Basil Fawlty is alive and well and hating you all

Whilst staying in a guesthouse in Pestilu Mare, we are the only guests.

Sometimes that will mean extra care and attention, but sadly, not today.

A couple who clearly loathe each other decided to earn some money by running a guest house which is an inspired idea. 

Husband is still desperately trying to find jobs outside to avoid the moment he has to enter the house.  It is now 10 pm and he is blundering about in the near dark but the time is approaching where he cannot leave it any longer. 

The guesthouse stated there is a shared kitchen. With this in mind we purchased some cooked chicken and salad ingredients with a view to preparing our dinner.  The lady of the house had other ideas.     The communal living area is actually their living area, and so she sits, at a table, watching our every move.   The kitchen is her kitchen and don’t you forget it.  You are an unwelcome intruder in this space and everything you do is wrong.  I can hear muttering….

Steve has put her offside already by USING A PLATE.   You may not use a plate.  Plates are verboten.  Preferably you will not use anything.   Preferably you will not breathe or be within 20 miles of her kitchen.   Once our dinner was assembled on the authorized (begrudgingly) crockery, we sat down to eat it, whereupon a full health and safety audit of the kitchen was required to be undertaken immediately by the lady of the house.   This caused her to miss the vital 5 minutes of her soap opera, making the banging and huffing coming from the kitchen increase in volume.

The happy atmosphere permeated to their dogs, who spent their time howling, which in turn set off the german shepherd, golden retriever and poodle next door.    The man of the house emerged wearing trousers and a shirt,  no doubt going out, leaving the lady of the house to ferment in her fury. 

We thought we might miss our nightly cup of tea, as it would be more trouble than it was worth and retire to the serenity of the balcony, to listen to wailing dogs.    Steve calculated he could drop the pot plant successfully on one of them.

We couldn’t wait for breakfast. 

Like a covert military operation, we signalled our manoeuvres in order to silently make our way into the kitchen, to prepare our breakfast, hoping to avoid the hostess.   She had, however, staked out the kitchen overnight and, immediately we appeared, thought she would head us off at the pass, and commence preparing a three course meal using all available space, and dishes.

It became a non verbal battle of wills, with us reaching beyond her to fill up the kettle (I know, how rude we were) and access the microwave for porridge. Her palpable disdain for our porridge was clearly communicated.  The waves of disapproval emanating from her rigid back when we used a bowl were intense. We had actually purchased bacon and sausages for a fry up, but attempting to cook these items would have resulted in a bloodbath.

As the chipboard bedbase had broken under our combined weight that morning, we felt that we would help the situation greatly by leaving.

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Is it too late to have a gap year in your late 50s? To take back some time from our day to day working life to travel - unplanned, unescorted, unfettered? To take that leap? It was a defining year - liberating, challenging, humbling, scary. It was many things, but it wasn't a holiday.

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