Aug 27, 2008


Ah…less than 48 hours to go and the holiday feeling is almost upon me! Suitcase packed; passport and e-ticket in order; house tidy; spare key ready to bring to neighbour (for plant watering); contact details next to phone; etc.. etc..

O.K. and now like Geri’s esteemed ancestors, who pre-enacted their hunting strategies in red ochre on the walls of their caves, I plot my route methodically by scribbling it down in red ink on a bit of paper. Not as you may think, to pre savour the journey - but more as a precaution against getting hopelessly lost en route; if not at Schiphol/Amsterdam airport, then definitely at Gatwick/London, during transit, or Inverness airport car park.

I hate Gatwick. I have been told that it is not a large airport but I just cannot get it ordered in my mind. I'm never sure which terminal I have arrived in, let alone the one I am supposed to fly from. So getting from South to North terminal (or vice-versa) on the tube-train, with only minutes to spare to catch a connecting domestic flight, is a heart stopping nightmare… !

But this time I am cannily prepared and determined to get to my destination in one piece, complete with luggage (do you hear that BA!?).
Travel plus waiting and transfer times = a 10 hour journey from the completely flat (nether) lands of Holland, to a mountaintop in Scotland. OK, so now I have disclosed my holiday destination, hopefully it will not be jinxed – again! (ref': Holiday Curse, 14/07/08)

Plan: Lock front door and trundle suitcase, handbag and self onto tram - train - 1st plane - tube train - second plane – mountain jeep.
Note: Fill handbag with brain food: i.e., chocolate of all varieties, to help with thinking and concentration during journey.

Of course the biggest dragon on this journey for me, is that self-service check-in machine at Amsterdam airport…(gulp…shudder…). I can never work out which buttons to press and it always tells me it can’t find my booking and doesn’t recognise my passport etc.. So knowing the instant panic I shall feel at the sight of the thing, I plan to skip the hyperventilation stage - and immediately clamp myself around the knees of one of those young uniformed attendants and querulously beg her to ‘please, oh please, please, please check me in!’ (It worked last time, heh-heh..).

OK folks, that’s yours truely done for a while then! No television, computer, cell-phone, ipod. I’m off to look at wild birds, wee beasties and men in kilts; yodel from the mountaintops and try and get some fantastic photos. Probably be misty all the time I am there… no, no, be optimistic Geri. This time you will not forget to take your camera; get into any embarrassing senile situations, cause any international incidents, get lost or break any bones!

T.t.f.n. everyone. Enjoy your own holidays - and be safe xxx !

Aug 23, 2008


Wealthy Mexicans who are terrified of being kidnapped, are having themselves implanted with GPS chips…

Well I think it is a brilliant idea! We should all do it. After all, we get it done to our pets, so why not to ourselves? Not that most of us will ever get kidnapped – but there are other dangers, like walking under a ladder and getting a bucket on your head and forgetting who you are… Or getting shipwrecked and stranded on a desert island – and then just think how comforting it would be to know that whilst desperately stabbing at fish in a rock pool - with that pointy bit on your belt buckle - you are merrily ‘blipping’ away to some overhead satellite and will soon be found! (Hopefully not by pirates…)

The obvious problem though is where to go to get chipped? As far as I know, doctors in the Netherlands do not (yet) chip people. Euthanasia yes – but no chipping. So that would mean nipping off to Mexico and that’s too far – so off to the vet's it is then!

Hang on though… in which part of the anatomy would this chip be inserted…? The back of animals’ necks may be suitable for them but there is no extra skin to get hold of on mine. The upper thigh strikes me as a suitable place; however, these chip thingies are not magnetic are they? That would make no sense at all but you never know, technology can be tricky - and I would rather not find out when it is too late and I am 'stuck' to some doddery old chipped chap on the tram (‘chipped chap on the tram'… crikey, don’t say that fast with a mouth full of biscuit! Hang on, while I wipe the screen...).

Wait a minute though, I am not above a bit of doddering myself, so if this fellow and I were stuck on each other through no fault of our own (heh-heh) we could dodder off together and have a bit of fun - and when we were tired of each other (or just tired) we could sit down and ‘blip’ - and wait for our (worried) kids to drive out and find us and take us home!
(Just when did I get so decadent and daft...?)

Anyway, here it is: Wealthy Mexicans getting chipped.

Aug 8, 2008


Practically everyone in our family seems to have a ‘house ghost’ of the common-or-garden variety: i.e., opening doors and blowing draughts down your neck - just when you’ve got comfy in front of the telly; hiding your specs, shoes, door keys; souring the milk and causing the tap to drip in the middle of the night…etc. But all of this is minor stuff compared to the antics of my auntie’s house spook...

Eons ago, whilst still a teenager, I was visiting my aunt when she suddenly exclaimed that her cup of tea had disappeared. Thinking that she might have walked into the kitchen with it, we searched there and even checked the cupboards to make sure she hadn’t absentmindedly finished the tea and rinsed the cup and saucer and put them away... but no luck.

‘Perhaps you took your cuppa up the garden with you when we went to admire the runner beans’, I ventured.
And so we searched the whole garden and even looked in the dustbin, thinking that she might have drank the tea and (again) absentmindedly thrown the empty cup and saucer away - but all to no avail. Cup, contents and saucer were gone - apparently vanished into a parallel universe(!)

A few years later, after I had moved to The Netherlands, a Dutch relative by marriage, went to England on business for a few days and stayed with my aunt, in her big old spooky house. But on returning home, he told me he would never stay there again!

Me: Oh, why on earth not?

Him: Well…on the first night, I was almost asleep when I heard the coins I’d put on the dressing table being moved. Not toppling over, but being methodically moved- you know - one by one… I thought it might be a mouse…

Me: Haha! A mathematical mouse? Ahem. Sorry, what did you do?

Him: I put the light on - but there was nothing there. Then on the second night, I woke up suddenly to hear the bedroom door handle rattling, so I leaped out of bed and rushed over and grabbed the handle and pulled, but the door wouldn’t budge. It felt as if someone was holding it, so I gave it a big yank and there was suddenly no resistance and I rushed out onto the landing – but there was no one there!

Me: A suction draught perhaps? From open windows..?

Him: There weren’t any windows open… But then on the third night, I was laying in bed listening to your auntie snoring when I heard the stairs creaking, one by one, from top to bottom… (shiver).

Me: Well perhaps Auntie was sleep walking?

Him: No. The snores were coming from her room. I checked. But when I was back in bed the creaking started again and there was a rustling noise like someone going through the coat pockets in the hallway downstairs. So I rushed downstairs to look and even called out – but once again, there was no one and nothing there....

Me: More mice…. perhaps? (Said without conviction).

Him: (Pale faced by now). No. Then on the fourth and last night, after I’d put the light out in my room, I saw a shadowy figure standing by the window (!) but when I put the light on again, it wasn’t there. Might have been the fall of the curtain…but I…er… (sheepishly) left the light on all night.....

Me: (Even paler). Oo-er….Did you tell my aunt all this?

Him: Yes, just before I left.

Me: And….?

Him: Well she didn’t laugh at me or anything, in fact she was seriously interested, staring intently at my face all the time - although by the time I had finished I was sure she was mocking me!

Me: Why?

Him: Well, after telling her all that - and feeling like a right fool, all she said was:
'Tell me my dear - was that shadowy figure by any chance carrying a cup of tea?’

Aug 5, 2008

A, E, I, O, U

Fnlly gt th cmpter fxd - nd nw th kybrd's 'n th blnk!

S**m t hv lst th vwls..... Hd thm lst wk, bt tht ws bfr tkng th lttrs 'ff t' cln th d*rn thng...

Frst th m**s* f'll t bts - 'nd ' cldn't pt 't bck tgthr gn. Ws 2 wks wtht hlp, bt hpply, Sn-n-lw fnlly fxd 't... bt nw ths.......

Whr.. r.. my..vwls?!!