Sunday, 11 May 2008

Another Country

I'm back. And this time for good.

Or evil.

Do you remember when I was 40, and I had a massive long list of things I wanted to do? I told you about it here? Well, I've been busy. And it's only May right? So I'm not even half way though the year yet, am I?

I'm also not even close to halfway through the damn list either, which is one of those things about blogging where you come a cropper. I mean, if you make a New Years Resolution and don't tell anyone, then who's to know if it's all gone to cock by the 4th of January?

So far, I'm well on the way to number 14, 18's a done deal, 21's looking good, 29, lots of you did (but you should really get your screen resolution sorted) and Belle's taking care of 17 and 26, but they're still in the future.

Which brings me to number 2. I'd like to go to a country I've never been to before. I was thinking about lots of places when I wrote that. Australia, Canada, New Zealand, China. And a little bit nearer to home Croatia, Greece or Russia. I've just booked a holiday for a week in September, but it's not to a country I've never been to before. It's Italy.

And I'm going with him.

I would like to say the process was straightforward. I'd also like to say that I've just won the lottery, but that's not true either.

We'd skated round the subject for a little while but eventually agreed that we would like to go on holiday together. In a burst of enthusiasm that I normally reserve for cheese or cheese related products, I whizzed off to the travel agent to get a brochure to give me some ideas. We talked about when we could get away. Golf played a far greater part in the decision than one could imagine, frankly, but eventually, we decided on the middle of September. We both wanted to go somewhere warm, and somewhere where you can do things. You know, things. A bit more than a beach holiday, if you like.

I came up with a wealth of suggestions: Morocco, Egypt, Greece, Italy. We decided on Italy, so then the searching could begin in earnest. Or so you would think...

I went back to the travel agents and came up with enough Italy brochures to fill, well, fill a travel agents. He went to the travel agents and picked up a brochure. Singular. I perused them at length, came up with an idea of what sort of area I'd like to go to.

I think he watched the football.

My decision was carried unanimously, so I went back to the brochures to draw up a short list of hotels, based on price, location, amenities, the usual sort of thing.

I think he watched the football.

I took all of my brochures out with us one night, and we skimmed through them while we had a drink. The next morning I left them for him, with the corners helpfully turned down, so he could see which ones I liked. I'm not a control freak (quiet at the back); I told him that there were loads to choose from, and I'd welcome any other suggestions. The weekend was a Bank Holiday, so there was loads of time to look through them. He didn't. I do not think that men like to look through brochures, nor make decisions.

Maybe that is only certain men.

We met up at my house to finalise the booking. In a fit of frustration the night before I'd sent him a text message telling him to 'LOOK AT THE DAMN BROCHURES'. It perhaps wasn't very polite. But he had taken me seriously this time, and made a page of useful notes. They mainly centred around one hotel, which was his favourite. It is too expensive, well over the price range that we'd set for ourselves. I'd discussed this with him before. It was only cheaper in one brochure because that was a flight from Gatwick and it didn't include a transfer from the airport, and for all I know, you had to stand on one leg while you booked it, to get that price. It was also booked up entirely for the week we wanted to go.

I told him all of this, and we went to trawl the internet. I pulled up a website showing a hotel that I liked the look of, that we could afford, and that was free the week we needed.

'It's not really like that other one, is it?' he said.

No, it isn't. What about this one? It's a bit more expensive, but still within our budget.

'It's not really the same as that other one though, is it?' he said.

No. because it's in our price range, and we could stay in it for the right week.

I would like to say that this stopped after two hotels, but again with the winning the lottery thing.

Finally, finally, we decided on a hotel. No, it's nothing like that other one, but by this time I'd have slept on the beach. We started to go through the booking screens, decided to pay the supplement for the room with a view, rather than the room with its own polluted atmosphere from all the Vespas on the road outside. No need to book an in-flight meal is there, I said, skipping past it. He looks at me in some horror. I reiterate to him that the flight is at 10 past 6 in the morning. We will have been at the airport since 4. The only food I can imagine eating at that time is a kebab. And usually I have to have had a fair few lagers to work up an appetite for it. I try to look at it from his point of view.

You know, the wrong one.

'Well, I suppose when I go on holiday with C, she always makes me a bacon sandwich to eat at the airport' I remark wistfully.

He looks at me with renewed hope.

'Shall I ask her if she'll make us both one?' I say, thereby dashing all of his hopes of me as a domestic goddess.

The meal costs quite a lot of money. That's as cheap as we could get something at the airport, he says. Yes it is, if we have foie gras and lobster, but I don't think they do it in a kebab.He makes a final bid for the meal on the plane.

'But Aldo Zilli's making it!' he says, with a note of triumph that is clearly meant to be the casting vote. I do not think that a meal that is inspired by Aldo Zilli means that he's going to be at the front of the plane, whipping up some sort of gastronomic delight. I think we'll be lucky if it's a variety box of Rice Krispies, but I also think you have to choose your battles. A meal on the plane it is.

And finally, we're booked.

It might not be a country that I've never been to before, but a lot of it's starting to feel like uncharted territory...


Manic Mother Of Five said...

WELCOME BACK! I missed you so much..... A holiday hey, now that's got to be progress or does he always go on holiday with people he's NOT having a relationship with............

So good to hear from you xxxxx

belle said...

It's just as well I'd finished my drink or we would have had spillage, Madam!

You know what would have made him pick up the brochures sooner? Post-it notes. I have some somewhere I could let you have for next time if you like?

Tina said...

That's a good question, MMOF. I don't think he does, unless he's playing golf with them. Maybe I need to buy golf sticks, or whatever you call them.

Belle, cannot imagine why I didn't think of post it notes. School girl error. Keep them nearby, we have to choose excursions yet.

Swearing Mother said...

Wahey Tina! A holiday with HIM, eh? You've got to admit, I never gave up on this whole non-relationship thing, it was always on the cards I thought.

And now you've got him to help choose a holiday. Well done matey. That's more commitment I can get from my husband and we've been married for two thousand years.

The only way I can get him to look at brochures would be to cut the plug off his effing computer or fuse the electrics, and then he'd go out to the garage and stick his head under the bonnet of the car rather than have to make a decision.

So, you see, you're doing far far better than you think.

So glad you're back, it just wasn't the same without you.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

So you are at long last back! Great to hear from you oh witty one. Italy - how romantic. Maybe he will come over all lovey dovey what with the food, wine, sunshine and fabulous company. You are a very clever lady as your patience is working wonders - we have a lot to learn from you. Really nice to read your blog again - it feels like an old pal has just popped in for a cuppa and a good old chat.

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Tina said...

SM, I'm glad to be back, didn't realise how much I'd miss it.

MOB, I have a special technique known as 'a wing & a prayer', but it seems to be working...