All posts for the month May, 2023

Aloha From Menorca!

Published May 21, 2023 by Naomi Rettig

I discovered that my brain does not play nicely when trying to flip between languages. I learnt the basics in Spanish before travelling to Menorca, or I thought I did, my brain had other ideas. You’d think that a two-syllable word as easy as ‘Hola’ wouldn’t be a problem. When people were approaching me, or I was heading to the dining area in the hotel I had to start saying ‘Hola’ like some weird cult mantra to make sure I said it correctly. When I didn’t practice in my head on approach, my brain made me say a variety of greetings that were not Hola. I greeted various people with ‘Aloe’, ‘Allah’, ‘Salut’, and ‘Aloha’. My thank-yous were slightly better, I only slipped into Italian a few times with ‘grazie’, instead of ‘gracias’, and only once a Portuguese ‘obrigado’. I can’t speak Portuguese; my brain is a clown.

As well as new languages I learnt a lot on my trip to Menorca:

Cats in Menorca aren’t as friendly as cats in Wales. Ok, I only encountered two, but they both didn’t respond to ‘hello’ or ‘hola’. Maybe I should have tried another of my many languages. One just glanced nonchalantly my way in complete indifference, the other found a plastic pipe it was staring at more interesting than me. That hurt.

Even though my allergy to feathers and my allergy to broad beans don’t impact me too much separately, when I eat broad beans and sleep on a feather pillow my airways will become compromised.

Spanish police passport border guards take the number one spot for miserableness from the NYC airport border police. In their contracts it must state that they are to never speak and must have daily Botox to prevent any facial muscles from moving. I don’t expect a full-on jazz band and a manically happy greeting when I enter a new country, but a smile would be quite nice.

The term supermarket in Menorca is completely different to what I would call a supermarket. The ‘supermarket’ in S’Algar was basically someone selling basic grocery items out of their house.

I’ve learnt that I must pack coffee to take with me when travelling as my hotel room only had tea in the room. Barbaric. And the coffee available in the dining room was awful.

I cannot eat an Ice-cream sandwich elegantly in Punta Prima. Or probably anywhere else.

The only birds I heard were sparrows, gulls, blackbirds, and doves. Just like I can hear in my garden at home. I asked the holiday rep at the hotel what birds were on Menorca and he said there was a special woodpecker native to only the island. I didn’t see or hear that.

Menorcan cuisine doesn’t cater for vegetarians well. It was like travelling back to the 70’s vegetarian-wise. The all-inclusive hotel was extremely limited, so I had margarita pizza and chips twice a day for a week. And it wasn’t even nice pizza. But good for aversion therapy, it will probably be a while before I have a desire to eat pizza and chips. I did have one meal that wasn’t pizza and chips though. One night they had aubergine parmigiana on display. I didn’t think I’d be so excited to see an aubergine. I don’t even like aubergines, but I ate it just to break up the monotony.

The hotel had weird ideas about desserts. Custard in a bowl with a digestive biscuit laid on the top was strange, and a bowl layered with apple sauce, Sugar puffs, and squirty cream was odd. I don’t know if this is how Menorcans eat dessert or whether they thought that this is what British people eat.

My inner five-year-old was happy to see the hotel provided a land train ride around the resort, and I learnt you’re never too old to be excited about having the wind in your hair at three miles an hour and giggle when your boobs bounce up and down dramatically due to lack of suspension in said land train when going over speed bumps. Especially when you’re the only person riding on it. Also, if you have purple hair, it will seem perfectly normal for the land train driver, Jose, to serenade you with the song Purple Rain for an awkward two minutes.

It can get windy in Menorca in May. I took a boat trip around Mahon harbour which was lovely, and I started off with purple hair and ended up with lilac hair as the wind blew all the colour away. That may be an exaggeration.

Mahon has very steep steps down to the harbour front but a free lift/elevator back up to the top, hooray!

The sea was such beautiful shades of blue and I could have, and did, watch it for hours.

I learnt that I’m overly fascinated with palm tree seed pods and could have, and did, just stare at them for far too long.

Seagulls enjoyed swimming, drinking, and washing in the hotel swimming pool when no humans were in there, so I presume it wasn’t chlorinated. Or they were addicted to chlorine. Either one.

Menorcan cheese tastes like the Norwegian cheese Jarlsberg.

I discovered that my hotel was mainly a Saga hotel. I thought was for the over 70’s but have since discovered that Saga holidays are for the over 50’s. Which I am, but of course I don’t consider myself to be old. But on thinking about it I tick all the criteria: enjoys jigsaws, gentle walks, reading, early meal times, doesn’t like to party, likes listening to birds. Jeez, I am a Saga holiday person.

Overall, I learnt that I enjoyed visiting Menorca but would probably not go back. There are far too many other places for me to explore and experience.

On to the next adventure!


Eurovision 2023 View – Pleather, Sparkles, and Dangerously Long Nails.

Published May 8, 2023 by Naomi Rettig

Semi Final 1 (Tuesday 9th)

  1. Norway – Alessandra/ Queen of Kings. Song 6/10, costume/performance 7/10.  What’s not to like about a green velvet corset and lightsabres (or air traffic control wands).

Total score = 13/20

  • Malta – The Busker/ Dance (Our Own Party). Song 4/10, costume/performance 6/10. Starting with jumpers, circa 1980 C&A style, I was worried about them overheating but then they remove said jumpers to reveal sparkly jumpers! Doubly worried about them overheating now. But I like the sparkly jumpers. And I like a saxophone at Eurovision. Points for sparkliness and a costume change.

Total score = 10/20

  • Serbia – Luke Black/ Samo mi se spava. Song 2/10, costume/performance 4/10 for weirdness value. New romantic style man emerging from a giant vagina who then activates gas masked people to dance. No, not a cheese dream, this happened in the real rehearsal.

Total score = 6/20

  • Latvia – Sudden Lights/ Aija. Song 2/10, costume/performance 2/10. Bland song, bland ill-fitting suit, bland staging. Will probably appeal to Coldplay fans.

Total score = 4/20

  • Portugal – Mimicat/Ai Coracao. Song 1/10, costume/staging 2/10. The red feather dress will be a nightmare for stagehands, shedding feathers everywhere.

Total score= 3/20

  • Ireland – Wild Youth/ We Are One. Song 7/10, costume/performance 8/10. Lead singer looks like a young Daniel O’Donnell disguised as an Oscar statuette.

Total score = 15/20

  • Croatia – Let 3/ Mama SC. Song1/10, costume/performance 4/10. If you ever wondered what dictators in drag would look like, here you go. And I think, from a sneak peek at rehearsals, they will strip to their underwear. I’m not looking forward to that.

Total score = 5/20

  • Switzerland – Remo Forrer/ Watergun. Song 2/10, costume/performance 2/10. A see through jacket and plastic trousers don’t excite me.

Total score = 4/10

  • Israel – Noa Kirel/Unicorn. Song 4/10, costume/performance 6/10. An impressive gymnastic performance by the singer.  

Total score = 10/20

  1. Moldova – Pasha Parfeni/ Soarele si luna. Song 5/10, costume/performance 8/10. Fringing (which I love), a midget/dwarf/vertically challenged person/whatever is PC to say playing a flute, extreme horn headwear on backing singers. All ticks for me.

Total score = 13/20

  1. Sweden – Loreen/Tattoo. Song 2/10, costume/performance 2/10. Weird beige Mad Max outfit going on but I’m more distracted by her Freddy Kruger nails. How does she manage in the toilet? How is this the favourite to win?

Total score = 4/20

  1. Azerbaijan – TuralTuranX/ Tell Me More. Song 3/10, costume/performance 3/10.  Co-ordinating outfits from the 70’s. We had wallpaper like their scarves when I was little. I’m concerned their scarves kept getting in the way of their guitars.

Total score = 6/20

  1. Czechia – Vesna/ My Sisters Crown. Song 1/10, costume/performance 2/10. Rapping Rapunzels aren’t for me.

Total score = 3/10

  1. Netherlands – Mia Nicolai & Dion Cooper/ Burning Daylight. Song 1/10, costume/Performance 1/10. Dull song, dull costumes, even putting them on a revolving platform doesn’t make it any more exciting. Unless someone speeds it up and they fall off. Total score = 2/20
  2. Finland – Kaarija/ Cha Cha Cha. Song 2/10, costume/performance 8/10. Wow. I imagine this is what it’s like to experience taking PCP. Song is too aggressive and shouty for me, but the staging is entertaining. Anyone who dresses with giant pea pod arms and feels confident in rubber spiky trousers deserves points.

Total score = 10/20

Therefore my 10 choices to get selected to go through to the final would be: Ireland, Norway, Moldova, Malta, Israel, Finland, Serbia, Azerbaijan, and Croatia.

Semi Final 2 (Thursday 11th May)

  1. Denmark – Reiley/ Breaking My Heart. Song 4/10, costume/performance 5/10. Teeny bopper tune, sweet and inoffensive.

Total score = 9/20

  • Armenia – Brunette/Future Lover. Song 2/10, costume/performance 2/10. They say blondes have more fun, this Brunette is certainly not fun.

Total score = 4/20

  • Romania – Theodor Andrei/ DGT. Song 5/10, costume/performance 6/10. I don’t like men in ‘smart’ shorts, but Theodor pulls this look off for me, I do find his glasses to be akin to serial killer 70’s glasses. I think that’s just me though.

Total score = 11/20

  • Estonia – Alika/ Bridges. Song 3/10, costume/performance 2/10. Too much floaty material trailing behind, like when you get toilet paper stuck in your pants. And weird arm straps flapping, like an undone straight jacket.

Total score = 5/20

  • Belgium – Gustaph/ Because of You. Song 8/10, Costume/performance 7/10. I love the dancey song, and I’m mesmerised by his trousers as my brain can’t work out what style they are supposed to be.

Total score = 15/20

  • Cyprus – Andrew Lambrou/ Break a Broken Heart. Song 6/10, costume/performance 3/10. This song has grown on me, I like his voice, but the staging is too simple for me.

Total score = 9/20

  • Iceland – Dilja/ Power. Song 4/10, costume/performance 3/10. The silver pleather suit doesn’t appeal to me, and the tiny turntable doesn’t make the performance exciting. Unless it malfunctions.

Total score = 7/20

  • Greece – Victor Vernicos/ What They Say. Song 2/10, costume/performance 1/10. Beige shorts and top combo looks like he’s going on safari not to Eurovision. Beige song too.

Total score = 3/20

  • Poland – Blanka/ Solo. Song 3/10, costume/performance 5/10. A costume change with a sparkly outfit ticks my boxes.

Total score = 8/20

  1. Slovenia – Joker Out/ Carpe Diem. Song 8/10, costume/performance 7/10. Great song to jiggle along to, and I’m loving the pink silk trouser and floral shirt combo. I do like a band playing all their instruments on the Eurovision stage.

Total score = 15/20

  1. Georgia – Iru/Echo. Song 3/10, costume/performance 2/10. Performance points mainly for the fact she has a wind machine.

Total score = 5/20

  1. San Mariano – Piqued Jacks/ Like an Animal. Song 2/10, costume/performance 3/10. Sparkly shoulder pads and their own band playing elevated the performance points.

Total score = 5/10

  1. Austria – Teya & Salena/Who the Hell is Edgar? Song 1/10, costume/performance 1/10. Anyone who thinks dressing in bin bags is chic has bad taste. Fact. The song is so dire that I don’t care who Edgar is.

Total score = 2/20

  1. Albania – Albina & Famija/ Duje. Song 5/10, costume/performance 4/10. This song has been growing on me. Liking the shoulder pads, reminds of upholstery in a car I once rode in.

Total score = 9/20

  1. Lithuania – Monika Linkyte/ Stay. Song 1/10, costume/performance 1/10. Triple D rating. Dull song, dull outfit, dull staging.

Total score = 2/10

  1. Australia – Voyager/Promise. Song 7/10, costume/performance 8/10. Sparkly suits, a band playing, and a good song. They have a car on stage, I hope it’s there for a reason for it and something exciting will happen with it. Like flying over the audience in it, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang style.

Total score 15/20

Therefore my 10 choices to go through to the final would be: Slovenia, Belgium, Australia, Romania, Albania, Denmark, Cyprus, Poland, Iceland, and San Marino.

Automatically through:

  1. France – La Zarra/ Evidemment. Song 6/10, costume/performance 5/10. What’s not to love about a 40-foot lady in a sparkly dress? OK, maybe it’s the dress that’s 40-foot high. Or 6 feet high, but that doesn’t sound so dramatic.

Total score = 11/20

  • Germany – Lord of the Lost/ Blood and Glitter. Song 4/10, costume/performance 8/10. I like a rock group but these are too shouty metal for me, fab outfits though.

Total score = 12/20

  • Italy – Marco Mengoni/ Due Vite. Song 5/10, costume/performance 3/10. His sparkly top gets points but his leather trousers deduct those points. Great voice though.

Total score = 8/20

  • Spain – Blanca Paloma/ Eaea. Song 3/10, costume/performance 3/10. Not for me, too waily.  Total score = 6/20
  • Ukraine – Tvorchi/ Heart of Steel. Song 4/10, costume/performance 6/10. Reminds me of Belgium’s entry last year. Nice costumes.

Total score = 10/20

  • UK – Mae Muller/ I Wrote a Song. Song 3/10, costume/performance 4/10. I’ve only seen a quick snippet of the rehearsal as it’s being kept secret but from what I saw I wasn’t worth hiding. I’m not a fan of the song.

Total score = 7/20

Overall, my top 5 are Belgium, Slovenia, Ireland, Australia, and Norway.