul, busy, was he?” I had to smile, painful as it was. The Master threw me into the sea claiming ‘she’ could cure all ills and let me float around for a while. We left Mogan a week later. It was March and our six month tour was up, apart from the the fact we had been encouraged to leave town by the local constabulary.

“Now, it seems to me some fine things
Have been laid upon your table,
But you only want the ones that you can’t get.”

Desperado. The Eagles. 1973.

In all honesty I wouldn’t change a thing 😉

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SILH (7) A Penultimate Tale

“And it’s so hard to change
Can’t seem to settle down
But the dreams I’ve seen lately keep on turning out
And burning out and turning out the same.”

Take It To The Limit.  The Eagles. 1975.

 

So, there we were embedded in a place called Mogan, Gran Canaria. The Spearfishing was going to be excellent and after arduous discussions, the chief of police allowed us to dive and fish on condition we sold our catch to one particular restaurant. We found out later the restaurant was owned by his brother 🙂

Mudguts and I utterly failed to comply to ‘normal’ standards. We drank too much , we once tried to steal some cigarettes and got caught, the first and last time I tried to steal anything. We got into constant fights with our American cousins, usually over girls. They were camping along the coast and in the early hours of a moonlit December morning the feud culminated when we scaled the cliff above their camp, collected ammunition and bombed their campsite with rocks. They say the higher ground gives you an advantage, what they don’t say is that if you are outnumbered you really don’t want to be stuck on the top of a cliff. Luckily we were fitter than they were and managed to escape with a few bruises. They were so disgruntled at having been woken in the middle of the night and bombed with rocks  that they reported the incident to the local police. This entailed a visit and warning from our friendly chief of police. We made a pact to turn over a new leaf. We concentrated on diving and training, which basically meant diving all day, running up and down a mountain every night and then washing in the sea. But I was good for a while 🙂

There was a local girl who I adored and one night we stayed out past her curfew, terrified of going home late, I came up with a plan. I broke into a cabin cruiser and we spent the night there. I don’t know if you have ever met an irate Spanish father? Can I just say that I managed to survive with the intervention of The Master, but I never saw her again, ‘c’est la vie’ was becoming my catch phrase. A Dutch guy in a neighbouring camper accused us of stealing his cushions and syphoning his petrol. At least this time we were innocent but our local police chief spoke to The Master and Mudgut’s brother, John, and once again we were reprimanded. The Master warned us what to expect if we crossed the Guardia Seville. I explained that Franco was gone and if arrested I would demand to see the British Consul. I had no idea that I would come to regret those words and that somewhere in the future our reputation would come back to haunt us. 🙂

 

 

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A Mirror, the Sun and a Princess

 

I apologise if you’re expecting a fairy tale because it’s like a story from the Twilight Zone. There is a Princess, but she’s taken, there is a mirror and there is a happy ending. Do you have one of those mirrors that on the ‘a’ side portray you as someone acceptable, whereas on the ‘b side’ it magnifies every wrinkle, wart and blackhead? We have. img_0503 When we relocated to Beverley I created a dressing room for the aforementioned Princess  with a lovely view over the garden, the mirror (cue Twilight Zone music) sits obediently on the dressing table.

So last week darling wife is applying nail polish when she smells burning bakelite, this may be a new nail polish, but should it really smell like that? After a few more minutes a plastic coat hanger sitting harmlessly upon the window ledge started to smoke. When you are happily polishing your nails on a bright winter’s day this isn’t something you expect. That was the moment when she realised that the back of the mirror, as a magnifier, was directing the winter sun onto the coat hanger which in turn was about to burst into flames!

Of course this may be common knowledge, but I had never given it a thought before. It creates a whole new perspective of ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall’ 🙂

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My Sister

Now this has the potential to be a sad tale so, as the Beatles once said, ‘Take a sad song and make it better.’  My sister died last Sunday, now that is sad, but I feel like celebrating her life and rightly or wrongly I’m doing it here on WordPress.

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Me on the right and her on the left. Centre is my other sister

You see she drove me to the edge of insanity sometimes, not in a bad way, in a mischievous way, but let’s start at the beginning. I was born when she was eleven and I cried, I mean I cried a lot. When dear older sister offered to take me out in my pram there was relief from everyone. They of course didn’t realise she was going across a ploughed field. Everything was going great bouncing across the field until, with no warning, I  bounced out of my pram onto my head, she thought I was probably dead and decided to say ‘nowt.’ I slept for the rest of the day and most of the night and she was congratulated for achieving what no one else appeared capable of.

As I grew she liked to wrestle with me. I never won. She was eighteen and I was seven. Her grand finale was to kneel on my shoulders and lick me all over my face. Later in life, once when I had been naughty she stripped me naked and locked me outside the house. When she left home to be a nurse and I was relieved of the torment I cried all the way back from the railway station.

Eventually she married a soldier and lived in Malta and Germany before  returning home for a while. Then she went to live in Spain as an expat for seven years and had a jolly time, so did I on the times that I visited. As we grew older we debated, the rest of the family called it arguing. It seemed, just like Winston Churchill, she had an opinion on everything. Sadly there were no real facts to back up her theories, but she still argued them. I realise now that it was just mischief. But, we were alike in many ways. She would argue that David Beckham was a rubbish footballer I would argue that Cliff Richards was a terrible singer. She started writing, I started writing, she loved to travel, I love to travel. She was a wife, a mother and a grandmother. I couldn’t compete with that 🙂

 

 

So, after sixty years of driving me mad, you’re gone, to a better place, I hope Sis and maybe we’ll meet again one day and carry on the debate xx

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Cyprus Break

I had never been to Cyprus, it wasn’t on a bucket list and not exactly Machu Picchu but I needed a break and it was warmer than East Yorkshire. The weather was great as was the hotel Damon Apartments in Paphos.

 

If you have read any of my SILH posts, you’ll know that CCB isn’t an erudite, informative travel blog, but just stuff I like to write about. The gurus of blogging state that a post should enhance people’s lives, be informative, interesting and you should post at least twice week. How I managed to survive seven years is beyond me 🙂

 

 

I am a cultural philistine on holiday, because I am a beach bum, I try to speak the language, consume the local food and alcohol but I draw the line at trudging around old ruins in 40 degrees of heat listening to a tour guide. So I thought this time I would pass on some interesting facts I discovered whilst I was away. Alexander the Great was born in Macedonia not Crete as I incorrectly put on my Damon Apartments/hotel quiz sheet in the bar one night and a game of Bingo costs €5. I had the pleasure to meet a delightful troupe of very professional and slick dancers called Top Dog Showgirls who perform once week and I will be writing an article based around them soon, but for now here’s a little taster.

 

I don’t know why there are lovehearts in the corner of the photo’s but it’s not a creepy thing :-). So there you are, some previously unknown facts about Paphos, Cyprus. Someone mentioned some mountains and a historical site. Oh and the oldest ever pet cat was found there that was about 9,000 years old. I think it was sitting under my table in the restaurant 🙂

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SILH (6) Lets Build a Bar!

“Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.”                                                      Shine on You Crazy Diamond – Pink Floyd – 1975

Music was a predominant part of our trip and the ‘Floyd’ got an enormous amount of play, but back to the storyline. Javea was becoming a bit of a holiday, the fishing was scarce, the Master and John were enjoying hobnobbing with local dignitaries and Maggots and I were running a little wild. It was around this time I discovered that Maggots’ real name was Mudguts (some family name given to him as a tot because he ate mud) of course when pronounced by an Australian it sounded like maggots. The fishing was still thin on the ground and we discovered that some years ago it was popular to throw dynamite into the sea and then just scoop up the dead fish, a process known as Blast Fishing, which may have had an affect on the wildlife environment.

We were considering moving on when Laurie and Ronnie informed us that they needed to convert the storeroom of the Cave Bar into a small restaurant preserving the cave theme throughout. The Master was an electrician amongst many other things and John had been a building inspector back in Oz, so with two willing labourers a deal was done and we started work the next day. I don’t know if you have ever built a Cave theme restaurant, but the materials are slightly different to standard buildings. This involved a lot of chicken wire, paper mache and plaster. If you fancy having a go there’s a rather good blog link below:                                                                                       http://jo-motion.blogspot.com.cy/2012/03/cave.html

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Source: Zillow Digs TM

We created the shape of the Cave walls and ceiling with the chicken wire, inserting electric cables and light fittings accordingly I really hope none of you are Health and Safety Inspectors 😲, but it was a long time ago. We covered the whole thing in paper mache and plaster then it was painted. The back wall seats were created with concrete, which was the labourers job and if you lifted the first cushion on the left as you entered you would see inscribed in said concrete, ‘Mudguts and Lucky Legs 1976.’ The ‘fortunate’ legs were mine. I wasn’t always the Adonis you see today and my legs were quite skinny, John gave me the nickname ‘Lucky Legs’ meaning lucky they didn’t break 😀. We were paid for our labours, given a flat to stay in and had all our meals cooked by our employers, this was a good deal. Except Mudguts and I had our wages withheld, yes we were still on the naughty step and not to be trusted with money, kinda true really. One day we were sent for groceries, a safe enough task you would think. The problem arose because the weather had been inclement and so the local fishermen, who had become our very good friends were in the bar and not on the ocean. This bar was between the grocery shop and our abode. Mudguts and I could see no harm in a game of Spoof.

It involves placing three coins behind your back. Everyone stands in a circle and then produces a closed fist into the circle with a choice of one, two or three coins hidden from view. Everyone then takes a turn in guessing how many coins there are in total. If you guess correctly you are out and the last man standing buys the drinks. We we’re very good at this game and several hours later emerged extremely intoxicated with revolution in the air, this was Spain after all. To start our revolution we thought that it would be an excellent idea to lie down in the road and bring the traffic to a halt. We were escorted home by the Guardia Seville.                                                                                   If there’s a worse place than the naughty step we were on it. Although Franco had gone, Spain at that time was still very much authoritarian and we were warned what consequences we may suffer if arrested. But of course we knew better, at eighteen you have that immortal persona and we explained to our elders, if we ever arrested we would demand to see the British Consulate. Later in the trip I was to discover this wasn’t an option offered by Spanish police in 1976. We managed to keep out of trouble long enough to finish the Cave and with more money in the pot the Master announced it was time to head for Cadiz and the ferry to Gran Canaria. We bade farewell to our friends in Javea and the two vans headed south. 🙂

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SILH (5) Javea, Spain.

 

 

“Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way”

Time: Pink Floyd.

That was the point I wasn’t. After the grape picking and with the help of a pin and a map we headed for Javea   and two became four the Master, myself, John (older Aussie) and Maggots (younger Aussie). Our two vans  with the Floyd as company hit Javea beach after driving through the night and so it was Speedos and the sea. An effeminate voice called out. ‘I wouldn’t swim there dear, it’s where the sewer pipe empties.’ Remember this was 1976, a blue beach could actually be blue contaminated by chemicals and sewerage, but this one looked ok. Apart from that, for spear fishermen sewerage is good, where there’s s*** there are Grey Mullet 

 

Anyaways, enter Ronnie and Laurie, two ex-merchant seamen, an Englishman and yes, an Australian who owned the Cave Bar, to which we were duly invited that evening. We found a place to camp by the harbour and it wasn’t long before the Guardia Seville informed us, “No es posible acampar aquí.” spanish-300x238Upon which the Master quite simply said. “Pesca submarina.” apparently if you catch fish underwater you camp wherever you like, they smiled and walked on. They later returned and informed us they would visit our vans throughout the night to ensure we were safe. Roughly translated it meant leave a bottle of wine and two mugs out. A little like leaving a glass of whisky for Santa, but every night. The Cave Bar was decorated like a Cave (strange that) Ronnie and Laurie had been together for years and were fun chaps except when one of them bit my bum one night. Maggots explained that I didn’t need to worry it wasn’t a Gay thing it was an Australian thing, needless to say i explained it wasn’t ‘my thing.’

It was around this time that Maggots and I formed a duo, not an entertainment duo, we were a, ‘hearts and minds’ duo. We set out to win as many as we could. There were a lot of beautiful girls in Javea and our support of the local vineyards was legendary, to such an extent that the Master and Maggots’ older brother, John took our money away  purely so we could survive the winter in Gran Canaria. So a cunning plan was devised. The barman in the Cave agreed to swop wine for light bulbs. There were a lot of light bulbs in the Cave, there were even more in Javea. We appropriated many, many light bulbs, so our decadence continued.

I’ll have to leave you there as I need to get to Manchester Airport in three hours for a flight to Cyprus, they have vineyards, don’t they? 🙂

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