On the beach

Yesterday Guido and I flew down to Tenerife for a much needed Spring break.

“The first thing I’m going to do is jump into the ocean,” said Guido with a big smile on his face.

So when we landed and my bag and I were happily re-united at the carousel, I felt a pang of guilt when Guido’s case never made it. I’d have thought that would throw a dampener on the idea of jumping into the ocean, but apparently not.

”Hey, I’m still going in!” Guido said – with an exclamation mark. The combination of Guido and an exclamation mark always makes me nervous.

Although he’s not the best packer in the world, I’ll concede it’s one thing to forget to stash something crucial but it’s a whole other ball game to lose it all. And if you’ve ever seen us stand side by side you’ll quickly realise our swimwear is not something we can easily interchange on account of my stomach, and his washboard.

But what I hadn’t anticipated was that Guido would be willing to substitute his own underwear with his Speedos until the latter showed up. So after checking in, we checked out Playa Del Duque beach where he stripped off his Levi’s and revealed his ability to improvise. It turns out to be one of his biggest assets.

“No one will know I’m wearing boxers instead of beach shorts,” said Guido idiotically. And with that he strode off confidently towards the waves. I wasn’t so sure.

Let’s just say in my opinion those underpants were loose. They didn’t look like anything anybody else was wearing. I could see things dangling through apertures which really shouldn’t be visible to the naked eye in public.

I wandered up to the bar and ordered a Mai Tai and a big plate of French fries. But it was only when I got back to the sun beds that the excitement really kicked in.

Two women with no bikini tops on and with very large breasts laying behind me started “ooing” and “ahing”. One also had a very large pair of binoculars. I’m not in any way attempting to make a humorous connection between large breasts and large binoculars. I thought maybe there was a glamorous Russian’s yacht on the horizon or rare bird on a palm tree. But goodness me, no.

“He’s coming back out,” one of the women with no bikini tops on but with very large breasts said breathlessly. In fact she sounded practically gaga.

I looked over, only to see Guido emerging from the sea.  I dropped a chip. Unfortunately his baggy underwear was now completely water logged and listing ominously below the waterline. Well, about eleven inches below, to be exact. And every one of those eleven inches was crucial, I can tell you. Then he’d yank it all up and jump back in the water.

“Pass the binoculars Veronica,” said one woman with no bikini top on with very large breasts to the other, “you’re totally hogging them.”

And it was absolutely hypnotic. If I’d had a pair myself I’d have been zooming in too. I’m surprised nobody called the Police.

After half a dozen leaps Guido got out of the water and lay next to me dripping.

“That was terrific,” he said, “I feel like I’m tingling all over.”

And he certainly wasn’t the only one.

Aioli, and other vices

I try to be good. Often I fail. There is a very annoying saying – everything in moderation – which I’ve noticed is particularly popular with people who have slim hips and high metabolisms. And, whilst I like to think I have admirable genetic attributes myself, regular readers will know restraint isn’t one of them.

We all have our own personal holes in the road on the “being good” front. Sometimes I manage to swerve and sometimes I just go straight in head first. Cheesecake, clotted cream, a large Martini and a soggy croissant spring instantly to mind. Thought not all on the same plate at the same time.

But, it’s those small hidden vices which insidiously drip, drip, away.

We have a salt shaker on our table. I like to shake it. I shake it because it makes a weird noise like an angry rattle snake. Sometimes when Guido is quietly sucking his spaghetti I’ll jump up behind him and give it a twist. It’s amazing the combined pleasure a generous dusting of salt and scaring my husband half to death brings me. We also have a sugar bowl. In fact, we have two. One with demerara cubes and one with white granulated in a glass jar with a silver funnel on top. I sometimes plonk one lump in my coffee just for the hell of it. If I’ve got an early morning meeting in Shepherds Bush – which let’s face it, has to be depressing at the best of times – I’ll just pour an avalanche straight onto my Coco Pops and start slowly digging my way out. This could explain why I see pound signs in my dentist’s eyes when I visit his surgery every six months. You’ll also now understand why I have routinely resorted to The Banana Diet – a rare kind of masochism reserved for people with a highly developed but twisted interest in condiments and their alternative uses.

“Where d’you think you might want to spread this?” asked Guido last night somewhat provocatively in my opinion. He just happened to be holding a small dish of his freshly homemade mayonnaise at the time.

I’d just watched him put garlic, egg yolks and mustard into a blender. It sure beat what they were showing on Channel 5, I can tell you. He blitzed it to a paste and then slowly dribbled in olive oil to make a thick mayonnaise-style sauce. When everything came together he added lemon juice, then seasoned to taste. If you want to try making it, it should keep covered in the fridge of a normal person for up to 2 days. But obviously we’re not normal.

“It depends what you’re planning on serving it with,” I said as quick as a flash.

I was pretending to play it totally cool but I was secretly hoping for a bowl of something deep fried to use to start dunking. I do like a good dunk, and aioli is perfect. So there’s another item (vice) to add to my ever burgeoning list.

“I’m open to ideas,” said Guido, “but I’m definitely done in the kitchen. If you know what I mean?”

The aioli tasted good. I imagine it’s great with cold chicken or flaked tuna. Alternatively – try spreading liberally across a hairy thigh. Though I can’t promise what effect this will have on your hips.

Bring to a gentle Simmer, then stir…

I’ve always happily followed the belief, it’s not how big it is, it’s what you do with it. However now, it’s not what you do with it, but how often you get it out. Are you folks still with me?

You will not be surprised to hear that Guido wasn’t too pleased with me when I once divulged on this blog that we routinely had sex twice on a Saturday and every other Tuesday afternoon – especially if it happened to be raining. So in the – how often you get it out stakes – I’d always thought my husband and I were having more of it than the London average. But not so, according to an article I read by a sex therapist published in The Times.

According to The Dr, as I’m now affectionately calling him, you don’t have to go the whole nine yards, instead just simply get each other worked up a bit sexually on a daily basis. This regular toe dip in the shallow waters of arousal feels good and gets you going. Didn’t you know the most sexually satisfied couples amongst us get a buzz this way every day? But instead of a full on screw-a-thon they gaze, they touch, they sniff. I have to say this does sound less exhausting and time consuming, especially if it’s raining.

As you know I like to bring readers hot news on, well, getting hot, so The Dr calls this latest craze SimmeringIn reality I’d call this “getting all steamed up”. More of that, below. So naturally in the interests of modern science I decided to warm things up a bit myself on Sunday morning. But more of that, also below.

In the cafe kitchen yesterday I found Guido contentedly frying three eggs sunny side up. All four of them were a pleasing sight and whilst I do like to sniff a fried egg when I can, I decided to make my first “Simmer” move whilst I had the chance. I snuck up when Guido least expected it and sniffed him wildly around the neck. What can I tell you about that other than to say there was the faint whiff of Givenchy For Gentlemen and extra virgin olive oil.

“What the hell are you doing?” he asked flinching whilst simultaneously catapulting his spatula high into the air.

The Dr never said anything about catapulting. I had to think on my feet. What, I thought, would Zac Ephron do? I suddenly realised I’d sniffed before I’d touched or gazed so decided to do everything in reverse order. I stared deeply into Guido’s eyes fluttering my eye lashes. Then I reached out and took a firm hold of him. Nothing seemed be going hard other than his yolks. This was extremely disappointing. Nothing simmered.

The Dr says, by all means Simmer by text. I thought this was a terrific idea so later I sent Guido this to his mobile.

“Every time I think of you I get all hot under the collar…”

The three dots were crucial in my opinion.

Then I got this zapped back from Guido.


Today is now Monday. I’ve been Simmering for almost two days solid. And in the interests of modern science I can’t tell you how pleased I am tomorrow is Tuesday.

I just hope it’s raining VERY hard.

I won’t have what he’s having

I think it was Shirley Conrad who once said “life’s too short to stuff a mushroom” but if someone bakes one then I’m happy to eat it. Especially if it’s got crushed garlic, chopped parsley, smoked ham and a topping of crispy breadcrumbs.

“Hey, snap out of it,” said my friend Marc clicking his fingers impatiently. I met him for lunch yesterday at The Spanish Onion. There were no mushrooms on the Specials Board and I was getting the distinct impression that, whilst life may not be too short, he was definitely measuring it.

For some strange reason he was wearing sunglasses (indoors) despite the fact it was dull outside. Worryingly, since we last hooked up, he’s also become a devotee of Wellness. Something of a craze round these parts. I don’t know about you but as far as I’m concerned, wellbeing, isn’t about an extreme lifestyle choice. It’s about not getting sick.

“I’m having on average 7 hours and 36 minutes sleep – I’m timing it,” he said. “When I wake up I immediately turn on the infrared light at the end of my bed and meditate. It helps focus my mind for the day ahead. I shower using only organic products. You do know shampoos and gels are totally toxic? Then I weigh myself and use a litmus strip to test my urine pH levels.”

Goodness, I thought, no time for Cheerios then?

“I take shots of activated charcoal or an isotonic supplement. The latter comes from plankton. That way I stay hydrated. Oh, and by the way I’ve converted to vegetarianism. It’s been scientifically proven that when an animal is killed the cortisol they release into their bodies ends up flowing into yours. However, I’m finding eggs a colonic challenge.” I guessed an omelette for lunch was out.

Apart from the words – it helps keep me hydrated – I didn’t have a clue what Marc was talking about. But I couldn’t help wonder when was the last time he had decent sex. No wonder he was still single.

“So, Greta Garbo, what’s with the sunglasses in January?” I asked.

”They’re a blue light block – it cuts out negative junk,” he said. “Did we high five? I like to share magnetic energy.” He raised a flat palm so naturally I slapped it. Afterwards I could feel a slight tingling but no magnetism. I suppose I should’ve been grateful he wasn’t asking me to take a piss on a colour chart.

This kind of wellness sounded torture to me. I’m all for feeling fit and happy but why does the journey there have to be so monastic? What next, laying on a bed of nails? By all means I’ll cut my cholesterol and even shed a few pounds in the process. Hell, I’ll try not to drink so much alcohol too (ok let’s not get carried away folks), but where’s the joy? The peanut butter? The custard? The immoral thoughts of bearded men with no clothes on?

Later when Guido and I were in bed I asked him if he thought life was too short to appreciate a good mushroom.

”Not if it’s got crushed garlic, chopped parsley, smoked ham and a topping of crispy breadcrumbs.”

Which just goes to show my husband and I know what we like stuffed. And I feel perfectly fine telling you that.


I wrote the following post – Imaginary Friends – back in November 2015. I’ve reposted it in loving memory of our friend, Ted, who read this blog avidly. We lost him on Christmas Day.

Last night, after the café closed, our gay friends Gary and Ted came around.  It was their monthly pilgrimage to The Spanish Onion to play poker.  I don’t know why Guido and I bother.  We might as well open our wallets at the front door and just hand them all our cash.  Not surprisingly, after a few drinks, the conversation drifted to my high school reunion trauma. As it turned out Gary and Ted had a couple of revelations of their own to reveal.

“I think you were very honest,” said Ted sucking an olive, “and brave too.”  He threw a card and drank some wine.  “I’ll raise you.”

“Be yourself, everyone else is taken,” said Gary profoundly staring at his cards.  “Though Ted hasn’t always followed that advice,” he sniffed, “you don’t know about Mary, do you?”  He threw a card too.  “I’ll see you and raise you.”

“Ah lovely, funny, sweet, silly Mary,” said Ted.  He lifted his glass and made a toast.  “To the woman I used to go out with.”  He chewed a macadamia.

“Mary?” I said.  “The woman, you used to go out with?”

“Mary dated a gay man?” said Guido.  “What was she, headless?  I’ll see you and raise you.”

It turns out that before Ted was, well, out, and before he married Gary, he had an imaginary girlfriend. Mary cooked cordon bleu, spoke fluent Cantonese, and played the oboe.  She was quite a catch.  It’s just a pity she hadn’t actually existed and Ted wasn’t straight otherwise I reckon they would’ve been perfect for one another.  The helpful thing about Mary was that she also had an irrational fear of crowds, so didn’t get out that much and none of Ted’s friends ever got to meet her. That was convenient.  I have to say I thought the oboe was a terrific touch.

“I didn’t care if people knew I was gay, but I did care if they thought I was sad and single,” said Gary.  So Gary’s imaginary boyfriend was named Eric.  Apparently he was quite a looker.  They pumped iron together at the gym.  That is unless Gary did actually happen to be at the gym, in which case he told people Eric was an eye surgeon and was busy mending someone’s detached retina.

“When I was a little boy I had an imaginary friend,” said Guido staring into space, “his name was Jose R. Sanchez.”

“Well I didn’t see that one coming,” I said raising my eyebrows.  “Your imaginary friend had a middle name?” I asked.

“Yes, but I have no idea what it was,” said Guido. “Gimmie a break, I was only six years old.”

Just for the record I’ve never had imaginary friends.  And frankly I was beginning to feel left out.

“Perhaps Mary and Eric could adopt Jose R. Sanchez and then live an incredibly happy imaginary life together,” I said.

Later that night I lay in bed next to Guido.  I couldn’t help but think about Jose R. Sanchez.  I imagined what sort of life he might have had and whether he would have grown up to be incredibly hairy.  I wondered if he might have a man bun.  I wondered if he would cook a decent risotto and whether he’d be partial to acrobatic sex.

I reached the sad conclusion these were yet more mysteries on which I can give you no further details. But please feel free to make one up.

All of us

In the story, A Christmas Carol, Scrooge gets home on Christmas Eve and is visited by three phantoms. One is Christmas Present. His purpose is to take Scrooge all around town and prove that both the wealthy and the poor seek solace in the cheer of the company of others. He’s introduced to people who are invested in sharing with others, and being grateful for whatever they have, regardless of their means.

The great thing I’ve discovered about blogging is that there aren’t any town boundaries. On line there’s no actual material distance or time zones. Visitors check in on you. If you’re lucky they’ll read you all the way to the end of your post. Then if you’re very very lucky they might even leave a comment about what you’ve written to tell you what they think.

Over the past three years I’ve had a bunch of regular visitors who have turned out to be a happy band of followers. For them it makes absolutely no difference what colour, gender, sexual orientation, politics or religion the writer holds, as long as he or she has conviction in what they believe and holds his or her own. Of course you can’t expect to agree with all of what you read. Left or Right. Blue or Red. Straight or GAY. Maple Surup or Mayonnaise. We keep our own moral high ground over individual differences because we’re invested in reading about each other’s lives. We cast a hook when we write and then reel each other in. That band of bloggers post poems, recipes, music, writing, pictures (of all sorts), personal thoughts, hopes and sometimes their dreams.

I’m no Scrooge but I know what I’ll do if Christmas Present stops by tonight. We’ll go on a blog tour. I’ll show the phantom the true meaning of what it’s like to seek solace in the virtual company of like minded others who are grateful for what they have. Who invest a bit of time to catch up with one another, regardless of our means.

So whether you’re a reader who’s never commented, you’ve done it only once and never again, or you’re a serial visitor, I hope you’ll join the band. All are welcome.

Have a Happy Christmas everyone.


Ever knew you were definitely going to regret doing something but you still ploughed straight ahead and did it anyway? Well, you’ll be pleased to know there’s now a word to describe how that feels.

I have a back catalogue of “pregrets” so long it makes The Beatles play list look like they were one hit wonders.

Those drunken words – just one more bottle of Prosecco please – in a late night dive of a bar springs ominously to my mind. Even before popping the cork I can feel the room beginning to spin around and around. Or, how about a two course lunch menu at Fenchurch Sky Garden which promptly extends to three and a calorific pudding doggy bag. Not to mention the ubiquitous heart attack inducing kebab stop thrown in on the night bus on the way home. Way before that I’m already thinking, Geez, where’d I put the Alka Seltzer? Plink, plink, fizz…

Plaid fashion disasters with wide lapels and tight new shoes never worn fill my closet to a near hinge busting point. Not to mention ill judged Summer belly flops into cold shallow waters and a mullet hair cut which made me look like a dead ringer for Billy Ray Cyrus. I hope you’re getting the picture because the prosecution is almost ready to rest it’s regretful case.

You’ll be glad to hear the good news that I’ve few, if any, regrets about ever having sex. However there was that one time when Guido and I tried to have a threesome with a blow up crocodile. I bounced off horizontally half way through and ended up with a bruised coccyx. That really hurt.

Some people I know have all the appearance of sailing through life and never looking backwards because as far as they’re concerned the only way is forward. They know where they’re going. Onward and upwards and to hell with the consequences. They make their Que Sera Sera choices and what will be will be. And I really admire that. But I’ve just never been a – Je ne regrettte rien – kind of a guy. I worry. But then inexplicably do whatever I was worrying about possibly regretting. Then I worry about worrying in the first place. I called Guido up on the phone once and told him I was worried that he was worrying that I was worried about me worrying. I had to repeat that four times before he knew what on earth I was going on about. I actually began to wonder myself.

Last night in bed I told Guido I was worrying about worrying about regrets I knew I was going to regret.

“Are you talking about pregrets?” he asked me. “Because if you are you really need to snap out of it.”

I lay silently still next to him and tried to get snapping. I pulled up the blanket then instantly regretted it because I was worried my exposed feet would probably start getting very cold.

“Why don’t you try thinking of things from a different point of view,” said Guido. “Let me put it this way – I’d much rather regret the things I’ve done, than the things I’ve not done.”

I told Guido I couldn’t possibly have put any of that better myself. Then I asked him to pass the inflatable crocodile and start pumping.