Oh gosh, I really am a bit embarrassed to tell you about this, but when I saw Sunday Scribblings was asking us to write about a message I suddenly remembered something that happened when I was teenager.
You see, I used to have a little weekend job in an old folks home. We used to call it the home for the bewildered because most of the residents were rather ancient and didn’t have much idea what day it was, let alone where they were! I don’t mean to sound disrespectful, but that was pretty well how it was.
As I recall I got a message from my supervisor with a few things I had to do as soon as I arrived at work. Now either I was given the message wrong or I misunderstood it and got muddled up. My first job was to wheel Mrs Grimshaw (I've forgotten their real names now so I'll have to make some up - it was a very long time ago) down to the little hair salon we had in the home, and I was to explain that she was to have a curly perm and a wisteria rinse. I thought at the time it was bit odd because Mrs Grimshaw had longish grey hair which made her look a little like a witch, and I couldn’t imagine why she’d want to change her look. Actually she had what I thought was a crystal ball in her room, but it turned out it was one of those glass things you shake to see a snowstorm! Anyway she wasn’t too keen on being told to change her hairstyle but I explained that it was treat from her son and as he paid for her to be there and was visiting her in the afternoon she’d better have it done. I'll never forget that look she gave me!
While she was being transformed I got on with the next job from the message and gave a couple of old dears an early lunch, I can’t remember why. One of them, Miss Trubshaw was to have a special soup brought in by her daughter. Apparently it was her favourite, not that you’d have thought so because she said it was disgusting, and in any case she told me she was allergic to tomatoes. I laughed and told her not to make silly excuses!
What was next? Oh I know. I had to get Mr Potter to take some pills to calm him down! I know that sounds funny, but the message told me that he gets overexcited on visiting days and has been known to pinch the nurses bottoms! There was one other job. What was it? Oh yes I was to take Mr Bumstead for a walk in the garden to get some fresh air. He really enjoyed it at first. I was a bit shocked though when he slapped my behind and told me what a pretty little filly I was! And then he started sneezing. Not once or twice, but over and over again, so I took him back to his room.
About two o’clock the visitors started arriving. All the residents were sitting in the day room. First in was Mrs Grimshaw’s son, and he couldn’t find her. I pointed to her, and he said that she wasn’t his mother; his Mum had grey hair not blue. I said it wasn’t blue it was wisteria. Well don’t know about wisteria, hysteria would have been a better word! He was not happy when he saw what we’d done to her grey locks. Then it was the turn of the Trubshaws. I saw them clasp there hands over their mouths and I realised what they had seen. Mrs Trubshaw had turned a shade of bright red! And it got worse. Mr Potter was fast asleep and snoring like a good’en and his family were trying to shake him awake. As for Mr Bumstead, he was still sneezing but despite that he still managed to give his daughter in law a goosing.
Then everything began to fall into place. I was asked to go to my supervisors office where I was given a bit of a telling off. I still claim I was given the message wrong. It seemed that Mrs Trubshaw should have gone to the hair salon, and she did have an allergy problem with tomato soup. The soup was for Mrs Grimshaw. As for Mr Potter, he was supposed to go out into the garden for a walk. Those calming pills which sent him to sleep were for Mr Bumstead who was normally kept clear of the garden as he suffered from hay fever.
It was suggested to me that perhaps my talents lay elsewhere and we came to a mutual decision that I should leave and get a job in a shop or something! Whether or not the fault was mine, I didn’t feel I wanted that sort of responsibility at my tender age!
Must go now, I’m running out of change with which to feed this rickety old computer!
It’s me! Rosey! I’ve found an internet cafe in a village not far from where I live. I use the term cafe lightly! It’s certainly not the sort of place you’d come to for lunch! I just had a cup of coffee – it was SO bitter it nearly sucked me inside out! They sell a local beer here. I don’t know what’s in it but a few feet away from me a group of men are sitting at a table covered with empty bottles and they are sort of swaying. Actually it could have something to with what they’re smoking! I’m trying to ignore them but right now all I can see out of the corner of my eye are ten sets of grinning teeth and twenty swimming eyes! It is a problem being the only white-skinned blonde-haired female in the area. That’s not strictly true, because I’ve never really felt threatened in any way. Having said that I never stray far from home on my own, and right now my friend who is a fellow teacher from school with me. His name is Nangwaya which apparently means ‘don’t meddle with me’ so I feel pretty safe when he’s looking out for me! Apparently the web is not a very reliable round here. Broadband doesn’t exist in the parts so if I suddenly stop midsentence don’t worry!
Oh golly-gosh, have you heard about those full body scanners they are putting into airports? How embarrassing. They were trying them out at Heathrow when I flew out a couple of weeks ago and was asked if I minded going through one. I didn’t think anything of it at the time and I said I didn’t mind. After all it was bad enough having to stand there barefoot and holding my jeans up (they made me take my belt off), I didn’t think it could get any worse. When I got through someone commented that I’d been brave to volunteer. I asked what she meant and she explained that the person looking at the screen could see all of me – underneath my clothes! I had no idea. Thank goodness I had clean underwear on! Apparently it’s soon becoming compulsory so I have decided to try and track down some lead-based wool so I can knit myself a lead bra and knickers! That’ll fool them!
At school we’ve been practicing native songs to sing to group of tourists that are visiting the village tomorrow. The songs we normally sing are pretty much the same as kids sing back home, but I don’t think our visitors would be very impressed if we treated then to an African version of Row Row Row the Boat or The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round! We’ve also been making handicrafts which we sell to provide extra funds for the school. Guess what, I’ve even got some of them involved in my hobby, knitting, although the demand for woollen gloves and scarves is pretty limited in these parts!
I’m out of change and the computer will switch itself off in a moment, so I’ll stop now. Hopefully I’ll be back on my blog thing again soon.
It’s me, Rosey! I’ve come back for Christmas. I’ve only got a couple of weeks here and then it’s back to Africa for a few months. So much to do and so little time.
I’ve got to see Keithy, visit Fuz and Scruf, take a look at the allotment, meet up with my friends, buy some wool and knitting needles, and pop into school before the kids break up on Tuesday.
I’m hoping there will still be some snow on the ground. I remember having a snowball fight in the playground last winter. It was so embarrassing – I got snow in my eyes so I couldn’t see where the snow I was throwing was going! (that rhymes!). It took the head teacher all afternoon to dry out!
It’s strange to think that the children in my school in Africa have never seen snow, except in pictures. Most of them never will. It would be wonderful if there was a way I could take a snowman back with me!
Must go, things to be getting on with. I’ll try and leave a few words here before I fly away again. In the meantime, have a great Christmas. I know I will!
I don’t like long goodbyes so I’ve decided to slip away quietly. When the sun comes up on a brand new day I’ll be above the clouds and on my way to my new life 8000 miles away working with children in Namibia.
I bade farewell to my parents this afternoon, and before travelling to the airport I met my friend Keith who thought I was still to be here for a few weeks more. In fact I had told him a little white lie. For once he was speechless!
And just for once I was able to quote from a poem! ‘Don’t speak’ I told him. ‘Words will only steal the moment’
I’ll leave you with a photo which for me says more than words can ever do.
I’m in a rut! I really am. I’m thirty years old and I’ve done nothing with my life. So I have decided to break free!
Loads of my friends are married - several have children, but I haven’t, so I reckon this is the moment to add a little adventure to my existence.
I love my job to bits. Working with kids is great fun, but I’m not a real teacher and to be honest my job could never really be termed a career. I’ve got my allotment which is fab, but giving it up is hardly going to make an impression on third world starvation. I knit like crazy, but I’m running out of people who want scarves and mittens.
So I’ve decided to take a few months out, and use my freedom to do a little bit for the planet or its people. I want to get away and look at my life from a distance. Then I can hopefully make a contribution somewhere in the world whilst at the same time decide exactly where I’m going from here.
I love penguins so my friend Whitesnake suggested I see if there were any opportunities down in the Antarctic. He thought that with nothing but ice and flightless birds around me I’d have plenty of opportunities for reflection. And he thought that maybe I could do my bit to help save the planet down there where things seem to be going wrong.
Trouble is, I can’t see myself going anywhere without things like my hairdryer. Call me vain, but that’s how it is. It occurred to me that every time I turned it on I’d melt a bit more ice and that would defeat the object of the exercise! And of course, if I took my fabulous water bed it would probably freeze solid!
Then I heard about something called VSO. I believe it stands for Voluntary Service Overseas. Actually it was a teacher at my school who told me about it and she thought that I could get a job similar to the one I have now, but working in a village in Africa with children less privileged than those I currently look after.
That was several weeks ago and I’ve now applied for a placement in Namibia. They told me that education there is suffering due to high incidence of aids in the country. Many teachers and assistants are unable to work as they have either contracted the disease themselves or have to look after family members who are sufferers.
If all goes to plan I’ll be away in three weeks. My cats Fuzzybut and Scruff are going to stay with a friend and I’ll rent out my flat to give me a little income whilst I’m away doing unpaid work.
I’ve decided not to continue with my blog while I’m away. Instead I’ll keep Keithy up to date with my goings-on and he’ll let you know what I’m up to.
So, please don’t forget me! I certainly won’t forget you and I hope you’ll all still be around when I get back. I’m missing you already! xxx
Over the last few years I’ve been to lots of weddings. So many of my mates and cousins have got themselves spliced. Then they seem to go from being fun loving party animals to rather dull couples who enjoy nothing more than a night in beside the telly with a nice cup of tea.
I have of course,become an expert in the duties of the Bridesmaid and the (wait for it) Matron of Honour! Me a matron! Wooo!
And I every time I perform my role my Father says the same thing ‘Miss Rosemary Pinkerton, always the bridesmaid never the bride’. Grrrrrrr!
Most of the nuptials take place in damp dark grey walled churches where a bored looking vicar spouts the usual stuff about obeying and procreating children. And almost without fail a nervous friend of the couple will go to lectern and read a piece from the bible – a book they have probably never seen since they were in RE classes at school!
And it’s always the same bit – Corinthians Chapter 13 which goes on like ‘love is patient, love is kind, is not jealousies, not pompous, it is not inflated (beg pardon?) it is not rude (he-he!)
But the bit that makes me want to stamp my size eight on the floor is the bit which says’ When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things’.
Obviously I’m not a man, but it’s not that makes me cross. You see, the thing is I still like to talk as a child as many of you are only too aware! I have no intention of putting away childish things - my Teddy stays exactly where it is!. And when faced with a problem I find it much easier to work through it if I reason like a child. I have no problem with being a child and an adult at the same time. And ok, I admit it - I still suck my thumb when I go to bed. If all that has to go, then marriage 'aint for me!
You always hear people saying ‘Ooo, I love children’. But how often do you hear someone say ‘Ooo I love adults’. It’s just not the same.
As many of you know I enjoy the best of both worlds because I landed the best job in the universe. I’m a classroom assistant to a teacher with a class of seven and eight year olds and I spend my days at play whilst getting paid for it.
When I’m shopping I see many of the kids from my class in the mall and so often they are dressed like mini adults. If only they realised how precious the innocence of childhood is, they wouldn’t be in such a rush to leave it behind. I rest my case!
They soon found out that almost every restaurant in their resort offered English food - the all-day breakfast fry up and Steak and kidney pie appeared on almost every menu. But one day George decided that they should be a little more adventurous so they wandered into a Spanish restaurant in search of something a little more local.
The menu was written in two languages but even in his native tongue George found it a little difficult to work out quite what was on offer, so when the waiter approached they thought it best to ask for his recommendation.
‘¡Buenas noches!’ he said with a flourish of his arms ‘iu‘nuestra comida especial es hoy guisado de la bola' He could tell by the look on Mary’s face that he was not getting through to them. He started again. ‘Good evening madam and sir’ he said ‘today spezial deesh eeze guisado de la bola’
Rather than get into a difficult conversation with the waiter they decided to order two of the special dishes.
Well, they were pleasantly surprised. They were each given a thick stew with two enormous meatballs in the bottom. It was delicious although there was a little more than Mary could manage. They asked the waiter to tell them what exactly the meatballs were and through by using a combination of ‘Spanglish’ and hand signals (some which embarrassed Mary) he explained that when the matadors killed the bulls at the local bull ring the unfortunate animals testicles where supplied to the restaurant to use in their special dish.
Anyway, the day before George and Mary were due to return to the UK they thought it would be fun to go back to the restaurant and order two more portions of guisado de la bola. But when it arrived they were a little disappointed. Instead of two enormous meat balls in each there were two tiny ones. George called the waiter over and asked why it was different from the last time they had it
‘Ah señor’ he said ‘Today ze unfortunate matador he lost’
Now you are probably wondering why I told you that story! Well, it’s because I came across a great recipe for this under rated and very cheap cut of meat . It's a Spanish twist on Hungarian goulash and I thought I’d share it with you!
2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4kg of bull testicles
2-3 onions chopped
A beef stock cube
1 clove garlic crushed
mint herb chopped
small can tomato puree
1 tbsp plain flour
200ml Spanish white wine
1 tablespoon honey
2 squares cooking chocolate
Cut testicles into thin slices. Fry briefly, adding finely chopped onion, garlic, black ground pepper, tomato puree and chilli pepper. Cook while gradually adding water. When nearly finished, add white wine. When wine evaporates a bit, add beef stock cube, pepper, thyme, red pepper, mint herb and a tablespoon of flour. Mix all well until wine completely evaporates and at the very end add honey and chocolate.
Serve with crusty bread and a bottle of Rioja!