All posts for the month February, 2008


Published February 28, 2008 by jean cohen

In a convo with a friend back in the States, I had to listen to a long, rambling account of the last five snow/ice storms to hit the Right Coast.  When she paused for a breath, I managed to interject “The weather has been glorious here.”  “Really?” she scoffed.  “I thought it rains every day in England.”


Sadly, this is pretty much true.  I didn’t come home because I missed the weather.  But from the day I arrived, the weather has been generally picture perfect, sunny and mild.  It rained a total of one day.  It’s almost like Mother Nature said ‘Bugger You’ to those folks at Immigration.  “I’m going to welcome Jeano back with flowers blooming and temperatures in the high fifties.”  (Mother Nature doesn’t bother with that Centigrade and Celscious shit either.)


Anyway, I have dragooned BooBoo and Pinkie into walking with me every day.  I want to keep my slim girlish figure, and counteract all that Zinfy people force me to consume.  And, of course, they know where they’re going.  This is very important in a foreign country.  BooBoo pointed out that I could just ask someone if I got lost.  They do speak a language similar to American here.  But since practically everybody here is from Bombay or Islamabad, I don’t think so.   Plus I still look the wrong way; I have almost been mowed down a zillion times.  I still go to the right side of the car, the driver’s side, until whoever says “I think I probably should drive, Jeano.”


BooBoo and I walked up to Oatlands Park to find the local synagogue.  We had driven there once to buy Yirtzeit candles.   I have been here three weeks and, unbelievably, I have not had a date.  Unless you count Shaky Peter from the Senior Centre, who sprang for a Bovril for me last week.  I seriously need a Replacement Guy…soon.  It is so pointless to get all fapitzed to go out with Cheese Boy.  So I thought I would start off in the Jewish Hunting Grounds.  I am going to services and the Oneg Shabbat on Saturday morning now that I know how to get there.  Perhaps that bloke who owns Tesco’s attends my local…synagogue.  I know he doesn’t go to my local; I’m sure I would have spotted him in a Tel Aviv Minute. 


One of my friends here is having some legal troubles.  This is not funny; it’s quite serious.  I am not going to go into details, especially on my blog…enjoyed by thousands (okay, a couple hundred) of people all over the world.


Anyway, I offered to be a character witness for Chris.  He has always been very kind and thoughtful to me, even if he made me sit through endless cricket matches, while he droned on and on about the bloody 5,762 rules for playing it.  At least he bought me Pimms.  Anything is bearable, even Cricket, after five or six Pimms.  This is a proven scientific fact.


BooBoo was testifying too, so we motored over to Kingston, to the Crown Court.  I had asked Pinkie ‘What does one wear to Crown Court?  Do I need a Louis Vuitton or will a Gucci be sufficient?  Is the Judge Jewish?”  It is best to be well prepared.  I actually borrowed a stunning black jacket from Pinkie to go with my skirt and drop dead gorgeous grey sweater.  She bought it at Macy’s in KofP when she was visiting me.  I mention this factoid only so you all realize that I am thin enough to raid my friends’ wardrobes.


If anyone out there has legal troubles in future, you probably shouldn’t ask BooBoo to be a character witness.  Really.  I thought she was going to pass out or die right on the Witnesses Bench outside Courtroom #7.  She’s very shy and speaking in front of loads of people is torture for her.  When she’s nervous, she fiddles with things.  She was on overdrive.  She kept clicking the handles of my darling Kate Spade….open….close….open…close.  “Darling BooBoo” I finally said “Kate doesn’t like it when her handbags get abused.”  I think it went okay though.  Witnesses are not permitted in the courtroom until they have testified so I didn’t hear her.


Oh my God!  It was just like being on ‘Rumpole of the Bailey”.  This lady barrister came out to get me, dressed in a black robe and a wig.  She asked “What book do you want to use to swear your oath?”  “Do you have the Neiman Marcus Christmas Wish Book”  I inquired.  Oddly, they didn’t.  It’s de rigueur in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  “Okay.  Whatever everybody else used, as long as it’s not the Koran.”


I went into the Witness Box, it’s not the Witness Stand, and you do have to stand while you testify.   The lady in the wig had instructed me to look at the jury while I testified.  Sure.  I was looking everywhere.  It was so damned cool.  All the barristers in their black robes and wigs, the Chief Judge in red and an even bigger wig.  Poor Chris in the Defendant’s Box.  I tried flirting with the Chief Judge, Fergus, but he wasn’t having any.  Chris’ barrister questioned me and I gave my testimony, but the barrister for the bloke who started all the trouble in the first place, I guess he was like the Prosecutor,  didn’t have any questions for me.  The Chief Judge excused me and declined my offer of my mobile number.  (I made that part up.)


Driving back to Weybridge, I suddenly squealed to BooBoo “That’s Hampton Court Palace we’re passing!”  “Yeah” BooBoo replied.  “And your point is…?”  “BooBoo” I said, “American tourists come to see that and we’re nonchalantly driving passed it like it’s a Tesco’s.”  It was sort of like when I worked in Center City in Philadelphia.  I walked past Independence Hall every day and didn’t really notice it.  It was always chock-a-block with tourists, too.


The point that I am really a local was even more startling when we made a pit stop at the Indian Pound Shop (like a ‘DollarLand’ only in Quids).  I ran into Sharon, the friendly waitress from the Slug & Lettuce on Weybridge High Street, who used to be married to Keith, who lives around the corner from me.  I can go to Kingston, or Walton (the Pound Shop is in Walton) and actually know people.  I lived in Clifton for a year; I met two people and they both lived in Little Falls.    





Published February 25, 2008 by jean cohen

Thursday night was Quiz Night at the Ash Tree.  Cheese Boy decided we needed reinforcements due to all those embarrassing last place finishes we’ve had.  The questions are very tricky…and very British usually.  So Sister Pinkie came along, and BooBoo’s friend, Sandra.  Maybe if we didn’t drink whilst we pondered….


I knew it was going to be a bad night when the hostess said “Question 2.  Name the five countries with the largest Jewish population.”  Everyone looked at me expectantly.  It wasn’t even a Friday or Saturday.  “How the bloody hell should I know?” I asked the table.  Cheese Boy said “If you get this one wrong, you can walk back to Weybridge.”  There’s nothing like a little positive reinforcement to get the brain cells cranking.  “Uh…Israel?” I suggested.  “There were loads of Jews there when I went, but they could have all been on holiday.”  “And?” our Team Captain said, not very impressed.   I thought quickly (not an easy task for me) “America?  Canada?  And probably two of those countries I never heard of that are always playing soccer matches.” 


I am not sharing the correct answers; look it up on line.


As usual, I was invaluable on the ‘American’ questions.  “How many stars are on the American flag?”  “Fifty-two!” Sandra piped up, really chuffed.  “No, you stupid cow” I told her.  “I counted them before I left just in case it ever came up in a convo.  There are fifty.”  Unbelievably, my mates asked, “Are you sure?”  I got so annoyed that I serenaded them with that little ditty they sing at the American pavilion at Epcot Center.  “Fifty. Fifty. United States.  From thirteen original colonies.  Fifty. Fifty. Stars on the flag.  That billows so beautifully in the breeze.”  I would know positively everything about everything if everything was in the form of a song.  Because I know my song lyrics.


We came in dead last again.  Cheese Boy, somewhat meanly I thought, commented that it was too bad there weren’t a lot of questions about ‘Britney Spears’ mental health issues’ for me to ace.  “Bugger you” I told him.  “I’m too busy worrying about the 36% decline in permanent jobs in Italia and the Centre Left’s meshuganeh plans for a new tax on wine for exportation; not to mention Versace’s Spring Fashion Show in Milano.”  That shut the Boy right up.


On Saturday, Eileen came down from London to see me.  She stayed with Paula and Jack.  First they came ‘round to mine for coffee and to see my little house.  Then we went to Paula’s for champers to toast my successful return home.  Then we took Jack to the cinema. 


I think Eileen and I would not have gotten into trouble if the film wasn’t so bloody awful.  Jack was better behaved.  All you have to do is give him a giant box of Malteasers and he’s content.  Anyway, Daniel Day-Lewis was busy drilling oil wells and being all greedy and corrupt so we started planning a day trip to Paris to buy some shoes.  The Sergeant-Major type of bloke sitting behind us got really annoyed when Eileen started flicking her Bic so we could check our diaries for a date.  She gave him some posh Hampstead Heath attitude right back (trust me, it’s way cooler than ‘Philly ‘tude’) and we went outside to smoke and gossip until the tedious film was finished.  We took Jack home and then the ladies went out to dinner and then back to mine again for coffee and sweets.  I’m going up to London next week for luncheon at Boodles with Eileen.


I know I keep saying this.  I was so delighted to see Eileen and Paula again.  When I was in exile in Mallville, dreaming about coming back to Weybridge was all that I did.  The reality is even better than I could have imagined.


On Sunday, Cheese Boy rang with my favorite question: “Fancy a pint?”  Is His Popiness scary?  We ended up at the British Volunteer; they have a DJ on Sunday nights.  We ran into an old friend called Julie, who was suitably impressed by the ‘new and very skinny Jeano’ and really chuffed to see me.  She was with a friend – I never did catch her name.  Sadly, every pub has one; the Pub Slag.  This is the female of indeterminate age, dressed badly in really tight slutty clothes, who hangs all over the blokes.  I am not the Grotto Slag; I am always perfectly colour-coordinated and well dressed, courtesy of Nordstrum Rack.  Okay.  I have to say it.  She had on the most perfectly dreadful black boots.  Note to Americans:  Think Payless, during the ‘Buy one, get one free’ sale.


I am not being critical.  It’s more like insecurity.  She had on this really low cut black schmatte and her boobs were popping out.  Julie had gained quite a bit of weight, and she had a low cut black schmatte on too.  And BooBoo was there, as well, with the ‘Ashford A-Bombs’ sticking straight out.  I had a teensy attack of  ‘Boob Envy’.  Cheese Boy inquired “You alright, Jeano?”  “No” I snapped at him.  “I want to take my microscopic boobs home and have a proper sulk.”  Jesus Wept!  Thank God (or whoever) that Pinkie wasn’t there too.


I did have some fun when I went outside for a fag.  A really gorgeous young bloke started chatting to me.  “Are you American” he asked.  “No” I told him.  “I’m Italian.”  He looked confused.  I know what ‘confused’ looks like. “You sound American.”  “Grazie” I said.  “I practice by watching episodes of ‘Sex and the City’.  I’m doing pretty well, aren’t I?”




Published February 23, 2008 by jean cohen

Despite my being a right cow at Ikea, BooBoo and Pinkie took me with them Monday night to a jewelry party at Julie Clifton’s in Hersham.  The jewelry was lovely, but not my style.  I only wear diamonds, naturally.  It was still fun and I met loads of neat women.  Pinkie kept giving everyone my blog address, saying that they need to read all about my adventures.  Julie is a singer, and she’s very tight with Robbie Lee, whom I’ve not seen yet since I’m back.  I plan to be very nice to Julie.


On Tuesday night, Cheese Boy, BooBoo and I met Chris and Misa at the Wheatsheaf in Esher.  The blokes kept dashing out to check the score on another boring sporting match in the main room.  During a trip outside to have a fag, I stopped to watch for a moment.  Yep; it was a soccer game. The players were all running aimlessly up and down looking for the white ball.  “Call me if there’s PK’s” I said to the Boy.  “I like PK’s”.  Chelsea won” Lou said.  “Two-nil.  They beat your countrymen.”  Huh?  “They’re playing ‘Int’” I replied.  “Did they mean to say ‘It(aly)’ or ‘Pai(sons’)?  You never said.”  “No, you thick cow, it means ‘Inter-Milan.”  Well really, how was I supposed to know?  “Is there a team called ‘Out’ too” I asked.  “You know, ‘Outer Milan’?  Are they playing next?”  Apparently there are approximately 98,782 soccer teams– just in Britain.  And every country, even Luxembourg, has about 1000.  So there is a match going on every second of every single day.  The blokes are really useless when soccer’s on telly.  (That was an insult to blokes everywhere.  Hopefully, you got it.)


Speaking of my homeland, when my phone and broadband finally got switched on (that was another bloody nightmare but BooBoo dealt with it), one of the first calls I made was to the Italian Consulate in London.  I am required by law to let them know where in the world is Reginamaria.  The first thing that’s different from Philadelphia is that in London they answer the phone.  They have a job title called ‘persona che risponde al telefono’, or ‘the person who answers the phone’.  It was such a novel idea, I thought about emailing Philadelphia to suggest that they get one too.  But I didn’t bother; they don’t answer emails either.


Anyway, the person who answers the phone answered the phone.  “Che cosa?” he said kind of abruptly.  I understood what he said; it means ‘what?’  I launched into a convoluted explanation, until he interrupted me to say he didn’t speak English.  Well, of course.  Why should the person who answers the phone in bloody London speak English?  That would be too easy.  Eventually someone came on the line to explain what I need to do, and reminded me, very officiously, that I have to vote in the upcoming election.  “Yeah, well, I’m not crazy about Hillary or Obama” I confided.  “No! No! No!  The Italian Parliamentary Election” she corrected me.  “Oh, right” I said trying to sound knowledgeable.  “How is Silvio doing?  Do people still want to hang him like Mussolini?”  “He resigned…last year” she told me.  “That’s why there’s a parliamentary election.”   I made an immediate solemn vow, silently, to stop reading about Britney Spears’ legal troubles and concentrate on Italian politics in future.  I had survived (just barely) the last British elections and being snowed under by campaign adverts and phone calls.  And I was pretty chuffed that Hillary and Obama wouldn’t be popping ‘round to mine for ‘town meetings for ex-pats’.   Apparently, now that they know where I live, the goombahs will start harassing me instead.


I went on line to surf the parliamentary elections.  Holy shit!  There must be, like, 1000 political parties in Italia.  Probably there’s one for every soccer team.  Maybe the political parties are soccer teams and they politicate during off-season (if there ever is an ‘off season’ in bloody boring soccer).  There’s a centre left and a centre right.  I have no clue what this means.  There’s the Democratici di Sinestra party, and the Margherita party.  I like margaritas, especially when I’m in Mexico at the beach.  I get thirsty.  The largest party seems to be the Forza Italia.  I think that Silvio guy was the head honcho of this one.  Anyway, the newspapers all said that the most important factor in the elections will be the ‘foreign constituency’, Italians living abroad, and I quote: “to enhance the chances of the centre right winning the majority of Senate seats.”  I am honoured to have such an awesome responsibility.  I will ruminate very carefully, and then vote for the hottest candidate.  I might even get invited to the Inaugural Ball.


Published February 20, 2008 by jean cohen

First, a correction.  I did not mean to infer that the Irish Lad is a ‘dogger’.  I didn’t even know what ‘dogging’ is.  It should have read ‘dodging a Pimms pitcher.’  As far as I know, the Irish Lad does not creep around Car Parks to watch people have sex in their motors.   If any of you know differently, drop me an email and I’ll do a special blog.  Anyone who confuses ‘Venice’ with ‘Vienna’ is suspect.


Mike is back from the States, and he and Pat popped in to mine on Saturday afternoon to deliver a large black object filled with my stuff (I’m not allowed to say what it was).  I wasn’t really looking forward to seeing Mike.  Not that I don’t like him; I do.


As I expected, he walked in the door, and instead of ‘Hello.  Wow!  You look great, Jeano’, Mike, of course, said “How ‘bout those Giants!”  Then as I tried to tug the black thing out of his hand (there were proper American fags in it),  he held on until I mumbled “Eli is awesome.  G-men rock!”  I felt like a football whore and a traitor.  However, I really wanted my stuff so I ignored the twinge of guilt. 


Mike did say something really nice about me (I had missed him both times I went up, or down, -whatever-  to the beach in North Jersey to visit Pat).  He said he had stuffed some presents for little David Robert in the black thing.  I have no idea how he managed that; it was crammed.  Anyway, he said if I found any baby clothes in there, I could wear them, now that I’m so skinny.  Which was a brilliant thing to say.


On Sunday, I went with my friends Chris and Misa to Wokingham to have Sunday Roast at the Plough with Lulu and Jarvo.  Baby Mia came too, and didn’t even scream when I held her.  Misa took some cute snaps, which I will post…if I ever get broadband.


I had seen Jarvo once, in New York, for last year’s Super Bowl, a night best not remembered given the whole waking up naked in a strange hotel room occurrence.  (And thankfully, Jarvo is a Raiders fan.)  He kept doing the Monkey Joe thing – squash, hug, kiss, bang into sharp object, ‘I can’t believe it’s you, Jeano’.


I know it’s probably getting boring to read, but I was so happy to see Jarvo.  I’ve probably mentioned before that he was the very first person I met in Weybridge, and took me to my first ever rugby game, so he holds a special place in my heart.  Lulu rang on Sunday night to say Jarvo could not stop talking about how I look.  “I get it, Mark” Lulu reported she finally told him.  “Jeano looks fantastic.  Can you shut up about her now?”


I had barely gotten home and said ‘hi’ to my sweet little house when Pinkie rang.  Did I want to pop over to the Running Mare in Cobham to meet Pat and Mike for a drink?  Do I want to jump Johnny Depp’s bones?  Of course I did.  After the Running Mare, we called in to the Grotto, too, for a quick one.  We had to be up early on Monday for the pilgrimage to The Shrine of St. Ikea in Croyden.


When I got to Pinkie’s on Monday morning, the Irish Lad was getting ready to leave on his business trip.  We had nattered about his trip whilst we were shopping on Saturday.  “Where are you staying in Venice” I asked.  “I’m going to Vienna” the Irish Lad answered.  “Oh, you said ‘Venice’.  Are you staying at the Sacher?” I queried, having a Tour Escort Moment.  “I sold it a lot to clients, and I’ve been there, but we always stayed in crappy hotels like the Maria Theresa when we were in Vienna.”  The Irish Lad laughed, and proffered his itinerary.  Yes, he was staying at the Maria Theresa.   “Actually, it’s quite nice” I back-pedaled frantically.


When we picked BooBoo up at hers, she asked Pinkie, “Did Terry leave for Venice yet?”  “He’s going to Vienna” Pinkie corrected.  “Well, he said ‘Venice’ BooBoo told her.  I certainly hope the Irish Lad is not lonely in the crappy Maria Theresa while all his mates are living it up at the Cipriani in Venice this week.  


Honesty compels me to admit that I behaved very badly in Ikea.  BooBoo actually got mad at me.  BooBoo is the sweetest person in the world and she never, ever gets miffed.  “Stop acting like a Jewish American Princess” she snarled at me.  I was sulking because it was absolutely the worst Ikea I have ever been in.  I have been in the one in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. So you know what I mean.  This one was obviously designed for Europeans.  It had everything, as long as you wanted ‘everything’ to be brown.   “Here’s some nice throw cushions” BooBoo wheedled.  “They’re brown” I complained.  “I want hunter green, mauve, and maybe sapphire.  And the sofa throw cover needs to be burgundy, not Horsell Common Mud.” 


I did buy a mirror.  It is so incredibly tacky that Pinkie threatened to leave me, and it, in Croyden.  She wouldn’t even put it on the conveyor belt at check-out in case anyone thought she was buying it.  It’s very Victorian, oval, trimmed with lace and oodles of mauve velvet ribbons.  I’m going for the ‘Tat’ effect.  It perfectly compliments this huge garish reproduction I bought for a fiver of ‘The Lady of Shalott’, which Cheese Boy hung over the sofa.  And I bought an area rug, it’s sort of burgundy-ish, to camouflage the brown wall-to-wall in my lounge.


We had lunch at Ikea.  I had Swedish meatballs, which I’d never had before.  They were pretty good, but, obviously, not up to Italian standards.  The girls surprised me and bought me a packet of them and all the fixings that you just heat in a 190 degree oven. 


BooBoo mentioned that it was Monday, and I was supposed to be Italian, not a bitch.  I think I need to get some knickers, like the kind with the days of the week on them.  Only mine would say ‘Italian’, ‘Jewish’ or American’ so I know what I’m being that day.  Since Thursday is ‘drunk’ I would just skip the knickers completely.




Published February 18, 2008 by jean cohen

This entry will be nice and long, to make up for the quick, little blogs I’ve been dashing off between call-ins to the Grotto.


BooBoo and I went shopping on Sunday.  I know that’s what we did on Saturday, but Sunday was a new day….more stores….more bits and bobs.


Besides, it F.A. time again.  I thought this meant ‘Fucking Assholes’ as a fond tribute to the supporters, but the Irish Lad explained it means “Football Something or Other”.  As they appeared to be playing soccer or rugby or whatever and not football, he was probably trying to confuse me.  We stopped at the Grotto, and just like I remembered, it was packed with screaming blokes, all drunk, yelling and cheering as men in tight little shorts ran aimlessly up and down the pitch.  Occasionally, one would attempt to shove this white ball down the front of his tight little shorts with his head or his foot.  You figure it out.  The only part I understand is the P.K.’s.  That’s the only part the Irish Lad explained to me.  You get two points, instead of three, for kicking the white ball and hitting someone’s head in the end zone.  But only if the score is nil-nil.  If one team, purely by accident, has scored a touchdown or something, they don’t get to have penalty kicks no matter how bloody rude they’ve been to each other.


The blokes all screamed “Jeano!  Did you come to watch Italy play … (some country I never heard of)?”  “No way” I told them.  “I’d rather get locked up at Terminal 4 with 17 Arabs.”  Some rather mean taking the piss ensued.  I am pretty sure, however, that just because one is Italian, one is not required by law to sit through endless boring soccer games wearing a really tight Italia! Shirt as the blokes assured me. Sadly, my homeys lost.  But I am used to this.  See: Eagles, Flyers, Sixers, Phillies.


On Monday, dearest Lulu came around to mine.  Jarvo was in the States.  I had not seen Lulu since my deportation although she faithfully rang every week.  We headed up to the Grotto, and pigged out on Thai food and caught up.  Helicopter is still seeing the Black Cab Driver who isn’t black, and Ginger David is trying hard not to roll off the sofa when he’s pissed and land naked on unsuspecting sleeping women.


On Tuesday, I did Tea Lady duty, and then, in the evening, went to a Talent Show at Heathside, Amy’s school, with the Irish Lad.  I felt like a local; I suppose I am.  I actually ran into people I know.  Amy and her friends, who performed an Irish Dance, did not win.  They were robbed.


On Wednesday, it was a night at the Grotto with Cheese Boy and BooBoo Blondie.  I had not mentioned this, but the first time he saw me, Monkey Joe walked right past me.  He didn’t recognize me.  Then he kept saying “I can’t believe it’s you.”  He was there on Wednesday night (a bit the worse for wear).  He actually embarrassed me.  He kept saying “I can’t believe it’s you” really loud  as he squashed me or knocked me into the walls and furniture.  I have the old familiar Monkey Joe black and blue marks to prove it.  Then he insisted on introducing me to like ten blokes I already know.  When he got that particular ‘I’ve got a brilliant idea’ Monkey Joe look, I disappeared to the loo before I was forced to dance or sing a duet of ‘American Pie’.  Been there; done that.


Thursday was Valentine’s Day; I spent the day shopping with BooBoo for a sofa and what is supposed to be the most romantic evening of the year with Cheese Boy.   This is really true.  Strange, but true.  We went to the Ash Tree for the Quiz Night and some yummy Thai.  We didn’t win, but I was invaluable on the tricky ‘American’ questions.   Except that one about Malcolm X.  And the one about John Glenn.  Hey, I knew ‘Rhode’ Island; nobody else got it.


 On Friday there was a Valentine luncheon at the Senior Centre and I helped serve.  Being confused, they didn’t realize Valentine’s Day had been the day before.  I knew because Cheese Boy told me.  The Dining Room looked really sweet, all decorated with cupids and hearts.  The servers had red aprons with hearts on them.  The tasteless, overcooked chicken was even shaped like hearts.  There was entertainment – a singer and we had a rousing sing along of old favourites like ‘Danny Boy’, ‘White Cliffs of Dover’, ‘A Foggy Day in London Town’, ‘Rule Brittania’, and ‘Vertigo’.   


My broadband was supposed to go live on Friday night, by black magic.  They turn a switch at the Fife of Forth in Scotland.  Everyone is wearing kilts and humming ‘Scotland the Brave’.  Unfortunately at the very instant the Bonnie Scots turned on my broadband, the poker up their arse folks at British Telecom disconnected my phone for non-payment.  Not me; the bloke who lived here before me.  My mobile doesn’t work well (nobody who has Orange gets good reception; their tower must be made of pop cycle sticks).  I was at the Irish Lad’s bright and early Saturday morning to use his land line and have a proper American temper tantrum at BT and Sky. (I didn’t care if it wasn’t an ‘American’ day.)  I posted a blog too, while I was on hold listening to some prat gush ‘We care about you at BT!’ for ages.


I walked in wearing my ‘You Had Me at Shalom’ shirt and said “Shabbat Shalom, Terry Darling”.  It was Saturday; I remembered to be Jewish.  “Yeah, whatever” the Irish Lad mumbled back, shaking his head.  “Do you want a coffee?”  “If you don’t have Zinfy or Rose” I said.  BT was intractable.  Their switch guy, who probably dresses like Dame Edna, would not flip the switch before it’s time, which they have decided is 20 February because they felt like it.  So I still don’t have broadband and now I have no phone.


I was sulking, so the Irish Lad offered to take me shopping.  “Where?” I asked, pausing in breaking all of Pinkie’s dishes in the kitchen.  We’re going to Ikea on Monday; they needed replacing anyway.  “Tesco’s and Marks & Sparks” he offered, dogging a Pimms pitcher.  “Okay” I said, cheered up immensely by having a man placate me in the style I’m accustomed to.  “Let’s take the SUV in case I buy a 52’ plasma screen telly.”


As we headed home after my retail therapy, Terry teased, “Mr. Cohen had a good day.” The car was packed.  I was confused.  Mrs. Cohen had fun; Mr. Cohen would be turning up at three in the morning, with yarmulke and tallit firmly in place, to scream in Yiddish.   “The owner of Tesco’s is named ‘Cohen’” Terry explained.  Oy vey!  A Yid.  Named ‘Cohen’.   And he owns Tesco’s.  How cool is that?  I mean, it’s not as good as that Arab bloke who owns Harrods and is even shorter than the president of France, but it’s not half bad. “Is he married” I inquired.  “Or at least fool around?”    




Published February 16, 2008 by jean cohen

On Saturday, BooBoo picked me up early in the morning.  Our plan was a reccy of the Charity Shops in Ashford, and then housewares shopping in Hounslow.  We popped into her’s for a moment.  Lou was wearing his pressie from me – the most garish bowling shirt I could find at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  I’d had it embroidered, but not with a tasteful little ‘Lou’ on the pocket.  Nope, across the back, in Velveeta yellow, it screams ‘The Big Cheese!’


 Booboo and Lou bought me some land in the US of A.  Really.  I now own one square inch of land in each of the fifty states.  Of course, I can’t build on my land, nor live on it.  I couldn’t anyway; my shoes and boots alone take up the equivalent of the entire state of Delaware. I won’t even mention my jeans.   And I can’t be popping over to Sweet One Inch of Alabama every time I feel like carrying my brown Louis Vuitton.  It is too bad I can’t sell some of it to Native Americans building another Casino. 


I bought some more bits and bobs in a few of the charity shops and then we headed to Hounslow to Wilkinson’s, the super store.  Hounslow is where Heathrow is.  You can actually see the planes coming in to land.  There is a huge pedestrian mall in Town Centre.  It was jammed, chock-a-block with Indians; and, again, not the comfortable, civilized Chief Halftown kind. Bombay must be a ghost town because there were ten million of them pushing and jostling us like Apaches on the warpath.  If I was prejudiced, at this point I would mention the movie ‘Bend It Like Beckham’ (which I actually liked) and that in the movie, everybody – they were all Indians-  lived in Hounslow and worked at Heathrow.


“I don’t like it here” I whinged to BooBoo.  “It’s full of bloody rude Indians.”  “Well, get used to it” she snapped back as an Indira Ghandi  lookalike mowed her down with a double pram.  I bought some lamps, and some knives.  It was tough slicing bagels with a manicure scissors.   We had lunch at Woolworth’s, hit a few more shops, and headed back to unload all the booty we’d bought at mine.


I had turned down all offers to go out for drinkies on Saturday night.  I was tired and decided I needed a night in to unwind.  I could watch a movie, or even do an entire blog, if my muse popped in.  (This often happens simply by opening another bottle of Zinfy.)  Amy popped in, my old neighbors popped in for a cuppa, Pinkie popped in to see what BooBoo and I had bought.  In between, both phones kept going off.  Lulu rang for a long natter, as did Eileen.


It’s wonderful to be back.




Published February 11, 2008 by jean cohen

I’ve been home for five days.  So much has happened I will have to blog for weeks to report it all.  But so much is constantly going on, I can’t seem to make any time to sit down and write an entire blog entry at one go.  But I’m not complaining; everyone popping ‘round and ringing is a wonderful thing.


I got the most beautiful card from Amy and Eamonn welcoming me home, and saying that they love me and had missed me during my exile.  I opened the envelope, and managed somehow to keep a straight face.  The front of the card, right above the 3-D bouquet of roses, said ‘On Your Bat Mitzvah’.  “This is lovely” I said sincerely.  “We weren’t sure, Jeano” Amy explained, “If you were Jewish or American any more, now that you’re Italian, but we thought you’d like the Jewish message.”  “It is rather confusing now” I agreed.  (Hell, I’m always confused about something or other.)  “I’m going to be Jewish on Fridays and Saturdays, American on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and Italian on Sundays and Mondays.  On Thursday, it’s Live Music at the Pub so on Thursdays I’m gonna be drunk.”  Everyone agreed that this was a brilliant plan.  


The first, most important, thing I did was order my Sky TV and broadband.  There’s a promo at the moment.  By saying I was referred by BooBoo, we each get 30 quid in Marks & Spencer vouchers.  I love the food at Marks & Sparks; it’s already cooked.  You just heat it in a 190 degree oven for 20 minutes.  You Americans may not know this, but ‘190 degrees’ is British top secret code for ‘325 degrees’.


With typical British efficiency, my cable and broadband will be installed sometime around Boxing Day.  No worries, though.  I just schlep my computer to the Irish Lad’s and piggyback on to his internet connection.  So you can all still email me anyway and you will get your ‘Jeano’s Blog’ fix as fast as I can write them.


My sweet little house was unfurnished, but crafty Pinkie negotiated a great deal with the prior tenant to buy all his bits and bobs.  He was moving to the States.  (I sure hope they let him in; he’d better not turn back up expecting to be housemates with me.)  So I have a bed, a telly and DVD player, and a phone and answer phone.  I have a microwave and some assorted furniture (think Ikea- in New Orleans – after the dam broke). 


A lot of my stuff was in storage at BooBoo’s, my British stuff.  My American ‘stuff’ is, of course, in storage in King of Prussia.  Moshe can verify this as he moved almost all of it so I could find the box that had my spare mink coat in it. 


I immediately opened the huge box marked ‘kitchen’. (I ignored the little one that said ‘cleaning products’.)   It had paper goods and plastic ware in it.  I had not forgotten about that nasty business called ‘washing up’, which means one has to actually wash the dishes and cups personally, by hand.  Although I had put a sign on the door of Rede Court, the Washing Up Fairy never turned up at mine.  BooBoo would finally get disgusted and do them if I out-waited her.


Both phones didn’t stop ringing with friends calling to welcome me home.  I made a quick visit with Pinkie to Mole Cottage in Cobham to meet little David Robert, and one to Bald Chris’ with BooBoo to meet beautiful baby Mia.  I visited the folks at the Senior Centre, and yes, I am going to be the Head Tea Lady again.  I start on Tuesday.  I know this is hard to imagine but most folks at the Centre are even more confused than me.


I did, unfortunately, make more than a few spur of the moment trips to the Grotto. 


BooBoo was working on Friday night, so I hung out with Cheese Boy.  Pat popped over to see my house, bringing a lovely bottle of wine and some glasses to drink it in.  Otherwise we’d have had to use coffee mugs.  Proving the point that too damned many people in too damned many countries know too damned much about my personal life, she ‘suggested’ that I stop five-finger discounting bar equipment from her pub.  I am not even a tiny bit ashamed to admit that I immediately whinged “I never!  It was Pinkie!  I said so in the blog!”


“Sure, Jeano, that’s what you say now” Pat scoffed, getting all ‘New York’ on me.  “People spend hours at the pub discussing your latest blog, trying to figure out what’s true and what’s an exaggeration or another bald-assed lie.”  “My writing style employs both the metaphysical and the allegorical” I snapped back, giving her some Philly ‘tude and Italian machismo simultaneously.  (I know; it was Friday.  I’m meant to be Jewish on Fridays.  I got a little confused…again.)


Anyway, the Boy and I ended up at the Grotto for ‘a quick one’, and then headed to Ashford to BooBoo’s pub for some Thai food and some not so ‘quick ones’.  I think the strangeness has finally worn off, and Lou and I had a relaxed evening, nattering about anything and everything just like in the old days, and insulting each other and taking the piss, and loving every minute of it.


Do not believe any stories Lou tells you about the blind barmaid at the Ash Tree on Friday night.  It’s his word against mine.