Friday, 3 October 2008

Think I Need a Good Laugh!

I've been counting how long it is to our summer holidays. Saddo aren't I. It's just we've had no summer this year and gone straight to what feels like winter not autumn.

I need a good laugh and there hasn't been any good comedy on TV recently so I think it's time I read the David Niven autobiographies again. Each time I read them I laugh for ages at the antics he and his friends got up to. He was such a good writer.

Another author who makes me laugh is Bill Bryson. Well let's face it, he's got to have a good sense of humour hasn't he, he's chosen to live in England poor soul! They made him Chancellor of Durham University in 2005. Wonder if it was because he was so nice about Durham in Notes From a Small Island?

I remember reading one of his books in Malta's airport when we were standing in a massive long queue waiting to go through passport control. They officials seemed to have taken a very long coffee break. I was trying to keep my laugh in but eventually I started laughing out loud. It's always embarrassing when you do that, you feel such a loony. A German woman further up the queue smiled at me and gave me the thumbs up. Probably wished she had my book.

I have a friend who puts a long letter in with my Christmas card each year and when I read it I start laughing. She's brilliant, all she does it update us on their activities, nothing weird or outlandish, it's just her take on life. It's hilarious. The last one was about how they have bought a caravan to tow and her husband's obsession with buying an awning. She didn't want one as she's seen too many "awning antics" on their travels. Needless to say he got his way and the letter was full of the perils of awnings. I would never have believed anyone could write so humorously about this. She can literally write about anything and make you laugh.

I keep telling her she should write a book but she says she hasn't got time.

We met as mature students doing a degree at Sunderland in the 'eighties and she was great fun. We went on a field trip to what was then Yugoslavia in the Polytechnic's bus. Yes a bus, and we laughed all the way across Holland, Germany, Austria and into Yugoslavia. Our faces and stomachs ached from laughing all day and into the night. I think the young students thought they were travelling with a bunch of escapees from a lunatic asylum. We meet up on occasions and we always talk about the daft things that happened on that trip.

On the way across Germany we stayed at a strange hotel. Quite an ugly sixties concrete type of thing. The World Cup was on and I got fed up with watching it so I went to bed and missed all the fun. My friend stayed up chatting to some of the students at the bar. She had drunk quite a bit and was being chatted up by one of the male students on one side and on the other side of her was what she thought was a woman wearing a lot of make up. Suffice to say it was the "woman" who was eventually doing the chatting up and other things which I won't go into here. However my friend says due to the alcoholic haze she took ages to cotton on to it. The evils of drink!

My friend is convinced we were staying in a house of ill repute and it was full of transvestites and prostitutes. I have to say the women did look a very rough bunch the next morning at breakfast, I hadn't noticed that the night before.

Another time they decided to take us to view the fjord where The Vikings was filmed. Well it was supposed to be a geography trip after all. All went well until the driver, a German ex prisoner of war who never returned to Germany after the war (and that's another story), navigated the bus down a narrow road. He drove us into a campsite, a nudist campsite and couldn't reverse back out of it! The lecturers were shouting at the students and telling them not to laugh but it was hard not to. The funniest thing I saw was three nude men walking along carrying a canoe over their heads. I totally lost it at that point. We never got to see the fjord either!

I keep telling her we ought to get together and write a book about all these things before we forget them altogether.

I feel better already just thinking about that trip! Need to ring her to meet up soon for another laugh.


  1. Winifred,
    This was just hilarious!!!! I especially cracked up when you told about driving into the nudist camp. Oh my, you really do need to recall these stories and tell them. I love laughing and hope you will remember more stories like these!!

  2. Thanks Brenda

    I think the nudist colony was the best one or maybe I should say the worst. I wasn't sure whether anyone else would find it funny. We always cry laughing when we recall it. I think it irritates one of our student friends when we do it because she didn't go on the trip.

    Some of the things that happened or that my friend said probably may not be funny to other people. Some were funny to us because they related to a couple of the students who were definitely a bit weird.

    When I meet up with her we'll no doubt remember them and I'll post the ones that are printable!

  3. Winifred,

    What a funny read! I enjoyed it, and you are as funny as you claim your friend is. Oh me gosh, the nudist colony story was hilarious!

    I always enjoy going out with good friends. We have more laughs and fun than a barrel of monkeys.

    What part of Yugoslavia did you go to? And what part of Austria? I lived in Austria for 4 years, in the Karnten Region, and loved that beautiful country, even though I lived in a refugee camp.

    I was born in the part of Hungary that later became a part of Yugoslavia. Anyway, a long story.

    Your friend and you should collaborate on a humorous book. What a fun project that would be.

    Hope it warmed up a bit in your part of the planet. And I hope your Sunday is lovely.


  4. Hope you're cold is much better if not completely gone. Thanks for your visit.

  5. Hi Renie

    We went to Rovinj in the NOrth East and the scenery was very lovely. We were studing the Mediterranean vegetatian etc!

    The awful thing was it was still a communist state then and it was so sad to see how the lovely buildings and churches were being neglected. I asked about going to Mass there and you wouldn't believe how awkward the tourist people were. Wouldn't give me any information at all. On the Sunday morning I just wandered around the town until I heard the church bells and followed them, found the church and waited for a service.

    I've often thought about going back to see how it's changed but I've got hooked on holidays in Greece and Spain.

    We only passed through the south of Austria, probably near Klagenfurt. It was absolutely gorgeous scenery. I had a funny experience in a public toilet there. Afer I'd used the loo I couldn't find a handle, chain, button or anything to flush the toilet.

    I persevered as it was so clean in Austria I wasn't going to give the British a bad name was I?

    I looked for ages and eventually had to give up as I had gone in to the toilet on my own and was worried they'd leave without me. As I opened the door, the toilet flushed. I looked around expecting someone to pop out with a camera! It was an automatic flush which I have to say is amazing to have in such a tiny little village where we stopped for refreshments.

    It would be interesting to read about your time in Austria. The map of Europe has changed so much over the last 50 years. We live in interesting times!

    How did you come to live in the USA?

  6. My cold is much better tonight. Last night I had some whiskey, honey and lemon to soothe my throat. A good excuse.

    Must have just been "manflu" after all. When the real thing hits, you know about it. Unfortunately I've a year to go to qualify for the flue jabs they give out. So maybe next year.

    I take all the medical checks they'll give you, even though I hate them. Mammograms, smear tests, cholesterol and so on. You can't be too careful can you.

    We've had a lovely sunny warm day. Those forecasters are rubbish. I think the BBC is on a mission to depress the UK. They only report bad news and I think they're making it up now. Thier website is constantly inundated with complaints. They used to be so accurate and objective but now I don't trust them.

    Creeping paranoia coming on. Wonder if there's a test for that?

  7. I am also a big Bill Bryson fan and have LOL in a similar way in public.

    Very funny post thank you

  8. Hi Sarah

    Yes Bill Bryson's amazing. Love his stuff. He makes us look at ourselves in a different way.

    Love your Union Jack. I wouldn't dare use one in case I was accused of being a fascist or a BNP supporter. It's sad.

    Think we need to fight to reclaim the flag from the looneys.

  9. Hi, thanks for putting me on your blog list. We all need to laugh more. You are in away writing a book of short stores and they are fun to read. I go from computer to quilting to a little work on my dust bunnies. The day just flies by. But the nights are hell some times I sleep in shifts like taking a good nap. Now that is getting old. The shifts and my age.

  10. Hi Winifred ~~ Lovely to meet you and I did enjoy reading this post. You write well and I agree with the others who suggest you write a book, with your friend or alone. and relate funny short stories about things you have experienced. I will be back to read more
    Thanks for following, and I have done the same for you. Take care, Love, Merle.

  11. Hi Winifred,

    That's a funny story about the toilet in Klagenfurt! Wish they had that here in the public rest rooms!

    Anyway, just a summing up about me here. I was born in Hungary (the region that became Yugoslavia with the communist regime.) I lived there during World War II as a child. We finally fled our communist, Soviet occupied country in the fall of 1947, landing in Austria. As a matter of fact, Klagenfurt, which is right near the border, was the first town we were taken to. It is in the Karnten or Carinthia region olf Austria. I lived in the area for 4 years, before we immigrated to the USA. I have written numerous stories about my war and refugee camp experiences, and most of them are published in various anthologies. But enough of that. I do hope you feel much, much better by now and are enjoying some sunny weather.

    Take care!



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