Stray phones and “Cottages”

Life’s on a go slow. It’s not what I expected, either. My phone is safely tucked away out of my reach and I’m cuddled up on a couch in a cottage in Oxfordshire.

Before I begin, let me explain those two statements in more detail. Firstly, my phone had better be safe, or I’ll be slapping someone with a wet fish. It’s my favourite threat. I love it, you phish me oft and I’ll slap you with a wet fish. This threat is a good one, as the people I threaten are inevitably far enough away for the threat never to be realised. That was until the Roger incident. I forgot that I never threaten something I won’t do. He sat in my dining room and repeatedly joked about my inadequacy as a speller. I threatened and just had to follow through. The only problem was the only fish I had available was a pair of vacuum-packed peppered mackerel, which immediately got taken out and slapped across a very stunned Roger’s head.

“That’ll teach him,” I thought to myself. However as with everything I do it had its consequences. I can’t eat fish anymore without a picture of our Rog holding his head with tears falling down his face. I didn’t hit him that hard. He’s a bloody good actor. And I’m now smiling with the thought of that day and the five hours whinging he did.

So, my phone had better be safe. I may be on holiday but I’m sure I can find the fish section in the supermarkets. They all seem to be laid out the same way, don’t they? I understand the deli, fish, meat and bakers being at the back of the supermarkets, or along the walls to one side. I understand the need for all the alcohol to be together, the crisps and the chocolate, but what I don’t understand is why the men who design the layouts, and it is the men, why they have to put the heavy items we need after the delicate products. I mean there is nothing worse than having to pick up a 2lt bottle of fabric conditioner and find yourself wading through the watercress, donuts and eggs in the trolley to find a safe place for the bottle, or is that just me.

We came out of one such supermarket yesterday after an afternoon of food and crocodiles. But that’s another story. Being dropped off I had to get out of the car. Easy enough. Open door, depart, close door. It was slightly different yesterday. Yesterday, I opened the car door, looked down for the extra step that should have been there to get out of the 4X4. The dog didn’t want to wait and pushed past fearing nothing for her safety as she tried to jump the gap that was twice her height, I went to grab her lead to realise it wasn’t there at the same time as noticing that Mark was struggling out of the front seat without his walking stick. The dog jumped, catching my leg. My bum did the jump and crack as I landed on the ground, banging my coccyx. Is it any wonder that I didn’t remember to check I had my phone, with shopping, dogless lead and crippled Mark on my hands? And, and you couldn’t make it up if you tried, a car pulled up and a very randy golden retriever got out that found my dogs rear end rather exciting. So, with arms full, leg trying to manoeuvre dogs apart, I kid you not, my phone was the last thing on my mind.

The Dog belonged to the niece of the owner of the cottage we are staying in. It’s nice, in its own way but I would have done it differently. I’m not moaning, after all when was the last time you heard me moan? I’m about to put forward my own observations of the differences that I consider to be right and wrong. That’ not moaning that constructive criticism.

Firstly, there’s no salt and pepper. I never pack salt and pepper because wherever you go they always have salt and pepper. It’s not as petty as you think. We the English are Salt and Pepper connoisseurs. We expect it to be just right. White salt and black pepper. None of this fancy Himalayan Pink rubbish, cut into pre-cut diamond shapes placed in a pepper grinder. Grinders are for pepper. If I wanted to grind my own salt I would expect it to be cheaper, not cost the same as a T-Shirt for Asda’s for a poxy posh pot.

Secondly, What’s with the shower door. It doesn’t open up quite right. It’s on the wrong way round and my 6ft 4inch husband has a lot of trouble squeezing his bod through the gap into the tiny cubicle. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy with it, but as per usual the designers of these things never cater for the Neanderthal Troll type that us normal folk may have to bring with us.

And thirdly, “Cottage” is always a mute word when one books a week away in the countryside. Be honest, you see the word cottage on the website and pictures of a beautiful patio and quaint rooms, you don’t expect a box building that is partially underground. We are honestly. The back wall has windows in the living area and the bedroom that look out into a gutter. The top of which look out at boot level. I say boot level because, as the kindly owner informed us when we called him 30 minutes away from the “cottage” they are having a patio built. Hang on I saw patio pictures on line. As we arrived we were directed in to a parking space. Which was once the nice courtyard/patio area that I was looking forward to sitting in during the day. Alas it is not to be. Furthermore, now the car is in, we ain’t, no way, no how, getting the bugger out again. Bloody builders have blocked us in. Plus, did I tell you, it’s Sunday and they are working.

So I’m now sitting in a darkened room in a very nicely furnished underground bunker without a phone. Doomed, doomed, doomed I tell you.

On the bright side, Marks asleep so that’s one less noise I have to deal with, but I may have to go shopping for three wet fish, bloody builders.

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