The Woman From Glossop

July 19th 2006

On the flight home, due to a mix-up at the check-in desk, The Trouble and I were split up and I found myself seated next to a Woman from Glossop who spent the entire flight telling the man seated the other side of her all about her timeshare apartment in Peurto del Carmen, the main resort in Lanzarote.  

Like me the Woman from Glossop had been split up from her spouse on the flight but apparently this had been arranged on purpose as they ‘always sat apart on flights as we see enough of each other while we’re in Lanzarote’. I have no doubt that it was the Man from Glossop who insisted on these travelling arrangements, indeed if I had been him not only would I have insisted on a separate seat but it would have been on a separate aeroplane. Prior to the flight I knew next to nothing about timeshare apartments, which is about as much as I want to know, but by the time we’d landed at Manchester Airport about a million hours later the Woman from Glossop had ensured that I knew much more about them than I wanted to know, to the power of ten.
 
Her current apartment, ‘south-facing, veranda, two bedrooms both with en- suite, loads of storage space and a communion pool (I think she meant communal pool but you never know, perhaps the timeshare complex has a resident vicar and they have a Baptism ‘n Barbecue Night), was her third, all of them in Puerto del Carmen, the present one acquired in 1999, the first – no en-suite unfortunately, but a bidet – acquired in 1985. At first the Woman from Glossop had just the one week’s timeshare entitlement per year but by now she and the Man from Glossop were up to six weeks per year, in two week segments.

During the last eighteen years they had never been anywhere else for a holiday other than to their timeshare apartment in Lanzarote.
 
Now I’ve nothing against Lanzarote – you’re certainly not going to die from over-excitement there but in a clean, easy going, always nice weather, not-too-many-Germans sort of place, it is ideal. But six weeks there every year? While places like Provence and Tuscany and Crete go unvisited?

I learned that for the remaining forty six weeks of the year the Woman from Glossop and the Man from Glossop spend their time in Glossop, saving up to spend the other six weeks in Lanzarote. They never went anywhere else, so the Woman from Glossop informed the Man not from Glossop seated the other side of her, because if they did they wouldn’t be able to afford their full quota of six weeks in Lanzarote. Now I have been to Glossop – by mistake I must admit, I got on the wrong bus – and it is not the sort of place you would wish to spend forty six weeks of the year in, indeed forty six hours would be more than enough, and that’s provided you found something to do there, which is doubtful, unless you are into watching the traffic lights change.

Yet this couple had deliberately chosen to live out their lives in it for forty six weeks in every year, and the other six weeks in Lanzarote. Nowhere else on Earth existed for them. Their entire life consisted of being in Glossop or Lanzarote or the twenty-five mile stretch of road between Glossop and Manchester Airport, a road only slightly more enjoyment enhancing than the road to perdition.

Can you credit this? They had deliberately consigned themselves to a world without France and Italy and Greece, a world where the Lake District and the Cotswolds and the Yorkshire Dales don’t exist, a place where Edinburgh Castle and York Minster and Stonehenge might just as well be on the Moon. What sort of person can do this? The mind boggles. Mine did, on the flight back. And whilst it was boggling I fell asleep and thankfully didn’t wake up until we had started the descent to Manchester Airport. When I did The Woman from Glossop was telling the Man not from Glossop that next year she and the Man from Glossop hoped to be going to Lanzarote for seven weeks. Still, that’s one less week in Glossop.

Goodbye from him

July 18th 2006

If me and the wife hadn’t pitched in and helped out the Decorator’s never would have finished on time. It’s coming off their bill when I get it, too true. AND the tea they drank because they ran out of tea bags again. I told them there was no chance of them ever running out of paint because they never used any. Water of a ducks back. If I ever come back in another life I’m going to be a painter and Decorator. Turn up late, knock off early, drink tea half the time you’re on a job and fart about for the other half, it’ll do me.

“We shall have to charge you the same even though you’re giving us a hand,” said the one without spots. “It’s not our fault we got behind, the van broke down. And we only had it serviced last week. Motor Mechanic’s, you just can’t depend on them Nowadays.”

“Yes, they ought to be Decorator’s if they ever get fed up of being Motor Mechanic’s,” I said.

“You’re a caution Mr Atkins and no mistake,” said the one with spots. “Isn’t he a caution,” he said to the one without spots.

Eight mugs of tea each they drank in five hours. It’s a wonder they’re not brown by now. “We need the caffeine,” said the one without spots. “To cope with the pressure.”

“Pressure?” I said. “What pressure is there painting a bloody door? You don’t know what pressure is. Pressure is what our Soldiers out in Iraq have to put up with.”

“Why, don’t they have tea over there?” said the one with spots.

“They’ll have coffee even if they don’t have tea,” said the one without spots. “They’ll be able to get there caffeine fix from coffee. But I’d be very surprised if they didn’t have tea because Iraq is nearer to India and China than we are and we get tea.”

“It comes from Sri Lanka too, tea, but I’m not sure were that is.”

“Will you for fuck’s sake stop going on about tea and get on with some bloody decorating,” I said.

We eventually finished the job at nine-o-clock at night. Me and the wife that is. The Decorator’s had pissed off at four saying they’d be back in the morning to finish the job off. I told them not to bother as I’d be back living hear by then because Razza is back home from Lanzarote tomorrow.

So I’ll say goodbye for now then. It’s been an experience. Thanks for having me and reading what I’ve had to say in Razza’s blog this past ten days, that’s if anybody’s bean reading it. If anybody has leave a Comment so I’ll know I haven’t been wasting my time and if I get enough I may start up my own blog.

The Two Decorator’s Two

July 17th 2006  

The Two Decorator’s weren’t drinking tea when I called in on them to see how my decorating was progressing but they weren’t decorating either, they were stood about laughing.

“Tell it Mr Atkins,” said the fat one with spots.

“Have you heard about the sixty year old woman stripped off naked in the bedroom Mr Atkins?” said the fat one without spots.

“Have you heard the one about the man who strangled Two Bloody Decorator’s because they weren’t getting on with the job every time he called in?” I said.

“No but me first. Anyway she was stood in the bedroom strip bollock naked, her husband was in bed, and she said to him “Look at me George. Look at my poor body. I’m a ruin. Look at my tits. They used to be small and firm and now they’re big and all hanging down. Look at my belly. It used to be flat, now it’s so big when I look down I can’t see my fairy. And look at my bum. It used to be small and pert and now it’s enormous and all flabby and horrible. I’m a wreck. Is there anything you can say to cheer me up, to comfort me?” And her husband said “Yes, there’s fuck all wrong with your eyesight.”

I had to laugh despite myself because it was such a good joke but then I showed them I meant business. “Where were you two yesterday and the day before?” I said sternly.

“Hear of course.”

“No you weren’t, I kept coming to have a look, you never came near the plaice once.”

“Oh, Yesterday and the day before you mean? No, we were at the other job.”

“What other job? You didn’t say anything to me about having another job, you’re supposed to be doing my job.”

“That’s what the bloke at the other job said when we told him we’d been working hear at your job, but you’re both wrong. We always have two jobs running at the same time in case we come across any snags with one of them.”

And do you steel the tea of the man at the other job like you steel my tea?”

“We didn’t steel your tea, we borrowed it, we told you we’d put it all back.”

“And have you put it all back?”

“Well………a guestimate. We weren’t sure how much we’d borrowed.”

“I thought you were marking it down how many you’d had on the skirting board?”

“Yes but we painted over it. In our rush to get the job done on time. We can strip the paint off and find out if you want but that will put the job back and ….”

“No! Forget that. Get that idea right out of your mind right now.”

I knew I’d been conned but I wasn’t about to give these buggers an excuse for not finishing the job on time, it’s going to be hard enough as it is.

Pollitt

July 16th 2006

I answered the front door. Pollitt was standing there, all surly. He looked me up and down. “Who are you?”

“Haven’t we got this the wrong pay someone to do essay way round,” I said. “Shouldn’t you be telling me who you are?”

“Wayne Pollitt,” he grunted, and cocked a thumb in the direction of his house. “From Number 36. Now who are you?”

“Atkins.” I cocked a thumb in the opposite direction. “From number 12.”

“Well where’s whosit, what’s-is-name, who lives hear?

“Mr Ravenscroft? He’s on holiday in Lanzarote. I’m looking after his house for him while I’ve got the Decorator’s in drinking tea and not Decorating my house.

“What? Oh. Only he was interested in taking our dog for a walk, he even bought it a collar and a lead, and now it’s gone missing, and I was thinking…..”

“Well Mr Ravenscroft is hardly likely to have broken his holiday in The Canneries to come all the way back to England to take your dog for a walk, is he?”

“Well I didn’t know he’d gone to Lanzarote.”

“Well he has. But if there’s anything I can do to help?”

“Well have you seen anything of it. Our dog?”

“Yes I shot it.”

“What?”

“And berried it in the back garden in a shallow grave I dug in the lawn which I then planted a rose bush in so it looks like a flower bed.”

He looked at me gone out for about ten seconds. Then he gave a silly grin. “You’re having me on, aren’t you?”

“Well of course I’m having you on. If I’d shot somebody’s dog then berried it in the back garden in a shallow grave I dug in the lawn I’m hardly likely to tell the owner of the bloody dog, am I?”

“No. Course you aren’t. Right then. Just thought I’d ask.”

And off he went. “I’ll keep an eye out for it,” I called after him.

“Cheers.”

I went back into the living room content that whatever suspicions of what had happened to his dog Pollitt might have in the future they would not include it having been shot and berried in Razza’a garden.

“I thought it was women who were supposed to be Devious,” said the wife, who’d obviously overheard my conversation with Pollitt.

“Who do you think I learned it from, my sweet,” I replied.

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