Thursday, 8 May 2014

Audible Gasp

I evidently upset a man yesterday. I emailed him to tell him that his application for a position had been unsuccessful. I did not point out that this was in the most part due to the fact that he had no relevant experience and his personal statement was severely lacking. I simply politely said we had considered his application and decided he would not be being offered an interview. I send lots of these emails and have been on the receiving end of some in my time. It's not my favourite part of what I do.

I opened my email this morning and saw his name in the messages received. Ah, I expected he would want feedback. I just had an inkling he might be a little unusual. From the fact that he had not completed the address section of the additional form but simply put "it is none of your business".

He didn't ask for feedback. He simply said:

"How dare you reject me when you haven't even met me. Get back in the kitchen woman. Delete my details immediately. I will never apply to you again."

Yep. That noise you made then, that shocked gasp, that's the noise everyone since has made, including me. That's before I burst into tears a little bit. My manager made that noise. As did all the other managers. It's the kind of thing you hear about in films but are confident people don't actually think.

My wonderful supportive manager rang him. She is a braver woman than I am. I don't think he'll be contacting me again.

Of course he doesn't know me. It wasn't a personal attack. He's an oddball. But I was still offended which is weird because it's a ludicrous email to receive.

But it's also an odd thing to be on the receiving end of as a woman who left work and stayed home with her kids for 7 years. Not that I spent a great deal of that time in a kitchen.

I need some time to process what I think. It could turn into a bit of a rant about women having the right to choose. Or everyone's right not to be verbally abused. Or the bravery of small people with access to computers. But for now, I'm just writing it down. Because I still can't quite believe it happened.

Sufficed to say we are very disappointed he is no longer interested in our organisation.

Ibiza - Home again

One final English breakfast by the pool in Eldorado style and then we set off for home. Of course we were ridiculously early for the airport because I was terrified about returning the car. I'd expected some slow walking around it and sucking air through teeth. It didn't happen and I nearly fell over in shock.

We did a lot of queueing at the airport. The women in front and behind me in the queue both had French pedicures. I didn't even know that was a thing. Apparently it's a pre-requisite for Ibiza. It was a bit late for me to find out to be honest.

And then I knew we had had the perfect holiday. No nose bleed on the plane, we managed to locate our car in the airport car park and it actually started, which can't be relied upon in the street outside the house.  I drove home in a state of confusion wondering if I'd fallen asleep during the first Witches CD and dreamt the whole thing.

Ibiza - Day Six and Seven

By day 6 we really were feeling like Brits abroad as we had breakfast in the pub. You could have any combination of eggs, bacon, toast, sausages and beans – in whatever order you liked. The choice was overwhelming. We then invented the term “breakfast pudding” and had ice cream at 9.45am. Well the sun was shining.

I drove again, this time to the North and we visited Cova Con Marca which is stunning and well worth a visit. Following this a trip to the beach was in order since we hadn't been for 24 hours. This one had a great view but was tricky underfoot and the further you went along the beach the more naked the sunbathers were. I don't think we are Mediterranean at heart.

We went to eat. I wanted paella and it was all going well until rabbit was mentioned. I had chicken and chips.

More swimming and more sand followed. 

Then the last day arrived. Paul loves a good thunderstorm and just to finish off a perfect holiday the heavens opened. Thunder, a bit of lightening and lots of rain. For all of an hour before the sun came out. Maybe that will happen in Northumberland too. Or maybe not.

We went back to Ibiza town because I was determined to see some history.

The necropolis is worth a visit, if (as you'd expect) a little depressing. There aren't many smiles in a museum all about burial rituals and a bunch of tombs. It's good though and when you are studying Romans every little helps.

And then massive cake and coffee, followed by a bit of shopping.

We stumbled across an art market. An enthusiastic Spanish lady helped the girls make necklaces with an oven that cooked the glass beads at 850 degrees. I find it hard to believe that would be allowed at Sharrow Vale. They got a personalised handmade necklace for the princely sum of 5 euros. I've paid that for sodding facepaint.

After lunch we stopped at Amante Beach Club which is, well, stunning. We sat on the rocky beach stone balancing and chucking stones into the sea. 

Then what? More swimming. And more ice cream. Then we went down to the sea one last time and had dinner in one of the only open restaurants, on the table next to our new pirate tower finding friends. I finally managed to have sea food and the kids went full on Spanish and had Oh well.

We star spotted on the way home and fell into bed exhausted.

Ibiza - Day Four and Five

By day four I craved the opportunity to be up on my own drinking tea on the balcony. I was getting up earlier each day and sneaking past the girls door to get five minutes peace in the sun. It worked on day four but only because I actually got up before the sodding cockerel did.

We drove into Ibiza Town and I negotiated a public car park with relative ease. I was becoming a master of the weird backwards Seat Ibiza. 

A bit of shopping followed then a walk around Dalt Villa, and I fell in love with Ibiza a little bit more. Dalt Villa is stunning. We ate tapas overlooking the town and said wow a lot around every corner – the views are endless.

Of course we had to get back and swim some more. After dinner we went down to Cala Llonga beach which was deserted - Just for a change. We stuffed our pockets full of seashells and chatted with a lovely British couple we has seen on day three when they were being more intrepid than usand had actually found the pirate tower without sustaining injury.

Day five was a trip to Cala Niu Blau. This was after we negotiated some roadworks in Santa Eulalia and discovered that Spanish ladies with dogs do not understand about the need to walk on actual pavements. I needed my first coffee in five days by the time we got to the beach. Really I needed a stiff gin but it's not appropriate when in charge of a hire car.

The beach was, well, stunning and pretty much deserted. There is a recurring theme here.

We played. A small naked Spanish child spent time building a sandcastle with Paul and Phoebe and took an instant dislike to Tilly for some reason. We are guessing that from her pushing her backwards and saying “no” when she tried to join in. There have to be some negatives in paradise.

I actually swam in the sea and have a photograph to prove it. Whilst in the sea I chatted to one of the only other people on the beach, who happened to be English, and to live in Sheffield. We chatted about Millhouses park, primary schools and the price of flights. You can take the middle class middle aged lass out of Sheffield...

In the afternoon we went to the hippy market. We didn't buy much but enjoyed mooching around in the sunshine. The kids did keep asking “is he a hippy?” at a bit too high a volume. I finally agreed that probably the men with dreadlocks and beards who were playing tom toms out of rhythm with each other were highly likely to be hippies and infinitely less likely to sell any of their CDs.

And then back again for swimming. On Wednesdays the top bar is closed so we controversially had to play in the bottom pool, which is about fifty more metres further from our apartment. Shocking. It was wonderful and I had the best cocktail in the world at about 4pm. I was beginning to wonder how this was appropriate in Ibiza and yet not appropriate just after the school run at home.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Ibiza - Day Three

So how about getting as far from that as possible then? Well after breakfast on the balcony we did just that and I drove (very bravely and without incident) to Cala D'hort. It was without doubt the most beautiful place I have been to, made ever more idyllic because, guess what, there was hardly anyone there.

We went in the sea, paddled, built sandcastles, ate a picnic and gazed longingly at the island that is unreachable out of season unless you can commandeer someone's rowing boat. It had an air of mystery being home only to falcons and mountain goats. We debated how the goats got there. Maybe they are good at rowing.

After lunch we went exploring. Surely it would be easy to get to that pirate tower over there that is featured as a tourist attraction in the guidebook?

We travelled along a bumpy track and parked up. We had no idea where it was, and neither did the Spanish couple who thought we looked like we did. Eventually after lizard spotting for a bit we found a rock with what seemed to say "piratte torre" on it. We followed the arrow and it lead to a hippy. With hindsight we should have paid the euro he wanted (if we took a picture of his stone art work) and asked him the way. It might have saved us the scree based sliding that followed. It was a stunning view but I do wonder if anyone has ever found it. If this was in England there would have been brown signs, fee paying car parks, an ice cream van and handrails.I kind of liked their approach better but had forgotten our crampons.

So back to the pool for swimming and sangria. It came in a jug suitable for ten. We ended up decanting some of it into plastic bottles when no-one was looking.

The kids made some friends at the pool and everything was wonderful. A great day.

Ibiza - Day Two

There is nothing like Day Two of a holiday. It's that day where you get your bearings and decide whether you have made an almighty expensive mistake or not. I'm trying not to remember the yurt.

I braced myself and drove down to the beach. Which was unnecessary but practice is practice.

It was deserted. And stunning. And frankly a bit too windy. We went back to the apartments and tried the beer.

It did feel slightly like being in an episode of Eldorado with a very limited cast. There were two bars and a pub open while we were there. The first bar was by a wonderful pool and can be summed up with the words we were greeted with -  "We are Chelsea". They are also great fans of 1980s music. Not a smattering of a Spanish accent here despite 16 years in Ibiza and a menu based heavily around bacon and eggs. Excellent lager, extremely strong Sangria and a neverending freezer full of ice cream.

The other bar was run by a beautiful Spanish girl and her tanned tattooed muscle bound British boyfriend. Cocktails and tortillas.

And finally the pub run by an Ibizan who seemed to have never been to the other side of the island and who had learned his English accent from Harry Enfield. He showed us a tortoise he was keeping in a crate. I'm still not entirely sure why. They were all welcoming and fantastic, even if the contrast was a bit bonkers.

We chose the upper pool and bar for the first afternoon's relaxing. It was silent for a while but there had been a wedding on and guests started to appear out of the woodwork looking worse for wear. They perked up and started jumping in the pool. We began to feel like we were gatecrashing an episode of The Only Way is Essex - Abroad.

We went to the lower bar, drank beer and ate tortillas. I was back in Eldorado and all was well.

The kids were in the pool and in heaven. We were on holiday and I didn't have to drive again for at least another 12 hours.