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All posts for the month April, 2006

THE QUEEN AND I

Published April 21, 2006 by jean cohen

Well, back to reality with a thud. The house was still there. Still as big, still crammed with stuff. Two weeks worth of mail to sort through, bills to pay, and no Internet on any of the computers. But of course, getting the network sorted out was MY responsibility.

Jesus Wept! I changed my mind….I can’t sell my house, unless everything inside is included. I am afraid to go outside the house. Not only because of Stalker Barbie, but I think the Dustmen have put a contract out on me. The other day, I double-parked down the street until they finished at my house. I really thought four little Mexicans might jump me, screaming "Senora has mucho trash!" and other epithets in Spanish.

Thankfully, friends are pitching in to help; otherwise, the temptation to just drive to the airport and get on the next flight to London would be awfully attractive.

On a more cheerful note, thanks for all the ecards and mail for The Queen’s Birthday. Unfortunately, mine is actually not until August. But if there are birthday parcels winging their way to King of Prussia…sure, it’s my birthday, too.

Happily, Her Frumpiness did not disappoint, in a lurid neon pink ensemble of coat and goddamn ugly hat. Eighty year old Queens, whether male or female, should abstain from pink. I know I’ve asked this before. WHO DRESSES HER?? Dame Edna?

Thanks to the Irish lad for the birthday card with MY likeness on the 50 Quid Note. I assume that the subject in German said, "Jeano is the best" or something like that. Duh! I don’t speak German. I barely speak British. I guess Terry has forgiven me for saying he was less than pulchritudinous as a transvestite. If Stewie ever sends the snaps, I promise to post them. Note to Terry: UPDATE YOUR F*CKING BLOG. You’ve probably forgotten how wonderful the dinner I slaved over for you was. (That was a hint of what to write about.)

Poor Pinkie is busy slaving over her dissertation for college, "Mammary Glands; Why Some Men Find Them Addictive". Truthfully, she has been not much fun lately. I offered to ghostwrite the damned paper for her, and use big words and everything. But, no, Pinkie has to do it herself.

I’ll end with a joke today, provided by Karen. The fact that it’s an Irish joke is purely coincidence.

 

Three dead bodies turn up at the mortuary, all with very big smiles on their faces. The coroner calls the police to show them what’s happened.
A Detective Inspector is sent and is taken straight to the first body. "Englishman, 60, died of heart failure whilst making love to his mistress. Hence the enormous smile Inspector", says the Coroner.
The DI is taken to the second dead man. "Scotsman, 25, won a thousand pounds on the lottery, spent it all on whisky. Died of alcohol poisoning, hence the smile."
Nothing unusual here, thinks the DI, and asks to be shown the last body. "Ah," says the coroner, "this is the most unusual one. Irishman, 30, struck by lightning."
"Why is he smiling then?" inquires the Inspector.
"Thought he was having his picture taken", replies the coroner.

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NOW I’VE HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE…

Published April 18, 2006 by jean cohen

Dearest Stewart Hall and Karen loaned me a mobile so I could keep in touch with my mates, as well as keep track of my social engagements, most of which involved the Grotto. Karen and Lou are very special people, and wonderful friends.

On Saturday morning, Jarvo picked me up at Paula’s, as I was spending the weekend in the Royal Borough of Berkshire, at Louise and Mark’s new house. Mark took me the scenic route, past Ascot, which is finally finished renovating and will begin the racing season in May, Prince Charles’ polo club, and the ultra posh golf club where Ewen (license to kill) plays. I don’t know if he golfs in his kilt, but a girl can fantasize.

Some wonderful news for Jarvo…He’s landed a fantastic job as Senior Equipment Manager, U.S. and International, for ABC Bank. He’ll be traveling to Philadelphia frequently, and I’ve assured him my friends will entertain him in style.

Lu-lu and Jarvo have a beautiful newly-built semi-detached, in a very nice area in Wokingham. There are more pubs in Wokingham than anywhere else in England. I don’t know if this influenced their decision, but it is a very important feature. I’m kidding; actually, the new house is near Lu-lu’s parents and many of their friends. The house has three bedrooms, one with an en-suite bathroom, a large lounge, a powder room, and an awesome kitchen, with ultra modern appliances. They’ve got a detached garage, and a nice sized garden. They’re still settling in, but I’m sure they’ll be very happy.

Saturday was Helicopter’s birthday, and a pub crawl was on for the evening, so after a quick trip to Tesco’s to buy a bottle of wine for Nikki, we got ready, turning up only two hours late. They’re on Paula time in Wokingham. Helicopter, Steve, Jarvo, Lu-lu, me, and three or four of their friends, including a guy named Gareth, met up and started celebrating. Lu-lu and Helicopter’s friends were a lot of fun, and we visited several of Wokingham’s finest establishments. Pubs close there at 1:00 AM, so it was a long evening.

Nikki, Lu-lu and I were meant to do a proper Sunday Roast at a pub, but Nikki was suffering from the previous night, and was a no-show. Mark had left early Sunday morning to go to the ‘Quins match, so Lu-lu and I over-indulged on Yorkshire puddings and roasted potatoes (Yum) before heading over to Twickenham to meet the guys. Dearest Scotty, Darling James, Jarvo, Steve and N.K. were waiting for us in the Sorting Room,(a pub; no surprise there) near Twickenham Stoop. The ‘Quins had won, so everyone was in an upbeat mood. It was fantastic to get to spend some time with Scotty, whom I adore. Since his visit to Valley Forge, he has become quite interested in the War of Independence (he’s an avid Civil War buff) and we nattered on and on about the research he’s been doing and the books he’s read. He’s quite anxious to come back and see the shrines, like Independence Hall. He still can’t get over meeting Tommy McDonald. I managed to locate a copy of Tommy’s book, "They Pay Me to Catch Footballs", which I got autographed and sent to Scotty. Scotty assures me it is a prized possession and kept out of reach of Jody and Kiera’s sticky little fingers.

Jarvo, Lu-Lu and I motored back to Wokingham for an alcohol-free night of Chinese take-away and Bride and Prejudice on vi-day-o. (Note to Lulu: Remember "We Will Rock You"?)

Mark drove me to Heathrow on Monday morning, insisting on parking and coming in for a coffee to make sure I got checked-in okay. He is just the greatest!

It was a brilliant weekend, Mark and Louise, and I love you. Louise, I really won’t set your hair on fire.

It was a brilliant trip all together. And I really did feel like I came HOME. I’ve had the time of my life…and I owe it all to you.

 

 

OOH LA LA!

Published April 14, 2006 by jean cohen

Despite demos and some violence in Paris, (to the French, business as usual) Paula, Eileen and I decided to go forward with our day trip via Eurostar, which I’d never done before.

Paula woke me at 6:00 am, and in real time, we were meant to meet Eileen at Waterloo at 8:00. Due to Paula time, we ended up racing to the Eurostar check-in at about 8:40, to find Eileen, ubiquitous fag in hand, leaning on a pillar more than a little annoyed. We checked in, boarded, and Eileen immediately tried to get upgrades to first class, as she does not do the back of any conveyances. Sadly, due to the above-mentioned demos, the train was full, as many flights had been cancelled, forcing business travelers to do the train.

It was actually fine. The trip is only about 3 hours, and Paula volunteered to go to the Dining Car, returning with juice, coffee and croissants. At Gare du Nord, we queued for a taxi, and headed off to the Hotel Pont Royale for drinks and a tour. Eileen had stayed there on her last visit, and wanted us to see it. While waiting to see a room (in Eileen speak; it was actually a suite), we each had three glasses of champagne, which meant that I was pretty much done seeing Paris. After lunch in a sidewalk café, (French Fries for Eileen; Freedom Fries for loyal American me) and several cups of coffee, I was back in form.

Eileen wanted to find a particular shoe store, and thought she remembered where it was. We strolled around, getting more confused, and finally decided to take a taxi to the Pompidou Centre and start over. I recommend that anyone going to Paris should take Paula along. The advantages of a French-as-a-first-language companion are manifest. At one point, Paula was on one side of the street trying to flag down a taxi, while Eileen and I tried on the other side. A cab stopped, motioned for Eileen and me to cross the street, and then to turn the corner. As we followed his directions, he just took off. Eileen turned to me and said, "He just took the piss out of us because we’re British." How special was that?

We finally found the Arche store, and Eileen made the snooty salesperson’s day by buying several pairs of shoes and a handbag. In a minor attack of guilt, she picked up some chocs for Jan at the Gare du Nord before we left. I was confused (yeah, I know. I’m always confused) trying to figure out Sterling. Dollars and Euros. I think one of the pairs of shoes cost as much as an Audi in the States.

After more shopping and another café for more coffee, we cabbed back to the train station, had dinner and checked in for the train back to Waterloo. At Passport Control, Paula and Eileen popped right through in the line for EU Countries, leaving me behind in a long queue for "other passports". "Where did you get to?" they asked, when I eventually turned up, necessitating an explanation that as I am not a British citizen, I got sent to the other line.

We had an uneventful journey home, with plans to have a lie-in on Thursday, so I would be in shape for Live Music at the Grotto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

COMING BACK TO YOU

Published April 14, 2006 by jean cohen
Jesus Wept!  Where do I begin?  Hey, that would make a great song title for a movie….they could be young and in love…they get married…she dies.  Pass the kleenex.

I kinda hid out for a few days ‘till I was sure none of the Dyers died of ptomaine. I had a lovely dinner with Allison, a lovely dinner with Paula, and a long natter and lovely dinner with Vickums.  Of course, I visited the Grotto one or two times.  In fact, when I saw Claire and Ed, Ed said…”I’ll have a barbecue!”  Deja vu all over again.  I had to tell Claire, “Um, Claire.  Ed’s inviting the whole pub ‘round to yours on Sunday.”  Claire was not pleased as they’re in the midst of re-doing the kitchen and have no running water or floor in the kitchen at the moment.  In order to avoid the wrath of Claire, everyone wisely claimed to be busy on Sunday.

I also got a chance to meet James and Theresa for a drink.  They came over to the Grotto and we had a nice natter.  My schedule was so full, I was unable to fit the guys and a “Quins game in, but James bought me a “Quins keyring as a memento.  James and Theresa are coming to Philadelphia to see an Eagles game in September, even if I’m back in Weybridge by then.  I forget the other team.  Just kidding!  It’s the Giants.

On Tuesday, I went to the Senior Center as Guest Senior Tea Lady.  I still have all the right stuff.  One sad  note, John, my absolute favourite old dear, passed away recently.  Allison and I went for a pub lunch at the Old Crown and then she drove me and my luggage to Paula’s, as I was changing residences.

Tuesday night was the long-awaited Rocky Horror show.  As I was now on “Paula time”, which has doesn’t have even a passing acquaintance with real time, I got to Pinkie’s late, and missed everyone dressing up.  In fact, they had all left to go to Woking by the time I got there.  But no worries, it turned out Lou (as Dr. Frank N Furter), Karen (as Magenta) and Jesus with a Perm (as Michael) had actually gone to the Sinking Ship to pick me up.  After they strolled through the lounge looking for me, several rescue vehicles had to be summoned for guests and staff.  I believe I must add the Sinking Ship to my list of “Places  Jeano is Banned”.  Note to Karen: You were meant to be a GINGER HAIR.

Karen whisked us to the Victoria in Woking, where we met up with the rest of the group.  In addition to pub friends, Pinkie had quite a lot of her work friends, too, which completely reinforced my feelings that if you get sick in England, go to France.  Princess Diana aside, the doctors are way better looking and have sexy accents and nice clothes.

Anyway, what can I say about Terry?  OHMYGOD!!  I happen to think the Irish Lad is a fine looking bloke.  But….he is the ugliest transvestite I have ever seen.  He did the whole Frank N Furter thing from black wig to bustiere  to fishnet stockings with garters to high heel fuck-me platform sandals.  Wow, did he walk funny.  And he complained all night his feet hurt.  The show (on stage) was brilliant, and we all repaired to the Grotto afterwards.  I will post  pictures whenever Lou gets around to emailing them.

As most people had to get up for work the next day, and one of them (me) had to catch an early train to Paris, it was a fairly early night.  Karen and Lou drove me back to Paula’s.  After several wrong turns and misdirections, we found the house.  Paula had waited up for me,  I guess in case I was too wasted to find my room.  However, I hadn’t been drinking and was able to bore her to tears with the whole evening’s events.

SWEET HOME…WEYBRIDGE

Published April 3, 2006 by jean cohen
I had a lovely flight across the pond, and the Irish lad graciously picked me up at Heathrow.  Pinkie was sleeping (she’s on nights) so I checked into the Sinking Ship, had a shower and a nap to be ready for an evening at the Grotto.  
 
I’m travelling with two suitcases; I always need two suitcases for some reason.  In the 50/50 airport security lottery of which suitcase to open, of course, it was the one with ten cartons of fags, Eileen’s Tabu, Paula’s track suit, Pinkie’s jewelry (80% off at divine Strawbridges), giant Hershey bars for the kiddies, a jumbo bottle of K.C. Masterpiece for Stuart Hall, and right on top….THE BAGGIE.  Yes, the baggie full of white stuff.  I sincerely hope that the security guy didn’t wet his finger in his mouth and then stick it into the baggie.  I need that white stuff to make meatballs.  It’s my special homemade Italian breadcrumb mixture.
 
I am cooking an Italian feast at Pinkie’s on Sunday.  She assures me that she has adequate fire insurance.  This should, once and for all, silence those bloody cows who keep sending me egg cups and potato recipes anonymously.  If the Dyers survive dinner, I will force Pinkie to write a guest blog…..or better yet,  Terry, as his "Honey, I hammered a nail into the water pipe" story is sooo old news.
 
As you can see, my Muse is back.  Maybe it flew over on the same flight as me.  Most probably, it was just trapped inside a Zinfandel bottle at the Grotto.  More about my muse (I call him "Muse Guy") later.
 
My Welcome Home Do at the Grotto was incredible!  They even hired a singer for the evening!  Of course, it was Thursday night, but that was a coincidence.  Vickums was there, Karen and Lou, and Louise popped over from Wokingham.  In fact, lots of people I didn’t even know  came to the pub specially to welcome me home.
 
Evil Terry kept producing bottles of Zinfy out of thin air and I did over-indulge just a bit.  I do remember standing outside the Sinking Ship with Terry at some point (I’ve no clue how we got there) trying to figure out where the door was.  In any case, the second time I woke up during the night (the first time was to be violently sick) I HAD TO WRITE.  Muse Guy was back with a vengeance and my brain was in over-drive.  As I
Didn’t have any paper, I had to use the Sinking Ship’s guest services directory, which I’ll now have to boost since it’s full of shorthand notes.  Yes, I write in shorthand.
 
Do I sound happy to be back in Weybridge?  Too bloody right!