CRICKET……. A BIRD’S EYE VIEW

So here I am at Edgbaston, first day of the third Ashes test, hoping not to feel crippling humiliation once again at the hands of the Aussies. Weather looks hopeful, beer and in my case gin and tonic is already flowing, we have a picnic of pork pies and scotch eggs and my teenage crush David Gower is crooning in my ear from the radio. But sadly it’s all a bit blokey as all the girls bar one have cried off. Why, I ask myself when really, watching cricket is the perfect way for any woman to spend a day

I appreciate that the game can be a little confusing and that Test Matches that go on for five days and still end in a draw can seem a tad pointless, indeed watching your team play cricket, especially if you’re an England fan, can be agonising.  Often its a bit slow and a bit boring but occasionally we’re served up a frenzy of excitement, success and unbridled joy. Unfortunately it’s usually followed by a large helping of disappointment. It’s a bit like the roller coaster of life and the realization that I was never going to marry David Gower.But let’s not dwell on the negatives as positives there are a plenty.

Well  it’s a far cry from Ibiza I hear my friends say, but girls, what could be better than sitting watching 22 athletic young men  fully clad in white, strutting around and throwing themselves into danger on a field all day, occasionally  rubbing their nether regions and getting themselves all grubby. Men who not only do lunch but do afternoon tea as well.

And that’s just for starters . Let me tell you girls, you are seriously missing out if you think a day at the cricket is a day wasted. Ok, the sun doesn’t always shine, but if it does, you can top up your tan, drink, eat  AND talk while play is still going on. You can heckle, verbally abuse and intimidate  the opposition, which is especially enjoyable when a lone Aussie fielder, isolated from the pack , is within earshot. An added bonus if it happens to be Mitchel Johnson. You can dress up, dress down or wear fancy dress , nod off, read a book  or not watch the game at all and still have a really good time.  Fabulously the ratio of women to men (according to my pal Sal’s scientific analysis) is probably about 25 to 1 (admittedly 20 of them will be over 40) and it’s the only event where there is no queue for the ladies but satisfyingly  the mens queue  goes on for miles. And it really doesn’t matter if you have no idea what’s going on or understand the cricket chat because terms such as middle stump, fine leg, a good length,  sticky wicket, full toss, ball tampering, in swinger and hand action will always raise  a  pathetically infantile girlie giggle.

So fair maidens, get thee down to the Cricket  and let yourself be bowled over by this wonderful game for as  I finish writing this at the end of a brilliant day, I am tired, happy, full after a fabulous curry and a little bit tipsy from too many Pimms.  Best of all, England played a blinder and their fans will go to their beds tonight, thanking God and praying that they don’t stuff it up when they return to resume battle tomorrow.  Girls, it was a fine day out.

Whose Crisis Is it Anyway?

It will probably come as no surprise that my recent spate of gallivanting has  raised a few eyebrows and there are, of course, mutterings that I am obviously going through some sort of mid-life crisis. I had, in fact, thought this myself but as the pitying looks and concerned advice seemed to indicate that this was something to be worried about and dealt with sensibly, I began to ponder more deeply on the whole issue.

According to Wikipedia, mid life crisis occurs between forty and sixty as the realisation starts to dawn that you are in fact going to drop dead one day and that the number of years left for enjoying yourself has suddenly dwindled quite significantly. So some awakened individuals start to say, hang on a minute, I have dedicated the last twenty years to bringing up my lovely kids and husband, I may not have another twenty years, I’m still fit and able so lets party! Lets write a list of all those things I’ve wanted to do but never had the time, lets stay up all night in Ibiza, lets play music loud and sing in the car even though its just sooo embarrassing, lets have a few drinks on a school night and stop picking boxer shorts up off the bathroom floor. Lets not care if I forget to put the bin out because I was too tired from watching the sun rise and lets start saying yes again to new adventures rather than no because its too much effort.

And what, may I ask, is wrong with that?

The definitions of the word Crisis are as follows: A time of intense difficulty or danger, a time when a difficult or important decision has to be made or the turning point of a disease when an important change takes place indicating either recovery or death. I particularly like this last definition, for my current  conclusion is that the term should actually be applied to those NOT going through a mid life crisis, as the person supposedly going through the crisis, is actually having a whale of a time and enjoying a complete and full recovery from the relentless uphill battle of child rearing, running down the other side towards freedom with complete and utter abandon.

The real crisis, in my opinion, lies in the fact that those who are the  most critical are usually the ones who are the most afraid, shuffling slowly but surely into their twilight years opting to go out with a whimper rather than a whoop.

So please don’t worry about me darlin’ I’ll take the crisis any day

SUMMERTIME SADNESS

For anyone who has ordered clothes on line, the inevitable barrage of emails offering incentives to buy are now just  part of modern life. At the moment, however, they are slowly pushing me over the edge. Take, for example, this mornings offerings. “The Secrets of Summer Layering…….for chic summer days”  “Things are hotting up for summer….are you ready?”  or “Your sunny day essentials”.  I’m sure if my mailbox could laugh it would  probably have wet itself  as it offered me a range of layering options from vests, to t shirts, through to  little summer dresses, accessories and  scarves that would, of course,  see me effortlessly through  from the beach to the cocktail bar.  Perfect!

Well it would be, if Scotland hadnt morphed into Alaska. Don’t get me wrong, the sun has come out a few times but any time it ,makes a welcome appearance, any warmth is quickly dissipated by the biting, freezing gale that seems to be  on a  permanent  setting from  somewhere in the North. It actually  snowed on the hills today. Snow! It’s bloody June.

So, I’ve done what any sensible girl should do in this situation and booked another holiday to Ibiza. Not until September, but at least it gives me something to look forward to if the sun doesn’t decide to show up in the Highlands, the temperature doesn’t manage to drag itself above 12 degrees C. and my chic, floaty summer layers remain shivering sadly in the wardrobe.

And if the sun does come out, then hopefully I’ll be able to return my order of the above.

,

Honey, We Need to Talk About Dylan….

In my last post from Ibiza I forget to mention that we did not, in fact, travel back alone for in our custody was a little friend who has now come to represent something significant. Let me introduce Dylan.

Dylan, (not quite sure how he got his name), in his physical state is nothing more than a piece of dried lime peel but he has eyes and a mouth and of course a name and because he has a name he has a personality and to be honest,  we have all become a little bit attached and because we are a little bit attached, we are all becoming increasingly concerned for his well being. You see Dylan is homesick, pining for the sun, his maker and the place of his birth and basically he needs to be taken home and as Amelia was very cleverly given custody of poor little Dylan, some difficult decisions now have to be made.

The upside, if there is one, to getting older is wisdom, the type of wisdom that comes from experience and if used sensibly, can help us to point ourselves and sometimes others in the right direction. It’s not easy to quantify, often it’s just a gut feeling, a feeling that something just is  the right thing to do.. At the beginning of this blog, I said that life is short and sometimes when we are suddenly  given choices to make that we weren’t expecting, it’s easy to take the safe option even when you have youth well and truly on your side. What we have to remember, however, is if the safe option doesn’t actually make your soul happy, then it really isn’t the safe option at all.

BOOM BANG A BANG BABY…….

And so, after much begging and pleading, it’s the big reveal. A pair of trousers (or slacks) as my granny used to call them, which I couldnt even get away with in Ibiza let alone a wee Highland Toon.

I have no idea what possessed me, other than the after effects of the Jacaranda Bar’s Crazy Mandy’s Cocktails combined with too much Ibiza sun but if I look back I seem to have previous for buying dodgy trousers while on a trip,.and by trip I mean a girls trip, not a psychadelic trip. My last dodgy pair, and I have to admit to it being a rather long time ago when my kids were young and I had been let off the leash for the first time in ages, was purchased in Ayr as my lovely friend Mo and I wandered aimlessly around the town having missed our flight to Dublin. The rest of the girls had made it of course, but Ryan Air soon had us booked on the next flight. If I remember rightly, Alex Salmond was wandering the streets too that day but he has nothing to do with the trouser purchase. The trousers in question this time were, wait for it, black pvc but at £8 they were a bargain compared to the 30 euros I forked out for these ones.  I’m sure we both bought a pair and actually I still have mine but they have never seen the light of day since the Dublin trip.  Yes I did wear them out because the other girls made me and yes, it was a very sweaty relationship but I feel a sort of affection to them probably because it was my first break out from the constraints of early motherhood and probably I just needed to do something radicle.

And thats the thing with clothes, they label us and categorise us into stereotypes.  By dressing a certain way we send out a message to the world that this is who we are or who we would like to be and where we want to fit in and too often we let ourselves be drawn into conforming to a type that just doesnt really represent who we really are. Why we do it, I have no idea, its a little bit sad really and I know when Ive done it, because I ending up spending the whole day or night feeling uncomfortable and not quite myself. And so maybe, just maybe I thought that the multi coloured snake skin flares ( cant belive I just wrote that), represented something, (God knows what) that I just needed to express all these years down the line now the chicks are flying the nest and  freedom is once again on the horizon

Or of course, they could  just as easily  represent the fact that at the time of purchase, I was actually still pissed.

Nothing’s Gonna Stop us Now…..

And so here it is, my final blog from Ibiza, or it would be if I was still there. I am, however, back home, ankle bracelet back in the cupboard and my tan encased in jeans, jumper and winter boots, absolutely bloody freezing. Ibiza, like my brain, seems so very far away. I couldn’t have written this while I was there though, as quite frankly there was so much emotion going on after the Cafe Mambo Sunset experience I doubt I would have made any sense.  It’s been good to have time to reflect.

Sunset at Cafe Mambo is on many a bucket list and if you have ever thought about going, I urge you to make the trip We were fortunate that we were there for the 2015 opening party and the atmosphere was, quite honestly electric as from our beach side table we watched as  disciples of Temple Mambo, silhouetted against the setting sun, descended from all directions. And as the sun set into the sea to the sound of Nessun Dorma ( translation: None shall Sleep, very appropriate in our case)  I  can quite honestly say that it was the closest thing to some sort of spiritual experience I have ever had. I can’t describe it, you just had to be there. Mr Derbyshire kindly suggested that it was probably because I was pissed but the fact that the video I took has bought many close to tears, says it all. It was intensely moving. Some of you reading this probably won’t get it and agree with Mr D but for those who do make the journey, the experience will I am sure stay with you forever.

I have also had time to reflect on the enigma that is Charlie’s Bar, a bar in Es Cana with great staff,  which caters for anyone that enters it’s doors and makes everyone welcome. If you had told me before I left that I would spend a great deal of my holiday in a bar that offered everything from lovingly made cocktails to bingo,  tribute bands, karaoke, freefall vodkas, raspberry sambucas as well as a dance floor, I  would probably have ripped up my ticket, laughed in your face and hung myself. But, you know what, Charlie’s Bar was special. So special that every night we quite literally lost complete track of time. We laughed like we hadn’t laughed in ages, we certainly danced like we hadn’t done in ages and we shared it with new friends who may never have crossed our paths back in the real world.  I will miss our  pizza and chips at 3am and the slightly ( I use that term loosely)  drunken philosophising on the meaning of life before moving on to Granny’s Bar ( no idea why it’s called that, I should have asked) for a wee night cap. Needless to say The Panorama Hotel did very well out of us as we only made breakfast twice but strangely we never seemed to get a hangover. In the real world I would probably have died.

So for anyone of a certain age, or in fact any age, who just needs to reconnect with who they really are, who wants to go out when they are normally coming in, who wants to stay out longer than their kids, sing and dance to  dodgy eighties anthems,  eat chips, pretend to be a DJ, watch sunsets, play darts, drink cocktails, lie on tranquil beaches or lounge in cool beach side bars and generally just learn to be themselves again, then Es Cana, Ibiza could work for you too. For some it may be life changing. As I said at the beginning of my blog, life is short and for me, choosing to go to Ibiza in the first place was a step in the right direction.. Watching my sister and niece blossom in both the Ibiza sun and friendship of strangers was an added bonus. No, I don’t intend to take my fifties lying down. Ibiza was a blast!!

PS  A word of caution. Never buy a pair of trousers the morning after consuming Crazy Mandy Cocktails!

Relight my fire!

The Hotel Panorama is once again calm this morning as the hormonal frenzy which descended upon Charlie’s Bar last night slowly dissipates and wafts gently out over the clear Mediterranean water. Wives have reluctantly returned to the reliable comfort of their husbands and in return husbands have quietly accepted that there is no way that they can compete. Life can be cruel sometimes. As I lay here on my sunbed trying to write, having rejected the call to join in the Daily Puzzle or a game of Boules, conversations are awash with tales and glorious memories….”this is a good photo of you Trace, he looks bloody gorgeous and you can’t see your big belly….”

The exodus from The Panorama last night was something to behold as wave after wave of excitable, perfumed females giggled and wiggled their way to the doors of Charlie’s Bar and as I watched from the comfort of the cocktail bar, the atmosphere began to sparkle with womanly anticipation.There must be a collective noun for it but as I write this nothing springs to mind, probably because I’m exhausted.

I must admit this wasn’t what I had in mind when I headed to Ibiza, being more of a fan of Rudimental than Take That but as far as tribute acts go this has to be one of the best. Dan Hadfield – The Number one Gary Barlow Tribute Act, was indeed every inch Gary Barlow and as the love descended over Charlie’s I found myself caught up in the unified Gazzer glorification. His execution of Pray was sublime, despite the absence of waterfalls and Rule the World brought out a collective passion so intense that I seriously thought one poor woman was going to have a heart attack. It was brilliant. To top off the night we found some old school friends Jean and Jan and made some new ones, the mysterious and very delightful Mr Q (Q because apparently no one apart from his girlfriend can pronounce his name) and Nicky, who regularly travels to Ibiza by herself because, quite honestly, you can. It’s that sort of place.

And so it came to pass that another night flashed before our eyes here in Ibiza. Photos were taken, arms were waved and new friends made and as romance blossomed within our camp, no not me or my sister, and the dance floor emptied, at 3.00 am Mr Q made the very difficult choice between the eighties mega mix and pizza and chips and we all toddled off for some light refreshment. We have promised ourselves a quiet one and an early night tonight because understandably, we are all exhausted but I won’t make any promises. For in this dual reality that is Ibiza, quite frankly, anything can happen.

I don’t care…..I love it!

Sitting on the balcony of our hotel room I am trying to remember what day it is and for once it’s not an age thing but the fact that in two days we have had approximately eight hours sleep. Amazingly I feel remarkably perky for an old bird.

I have to admit that as we got on our Thomson flight I had my reservations as we seem to have somehow stumbled on to a saga trip. A Ryan Air flight to the party island it definitely was not and as the queue for those requiring special assistance shuffled forward I began to wonder if I had read my brochure properly. Disturbingly we were all on the same transfer bus. Maybe my choice of a child free hotel had been a horrible mistake.

However, despite the fact that the patrons of The Hotel Panorama in Es Cana appear to have an average age of seventy and as a result Amelia has raised concerns about possible contamination of the swimming pool, the hotel has suited us perfectly. The food is a bit ropy, more coach trip than Jamie Oliver but as we keep arriving late or miss the food slots entirely it is difficult to pass judgement. The rooms are clean and functional, the pool is large, relaxing and importantly child free and the staff are friendly and courteous, (even when Ali managed to blow a fuse with her ironing) and quite honestly it must be difficult to remain polite when faced with a relentless onslaught of elderly Brits. And there is an upside.The cocktails are surprisingly potent on the all inclusive and we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re keeping up with our five a day intake. We also look like supermodels around the swimming pool.

Hotel Panorama is also conveniently located opposite Charlie’s Bar which with its fabulous cocktails, tribute bands and a late late dj is already offering up a smorgasbord of characters, gossip and harmless goings on worthy of an episode of Towie. Hotel Panorama was a-twitching this morning amongst those in the know and I have no doubt that somebody’s husband, now affectionately known as Mr Sin Bin, was well and truly in the shit. I could, if I wanted to, have a field day but that wouldn’t be fair. Ibiza is obviously a place for letting your hair down and escaping the humdrum of the daily grind, letting those of us who are banned from dancing in public at home giving it large on the dance floor. There must be honour amongst thieves and hopefully my performance to the title song will never appear on You Tube!

DOES MY BUM LOOK APPROPRIATE IN THESE?

imageI may be having a midlife crisis but I know where to draw the line when it comes to buying a pair of shorts. Short shorts, for those not in the know, are those skimpy little numbers offering a tantalising glimpse of a well toned bum cheek and quite honestly, unless you are an ex supermodel, they are just not appropriate for a woman of my age. The problem is, the shops where I live  are full of them and there doesnt appear to be much else on offer other than a bit of sensible, middle aged, knee length tailoring.

Apparently, one of the first signs that you’re approaching a midlife crisis, is the hiring of a personal trainer and I am not afraid to admit that Jim my personal trainer has made a huge difference to my life. I’m now fitter and stronger than I was ten years ago and I’m hopeful that I have managed to stall the ravages of time for just  a little longer and not go shuffling sadly into my twilight years. If I drop dead tomorrow, however,  I will be well pissed off but as Jim so nicely put it, at least I’ll look good in the coffin and I won’t need to supersize!

Anyway, back to the shorts. As a consequence of being abused (sorry, encouraged) by Jim and his circuit training, I think my legs are in quite good shape. I have dieted, exfoliated and anti cellulited, (Temple Spa do a mean anti lumpy bumpy cellulite lotion) and body brushed, massaged and lathered myself with aromatic oils. But  as I stand next to a nubile, taught skinned teen something in Top Shop who probably thinks I’m shopping for my daughter, I know I’m kidding myself. .Mutton dressed as lamb springs to mind along with visions of Madonna depressingly clad in black leather and if Mr Derbyshire saw them he might actually ban me from going. I might be heading to Ibiza with a sister who has just accidentally dyed her hair orange but I know my limits. Smiling  maternally at the nubile, I  place the offending items back on the rail. I think I’ll leave the short shorts to the gorgeous leggy Amelia and on this occasion act my age.

One more sleep!