You Know You’re Back home When…

November 22, 2017 12:37pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 6 Comments

English Country Home

*This is a typical, pretty, English village house. It’s not mine. Yet.*

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

On my flight back to the UK I sat next to a Swedish man who had been in DC discovering a secret vaccine. It was kind of like the start of a Criminal Minds episode.

I’m always mindful not to be too smiley to my next-door plane passenger because the last thing I want is someone chatting to me for seven plus hours. I always make a point of throwing my NR headphones on the seat whilst I store my bag in the overhead locker. Visuals make a point. But not in this case. Thankfully, he was a very sweet and interesting man but the Camp As Christmas cabin boy couldn’t understand his broken English and I had to act as interpreter when it came to dinner choices and drinks.

Taking The Biscuit

I would like you to know that trying to explain ‘Millionairre Shortbread’ to someone who doesn’t understand a deal of English is incredibly difficult. It’s much harder than charades or Pictionary.

“What is…?” Swedish man picks up the British Airways tiny pot of millionaire shortbread. We’d already been through the salad, how balsamic vinegar works and why the chicken curry looked like the contents of a baby’s nappy.

“It’s millionaire shortbread.”

“Drink?”

“No. Pudding.”

“What are pudding?”

“Dessert.”

“ I eat now?”

“No, after dinner. You know, like a sweet. It IS sweet.”

He was still somewhat confused so I opened mine up to reveal chocolate.

“Just chocolate?”

“Kind of but not. At the bottom is shortbread.

“This is bread?”

“No it’s a luxury biscuit.” I spooned out the chocolate in mine to show him.

“Why is millionaire?”

“I don’t know. The marketing department of this product want you to feel important when you eat it. And it’s very rich.”

“Rich?”

“Excessively sweet and overpowering.”

“Like millionaire!”

“Not in my experience. The one’s I’ve met tend to be arrogant arseholes.”

After all that he only bloody fell to sleep and didn’t eat his millionaire shortbread and there was mine all ruined and splattered about my dinner tray. I’m really getting sick of Karma.

Back On The Road

Thankfully, having got used to the proper cold temperatures of Virginia the London weather didn’t come as a shock to me. In fact, it was milder. There’s a lovely scent to the English air that I am unable to describe but it smells like home.

I got picked up from the airport and hit the  full of traffic motorway and remembered what a joy that was. I’ve witnessed some horrific driving in America and can’t believe how some people have passed their driving test. Our lane rules are a lot stricter and people tend to follow them but you still get the occasional numpty. Some even have a number plate to prove the fact incase you missed it.

UK Van

And then there’s the comedians.

Wobble number plate

In and out of the car.

Pie shop, UK

Ah yes, it all started flooding back to me in a ‘I’m back home but slightly tinged with fear’ kind of way.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Whoever came up with that saying was sprinkled with fairy dust and half cut on a bottle of Tequila. Whilst I love seeing my famalam and friends, walking back into the house always annoys me.

Someone has completely used my English Rose Yankee Candle. Kill them.

The Wheelie bins are full.

The next door garden centre has decided it is Christmas and sprayed everything white outside. Hate them.

I have more mail than Santa gets at Christmas and I know that most of it is hateful.

My dog ignores me for abandoning him. Nice.

The microwave has exploded and completely destroyed the circuit board. The blown up microwave, for some reason, is at the bottom of the stairs.

Outside there are more empty bottles than an alcoholic can get through on a weekend bender.

Is there milk in the fridge for a much needed cuppa? No.

Let’s Play Hide And Seek

Turns out I’m as stupid as they come. Before I go away on my adventures I hide some of my cards. Things like the card for my current bank account that takes care of all the bills and so on back in the UK. Taking that to America is not a good idea so I leave it behind and take others used for special “Jules’ occasions. I hide this in a special place where nobody will find it along with store cards, driving licence, gym membership, Costa coffee points, car relay membership, car keys and so on.

One of the first things I do when back home is sort out my finances. Firstly I double over in anguish at how much money I’ve haemorrhaged in the States, berate myself, have a cup of tea and get over it. Then I swap out my dollars in my purse for tenners and then I retrieve my hidden cards so I can function in the UK.

Couldn’t bloody find them.

I turned the house upside down looking in all the secret places that I am likely to / or have hidden things before. Nope. Nada.

Then I remembered I have a special fireproof box where I hide very important things. Maybe I put them there. However, I forgot where I hid the keys that open the tin box where the keys for the firebox are kept. Took me three hours to find them. It took three hours because on my hunt for the keys that open the box for the other keys, I found loads of other things that I’d forgotten about and got distracted. When I eventually found them and opened the firebox, my cards weren’t in there.

Most confused. Onset of panic. Start to think of culprits.

Maybe I’ve been burgled? Surely not. My savage “bred to kill” terrier would have had them by the throat.

Jack Russell Terrier

I’m six days into this fiasco and still haven’t found where I’ve hidden them. I know it’s somewhere very clever but it’s far too clever for the likes of me.

Brussels Are For Life Not Just For Christmas

Nobody’s getting any Christmas presents until I find my cards ~ just sayin’.

However, on the subject of Peace on Earth I will leave you with the following picture. I’ve been wanting to take a photo of this for a couple of years as it makes me laugh and I remembered to do so on my way back from Heathrow.

It’s a slogan sprayed on a bridge by a genius graffiti artist, around junction 16 of the M1.

Give Peas A Chance Graffiti slogan, M1

That’s right, my friends. It’s not just about sprouts. Give Peas A Chance. Keep ‘em mushy.

 

A Brit More Cowgirl

November 15, 2017 1:30pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 18 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

There’s a well known saying in life: It’s not what you know but who you know. Since I don’t know very much about anything (except being ridiculous) I surround myself with cool and awesome people.

I have recently spent time at a ranch in America which is run by two brothers. There is nothing these guys can’t do – no kidding. I’ve tried to find things and I can’t. They can make stuff, mend stuff, fix it, change it and reinvent it. And when they do, they do it properly.

This has taught me a valuable lesson in patience: I still don’t need any cos I can get others to do it for me!

A Shot In The Dark

So, being the creative type that I am, I decided to collect all the gunshot shells that were used in the clay pigeon shoot fest. These were all bagged up ready to be chucked. But I had an idea and started fishing them out into a bag of my own.

“What are you doing, Jules?” I noted slight exasperation but I’m used to that.

“I want to make things with these.”

“Like what?”

“I want to stick them on stuff that I own.”

“And how are you going to do that?”

“Ah, well, see this is where you and your brilliance come in! I’ll tell you what I want and you can make it! Genius, right?”

*Crickets followed by raised eyebrows and sighs* That’s basically male for yes.

True Brit

Like True Grit but not – you get it, right?  Perfect or what? I’ve now decided to start up my own western online shop after my creative ingenuity and skill set at finding awesome workmanship.

Here’s what happened next:

Belt Up!

Those who have been following my adventures over the pond for the last couple of years know that I’m pretty well kitted out with awesome western cowgirl wear. I already have a Texan handmade belt with a Lone Star buckle, various conchos and even my name on it should I get lost. But do I have a Virginian one with real shotgun shells on it? Err no. Well, that needed to be rectified.

First off, I had to buy a leather belt. Tick. Then I had to get an authentic Virginian belt buckle. Well, I looked for five minutes and couldn’t find one. Gave up. Like I said, patience isn’t my forte but thankfully it is of the people around here who found one for me, ordered it and put it on my belt. Respect.

Then it needed more holes.  I bought it long so it can be worn on jeans or outside hanging off your hips, kinda sorta.

Next job – marking out where the shells were going to go.  Technical stuff, this.

Drill ’em out!

Evenly placed Remington, Federal and Winchester shells interspersed with Lone Star conchos cos I’ll always be an honorary Texan.

And….TA-DAH!  My one-off, super cool, Virginian belt. LOVE IT.

 

Make It A Saddle Bag, Not A Purse.

 

I have a beautiful, simple, soft red leather handbag.  Yes, handbag not purse.  A purse is where you keep your money.  Anyway, I couldn’t be doing with that kinda British elegance when I had the golden opportunity to embellish it and make it a one-off.

Me?  Go over the top?  Don’t be absurd.

 

Ma Bewwwts!

I’m never without them.  Several pairs now because you can never have enough cowboy bewwwts.  I have embellished my favourite pair with all manner of things like straps and beads and shot pound coins. Whenever and wherever I wear them I get stopped at least 3 times in the street by people saying, “I love your bewwwts” This is why I need to be in the western wear fashion business.  Naturally, they needed shotgun shells on.

Git ‘er done!

Jules Smith Cowboy Boots

Such perfection I could puke with joy.

 

Gunpowder Gal

And here are all my lovely things.  Hats off to the talent for realising my fashionista dream.

 

Chop Chop

Turns out I am a very fortunate person. In this woodworking shop, many beautiful things are made including state of the art, built to last, end grain chopping boards.

As a Christmas present, one was made for me in cherry and walnut to take back to jolly old England.

 

With shotgun brass. Obvs.

Beautiful, quality workmanship.  Ahhh – now they’re FINALLY getting it.

I’m so excited about my things it’s ridiculous and can’t thank this cowboy enough who is currently in his man cave making me a wind chime out of my spent ammo and has also made me a hat rack. Why? Well, I now have a winter felt hat as well as a summer straw one and I also need a peg to hang my rope on since I was taught how to throw that yesterday.

Yes, I will be roping you when I return to Blighty so don’t give me any gyp – I have been trained well.

Britannia Takes District Of Columbia

November 10, 2017 8:34pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 23 Comments

Old Town Alexandria, VA

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday On A Friday Because I Forgot What Day It Is!

This is what happens when you commit to something: You stick to it. Unless you’re called Jules Smith then the rules can be changed at any time.

I think it was because I went from…

Rural To The Capital

King Street, Alexandria

My friend, Double D, who works in immigration for the big scary government ( kind of useful when you’re a targeted alien like myself) put me up in a lovely hotel in Old Town Alexandria, just outside of DC and in VA. Thank you very much, very nice. Had my own mini suite overlooking a swanky atrium.

The first night I was there I noticed a load of guys dressed in some fancy shmancy get up. Seems the atrium had turned into a black tie affair and nobody told me to take my jeans and bewwwts off.

I had to ask…

Devil Dogs

“What are you lot all trussed up for?” I asked as I wandered towards the bar. “Is this some secret club I need to know about?”

“It’s Marine dress, Ma’am, we’re having an event here.”

I watched as my hotel turned into some Prince charming and Cinderella Disney ball and decided to take myself off to the local Sports bar, where I’d fit in better, in search of bacon wrapped BBQ shrimp. I sat at the bar eating my delicious food between a retired Navy Commander and a Spec-Ops Pilot talking about rubbish. You can’t move for military people around these parts so in order to fit in I pretended to be a spy.

The next morning I wandered bleary eyed to the lift to go to breakfast. There’s a proper nice omelette lady who doesn’t skank you on the bacon sides. In fact, she doesn’t know when to stop and it’s like a bacon heaven overload. Win.

The lift door opened and it was full of people in camouflage. Two of them stepped out and braced the lift doors. I wondered if we were under attack. I stood there for a few seconds to see what happened but nothing did. Apparently, it seems that military people have to hold back the evil lift doors in case they crush you to death. Whatever. Very OTT respectful. When it hit the bottom floor they did the same thing and waited until I stepped out first. I almost wished I’d put on my princess frock and tiara.

The queue for breakfast was also lined with camouflaged people waiting for the omelette lady to work her genius.  I got my plate and stood at the end of the line, but here’s what happened: The guy in front of me stepped aside and said, “After you, Ma’am” and so did the next and the next until I got to the front of the queue and to the egg station in rocket speed.

Anyone who lets me get to the bacon first has my total respect.

I am totally bowled over by the manners of the Marines in this country and have decided that every male should be forced to join up. This isn’t just for my selfish reasons, much, but I think the world would be a much better place with people who behaved like this in it, and women would be nicer cos they’d got their breakfast first.

Home From Home

Apart from a few swanky meals in Georgetown and a walk around the capital I spent the rest of my time in Old Town Alexandria. This place looks just like England. As it should. Quality settlers, see.

This is Captains Row in  Alexandria.  Looks the spit of an English village with red brick townhouses and Irish pubs around the corner.

Captains Row, Alexandria Old Town

The waterfront ~ where I hoped to steal a yacht.

Waterfront, Alexandria VA

Time for some much needed Art Philosophy so I visited the Torpedo Factory Arts centre which is an old munitions plant and now home to artsy fartsy artists.  It also has a torpedo.

Torpedo at Torpedo Art Centre Alexandria

And a very scary lift ~ like ‘The Scream’ tenfold. Where are the Marines when ya need ’em?

Scary lift in Torpedo centre,Alexandria

WELL HOLD ON A FLIPPIN’ MINUTE – I spy a decorate your door exhibition! Why was I not informed about this, being the doory door lady of the world?  Because I would’ve won, that’s why.  There’s no fun in a competition when there is no competition.

Door exhibition, Torpedo Arts Centre

Annoyed by this slight, I walked back up King Street and came across ‘The Hollywood Wig Store’  Hmmm. It quotes, “You too can look like a Hollywood star.”  Right.  Because this dude looks like a throwback from a dodgy 70’s show who would likely be wearing super tight budgie smugglers as he strolled along the Florida seashores staring lasciviously at sunbathing chicks.  Which, brought to mind a friend of mine. Had I had the $200 for this handsome looking wig and moustache set I’d have sent it to him for Christmas. Heh.

Hollywood wigs, Alexandria

I decided to go back to the sports bar. I made some new friends from San Diego.

Theismanns, Alexandria

Proper nice folk.  And here’s the barman who tried in vain to explain the football rules to me and made me repeat them before he made me a Lemon Drop Martini.  Honestly, I felt like I was in an episode of ‘Cheers” except I wasn’t in Bawwwstun.

Call the shrink.

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