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Quiche Love Goodbye

26 Apr

The idea of going abroad for our annual holiday was first mooted in the backroom of the Miners Arms by Kev Leigh and I was dead against it. For the last three years we had spent our holidays in the Isle of Man and a good time was always had by all. The trouble was our gang of 10 to 15 lads had now shrunk to 3, the rest of them having found a steady girlfriend in the summer of love, well this was the 70’s.The other member of our triumvirate, Tony Lowe was also keen to swap the delights of Douglas for the sun of San Antonio and so I reluctantly agreed to join them.

None of us had ever been abroad before and we didn’t know what to expect but I can honestly say it was the best holiday we ever had. The hotel we stayed in was called the Ses Savines and today would probably be described as “basic” Back then we thought it was a palace, we even had our own toilet and bathroom! We also had a mini sink which clever clogs Tony told us was called a “Bidet” It was brilliant for soaking dirty underpants in.

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The hotel catered for people of different nationalities and the English were probably outnumbered but it was good fun and most of us got along great. The hotel next door was full of Marsh Greeners who we usually bumped into in the Isle of Man! They too had decided to visit pastures new and we had a great craic with them.  

The fortnight flew over and before we knew it we only had two nights left. On our penultimate night we decided to get drunk and we started the evening off by having 3 huge jugs of sangria in the hotel before setting out for the town centre. Drink after drink was downed and I began to feel a little worse for wear when Kev thought it would be a good idea to watch a street artist paint a little girls portrait. Quite a large crowd had gathered to watch the artist at work but their attention was about to swiftly turn to me.  

Suddenly without any prior warning I spewed my guts up all over Tony’s back, bright red vomit the colour of sangria. Tony shrieked and jumped out of my way as a never ending stream of red sick splashed all over the cobbled square. I can still see the horrified looks on the crowd as they backed away from the amazing human fountain. I decided my best course of action was to run away so I legged it back to our hotel whilst Tony & Kev spent the rest of the evening trying to find me in the centre.  

Back in our room I had a shower and got changed to go and meet up with them but decided to have a coffee first in a local bar. I gradually felt better and ended up chatting to some Norwegian lads about football. Two English girls were chatting to them and I ended up sat with one of them, we got on really great, so much so that the two of us ended up watching the sun rise we had chatted that long. 

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The two girls were staying in our hotel and it was the first night of their holiday, I couldn’t believe my bad luck, tonight was my last one. I met up with the girls that evening and before we left I exchanged addresses with them both. After a couple of weeks of writing letters and countless phone calls one of the girls asked me to meet her parents. She lived in Formby and her Dad was a bank manager in Southport. She had already told me that she lived near some of the Liverpool’s players but I didn’t realise her parents were quite so well off. 

A date was set for the following Sunday and I was slightly rough that morning after a night out with the lads. When I looked at my only pair of shoes I discovered that they were even more distressed than me. The sole of one of them had come apart from the shoe and it flapped about like a camel’s tongue. Sugar!! Linda (the girl in question) had asked me to dress to impress. I rifled through the cupboards for some glue and managed to stick the sagging sole back, phew! 

Before I left the house I checked my reflection in the hallway mirror, maroon velvet jacket, pale blue shiny shirt with big collar, green flared trousers finished off with the patched up platform shoes. Knock em’ dead kid. 

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I caught the next train to Southport and then the train to Formby and there to greet me was the lovely Linda. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm, and we decided to walk to her house. In fact it was a little too warm for my glued up platform shoe and it began to come apart again. “Flop Flip, Flop Flip, Flop Flip” went the noisy little b*****d with every step. I caught Linda looking down at my performing platform but she quickly looked away and gave me a nervous smile, politely ignoring it. Mind you it killed our conversation stone dead, its hard to talk when you have a shoe interrupting your every word with a “Flop” or a “Flip”  

Finally we made it to her house and it was a massive detached one with landscaped gardens, double garage and everything, they even had a baby grand piano in their living room. Her Mum greeted us at the door; she had either seen us through the window or heard my shoe from two streets away. In any case she did pause halfway down the hall to wonder what that “Flop Flip” sound was, and again it was greeted with the weakest of smiles. By the time we had moved on to meet her Dad in the house I had resorted to dragging my foot along the carpet instead of raising it up. Judging by the look on their faces I don’t think it was a very successful tactic.

I admit it wasn’t the best of starts but worse was to follow, my dream of becoming assistant manager of Barclays Bank was about to be ruined, my plan would be spoiled by a flan. 

We were sat round the table, me, Linda and the bank manager, when in comes her mum wheeling one of those hostess trolleys that you only see in Terry & June. I was impressed thinking to myself “that’s the first thing we’ll buy when we get married”

My mind wandered to afternoons down at the golf club or the tennis club depending on my mood. I might even get a pipe, yes that would make me look the part when I’m discussing bank manager’s stuff with my customers. Oh and an engraved brass plate on my office door proudly declaring “Tony Topping Banker” 

My day dreaming was broken by her Mum, my future mother in law of course, saying “Tony…Tony?” I looked up to see her standing by the record player with an LP sleeve in her hand “Do you like Quiche Lorraine?” she asked with a smile.

“Quiche Lorraine?” I said “Never heard of em’ but I like any kind of music”

The silence was deafening, and I was confused, what had I done wrong now? Linda was bright red and looked like she was going to cry, Dad left the room never to return, and Mum glared at me before putting the record on.

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The three of us ate our tea in silence and I knew my romance was over. I didn’t eat much; my appetite had gone the same was as my hostess trolley. The tea wasn’t that good anyway and it included the worst egg custard I have ever tasted, it even had pieces of bacon in it! 

As for Quiche Lorraine, well they sounded like the Beach Boys to me! 

Tony Topping