With Easter almost upon us, I keep feeling strangely unsettled and I’ve realised why. No, it’s not the thought of all those chocolate eggs we’re expected to consume, it’s because I’m almost due to flip countries again. This may sound like a simple process of jumping in the van with a few bags, boarding a ferry and waving ‘bye bye’ to the South Coast of England but that would be vastly underestimating the task: it’s a real mission of sorting out personal affairs at both ends so it doesn’t descend into mayhem. Last time, the swap-over took a month, in effect, and irretrievably delayed at least one sensible project while I figured out (a) how to avoid sinking the ferry with all our clothes and boots and (b) how to fit them into limited space at the English end (hoarder, me, no: compulsive charity shopper, yes!).
I hate Blighty when I’m in Spain and I fret about returning to Spain when I’m in Blighty. Talk about being contrary! I’ve become hopelessly addicted to my weekly Tesco online grocery shop (no need to wheel the boys around wriggling and writhing in a trolley while they maul the groceries) and the boys are attached to their English nursery, where they’ve made friends with staff and kids alike. I also like the fact that one of my old friends lives round the corner and can pop round for roast beef and a bottle or three of vino. Gosh, I’m starting to sound like ‘Mrs Brady – Old Lady’ again. I really must stop now before I start ranting about voucher codes (a recurring theme these days) and how much I miss M&S when I’m out of the country.
Perhaps this is more evidence of me turning into my Mother: wanting to cling to a set pattern or routine – even if the highpoint is receiving the weekly Tesco food delivery so I can “ooh” and “ah” over the ‘Three Bean and Mint Salad’. You wouldn’t find that in Carrefour, not in a month of Sundays when it’s closed. On the other hand, Jamon Serrano is vastly preferable to the sweaty Tesco “two for £3” packs of ham, although Tesco’s more expensive breaded Finest ham is delicious. Speaking of which, we all went to see some real pigs at Middle Farm on the A27 near Lewes last weekend. Oink!
Moans and misgivings about the upheaval of changing countries aside (in particular, I’m worried what I’ll find at the other end thanks to a disrespectful house guest and his anally-expulsive hound), I keep thinking about the bag of charity shop ‘finds’ installed in my wardrobe here in Poohaven: these include a selection of strappy tops, summer dresses and short skirts, many of them unworn by the previous owners. They’re perfect for strolling around in the sunshine... sunshine that probably won’t be experienced here in Blighty. It’s a tad worrying that people are starting to say “ooh look, it’s a warm, sunny day” when it’s six degrees Celsius. I even caught myself doing it when considering a trip to the play park. I had to remind myself that six degrees isn’t far off freezing.
When it’s warm outside (a distant memory at present), there’s no excuse for lurking in the house obsessing about the central heating control, whether it’s set correctly and much will the gas cost anyway. Furthermore, warm weather encourages fun and frolics. Thankfully, in Spain, I can go out when I choose and chat up the local ‘hombres’ – in contrast to Blighty, where the logistics of arranging babysitters make an evening of flirting an unattractive and costly option. No, it’s much easier to sit in the house watching ‘Shameless’ and ‘One Born Every Minute’, which both instil the idea that it’s a good idea to keep oneself to oneself or else face the consequences. In Spain, the ‘fishing pond’ is much more accessible to the single mother of two lively toddlers, while babysitters are easy to obtain. However, amongst the male expat community, the fish are often missing their teeth or you’re likely to catch young minnows and battered old goldfish rather than a nice, fresh swordfish. Perhaps I’ll force myself to take the unprecedented step of abandoning the rod until the pond life improves. Or perhaps I need to go fishing on the Costa instead (I don’t mean the alcoholic variety, which is likely to induce “hah hah I think I’m ever so amusing”-style ranting followed by coma and a headache). Oh well, as long as you don’t put your leg over one of those poisonous jellyfish. Ouch!
Ship ahoy? I guess it is... after the Easter egg-fest and a week's holiday for both Mummy and the Toddler Twosome (i.e. separately) that will kindly be provided by their grandparents.