Talking of fireworks though, many years ago, before I was married, my mom and dad came out to Geneva for a week in the summer. 1st August is Swiss national day and Geneva always puts on a great firework display for that and for the subsequent Fêtes de Genève, which usually last around 10 days. Anyway, I managed to find a parking place and we walked down to join the throng for the firework display, when all of a sudden I could see my dad flexing and relaxing his left arm. My then (lovely) boyfriend was a medical student and he took one look at my dad and said "let's get out of here". My dad had had several heart attacks and bypass surgery at the age of 54, which was a huge operation in those days. Karim explained that the medication they gave heart patients contained gunpowder (I'm probably not getting this exactly right) and the gunpowder in the fireworks was affecting my dad's cardiac rhythm! So we dashed out of there and sure enough dad was much better the further we got away from the lake and the fireworks! It's funny how little things trigger memories though isn't it.
Anyway, after the fireworks I went to bed to read but I kept getting WhatsApp messages from friends and family to wish me a happy new year. So as it was almost 1 a.m. I got back up again to watch the fireworks in London on the TV - again lovely, but I wouldn't want to be in those crowds! After that though I was still getting messages from friends sending me the ubiquitous WhatsApp videos - and I hate the bloody things! As soon as I see a "merry Christmas" or "happy new year" video I just hit "delete" as I can't be bothered to watch a dancing Father Christmas jumping around to Feliz Navidad! I guess they get on my nerves because they are so impersonal - just like round robin Christmas letters and those "deeply prophetic" (but highly unoriginal) thoughts people plaster all over Facebook! I know, bah humbug right! I actually got five videos from Nacer, my first love when I was 19 and who I got back in touch with last year! Five!!!!! I suspect he was working and was bored!
Anyway, this morning I got a "happy new year" message "from Patrick and Dominique" - and I haven't got a bloody clue who they are! I received a message from "Dominique" about a year ago saying that they were off to the Caribbean, so I messaged back and said I thought she had the wrong number. To which she wrote back and said "no, we met on the bus going to work remember Anna"! And of course I didn't! I really have no clue who she is, but "happy new year to you too anyway my dear"!
And that reminded me of an incident many years ago, back in the early '80s. I hadn't been in Geneva long when I met an Irishman called Justin. We were friendly and he was waiting for me outside work one night when this woman dashed up to him yelling "Justin, how wonderful to see you. How are you doing? Long time no see! And how are your mom and dad? Are they enjoying retirement" Blah, blah, blah, you get the idea. Anyway, they must have stood there chatting for 10 minutes when the lady said she had to go but "please remember me to your mom and dad"! At which point Justin said "I will, but who are you?" I nearly died of embarrassment 'cos I would have just faked it but not Justin! It tickles me now but I was mortified at the time, even if he wasn't!
Then this morning, as I was switching over to my new 2020 calendar (bought in Cinque Terre) I remembered another incident about 10-15 years ago. A colleague and I shared an office and worked with a guy called J (now retired). I worked more closely with him and we got on okay but we weren't over friendly as he was a moody sod! Anyway, it was about the time that the film The Calendar Girls came out and all of a sudden everyone and his uncle was posing for nude calendars. I guess the first one or two were fun but after a while???? I mean, do I really need to see a picture of my postman butt naked? Anyway, as I was saying, J was fairly quiet and very moody but we worked okay together. Then all of a sudden he started emailing my colleague and I calendars of naked men! Okay, the first one - yeah, good looking dudes but …. Then in the afternoon, another one! Okay, we'll let that one pass. But this went on for a couple of weeks! I mean, twice a day, nude male calendars! Now between you and me I actually prefer not to see human plumbing in a calendar, whether it be male or female. It's definitely so much sexier if something is left to the imagination I think, but that's just my preference. So one afternoon after a few days of this my colleague looked at me and said "what the hell is happening? And what do we do about it? Should we have a word with him?" If I remember right it was around the time that he and his wife split up but bombarding us with these calendars was just so out of character - and such a stupid thing to do at work frankly. He was lucky that my friend and I are pretty open-minded but even so, there is a limit! I would say that there is more tolerance for this sort of thing in Europe than in the US but buddy, get a grip (if you'll forgive the expression)!!!! Thankfully, after about two weeks he stopped, so I guess he either got his jollies somewhere else or he ran out of calendars! But talk about weird!
And finally, "soap making". Yep, I had a go at that today with disastrous results! I've always been quite partial to some of those pretty soaps they sell at craft fairs, particularly those perfumed with sandalwood, and this morning I realized I had thrown all these odd remnants of soap into a glass jar in the bathroom meaning to do "something" with them one day. Anyway, I looked up on Youtube how to make your own soap out of remnants because I have quite a collection of essential oils which I think would make a nice addition to home-made soap! So I got it all "bubbling away" gently on the stove, stirring continuously (just like they said in the video), added a few drops of sandalwood essential oil and then waited. And waited! Only thing was, I forgot the first and seemingly most important step. I forgot to grate the soap! I just bunged it all straight into the saucepan and went on from there on a wing and a prayer! Well that didn't work out 'cos I ended up with a huge clump of beautifully perfumed gloop stuck all over my saucepan. What to do (apart from retire from the soap-making business)? So I poured it all into a cocktail shaker and now I have a cocktail shaker shaped bunch of solid perfumed gloop! Oh dear. Anyway, I hacked a few clumps off and shoved it inside my "shower glove" - not sure what they call a gant de toilette in English - you know the scratchy kind of glove you use for a friction rub! Well, it worked a treat, lathers up beautifully and the smell is divine! Apart from one ruined saucepan and cocktail shaker, who says the entrepreneurial spirit is dead?
From Very British Problems:
New Year’s Day possible plans:
-Attempt to burn off 50,000 cals by wearing gym kit
-Take a multivitamin
-Buy nonessentials in the sales
-Spend all day on social media like you said you wouldn’t do anymore
-Pizza/aspirin in bed