Yesterday was our wedding anniversary. Ten years ago, my other half finally made an honest woman of me and we packed all our belongings and an uncle into the van and we set off to live out the rest of our adventures in Portugal.
As usual we didn't have anything exciting planned for the day. And in any case, we found ourselves with a pig to butcher. We've never done one before so we devoted the morning to attempting to turn it into neatly packaged bits of meat ready for the freezer. It took us most of the morning, too!
My son loaded it all into the link-box and took it back to the village with him after lunch to put in the freezer. I had a sneaking suspicion I ought to check it had all gone ok, so I messaged him.
"Did you get everything safely into the freezer?"
"Yup. No problem. All sorted."
"What about the head?"
"WHERE DID YOU LEAVE THE HEAD?"
"Alan. Where are you? Please don't make me ask where you left the head again. It's not the sort of question I ever wanted to ask anyone..."
"It's in the freezer now."
"So, um, where did you leave the head? That's three times I've had to say that now..."
"It was in the link box, but it's alright, it was well wrapped and there weren't even any flies and no dogs had run off with it. Incidentally, if the NSA is watching this, they'll be freaking out."
"ALAN! Oh heck. I'm gonna go and relax and watch a movie or something."
So I tried. A few minutes later there was a knock on the door and two of the gypsy children were frantically trying to talk to me. I was actually getting a bit fed up with them turning up wanting us to blow up tyres on the old bike we'd given them. My Portuguese isn't too brilliant, and what they said sounded a bit like this. "Blah blah puncture blah nail blah cousin blah please help us blah blah blah hospital blah." I was a bit mad as I was really fed up with blowing up the tyre, but that word 'hospital' stuck with me. So I asked them to repeat it slowly. So they gushed it all out again at twice the speed with even more words thrown in to confuse me, this time including 'foot'.
I was a bit concerned and asked them did the bike have a puncture. "No, my cousin's foot. The nail's gone right through and granddad is away for the day with the van and he needs to get to hospital and..."
"OK - go back and we'll be there in a minute."
Our car is just a two seater, and it's not legal to carry people in the back, but I don't drive and my other half can't speak more than a couple of words of Portuguese, so we put the boy in the back so I could go along to attempt a bit of communication. And of course his mother and baby sister and auntie climbed right in with him. Oh well, it's an emergency so let's just get on with it.
It went kind of ok until we did the typical Englishman-under-stress-driving-in-another-country trick of driving into the hospital via the exit rather than the entrance, straight into a police car. This did not go down well, to say the least. I attempted to do a bit of direct communication by storming out of my door, round to the back. I opened the back door and lifted the boy out to carry him into the emergency ward, followed by his family who were all dressed in the typical black robes and head-dress thingies that all the gypsy women wear when out in public, leaving my other half to attempt to explain that he didn't understand a word they were saying, even though we gave every appearance of being local gypsies.
I dropped the boy off and left him there with his family and went back to help. I apologised profusely to the (armed) policemen, who fortunately managed to see the funny side of it all and let us off not only a ticket but even the producer. But with strict instructions that next time we call an ambulance rather than piling them all into the back.
So, that was our wonderfully relaxing anniversary.
May we have many more equally chaotic adventures in the years to come!