Today is the last day of the summer holidays so I thought I’d come and say hey before it’s too lateI’m too tired to lift a finger I have essays to slave over.
The last academic year was tough, and Indifferent Ignorance suffered a bit because if I wasn’t working or doing physio, I was propped in front of some Original British Drama, drowning my sorrows in whichever chocolaty dessert I could find… I fully intend on enjoying some OBD this year, but the plan is that I’ll do it while I’m ironing, so I’ll miss out on E4/Comedy Central adverts…Adverts ruin the soul.
Come to think of it, most E4/Comedy Central shows probably do too.
Anyway, I found this on the Interwebz the other day and I think it’s far better than the usual Hallmark-y crap that’s usually supposed to inspire and motivate you to climb Mount Everest or whatever:
These days, you know, people appreciate realism, not sunsets and nature stuff.
(Okay I was going to upload a photograph of a sunset that I took in Zante this year but it’s taking ages so here’s one from last year.)
Right, I’m off to find portable coffee cups and refills for my pencil-case.
I’m not sure if the stomach ache I have has been induced by the Kit Kat that was put in my milkshake earlier (who even puts a Kit Kat in a milkshake? You put in chocolate when someone orders a chocolate shake, and a Kit Kat if they order a Kit Kat shake) or if it’s because my recent email neglect has left me with forty-two messages to read, reply to and/or discard before I go on holiday this Friday.
I’m going to type really fast in case it’s the Kit Kat, because if it is then I need to cosy up to my bathroom, and if it’s the email thing then I also need to type really fast because my laptop is so overloaded with stuff that it can only stay on for a maximum of an hour and a half before something stops working. Over the past few weeks and months this has become an increasing problem so I’m going to ask for an external hard-drive for my birthday and stick everything on that. I’ve already used up two or three USBs siphoning off pictures and files that aren’t completely necessary to my computering existence, and I might delete Spotify because let’s face it, I can’t afford to stream its music any more than I can afford to buy the CDs I’m streaming – and God knows if I could then I wouldn’t be using a streaming service with a name that sounds like a ladies’ toiletry product.
Shh, little laptop. I know you have three userspaces and USBs full of extra gadgets because I have to type on a proper keyboard, and I know I’ve lost your left shift button but we’ve been through a lot together and damnit, I’m not upgrading you yet.
Anyway, I’m going on holiday on Friday, to the land of democracy and theatre, the Olympics and civilisation, kebabs and lesbians… Okay so I nicked the last bit out of an Have I Got News for You‘d piece on a Sun piece on “what the Greeks have done for us”, first published circa the recession. But I’m off to remember what it is to relax. Except my AS Level results come out while we’re there so I’ll be alternating sunbathing with nightmares about how I won’t ever finish my Politics or RS courses. (English is a done deal, as far as failure’s concerned, but even I couldn’t wrangle a career in writing with Language and Lit GCSEs, so if I can stick with it, I probably should. Then it’ll be just one more year until freedom monetary responsibility, the word’s shakiest career choice bar rock musicianship and the very real possibility of working in retail for the rest of my days.)
I wanted to talk about Tim Minchin, but my Internet’s so slow that going on YouTube is futile. Instead, writing this the day before I leave, I’ve decided to make a list of holiday literature.
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. I’ve wanted to read this ever since Life on the Murder Scene, and found it in Waterstone’s for an absurdly low price. All I know so far is that it’s written by a Scottish guy and is about drugs, so I’ll let you know how I get on…
Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean. Got this on the same Waterstone’s trip. It’s supposed to be good, what with it being “the most successful graphic novel of all time”. It was written by a Scottish guy who’s done a lot of drugs, so we’re on the right track.
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. I’ve actually already read this (I started it in Greece two years ago, then picked it back up when I got into Pencey Prep at the end of last year). Holden Caulfield is becoming a character I really, really want to have a conversation with. We agree on phonies, so it’ll be fun to flick through.
The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audry Niffenegger. Whose surname is wonderful to type… I started this then got distracted by Jane Eyre (which, incidentally, you should read). My mum’s copy has a TARDIS sticker on it. No Doctors so far, but we shall see.
Skullduggery Pleasant: The Faceless Ones by Derek Landy. Light entertainment that Ellen, Bel, Ross and Maxim – the Inner Circle, as they should probably become known – love. I have yet to finish the series. But it’ll happen, damnit.
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. Mum’s been telling me to read this for years, and since it’s on my recommended book list for next year and is set in Kefalonia, I figured I should make hay while the sun shines.
The Umbrella Academy by Geezy Way and Gabriel Bá. More light entertainment, because I love it dearly and heard rumours (reading that back I just noticed what I did. Bazinga!) of a new installment in the next five years. Dallas is my favourite of the two because there’s Vietnam and ice-cream.
To Kill a Mockingbird. Not to reread (BUT YOU SHOULD READ IT. NOW), I just want to write fan fiction about Mayella Ewell. We’ll see how that goes…
My mum’s also talking about getting Fifty Shades of Shit Grey at the aiport.
Insert my disgusted face here.
It occurred to me on holiday that while I credited the writers of the comics, I did not credit the artists. This has now been amended.
In regards to the books: I finished them all while we were away apart from Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, which I finished about an hour ago. This is because I also read Murder Most Fab by Julian Clary, one of Isobel’s books, and took a break after Trainspotting – two days of reading crappy magazines. Mum didn’t get Fifty Shades, thank God, and my favourite story was Captain Corelli for the plot, followed by Trainspotting for its insane brilliance, and Arkham Asylum for Grant Morrison’s notes at the end.
Ahem. Read on.
**Second update 07/08/12**
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin isn’t set in Corfu, it’s set in Kefalonia. My Family and Other Animals is Corfu. This too has been amended. I am an idiot.
Apologies for the distinct lack of funny/Germany-related blogs, but I have had a pretty intense weekend and am still catching up on my beauty sleep. As you can tell, I need a lot of it:
My camara ran out of juice a couple of times on the trip, so I need to raid some people’s Facebook pages and (this is a hint, guys) get some photos from my friends. You know what my email is. Once I’ve got enough stuff together I’ll work on a slide show or something – the only problem with this blog’s layout is the lack of space for photos. Either they’re too small to see or go in columns.
Anyway, as we got to Berlin via aeroplane, have a looksie at some complaints made to Thomas Cook about holidays last season…
“I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”
“It’s lazy of the local shop keepers to close in the afternoons. I often need to buy things during the siesta times – this should be banned.”
“On my holiday to Goa, India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food at all.”
“We booked an excursion to a water park, but no one told us we had to bring our swimming costumes and towels,”
“The beach was too sandy.”
“We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as yellow but it was white.”
“Topless sunbathing on the beach should be banned. The holiday was ruined as my husband spent all day looking at other women.”
“We bought Ray Ban sunglasses for five euros (£3.50) from a street trader, only to find out they were fake.”
“No one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled.”
“There was no egg slicer in the apartment.”
“We went on holiday to Spain, and had a problem with the taxi drivers, as they were all Spanish…”
“The roads were uneven.”
“It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England, but it only took the Americans three hours to fly home.”
“I compared the size of our one bedroom apartment to our friends’ three-bedroom apartment, and ours was significantly smaller.”
“The brochure stated ‘no hairdressers at the accommodation.’ We’re trainee hairdressers, will we be okay staying there?”
“There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish, the food is Spanish, too many foreigners.”
“We had to queue outside with no air conditioning.”
“It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”
“I was bitten by a mosquito. No one said they could bite.”
“My fiancée and I booked a twin-bedded room but we were placed in a double-bedded room. We now hold you responsible for the fact that I find myself pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”
A tourist at a top African game lodge overlooking a waterhole who spotted a visibly aroused elephant, complained that the sight of this rampant beast ruined his honeymoon by making him feel ‘inadequate’.
A woman threatened to call the police after claiming that she had been locked in by staff. When in fact, she had mistaken the ‘do not disturb’ sign on the back of the door as a warning to remain in the room.
A guest at a Novotel in Australia complained his soup was too thick and strong. He was inadvertently slurping gravy at the time.
I have a few of my own to add:
Zakynthos, Greece: “The portions are too big. I am on a diet.”
Also known as ‘An Idiot’s Guide to Zakynthos’ or ‘What the Other Kids are Missing. Poor Dudes’.
Sunday 25th July 2010
It is our second full day here and already I am at my wits’ end with Maxim. He snores, he steals my bed, puts my pen lids up his nose, throws damp towels at me while I’m asleep and turns the air conditioning down so far I wake up with frozen sunburn.
I guess I could always throw him in the overly-choppy sea, but it might upset whoever he’s been mysteriously texting.
Not much has changed here since last September; the sign on top of the Neraida restaurant is still about to fall down, we’re handed useless leaflets at every restaurant on the high street (I’m saving them for Ruby) and there aren’t many Germans.
The Blue Bay Hotel, where some of us stayed last year, as well as a few shops, is closed. There’s a bar along the beach making up for it by blaring bad club music at half a billion decibels for twenty-four hours.
They also still sell frappes.
Monday 26th July 2010
World History According to Kostas, Maître d’ of Neraida Restaurant
2000 years ago, the Greeks were building and making art, the Egyptians were constructing pyramids.
1000 years ago, the English had horses, castles and were on crusades, searching for the Holy Grail.
500 years ago, the Spanish and Portuguese had ships had ships and were sailing the world.
200 years ago, the Germans were picking fruit from trees.
I will assume the Germans are once again on par with the Turks.
Fact of the Day: Greeks will build a church anywhere, out of anything. Including remains of a temple to Artemis.
Tuesday 27th July 2010
I write you from the larger of Zante’s two water parks. This one is in Sarakinado.
I am enjoying a beverage made by Nestlé known as Café Zero. I thought I was buying moccacino frappe, whatever that is, they (the parents) reckoned it was ice cream and it’s turned out to be a mix of the two. I broke the straw with the exertion of sucking out the slush and am waiting for it to melt.
Anyway, I like water parks about as much as I like Disneyland, Peter Pan’s, Phantasialand, etc. In fact, the only two ways it could get any worse would be if a) I was forced to go on anything other than lazy river, b) Mickey Mouse appeared. In a swimsuit.
There is also Lady Gaga and Alexandra Burke blaring from a nearby snack bar stereo. It seems Simon Cowell has cracked Greece, his only challenge now is to get Nikos and his mates to cover Leona Lewis instead of the live Greek stuff in Neraida.
It’s not all bad – I’ve had an amusing time people watching and debating various tattoos and swimsuits on various people. My favourite design so far has been a flower pattern up a girl’s ribcage that she will regret when she has kids.
There is a statue in the park of a transgender mermaid on steroids and I think she is trying to take ‘masculine women’ to a whole different level. Or the architect was sexually confused.
It rained this morning. I am not making this up. We were in Zakynthos Town/City, walking up to the remains of a fortress after crêpes and there were blobs of rain. It is still cloudy now.
You know I hate cats? How the only feline animal I tolerate is Elizabeth’s cat Marmite because she’d never speak to me if I didn’t? Well, I made a friend today. Granted, it was only there for the crepes, but it looked Egyptian. Not fat. Almost sweet.
I guess no one liked the Greek title of my last blog. It meant ‘good afternoon’, though I can’t remember how to pronounce it, I lost my phrasebook. The hits counter has gone way down since I started exploring foreign languages.
Having returned home yesterday evening after eternity on the M25 thanks to a lorry fire and oil spillage on the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge that no one bothered to clear up, I am home. Sitting amongst junk, considering going next door to see Maxim and Isobel, and ask Maxim why he sent me an email with a picture of spam and the repeated words ‘i like carrots!!’ Then again, he was jabbering in an Irish accent earlier…
I will get to typing up The Zante Diaries 2010 and sorting out numerous videos and pictures, and should have the soap opera up vaguely soon. Vaguely.
Home (away from) sweet home.
I have just noticed the sign is missing. Both of them are. Clearly taken before my time…