Well yesterday was quite the day. It all started off innocuously enough, I was awake before the alarm (always a good thing), my work outfit was already laid out from the night before – all I had to do was to make myself look presentable and head off to work as normal. I was conducting my morning routine when I leaned down to scratch the top of my foot, as it had developed a bit of an itch, and to my horror I saw an earwig (aka a forkytail in my homeland) trapped under my tights.
I’m ashamed to admit that I screamed louder than was strictly necessary and proceeded to rip my tights off faster than the speed of sound, and then repeatedly jumped up and down on the sorry looking pile to ensure there were no forky-tailed survivors. Not very zen buddhist or even humane – but you try and hold back before coffee o’ clock when the adrenaline has kicked in.
I was still a bit shaky and itchy on my arrival at work and hurredly agreed to go out for lunch with a colleague. There’s few things in life that lunch with a friend can’t sort out. We were enjoying a lovely Italian lunch and over-zealously agreed to a second bottle of wine. This is the point of no return – before you know it we’ve stopped off on the way back to the office to buy birthday cake and bubbly. The next two hours were spent on concentrated bouts of sobriety before the office birthday bash. There was singing, there was cake, there were cheese twists, there was champagne. The bubbly ran out, the peanuts were depleted, it was 6.15pm and we all agreed that we should go to the lovely bar nearby for ‘just the one’ before we made our merry way home – it was only Tuesday after all. My lunch had started with red wine, I was topped up with champagne and I decided to end the evening on gin and slim. Not the worst move, but not the wisest either.
I was one of the lucky ones, I left before the heated debates about evolutionary politics and the crassness of Jane Austen and well before the bar bill ran into 3 figures. It was a more subdued office this morning, with some flaggers heading out for early lunches. I was a bit dry this morning, but I didn’t feel horrific, just a bit sleepy – in no small part to Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits having a sneezing fit at 3am.
But that’s a whole other story.
I have seven little bites, Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits has twenty-one rather angry ones and this has turned him into Mr Itchy McScratchy. I know he has twenty-one because I counted them after a mammoth scratching session. Most of them are clustered on his upper body, although he does have a particularly fruity one on his rump (and no, I don’t have any pictures of that one)!
You’d think that two Scots would know better, that an idyllic lake-side view with an open bedroom window is just asking for trouble. But, as we weren’t on holiday on the west coast of Scotland, midge control was far from our minds as we went down to a wine induced sleep blissfully unaware of what we were doing to ourselves.
I was rudely awakened at 4am by Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits apologising as he switched on lights and morphed into The Naked Mosquito Hunter. It was quite the sight I can tell you. The walls were soon smeared in our own blood as mosquito after mosquito fell to his dextrous hands. We thought we had got them all and tried to settle down to sleep once again, but I was buzzed once more and leapt shrieking from the bed. And there we were, Mosquito Massacre part deux.
In the morning, we were comparing bites to blood-smeared walls and believed we must have got them all. Alas, this was not the case. Some sneakily smart blighters went commando on us and waited until we were asleep the next night too as we awoke to more bites than we’d gone to bed with.
Luckily, I had packed enough anti-histamines for both of us which managed to reduce the itching if not the bites themselves.
The very last hotel we stayed at had fly screens on the windows so you could sleep with the windows open without being feasted upon – talk about too little too late.
Note to self for next trip, pack some insect repellant.
Safely back in Brizzle with a mournful lament at leaving The Alps behind us and an alarming amount of washing it’s back to life as we know it. Reality hit hard with an 06:40 alarm call for Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits as he headed off to film in some spectacularly unglamorous location.
And, in between loading and unloading the washing machine, I thought I would update you on how well these little beauties did. They safely jogged across Schipol Airport to meet a rather tight connection; they gazelle-like leapt on and off hop-on-hop-off city bus tours; they were nimbly secure up and down the 700 steps (some of which at a 45 degree angle) of the Eisriesenwelt Ice Caves; they were sure footed on the snowy tips of the Grossglockner mountain range; and most of all, they made me smile every time I did something mildly energetic.
I’m not saying that they should replace my hiking boots, but if you’re already used to stomping around the world in impractical footwear you can’t beat these. They were in my top three holiday in the rainy Alps hero items – the other two included my lightweight cream North Face jacket (I needed both windproof and waterproof) and my large leather Boden bag with built-in iPad pocket and security purse. If only we’d packed some insect repellant – more of that on a later post…
…28 mosquito bites later
Well, Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits and I are half way through our 10 day trip around Austria.
We’ve experienced culture in Vienna; kitschness & lederhosen in Graz; schnapps & stuffed marmosets up Grossglockner; detours & landslides around Innsbruck; coffee, cake and hills alive with the sound of music in Salzburg; and now we’re in the idyllic Salzkammergut region.
We’ve got a few more days exploring to go – ice caves a go go and more alpine villages than you can shake a cow bell at. And that’s without an endless supply of Mozart balls.
It may have been stressful getting here but, boy, are we enjoying ourselves.
Will post again once back in Blighty.
You’ve got to ask yourself with less than 4 days to go – is going on holiday actually worth it?
It will be, but right around this time you think you’re going mad. Mad as a bucket of frogs to be precise. It all gets a bit overwhelming – bills need to be paid, the washing and ironing need to be up-to-date, getting the right amount of food in the fridge is a black art and you want to change your bed linen so that you have a lovely clean bed to come back to. And that’s just at home – the countdown at work is worse, appraisals and 1:1 meetings need to be held, interviews for new posts need to be conducted, paperwork needs to completed and filed, and handover meetings on key projects must be prioritised.
And I still need to pluck, preen and pedicure my way into holiday mode. I also need a manicure and if I can fit it in, a visit to the hairdresser to cover up those sneaky grey strands that have so very conveniently reappeared this morning.
So if anyone asks me if I’m looking forward to my break, the answer on Wednesday evening when all of this is done will be a resounding “yes”, but until then I’ll be running around like an idiot making sure everything’s done. And probably swearing, under my breath admittedly, but swearing nonetheless.
My mantra for the next few days, “Going on holiday is fun, no really, it is”.
From twinkle twinkle little toe
To my sensible shoes for holiday
Well, today arrived far too soon for my liking. Yesterday was a veritable hubbub of activity – work, shopping, ironing, dishes & midnight chats with Mr ShoeThatAlwaysFits on his return from an 18 hour day.
This morning arrived far quicker than I anticipated – I wasn’t really prepared to haul my carcass out of bed and make myself look presentable for the day ahead. I didn’t even have a particularly full diary. But my day turned into such a Tuesday. There were good meetings and bad meetings, emails were down briefly in the morning and the landlines went down in the afternoon meaning that we had to divert all incoming calls to mobiles. Nothing too disastrous but nonetheless irritating – although there were amusing interludes when individual ringtones (normally everyone sets their phones to a gentle vibrate) were resonating around the office, mine is set to Paradise City by Guns n Roses. You can take the girl out of the 1990s but you can’t stop her from channelling her inner rock chick (knee slides optional).
So here I am in the terrible dilemma, settle down with a good solid gin and slim, or hit the gym. Actually, I know the answer to that one, it’s time to unleash some pent up frustrations and, following Axl’s example, it’s time to put on the lycra. Bring it on Slash, give me some riffs. Take me down to the Paradise City…