Hallo-mean

In a blink of an eye, somehow it’s end the of October and Halloween is upon us all. No longer is it just a small celebration compared to our American friends across the pond who go large or go home for Halloween shenanigans.

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Otherwise known as ‘All Hallows Evening’.

Which became ‘Hallowe’en.’

And now, as we commonly know it, Halloween.

No wonder they simplified it. People can’t even get their apostrophes right at the best of times, especially when high on sugar.

Some believe that Halloween ends the harvest season, which, spookily coupled with the fact that it occurs at the same time the clocks go back, it does seem to make sense. If you’re in this blog for some big facts about where it all originated from, then  The Telegraph link gives some pretty interesting viewpoints, including the fact that people used to carve turnips, not pumpkins.

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Can’t take credit for this

Without wanting to sound like a misery (which would be a totally apt costume), Halloween doesn’t sit well with me.

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“I’ll take good care of you. I’m your number one fan.”

This nothing whatsoever to do with the fact that it is a Pagan festival. (Room for all beliefs on this blog).

It’s just because I like getting value for money with things and I’m a big punter for cost-per-wear when buying clothing. So, try as I might to get my kids to recycle something from ‘the dressing up box’, they’re not having it.

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“What about a fairy princess zombie?” I ask.

(raised eyebrow from daughter #1)

“How about a rainbow unicorn devil?” I say cheerfully.

(raised eyebrow from daughter #2, although very, very hard to tell as she is super blonde and the eybrows will definitely require future tinting.)

“Maybe a mermaid monster?” I suggest helpfully.

(They both leave the room at this point.)

I summon up all the determination I have remaining after a two week half term stint and suggest a fun option for the youngest.

“How about bloodying up the fabulous pink tafetta ballgown that your sister wore in the school concert last year?” (Ebay £12.99)

Eldest throws a tantrum and refuses to give up the dress that she will never wear again and which no longer fits, simply that she loves it as ‘a memory’.

My turn to raise an eyebrow, which doesn’t go un-noticed by eldest.

“Mummy, can I customise your wedding dress then? It doesn’t fit you and you’re never going to wear it again….”

Fair point, well made.

But no. My dress shall sit in the loft, in all its tissue paper and boxed glory, until I can re-eneact the scene from ‘Pretty in Pink’, thus living out all of my John Hughes 80s fantasies.

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Andie – my hero

With a heavy heart I drag myself to the computer and thank and berate in equal amounts, those clever people at Amazon for inventing Prime.

My girls hear the keyboard click and come rushing in…

“That one! That one! ‘Zombie cheerleader’, Mummy!!! Quick – turn on 1-click!”

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They are not fools, my offspring.

Upon me questioning the ‘zombie cheerleader hybrid’ being akin to a ‘zombie princess mish-mash’, ie. ‘scary’ merged with ‘sweet’, I am again met with a double set of raised eyebrows.

At the end of a two week half term stint, I am weak. And I give in, high on fumes of ‘We love you! Best mummy ever! Thank you thank you!’

It all just escalates from there really…

The loft decorations are brought down and as if by some Chanukah oil-burning miracle, the Poundland spider wreath decoration still has life in it and the battery is still going strong two years later.

As if by magic (dark fucking magic), there are lanterns and plastic ghosts and jars of eyeballs now adorning the front of my house that would make Jonathan Ross proud.

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Woss’s house

Just when I thought I had gotten away with it, the annual pumpkin request is made and we head off to Morrisons for pumpkins.

So we’re pretty much Halloween ready.

Costumes  –

Pumpkins – 

Decorations – 

Sweets for visitors –

The trick part? Getting my kids to bed so I can hunt down the Bounty miniatures.

If that makes me a freak, I’m happy with that.

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A bounty of Bounty

Happy Halloween. 

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Pour Aller au cinéma?

My nephew recently emerged the other side his GCSEs (he did brilliantly, thanks for asking) and I loved hearing all about his studies and progress along the way (as well as being extremely thankful that I didn’t have to sit mine again, let alone understand the latest grading system to come into play.)

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It was my nephew’s grasp of languages that impressed me most, as I have complete admiration for people like him who study another language and shine at it (a nice shiny A*), with particular props to those who opt for the language route without bi-lingual parents.

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Standard

At school I was surrounded by people studying everything from Chinese to Russian to Latin. I then went onto University, with many friends choosing to study Business with a language. When I started working at MTV, I was in the hub of the European Marketing Department and surrounded by colleagues who were multi-lingual, which I could only throw in the odd ‘ja’, oui and non, much like Joey in ‘Friends’.

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Ouais, ouais, naturellement

As I sat back and listened to them commandeer events in French, German, Spanish and everything in between, I wish I had taken my studies further than just French and German A-level, in order to be able to get more involved at events. Whilst I had mastered fluent Avagav, it just wasn’t a widely recognised enough language.*

 

It’s some time ago, but random foreign words have stuck in my mind.

For the Germans out there:

Mein Vater ist ein Tankwart – My dad is a petrol pump attendant. (He isn’t, but this phrase was my GCSE pull-it-out-of-the-bag to impress the adjudicators one.)

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Add to that a selection of favourite German words that friends and colleagues taught me:

Meerschweinchen = guinea pigs

sehr lecker = very tasty

Fledermaus = bat

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Yes. Potato salad is very tasty

..and for the French lovers:

 

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Ahh, Louis Laloupe. Good times

Je suis une fille unique – I am an only child (Yep, still am.)

Pour aller au cinéma? – Which way is the cinema? …I wonder if anyone studying French has ever actually used this in a real life situation? Or the Town Centre for that matter. So cliché. (Pun intended.)

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Tournez  à gauche

Pamplemousse = grapefruit

Parapluie = umbrella

That amazing ability to converse confidently in a foreign language still impresses me and  revisiting languages is definitely up there on my list of things I want to do in the future.

If not just to be able to sing certain song lyrics properly. ‘Despacito’. ‘Mi Gente’. I’m singing something but it’s definitely not the right words.

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I mean, if Justin can’t even do it…

Each summer I visit Spain (okay, just Marbella) and I can now confidently chuck in the odd ‘una bolsa’ (a bag) and ‘una mas’ (one more) in the ‘supermercado’ (oh, come on it’s not that cryptic). In my mind, with just a couple of words, a smile and a nod, they believe I am Spanish.

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In reality, when the cashier tots up my shopping and announces, “Setenta seis euros y ochenta y ocho céntimos,” I freeze and hand over a €100 note and simply hope for the best. Literally, I have no idea past ten.

You see, communicating is ‘my thing’ if you haven’t realised. I get terribly frustrated when I can’t get my point across, which is the issue with my limited Spanish. I often get panicky when I have to make a restaurant booking, even with the help of iTranslate

I can do the days of the week, thanks to a catchy little song my youngest learnt at nursery.

I can specify number of diners and the time I need the table for. When they reply with ‘Perfecto’ (great) or ‘Hasta mañana’ (see you tomorrow), it’s all good. Anything other than that and I usually hang up and pass the role onto a better-equipped person. (Husband.)

Even when I do manage a successful booking it can sometimes go wrong. Case in point this summer, when my kids really, really, really wanted to go back to the equivalent of Benihana’s and have scrambled egg flipped into their mouths from the hibachi grill. I try to get them to eat scrambled egg at home, but no such luck. Am considering flipping all non-desirable foodstuff at them with a spatula.

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‘Joséhanas’

I had booked it for ‘Debbie’ (that’s me) for 8pm. I had booked early enough in the week. I had confirmed the day before. The kids were living for it.

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Arrive at restaurant.

“No. No booking for Debbie, but you can sit at a normal table and order from the menu.”

“Errr. No.” I said. “My kids want omelette flipped at them.”

After much ‘discussion’, arm flapping and referring to the reservation book, it was 8:15. The other booking had clearly not shown up and I suggested we have the table or they lose custom anyway.  On the way to the table I casually enquired who this other reservation was for.  The other person was ‘Waby’.

Yes, I’m ‘Waby’.

I guess things get lost in translation.

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(*campaigns to GCSE board to introduce Avagav as a recognised language option)