No, Silly, but I have now been to three yoga classes and am booked in for not only my fourth but my fifth as well.
Pause for applause.
Having been lucky enough to happen upon a class where I am not the oldest, I am not the least supple (amusingly, I have just corrected subtle to supple but fyi I am certainly not the most subtle either) and I am not the most oddly attired, I must continue with this interesting, this difficult, this potentially life affirming form of physical and mental exercise I fear.
Pause for applause.
C……. our teacher is kindness personified. She doesn’t make me feel stupid.
“I usually teach from here,” she whispered to me as I bundled up my mat and scurried to another space in the room.
“Let’s just get you a yoga mat,” she whispered as she removed the what I now know to be a Pilates mat from under me and swopped it for a thinner, longer, righter mat.
“Can you tell this is my first time? I asked.
“I’m beginning to get the picture,” she whispered as she moved an old hand out of the way so I could have a clear sight line to her and thus imminent downward dog perfection.
This was a critical point in my fledgling career. Mrs Carmichael’s yoga class status could have gone one of two very different ways. The class clown was just bubbling to get out and in other circumstances and in an environment with less whispering it would have burst forth from my joker painted lips. But it wasn’t and it didn’t.
“Thank you,” I said.
Pause for applause.
I wasn’t half bad. Well, I was bad at about half of the class but I did like the cat manoeuvre and the ten minute relaxation session at the end was fab-u-lous.
With a mental note to get a sports bra or yoga top (critical for all tipping forward asanas I now realise) I rebooked for week deux.
Pause for applause.
And week three a week later. And even though at least half the class, on hearing that C……. would be in Lisbon and M….. would be the temporary teacher, moaned and cancelled their spots on the gym floor with alacrity, I did not.
Are you getting sick of clapping yet?
Yesterday M……. took our much diminished class. He looked like a yogi, from the harem pants (sans undergarments) to the ponytail to the lithe thin body. He sounded like a yogi (or he was speaking in an Indian dialect), his in- breath loud, his out- breath louder.
I was quite poor at most of his exercises.
“Is that hurting?” he asked after spotting my puce stretched face in the mirror.
“Yes,” I grunted.
“Well, why are you doing it then?” And, as M……. explained to the whole class that yoga was a journey not a destination, that there is good pain and bad pain and that breathing cannot be perfected if we are uncomfortable, I noticed most of my fellow classmates uncurling along with Yours Truly. What a relief.
I was an inch taller at the end of an hour and a half and I think I had a little sleep as we relaxed for more than the allotted time.
This afternoon I am attending my first ever yoga session. It is an hour and a half long. I am very nervous.
I am nervous because I do not think I am going to be good at yoga. I am not going to be good a yoga because:
I am utterly inflexible (bodywise). I cannot touch my toes or even straighten my legs properly. On a day to day basis, these defects have not hindered my pursuit of the good life but in a yoga class I predict that they just might.
I will not be able to do any of these positions…….or anything resembling them. Not this afternoon. Not, I fear, ever.
Where is her head in image 5 btw?
I should look at this as aspirational but as a woman with her two feet on terra firma at all times except bed-time, Mrs Carmichael finds the prospect ever so slightly daunting.
I should be able to manage this.
Will that be good enough? I doubt it. Not for an hour and a half. An hour and a half! What have I signed up to?
I am not going to be good a yoga because:
When I can’t do something I tend to become the class clown. I don’t want to be the 2.30pm yoga class clown but bearing in mind that it took me a second to find photo #2 and a good ten to find #s 3 and 4 amongst the contortionists purporting to be in yoga positions on google, I think there’s a high likelihood that I will be sporting a curly wig, pancake makeup and huge shoes by 4.00 o’clock. Oh, woe is me.
I am not going to be good a yoga because:
I don’t have the correct clothing. I don’t even know what the correct clothing is. Am I going to be the odd one out before the class has even started and my utter inability to do anything yogaish is noticed by teacher and classmates alike? Perhaps I should drop out of this afternoon’s class and head straight to Sweaty Betty for a Carmichael sports couture infusion.
Or perhaps I should just stay home and watch House of Cards on Netflix instead.
New Year’s Day dawned bright and crispy in the hood.
Having utterly disgraced myself on the 26th December by over- libating in an eight- hour marathon at the Christmas dinner table the night before and thus unable to entertain invited guests (indeed unable to stand, sit or speak), I resolved to drink little on New Year’s Eve, see 2015 in, withdraw to bed at a reasonable o’clock and rise early to walk the boy dog on Chorleywood Common on the first of the first. I walked and greeted other early risers – “Happy New Year”, “Happy New Year”, “Lovely morning”, “Don’t’ worry, my dog jumps up as well”, “Enjoy your walk”. Lyle walked, ran, gambolled with other dogs, ate horse poo, rolled in horse poo, braved the ice on not one but two of the ponds and got lots of cheese and apple treats. We both had a lovely outing.
Such a lovely outing we had and so full of joie de vivre were we, I decided to take my precious pup out for an afternoon amble. He deserved it and I was revelling in, not only my sobriety and steady pins but also my March 2014 decision to get another dog and the wonderful fulfilment he was affording Yours Truly on a daily basis. Hmmmm.
Just like high stakes gambling where the importance of knowing when to leave well alone, to gather your chips and to walk away from the vingt et un table is critical, so too is it imperative to understand that twinkle in your puppy’s eye, that quizzical head tilt and that canine thought bubble woofing ‘Fuck it’. Only Mrs C didn’t realise it at the critical moment so wrapt up in the wonderful was she.
Because the sky was darkening and birds were beginning to roost in the high oaks and elms overhead, I chose Phillipshill Wood over the more benign Chorleywood Common. Proximity to Casa Carmichael was the deciding factor. That, dear readers, was mistake number one.
Mistake number two was opting for the hill trail downward and towards the bottom paddock. The bottom paddock has always provided intense interest for my naughty dogs (that is, two of the three dogs I have owned since Carmichael life began in the hood). If it wasn’t cowpats, it was the occasional ostrich (no word of a lie) and horse, shire or otherwise. Two or three or more. On the afternoon of New Year’s Day it was an equine equivalent to the D Day landings that caught Lyle’s attention. Huge beasts whinnying sweet nothings hurtled to greet him and drew his attention away from me, his mistress, totally and completely. Their siren song of welcome caused him to stop, to pause a moment, to cast a farewell glance at me, head cocked beguilingly. It forced him to canter away from me with nary a backward glance.
“No Lyle. Stay (hand raised as taught in April puppy training classes), stay, STAY, Lyle LYLE, LYLE LYLE!@£$%^&*(”
‘Fuck it,’ he thought as he sloped, eloped and then galloped down the remainder of the hill, under the metal gate and into the midst the advancing flotilla.
The horses must have regretted their invitation immediately. I could have told them and saved us all so much bother but I was too slow, too naive, too utterly out of control.
To this point in the tale my dignity, if not my authority, is still intact. Please stop now if you want it to remain that way. From here on in Mrs Carmichael lets herself down. Big time.
Serendipitously, I have just read an article about what to do when your dog runs away from you and towards danger. Apparently one is supposed to throw body and dignity on the ground flat like a pancake or roll into a ball. Apparently, the dog will see this as unknown and therefore interesting behaviour and return to your now muddy arms with alacrity. To my mind, there is an apparent flaw in the logic. Dogs do not have eyes in the back of their heads. Lyle certainly doesn’t.
My puppy did however come to a stop. Right under the belly of a big, nay huge, brown horse. The horse stood still and peered down and towards the boisterous cockapoo. The boisterous cockapoo ran around between its back legs, chest and whipping tail. Then the boisterous cockapoo tried to smell the horse’s bum. The horse didn’t like this. It snorted and stamped and began to twist around.
‘Great’, thought Lyle ‘it does want to play.’
‘Shit,’ thought I. ‘He’s going to die.’
“Lyle,” I screamed and scrambled, commando-like, across the paddock. “Come here.” Stern voice. “Come here!” Gritted teeth. “Come here you little bugger.” Terrified overtone.
Lyle gambolled around the snorting stamping horse. He gambolled around its friends. He ducked and weaved and dodged me successfully, beatific grin upon his chops. Then his day got even better. Smelling freshly deposited horse poo he traced a double chicane away from the horse and his mistress and hurtled at the steaming mound of dung, Mrs Carmichael in hot pursuit.
‘Numm, numm, numm,’ thought Lyle.
“Stay, stay, stay,” yelled I.
Then I hit him. Twice. Flat palm, big smacks. Mea culpa.
I couldn’t get the lead on and, as the red mist engulfed me, I hit him again. Mea, mea culpa.
He made not a sound but the smile was replaced by a horse poo encrusted look of horror. We turned as one and headed back to the gate.
By the gate stood a woman, Costa coffee cup in hand, a be-coated white dog at her feet. From a hundred yards I shouted something to the effect of, “Did you see that?”
“I saw everything,” she growled. “I saw you hitting your dog for no reason. I saw you screaming and hitting your dog for running in a field. If you can’t control him, keep him on the lead.”
“Oh, please, “ I said.
Sadly, she was only in first gear. “You shouldn’t be allowed to own a dog,” said she.
I was closing the gap between us now and it would be fair to say that Mrs Righteous was not helping the puppy/horse/paddock red mist one bit.
“You obviously didn’t see what happened,” I shouted still thinking I could fix the situation. “The horse or my dog could have been hurt.”
“People like you,” she spat with bulging eye. “People like you need reporting. Your. Poor. Dog. I feel sorry for it.” She retreated to the far side of the gate and slammed it behind her and in my face.
“Nice, “ I said.
She opened it. This is Chorleywood after all. We were now very close to each other.
“At least I’ve given you a supper story.”
“I’m thinking of calling the police, “ said she, face a foot or so from mine. Her breath engulfed me.
Dear reader, you know how much I love my puppy. Mist having morphed from red to midnight magenta I believe I was marginally outa’ control.
“You should stop smoking,” I told her. “It’s bad for your health.”
That stopped her in her tracks. No cigarette in hand the best she could come up with was, “Oh, get off your high horse.”
‘Topically ironic given the circumstances’ thought I.
And as we parted, she choosing my route, I further disgraced myself. “Your breath stinks,” I yelled and marched, dog heeling beautifully, in the utterly wrong but only available direction.
1: I have not hit Lyle before or since.
2: Lyle and I are now in our third week of refresher puppy training.
3: Another time I will take my friend, Gracie’s advice…… “Why didn’t you just ignore her?”
4: I have not, to my knowledge, seen Mrs Costa -Coffee- Cup since. I do not know if she’s taken my advice.
5: I’m thinking of taking up meditation/yoga. Lyle might enjoy it.
6: The horses were the only sane participants in this post.
Yep, that’s me, Yours Truly. Mrs Carmichael is biting her nails and drinking too much sav blanc in a futile attempt to recover from a trifecta of disappointment that was last Thursday night at the theatre.
Watching The Graham Norton Show before Christmas I laughed along with the host and his guest, Tamsin Grieg, for both of whom I have much respect. Tamsin, as always, was elegant and funny. Graham and the lead actress in the musical being promoted, made Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown a not to be missed West End adventure for me and hopefully mis amigas. I accepted their virtual invitation, and in turn, sent mine to March’s Lanzarote Ladies as a bonding exercise before we seek sunshine in the Canaries. All accepted with alacrity and I bought four tickets.
It was Tamsin (Green Wing, Episodes, Jumpy to name but a few of her successes); it was Pedro Almodóvar (Volver, I’m So Excited and many, many more funky films); it was Spanish and we were headed to Spain; it was still previews and seats were reasonably priced. What could possibly go wrong?
Quite a lot as it turns out.
I have never been to the Playhouse Theatre before. Now I know why. The vertiginous seating, the usher not knowing where our seats were or how to find the safety ropes and crampons needed to access them, the spotlight drilling into my back and highlighting patrons’ bald spots and greying coiffures, the red-swagged and heavily dust laden curtains that we, in the upper balcony, were forced to look down upon, the filthy armchairs in one empty box to our left and down, down, down (a mirror propped in said box reflecting piles of junk behind same dusty drapes) were annoying/amusing add-ons to our theatrical experience but the fact that we could not see very much of the stage from our ‘non-restricted view’ seats is unforgivable. Shame on you Playhouse Theatre.
As those in front of us leaned forward in the vein hope of seeing more that a quarter of the stage, our view became oh so much more restricted. At times (before I seat hopped) the stage, for me was a human- less wasteland. At one point some desultory laughter caused me to note aloud that I didn’t see anything funny.
“The policeman are spooning,” my one remaining companion informed me.
On standing up I could see the spooning coppers lying on the stage. Still not funny but at least visible now. Of course I couldn’t remain standing although others behind and to the right of me, I noticed, did.
Voices came from we knew not where. Only if action occurred way upstage or centre right could we spot it. Oh, if a cast member appeared on the balcony then, hallelujah, we could see them. But only from their flies down.
Almodóvar made this movie in 1988. How then can its premise be so dated? Multiple women jilted by an ageing lothario. If being left nineteen years previously deserves a breakdown I think we, as woman-kind, need to step into the real world. The fact alone that the actor playing Ivan, the male-fatale, was devoid of any obvious sex appeal and vanished like his voice/ singing ability into the backdrops, sets the story up to fail.
Fail it did. Not being able to see it failing became quite funny. Funnier than Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown anyway. The acting was poor but I believe the lines were poorer. The songs left us wanting.The singing too. One poor girl did not appear to be mic’d. Perhaps this was a good thing. We will never know.
Two of our foursome decided to cut and run at half time. They were not alone in the stampede. Apparently, as they were bolting for the door, an usherette offered my friends seats in the dress circle. She said that the show got better in the second half. They declined. Close to freedom, the thought of any more am-dram was intolerable. They made the right choice. The show did not get better in the second half. I stayed against my better judgement, moved seats twice more and woke the gentleman on my left when his head got too heavy on my shoulder. The two escapees were home sipping chilled chablis before I left the theatre. Ah me.
It is only my opinion but I do think Tamsin Grieg looked ever so slightly embarrassed accepting the applause. Thus I did not feel the need to stay for any prolonged clapping. Knowing the cast would not notice my absence because they so rarely glanced up, up, up to the gods during the show, I made a break for the ladies’ loo. Avoiding this queue counts as the success of my evening in London’s West End.
“Do you want to stay for the Q and A?” A…….. asked me as she scaled the stairs to the exit.
That thought gave us the biggest laugh of the whole evening.
‘On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me……………………..’
Stop singing. I begin with an apology. And shout out to all those Crimble songsters in the blogosphere who prefer your annual sing-along neat, pure and minimalist. Nothing in Casa Carmichael is that way – no ends, buts or peut etres and for that I can do nothing but say ‘sorry’.
It has dawned on yours truly that the longer I procrastinate in tapping this post the less I need write. But I have dallied long enough and there are now fewer than two fistfuls of days until the big one. So, on with the show.
Eight: On the eighth day beforeChristmas the paucity of merry christmas/happy new year cards gracing the Carmichael shelves cannot be ignored. If we remove the local curry house’s salutation along with a festively decorated offering from one of the local primary schools that has used on- tap child labour to deliver a missive announcing their Key Stage Two results to the hood, we have eight. Eight matches the days until we eat turkey and cranberry sauce but, in card stakes, is not very many is it?
I blame myself. About a decade ago I lost my address book. It had been a wedding present, was leather bound and contained much information. I know it would be worth money were I famous. But I’m not and its leaving passed with but a whimper. Before it left it fell to pieces, slowly but with menace. The M’s stopped receiving Carmichael cards first, followed the next year by the V’s. Being a solo, the V’s hardly counted but before December of the following year my address book was no more.
The guilt I felt at being unable to send cards that year was huge. The next, I’ll admit to a twinge and now I don’t even think about it. Is that terrible? Or is it a good thing?
There was a hiatus of four or five years when cards still poured in to us – perfect but slowly, oh so slowly my deleterious behaviour has been noted and now in 2014 we have a paltry eight cards on the 19th of December. It’s almost embarrassing to put them up. But I am made of sterner stuff. I have spread them wide and thin. Those who faithfully wish us well deserve to be honoured. Thank you and merry christmas to all.
Seven: episodes of Missing to watch, all backed up on my Sky Planner. My task (and yes, I have chosen to accept it) is to finish them by Christmas Day. For two reasons. Firstly, it’s a worthy thing to do and I can hide away whilst doing it. Secondly we are cancelling our Sky contract (finally Mr C is getting his way – call it an early present) and installing Virgin. All current recording will vanish.
Six: we are for Christmas this year which means I have enough matching plates, champagne glasses, wine glasses, themed napkins (linen), and a table large enough to seat us all without taking turns. The Carmichaels are not so good at taking turns so this is a good thing. I am excited not to have the hired table and chairs in my living room ’till mid-January this time round. Another good thing.
Five: presents to buy. Things are going extraordinarily well. It’s worrying. I think I am in control of present acquisition. Many are even wrapped. Of course, Mr Carmichael has not got out of park yet. That is always a moment to marvel at. If history repeats the hurricane that is my husband’s pressy purchasing begins on Christmas Eve – after lunch, just as the sun goes down.
“What would you like for Christmas?” he asks from his cell phone, as he stands in a shopping mall, at gone 4.30pm.
Perhaps this year will be different. I’ll let you know.
Four: desserts to try. This year we are going off piste and will not be enjoying Daughter #1’s white chocolate cheesecake. Although delicious we want a change and she wants to cook the brussel sprouts instead. Nor will we not be enjoying my SIL’s triffle on steroids. H…… understands. And is consigned to christmas crackers and all things cheese. It’s for the best and therefore a good thing. You can trust me on that one.
Three/Two: strings of christmas tree lights/two trees. ‘Why three? Why two?’ you ask and it is a most reasonable question. This is why.
As good as puppy Lyle is on his perambulations he is not a good boy within Casa Carmichael’s four walls. His adult teeth like to chew. They like to chew glasses, cases for glasses, pens, biros, magazines, mail, money (yes, money!), newspapers, sticks, concrete, toys and socks. Extrapolating from this heady compilation, we can assume that trees, decorations and presents might also be delicious to a ten month old Cockapoo.
My suggestion was that we got a small tree this year to sit atop a table (see above) that he could admire from afar. That suggestion did not go down well. One thing Carmichael pere and enfants adore is tradition. There was a fight. I said I was doing the small tree anyway. So I buy a small box of lights. I test the lights. They work. I put them on the tree. The rest (re another tree), I said, was up to them. Ha!
Days later and with a guilty heart, I chose and purchased a second tree. I have to admit it’s a stunner.
Please, it you have a moment read what happens in CC, when tree picking goes wrong. Here it is, you have my permission to feel smug (Me, Thee or the Tree).
Oh, and there, within that post are lights numero 1 – hmmm. Note to self, ring trading standards when a moment frees up. But wait, I’m jumping ahead of myself.
“This year, “I tell Daughter #2, “you can do the lights as well as the decorations.”
“I don’t want to do the lights,” she replies.
“Nor do I,” I retort. “In fact I don’t even want the tree.” Bah humbug.
There is a stalemate and we agree to do the lights together once she rises from her bed. I have lunch while I wait.
“Test the lights,” I tell her. “We don’t want to waste hours only to find they don’t work.”
“They work,” she shouts and we spend the next good while getting scratched but doing a good job, light-wise.
That done, I retire, excited to get on with my day. Her scream halts me on the stairs. “The lights don’t work,” she cries.
I turn to see the top third of the tree lit, the bottom two thirds shrouded in blackness. I get very cross. She gets crosser. Mr Carmichael joins in with the crossing. It’s all very noisy. I leave the house. It’s the most positive thing I can contribute to the moment.
Mr C buys another box of lights. We now have 50 spare christmas bulbs. Is that a good thing? Hmmm.
2014 – the year of three sets of lights and two trees. Lyle is in heaven. He is not in the living room unless accompanied.
One: It’s Lyle’s first Christmas. What a good thing that is.
So tonight, my darlings, S….. (a Kiwi buddy) and I are off to see L’elisir d’amore at Covent Garden’s finest, the Royal Opera House, no less. I have not seen this particular alcohol induced love triangle before and am anticipating twists, turns, tangles and much quaffing of the red wine elixir.
I can’t wait and am going to spend many of the intervening hours debating (with myself) whether I drive in comfort and stump up for congestion charging and extortionate parking or brave (relatively) low cost public transport and get sore feet. Hmmm. If I had the egg -shell blue Vespa above and the clement weather no argument would be needed but I do not and so I must go on fighting. At least until I put on my high heeled boots and grab the car keys from the dog’s bed.
Last month I took a pic from our seats in the stalls of the glorious Opera House. Here it is:
S…… and I will be seated just out of shot and ever so slightly upwards. No, up and back a bit more. Bit more, bit more. Ok, I have my crampons. I have my opera glasses. Good seats at the ROH, I’ll have you know, cost a gazzilion spondoolies and Donnizetti may just not do it for us. Bryn Terfel will though. Of that we can be sure.
It’s all good. So good, in fact already I have popped the tickets in my handbag. S….. will be especially pleased to hear this news. Her last invitation resulted in disaster and the non-seeing of Sadler’s Wells, Great Gatsby, heralded by all (bar S…… and myself) as a triumph:
And for that I am truly sorry. Tonight is going to be worlds’ better. It’s Christmas, I have the tickets, a table for two is reserved in my name at an Italian restaurant (see how I’m running with the theme here) in Bow Street for 6.00pm, my black jeans are in the dryer now and the ‘weather bomb’ predicted to grace our shores today is, as yet, happily making sixty foot waves out west, Atlantic way.
Canvas Weekend House by Albert Frey was built in 1933-4 at Fort Salonga, in Northport, Long Island, New York. Marine canvas, stretched horizontally over a redwood frame, was used to make the house, which Frey built for American architect A. Lawrence Kocher. Photography: Greg.Org
Good news first. The Carmichaels are in residence here:
And from another perspective:
Oh Lordy, I’m in heaven. Now. The getting to God’s pasture wasn’t pretty.
Stage the first
British Airways has a new fleet of planes. Don’t ask me the model. They are shorter and stumpier than 747’s and have two stories. The leg room is good and the pillow headrest most acceptable also.
Most importantly, the plane got us to LAX safely. In the end that is all one wants from an airline. Are we agreed? Ten out of ten for that biggy, BA. Tick,vg.
The niceties of transit were, however sorely lacking.
The lack of loos in our compartment, interesting. One toilet to service 100 plus passengers, more than interesting. To get to conveniences at the back requires a shuffle through the galley. And we all know how much flight attendants enjoy our company in the galley, don’t we? Ah me.
Hmmmm. My recommendation – don’t board this flight hungry. And yes, we are talking steerage here.
“There are an exact number of sandwich boxes,” H………, my stewardess informed me when I requested Mr Carmichael’s and my own miniature chicken caesar sandwich (thick crusts still attached). “You have to chose the chicken caesar or the vegetarian. You can’t have both.” Implication – you greedy pig.
Double hmmmm – and if I can chose surely there must be an excess of something. Apparently not.
“What’s that?” a just woken passenger asked of the selfsame H……. as she thrust the minuscule, crust laden sandwich box in his face.
“Food,” she replied loudly and with rough vigour. Oh and ever so slightly rudely too.
The flight attendants
Hmmmmmmm mmm m. Obviously, I cannot speak for the other sectioned seating but if I told you that, unrecovered from from my sandwich slighting and faint with hunger, I was forced to glean the following while strapped in for landing………..
H……… was very tired. No, seriously, really really tired.
Yes, yours truly prefers that it be H……. and not the pilot who needs to catch up on her Zeds but still. Isn’t she supposed to take charge in an emergency? Surely she should be our rock, our guiding light on landing. Not our night light.
H’s Tiffany ring cost £210.00
Interesting? Not really. She and her bench colleague tried each others rings on a multitude of times.
H…….. was engaged but broke the engagement off two days before the wedding. But they’re still friends. And no, he is not married. Implication – he’s not over her.
This was quite a lengthy story and took up most of the above LA holding pattern.
H……… didn’t think she’d like B….. (another stewardess on our flight) but actually she had turned out to be ok (as far as H……. was concerned anyway). As has D……., actually.
Thank goodness for that. I would hate to think there was no one to party with at the hotel.
L is gay but R…… turns out to be straight. This is a surprise to H…….. because she assumes all her male colleagues are gay.
Too simple, H………. Life is never that straightforward.
H…….. has been driven to smoking by her job.
Nice to know that a) flying really is scary or b) we, her clients really are obnoxious or c) H…… really needs to smoke to stay awake or d) all three.
At this point my intelligence gathering was cut short by noises off. In the parallel aisle a makeup be-slathered BA crew member was shouting at a hapless guest as he rushed to the single toilet, a desperate look blighting his phizog.
I am pleased to report that he ignored her.
We, unfortunately could not because she still had plenty to yell across our heads about him to anyone listening down the far end of the cabin. After some gesticulation and much eye raising she ceased her rant and cross checked the doors.
Sorry, just had to put this image of nature’s glory in to calm myself down.
Stage the second
This bit will come as no surprise to LAites, I fear. Our projected journey of two hours, give or take, to Palm Springs took more like four, yes four, in stop/start traffic. Horror. I was as tired as H……. or perhaps even a little bit more than H……., if that were possible. Thinking about it, while we were stuck on the I10 dodging pot holes, H….. was probably having a pre nap fag.
It’s that time of the year again, oh yes, oh yes. And oh yes, yes, yes! And while the way less fortunate are saying, adios, sayonara and bon nuit to the heady days of summer, we the Carmichaels are hitching our wagon to British Airways and taking up residence in modernist desert heaven. I’m talking Palm Springs, Baby!
It cannot come not a day too soon.
Here is the forecast. I cannot tell you how much I love you little yellow ball. Yes, it’s ever so slightly hotter than last year. But the desert is meant to be heated and dry and fiery, isn’t it? So, with adaptable now my middle name, I just won’t pack my jeans, my jumper or my umbrella. My sad face shall stay at home.
It’s going to be bikini-a-go-go at this pool.
And Negroni’s at dusk (“Make mine a Mojito,” says Mr C).
There will be much modernism
plenty of perambulation
hairdo’s, hijinks and hilarity
With Casa Carmichael’s caretaker in situ and puppy Lyle packed for his holidays (wee tear) we are on the runway.
I had never been to Jersey until last weekend. Friends, R…… and L…… have just moved back to the isle of their childhoods and Mr C and I thought it a brilliant idea to carpe le weekend and go somewhere new and not too far away.
We arrived just behind the pantechnicon containing one thousand plus boxes. Actually it was slightly more complicated than that. Because of the narrow, unforgiving, stone sided roads, the furniture removal truck had to remain in St Helier and the gang, van the boxes to our friends in a convoy of white. There were a lot of boxes. Both opened and unopened all over the house. Thankfully it’s a very big house.
We arrived just behind the 789th van deposit. I think R……. was quite pleased to see us as it gave him the perfect excuse to stop unpacking boxes. L……, like most women, was much more dedicated to the task and I believe, because of l……, the thousand boxes will all be opened and contents assigned quarters in a relatively short space of time. If it were left to R……., I have my doubts.
We flew in at lunchtime so out for lunch we went.
I considered going the surf school but opted for
calamari, chorizo, beans and rocket salad with garlic mayonaise. Oh, and a nice big glass of rosé.
Then we went for a drive. Jersey is only 45 miles square. You would think it were much bigger if you, like me, were in the backseat of a Volvo going at speed, breaking at speed, cornering at speed and attempting to cover each and every mile of the isle before pre-prandials.
Before I got really car sick we sawa lot of beauty.
beautiful church that has a beautiful view (mrscarmichael)
lucky beauty (mrscarmichael)
the line of beauty (mrscarmichael)
I am sure the walk, in either direction, would have been beautiful (mrscarmichael)
After a wee nana nap (to settle my stomach and prepare it for the evening) we went out for a slap -up meal. I remember very little about the food. I believe was good. It seems I might have drunk my body weight in rosé at the restaurant. In my defence, it slipped down very easily. Although I did manage to force another down back at the ranch, it would be fair to say that I slept like a baby. An unconscious baby.
I woke feeling a tad seedy but two slices of toast and a strong black coffee sorted that out. Once I woke from my 9.30am nap I managed to make it to a sun lounger (another strong black in hand) and have a well deserved sleep while L……. unpacked more boxes. She is a machine.
I must tell you that L…… is also a Michelin starred chef. At least she has been referred to as such, so great are her skills in the kitchen. Unfortunately, her kitchen was brown- boxed- in last weekend. R…… rounded us up and all four headed to Marks and Spencer for lunch. Mr C insisted I come to ensure he didn’t horlicks up his choice of sandwich for yours truly. L…… came because her husband refuses to pay M and S for the carrier bags so many hands were needed to carry our carb laden repast back to the Volvo. I ate way too much and, bolstered by another mug of caffeine and an indigestion tablet, I dressed for an afternoon on the high seas.
Have any of you see the movie, Captain Ron? Made in the early 90’s it stars Kurt Russell and Martin Short and if you’re in a silly mood and want to watch a silly movie, this is a goody.
R…… is learning to captain/sail/drive a rather powerful motorboat. He’s mastered the going fast in a straight line in open water. He does that very well. Anchoring and mooring are proving ever so slightly more problematic. There are aspects of Captain Ron’s character that I see reflected in our friend R…… I was thus relieved to learn that, in ensuring the well being and longevity of all on board, he’d invited N…, his best bud, along for the ride. N… is good at anchoring and mooring and as such an asset to our afternoon’s adventuring.
We headed to St Brelade’s for a spot of swimming.
We anchored twice and began to bob around. I began to feel ever so slightly queasy. The queasiness got worse. Then it stepped up a gear. My mouth got all watery – usually a vomit precursor. By sitting high up, in the centre of the boat, looking with a fixed eye towards land and not talking to anyone I managed to hold my chicken caesar wrap down. I could not swim. The thought of changing in a confined and bobbing cabin brought tears to my eyes and more saliva to ma bouche.
We then drove/sailed to deeper water and fished for mackerel. This involved more bobbing so I couldn’t fish – having to keep my eye on land and sit atop the motorboat but Mr Carmichael gave it a go. He has fished once before when he was starving in Greece but is not sure if he used a hook or just bread and, unsurprisingly, caught nothing.
Saturday was very different.
“I think I’ve got the line caught on the bottom,” he says and with R…….’s help reels in a fish.
R…… catches a fish. And another.
Line cast again, Mr C is now a fisherman. “I’ve got another,” he shouts but he was wrong.
He had five! All tangled together on his now, and forever, unusable line.
R…… unhooked/cut them all off narrowly avoiding a tumble into the Atlantic.
I wish I could show you the photos. They are hilarious but, in the efforts of anonymity and without a pixalator, the amusement must remain on Mrs C’s camera. You will just have to use your imaginations.
We sailed/drove back to the marina.
forward aspect (mrscarmichael)
rear aspect (mrscarmichael)
all going well at this stage aspect (mrscarmichael)
At this point Captain Ron came to the fore and N… came into his own. Well, he would have if he hadn’t jumped off the boat prematurely. I think he was under the impression that because R……. had driven our craft full throttle into the berth he was planning to leave it there and ropes would need to be tied.
R…… had other ideas and within moments we were reversing rather quickly towards the behemoth moored behind us.
Because Mr Carmichael’s only job was to offer words of support and nothing else, I could actually enjoy the next thirty minutes or so of in/out manoeuvring, swearing, long distance exchanges between Captain Ron and land lubbered, N… and a few very close shaves.
We parked and had a rosé to celebrate and wait for other boaty people on their boats to stop laughing.
That evening, as a starter, we bbq’d the mackerel at the beach and watched the waves crash against the sea wall.
Mr Carmichael’s catch was delicious.
We had some rosé and and went for Italian. L……., my husband and I ordered seafood pizza. R…… doesn’t like fish so steered well clear. Sensible R…….
There are words that one never thinks they will concatenate into a single sentence. ‘Pizza bisque’ is a perfect example. Bisque as a soup – fantastic. A pasta sauce – perfect. A topping for a pizza -hmmmmm. So shocked was I, I neglected to take a photo. Again, please use your imagination. Think brown, think runny, think as far away from any pizza you have ever seen and you’re almost there.
“It says bisque on the menu,” our waitress informed us when I mentioned the utter oddness of my dinner.
We asked for a menu, believing that three of us could not have missed the warning. It said rein about the bisqueness of our chosen meal. Quel surprise!
L…….., she of the ‘michelin star’, took over from me and spent the good next while in the kitchen with manager and chef reinventing their menu. I drank rosé and waited to hear how she got on.
“Don’t think that’ll be appearing again,” she said and quaffed a well deserved mouthful of pink wine.
Mr C and I flew home in the arms of Hurricane Bertha, our little prop plane circling Stanstead in a left sloping holding pattern just long enough to make me airsick.
And so, to summarise:
A trifecta of motion sickness and then there was the rosé.
Fresh fish caught my Mr C, my pecheur d’island husband.
Beaches, beaches, sea, sea, sea and stunning hydrangeas.