Tuesday, 28 August 2012

A tail of two kitties

Bless me father, for I haven't blogged. There's been so much going on in my life, I don't know if I'm coming or going.

I fully expect to charge round the corner and meet myself coming the other way.

The cats have been safely despatched, but not in a bad sense. They're now living with my sister, spending a week indoors before being allowed out to explore. It will also give them the chance to big up a bit, considering they have gone to The Birthplace of Powered Fight, where the streets are paved with broken glass.

But they are happy. The girl cat actually kissed her brother, which is unheard of. He was last seen behind my sister's sofa, quaking in his seven league boots. Toughen up, little one. You could be mistaken for the Lion of Somerset.

Well, perhaps not.

Meanwhile, the hunt for new homes for the dogs goes on apace. Will we be sorted by the time we leave the country for Corfu in a few weeks' time?

I hope so. Because I'm looking forward to it. Especially whooping Mr Grigg at backgammon.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

In honour of an Olympic volunteer

Well, there's lots to sort out and lots to do before Mr Grigg and I head off for our Big Fat Greek Gap Year. One of my sisters is having the cats, my brother is having the car but I've still got to find a home for the two dogs.
Meanwhile, one of my colleagues is so dismayed at me leaving (so she says) she's found a job in the middle of a war zone. I kid you not. I think an exchange of emails from our locations - me with a G&T by the pool and she with her tin hat on - could be the basis of an interesting book. I know where I'd rather be.

Back at home, the bunting is still up, but not for much longer. We've had the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, the Olympics and now the Paralympics. It's all going to look very bare when the flags come down.

But we do have the thermometer, which shows us at the level the village shop fund has now reached. It's at £20,000 and only £10,000 to go before opening time in October, when we will be long gone.

This weekend, we welcome my neighbour, Mrs Bancroft, into the bosom of the village. She has been hard at work as a volunteer in the Oympic Park and it's been an experience she'll never forget. And, like the letterboxes around the country painted gold in honour of local medal winners, our phone box - the one Mrs Bancroft has been complaining about for so long because it's so tatty - has also had a facelift.

It's pink.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Sunday, 12 August 2012

A fishy tale

It's a sunny evening, down at the Bay. There are boats pootling around the calm waters and fishing tourists are out in force with rods and lines on the piers.

Out at sea, the mackerel aren't biting. And the fish and chip kiosks have run out of fish (oh, I wish they'd tell you that before you start queuing).

The next day, the slipway is closed. It's too rough to launch. And the white horses gallop across the water.

The dive boat comes back and a female passenger says: 'Never again.'

Today, the fresh fish supplier drives up and down the kiosks, to see if they want more cod. The kiosk owners are biting. They don't want another evening where they run out of fish. (Oh, I wish they'd tell you that before you start queuing).

A gull dive-bombs the harbour as the sprats do a pepper-pot dance just beneath the surface. It pulls out a mackerel and is jumped by five other gangster gulls wearing holsters and knuckle dusters. It gulps down the mackerel all in one go and then struggles to take off before being pounced on by the others.

In the fish shop, a woman comes in looking for lobster. In best Hyacinth Bucket voice, she sniffs and says: 'They are rather small.'

I wait my turn for my shell-on prawns, two crevettes and four scallops for a homemade seafood pasta I will share with Mr Grigg before watching Mo Farah's Olympic double. I know the customer but she hasn't seen me yet. She gets within two feet, looks up and says: 'Oh, it's you.'

Bubbles Champagne-Charlie, my neighbour. Lobsters for tea tonight.

Because the fish shop has run out of fish.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Life goes on without us

As our plans to move abroad for a year progress, there are complaints in certain quarters.

'What about Book Club?' says the Fragrant Mrs Putter.

'Discussion by Skype?' I suggest.

'Who's going to be village hall chairman?' Mr Loggins wails.

'Somebody else?' Mr Grigg says.

'You can't go, you'll miss the harvest supper. We want Mr Grigg and his crew to do their YMCA routine as a finale,' says the parson's daughter.

Celebrity Farmer's mother says: 'You've got come back to organise the fun day next year.'

Well, we won't. And village life will go on.

'No it won't,' says someone else. 'It won't be the same without you.'

It's flattering, all of this, but the village will still exist, things will still happen. Other people will step up to the plate and become catalysts.Lots of exciting things are on the horizon. It's just that we won't be there for some of them.

Like the unveiling of the village shop, which has been closed for far too long.

When it re-opens in October, thanks to an army of volunteers and people who have bought shares in this village enterprise (us included), we'll miss the grand opening. We'll be driving down to Ancona to catch a ferry, if the car makes it.

Lost in Puglia 2007
We'll miss the annual quiz, we'll miss the fireworks on Bonfire Night and carols around the Christmas tree on the village green.

We will miss all these things, but they will still happen without us.

Meanwhile, Mr Grigg and I will be learning Greek, practising backgammon so he can thrash the natives in the sleepy village square, perfecting octopus in red sauce and breathing in the Corfu air long after the tourists have left.

And after twelve months, I expect the Corfiots will be glad to see the back of us.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Batten down those hatches, it's recycling day

It's blowing a hooley out there.  The wind is lashing against the windows and the dogs are play fighting in front of the Aga before...