Good evening. Hey, it’s been a while since we chatted, just you and me. Well, that’ll have to wait – The Returned is back on TV tonight and I can’t wait to
get a glimpse of that Frenchman’s knob lose myself in the mysterious world of the returning dead and impossibly pretty girls saying ‘Poob’. Ah yes. Paul is making moussaka, so I’m simply going to write until either a) it’s 9pm or b) my shoulders hurt or c) Paul forgets to bring me my hourly coffee and I have to set about his face with a claw hammer. He’s in good spirits today because he’s left his job – don’t get me wrong, he loved it, but it’s a new adventure see? I’ll touch on that another time because tonight I want to chunter on about our holiday. Can I remember the details? Of CORSICAN. It’s exactly that level of shit-hot humour you bloody love.
The last time I wittered on about Corsica, I told you about how lovely the villa was, how appalling my French was and how I managed to make a complete tit of myself in the middle of a French supermarket only to be shouted at and admonished by a merrily-whiskered lady behind the till. I’m not going to write chronologically about what we did going forward because frankly, we spent an awful amount of time sitting around doing nothing other than eating bread and relaxing in the sun.
That was my first downfall. See, I managed to burn myself in the sun. I’m always so careful to protect myself against the sun (health anxiety, remember), and despite previous times when I’ve turned myself blue by applying too much sun-screen, I slicked it on with gay abandon. Listen, I’m a Geordie – we don’t do bronzed and golden, we do either Philip Schofield’s hair white or alarming-boil-red. There’s no middle ground. I’m a big guy and I take a lot of sunscreen to cover me (I did think it would be quicker to use one of those hoses so dramatically employed in decontamination chambers) but I thought I had it licked. Nope. After three hours of merrily splashing around in the pool and sizzling gently on the sun-lounger, I noticed that my right buttock was a trifle sore.
This isn’t uncommon – I use my bum-cheeks most of the day, so a little tenderness can be expected. Normally Paul just needs to tilt me to relieve the pressure. But no, this was a more serious pain – I had managed to half of my arse a charming post-box red. You genuinely don’t realise how much your arse touches something until it feels like it’s been pressed against the door of an industrial kiln for a few moments. Every sit was uncomfortable, every walk a mixture of chaffing and sadness. Plus, in my mind, my arse now resembled a block of Neapolitan ice-cream, only far less delicious. Paul had to spend five minutes gently kneading my buttocks with after-sun to bring comfort – it may have looked slightly erotic if it wasn’t for me yelling that he was catching my arse-hair in the metal clasps of his watch.
Now now, don’t get preachy, most men have a hairy button, it’s just a fact of life. Paul was once climbing naked into the shower when I ran into the bathroom and clipped a clothes peg to his bum-hair for a laugh. I managed to just nip his sphincter in the peg mechanism. Well, honestly. I’ve never heard him scream so loud – there would have been a less dramatic response had I shot his foot off with a sawn-off shotgun. He didn’t speak to me for the rest of the day and it was only after I bought him a 1kg bar of Dairy Milk from Amazon and allowed him to delete all my favourite programmes from the Sky Planner that his frostiness melted.
That was me injured. Paul’s turn now. Dotted around the pool were three metal ‘hammocks’ which were shaped like open metal balls suspended from a frame. You can see them here:
Lovely yes? I declined to get into them as I was worried the chain would snap under my weight and well, I hate to hear metal scream, but Paul is lighter and more daring so flung himself into one with gay abandon. As if we could manage any other kind of abandon, dearie me. He swung around for a bit until he realised he was going to struggle to get out, given he’s only got little legs and the ball shape didn’t lend itself to an easy exit. I watched as he valiantly declared he’d found a way off only to swing the entire frame over and land, quite literally, flat on his face, with the frame of the hammock smacking his on the back of the head a moment later. I couldn’t tell if the loud ‘ooof’ came from me, his mouth or the air escaping from his fat, but it was hilarious. Me being a conscientious, kind-hearted husband couldn’t do a jot for laughing – indeed, I laughed so much from the deep-end of the pool that I almost drowned myself (that’ll teach me) and he lay for a good few seconds before laughing and moving. I’d be a shit paramedic – anything faintly slapstick and they’d be declaring death whilst I stood around slapping my knees with merriment. Perhaps it was karma from when something similar happened to me in Dobbies – we just don’t do well with hammocks.
Once we’d wiped the tears from our eyes (mine tears of laughter, his tears of blood and ocular fluid) we took a moment to decide what to do and decided on a spot of lunch. I was clearly so upset and fraught with the worry that Paul’s skull was filling with blood from his massive internal injury that it was really all I could do to take myself off for a long shower whilst Paul set about cutting up cheese and putting rocket in a bowl – well, it makes it easier to scrape into the bin later on. It was just as Paul was bending down (naked, remember) to get something from the crisper drawer when our rep appeared at the open living room door with a loud ‘HELLO’. Paul, mortified, spun around on his heel and clutched a tea-towel to his genitals (the same tea-towel I later saw him cleaning my wine glass with – which explains why I wondered if we were having Brie with our sauvignon blanc later on). Paul doesn’t do exhibitionism (even though he should, because he’s lovely), unlike me. I’m not fussed when I’m on holiday, I’ll cheerfully flop it out if it saves me carrying my swimming knickers to the beach.
I don’t swear ‘swimming knickers’ I hasten to add, I just like how that sounds in my head’.
What followed (I had taken a moment to stop murdering Cher’s greatest hits in the shower in order to gleefully listen) was a toe-curling exchange where Paul, frozen behind a breakfast bar with only a tea-towel and a packet of Pringles to hide his modesty, had to exchange polite conversation about how to turn off the pool alarm and where to leave the towels whilst the rep looked absolutely everywhere but his body. The rep was lovely mind, don’t get me wrong, and he had the good grace not to shout ‘YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO LET CATTLE IN’ to me as I came out of the shower towelled and pleasant. He then explained that as a gay nudist he had seen it all before, as though Paul was some spectacle designed to be peeped at through a hole in the door. In another world it may have been the beginning of a raunchy Xtube video but not ours – Paul was so shocked and frightened that he had to have half of my sandwich just to calm down.
I appreciate that this reads like some campy seventies farce but, as Mags is my witness, it’s the truth. Worst part of it all? Paul was so distracted by not accidentally showing the rep his lid that he paid no attention as to how to turn off the pool alarm, and MAN was that alarm sensitive. Each morning we’d be woken by it screeching away if a leaf tumbled in or a water-molecule split. I swear I sighed once in bed at the other end of the villa and it was away, wailing and blaring like a rape alarm. Our poor neighbours. Whilst we couldn’t see anyone nearby – it was forest that surrounded us – we knew there were people close-by by the laughter and sound of cars crunching over gravel. Knowing us, we were probably perched at the end of a housing estate or a nursing home and several dozen Corsican families were being treated daily to the sight of our naked buttocks (mine a fetching red) as we climbed in the pool. Ah well. Not like we’ll ever see them again.
Final tale before I sign off for the night. We did a very British thing indeed. Perhaps not British, actually, but rather the domain of the bone-idle. We decided halfway through the holiday to have a trip along the island to the port town of Bastia, a good three hour drive away (taking into account Paul’s need to stop every thirty minutes for a dump as we entered somewhere new). We planned the route the night before, made a couple of sandwiches for the car, set the alarm – all ready. We were in the car and making excellent time by around 8am. We’d researched local museums and excellent restaurants to try on our day out, oh what a lovely day. Hmm. The reality of it was that we drove for three hours and then couldn’t find a parking space. Not one. The French seem to park their cars like they’re dashing into maternity wards and haven’t a moment to lose. Every side street is an obstacle course of Corsican Corsas, with cars parked parallel, flush and across the road. I couldn’t understand it and the rage built up in me to such an extent that I yelled ‘WELL FUCK THIS’, did a 76 point turn in the middle of a one-way street and immediately revved the hell out of Bastia. Bastia? More like BASTARD.
It might have been a lovely town full of curios and wonder, but all we saw of it was the back of a tour bus and the interior of a very large supermarket where we stopped for a calming round of bread and cheese. We’d managed the equivalent of driving to Durham from London, stopping at a Tesco Extra, buying a loaf of bread and driving home. The drive home was fairly silent – Paul slept, and I spent most of the time with my eye twitching and a renewed dislike of the world. I did switch the radio on but frankly it sounded like I’d tuned into a cockfight so that was snapped off in anger too.
I was at least reassured that when recounting this tale to a friend that she had done exactly the same, right down to the stopping at the supermarket on the way back. Phew.
We’ll leave it there. French Zombies are here. Before I go, tonight’s recipe is a Slimming World friendly moussaka. You’ll enjoy it! Bit of a clart on making it, no fib, but it’ll be tasty. Serves 4. You could make it with beef mince – lucky we chuck in three big bags of extra lean in our Musclefood deal, found RIGHT HERE (and don’t worry, it opens in a tidy new window so you won’t lose me forever).
to make slimming world moussaka you’ll need:
- 500g of extra lean minced lamb if you can find it – our butcher does lean lamb and we use that, but they also sell it in Tesco
- 60g of extra mature cheddar, grated (2 x HEA)
- 500g pasatta
- 2 medium aubergines, cut into slices and dipped into lemon juice to stop them going brown
- a couple of large potatoes
- 1 bog standard carrot, diced finely
- tin of tomatoes
- 1 courgette, diced finely
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, crushed and minced (yep: USE ONE OF THESE MAN, YOU’LL SAVE SO MUCH)
- 1/2 tsp of ground chilli, 1/2 of cinnamon, 1/2 of rosemary if you can find it, 1 tsp of oregano and 1 tsp of thyme
- pinch of salt and pepper
- beef stock made from a decent stock cube
- half a tub of bloody Quark
- 2 tbsp of fromage frais (make sure syn free else Maggie May will be livid)
- bit more cheese, just to make it nice
and then to make slimming world moussaka you should (deep breath):
- actually, look, it isn’t so bad, so get on with it
- peel, slice and par-boil the potatoes until they are soft with a hint of rigidity, like a randy old bloke’s schlong;
- take your slices of aubergine
and stick them up yer arseand grill them in a fancy griddle pan or normal pan until they’re charred
- hoy a bit of salt on them
- cook your onions in another pan until soft, then add everything else in – mince, spices, garlic, courgette, stock etc – and cook for thirty minutes low and slow until it’s really thick;
- whilst doing that, beat together the Quark, fromage frais, some cheese, salt and pepper and the yolk of an egg into a thick pale yellow sauce
- assemble – mince mixture, then aubergine, potato, bit of white sauce (fnar fnar) rinse and repeat – you might not get many layers if you have a big dish, but so what? Just do what you can
- throw cheese on the top and put in the oven for around half an hour, making sure it doesn’t burn
- add more cheese at regular intervals until you’re satisfied and smiling
Coo, I’m knackered.