Did I ever tell you I have a fondness for making lists? I use the word fondness conservatively as I know the family would disagree and say it’s bordering on obsession. I don’t think it’s hereditary although I have my doubts as later in his life, my dear, late Dad used to have a pad of all our names (there were 6 of us) and then a list of what he wanted to talk to us about next time we visited. Perhaps more to do with memory loss but hey, let’s not go there this morning.
This week has been so mad that even my lists didn’t help to ease the whirlwind that seemed to be my life. In true form I’ll share with you what I’ve been up to - in no particular order:
As you can see, although I wrote loads more about Suzi last weekend when I was away, I haven’t had a chance to edit it. Suzi has become my surrogate daughter and I need to get her off that kitchen table, out of Ed's clutches and facing whoever it is at the door! Any guesses?
- Two full days in London, visiting the Hockney exhibition ( have now been 5 times in total and it is still as excellent, inspiring and uplifting as the first time, the man’s a bloody genius in my opinion.) Also went to the Ideal Home exhibition yesterday - don’t bother, totally under whelming.
- A full day at a brilliant marketing course. Testimonial For Aleptis - Teresa Hamilton
- Two sessions of tennis.
- Three meetings (I’ve got a stall as East is East at the FIRLE GARDEN SHOW, nr Lewes, 20-22 April and I’m trying to get the stall together so that you gasp with excitement when you see it. (Not shake your head and bring me a cup of tea.)
- An afternoon driving daughter No.2, to her piano exam and all that goes with that. (I know you’ll have your fingers crossed for her - legs and toes hopefully, won’t be necessary, but thanks anyway.)
- 1 reflexology session- not sure I’m convinced about the benefits of that one.
- As well as endless domestic trivia such as filling the beast that is the fridge, engineering clean clothes for the beasts that are the family and cleaning the beast that is the house, (please don’t look in the corners or that awkward bit behind the telly.)
So today, after:
1. a look at the papers,
2. ...two cups of coffee,
3. ... stripping the beds to feed the washing machine,
4. ... I am devoting myself to being a domestic goddess,
5. ... finishing another episode of Suzi for you in her Diary of a Long haul Stewardess,
6. ... and as writing this wasn’t on my ‘to do’ list I’m now behind schedule, but you were worth it.Teresa x
A swan came along just after this...
Just want to share with you the view from my window when I went away this weekend.
For new visitors to my blog it's all about 24yr old, Suzi's mad existence as cabin crew. Too far to go back to the beginning to fill in the details and as I 've started to delete some of the earlier posts about Suzi and her diary, you may feel that there are parts missing,so here's a quick round up.
Suzi's stuck between two men. Matt Murphy, old boyfriend and now engaged to her housemate Debbie and Ed McEwan, First Officer and fitty, but who is going out with Candy. Suzi's dad has just had a suspected heart attack and Ed has driven her down to visit him. Suzi is hoping for a romantic fling with Ed. (I know that 'cos I’ve been trying to get them together ever since Hong Kong) but as usual love never runs smoothly...Diary of a Long haul Stewardess The fizz from the bubbles suddenly projected themselves straight up my nose causing me to cough, splutter and keel over as I tried desperately to catch my breath.
Ed put his glass down on the worktop and patted me on the back. ‘What is it with you and champagne?’ he questioned. ‘Can’t you drink it without choking?’
I spat the remaining liquid into the sink and heaved some oxygen into my lungs with all my might. Taking a few moments to recover I turned to face Ed.
‘It’s not the bloody champagne, you idiot. It’s you dropping a bombshell at the wrong time. When? What happened?’
Ed grinned. ‘I knew you’d want the whole story.’ He topped up my half empty glass and started to unload the contents of the grocery bag, laying a pack of chicken fillets and a jar of bhuna curry sauce next to each other on the worktop. ‘After you told me about Candy and what you thought she’d done,’ he saw me raise my eyebrows again and held his hand up in protest. ‘Let me tell it my way. I brought up the conversation with Candy when I was home last and yes, it turns out she was the one sending you the texts.’
‘And wrote that letter complaining about me?’
‘Well, she didn’t admit or deny that one.’
‘What made you think I was right?’
‘I found your note. The one you sent with those hideous pants.’
It was my turn to grin. ‘You have no taste. Nothing wrong with them. How did you find it?’
‘Accidentally. She asked me to get her purse out of her handbag one evening when we were going out and it fell out on the floor.’
I folded my arms smugly and looked at him. ‘Go on,’ I encouraged.
‘That’s about it really.’
‘What do you mean, that’s about it? That’s not about anything. It tells me nothing about what happened. How did she take it?’
‘It was all a bit messy really, but I realised when she started getting hysterical that you were right.’
‘In what way?’
‘That I really didn’t know her. She started turning into a person I didn’t recognise. It all escalated into a huge row so I suggested we take a break from each other.’ He hesitated.
‘Before I knew it she was slagging you off and revealing all kinds of things I didn’t know but it seems she had been monitoring my emails as well as my phone calls.’
‘How on earth…’
‘Whenever I left my computer on or the phone lying around the house apparently. In an attempt to calm her down I went into the kitchen to get her a drink, when I came back to ask her what she wanted she hastily dropped my phone back on the sofa. Seems she was just checking you hadn’t called.’
I stood silently. I didn’t approve of spying on someone else but had I been unfair to Candy? Perhaps it wasn’t just me that was the problem? Why was she so suspicious of Ed’s behaviour that she had to check up on him?
‘What?’ Ed asked. ‘You’re doing it again?’
‘Doing what again?’
‘Thinking. Your face goes all serious and you frown.’
I never realised that I gave myself away so explicitly. ‘Although I don’t agree with what she’s done, I was wondering why she felt the need to spy on you. Have you played away from home before?’ It was time for a few home truths. I needed him to be honest with me.
‘Suzi! Is that what you think of me?’
‘Well, you are Flight Deck and you did bring a bottle of champagne to my room in Hong Kong whilst you were still going out with her.’
‘That’s unfair. For one, don’t tar me with the Flight Deck label and two, I haven’t done it before.’ He looked hurt. ‘You don’t get it, do you? You’re special, Suz.’
If I was a weaker woman and a character in a romantic movie I would have succumbed to Ed’s puppy dog eyes at this point and rushed into his arms to nestle against his hairy chest. But I was made of sterner stuff. I would need far more convincing than his sweet talk. Oh, why did relationships have to be so difficult? I wanted nothing more than to believe his every word but I just couldn’t. I took another sip of my drink and stood there. What now? The way the conversation was going I’d have a choice of both the double and the single beds to myself tonight.
‘Candy has a few issues,’ Ed said diplomatically. ‘I’m not going to tell you anymore as I don’t want to break her confidence but I just didn’t realise that she wasn’t coping with them very well.’
‘What like she’s a stalker and psychotic?’
‘No, but she did apply to be crew and never made it.’
‘So that makes it alright for her to take out her revenge on me, just because I did?’ My voice was becoming high pitched and a little hysterical now. Candy’s psychosis was catching. I took a deep breath. What ever sympathy I felt towards Candy had gone. ‘Where is she now?’
‘She’s moved the few things she had out of my house and gone back to her place. We’ve agreed to not contact each other for a while.’
‘Has she agreed not to contact me too? She has my mobile number and knows where I live.’
‘I’ve told her not to. I think she just needs some time to realise what she’s done is wrong.'
‘And you think that’s enough? I wouldn’t trust her an inch. Her boyfriend has just dumped her and she blames me for it. She’s bonkers, anything could happen. I wouldn’t be surprised if she came and attacked us with a knife.’
‘Really Suzi, I think you’re over reacting.’ I stared at him defiantly. ‘It’s over as far as I’m concerned but I don’t want to hurt her anymore than necessary.’
‘So what now?’ I had to ask. I hadn’t a clue what our relationship was anymore. If it was just a quick shag and then goodbye whilst he was on a break from Candy then he could forget it. I wasn’t going to be treated like that. Especially not by him. I was beginning to care more for Ed McEwan than I wanted to admit. Best to keep my feelings buttoned until I knew what he was feeling if I didn’t want to be hurt.
‘I think, Suzi,’ Ed said as he walked over to me and took the glass from my hand, placing it down beside us on the table. ‘If you’re willing to give us time, we could just see where it leads.’ Ed was so close his face was directly in front of mine. ‘Perhaps this might give you an idea of how I feel about you.’ He put his arms around my waist and pulled me firmly against him, fixing me in his embrace so that I couldn’t move. Searching out my mouth he placed his lips on mine and kissed me hard, forcing my lips apart to put his tongue in my mouth passionately. I couldn’t resist. I could taste sweetness on his breath and smell the scent of the alcohol intoxicatingly seeping up my nose. I leaned into his body and let the experience envelope me. Ed pressed his body harder against mine so that I could feel every inch of him. Matt had never been this passionate. Even in the beginning of our relationship he’s been half hearted in his approach. I felt a tingle shoot from my lips straight down through my body to my toes. If I was still in that romantic movie I would be lifting up my leg behind me inadvertently. Instead, I pulled away slightly and came up for air. Bloody Hell! Why had I thought of Matt in the middle of Ed’s embrace? What was wrong with me? I should have been all consumed with stars and hearts circling my head like a halo if Ed was the one. Ed sensed my resistance and relaxed his hold a little.
‘Not to your liking?’
I was in serious danger of messing this up again. Shove off Matt. I moved back into Ed’s arms fixing his hands together around my back. Bringing his head gently down towards me again with my hand, I found his lips and kissed him hard. He responded and I felt him move his hand down to my bum and press me against him. No doubt there what reaction my kiss was having. Pulling away slightly, Ed lowered his lips and started kissing my neck. I caressed his back and followed the line of his shoulder, never relaxing the pressure. Time to show the man that I meant business. He stepped back moving us apart so that he could slowly undo the buttons on my blouse, one at a time as he kissed the skin on my throat and then lower and lower as the flesh was revealed. Blimey this might be it, here in Dad’s kitchen. At last Ed and I might be getting it together. Not quite what I’d envisaged, but beggars can’t be choosers. I helped him release me from the sleeves of my cotton shirt and stood before him in my uniform skirt and lace bra. His breath was coming quicker. Thank God he hadn’t started cooking. It would be burnt by now. He pushed me back against the table and lifted me up onto it, forcing my legs apart as he stood in between them. I could feel a ridge of the wooden surface scratching my skin through my tights as I leaned back on both arms and let my head drop back. My hair cascaded down my back and over my shoulders.
‘You are special, Suz. I knew it from the first moment in LA,’ he murmured the words as he licked my right ear lobe.
My heart skipped a beat. Where was my resolve now? I was in danger of succumbing to his sweet talk. All that sensible advise I’d given myself earlier was about to go right out of the window. Bloody pheromones. They had a lot to answer for. If he wasn’t so gorgeous I would be able to resist him, but this is what I’d been wanting for ages now. But I still didn’t know if it was an act and his usual seduction technique. I had to make a decision and stop analyzing his every move. Either I went through with it or stopped it now before it went too far.
He moved to cup my face with both hands and started kissing my eyelids tenderly, all the while stroking my skin as though I was something fragile. Decision made. Any man that held me that tenderly was worth a go. This was going to be too good to miss. I leaned back and surrendered myself to him. I felt his tongue trace a line from my face down my neck and linger, teasingly, just above my breast.
Suddenly the kitchen door was flung open and a woman’s outline was silhouetted in the frame. I leapt off the table, bringing my knee up at the same time as Ed leapt backwards, just catching him in the balls as I turned my head in panic to see who was standing there. Suzi xIf you'd like to leave a comment, please do because :
'They’re a hug from your best friend. They’re a pat on the back from your coach. They’re the standing ovation at the end of the speech.' Jon Morrow
Can't let you forget about my new website. www.eastiseasthome.co.uk Beautiful home accessories sourced from Indonesia. Have you seen the flamingo mobile yet?As you gently pull the cord its wings flap - how good is that - flamingos flying in the bedroom?
I've started to delete some of the earlier posts about Suzi and her diary, so you may feel if you go back to the beginning that there are parts missing. Keep reading -you'll soon pick up the story .
It's amazing what can turn up when you do a spot of silver surfing... I was supposed to be writing but the 97% distraction kicked in this morning. Arghhh...Teresa xhttp://thesussexnewspaper.com/features/books/3677-choices-wins-critical-acclaim.html
If you'd like to leave a comment, please do because :
'They’re a hug from your best friend. They’re a pat on the back from your coach. They’re the standing ovation at the end of the speech.' Jon Morrow
For new visitors to my blog it's all about 24yr old, Suzi's mad existence as cabin crew. Best to go back to the beginning if you want to fill in the details - she's about to find out about her dad...Diary of a Long haul Stewardess
As I stood and watched Ed drive off along the road my heart sank a little. Part of me wanted to call him back so I could get straight back into that car and drive off with him. Then I wouldn’t have to face what was waiting for me in the hospital. I gave myself a swift mental kick up the arse. Man up Suzi. It’s Dad you’re talking about. Time to grow up and get a grip.
The automatic doors swished open as soon as I approached them. After checking the information board in the entrance, I followed the coloured pathway line drawn on the floor until I reached the first floor ward. I don’t like hospitals - after the time I had to go and have my chin stitched when I fell off the boy next door’s bike.
I entered the main men’s ward and looked round the first, four-bedded section searching the beds for my dad. The bed nearest the door was occupied by an old man, lying propped up on his stack of pillows, fast asleep with his mouth open. His skin was almost translucent with thin, blue veins criss-crossing over the gnarled hand that lay on top of the pale sheet. Well, he certainly wasn’t dad. He looked as old as Methuselah and as dead as him too.
I glanced at the old boy laying in the bed next to him. No. Not dad either. He was as fat as a barrel and had the audacity to wink at me. He was obviously in the wrong place if he could still do that. Really! Just because he was poorly and in his PJ’s he thinks it gives him license to flirt at will. Oh my god. The covers weren’t over him properly. I resisted having a second glance to see if it was what I thought it was, peeping through his PJ bottoms. Oh I wouldn’t be a nurse for anything in the world. At least if the punters get a bit frisky on the flight I can ‘accidentally’ pour something on them. Here you’d be arrested for mistreatment if you did something like that to an old boy who could always plead dementia. Most nurses had seen it all before anyway, surely? And don’t they say that once you’ve seen one penis, you’ve seen them all?
I walked along the corridor to the next room. It was nearly empty except for two occupants (not peak time for being ill, obviously.) A curtain was drawn across the bed in the corner, next to the window on the far side. I crept softly up and peeped round the patterned material.
Bingo! Dad was asleep lying flat on his back. I walked up to him and stood looking at him trying to decide whether to disturb him or not. His cheeks were pale and his hair askew but apart from that he looked the same. I sat down quietly on the large chair next to the bed, trying not to make a sound. But I must have been noisier than I thought as Dad’s eyes flickered open.
‘Hello, darling,’ he said trying to wake and prop himself up all at the same time. ‘I suppose Mia rang you. I didn’t want her to bother you,’ he apologised squirming to get the pillows together.
‘Dad!’ I exclaimed, jumping up to help him arrange the pillows with the skill of Florence Nightingale so that he was comfortable. ‘It’s no bother. You’re ill. I would have killed her if she hadn’t let me know. How are you feeling?’
‘Okay. But I think I’ve been a bit of a fraud. They’ve done some tests and it appears that rather than having a heart attack, I may just have an irregular heartbeat and that’s what caused the pain and made me faint.’
‘Are you sure?’ Relief flooded over me. It felt a bit like when the Ents released Saruman’s dam in the closing stages of Tolkien’s, Lord of the Rings ( I loved those movies, couldn’t plough through the books but once had a ‘Frodo’ saturation weekend when Matt and I watched the trilogy straight off.)
Dad nodded his head and took hold of my hand.
‘Really I feel fine. A bit tired, but that’s all the excitement. They keep sticking needles into me and taking blood for tests. I’m going to stay in for a couple of nights just to make sure. Really Suzi, you mustn’t worry.’
I pulled my chair up close to his side and snuggled in for a cuddle. The whole day had been emotionally exhaustive. I had steeled myself to hear the worst. I reckoned if I was prepared for it, it wouldn’t come as such a shock. But my dad wasn’t going to die. Well, he was one day, but not today. Or tomorrow. Or the next. He would soon be out there once again scattering chicken feed and being followed by Mabel. Thinking of Mabel I chuckled.
‘I’m pleased you’re pleased,’ Dad said. ‘But I didn’t expect you to be laughing about it.’
‘I wasn’t laughing at you. I was just thinking about Ed. He’s gone on to your house to feed the animals.’
Dad lifted my head from its position tucked under his arm and looked me straight in the eye. ‘This isn’t the Ed you told me about before? The one you like but who has girlfriend and you don’t know how he feels about you?’
‘Seems like you’ve got your answer, my girl. If he’s driven you down here and volunteered to be butted by Gruff and snapped at by Mabel, he must like you. Has he had much experience of farm animals?’ Dad asked.
‘I’ve no idea.’ We both grinned.
‘Well, it’ll be a baptism of fire then.’
Visiting time had only just begun when I arrived so I stayed with Dad for a couple of hours until his eyes drooped wearily. Mia had visited earlier and my Mum was going to pop in later in the evening to check all was okay. Half way through my visit I realised I was starving, so ventured down to the hospital shop and selected a panini,crisps and hot chocolate which I took up to munch whilst Dad filled me in on all that happened in the last 24 hours.
By the time it came to say goodbye, he was looking tired but much brighter. Although I felt relieved by his news, I was completely knackered. I decided to use Ed’s money and get a taxi to Dad’s house, rather than wait around for him to collect me. When I opened the door of the cottage a short while later, it was a surprise to find it all quiet. Ed, asleep, was sprawled out on the sofa in the small sitting room. Mabel was also comatosed at his feet and five chickens were dotted comfortable around the room on anything soft they could find to sit on. A gentle snore rose from the inert form on the sofa and the quiet clucking of the hens as they shifted in position made quite the country scene. I left him sleeping and walked back into the kitchen to fill the kettle. Realising I’d left the back door ajar I made to kick it shut with my foot. Suddenly all hell broke loose as Gruff came bounding through the doorway from the garden, butting it back with such force that it smashed against the wall, tore straight past me and headed for the sitting room. All I could hear was the clamour of clucking and a loud groan and a shout as the sleeping party were rudely woken up.
‘How the bloody hell did you get in again?’ came angrily from the room. ‘Argh… bloody animal!’
I smiled as I poked my head round the doorframe to see Gruff standing over Ed who had been knocked onto the floor. Ed’s hands were up trying to fend off Gruff’s attentions.
‘Having trouble with your new friend?’ I asked laughing at the scene.Suzi xCan't let you forget about my new website. www.eastiseasthome.co.uk Beautiful home accessories sourced from Indonesia. Have you seen the owl candle lantern yet? Being the tall, silent type, this will be a perfect addition to your home. Teresa x
For new visitors to my blog it's all about 24yr old, Suzi's mad existence as cabin crew. Best to go back to the beginning if you want to fill in the details - She's a bit shaken up...Diary of a Long haul StewardessI stared at Ed. I couldn’t take in what Mia was saying to me. Ed was looking at me questioningly.
‘Is he alright?' I shouted down the phone. ' Where is he?’ There was no reply. I repeated my questions. Louder. I looked at the phone. The signal had gone.
‘Suz? What is it?’ Ed asked concerned.
‘It’s…it’s my dad. He’s had a heart attack.’
My phone rang again. I could feel the tears welling up in my eyes. I stood still, the phone continuing to ring.
‘Suz. The phone?’ I didn’t move. It hung in my hand getting quite a few bars through its Coldplay, Charlie Brown ringtone. Ed took it from me and answered.
‘Hello, yes this is Suzi’s phone. I’m Ed, her friend. How is her father? Where is he?... Yes. Okay… I’ll bring her down straight away.’
He ended the call and picked up my suitcase.
‘Suzi. Come on,’ he said firmly. ‘Your father is in a hospital near Chichester. I’m going to drive you down there now. He’s going to be alright.’
I continued to stare at him. My mind had gone blank. I couldn’t think what to do. Me - who believes she is so cocksure of everything. Well, not the men in my life but general day to day stuff I can cope with. Remember? I had that ‘dead’ passenger on my first flight. ‘No it’s okay,’ I muttered and, after what seemed like the flicking of a switch, I regained the use of my brain. ‘You don’t need to bother. I’ll be alright.’
‘Like bloody hell you will,’ he replied taking my arm and leading me along the road to the crew car park. ‘You’re in shock. Look at the state of you. You’re in no fit state to drive anywhere. We’ll leave your car here:it’ll be safe enough. I can drive you there. Suz?’ He stopped walking and looked at me. ‘When did you last sleep?’
Thoughts came tumbling back into my head. ‘Hmmm… not sure. Yesterday I think… in Mumbai.’ Hmmm...Maybe not all my thoughts. My brain seemed to be clogged with something thick and sticky. I couldn’t rationalise. One thought kept coming back. My dad had had a heart attack. MY dad. ‘Do you think he’s going to be okay?’
Ed put down my suitcase and came over to me. He put his arms around me and drew me close, encircling me. I could smell his deodorant. It was a mixture of Lynx and his own brand of ‘eau de Ed.’ Deliciously sweet, warm and comforting. Or maybe that was just how it felt to be in his arms at such a moment. ‘Mia said that it happened whilst he was feeding the animals and he managed to phone for the ambulance. They’re doing tests and they won’t know how he is until after the results of those. Best if we get you there as quickly as possible, then you can find out more.’ He gently released me and, taking my hand in his as though I was a child, picked up the handle of my case so that he could wheel it along behind us. We reached Ed’s blue car which was parked in a convenient space near to the exit. He opened the boot and swung my luggage inside. I climbed into the leather passenger seat after clearing some newspapers and a tube of mints out of my way by leaning over and placing them on the seats behind.
‘Sorry, about that,’ Ed said getting into the driver’s seat. ‘I wasn’t expecting to have a passenger. Now, I know how to get to Chichester but I’m not sure exactly where the hospital is.’
I nodded. ‘I wonder if dad had finished feeding all the animals before he collapsed?’ I mused aloud. OHMYGOD! What kind of heartless daughter was I?How can I be thinking of the animals at a time like this? I should only be thinking of dad!
‘What kind of animals does he have?’ Ed asked as he started the engine and drove out of the car park and onto the airport perimeter road.
‘Oh, just a few livestock. Nothing too large, but they do take a bit of looking after. He lives on his own. I’m not sure what’s going to happen to them now he’s in hospital.’
I stared out of the window. Actually it helped to take my mind off whether dad was going to die if I thought about something else. Ed seemed to realise this and carried on the conversation.
‘Does your dad live far from Chichester?’
‘No, only about twenty minutes the other side.’
‘Why don’t I drop you at the hospital then? You give me his address and I could go and check on the animals whilst you see how he’s doing? At least I could do something useful whilst you’re busy.’
I smiled at him as he sneaked me a quick reassuring glance taking his eyes momentarily from the road ahead. He placed his left hand over mine briefly and gave it a quick squeeze.
‘It’ll all be alright. Trust me. It’ll take us an hour or so to get there depending on the traffic. Why don’t you try and get your head down. You look exhausted. You must be jet lagged.’
‘Is that your way of saying I look rough?’
'In the nicest possible way, of course,’ he smiled.
I continued to stare out of the window watching the houses pass by. There was no way I’d be able to sleep. But I took off my jacket and folded it into a make-shift pillow, placing it against the window. Dad was only sixty five. Far too young to have a heart attack. Far too young to die. I rested my head on my jacket. I mustn’t think like that. Positive thoughts only. I looked out of the window fixing my gaze until the houses blurred into one long picture. The warmth from the heated front seat started to seep into my lower back and I could hear Ed quietly whistling my ring tone under his breath.
The next thing I knew Ed was gently shaking my arm and calling my name.
‘Suzi, wake up we’re at the hospital.’
I sat upright and looked out at the sombre brick building in front of us. A few lights were shinning through, but the windows were mainly blackened out.
‘I thought you didn’t know where it was?’ I questioned.
‘Your sister told me the name on the phone and well…’ he looked sheepish. ‘It wasn’t that difficult to find once we got nearby.’
‘Of course,’ I ran my fingers through my hair and pulled down the sun visor to look in the mirror to check for any unsightly dribbles or bogies that might have sneaked out whilst I was asleep. Just a few crease marks from my jacket were etched into my cheek. I rubbed vigorously to restore smooth skin. ‘I was forgetting you are a pilot. If you can navigate your way onto the runway at Hong Kong, finding a district hospital must be a breeze.’
Ed smiled and turned reaching across me into the glove compartment as he did so.
‘Now, what’s your dad’s address?’ He picked up a sat nav and plugged it into the cigarette lighter socket. The penny clicked. ‘You bloody cheat!’ I accused. ‘You didn’t find the hospital just by being clever. You used that didn’t you?’
Ed laughed and started pressing buttons on the machine. ‘Had you going though didn’t I? You thought I did it using my brilliant navigational skills?’ He looked out at the sky. 'Oh, yes. The moon is just rising so it must be second star to the right and straight on 'til morning.'
I playfully hit him on the thigh and reeled off my dad’s address while he tapped it into the sat nav. ‘You must make sure you shut the gate when you arrive.’ I ordered. ‘Otherwise Mabel will escape and... watch out for Gruff. He’s friendly but you have to be strict with him and show him who’s boss. All the animal feed will be in the store room off the kitchen but make sure Jemima and Puddle don’t get in because they’ll eat everything.'
Ed looked at me. ‘That’s fine. It’s only a few animals Suzi. I’m sure I can cope. Oh, and if we’re playing at who’s boss, have you got enough sterling, in case you need anything?’ I picked up my handbag and looked through my purse. I only had a few American dollars and some Indian rupees. Ed reached into his pocket and took a £50 note out of his wallet. ‘Take this.’ I shook my head. ‘It’s only a loan, not a gift.’ I started to gather my things and put my hand on the car door handle. ‘You’ve forgotten something though,’ Ed said staring patiently at me.
‘Thank you?’ I answered gingerly.
‘No, you twit. A key or something. How do I get into the house?’
‘Oh, that’s easy. Go round the side of the house until you get to Gruff’s pen. There’s a spare key just inside his shed on the right under a stone. Dad reckoned that a Gruff was the best protection against burglars.’
‘And Gruff is…?’
‘A goat of course. Don’t you know your fairy stories?’
‘Of course, silly me,’ Ed laughed. ‘Obviously! Who thought of these names? No, don’t answer that. That’s obvious too.’
I got out of the car and looked towards the entrance. Somewhere inside the building my dad could be dying. I took a deep breath and made to shut the door.
‘Suz.’ Ed leaned over the passenger seat and looked up at me. ‘It’ll all be alright. Ring me when you’ve finished and I’ll come and get you.’
Suzi xCan't let you forget about my new website. www.eastiseasthome.co.uk Beautiful home accessories sourced from Indonesia. Have you seen the tropical fish mobiles yet? Daddy and his offspring. Imagine have to keep 27 kids in order - nightmare!
For new visitors to my blog it's all about 24yr old, Suzi's mad existence as cabin crew. Best to go back to the beginning if you want to fill in the details - She's about to be rummaged...
Diary of a Long haul Stewardess
Sashaying down to the hotel lobby after my shower I found the masseur had turned me into a 6ft model. I felt inches taller as my back was as straight as if I’d had a pole inserted up my arse and stapled to my spine. Bit of a miracle I know, as I’m usually only 5ft 8ins but with all the knots, lumps and bumps smoothed out from my muscles I felt that instead of being bent like a dowager with a humped back, I could spit at anyone right in their eye.
Cathy was waiting for me after her waxing session and we decided to venture out into the city. We only had a one night stay and I wanted to see as much as I could. Well, it wouldn’t have mattered how many times I re-read Shantaram (epic book about the experiences of Gregory David Roberts in India) or watched re-runs of the film, Slumdog Millionaire, nothing would have prepared me for the ‘Indian experience.’ I felt as though I had wandered into the Indian equivalent of a sweet shop; with so much to stimulate the senses I was on a sugar -fix high.
The moment we left the relative safety of the hotel grounds it seemed we might as well had a huge neon sign over our heads to point us out to the locals. No going incognito here. Straight away we were surrounded by people trying to sell us things. Shoving them in our face and offering ‘veryyy good price, madam.’ I was taken aback at how readily my personal space was invaded without a care. I fingered the flimsy fabric of the T- shirt a man was holding it up for me to inspect and then shook my head. He just smiled at me revealing a gap in his front teeth. Big mistake. I should have remembered my London at night -street- walking strategy and kept my head down, avoiding eye contact and walked on. Now it felt like he was my new best friend, he was so attentive.
'Vvvery good quality, madam, no price for looooking.' He scurried after me, repeating his sales pitch. Cathy grabbed my arm and hurried me on but he continued to follow us saying, 'You want aliii babas, no price for looking, madam.' I started to laugh. It was just so absurd. Cathy was walking so quickly I almost broke into a trot to keep up with her. The heat was making me start to sweat buckets. Fat lot of use that was, having a shower just before I left. I put my hand up to smooth my hair down. Even without a mirror to confirm it, I just knew I would have a barnet like an afro by the time I got back to the hotel; my hair and the humidity not a great combo.
Our new friend pursued us along the street until he finally lost interest in his sale, dropped off and hung back. We turned a corner to be confronted by a cow plodding down the street. No one else seemed a bit bothered and everyone just steered around it as though it was nothing unusual. Cathy deftly skirted around the animal just missing being caught by its tail as it swished the flies away and, like a woman possessed, her head down intent on her mission, zoomed along determined not to be delayed again as though a pack of wolves were at her heels.
I slowed up and dropped a few paces behind her. This place was the best entertainment value I’d ever come across and I didn’t want to miss it. I watched a woman in front of us. Her brightly coloured, orange and red sari swaying gracefully as she sashayed along. She stopped to talk to another woman also clothed in the most exquisite, dazzling fabric. The two of them looking like bright jewels, between them they had more bling than a night on the red carpet at the Oscars: but it wasn’t distasteful rather just enhanced their gracefulness and beauty. A mangy dog passed closely and sniffed at the bag one of them was carrying. The woman took no notice and carried on chatting gaily to her friend. The contrast between this and England stood out like a beacon. How many times had I seen commuters scurry across London in their dull, grey clothes, head down in their own cocoon of moroseness? Okay, so the weather had something to do with it. It’s hard to feel jolly when the rain is lashing down and the evenings get dark at 4pm in the winter but even with such a level of poverty these Indians gave the appearance of being happier.
‘What you thinking about?’ Cathy asked as she grabbed my arm to stop me walking past a small shop door. ‘You were frowning.’
‘Oh, just the difference between here and England. Grey verses colour.’
‘Well, don’t think too hard… we’re back there tomorrow. Now, down to business. Here’s a good place if you want to buy any souvenirs.’
We left Mumbai the next day. I had smuggled my bonsai into India and smuggled it out again. There was none of the dramatics of the Chinese in Hong Kong. I don’t really think Indian customs gave a toss what the crews were bringing in or out of the country. They seemed to have their hands full stopping their own people bringing half the Western world’s consumer items in.
The flight to Heathrow seemed to go on for ever. I was knackered. I had been round the world in a week, coping with time changes and belligerent passengers and I decided it was time I got a tad belligerent myself. I’d had enough of customs and their rules. The bonsai was in my suitcase and if they wanted to take it off me and clap me in irons, I couldn’t give a damn. Arriving in England, I filled in my customs declaration, being rebellious and omitted to mention the bonsai. Silly move. I should have known I couldn’t do anything illegal no matter how hard I wanted to buck the system. It was just as the crew bus was approaching the customs area that the Cabin Service Director, sitting at the front of the bus turned to us.
‘Don’t want to cause alarm guys, but rumour has it we may be rummaged.’
There was a collective groan from the rest of the crew. Cathy’s face turned pale. Bloody hell. No point in reconsidering my decision to rebel. I’d signed my customs form and had to take the consequences. I quickly thought about the state of the clothes in my suitcase and what else I’d hidden amongst my knickers that I hadn’t declared.
Suzi xCan't let you forget about my new website. www.eastiseasthome.co.uk Beautiful home accessories sourced from Indonesia. Have you seen the folding teak baskets yet?
One of those days when I thought I was going to do 'this' and ended up doing 'that' and it's only 10 a.m. Kids - don't you just love 'em?
Hoping to get another Suzi out today for you. Spent the day editing yesterday - all moving onwards and upwards in the Love Suzi x, book department.
PS Feel I need a picture of something hopeful today - it's cold, rainy and miserable outside but not long now and it'll look like this:)
The view from my writing desk in the summer.