Published October 8, 2013 by jean cohen

I get lots of emails from folks who still read my blog.

I know; I’m not writing much anymore. But I sort of ran out of things to say. I live in England. Big deal. It’s my life.

Most people who write are seeking advice on Italian citizenship. Fair enough. I certainly class myself as an expert on that subject. A few are old friends, and, occasionally, I hear from an alien with too much time on their tentacles.

But this one’s got to be shared. It’s a Blast from the Past.

By far, the blogs relating to the Turd of Camberley were the most read and popular. They were pretty damned funny, too.

Just to recap briefly, I met Mike on a dating site. (Needless to say, I don’t ever go on dating sites any more.) Succinctly, he was a shit. Hence the sobriquet ‘Turd of Camberley’. I met three of his other conquests and we became the Witches of Meadway. Time, distance and different lives meant that we didn’t become best friends, but we’d always have The Turd in common.

This morning I heard from a new one.

She wrote: “Hi. You are Jean of the brilliant waspish Turd of Camberley blogs.” Yeah, that’s me. (modestly.)

If you need to refresh your memories, or catch up on the story, here are the blog dates: Feb. 25, 2009; February 28, 2009; March 2, 2009; March 3, 2009; March 9, 2009; March 14, 2009; March 26, 2009; Jan. 24, 2010; Mar. 10, 2010; July 18, 2010.

“ I wish I had read your blog earlier to have realised how right you were about Mike M. He is now on a site called Illicit Encounters.”

Seriously? ’Illicit Encounters’??? There are sites for that? Who knew?

Yeah. Of course, I hot fingered onto Illicit Encounters, which purports to be The UK’s Largest Married Dating Site; A discreet and confidential extra marital affairs dating service for women and men’ and surfed through a couple hundred pervy profiles to find his.

Oh. The Turd is still on a quest to ‘Rediscover Romance, Passion and Adventure”. Gee. I know of at least four women (not including me) that he had that stuff with.

“He is cheating successfully again on a really decent, good woman who deserves better.”

That’s sad, and I truly feel sorry for her.

Whynot 53’s profile is a work of Booker Prize calibre fiction. Honestly, if I wrote that well, my novel would have probably gotten published.

Here’s how he describes himself:

Laid back, easy going, open minded, honest as possible, non judgmental, erudite, eclectic, generous hearted, romantic, polite, well spoken,interested in life, adventurous, sensual.
These are all things that I consider myself and value in others.I have a good sense of humour, don’t take my self too seriously and like to laugh at the absurdities of life but can be serious minded when needed.
I have lived a full life and with a wide variety of interests. Good company but enjoy quiet times too. Like to watch the world go by and also be part of the world. Enjoy good food wine and the Arts but happy with a couple of pints, take-away and a dvd.

Hmm. I know several women who might disagree with those sterling adjectives.

And these are his interests:

Nature, Arts / Crafts, Museums / Galleries, Gardening, Music – Classical / Opera, Music – Blues/Jazz, Music – Pop / R&B, Music – Rock, Music – World, Literature / History, Football / Soccer / Rugby, Golf, Sailing / Boating, Water Sports, Theatre / Ballet, Travel / Sightseeing, Cooking, Food and Wine.

Oh, please. He’s interested in sex. Just sex. At your house so he doesn’t have to take you out.

He’s looking for a ‘Lady’ between 30 and 99. On a site called Illicit Encounters? If there are any 90-ish ladies on that site, they should rename it ‘You Go, Great Grandma!’

Colour, creed, background, looks etc are of no significance but a good sense of humour is. I’m not looking to rock boats neither am I looking for a partner/wife. Just some one who appreciates quality time in and out of the bedroom. Good conversation, shared laughter, relaxed times. Hopefully this all makes sense. Thankyou for reading my profile and look forward to hearing from and I hope, meeting you. If you are out there.

If you are out there? Cue the ‘The Love Theme from Romeo and Juliette’ or whatever.

He goes on to describe himself.

I am about 6’2" and weigh about 14 stone….ex rugby player but still quite fit, blue eyes,full head of brown hair, I wear glasses or contact lenses.I tend to dress casually but happy to don suits, ties, DJ, as befits the occasion. Even a kilt! (I am a Scot by birth…though have a very English accent).

I got a picture (in a frame) of Turd in his kilt for Christmas. That should have been a big red flag.

I guess the point is…well, there are actually two points.

First, Ladies, be careful on Dating Sites. The Turd isn’t the only sociopath out there in Cyberland. Logically, if a guy is so great, he wouldn’t need a dating site if he was looking for a real relationship. There are enough of us single women out there that he’d be spoiled for choice.

And secondly, while the Turd of Camberley is very old business, Evil Jeano (my alter ego) can’t resist any opportunity to possibly embarrass and definitely mock him.

If it saves some nice woman from getting hurt, that’s a bonus.


Published June 3, 2013 by jean cohen

I didn’t blog last week. No excuses or mea culpas. I won’t blame it on the bloody awful weather or another pointless Bank Holiday weekend.

I was taking a spin on the Hedonic Treadmill.


And, no, it’s not the newest exercise equipment at David Lloyd’s. It’s more existentialistic.

The short explanation is that the thrill of new things and new experiences always wears off and we get used to them. So I was in a snit and questioning what the hell I was actually doing in Britain. I know, it’s a bit late to be second guessing that life choice.

Fortunately, we all seem to have a set hedonic level of happiness. Events or experiences may shift our ‘happy’ level up or down, also known as ‘shit happens’, but we inevitably return to our personal set level of happiness.

So I got a grip and went back to being me. Coincidentally, we saw some sunshine here, albeit briefly. I think I am someone who needs the sun to function properly.

Since it was another boring Bank Holiday weekend, I decided to veg out and watch the first three seasons of Mad Men On Demand on Sky.

How did I miss this show?

My co-worker at Sam, Kim, is always raving about it, so I tuned in to an episode, but one can’t make sense of a show mid way through Series 6. You have to start at the beginning.
Wow. Of course, I enjoyed watching a program where everybody smokes like a chimney positively everywhere. I remember the good old days. I do have to wonder if people, even in the advertising biz, drink all day long.

But the charm is in the references to places and events, and even the songs that play at the end of each episode are so apt.

Don’s wife, Betty, is from Philadelphia, and she went to Bryn Mawr. (I was impressed. It’s a big deal; trust me.) And when Betty’s dad came for a visit, he stopped at Pat’s Steaks (a real place) and picked up cheese steaks. I wish he’d come for a visit here.

One of the agency’s clients is Utz Potato Chips. That’s real, too. I love Utz chips; they’re awesome and they’re from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I remember stuff like the Cuban Missile crisis (I was a very little girl), the Civil Rights marches, and Kennedy defeating Nixon. Everybody remembers Kennedy’s assassination.

I started jotting down notes while I was watching, and I could go on and on. I just need to score Series 4 and 5. Fast.

Moving right along, as I’d hopped off my Hedonic Treadmill, I celebrated BooBoo’s birthday on Saturday night with her and Cheeseboy at Zio’s, my favourite Italian Restaurant in Walton on Thames.

And I had a fabulous time on Sunday. I was in a parade in London.

Yes, this is true. There was a Closer to Israel march and parade ending in a rally in Trafalgar Square. I went with Ray and we rode on the open top of the United Jewish Israel Appeal’s bus, waving our Israeli flags and waving to the cheering crowds. (That was a tiny bit of artistic license; a few cheered, but not many.) I read on line this morning that in New York, which held a similar event, more than a million people turned out. I think there may have been about a thousand people at the London one.

It was, unusually for Britain, a beautiful day- warm and sunny – and the whole event was fun. The Chief Rabbi, Lord Sacks, and Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, both made moving speeches, and there were two short films shown.

I’ve saved the biggest news for last…

The Neighbors from Hell have disappeared! Somewhere else, in Elmbridge, an unsuspecting Close is in for a real treat.

It was a dark and stormy night. I’m not sure about the stormy part, although it’s very likely here. They certainly sneaked out at night, because I didn’t see or hear a thing. Geez. They didn’t even say ‘goodbye’ or ‘fuck you’ or ‘I’ll be back to slit your throat with a broken beer bottle’.

When I came home from London yesterday, I was gobsmacked to see a young couple, with two small children, clearing up the front garden at #26. It was even more overgrown than mine. I didn’t say anything to them, although I think now I should have welcomed them to the neighbourhood or something. Maybe Mr. Waitrose will make some muffins or whatever and I’ll take them across.


Published May 19, 2013 by jean cohen

It seems like my blog isn’t miraculously appearing on my Facebook page anymore. I don’t know why. Have I mentioned that I hate WordPress?

I’ve been sort of homesick this week for things Philadelphian. Partially, I think, the reason is that Philly figured in the plots of two programs that I’m watching on TV.

In ‘In Plain Sight’, a show about the Witness Protection Program, a witness and two marshalls travelled to Philly for a funeral. At the funeral, there was a huge floral bouquet, suitably done in green and white, with an Eagles banner in the middle. Wow, I thought. When I die, even though there are not flowers at a Jewish funeral, I want a couple of those, at least if the season was going well. The bereaved Wit-Sec guy also wore a really cool Eagles jersey through most of the episode. He wore a suit to the funeral.

I’m also watching ‘Revolution’, by those guys who did ‘Lost’. I am somewhat unimpressed by the show, but I like that whenever they show the megalomaniac General Monroe’s headquarters, he’s living in Independence Hall. (General Washington would shit a brick.)

My friend, Michael (from the Bookshop), passed away and I went to his funeral on Tuesday. Thankfully, the casket didn’t get whisked into the oven thingy until after we left the room. It was sad, but he’d done so much in his life, it was not so sad, if you know what I mean. The ‘wake’, which in Brit-speak is the reception/luncheon after the service, was at the ultra-exclusive Burhill Golf Club. I had never been there, so Mike gave me another ‘first’, which is getting pretty hard to do.

Wow. That place is gorgeous. The room where the reception was held was exactly like I expect ultra-exclusive, posh English gentile places to look, with high ceilings and decorative moldings, and two huge Georgian fireplaces. (I don’t really have a clue if they were ‘Georgian’ or not; maybe they were Victorian or Edwardian. They were pretty neat.) The food was good, and I confess I got tipsy on several glasses of wine on an empty stomach too early in the day.

I had to dash home and sober up to get to Syn for Erev Shavuot. I had to take pictures in my Press Agent role, and do a write-up for Haderech in my ‘I simply can’t say ‘no’ role’. The eats were delicious; there were, like, six different kinds of cheesecake for dessert, because, of course, cheese is a must for Shavuot meals.

I sat with Cousin Bernie at dinner. He lived (and worked) in Pittsburgh for a couple years and has this notion that we have something in common because I’m from the same state. I have explained to him many, many times that living in Pittsburgh is not something to brag about. Not only isn’t it the cool side of Pennsylvania, it’s practically in West Virginia, and therefore, they are hillbillies and talk funny.

I went up to London on Friday with Adriana. The plan was to look at a flat she’s thinking of buying as an investment, go to the Victoria & Albert, and have dinner somewhere in the City.

The flat is in South Kensington, which, I guess, is a trendy area. It is chock a block crowded. I expect I have gotten really old, because living in the city, any city, doesn’t seem very appealing anymore.

The flat was… miniscule. Truly. I could not see me living there and I’m one person. It comprised 37 square meters, which is about 398 square feet. It had a tiny galley kitchen, a living room, a smallish bedroom and a not very modern bathroom, a quarter of which was taken up by a washing machine. All that for about a bazillion pounds, because it’s in London. I know. I’m being all American and princessy. But it’s my blog and my opinion. None of it was even ‘wow, that’s nice!’ I couldn’t think of a single nice thing to say about the flat to Adrianna, except that if you were sitting in the living room, you could cook in the kitchen at the same time, if the spatula had a long handle.

We took the tube over to the V&A after our tour of the flat. The exhibit on right now is ‘David Bowie’ for £14.00. I just wasn’t that big a Bowie fan. We wandered through the some of the free exhibits and then found a very nice little Italian restaurant for dinner. The couple sitting at the next table were Canadians on holiday, and we started chatting. Well, duh. One: they weren’t English so they talk to strangers; and two: Canadians are friendly and want to be liked by everybody.

So that was my week.

I’m on a bit of a tear about Facebook at the moment. Why, why, why do people need to post whatever stupid thing comes into their heads? Or share some sentiment they copied when they got locked overnight in a Hallmark Store?

Now that I’m playing Scrabble and Words with Friends on Facebook, I go on quite often. And you see posts and read them, even if you don’t want to.

I have some recommendations.

What I especially don’t like is ‘Like’. You know, the ‘Like’ thingy. I don’t like ‘Like’.

BooBoo very patiently explained that friends click ‘Like’ to indicate that they have seen what you posted. But they don’t necessarily ‘Like’ it.

So I would like it if Facebook changed the thingies under a post. I have a few suggestions.

1. Yeah. I saw your post. So what?

2. That was actually interesting/amusing.

3. Was that post another thinly veiled insult to Americans?

4. And your game scores are breaking news because…?

5. Christ! You posted another banal cartoon about drinking copious quantities of wine? Maybe you need to check out the Friends of Bill W page.

The Merry Month of May

Published May 13, 2013 by jean cohen

I didn’t even cry.


I checked out the weather forecast every day this week (Met Forecast: There will definitely be weather on Saturday.  What kind?  Who knows?)  The weather was manic every day, changing from so-so to hurricane, sometimes hourly.


When I spoke to BooBoo on Friday night she was surprised.  “You’re not hysterical” she said somewhat accusingly. 


“Duh” I retorted, stung by her inference that I didn’t care about the Friends of the Weybridge Centre Spring Fayre.  “It’s not like it’s my Festa di Independenza barbecue, is it?”


There’s important, and then there’s really not important in the larger scheme of Life.


The committee spent Friday afternoon getting set up.  This involved moving every bloody piece of furniture out of the lounge at the Centre to set up the tables for the inside stalls.  The Manager, tottering around on her six inch heels, watched.  At least Sanjay used to help.


I was in charge of commissioning the stalls this year, and I thought I did a damned fine job.  Unfortunately, at 6:45 am on Saturday morning, the Face Painter rang to cancel.  Her child was ill.  At least that’s what she said.  It might have had something to do with the gale force winds.


At 8:45 the Food Van lady rang to say the parking spaces we’d promised her had cars parked in them.  I had reminded Skinny in the six inch heels to put cones in the spaces at least five times.  Urghh!  I did enjoy going to the estate agent office and demanding that the woman parked in our designated spot move her car immediately.  She actually said to me “I don’t appreciate your attitude.”  And I said “Sweetie, you haven’t even seen my attytood yet.”


Of course, none of the stall holders liked their allotted spots and kvetched.  So, moving tables and bickering ensued.


The Mayor officially declared the Fayre ‘Open’ at 11:00.  In my Weekly Weybridge is a Small Town moment, her chauffer said to me “Have we met before?”  “Yeah” I told him.  “You were at my table at the Pesach Seder at my synagogue last year with the previous Mayor and his wife.  And I sat you with my friends at the Thanksgiving Dinner when their Mayorlinesses came.”


We had a sizeable crowd come through, but they were browsers not buyers.  I don’t think most of the stalls did very well.  The two Jamaican ladies selling Jerk Chicken and other Caribbean food got a little hostile.  I hoped they wouldn’t put a voodoo curse on me. 


At 1:30 sharp, the overcast skies and biting wind morphed into a torrential downpour.  People left, people didn’t bother coming, and the already grumbling stall holders started packing up. I am never doing another Spring FFFFayre.


He was the Prime Minister of Canada

Published May 6, 2013 by jean cohen

It’s a Bank Holiday weekend here, which means … um … nothing really.  People are off work on Monday and shops are closed, but there’s no purpose.  We’re not celebrating anything.


CheeseBoy returned from Sharm el Sheikh very brown and with the mother lode of fags for me, so it was a successful vacation.  And Boo made an excursion to Costco’s and got me lots of Kirkland Coffee, so I’m all set for watching it piss down rain all weekend. I’m stocked up on the two basic food groups- coffee and fags.


A so so week here.  Gardener Guy came to chop down the forest of green stuff that grew over the winter.  He is so damned hunkalicious; he even sweats sexy.  It’s well worth the £’s just to eye his tush in those tight little jeans.  Getting rid of the green shit is a bonus.


I went to an Aviv Evening.  That’s a social club through Syn.  It’s sort of a get together, with coffee and dessert, and an activity or game.  We were asked to pick a famous Jewish person and list ten facts about them, beginning with obscure and getting easier.  I picked Barbra Streisand and thought I’d stump the group, at least until the ‘easy’ facts, like ‘played Fanny Brice’.  (That wasn’t really one of my facts.)  Anyway, Fact #5 – Dated Pierre Trudeau – had Tina shouting ‘Barbra!’  I did amazingly well; that visit to the Museum of American Jewish History paid off and I knew a lot of useless information about famous Jews.  (Did you know Danny Kaye once owned the Seattle Mariners? I did.)  I came in fourth place.  I won a box of chocolate truffles.


Ray came for Scrabble and we had two really tough games.  We each won one. 


Oddly, the weather got positively Spring-like in the middle of the week.  At least, what I think I remember Spring feeling like.  I went out for lunch with Hazel to a charming pub along the Wey River called the Pelican.  It was so sunny that we ate our fish & chips outside in the garden.  I thought “It’s exactly for the ten days a year like this that I put up with the other 340… 360… 355 days!”


I got a flyer through my door this week (in the mail slot, right under the admonition ‘no solicitation’ no flyers, no junk mail’) inviting me to a seminar at the Weybridge Library on Saturday afternoon by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association on ‘Peace for All’.  My first thought was ‘Shit!  They know where I live!’  Then I calmed down and figured they put the flyers in everybody’s door, even the Neighbours from Hell.  Well… maybe not theirs.


I talked Adriana into going with me and we moseyed over to the Library.  There were, like, 6 Muslim guys hosting the event, but no women.  We were instantly creeped out.  One of them practically attached himself to my leg, following me around and handing me leaflets like ‘Some Frequently Asked Questions About Islam’.


“Trust me” I told the guy, “I don’t have any questions about Islam.”


It was almost as bad as letting a Jehovah’s Witness into your house.  They were proselytizing very aggressively.  Yeah.  That worked out real well for Tamarin Tsarnaev’s stupid wife, didn’t it?


Bashir, my guide to Mohammed, invited me to visit the mosque in Malden.  (He gave me his email address and his phone number; I did not reciprocate.) 


I’ll add that to my list, right after cooking something that I grew and camping.


Performance Appraisal

Published May 5, 2013 by jean cohen

I love lists.  I can’t get enough of David Letterman’s Top Tens, and I always read the ones online that do like ‘the Five Scariest Movies Ever’, or ‘The Eight Best TV Theme Songs’, or ‘The Eleven Porn Actors Who Are Not Acting’.  (I made that last one up. If anybody has actually seen one, please send the link.)


Anyway, there was one yesterday: ’20 Things to Do Before You Die’.


It’s not like I’m depressed or anything.  But I have come to the conclusion that there are a lot of people out there from places I can’t even spell who want to kill me.  Hey, they want to kill you too, so don’t call me paranoid.


Anyway, I figured I’d better check and make sure I’m up to speed- no stones unturned blah blah blah.


I did pretty well.  So if any Islamic jihadists from some unpronounceable place turn me into unconnected blobs of protoplasm, I haven’t missed much.  Oh.  And I want to be buried with all my Louis Vuittons.  So get a bigger casket.


Starting with an easy one, ‘Adopt a Pet’, we always had dogs.  Rommel, who was a very scary looking German Shepherd, was my faithful companion.


‘Design and Build a House’ – Seriously??  Using my lily white hands?  I give myself points for this one because when we moved into our house in KofP, there was this wall between the kitchen and the den.  It went up half-way and then there were spindles to the ceiling.  I hated those spindles. They reminded me of June Cleaver or the 60’s.   DeadJerry told me that they held the second floor up.  He lied.  One day, when Toots and Ron were over, I was kvetching about the spindles and Ron went into the garage and got DeadJerry’s superduper macho man ginormous cutting tool thingy and removed them.  (You should have seen DeadJerry’s face.)  Anyway, I ‘designed’ and Ron ‘unbuilt’ and the second floor didn’t end up on the first floor.  And I was very happy.


‘Go Wilderness Camping’ – Really.  If the Jihadists sent me a text telling me I was next to get vaporized, I would still politely decline any invitations that included the words ‘wilderness’ and ‘camping’.  Although I once stayed in a Holiday Inn in Des Moines, Iowa, which should count.


‘Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving’ – Although I don’t scuba dive, I have been fortunate to snorkel in some of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean many times.


‘Be Cheered by a Crowd’ – Whether it was inciting a riot at Texas Stadium during an Eagles-Cowboys game and getting ejected or modelling in a Fashion Show for Sam Beare, I have heard the roar of the crowd for me.  And I get a positively swelled head from all the applause and compliments at the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner.


‘Taking a Leap of Faith’ – I do this every August when I believe that this is the year my Eagles will win the Super Bowl.


‘Own Your Own Business’ – I did, with DeadJerry.  It might look good checked off a To-Do List, but it’s a lot of hard work and stress.


‘Buy a Home’ – Check. 


‘Give Something Back’ – This was a bit unclear.  If you gave me something, like a diamond or a Louis Vuitton, no way in hell am I gonna give it back.  I don’t care how mad at you I get.  Oh.  ‘Give back’ in the metaphorical sense.  Yes, of course.  I give lots of time and effort to charitable causes.  And I always donate a few £’s or $’s to friends’ giving pages, like Cooking David’s Grow a Mustache.


‘Drive Coast to Coast’ – Well, I haven’t actually done this.  We’ve driven from Philly to Key West, Florida, and Philly to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I drove the whole part of Route 66 in Arizona, which should count.


‘Buy a Piece of Art Because You Love It- I saw these custom made ‘people’ at an art show and bought myself a life sized butler (dubbed Bunter ala Lord Peter Wimsey) who stood between the living room and the dining room holding a tray of drinks.  The dog was terrified of Bunter, and guests provided hours of amusement after they screamed when they caught a glimpse of him lurking in the shadows.


‘Take a Sabbatical’ – Well duh!  What else would you call what I’m doing?


‘Get Your Heart Broken’ – Jerry and Matthew both succeeded admirably.


‘Make a Piece of Furniture’ – DeadJerry actually made it – a beautiful cabinet – but I supervised.


‘Take a Stand’ – I did.  I fought, and won, a legal battle where I was the injured party.  No, I’m not sharing the details.


‘Do Work You Really Care About’ – Again, my volunteer work for the Hospice is really important, and it remains a way to honor Jerry.


‘Do Something That Really Scares You’ – I did.  I put myself out there on the dating sites.  It didn’t work out, but I learned a lot about myself, other people, and human nature.


‘Make a Meal With Food You Raised Yourself’ – Let’s be honest here.  That’s never going to happen.  I have enough bloody trouble with the ’make a meal’ part; forget about ‘raised yourself’.  Unless you want to come to dinner for ‘weeds parmisan’.


I saved the best for last, because these are the two I aced.


‘Live in a Foreign Country’ – I am either a legend in my own time, or insane.  I am still living here in Britain and still having an adventure.


‘Keep a Journal’  – ‘Oh, to be in England’ will be my legacy.


So, other than growing and cooking, and camping, I’m pretty satisfied that I’ve done it all.



Published April 28, 2013 by jean cohen

I know that the last blog wasn’t up to standard.  I guess my muse was otherwise engaged.


This week was a bit more of my usual doing stuff.


I did my gigs as Tea Lady and Bookstore Clerk without any weird stuff happening, like undercover cops turning up.  (Boy, did Kim and I catch hell for that.)


Incidentally, Mike, my favourite partner at the Book Shop, passed away this week.  It wasn’t unexpected, but it’s still sad.  The funeral is in about three weeks.  I will never get used to the custom here (unless you’re Jewish) of waiting so damned long to bury a loved one.  I sort of picture the bereaved family just carrying on with their day to day lives while the deceased is on ice somewhere.  Yuck.


Mike’s son, Brian, is my Computer Guy now and I’ve recommended him to all my friends, so positively everybody pushes ‘hold’ and rings Brian.


Anyway, Mike’s being cremated.  The funeral is at Randall’s in Leatherhead, and it won’t be my first visit to Randall’s nor my first cremation.  My friend Hester’s was my first and it scarred me for life.  (No jokes, please, about being too old to be scarred for life.)  When the mechanism came on to swoosh Hester’s coffin into the oven behind the curtain, I thought I was going to puke.


Moving on to happier topics, I went to Richmond on Wednesday night with Ray and Adriana to the cinema.  We saw ‘Dans la Maison’ at the Odean.  For Americans, that means ‘In the House’.  It was in French, probably because it was a French film.  Fortunately for me, they wrote what the characters were saying underneath.  Otherwise, I would have had to guess.

I really liked the film.


A very ‘Jeano-ish’ thing happened before we got to the cinema.  We were going to the 5:30 show, so we decided we’d have dinner in Richmond afterwards.  As we walked to the theatre, we checked out the restaurants we passed as possibilities.  We stopped outside this charming little Italian restaurant called ‘Al Boccon Di Vino’ to check out the menu, and the owner called from inside for us to come in.  He said it was one of his employee’s birthdays and that they wanted us to celebrate with them.  He presented us with a bottle of wine (pretty nice, too) and slices of birthday cake.  However, they couldn’t seat us for dinner after the film as they were fully booked.  It’s a small place, and they have one seating as it’s a seven course meal.


I kept waiting for there to be a catch, like getting a bill for the wine and cake, but there wasn’t any.  Ray kept shaking his head all the way to the cinema, muttering ‘That doesn’t happen in England.’  Of course it doesn’t.  The guy was Italian.  And he was extremely hot, by the way.  I certainly want to go back there to eat.


There was a Bat Mitzvah at shul this week.  JAP score on the outfits and food:  Mother of the B|M girl – 5; B/M girl – 7; Oneg – 6.5.   


Cheeseboy is in Sharm el Sheikh (of all places) this week soaking up some Vitamin D so Boo and I had a proper girls’ night on Saturday. 


Finally, keep watching this space.  There is Trouble here in River City, or Weybridge, if you insist on being pedantic.  It involves someone I used to be friends with, and it is truly horrific.

Nowhere to Run

Published April 23, 2013 by jean cohen

I’m not sure I can be funny in this blog, given the events that occurred in Boston last week.

I guess we have to add Chechens now as folks who want to kill us. Sadly, like most Americans, I probably couldn’t have pinpointed Chechnya on a map- until Thursday or Friday, when I was glued to my TV watching the events in Boston unfold live. It was surreal, especially as step-grandson Zachary is at uni in Beantown.

Of course, it’s not all Chechens, like it’s not ‘all’ of any other ethnic group. It’s the you-know-what bloody Islamic fundamentalists. Why do liberals and do-gooders like the ‘Multi-Faith Forum’ not get this? These people are conquering our world, one crazed fanatic at a time.

I was sort of glad I live in England and not the USA. Maybe it’s safer here. Wait a second! They’re worse here. They expect the UK to cater to their beliefs and customs, instead of the other way around. I think maybe nowhere is really safe from terrorists.

This is a subject best left to pundits to expound on.

I hadn’t mentioned in last week’s blog the death of Margaret Thatcher. I guess it was note-worthy. I skipped the coverage of the funeral on TV, but I was amazed at the extent of negative posts about her on Facebook.

Oddly enough, Annette Funicello of Mouseketeer fame died on the same day. The posts on Facebook were plentiful and the Youtube clips were nostalgic and fun to watch. Anybody remember ‘Spin and Marty’?

Ordinary life goes on, and I did my usual stuff – Tea Lady and Bookshop – plus lots of meetings on the Spring Fayre which is coming awfully soon. As with anything in England, the big issue, the only issue to worry about really is the weather. The Fayre is on May 11; will it be typical English weather: freezing cold and pouring rain?

I did have a weird thing happen on Thursday at the Bookshop. A guy came in right after our shift started and flashed a ‘warrant card’ at Kim and me. He asked if we had a room on the first floor (in England the second floor is the first floor. I have no idea why) which looked out over the High Street. I said that we did and he asked if he could ‘take a look’.

Our upstairs consists of a unused office, a room that the Sam Beare counsellor does Bereavement counselling in a couple days a week, and the loo.

So, this guy goes upstairs… and never comes down.

Kim and I were sort of freaking out and whispering to each other “You go see what he’s doing.” “No, you should go.”

We didn’t hear any noise or anything, and we were busy, so we let it go. Finally, I sent Kim next door to the other shop to ask the Manager what to do. In true managerial style, she said she’d call the Big Boss.

The Big Boss called the shop and I explained that the proported police officer had gone upstairs, never to return. She demanded to speak to him, so I took the phone and went upstairs.

Sure enough, he was in the front office. He’d made himself comfortable and he really was just watching the entrance to the pub across the street—maybe for a drug deal or whatever to go down.

This Isn’t Grandma’s House

Published April 14, 2013 by jean cohen

I forgot to mention during all that ‘what I did on my vacation’ blogging that one of my relatives actually complained that I’m only blogging once a week.

Give me a break. I would probably have to make stuff up to be interesting and funny more than once a week. Obviously, I would never do that. ‘Truth in reporting’ is my byword. (Yeah, right.)

Before I report on my exciting first week back in freezing, wet, cold England, something kinda creepy did happen. I was in the kitchen baking some muffins (absolutely the truth; they sell these wonderful things called ‘mixes’ at Target; you don’t have to do anything except mix the stuff all together and bake it at 325°, unless you’re in the aforementioned England in which case you would end up with molten ashes if you tried using 325°).

Where was I? Oh, yeah. The creepy thing. Anyway, I heard this knocking on the French doors in my lounge. I went to investigate since there is no way to get to my garden except through the front door, unless you climb over the 12’ Historically Listed Henry VIII stone wall.

Holy shit! It was a fox! Trying to get into my lounge. And it was big and had a lean and hungry look. What did I do, you ask? Well of course I screamed my tush off, but the damned fox just stared at me. So I tried “Shoo!”, “Scat!”, “Beat it!” and “Yo, I have a Fox Hound called Jon Stewart for a pet; I’m gonna call him”, none of which worked.

It crossed my mind that maybe one of those scary chipmunks from Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania had read the blog and texted Mr. Fox to drop in and scare the crap out of me. It was just a hypothesis.

Then I thought maybe it’s the muffins. Maybe he thinks I’m going to schlep the muffins to Grandmother’s house and he’s waiting to ambush me. Wait a minute. I was confused (again). Wasn’t that a wolf? Sorry, wrong fairy tale.

Anyway, we had an Italian or some nationality stand-off.

Finally, Mr. Fox got bored or realized I wasn’t about to let him in and jumped over the fence into my neighbour’s garden. (That should be ‘neighbor’s’, but Word keeps changing it.) So it was no longer my problem and the muffins were excellent.

My calendar was already chock-a-block with commitments upon my return, and even though I’m the world’s worst traveller and felt like a zombie for a few days, duty called.

Sunday night was the Syn’s annual Yom Hashoah (Holocaust) Commemoration. I’d promised to go to take pictures in my role as synagogue Press Officer, and write the article for Haderech because I can’t ever seem to say the word ‘No’. The speaker was a local man who had been hidden as a small child by two sisters in Paris during the Nazi occupation. It was an amazing story. I tried really hard to stay awake for the whole thing since I have to come up with a dynamite article about it.

Tuesday was Tea Lady duty and shopping with Carol in Addlestone. Due to severe Jet Lag, I was too tired to hit more than three charity shops, Iceland, Tesco’s, and the Pound Shop.

Wednesday I worked at a Sam Beare event, a Bridge Tea. This was combat duty. Apologies in advance to Bridge playing readers, but Bridge Players suck. We had to make up the trays of cake and sandwiches, and after their first rubber (I think that’s what it’s called), we had to serve them and tea. The players demanded absolute quiet and got most annoyed if we make noise like clinking the dishes or dropping stuff. (No, I didn’t drop anything.) And their tea… This one wanted more milk, or less milk, or no milk, or a bloody particular colour tea. If we weren’t fast enough, they snarled at us. I was going to tell one particular player that I have a friend who is a fox and would like to meet her up close and real personal. The event did raise £1400 for the hospice.

Wednesday evening was an Israel Group meeting at shul. Ray didn’t come, so I just volunteered him for every job at our upcoming Shabbat Atzma’ut, celebrating Israel’s 65th birthday on April 20 for spite. I’m doing a reading, and me and Mr. Waitrose have to make something for the luncheon.

Thursday night was back to shul again for Book Club. I read the book, ‘The Liar’s Gospel’, on my Kindle while I was home. By what I am sure is pure coincidence, it was Easter time and the book was about Jesus, Judas, Barrabas, and the High Priest. I really enjoyed the book, and, as usual, half of the group liked it and half didn’t.

Our next book is a murder mystery set in Dublin in the 1930’s.

Speaking of murder and mayhem, I saw an advertisement on TV. Sky is going to be showing ‘Banshee’ starting sometime soon. In the States, BooBoo and I watched all ten episodes On Demand in one day, on Janet and Abe’s recommendation. Wow! It’s about this town in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. There’s this Sheriff who isn’t really a Sheriff, this jewel thief, this Russian mob guy, this weird Amish guy with Jesus on a crucifix tattooed on his back for starters. It’s very violent, there’s a lot of hot sex and I can’t recommend it highly enough. Boo and I swear we are going to fly to Philly to watch Season Two as soon as Stuart’s cable company is showing it

Take me where the cement grows

Published April 7, 2013 by jean cohen

It was sad to see BooBoo go back to England, but, being truthful, it gave me a bit of a rest. All that translating. “Um…what did she say?” people kept asking me. She said ‘Hello, how are you?’ I would patiently (at least at first) explain. Eventually, it was more like ‘for Fuck’s sake, she speaking English, not Swahili! Concentrate.” And vice versa. BooBoo: ‘Why did Stuart say he’s wearing a vest over his shirt? What does he wear under his shirt?’ Me: ‘That would be his undershirt’. BooBoo: ‘Really? There’s a word undershirt?’

Anyway, I haven’t slowed down a bit during this blitzkrieg of Philly, even though I haven’t actually gone into Center City even once. But I’ve been to a lot of other places.

No trip home is complete without a visit to cousin GerryP’s house in the Greater. I was there for Easter weekend so there was a lot going on.

On Friday we had lunch at License to Injure and Blood Relative’s cool new McMansion in the boonies. I’m not making this up. I saw Indians (the American kind, not the Post Office kind) up on the ridge on horses waiting to attack Seth Bond and the wagon train on the way. Okay. I made that up, but they really do live in the wilderness. You have to drive twenty minutes to get to a mall.

I politely offered my condolences to License on the demise of the Explorers in the Sweet Sixteen round of March Madness. He’s a LaSalle alum. (My bracket imploded even earlier than the Sweet Sixteen, and I sure didn’t pick the Explorers to go anywhere.)

A visit to GerryP always includes lots of shopping and trips to the casino. I think she is the bestest cousin ever. And eating. We had the most delicious pizza I’ve ever tasted and, yes, I ate the leftovers for breakfast the next morning – cold; the only way to eat leftover pizza.

On Saturday we drove to Delaware to great nephew Cason’s first birthday party. We didn’t see any Indians; Wilmington is quite civilized. We did see about a hundred screaming toddlers. I’m not sure children should be welcome at birthday parties.

Saturday night GerryP and I went out for a fancy dinner to Johnny’s, this fabulous Italian restaurant. What else would we eat besides Italian? On Sunday after breakfast in a diner, it was a leisurely stop at the Casino again, and then on to Colonel Mickey’s sister, Donna’s, house for Easter dinner. That was actually a bit tricky since it was still Passover.

Don’t bother emailing; I know I ate pizza during Passover. But it was very flat pizza. And I was home. And British pizza sucks. And I won’t have real pizza again for, like, a whole year.

Donna lives sort of near Blood Relative in the wilds of rural Pennsylvania. I’m not making this up. We saw some Pilgrims hunting wild turkey for Easter dinner. Okay, I made that up too, but I really did think GerryP and me were going to fall off Pennsylvania and land in, like, Idaho or whatever. I was navigating, which is never, ever a good idea.

Dinner was awesome. Being Italian, Colonel Mickey’s family realizes that Italian Wedding Soup and gnocchi are intrinsic components of all holiday meals. And it was wonderful to see Donna and all the other sixty or so Dell’Aquila’s who were at dinner. Donna and I go way back- to high school – and a certain trip to Italy where we were not very good girls. That’s all I’m saying about that.

Then it was back to Stuart’s for one night, before going off on a road trip with Toots.

Yes, I’m tired just blogging about it all.

Toots and I have some major history. We figured out that we have been friends for forty years. Honestly. Lots of stuff happened during all those years, including a severing of our friendship, which we rectified, an ill-advised plot to fix up Stuart with Toots’ daughter, and many, many vacations together with Ron, Toots’ husband, and DeadJerry, who were great friends.

She is also my favorite Scrabble opponent.

So when I was planning my visit home, I was quite chuffed with her plan to drive to Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania to see the house on a lake Ron and Toots are practically rebuilding as their retirement home.

To get to Tunkhannock, one drives up the Pennsylvania Turnpike all the way past Wilkes Barre, the last outpost of civilization before Ohio. Geez. It’s so rural. I’m not making this up, but I saw some wild animals, like squirrels or chipmunks something, eyeing us up as potential dinner ingredients. And the nearest mall is 45 minutes away!

We stopped in the actual town part of the boonies and had a fab lunch in a restaurant called ‘Twigs’, which was so cool it could have been anywhere in the Anti-boonies. And stopped in some quaint little ‘small town rural America’ shops. And the bakery for pastries. And the supermarket for noshes. And the big mother liquor store for wine. I assume a big mother liquor store is quite a necessity in the boonies. We got some awesome pinot grigio called ‘Middle Sister’. I highly recommend it.

Toots’ house is charming; or at least it will be when she finishes re-arranging the walls, floors, windows, doors, etc. In 40 years, I have seen Toots ‘re-arrange’ many houses, including some that were mine.

We opened the Middle Sister and settled down to several serious games of Scrabble and catching up. It sure gets dark and quiet in the wilderness at night. I took a spare bottle of Middle Sister up to bed with me—not to drink. I already had plenty. I figured I’d whack the first chipmunk who tried to make me an hors d’oeuvre on his furry little tete.

Our road trip went all too quickly and it was back down the Turnpike to traffic jams and strip malls (Thank God!).

I had just enough time to shower and change after Toots dropped me off at Stuart’s. I was having dinner with my attorney, the one and only ‘grown-up, serious’ engagement of my trip.

Bennett has been my attorney forever, and I am quite fond of him. In fact, he helped me get my Italian citizenship. Well, he went to court for me to get some misspelled vital records corrected that were standing in the way of my citizenship. The first thing he said to me (after ‘hello) was ‘Let me see it!” and I proudly proffered the Magical Passaporto Rosso.

Bennett really floored me by telling me that I am amazing and a legend in my own time because I decided I wanted to live in England and then made it happen. I just assume that most people think I am crazy. I never thought I did anything extraordinary. I guess maybe I did.