Sunday, August 13, 2017

Cartoonist & Writers Diary IV


Once again we delve into my odd world and even weirder thoughts. Today we talk natural laxatives, nuisance phone calls and mine and Stefka's trip to Bulgaria.



Nuisance phone calls, we all get them, we all hate them.
They hound us over energy bills, new phones, insuring our devices or telling us our computer has a virus. But today one called for Stefka. She didn’t want to speak to them and I was feeling a bit devilish, so I took the call.
Below is a transcript of our conversation…and this time it is all correct.
Caller: Hello, is that Mr Stefka?
Me: Who?
Caller: Mr Stefka, er or is that Kondova?
Me: I don’t know. Who do you want?
Caller: Mr Kondova?
Me: No.
Pause to allow the poor dear to collect her thoughts…..
Caller: Hello sir, I am calling from Spot Energy…
Me: Who?
Caller: Spot. Spot Energy
Me: Spot as in a stain or spot as in a skin blemish?
Caller: Er…we supply gas and electricity
Me: Oh right. Sorry. Carry on.
Caller: According to our records you are with British Gas for you electricity, is that right?
Me: No.
Caller: Oh, you aren’t with British Gas?
Me: No, we’re with Bulgarian Gas
Caller Bulgarian Gas?
Me: Yes, they’re brilliant. They give you towels when you sign up
Caller: Towels.
Me: Yes. Big fluffy ones with ‘Buy Bulgarian and let us light up your life’ written on them, and they have the cutest little lightbulb and flame characters. We signed up for three years and got an extra ten towels as a thank you.
Longer pause. More regrouping:
Caller Okay, well what do you look for in your electricity supply?
Me: Oh well, let me see. Light. I look for good light, and switches; they’re also important. Ooo, oo! And I like sockets as I have an awful lot of plugs and they need places to go. Some days I can just spend the whole afternoon putting plugs in sockets. Oh and towels, we look for good quality towels, like the ones from Bulgarian Gas.
Pause again and the sound of a pill bottle being opened and a few being hastily swallowed…she pushed on:
Caller: Are you the bill payer?
Me: No
Caller: Who is?
Me: Stefka
Caller: Who is Stefka
Me: The bill payer.
Caller: And is she happy with what you pay?
Me: Reasonably
Caller: How much do you pay?
Me: 400 Sheckles a month, two Yaks and a chicken…the exchange rate is really very good.
Caller: I wonder if I could talk to Stefka?
Me: No she’s a little busy at the moment.
Caller: What’s she doing?
Me: Washing the towels then she has to go out and catch three chickens
Caller: Three chickens? Why three Chickens?
Me: Because we pay our bills quarterly.
Caller: Thank you for your time and I hope you have a nice day.
Then she was gone. Bless her she was professional thorough. If it wasn’t for the fact that we’re very happy with Bulgarian Gas I think I’d swap to Spot Energy.

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I haven't watched TV for a very long time. So when I finally did give it a cursory glance the other day, I was amazed at how many adverts pampered to our various bodily functions; most notably those for laxatives.
I counted at least four separate products who's sole aim, so it would seem, was to seek out and destroy that tricky and recalcitrant little eggs Benedict you had last Thursday week, which is now claiming squatters rights in your lower bowel system .
I kept on thinking: 'That's an awful lot of unnecessary chemicals you are pumping in, just to get something out'.
I have always believed that natural remedies are the best, and in the case of constipation oats, bran and brown bread work well, or if you want an instant fix and total flushing of the system, an unexpected letter from the tax office is, I am reliably informed, amazingly effective.

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Meanwhile, over in Bulgaria...

I wanted to go downstairs to order a beer from the bar at the Bulgarian hotel we are staying at, so naturally I asked Stefka how to ask for one.
'Moje li edna bira molia' she trotted out with the confidence of a native. Armed with this essential piece of bulgarian linguistics I set off down stairs, repeating the phrase, mantra like, in my head. 'Moje li edna bira molia, I said: moje li edna bira molia I repeated.
Twenty minutes later, and having made the acquaintance of many and varied happy members of staff who all wanted to know how my stay was going, I arrived at the bar, but now no longer fully confident I had remembered Stef's sentence word for word, but I trotted out what I thought was right anyway.
Ten minutes later I came back up stairs with a very confused look on my face, a third share in the hotel, a years worth of chickens and some kind of contract promising me the hand in marriage of his third favourite daughter...
And I still didn't get a beer.

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Whilst stopping for lunch today Stefka said I should have a beer with my meal. When I asked why, she said that up until now I had done all the driving and now it was her turn to give me a rest.
I ordered six beers quickly. When she asked why I said that this was not an experience I wanted to face sober. She, with her usual Bulgarian confidence, flagged my concerns off with a swarthy hand and said it would be good for me to see how a real Bulgarian drove. My only thoughts after that were 'could I fit in another five beers before lift off?'
I could, is the simple answer, but it wasn't going to help was the longer one.
We set off down a windingly treacherous mountain road with adrenaline junkie drops on all sides. My spirits, along with my nerves, were in tatters. But Stef drove on with a confidence I did not lersonally feel, and my fears were suddenly founded when on a particularly tricky set of bends a Bulgarian arm appeared suddenly in front of me.
Stefka announced she was hot and wanted to take her coat off. I suggested---In a voice that was probably a little too high for a non soprano---that she waited to find a lay by; she immediately ignored that as non Bulgarian, and in a few frantic moments of arm flapping, body popping, horn tooting, realigning of the car seat, side mirrors and radio channel's, the jacket was off and in the back of the car and I was a nervous wreck.
'See,' she said 'where was problem in that?'
'None for' us, I replied 'but as for those four cars you nearly hit, the two coaches that are now in ditches and the five lorries taking the fast trip to the promised land, I cannot possibly say''.
You would think that would be enough for one journey, but oh no, Stef was just getting warmed up.
A while later, we were driving calmly along the middle of the road at slightly below the speed of light, when we came up behind another Bulgarian driver, who was only doing the speed of sound.
Now there was about a mile of clear road in front of us which ended with the crest of a hill. Most normal people would've taken advantage of this lengthy run way and taken over with plenty of time and room.
Not Stefka.
Oh no, she waits until she is virtually on the brow of the hill---when there is no possible way of seeing if anything is coming---then drops it down a gear, fires up the dilithium crystals and hits hyper-drive.
There was another car coming the other way.
And no matter how hard I screamed or cried out the Lords name, or how many death bed absolution I requested, Stef drove on with a jutting jaw, white knuckles and hell fires blazing in her eyes.
And with only a single paint job between the two cars we somehow made it through.
When I finally found my breath, a few miles later, I asked her why the hell she didn't break when she saw the other car coming!
She turned and gave me that pitying look again. Apparently Bulgarians only break when they can see the whites of your eyes and the frantic waggling of an epiglotis as it screams 'GET THE F**K OUTTA THE WAAAAAYYYYYY!
Jesus!
When most people get into a car as a passenger they look forward to a rest or maybe a sleep. Not me, I am now wide awake... and I want the toilet again.


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In Sofia Airport waiting for the plane and I just ordered something with chicken in it. By the time it arrived after being heated up, it looked like a very heavy Bulgarian with serious water retention issues had sat on. The chicken filler had miraculously turned into Salami and the melted cheese had formed an attachment to the serviette that only a blow torch and a crow bar could release.
I'm now watching a music chanel with the sound turned down while they play a completely none related CD in the background; at the moment Brittany Spears is doing her level best to keep her boobies inside her leotard while Iron Maiden give us the number of the beast...
Bizarre.



If you like my writing and my odd-ball imagination gave you a chuckle or two, why not click here and purchase my first novel: the Night of the Village Idiots.

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