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All posts for the month June, 2006

A VISIT FROM THE SEX FAIRY

Published June 26, 2006 by jean cohen

Sunday was Jarvo’s birthday, and I was invited to Wokingham for the weekend for the Do. There’s a nice continuity in that I was here last year for Mark’s birthday; last year, the festivities began at 7:00 AM at the Grotto and ended at 11:30 PM at the Queen’s Head, with lots of stops in between. This year, of course, Lulu and Mark are in their lovely new home, so the party started there.

James and Theresa picked me up, and guided by the earnest, plummy instructions of James’ Sat-Nav, we found the house with no trouble.

Lulu had laid on an incredible feast, and the Pimms was ready. It’s always Pimms O’clock. It was nice to see Lulu’s friends, Hayley and Emily, and their partners, again. I was pleased to finally meet Lulu’s brother, David, who is a cheeky ginger (redhead), and of whom Lulu and Mark often speak. Julian and Sue, Lulu’s parents, came also. I had not seen them since last Fourth of July at the Grotto, where Julian felt compelled to sing "John Brown’s Body" to me, like sixteen times, to get me in a patriotic mood.

Everyone was having such a brilliant time that we all decided there was absolutely no reason to go on a pub crawl. We would just stay in the garden, eat, dance, and, obviously, drink. An astonishing amount of alcohol was imbibed.

One amusing misunderstanding. Will I ever be fluent in British? Lulu had said that Helicopter was coming over, with her new man, Steve (quite a coincidence, yeah?) And that Steve was a black cabdriver in London. Well, I’m worldly and not prejudiced, but I had difficulty picturing Helicopter with a dude with dreadlocks and a Bob Marley teeshirt. I was quite looking forward to the ganja said cabdriver would obviously be contributing to the party. In actuality, Steve is a white guy who drives a black cab. A "black cabdriver" just means driving those huge London cabs, although they aren’t always black any more.

The party kept going…and going…like the Energizer Bunny, but it sure as hell wasn’t batteries fueling the guests. We went from Pimms to champagne to wine, with the guys including beer and Jack & Coke. Finally, about 2:30 in the morning, cabs were called to take everyone home, except James, Theresa, David and me, who were staying over.

James and Theresa stayed in the guest room, and I stayed in the Lounge on the airbed. David, who has passed out by this time, was on the sofa, and Jarvo just threw a blanket over him.

I was awakened about 5:00 in the morning by a loud WHOOSH! And a naked man falling on top of me. Jesus Wept! The Sex Fairy is real, and she granted my wish! Oh boy! The naked man is reaching for me! Hubba! Hubba! Oh, no! The naked man has simply taken my duvet, wrapped himself in it, and rolled over. Sadly, the naked boy toy was only Ginger David, who had rolled off the sofa in his sleep. I swear I had nothing to do with the fact that his clothes disappeared during the night. He could absolutely not be budged off my air mattress, and I ended up on the sofa, with Jarvo’s jacket, as Ginger would not let go of my duvet or his blanket. The Sex Fairy is definitely on my Shit List, along with the Rampant Easter Rabbit.

According to Jarvo, a very hung over David woke very early in the morning, was quite embarrassed to find himself naked on the air mattress, me on the sofa with Mark’s jacket, and left before I was up.

Lulu cooked up a proper English breakfast and we headed back to Weybridge, guided this time, on James’ sat-nav, by Ozzie Osbourne. What a hoot! He says stuff like "Turn right at the fucking roundabout." "I said, fucking right." It was fucking hilarious. Interestingly we did get back okay. I was a bit worried about the wisdom of listening to ANY fucking advice from Ozzie.

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PK’S AND HENRY TUDOR

Published June 23, 2006 by jean cohen

I must begin with a correction from the Blog Editorial Staff (Pinkie). Sister tells me there were thirteen ladies in our party for Ascot, not ten. It SEEMED like there were an awful lot of hats at our picnic; I thought it was just too much champagne before 10:00 in the morning. My sincere apologies. One of the ladies was actually French; she was very nice anyway.

I have some very exciting news to report. Ex-Navy Seal and Verizon Head-Honcho-in-Charge Mary is coming to visit at the end of August. When I told Leechy last night at Live Music, he became quite tearful. Of course, five or six scented billet doux per week, written in purple ink, have been jetting from New Jersey to "Dearest David, 3rd Barstool from the Right, The Grotto, Monument Hill, Weybridge, Surrey, KT13 SEX ". I’m not sure if Mary is staying with me. She mumbled somehing about staying "…in a flat near the Cricket Green", which could be Colin and Spanish Joe, or Darling David.

In any case, Mary will be here for Pinkie and Terry’s annual Last Bank Holiday Blowout, which is now renamed The Party After Jeano STAYED. We’re planning a trip to Paris. Hopefully, Mary was surfeited with castles and cathedrals last year; maybe we can just drink a lot of Pimms and play Scrabble when we’re not at the Grotto.

Speaking of the Grotto, last night was Live Music. I walked up the hill with Terry and Lizzie. The Irish Lad was at mine, setting up my broadband connection. A girl should always have a Computer Guy handy. I had tried like three times to set it up, using the "Easy NTL Guide for Idiots." No joy. I actually had to restore the computer twice. Terry got it up in five minutes. (Ha Ha. I meant the broadband.)

Anyway, Vickums and Caroline, and a nameless stranger who just sat there all night without saying a word, joined us. The musician was Paul Strobel, and he was wonderful. I need to editorialize just a tiny bit here. I wish the unruly denizens of the Grotto would stop asking every singer to do "Sweet Home Alabama." Yeah, it’s a nice little ditty, but after taking a survey of everyone there, I was the only person who’s ever BEEN to Alabama. It isn’t sweet; it’s America’s armpit.

The USA had lost to Ghana (wherever the hell that is) in World Cup and everyone told me how sad they were for me. I didn’t even know they were playing. Apparently, Team Stars and Stripes got robbed on a P.K. (This is not like a PAT in real football; apparently it has something to do with throwing yellow cards at the Zebras. Umpires) I’ve decided that the Italian team is quite the most pulchritudinous, so from here on, I’m rooting for them.

I am planning a huge 4th of July barbecue. Absolutely everyone is coming. All I need to do is get a barbecue, and convince someone to cook. No worries.

I’m off to Wockingham at the weekend for Jarvo’s birthday, so I probably won’t blog till Monday or Tuesday. I hope my journal expresses how truly happy I am to be "home" in Weybridge.

As I’ve mentioned before, the wall of my garden dates back to the reign of Henry VIII. And I am a Tudor-phile, if that’s a word. Anyway, I’m ending today’s blog with an incredible poem about Henry VIII, written by Amy Dyer (Pinkie and Terry’s daughter), who is my favourite young lady.

King of Kings

Dazzling in the St. James woods,

With my crown I stand.

Rubies, emeralds, diamonds.

Jewels of power, bright and shining.

Church of England, feel my reign.

On the platform encrusted is my triumph.

"My name is Henry the VIII, King of Kings."

Powerful, I will rule.

Crumbling, my statue falls, all that

remains one arm, three fingers.

Hazy in the St. James woods

With my crown I lie.

ASCOT OPENING DAY

Published June 22, 2006 by jean cohen

As mentioned in a previous blog, Eileen loaned me a gorgeous hat, and I bought a little (okay, not so little) black Princess Di-ish number in black, with white piping. After reading up on-line about the DONE THINGS, I knew trousers were a faux pas and that tights were essential, in the event one got invited to pop into the Royal Box.

The weather, in the morning, was fantastic. Warm and sunny. A friend of Pinkie’s picked us up and took us to the meeting point. There were ten ladies going, four Brits, three Australians, and three Americans. Everyone was ever so posh, sporting large bedecked headgear. We packed the cars, and headed to Ascot.

In the car parks, they arrange the cars so that each car has a large open area behind it for picnicking. Some parties even set up gazebos. Think tailgate party, without the beer and green and white face paint. We set up our table and chairs, and began our picnic with champagne and danish. In the row behind us, there was the most beautiful old Roller. I got up my courage and asked the owners if I could have my picture taken next to it. After I broke the ice, everybody got their picture taken standing next to it.

Relaxing in the sun, we watched the elegantly dressed (men in morning coats and top hats!) Couples arrive and set up their picnics. Then it was time to bring out the Pimms (it’s always Pimms O’clock) and the feast prepared by the ladies (not Pinkie and me; we brought crisps, breadsticks and the danish). I actually had to keep pinching myself; the extraordinary hats, the beautiful clothes, the lovely food. I, Jean Cohen, from Philadelphia was at Ascot Opening Day!

The picnic was so brilliant, I could have just sat in the car park all day people watching. Actually, that might have been the Pimms. In any event, the Queen (yes, THAT one) was scheduled to open the festivities at 1:35, so we packed up our picnic and walked through the High Street to the racecourse.

We were in the Cheap Seats, general admission, and not very cheap, but it was wonderful. We queued as close as we could to the fence, and waited. A fanfare heralded the arrival of the Royal Party, and following a troop on horseback came three carriages. In the first, Her Majesty and Prince Philip. (The hat wasn’t too bad, but it could have done without the red bow.) In the second carriage, Prince Charles and Camilla (What IS her fixation with prongs sticking out in all directions on her hats? I was afraid she’d poke poor Charles’ eye out.) I’m afraid I could not identify the royals in the third carriage (great hat, though. Absolutely enormous.)

We had agreed to pool our money, and place our bets based on advice from a punter who is a professional gambler, and a neighbor of one of the ladies, who shall remain nameless. Okay, she lives on Monument Road. I’d like to say we won enough to buy that fantastic old Roller, but we didn’t have a single winner. It really didn’t matter. The whole experience was so incredible, absolutely nothing could have spoilt it. I was truly more entranced with the ambience, the Pimms, the ladies, and, primarily, the hats.

I did, of course, have to scream out during each race, "Move yer bloomin’ arse" ala Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, not actually caring which horse obeyed. I guess you had to be there.

After the races were over, we strolled back to the car park, set out our picnic again, with more champagne, to let the traffic ease a bit. Poor Pinkie got very sunburnt, and she had to work the next day. I was a little burned myself, and very tired. It was a day I shall never, ever forget.

The pictures I posted with this blog will, hopefully, convey the colour and spectacle of Ascot, and, most importantly, THE HATS.

HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE

Published June 19, 2006 by jean cohen

After a few days of unseasonably hot temperatures, (why didn’t I stash an a/c in my luggage instead of all those drugs!), it’s back to lovely English weather. Perfect for sitting in my garden, reading or writing my blog. Things are starting to bloom. Of course, I don’t have a clue as to what any of them are. I have engaged Paula’s hunkalicious Italian gardener, Joseph, to come and sort me out. I meant the garden.

Wednesday night, I went over to Stuart Hall’s local, the King’s Head, in Ashford, for Trivia. I was only invited because of my keen knowledge of all things American. Stewie says they always throw in a question like, "What is the capital of Idaho?" or "Who is the governor of Tennessee?" To which I, of course, would reply, "How the bloody hell should I know?" I assured him that if any football questions were asked, I was THE MAN, or woman, in this case. Sure enough, they posed a question that I was able to put in a football context and answer. The question was "Which company owner appeared in adverts saying ‘I liked it so much, I bought the company’. "I know this one" I shrieked to Lou. "It’s that guy who owned the New England Patriots. Victor somebody…"

It was quite difficult, and quite British, and sadly, I wasn’t a great deal of help to our team. I’m going to try and wade through the newspapers this week, so I’m better prepared next time, if there is one.

I know you’ve all been checking three or four times a day for the update on Robbie Lee at the Grotto Thursday night. He was absolutely brilliant! After hugs and kisses, he opened the first set by welcoming me "home", and sang "I Shot the Sheriff"which is "my" song. And he ended the second set with "Daydream Believer", which is my theme song at the Grotto. Everyone joined in, even the comatose footy fans, and everyone pointed to me at the chorus, when it goes….."Cheer up, sleepy Jean". It was a fabulous night and Robbie was looking especially drop-dead gorgeous..

I know that sounds like plenty of socializing for one week. Yeah, but, no but, I’m NOT FINISHED.

On Friday, I had plans to go to lunch with Paula and Eileen. Oddly, they were running late. Queue up the music to "Hey, Paula….I’ve been waiting for you." So I served fruit, cheese and biscuits, and we polished off a couple bottles of Zinfy. Eileen brought me a scrumptious hat for Ascot, and a charming housewarming present (from divine Fortnums). We had a lovely time, and after they left, I fell asleep in the Lounge for a couple hours.

 

Paula rang on Saturday morning to say we were all doing lunch at Sullivan’s, and that she’d pick me up at 11:45. Lou and Karen were coming over in the afternoon to enjoy the garden, and I told them to just make themselves at home. (I have hidden a spare house key so friends can pop in and do the washing up, ironing, and tending the garden whilst I’m out and about.) Paula rolled up about 1:45 and dropped Jack and me at the car park. She had a couple errands to do, so Jack and I walked to Sullivan’s to meet Eileen, Heidi and Dominic (Paula’s son and American daughter-in-law), who are visiting from California. After lunch, which was super, Paula was singing with her choir at a wedding. I was a bit surprised that she didn’t ask me to come along to sing too. Jack went home (he had a carer) and Eileen, Heidi, Dominic and I went to a Garden Centre to look at plants. I was suffering an intense case of Basket Envy. All of my neighbours have huge, flowering baskets hanging outside, and I wanted one, too. I got a gorgeous one, and I was very happy until Karen told me it needs to be watered every day. The damned basket is outside…doesn’t stuff outside get automatically watered? I think she was taking the piss out of me. Anyway, we went back to Paula’s for (more) drinks and convo.

 

 

 

 

I DON’T NEED YOU TO WORRY ‘CAUSE I’M ALRIGHT

Published June 14, 2006 by jean cohen

First, let me say to all of you who emailed about my ordeal at Immigration, Sod You! No less than six people wrote to say what a clever, funny blog and how much was exaggerated. You might think I embellish stuff or lie a teensy bit. IT REALLY HAPPENED, AND, NO, I DIDN’T MAKE ANY OF IT UP! As a postscript to the story, Dearest Scotty is providing legal assistance. You don’t fuck around with Americans. I have already filed a formal complaint with the Home Office. The Scottish cow will rue the day she decided to pick on moi.

Otherwise, life is delightful. My friends pop round all the time. Vickums dropped off a few cases of Zinfy, in case of a shortage in Weybridge. Have I mentioned how brilliant it is to have a mate in the wine business? Actually, I would still love Vickums if she worked for the Inland Revenue. Really. Anyway, she stayed for tea, and we played some cutthroat Scrabble. Note to Toots: NANANANANA!

Lulu has visited for some wine and sympathy after a tough day at the office, and I’ll be going to Wokingham for Jarvo’s birthday. Yesterday was Terry’s birthday, so it was off to the Grotto to raise a glass to the Irish lad.

I’ve returned, in triumph, to the Senior Center, and they are certainly the better for my organizational skills, although I MUST stop saying "That’s a dollar fifty two, dear" as the old darlings are already quite confused enough.

Tomorrow night–BE STILL, MY HEART– is live music….and it’s Robbie Lee, whom I’ve not seen for ages and ages. The girls have charged me with the task of getting to the Grotto early, shifting the comatose, drunken footy fans out (World Cup…sooo boring), and snagging the primo table. Anything for my mates. I will fill you in, in excruciating detail, on Friday.

I’ve met a few of my neighbours, and everyone seems very nice, even Mad Tommy, who lives across the street, and, according to Karen, who knows him from the Grotto, "is fine as long as he takes his medicine."

One note of family business. To the husband of blood-relative Margaret: Silly sod! Of course I can’t wear the Carmen Miranda hat you bought me to Ascot! Ascot is NOT in sodding Rio, is it? Bananas and other fruit are NOT THE DONE THING. I checked with Prince Edward (he knows about these things) , and he strongly recommended birds, feathers, Sky TV antennas, and a tea cosy as possible accoutrements for my chapeau.

I’m ending with a joke today, provided by relative by marriage John.

 

The Internal Revenue sends their auditor (a nasty little man) to audit a
synagogue .The auditor is doing all the checks, and then turns to the Rabbi and
says,

"I noticed that you buy a lot of candles." "Yes," answered the Rabbi.
"Well, Rabbi, what do you do with the candle drippings?" he asked.
"A good question," noted the Rabbi. "We actually save them up. When we
have enough, we send them back to the candle maker. And every now and
then, they send us a free box of candles."

"Oh," replied the auditor somewhat disappointed that his question
actually had a practical answer. So he thought he’d try another question, in his
obnoxious way…

"Rabbi, what about all these matzo purchases? What do you do…with the
crumbs from the matzo?" "Ah, yes," replied the Rabbi calmly, "we actually collect

the crumbs, then we send them in a box back to the manufacturer and every now and then,
they send a box of matzo meal."

"Oh," replied the auditor, thinking hard how to fluster the Rabbi.
"Well, Rabbi," he went on, "what do you do with all the foreskins fromthe circumcisions? " "Yes, here too, we do not waste," answered the Rabbi. "What we do is
save up all the foreskins. And when we have enough we actually send them
to the Internal Revenue Service."

"Internal Revenue Service?," questioned the auditor in disbelief.

"Ah, yes," replied the Rabbi, "Internal Revenue Service. And… about
once a year, they send us a little prick like you."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First, let me say to all of you who emailed about my ordeal at Immigration, Sod You! No less than six people wrote to say what a clever, funny blog and how much was exaggerated. You might think I embellish stuff or lie a teensy bit. IT REALLY HAPPENED, AND, NO, I DIDN’T MAKE ANY OF IT UP! As a postscript to the story, Dearest Scotty is providing legal assistance. You don’t fuck around with Americans. I have already filed a formal complaint with the Home Office. The Scottish cow will rue the day she decided to pick on moi.

Otherwise, life is delightful. My friends pop round all the time. Vickums dropped off a few cases of Zinfy, in case of a shortage in Weybridge. Have I mentioned how brilliant it is to have a mate in the wine business? Actually, I would still love Vickums if she worked for the Inland Revenue. Really. Anyway, she stayed for tea, and we played some cutthroat Scrabble. Note to Toots: NANANANANA!

Lulu has visited for some wine and sympathy after a tough day at the office, and I’ll be going to Wokingham for Jarvo’s birthday. Yesterday was Terry’s birthday, so it was off to the Grotto to raise a glass to the Irish lad.

I’ve returned, in triumph, to the Senior Center, and they are certainly the better for my organizational skills, although I MUST stop saying "That’s a dollar fifty two, dear" as the old darlings are already quite confused enough.

Tomorrow night–BE STILL, MY HEART– is live music….and it’s Robbie Lee, whom I’ve not seen for ages and ages. The girls have charged me with the task of getting to the Grotto early, shifting the comatose, drunken footy fans out (World Cup…sooo boring), and snagging the primo table. Anything for my mates. I will fill you in, in excruciating detail, on Friday.

I’ve met a few of my neighbours, and everyone seems very nice, even Mad Tommy, who lives across the street, and, according to Karen, who knows him from the Grotto, "is fine as long as he takes his medicine."

One note of family business. To the husband of blood-relative Margaret: Silly sod! Of course I can’t wear the Carmen Miranda hat you bought me to Ascot! Ascot is NOT in sodding Rio, is it? Bananas and other fruit are NOT THE DONE THING. I checked with Prince Edward (he knows about these things) , and he strongly recommended birds, feathers, Sky TV antennas, and a tea cosy as possible accoutrements for my chapeau.

I’m ending with a joke today, provided by relative by marriage John.

 

The Internal Revenue sends their auditor (a nasty little man) to audit a
synagogue .The auditor is doing all the checks, and then turns to the Rabbi and
says,

"I noticed that you buy a lot of candles." "Yes," answered the Rabbi.
"Well, Rabbi, what do you do with the candle drippings?" he asked.
"A good question," noted the Rabbi. "We actually save them up. When we
have enough, we send them back to the candle maker. And every now and
then, they send us a free box of candles."

"Oh," replied the auditor somewhat disappointed that his question
actually had a practical answer. So he thought he’d try another question, in his
obnoxious way…

"Rabbi, what about all these matzo purchases? What do you do…with the
crumbs from the matzo?" "Ah, yes," replied the Rabbi calmly, "we actually collect

the crumbs, then we send them in a box back to the manufacturer and every now and then,
they send a box of matzo meal."

"Oh," replied the auditor, thinking hard how to fluster the Rabbi.
"Well, Rabbi," he went on, "what do you do with all the foreskins fromthe circumcisions? " "Yes, here too, we do not waste," answered the Rabbi. "What we do is
save up all the foreskins. And when we have enough we actually send them
to the Internal Revenue Service."

"Internal Revenue Service?," questioned the auditor in disbelief.

"Ah, yes," replied the Rabbi, "Internal Revenue Service. And… about
once a year, they send us a little prick like you."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First, let me say to all of you who emailed about my ordeal at Immigration, Sod You! No less than six people wrote to say what a clever, funny blog and how much was exaggerated. You might think I embellish stuff or lie a teensy bit. IT REALLY HAPPENED, AND, NO, I DIDN’T MAKE ANY OF IT UP! As a postscript to the story, Dearest Scotty is providing legal assistance. You don’t fuck around with Americans. I have already filed a formal complaint with the Home Office. The Scottish cow will rue the day she decided to pick on moi.

Otherwise, life is delightful. My friends pop round all the time. Vickums dropped off a few cases of Zinfy, in case of a shortage in Weybridge. Have I mentioned how brilliant it is to have a mate in the wine business? Actually, I would still love Vickums if she worked for the Inland Revenue. Really. Anyway, she stayed for tea, and we played some cutthroat Scrabble. Note to Toots: NANANANANA!

Lulu has visited for some wine and sympathy after a tough day at the office, and I’ll be going to Wokingham for Jarvo’s birthday. Yesterday was Terry’s birthday, so it was off to the Grotto to raise a glass to the Irish lad.

I’ve returned, in triumph, to the Senior Center, and they are certainly the better for my organizational skills, although I MUST stop saying "That’s a dollar fifty two, dear" as the old darlings are already quite confused enough.

Tomorrow night–BE STILL, MY HEART– is live music….and it’s Robbie Lee, whom I’ve not seen for ages and ages. The girls have charged me with the task of getting to the Grotto early, shifting the comatose, drunken footy fans out (World Cup…sooo boring), and snagging the primo table. Anything for my mates. I will fill you in, in excruciating detail, on Friday.

I’ve met a few of my neighbours, and everyone seems very nice, even Mad Tommy, who lives across the street, and, according to Karen, who knows him from the Grotto, "is fine as long as he takes his medicine."

One note of family business. To the husband of blood-relative Margaret: Silly sod! Of course I can’t wear the Carmen Miranda hat you bought me to Ascot! Ascot is NOT in sodding Rio, is it? Bananas and other fruit are NOT THE DONE THING. I checked with Prince Edward (he knows about these things) , and he strongly recommended birds, feathers, Sky TV antennas, and a tea cosy as possible accoutrements for my chapeau.

I’m ending with a joke today, provided by relative by marriage John.

The Internal Revenue sends their auditor (a nasty little man) to audit a
synagogue .The auditor is doing all the checks, and then turns to the Rabbi and
says,

"I noticed that you buy a lot of candles." "Yes," answered the Rabbi.
"Well, Rabbi, what do you do with the candle drippings?" he asked.
"A good question," noted the Rabbi. "We actually save them up. When we
have enough, we send them back to the candle maker. And every now and
then, they send us a free box of candles."

"Oh," replied the auditor somewhat disappointed that his question
actually had a practical answer. So he thought he’d try another question, in his
obnoxious way…

"Rabbi, what about all these matzo purchases? What do you do…with the
crumbs from the matzo?" "Ah, yes," replied the Rabbi calmly, "we actually collect

the crumbs, then we send them in a box back to the manufacturer and every now and then,
they send a box of matzo meal."

"Oh," replied the auditor, thinking hard how to fluster the Rabbi.
"Well, Rabbi," he went on, "what do you do with all the foreskins fromthe circumcisions? " "Yes, here too, we do not waste," answered the Rabbi. "What we do is
save up all the foreskins. And when we have enough we actually send them
to the Internal Revenue Service."

"Internal Revenue Service?," questioned the auditor in disbelief.

"Ah, yes," replied the Rabbi, "Internal Revenue Service. And… about
once a year, they send us a little prick like you."

 

 

 

 

 

 

OUT AND ABOUT

Published June 12, 2006 by jean cohen

Sorry my blogging has been so spotty, but I’ve been busy with a slew of social engagements, catching up with friends. As well, my cable and DSL won’t be installed until Thursday, so I’m pirating the WIFI when I can. Oh, God! I hope that bloody Scottish cow isn’t reading this.

Allison came for a proper English tea (fortunately, my kitchen is furnished with a lovely tea service) and I took the train up to London to have lunch with Eileen, followed by shopping at divine Fortnums. Obviously, Thursday and Sunday nights are Live Music at the Grotto.

The girls pop around often, which is lovely, and ever so helpful. Pinkie came around just as I was trying to figure out why the washer wouldn’t start. She pointed out, a bit amused, that the damned thing needs to be plugged in to work. It was no use explaining that the ones in the States just magically start when you push the button. "THAT goes into the blog, Jeano" chortled Pinkie. British appliances are still a mystery to me.

Friday night began the much-anticipated World Cup (big yawn) and the guys are virtually unavailable for the next five weeks, as there are, like 72 soccer games a day on telly. I believe the USA has a team, but, frankly, does anyone in the States even know the name of a single player? England played on Saturday afternoon, so Karen came over to hang out while Lou watched the match at the Grotto. Pinkie was doing a Cancer Walk, so I invited Amy over as well, so that Terry could go to the pub with the other hooligans. Karen and Amy worked in my garden, clearing it. After I pulled up some very valuable, delicate plants by mistake, I was permitted to hold the litter bag. When I moved in, there were three house plants in the kitchen. To make room, I put two of them on the top of the cabinet, and the geranium one I put outside. Of course, the two inside expired. I pointed out to Karen that the geranium one was fine, and she said, "Well, obviously, Jeano. It’s plastic." There are some really beautiful things growing in the garden, none of which I can identify.

I am totally excited that next week I am going to Ladies Day at Ascot with Pinkie. Ladies Day is one of the most important days because everyone (at least the ladies) must wear a really big, bizarre hat. It’s a rule. I have gotten my Ascot Dress and was going to rent a hat (they really do this for Ascot), but Eileen offered to loan me one. She’s coming down on Friday to bring me a selection of hats to pick from, and, of course, to see my house.

Lulu came over for a quick visit, and today I had Sunday Roast with Lulu and Vickie. I’m back to being a Tea Lady again, and my social calendar is filling up.

I really feel like I’ve come home.

MOVIN’ IN

Published June 8, 2006 by jean cohen

After the "Twilight Zone" experience at Immigration, it was obviously quite necessary to head for the Grotto, to drown my bruised feelings in a bottle of Zinfy. One would expect one’s friends to treat one gently after such a horrible experience. Yeah, right. I got the piss taken out of me the entire night. Which was probably just the ticket to put things in perspective. So what if Her Majesty’s Immigration Services welcomes every fucking terrorist with open arms and an NHS card, a flat and subsistence money, I have connections, and won’t be shy about using them.

Saturday morning, I moved into my dear little house. Pinkie, Vickie, Lou and Karen came over to get me sorted. Lou made me a wonderful collage of pictures of us all at various dos as a housewarming present, and Karen provided two lovely pots of green things. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I can’t even grow weeds successfully. I have an absolutely brilliant rear garden, with all sorts of thingys growing, including…HONESTLY…potatoes. They really do come out of the ground! There are also huge rhubarbs; perhaps I’ll make jam. Maybe not. There are two enormous lavender bushes; Karen suggested that I make sachets. You can stop laughing now.

Vickie took me to Tesco’s to get essentials, including a proper coffee pot, and I spent the afternoon unpacking and settling in. There’s a very nice telly, and the landlord said I can get cable, so I won’t be forced to settle for watching Udder Disease in Shropshire Cows or the History of Cheddar. I can curl up and indulge in violent American TV, just like in the States.

I will try to take some snaps, or ask Lou to do it, and post them on my blog.

The house has a large kitchen, which you enter from the front door, and then a lounge with french doors to the garden. Upstairs, there are two bedrooms, one good-sized, and one rather pokey, and the loo. I have a garage, and a driveway, which is nice for friends to park when they visit, as the streets are very tiny. My house is really a very, very fine house.