Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Recipe for Desperation (serves two)

One bottle of wine.
One cork.
Two glasses.
No corkscrew.

1.  Set up a nice candlelit balcony outside in the warm evening air.
2.  Take the bottle of chilled wine from fridge, licking your chops as you go.
3.  Prepare glasses to receive wine.
4.  Realise you don't have the corkscrew. OR ANY OTHER USEFUL KITCHEN EQUIPMENT.
5.  Mull over situation and try to be stoic. ("Mull"ed wine anyone?! No?!)
6.  Stuff stoicism and embrace the literalism of the words "cork" and "screw"...

7.  Apply some brute force:

8.  Expect the cork to break in half due to step 7.

10.  Have one person holding the bottle and the other applying more of step 7 until you make that sucker POP.
11.  Take picture of the successful and effective team work you have just - nope, hang on, the wine is open now - see you guys later!

Friday, 24 January 2014

Big gaff!

I do remember at the start of this blog claiming I might be posting, quote, "a list of embarrassing mistakes I have made which have gone out on national news".  So in the interests of fair trading standards etc I give you this little gem. 

There is a cricket tournament going on at the moment called the Big Bash.  So what did I write?

"Stay with us - coming up next, more big gash."


Friday, 17 January 2014

Die Qual der Wahl.... (or "How many furnitures are there???!!!")

We have now been in our new flat for two weeks and we still love it. Although it is still as empty as ... well ... as empty as my head trying to think of a metaphor for this. We have been doing some serious schlepping around various furniture stores and the main thing we have learned is - there is WAY too much choice out there.  Seriously. How many different choices of toilet brush do you need?!

I initially thought it would be so exciting to fit out our new flat, but it's actually quite intimidating. Every time we come home there are empty rooms begging for tables and chairs and sofas and cute-stuffs-that-do-nothing-but-look-purrrty - FILL ME, SEYMOUR, FILL ME!  And it's all too much!

We finally managed to find a sofa we liked after about five trips to the shop, putting the assistant through, above and beyond his paces.  We took measuring tapes, got him to move the sofa around (it's a modular thingummy, and you can swap it about all over the place), switch this arm to the right and that chaise to the left and, oh, maybe we could move that chair from over there to over here to see if it works, but no it doesn't, so move it back again, WORK, MONKEY, WORK TO PLEASE US!! SELL US YOUR SOFA!!!  Fortunately the guy was amazing with us (mainly I think cos Jan was shamelessly flirting with him) and seemed completely happy to be rearranging the entire store for us.  And that was just one trip. His poor little heart must have sunk every time we darkened that furniture store door.

The last time we went, we almost had nervous breakdowns and spent about TWO HOURS just trying to decide which colour fabric to have (too dark? too light? too bland?  Will it go with the floors? The walls? The walls are white, dammit!! Aaaaaaggghhh!).  We were showing this guy pictures of our empty house and trying to make him decide for us - please! We can't do this by ourselves, this stuff is for grown-ups!  Let's not even mention trying to decide about the wood for the arms, or the stuffing for the cushions... *shudder*

We left quivering wrecks, having placed our order, holding each other back from running into the store just to look at the Mellifluous Maple (or whatever it was) one last time because - WHAT IF WE HAVE MADE A TERRIBLE MISTAAAAKE, NOOOO!!

In a fit of madness, we then went into another shop to check out a dining table and chairs we had seen and liked.  Whether it was the trauma of the sofa buying or not, we marched in, checked out the goods and just went and ordered straight away.  As we left, I overheard a nearby couple - who were umming and aahing over their purchase - say, "That's how we need to be". Hah!!  If only they knew about our shameful sofa shenanigans...

Anyway, now we have actual furniture on the way (although we won't see the sofa again until March!) so we are feeling less intimidated by the bareness of our rooms.  And besides, we have prioritised and already have the important things...

Come to think of it... do we really need the sofa?!

Sunday, 12 January 2014

New Year, New Flat, New Saga of Dimwits

Hmmmm, I'm not sure where to go with this post.  It has been an eventful couple of weeks (which have mostly occurred without broadband hence the "radio silence" so to speak). There have been a lot of emotions whizzing around, therefore this could very easily turn into a miserable self-pitying rant - and realistically these are such first world problems you would end up throwing your computer across the room and gouging out your eyes to stop the words penetrating your brain.  Yeah, okay, maybe I will just go with the short version then.

So - we have our flat! The one we wanted, five minutes' walk from the beach, beautiful terrace, beautiful views to the ocean, spacious, light - and empty!!  This will be the first time we get the excitement of going out and choosing furniture and deciding how we want a place to look! Previously, we have always been left to the whims of whatever taste the landlord has had - and quite frankly, no wonder some of them moved out. So this is the exciting part! The, "Yay, this is our real home!" part.

The sucky part has been ... drum roll ... the estate agents.  I know, it's such a shocker, isn't it?  Either we have the worst luck ever, or all estate agents the world over are a bunch of money-grabbing, bald-faced-lying twitbaskets*.  I favour the latter. The VERY short version is that they basically LIED TO OUR FACES, promising that the landlord would do work on the flat if we signed a longer contract. Turns out, they never checked this out with the landlord at all. As I say - twitbaskets. This was followed up with a half-hearted inventory which seems to miss out any damage on the flat and claims every room has fresh paint.  Erm... NO.  We have spent the last THREE DAYS going through the flat documenting in minute detail every scratch, blemish and dent, because we are now DREADING the moving out process, when it comes.

Needless to say, this has put a bit of a dampener on the excitement of moving into our beautiful new flat, which has left us both feeling cheated, angry and slightly underwhelmed.  But!  "It's a new year", I hear you say, "Come on guys, leave all that negativity behind, make like everyone else with the New Year's zen - less eating, drinking, smoking, and more peace and harmony to all** etc etc - enough with the moping! Show us the lovely flat you have now!".  Oh...  oh, well, okay then...

First up - Jan in repose in the lounge...

Me in contemplation in the dining room...

Jan navel-gazing whilst in front of the kitchen

Jan beckoning invitingly from the patio (or terrace, or balcony, or whatever the heck you call it).  And yes, that is THE ACTUAL SEA in the background!

Al fresco dining... (pizza = no cutlery required.  As the only kitchenware we have amounts to the four glasses on display here, we are limited to takeaways/eating out. Oh, the agony.)

Dining inside (Thai = rice and sauces = not so clever.  Shortly after this picture was taken we had to go and beg cutlery off the neighbours.  Beats a cup of sugar, I suppose...)

* This would have been a much stronger word, was it not for the fact our parents read this - plus I'm not sure how Google translate would have dealt with the swears for Jan's parents...

**  Except estate agents obvs.