Category Archives: Family life

Travels around Italy with the best coach driver ever…

This story goes back to a time when I was in my late twenties and an advert for a coach trip to Italy, caught my eye.

I remember feeling a bit down and in need of a ‘pick me up’ so after a quick call to my sister two places were booked for the week-long coach trip.

Along with our ‘girlie’ holiday to Fuengirola this Italian coach trip turned out to be one of the funniest trips I have ever taken. From the pristine coach and it’s ‘caring’ driver through to the toilet that not one of us was ever allowed to use.

I cannot imagine putting up with this now.

Pittabread June 2017

But at the time we took this to be part of the trip and it became a ‘running’ joke amongst us holiday makers.

Certainly, remember the Venezuelan couple and their expression ‘Prego’ – which we adopted and used whenever the driver said no to someone using the loo, eating food, stopping to use facilities, just about anything really.

Though it was not so amusing when due to our late arrival at our first ‘official’ stop we were then not allowed to use the available facilities. We ended up having to go and use a nearby field in the dark. Still can’t quite believe we just went along with this as a group, especially as we had such a mix of ages amongst us.

It was a miracle that we didn’t leave anyone behind in the dark and even luckier we didn’t step in anything and bring it back onto the ‘blessed’ coach.  This was our first clue about the character of our driver who appeared to me to be doing everything for own his comfort and ease, with little or no  care for his passengers.

He clearly didn’t want to clean the toilets, didn’t want to clean the bus so no food was ever allowed on the coach. The coach radio only came on at the times he wanted. I’m sure extra stops were added in, to places where he got a cut of the takings.  Which might explain why we were so late for our first ‘official’ stop. He then had the almighty cheek to expect a sizeable tip at the end of the trip. It wasn’t happening.

But despite all this it was still a fantastic trip.  We travelled, to Florence, Venice and Rome for me the first time ever. This one trip made me determined to return to Rome (which is another story) helped by a great host who knew her stuff and could bring the history to life.

Pittabread 2 May 2017

We also met up with another group of women similar in age to us along with the Venezuelan couple. People with humour and fun and who shared our love for the coach driver.

And the trip did the trick it picked me up and gave me a new sense of optimism and perspective.

I notice this is something I have tended to do over my life, if feeling a bit ‘stuck’ for right or wrong I like to take action, either in the form of new study, travel or a hobby.

I find I like ‘shaking things up and getting a fresh perspective.

So, there you have it, until next time.

Pittabread

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

Here’s to you Mr T…………………

“Would anyone like to borrow for a couple of weeks, a highly sexed randy tortoise to mate with their female/s. Hutch provided, he goes to bed at 4ish! Very hearty appetite and is about 60 or 70 years old. “

This came up as a request on Streetlife, about a month or so ago. The original request and the ensuing conversation made me laugh so much, that I wanted to share it in this month’s post.

Pittabread tortoise

Couple of things to note about Mr T, (not his real name) I was particularly impressed by his age, even if there was a ten year margin of error. I was also struck by his ‘hearty appetite’ and the fact that he needed to be in bed by 4ish. Presumably to ensure he was up and ready for action the next day.

People weren’t slow in responding….……….

“Favourite Streetlife post of all time”, “Thanks you sooo much for the laugh” to “He sounds absolutely great! I’ll ask around…….”

There was a bit more ‘banter’ around Mr T and his needs and then the owner offered one more vital piece of information:

“I wish someone had a female too, as he is driving me and my dog around the bend, chasing and I mean chasing us around the garden!”

So now my respect for Mr T has increased even more, a 60/70 year old tortoise, who clearly invests in himself  in terms of his nutrition and sleep, so he has the energy and focus he needs to pursue his ‘interests’.

Unfortunately the discussion was closed without us finding out if Mr T did indeed find a ‘mate’, I hope he did. But this whole story does remind me of the tortoises we had as children. As potential pets they are often underestimated in their abilities and ‘personality’. But I remember regularly coming home from school to find Fred (one of our tortoises) happily pottering off down the lane whenever he got the chance. No mean feat when you can only travel at about 0.5 miles per hour.

So there you have it, here’s to Mr T and all the other tortoises out there.

Until next time ………..

Pittabread

PS for those not in the ‘know’ Streetlife is a local social network designed to help people make the most of where they live.

“Am just thankful, you have hair on your head” ………

The concluding remark to a conversation with my aunt about the current ‘state’ or style of my hair.

It was indeed said after one of her ‘pauses’- where I could feel that she was carefully and lovingly choosing her words.

Dolphin Cove, Jamaica

Dolphin Cove, Jamaica

 

I had posted a picture of myself and my sister from the ‘Funk the family festival’ in Hove and from that picture, my aunt was curious to know what I had been doing to maintain my hair.

Was I twisting it? – Hmmm, no

What products was I using? – Shampoo and conditioner

Had I had it redone properly, since having it plaited in Jamaica, almost two years? – Hmmm not really

Though to be fair I have now found someone to re-twist and relock my hair, and that was only because I had taken my daughter along to get some advice on her hair and Cecile had given me her best advice and then immediately turned her attention to my head. When I say attention I mean her full attention, she had already twisted a couple of my braids by the time my daughter had stood up and was  happily routing around my hair and organising a time for me to return and get it ‘tidied’ up.

It seems that there is a small but select group of women, relatives and non-relatives alike determined to help ‘fix my hair’ and this is exactly what happened in Jamaica, where our housekeeper at the villa ‘offered’ to braid my hair. There was something in her ‘steely’ look and it has to be said, ‘pause’ as I responded to her questions that compelled me to submit and get my hair, ‘sorted’.

So in truth, even though my hair is considerable longer than the number one/ one and a half it was about four years ago it has to be said my interest in it has not kept up with its growth.

My days of spending a whole day and a small fortune on hair appointments and hair products (I did this in my twenties and through my thirties) are long gone. These days my main concern is largely around having something on my head that keeps me warm in the winter, keeps the sun of in the summer and looks reasonable with the rest of me.  With my longer ‘style’ I no longer need to have a hat permanently glued to my head.

In the meantime I am enjoying the comments and advice which I am happy to listen to and will more than likely take on board at the point, when even I get to the stage of thinking this needs a bit of ‘tidying’ up.

My earlier post ‘ Hair like an unloved hedge’, is available via this link. https://pittabread.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/hair-like-an-unloved-hedge-2/

So there you have it, until next time

Pittabread.

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

It’s ‘Panto’ Jim, but not quite as we know it………..

London Bubble, ‘Panto’ Unplugged: – A performed reading, of Mother Goose and the wolf

It is part of our family tradition is to go and see a pantomime during the Christmas period, in years past when we lived in London we used to regularly go and see the London Bubble company pantomimes in Deptford and Greenwich. They were local to us and the productions were always fantastic, silly, clever and lots of fun. Something that we all enjoyed.

Panto unplugged

As we moved away from the Deptford area, we lost touch with London Bubble and their pantomimes so I was really excited last year when their ‘Panto Unplugged’ popped up as part of a Google search.

So what is ‘Panto Unplugged’?

Well after speaking with the very nice receptionist and hearing phrases like it involves a ‘performed reading’ with actors but not a full production and speaking with one of the directors who assured me, ‘we’ll return your ticket price if you don’t enjoy the show’ I thought and so did the rest of my party let’s give it a go, at £8 per ticket it was worth a punt. We were still not entirely sure quite what we were going to see, but knowing that it was at least Pantomime related, involved actors, a stage area and an audience and most importantly London Bubble we booked.

So on Sunday 28th December, eight of us, five adults and three teenagers (practically) set of to see London Bubble, Panto Unplugged.  Still not sure what to expect but it was a good excuse to meet up and spend some time together.

So what is a ‘Panto unplugged’?

Well after seeing it on the 28th I would say it is a stripped back version of their original productions, Mother Goose was last performed as a full blown pantomime in 2003. Over the years we have seen a number of London Bubble pantomimes and have enjoyed them for the funny and slightly edgy writing, the silliness, the props, the fun, the actors, the sets the whole caboodle.

Unplugged means that we the audience had to use our imaginations, there was no fancy stage, no curtains, no scenery as such, no full blown band or fancy backing track.

However there was a staging area, actors with scripts, a few hats, someone on a keyboard, and a few props that I remember from past productions. It was a bit like watching a radio play.

But ……

The writing was still there, some of the original actors, in particular we were excited to see Simon Thomson playing the role of Mother Goose. He is still the best pantomime dame I have ever seen.

And it worked.

It was still a pantomime with boos, hisses, a pantomime song, jokes, and audience participation especially from a small boy called Ruben. Ruben was very enthusiastic about getting involved and very happy to share his joke to help Sandra the goose to lay a golden egg. The traditional cake/biscuit/mess making scene was still there along with a menagerie of pantomime animals, Gertrude the cow and the two red squirrels, Bushytail and Nutkin.

From our party the five adults, four of us London Bubble veterans loved it, the three teenagers not quite so much. Well you can’t win them all, we certainly won’t be asking for our money back and if this is going to help bring back the full London Bubble productions I am certainly happy to attend a few more unplugged performances.

Cast of Characters:

Mother Goose:                                              Simon Thomson

Millie:                                                               Marva Alexander

Sandra the goose:                                          Fiona Creese

Jack:                                                                  Tommy Pullen

Crone:                                                               Sophie Russell

Bruno the wolf:                                              Eric MacLennan

Brutus the wolf:                                             Eric MacLennan

The woodman:                                                Andy Whitfield

Gertrude the pantomime cow:                    Katy Annand and Fran Levin.

Katy and Fran also played the two squirrels Bushytail and Nutkin who founded the Red Squirrel Brigade with the infamous line ‘a bushy tail is a state of mind’.

If you too would like to find out more and sign up for the London bubble newsletter, then follow this link.

http://www.londonbubble.org.uk/

So there you have it, until next time…………

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk