"Tis the season to be jolly" "A Welshman Living In England - by Rob Burge (England, UK)

From the Web 1.0 days I bring you The Forum. To preserve them for posterity as Geocities can no longer be found but also it's fun to re-read some of them.


19th December, 2001

House update
Tis the season to be jolly,
Tra la la la la,
La la la la,
The roof is fixed,
And we don't need a brolly,
Tra la la la la,
La la la la,

Well, we're on the final leg of the alterations of our house. To those who have read earlier 'Letters' you will know that we embarked on a serious re-modelling of the house. "Much easier than moving" we said. HUH! To be fair, the builders should be finished this week. Exactly 9 weeks later than the first time we heard the immortal words "We'll be outta here in 2 weeks"...Yeah, right! Just a few little jobs to complete and we're ready for Christmas. HOORAY!! It's been a bit of a struggle but Karen's done a fantastic job of decorating whilst surrounded by 3 kids, bit's of skirting board, half finished door frames etc,etc. And my contribution to the decorating? Well, I helped carry the tins of paint in from the car. OK! OK! so painting and decorating isn't my idea of fun but I've been away a lot and Karen has a better sense of colours and I've had to finish cooking my company books and I've got this bad back you see!!!!! Pictures of the latest developments will be posted onto the website shortly and hopefully, the last piccies showing the finished house will go on in January. And then, next time I write, I will be able to whinge about something different (well I am British).

Golfing achievements:
Last time I wrote I promised to write about 'Golf for the common man'. This came about after spending a few hours on a golf range with a mate of mine. Great fun. Hitting shit out of a little innocent ball and watching it slice across the range into the trees or over the clubhouse roof. To be fair, I have quite a good eye for hitting little things (I have 3 kids! - joke) and was looking forward to being discovered as a natural player who could take on Tiger Woods.

The session started with me being a bit nervous as I the closest I had come to golf was getting a ball through the windmill whilst playing crazy golf with my kids. Being very conscious of those around, I limbered up trying to look like I'd this sort of thing before.
Then, when a bay became free, I borrowed a bat stick club from my mate, put the ball in front of me and then thought "Shit, now what?" After a few moments of hesitation another thought struck me "Oh to hell with it" and hit the ball, in a straight line, for a distance of around 130 yards. "Bloody Hell" said my mate, "You done this before" said his Dad. Well, I was feeling pretty good at this stage and tried again. Same shot, maybe a bit further though. "This is easy" I thought to myself. Same thing for the next few shots. "Nothing to it".

Soon after, my mate came round and told me where I was going wrong. You see, my legs were in the wrong position, my feet were pointing the wrong way, my swing was all wrong, I should be moving my head this way, change the angle of your shoulders etc.etc. OK, no problem. Obviously by following his directions, it would make me an even better player so I gave his suggestions a go. Head up, look this way, pull my shoulders back, twist my knees, point my toes, bring the club down and 'THWACK'. The ball shot between my legs, bounced between the walls of the driving bay a few times and ended up 30 feet away in front of all the spectators.
Oh how I enjoyed the walk to retrieve my ball!!! By this time I was feeling as small as the ball as I walked the gauntlet of sniggers from the experienced crowd of on-lookers. It takes a strong nerve to ignore the giggles of old ladies and 8 year old boys in their bloody Pringle jumpers, multi-coloured trousers and silly hats.
Needless to say, next shot I did it my way and managed to get back some pride as it whizzed 160 yards straight down the grassy bit.
Well I needed a hobby and thought this was it. Next day I went out and bought myself a 5 iron, golfing glove and a box of 3 balls. I don't think I need to tell you that they have stayed in the back of the car unused since.

KFC - Barcelona style
My work takes me to some strange places. To the wilderness of Germany, the dodgy areas of Italy and the rough parts of Britain. Sometimes though, I have to go to places I have always wanted to go to. Barcelona was one of them and I thought to myself how lucky I was to be going there and be paid for it.
So far I have been there 3 times and every time I go, I end up eating at a KFC. Now, don't get me wrong, but KFC is OK, but not a first choice when surrounded by the cuisine of Spain's finest restaurants. Problem is, they also have pretty good beer and the bars are lively and inviting, so when we do decide to eat, most places are closed. The moment when hunger arrives is around midnight so choosing a fancy restaurant (well, I am on expenses) is limited. "Never mind, there's a KFC, let's eat."
Last time I was there I vowed not to KFC it, but to make an effort and enjoy the fine food. So, what happens? Land, take taxi, book into hotel, dump bags on bed, meet downstairs, go for a walk, 2 minutes later……."3 beers please" and it's the same story again!!!!
"3 beers please" was ordered using the international signal recognised all over Europe.
Get the barmans attention,
Put 3 fingers in the air,
Talk slowly and say "3". Then put your hands one on top of the other and move them apart saying "Big" "beers" "please" then point at the beer pump and then to each individual member of the group.
The barman then nods and serves 3 perfect large beers.
It works. Wherever I have travelled in Europe, not once have I failed to get a large glass of beer. Mind you, the barstaff usually turn away and mumble "Bloody Brits"!!!
More next time.

Rob Burge


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