I have been nominated by Mopsa and MYA for a Blogging Community Involvement Award for Services to Schmoozing! I am truly flattered, as I believe that schmoozing is a seriously under-rated skill (along with sponging – but we’ll come to that later). It is supposed to involve the gift of ‘conversing casually in order to make a social connection.’ After a few bevvies, my conversation can become so ‘casual’ that it is positively slurred, but never mind. Thank you Mopsa and MYA, I am delighted to accept, and would like to pass the nomination on to Jenny at Mountain Mama, who has such a warm, conversational style, you feel that you are sitting right next to her, at the kitchen table of her lovely mountain home.
Download the shiny badge, Jenny, and enjoy!
Anyway, enough of the red carpet - we are off on holiday! Some friends in New York have very generously given us the use of their beach house on the Jersey Shore, followed by the use of their Manhattan apartment. What a sponger’s paradise! Even the horror of taking three children on an eight hour flight wasn’t enough to make me pass up this opportunity. Also, as I have mentioned before, I am unfashionably fond of the USA, and can’t wait to get back there again.
The kids are very excited about seeing the Statue of Liberty, and I am very excited about pouring gallons of American wine down my neck. The favourable exchange rate means that I really should sample as much as I can, don’t you think?
While we are away, my brother and his family are coming to stay in our house. This has caused me considerable anxiety. When you take a look at your own house and try and see it through someone else’s eyes, it can be truly alarming. I’m not just talking about the level of squalor we tolerate at home, compared to normal people. It’s more to do with the vagaries of the house and its contents.
It started when we handed the keys over. I had to give my brother and his wife details about how the front door was ‘really easy’ to open, as long as you pull it towards you, before turning the key. Then I moved on to explain how opening the back door was ‘really easy’, as it was the reverse procedure to the front door, but required an additional shoulder barge. ‘Never mind’ they said, ‘we won’t open the back door – how do we open the windows?’ Well, it’s ‘really easy’, there’s a key, but it only works on some of the windows. ‘Never mind’ they said, ‘we won’t open the windows.’ By this point, they were exchanging claustrophobic glances, so I didn’t dare describe how you have to twist the shower control right round to the left if you want any hot water, or stand on one leg to ignite the ring on the gas cooker. It is turning into a nightmare scenario of having to attach explanatory Post-it notes to every idiosyncratic control and appliance we own. I have even bought a new kettle and iron, since the risk of electrocution from our old ones was dangerously high, unless you were wearing Wellington boots.
As I am in holiday mood, I have cracked open a bottle of Ca’Rosa Prosecco (Oddbins £7.49) which is dry, with a light and delicate apple flavour. I don’t like it quite as much as my favourite La Marca (Ocado £5.99), but it is a very strong contender for second place. Highly recommended!
Just one more glass, then I will carry on packing the suitcases. Despite all the preparation, I am really looking forward to this holiday. The chance to spend time together as a family will enable us to discover what it is that we really can’t stand about each other.
I will be back in August – I’m missing you already!