The Other Woman

Today it’s the turn of Team Gunta. Gunta over at Movin’ On and I have been following each other since I started blogging and living in a fishing community I was naturally drawn to her wild seas pictures & stormy skies with the briefest suggestion of smugglers on the beach. She’s provided me with some great advice and laughs over the past twelve months or so and I loved the pictures she selected for this post but the last one I think is pretty amazing. Let us know what you think!

She’d lived in the small fishing port all her life and had never spent more than a couple of nights away from home when she’d broken her arm as a small child and had to stay at the local hospital. Her father and brother were fishermen as were her uncles, grandfather and their ancestors.DallasX-1240Their daily routines revolved around tides and weather forecasts strongly interwoven with old wives tales and superstitions. One of her earliest memories was running down to the harbour to welcome her father and his crew home, when her father would pick her up and swing her onto his shoulders to carry her home. If she closed her eyes she could still smell the sea and engine oil from his old jersey.

Unlike many of her contemporaries she had never yearned for far shores, big cities and bright lights. She was content living in their small cottage with her parents and brother and waking up every morning watching the boats in the harbour from her bedroom window. It was always a good day in their small village when one of the trawlers appeared on the horizon surrounded by swooping gulls and then sailed into the quay to unload their catch. An abundant haul could mean the difference between paying the rent and having to seek work for the winter with a road construction gang.

Her childhood sweetheart, Jan, lived a few cottages behind them and he had skippered his own boat ever since his father was tragically lost at sea. As children they had played kiss chase and the pigtail tweaking had progressed into stolen kisses under the apple tree followed by moonlight walks along the beach as they became older and shared their hopes and dreams under a starlit sky.

She had always known, in the way that women do, that he had a first love that she would never be able to competeDallasX-4823 with and as her love continued to blossom and soar so did his obsession with his mistress. The intoxicating rush of adrenalin that he felt when he was alone with his lover was addictive and he failed to heed the many warnings. He became reckless in a way that young men could, without giving any thought to the consequences.

It was fate that his mistress had taken him in the end leaving her with just empty promises and broken dreams. She was bitter no doubt about that; he had been dismissive of her heartfelt pleas in the cruellest of ways. They’d never found his body although the broken hull of the trawler had been retrieved from a nearby cove. Dallas-0917The storm the night he was taken was one of the worst that their region had seen but he insisted on taking the boat out despite the weather forecast of impending squalls. The magnetic pull of the sea had been irresistible and the desire to fight destiny too seductive.

Of course, that was many years ago now and her parents were long gone along with most of their neighbours and friends. There had been many changes in the village; restaurants and cafes teeming with tourists now line the quay where once the trawling fleet used to line up waiting for their crew to fire up the engines and cast off.DallasX-008 Hard to imagine looking at the crowds of visitors that this had once been a thriving fishing community; well, that had been another time. The only remnant of the village’s history remained in the small museum on the quay next to the church where the book of remembrance documented all the lives lost at sea.

She didn’t need any cheap trinket or memento to remind her of Jan; he was always in her heart and there wasn’t a day when she didn’t think about him and what might have been. As she sat on the bench with sunshine warming her face, she smiled secretly to herself. She knew that he was waiting for her as she had waited to join him and it wouldn’t be long now before they were reunited. She’d lived a good life albeit a lonely one but she knew that she could no longer fight this debilitating disease and she was ready now. As she sat there dozing she felt a calloused hand in hers; he’d come for her, just as she knew he would.

DallasX-1946

The Gift You Can Open Again & Again

I should have known that Serial Shagger and I were not a match made in Heaven when he gave me a box of beeswax candles one Christmas having left his present shopping until the last-minute and stumbled from the pub on Christmas Eve to select the first thing he came across. I could have saved my Dad the expense of a new suit he would never wear and myself a shedload of grief, had I seen the neon danger signs smacking me on the forehead. However, a former boss beat me in the most unromantic gift category when her husband (she divorced him soon after and bloody right too) presented her with a visitors book for her birthday. So I completely understand the importance of wanting something special and memorable for your significant other; however, the difficulty arises when you work for a company who insist on paying you a pittance thus preventing you from purchasing that Ferrari that your loved one so admired.

One of my colleagues wanted to do something unforgettable for her boyfriend’s upcoming birthday and asked us for some suggestions. Balloon ride someone said, which was promptly discounted owing to the cost and the fact that my friend worked for the same company as I and earned the same magic beans. Aftershave or jewellery were considered just a tad too predictable. So the million dollar question was what else would be cheap and make this birthday one to remember?

So I jokingly suggested that as she had a budget smaller than a stripper’s thong that she wrap herself in a red bow and surprise him when he got home. What a great idea she said!

So on the big day after her shift had ended she toddled off home to take a leisurely bubble bath followed by a strict beauty regime of buffing, exfoliating and moisturising in preparation for an evening of romantic lurve.

Having lit and stoked the open fire burning away in the grate, she settled down on the leather sofa, all buffed and naked where she strategically placed the ribbon. However, as darkness fell, the heat from the fire made her a little drowsy and she dozed off to sleep and didn’t hear the doorbell when it rang. She woke up abruptly to the front door slamming and the lounge door being slowly opened.

“Surprise” shouted the in-laws brandishing presents and a rather substantial birthday cake having let themselves in. My friend said afterwards that she didn’t know which one of them was more embarrassed. It was one of those awkward moments when no-one knows quite what to say, apart that is from father-in-law who broke the silence with “nice tattoo”.

Next year it goes without saying that her boyfriend will be getting the safe and predictable option of aftershave.

candles

Fertility is like a soccer match; eleven sperm trying to get past the goalkeeper

We visited many extended family members whilst staying in Kahramanmaraş and one of the most memorable was to Ahmed’s aunt and uncle who lived in another dusty Turkish back lane. Their house was smaller than the one belonging to Ahmed’s family; the courtyard housed a goat and chickens and at the end of the small brick path there was a door opening straight onto a tiny basic kitchen. Further through into the small lounge or salon as the Turkish prefer, a mattress was placed on the floor in one corner with an elderly lady reclining in the make-shift bed. The sense of family is so strong within Turkish families that there is no need for retirement homes for beloved seniors who have spent their lives helping to raise several generations. Most elderly Turkish relatives are cared for by the same families that they have nurtured. Turkish children are taught from a very early age to respect their elders and those values remain with them throughout their lives and in their respectful behaviour towards all senior citizens. To this day, I love the custom of greeting elders by kissing their right hand then placing your forehead onto their hand.

Floor cushions were strewn around the room and every inch of space was occupied by women and children of all ages, none of whom spoke much English. Before we knew what was happening, Ahmed was ushered through into another adjoining room like the prodigal son or conquering hero, to where the men were assembled. Sensing my discomfort, he threw me an apologetic smile over his shoulder, before disappearing from sight, clearly relishing his moment of glory.

I was bade to sit and then bombarded with never-ending food and drinks by the gracious host family whilst the beautiful brown-eyed children sidled up to take a closer look at me. I have always loved that about children; that their curiosity far outweighs any embarrassment or social etiquette. I’m sure this would be a far better world if that childlike wonder and trust remained with us throughout our adult lives. I answered all their questions with the help of my faithful Turkish dictionary, bought for the princely sum of £8.99 in WH Smiths. The children tried to help me with my poor Turkish pronunciation and were genuinely captivated by all my family photographs on my mobile phone.

Whilst I chatted and laughed with the children, the elderly matriarchs of the family were talking in rapid Turkish and although I couldn’t understand what was said, it was clear from the gestures and nodding in my direction that Ahmed and I were both the hot topic of conversation that evening. I never did discover whether it was in a good way either.

A new-born baby was being passed around and inevitably I was invited to hold the beloved dark-haired infant who held my gaze in the way only newborns can. A few minutes later one of the women in broken English asked me to hand the baby back so that he could be reunited with his mother. Imagine my astonishment, when he was gently passed to the reclining elderly woman to nurse.

Later that evening in the car on the journey back to Ahmed’s family home, he delighted in telling me how fertile the men in his family were and proudly boasted how they remained so, in fact, long into their twilight years. I cannot tell you how comforted I felt that I was spending my life with a man who’s biggest asset was that he was more fertile than a growbag!

mountain 2

Simple Pleasures

Last Christmas, we made the sixteen hour car journey to Kahramanmaraş to see some of Ahmed’s family.  As I slept for most of the journey, it wasn’t too much of a hardship for me and although I had suggested we stop halfway and stay at one of the many roadside inns, Ahmed was having none of it. True to his frugal roots he drove on through the night, however, we did stop at a couple of roadside cafes frequented by the many coaches taking hordes of passengers to visit their families during the holiday season.  I also soon discovered that the clothes I had packed back in England for a sunny Turkish resort weren’t equipped to deal with the very cold Kahramanmaraş weather.

Nothing had prepared me for the visit to Kahramanmaraş, as whilst I was warmly welcomed by Ahmed’s non-English speaking family to the point where they insisted I sleep in the only bed, I hadn’t realised how traditionally Turkish the town was.  When we pulled up outside Ahmed’s family home situated in a dusty little back lane the surrounding wall and double gates hid the house from view. Once inside the gates, I discovered that the house was little more than a concrete structure with one of his brothers living in an annexe upstairs with his family and another living at the rear of the building.  All his family were on hand to welcome us; his sisters and sisters-in-law wore the traditional Turkish dress although the men wore western attire.  The meals were prepared by the women folk and the whole family congregated in the small lounge with the Soba, wood stove, being the focal point and the only source of heating.  A tablecloth was placed on the floor and the entire family sat alongside each other eating their meal amidst companionable chatter and laughter. This was a very different Turkey to the one that I had become accustomed to in the sunny resort of Altinkum.

The women in the family were much to my surprise, fascinated by their visitor and later after our evening meal we all gathered around the family computer for a question and answer session via Google translate.  They apologised to me as most of them hadn’t finished their education and said that they were just mothers & wives; but I said that in my humble opinion, that was the most important job in the world whatever your nationality happened to be.  They wanted to know everything about my life back in England including my family and home and excitedly chattered amongst themselves in rapid Turkish when I answered their questions.  When I asked them what they thought was the main difference between English and Turkish women; one of the sisters-in-law paused for a moment before replying that she thought that Turkish women were more content with their lives.  We spent the rest of the evening sorting through my make-up, listening to my CDs and straightening each other’s hair with my trusty GHDs.  Although none of us spoke each other’s language, there was a lot of laughter and good-natured banter as we danced around the room to Rihanna.

As there were only one other bedroom, the majority of the family slept on tapestry floor cushions alongside the Soba. The following morning I was awoken by the curious beautiful brown-eyed children of the family wanting to meet the mysterious stranger; particularly as it was Bayram and we had followed Turkish tradition by bringing lots of sweets with us to hand out to all the youngsters.  Breakfast was served early and as the electric shower wasn’t working, the women heated pans of hot water for me and filled a plastic refuse bin which they then dragged into the shower room so that I could bathe.  Although it was very cold and the shower room little more than an outhouse, they found much hilarity in the fact that I wanted to bathe every day despite the temperature being sub-zero; even so I was touched that they had made such effort for me

I often think of that small Turkish house where the welcome and smiles were as warm as the Soba and time spent with loved family members was more precious than gold. It occurs to me as I write this that usually the ones that have the least to give, inevitably give the most and that there in that small Turkish town, a loving family shared with me the most priceless gift of all – simple pleasures.

Sometimes the simple pleasures are more meaningful than all the banquets in the world
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

Turkish breakfast

In The Beginning (Part Four)

After waving goodbye to the rowdy hens, we made our way to the exit and pushed our trolleys through the crowds of awaiting transfer drivers all holding name signs for their passengers. We eventually found our designated courier, a young handsome and cheery Turk, who introduced himself as Erhan. He suggested we sit at the outside café whilst we waited for his “friend” who was driving the transfer bus which unfortunately had broken down. He assured us that we shouldn’t be concerned, as his friend was already en route to the depot to collect the luxury vehicle with a well-stocked mini bar and would be with us shortly. It was fair to say that now we were concerned!

Having travelled all night, fatigue was beginning to set in and to bolster our spirits we purchased some coffees and water from the kiosk attendant. When I handed over the lira, I realised that I could have financed an entire spa weekend based on the price I had been charged for the refreshments. We passed the time talking with Erhan, asking him about Turkey and in particular, Altinkum, where we would be staying.

An hour and a half later, the “luxury” transfer bus arrived. The transfer driver was a scruffy toothless elderly gentleman who his friend explained, didn’t speak any English but frankly we were so tired that we would have accepted a lift from Attila the Hun. All too soon we realised that vehicle was roughly in the same condition as it’s driver. The upholstery was stained, the ashtrays overflowing and the well-stocked rusty mini bar was padlocked. The stereo blared Turkish music and prayer beads swung from the rear-view mirror; we were left wondering whether the standard transfer vehicle would have in fact, been a donkey and cart. Leaflets advertising the local bars in Altinkum were strewn across the back seat, detailing “cockytails for half price”; oh yeah we would definitely be needing some of those bad boys sometime in the very near future.

We’d barely said our goodbyes to Erhan, when the minibus took off at breakneck speed. In addition to other basic comforts, it appeared that the luxury vehicle also lacked seatbelts. As we were tossed around in the back seats like a salad, I couldn’t help but wonder where were those cockytails when you needed one?

The surrounding countryside flashed past us, as we hurtled towards our destination at seventy miles per hour. As we were travelling so fast, it was difficult to appreciate the numerous roadside stalls selling fresh fruits and the migrant farm workers harvesting the olive trees which covered most of the passing landscape for as far as the eye could see. We also noticed that all Turkish drivers seemed to drive with reckless abandon and have a flagrant disregard for road safety and other road users. Our driver constantly smoked and answered his mobile phone whilst driving, pausing only to curse in Turkish at other drivers.

It was already beginning to get hot and the minibus was stuffy and smoky, and unfortunately, the luxury air conditioning didn’t appear to be working and neither did the electric windows.

As we rocketed around the winding roads, I wondered whether I would in fact, live to see my family again or in an ironic twist, I had unintentionally taken Serial Shagger’s advice literally and fallen off a cliff.

However, a short while later it seemed I was redeemed as the driver decided to put us out of our misery when he pulled up roadside and got out and opened our door. The fresh air and slight breeze was a welcome relief. Nodding and grinning, he gestured for us to step out. He had stopped the van at a shaded area overlooking a vast lake – Baffa Lake as I was later to discover. The views were breath-taking and it was beginning to get hot even though the day was still early.

As I was about to climb out, my friend grabbed hold of me and pulled me back into the van. “No you don’t! He’s going to steal our money and abandon us or worse still, kill us”. It seemed that I was going to be making Serial Shagger’s day after all. The driver seemed confused by our reluctance to leave the vehicle and after shrugging his shoulders grudgingly got back into the minibus to continue on with the white knuckle ride.

Thirty minutes later we drove into the bustling seaside resort of Altinkum where we were going to be staying for the next couple of weeks. I visibly relaxed as I knew then that our nightmare journey was coming to an end. However, once again fate seemed to have other ideas and as we drove around the town stopping to ask for directions, it was apparent that we were lost. So after a further forty-five minutes, tiredness had dictated that I take command of the situation and gesturing for the driver to stop, I got out and asked at a local café. An English couple were able to help along with a Turkish waiter who translated the directions to the driver. Confident that we were now headed in the right direction, I jumped back into the minibus.

Ten minutes later we arrived at our destination and the driver kindly assisted us to the apartment and even helped unlock the door with keys that had been left at the local estate agency office or Emlak offis as they said in Turkey.

The driver departed with a wave, a toothless smile and a generous tip; having mistaken good old-fashioned Turkish courtesy for something a little more sinister, we had felt duty bound to over compensate for our mean-spirited thoughts.

After struggling with the lock, we eventually gained access into what was going to be our home for the next couple of weeks. The apartment was fairly amazing, however, there was one thing troubling me. There was a trail of wet towels leading along the corridor to the bathroom. On closer inspection all of the beds were unmade and the wardrobes were opened; in fact it looked very much like the apartment had been burgled!

Leaving my friend guarding our luggage, I marched back to the emlak office and insisted that the man who had given us the keys some fifteen minutes earlier, return with me to the apartment. In the Turkish laid back manner, that we had become accustomed to since arriving, he climbed into his Fiat Doblo and gestured for me to do the same. He drove erratically the short distance to the apartment, chain-smoking the entire journey, narrowly missing another vehicle then jumped out of the car, gesturing for me to do the same. As we mounted the stairs to the apartment, he appeared fairly unconcerned about potentially confronting a burglar.

My friend was stood outside the door surrounded by all our luggage, whilst the man from an emlak office flashed her his whitest smile as he pushed past into the apartment. After a brief tour, he said “s’okay housekeeper holiday no come today”.

“Sorry?”

“No problem housekeeper coming tomorrow”.

Irritable from the lack of sleep, my friend asked where we would sleep tonight and the man from the emlak office sauntered into the apartment and selecting some linens from a chest of drawers passed them to us and indicated in the direction of the bedrooms.

As I was just too tired to argue, I took the proffered bed linen and selecting the large double room, stripped and remade the bed into which I fell almost immediately into a deep slumber. The rest could just wait until later!

didim beach

Buy Me A Shot I’m Tying The Knot (Part Three)

It hadn’t taken me long to find someone who wanted to share two weeks of sun, sea and sand. One of the girls from work, who’d recently divorced was only too happy to lock up her lonely bachelor flat for a couple of weeks and accompany me to sunny Altinkum.

So a week later we were transported to Bristol Airport via a National Express coach, bursting with excitement and anticipation. We checked our luggage in and sailed through security without disappointingly requiring a body search; leaving us free to do a spot of shopping.

An hour or so later with our wallets considerably lighter, we sat in the café bar outlet in the departures lounge waiting for our flight to be called. My friend and I couldn’t help but laugh at the antics of our fellow passengers. A large hen party from South Wales, dressed in skin-tight pink neon tee-shirts sporting the words “Mine’s the Barman”, matching feather boas and Stetsons danced around the bar. You gotta love class.

My friend and I had made our duty-free purchases and were now sat alongside the boisterous ladies; who were now indulging in tequila shots whilst cheering each other. That was one hangover I was glad that I wasn’t going to be having.

Their laughter was infectious and I nearly joined them in singing along to the old Wurlitzer jukebox; although the acappella version of “I will survive” left a lot to be desired but what they lacked in tone, they made up for in volume and enthusiasm.

Our flight was called and we all grabbed our hand luggage and boarding cards making our way to the boarding desk. In true Thomas Cook style we boarded the plane fairly quickly and took our assigned seats. We discovered that we were sat next to the Hen Party who all introduced themselves as they were going to be staying in the same resort. A few of them had been to Altinkum before and knew the area well and were able to recommend some bars & restaurants. We got chatting and shared the confidences that you do with holiday friends that you think you may exchange the occasional Christmas card with or request as a friend on Facebook.

Never!” the bride said after I had shared my sorry jilted story with the girls. Nothing like a shedload of alcohol and a group of liquored up girls for a self-indulgent pity party.

“Was he a munter?” one of them asked of Simon. “Or was she?”

Another butted in “I know the type, bloody BOBFOC” as I was looking puzzled she continued “you know body off Baywatch, face off Crimewatch”. Well actually I didn’t but if the red swimsuit fit….

When they suggested that I indulge in some Turkish lovin’ to help me move on, I couldn’t help but point out that I needed another man about as much as I needed another wedding. Fortunately, before we were able to continue that conversation, the ever efficient cabin crew dressed in their ill-fitting polyester uniforms, started to dispense duty-free and the hen party became distracted with making purchases.

My friend took the opportunity to rummage through her possessions in the overhead locker dragging out a best-selling paperback and her iPod. “Are you not going to stretch your legs; you don’t want Kankles” she informed me.
Kankles?”

“It’s when your ankles swell up to the size of your knees”. Attractive visual I thought; not only jilted but jilted with the ankles of a rugby player; I’m going to be beating off men with a stick at this rate. Not wishing to add to my catalogue of less attractive features, I decided to take the scenic route to the Loo; where I had to queue for ten minutes. Once inside having completed my ablutions, I just couldn’t resist uttering the immortal words “to infinity and beyond” before flushing.

Upon my return, the party girls were giving their numerous drinks orders to the cabin crew who were struggling to keep up with all the requests. There was a good deal of banter exchanged by both parties and abundant amounts of alcohol purchased and consumed. I was encouraged to try all sorts of various concoctions to choruses of “one for sorrow, two for joy, three and you’ll never sleep with an ugly boy”. As that ship had already sailed, I focused on the drinking task in hand. However, it was after the raspberry Sambuca, when my lips became numb that I realised I was never going to be a real Lambrini girl; particularly, when the feeling only returned in my facial muscles, some two hours later.

Full of cocktails and well-intentioned advice, I slept for the rest of the flight and was only awoken by the cabin staff reminding me to fasten my seatbelt as we were preparing to land. With big sleep hair and a face full of drool, I tried to rouse myself and realised that it was only in movies that the heroine woke looking daisy fresh and airbrushed to within an inch of her life. Real life was a totally different matter judging by the startled expression on the face of the woman sat next to me. As we were coming in to land, I would have to wait until later to freshen up but even then there was only so much restoration work that Estee Lauder could do.

As we disembarked, we thanked the perma-tanned cabin crew and filed slowly off the plane to passport control, with the required visa fee, a crisp ten pound note tucked safely into our passports. At the desks the clerks quickly scanned our passports before stamping them with that all important visa; and then it was on to baggage collection.

Although tired, we joined rest of the passengers in the usual scramble for luggage; and as the hen party loaded their bags onto the trollies, the bride turned to me and said with a wink “Now remember angel cakes, what happens in Tinky Town, stays in Tinky Town. Gotta go love, got a coach to catch” she yelled over her shoulder whilst rushing off in the direction of a clipboard waving holiday rep.

And if you’d like to read the rest of the Honeymoon Stories, you’ll find them here & tales about life in a Devon village here

hisoronu

In The Beginning (Part Two)

“Another”? Carla mimed at me across the public bar at the local Taverners Pub. Well! It’d be rude not to!

I’d been dragged along to Karaoke night by my best friend having spent a week moping around the house after calling off my wedding to my fiancée, Simon “I’ve been shagging anything that moves”. My family tiptoeing around me, along with my mother mouthing the word “jilted” to anyone who’d not heard of my misfortune; that would be the ones living on Mars of course. In fact, she’d delighted in the opportunity to showcase her Women’s Institute award-winning baking skills for the constant stream of visitors to the house. I wasn’t sure I could face any more sympathetic looks and insincere condolences but as my well-meaning friend had pointed out, I wasn’t the first to have been shafted in the love department.

As she sauntered across the bar bearing two large G&Ts, I pointed out to her, that if her dress had been any shorter, it would be doing the walk of shame on its own. “It always pays to look your best; you never know when you’re going to meet Mr Right”.

As I’d already that night met Mr Bobby Bullshit, Mr Fred (I can make your bed rock) Flintstone and nearly married Mr Wrong On So Many Levels; I was clearly having a wardrobe malfunction of my own; so who was I to be offering fashion tips.

“Are you having a good time cupcake, cos if so, tell your face will you”! Carla muttered putting her drink firmly down on the table “Look pet, I know what happened was awful but its time you moved on. You were Simon’s equivalent of Gillette; the best the lying cheating barsteward could ever hope to get, but as with most men he didn’t appreciate what he had. He always thought he was God’s gift to women and frankly if that was the case, God has a bitchin’ sense of humour. So instead of wallowing, let’s start with what are you going to do now you’ve got a couple of weeks’ leave from filling shelves? Be a shame to waste it. Get yourself off somewhere for a bit of sun, sea and sangria. I’d come myself but it’s a really busy time for me and it’s a competitive business when you’re a mobile hairdresser”.

As I pointed out I had used every bit of my overtime money to pay for a honeymoon in Turkey, I was now broke; the best I could hope for was a ropey old deck chair at my Dad’s allotment and a glass of his dubious homebrew.

And it was then that a plan started coming together for me; why not go on the honeymoon? I could change the name on one of the flight tickets if I could get someone to go with me and the apartment in Altinkum was already booked and paid for. It would be better than holding my own pity party in my Mum’s imposing lounge whilst trying not to spill any red wine on her shag pile carpet.

As I unveiled my idea to Carla we toasted my holiday plans and continued laughing and joking until I was asked to dance by a heavily tattooed and medallion enhanced individual; who pointing to his head and then his feet, he said “up there for thinking, down there for dancing”.

As appealing as the offer was, I declined and retired home to pack my suitcase.

rain 3

In The Beginning (Part One)

“What do you mean, he’s been seeing Sharon?” shrieked my sister. Carla, my trusted friend since primary school, had arrived at my parent’s house like a tornado bringing along with her, news that had turned my world upside down.

All I could bring myself to numbly ask was “how long”? My childhood sweetheart, Simon whom I was supposed to be marrying in just over a week’s time, had been enjoying cosy romantic nights out with one of my other best friends, Sharon, whilst I had been stacking shelves in the local supermarket to pay for the Turkish honeymoon we had booked – well every little helps.

“Our Brad, has seen them in the Tangiers getting very cosy over a Tikka Masala on five-a-side nights, as he apparently dropped out of the team a couple months’ ago”. Now, that was too damn much that he was taking her to our place; the local Indian and on nights when I had been slaving away unpacking tins of baked beans. Not to mention that his tired alibi, brought a whole new meaning to the phrase “playing away”.

“His Facebook profile says he’s single as well and she’s been writing on his wall” she said; adding insult to injury. Who reads Facebook; well the whole world apparently, apart from night shift supermarket replenishment assistants.

Almost immediately after Carla had lobbed that particular grenade into our midst, my Dad disappeared to his allotment, my sister was screeching non-stop expletives that would have shamed a hairy East End Docker and my mother went to make tea. Although I could sense that she too wasn’t happy as she banged and huffed around the kitchen.

By the time the tea arrived, my sister and Carla had discussed in great detail, different ways in which they would murder Simon and dispose of the body. My mother’s only thin-lipped retort was “I’ve already paid for that barrel of sherry and I don’t think they’ll take it back”, referring to the reception drinks for our forthcoming wedding breakfast.

Spurred on by Carla, I texted Simon and asked him to call round after work. Never before had the phrase “live by the text, die by the text” seemed so appropriate. As the minutes ticked by, we drank enough tea for England and my sister and Carla continued with the theme of dispatching my fiancée in various grim and twisted methods. I had always considered myself a pacifist; however, even I was considering the castration with a blunt instrument option resulting in matching earrings and pendant.

Eventually, Simon arrived somewhat perplexed by my abrupt text and even more so when my sister and Carla gave him the evil eye; you know the look we women have perfected over the years that indicates impending trouble. Reluctantly, they left us alone in my mum’s pristine lounge usually reserved for special visitors; although I had no doubt that they were pressed up against the door trying to eavesdrop.

As the door slammed shut, I whispered just one word “Sharon?”

“Look love, I was going to tell you…”and when exactly I thought to myself, at the wedding reception, whilst I was in labour with our child or at the graduation of our first-born.

“It didn’t mean anything to me, you were working all the time…..” he stuttered as he caught my icy glare. “Spending time with Sharon was like being close to you
As he whined on, it was then I realised what a despicable deceitful selfish coward he truly was.

“We can put this behind us, we can be happy” he persisted “after all, we have our wedding to look forward to”. At that point I realised that it was true what they said about Devonians – thick in the arm and thick in the head!

With a big sigh and whilst simultaneously trying to restrain myself from bitch slapping him sideways of stupid; I began to tell him exactly why I wasn’t going to be marrying him any time soon.

“You’ll regret this; Sharon said you weren’t good enough for me” he shouted at me as I banged the front door behind him.

After he’d left, I stood on the patio with Carla whilst she smoked a sneaky B&H, as my mum wouldn’t tolerate smoking in the house. Inhaling deeply she said “I never liked him you know; he had no sense of direction even as a kid. Well, let’s be honest, would you want to be spending the rest of your life with a man who needed a bloody Sat Nav to find your erogenous zones?”

Well, when you put it like that!

wedding cake