With Paul McCabe
When you’ve had two weeks off you wish it had been three, a whole month off you’d want another one. Never happy are we?
I’m particularly grumpy because as it turned out it was the best two weeks off I’ve had for quite some time. Normally we go abroad for the whole fortnight which is always great (well, apart from one year in Hersonissos, Crete. It’s awful. Never, ever go there) but this year we had two little mini breaks with a few days at home in between. It was excellent and felt like much longer than a fortnight (it may be slowly dawning on you, much to your horror, that this is basically a what-I-did-on-my-holidays essay. Wouldn’t blame you if you stopped reading).
Firstly, myself, Mrs M and the two little ‘uns had a couple of days at home before going to Yellowscott Lodges at Kelty. I’d never heard of them before and was somewhat sceptical - I’m a city bloke and have grave reservations about the countryside. Anything remotely resembling camping or having to rough it fills me with horror, but I’m happy to report that our lodge was amazing. Far better than our house in fact. Huge comfy beds, red spotlights, quotes painted on the walls, a massive shower with a seat in it and a hot tub. Actually, waaaaay better than our house - I’d happily live in one them. This was just before the weather went all Barbados on us but it was still nice enough and very relaxing. Unlike Hersonissos you should definitely go there. After that we had a few days at home, as well as a sunny, boozy afternoon visiting friends in Alloa, before Mrs M and I without a second’s hesitation or moment’s guilt, callously packed off the kids to their grandparents and flew off to Paris for three nights. So; Kelty - Alloa - Paris. I’m quite the international jet setter.
We’d been to Paris before and it was as mind-bogglingly brilliant as ever. We did lots of the usual touristy things, took a quite absurd amount of pics of the Eiffel Tower and generally had a fantastic time. A stroll down the Champs-Élysées turned out to be quite eventful though.
Firstly, outside the Adidas shop there was a massive queue of easily over a thousand people. It turned out that they were waiting in line to get an autograph from Derrick Rose, basketball player with the Chicago Bulls. Nope, I’d never heard of him either, so I looked him up. In 2011 he signed a five year deal for $94.8m. Wow. Secondly, as we were standing looking at something touristy a guy bent down behind me, picked up a ring and asked me if it was mine. He then started babbling away, told me he was Bolivian and asked me if I wanted to hand the ring in. I instantly knew it was some sort of scam, making sure that no-one was coming up behind me to try and pick my pocket, but I couldn’t work out what it was. After a minute or so the guy walked off leaving me holding the ring and wondering what to do next. I didn’t have to wait long, he did an about turn and came back up to me to ask for money as if it was some afterthought. That was it? You find a lost ring, ask me to hand it in, but pay you for the privilege? What sort of scam is that? It’s rubbish. Having sent my Bolivian buddy away with a flea in his ear we kept an eye out and saw a couple of others trying the same trick, so obviously they were working in a gang. The next day, sitting eating lunch on a bridge over the Seine another one came up and tried the same trick. When we told him to go raffle himself he asked if he could have my banana instead. Twice. They’re persistent. I’ll give them that.
On the Sunday, the day we were returning home, it was Bastille Day so there was lots of excitement as planes and helicopters flew over. At lunchtime we sat and had a baguette each, bathing in beautiful sunshine in the stunning Luxembourg Gardens.
On Monday I got my lunch from Greggs in the Kingdom Centre. Sigh...