Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Tattoos........Yes or No?

Tattoos.........are they like Marmite? (Marmite is a vegetable spread that is, in the UK put on toast. You either love it or hate it. In Australia I believe it's called Vegemite.)

So are tattoos a thing you love or hate? I suppose you could not have bothered to ask yourself the question. I must admit it was not on my list of priorities though if asked I think I would have taken the great big British compromise answer and said that a tattoo placed in a subtle position is okay.

The UK is alleged to be number one in the world for tattooed people. I have no idea how that is arrived at, is it numbers of people, square footage of skin or how many tattoo parlours? However my observations would suggest that the U.S. must come a close second. Here on Maui it appears that there are more folk with tattoos than without, of course in the Pacific Islands it's a cultural thing as well.  

Once the province of sailors and soldiers they now adorn the beautiful and not so beautiful in almost every walk of life.

Not everyone accepts and embraces them. I was surprised to see the the London Metropolitan Chief of Police recently stated that he thought that police officers with visible tattoos reflected badly on the image of the Force.
In my career I have heard lots of Chiefs of Police take this attitude and at the same time heavily recruit from the military, because ex-military make good police officers.
Once a dictate came down from on high that officers with tattoos on their arms had to wear long sleeve shirts!
I'm surprised that in the 21st Century some employers are still expecting their employees to cover tattoos up.

Why am I going on about tattoos?
When I was cyber dating via Skype they came up, I posed the question, "Have you any tattoos?" A very coy reply ensued basically saying that we were not really on discussing tattoos and their location yet and in time all would be revealed. Of course that made me more interested, far more intriguing than a straight answer.

Fast forward to my Sweetheart’s arrival in Paris.
At the airport I had seen her for the first time in the flesh, so to speak. She was beautiful, radiant with striking blue eyes.........and this was after a "Red eye" flight from the U.S.
However we were quickly in the car and negotiating Paris traffic, definitely a time to keep ones eyes on the road!

Once on the Autoroute I could take a few quick looks to my right.
What's that I see just visible above the neck line of her sweater, (No I was not looking at her breasts)?
I do a double take, yes it's a tail of a scorpions tattoo. We;; blow me down she does have a tattoo, it's small and looks quite nice if not elegant.

So you do have a tattoo then, I said. I've got more than one she replied. So where are the others?
One on my lower back and another on my arm.  Wow was my thought.

At the first rest stop I said let see these other tattoos. The one on the lower back looked good as did the scorpion, however the one on the arm raised my suspicions, it didn't look professional or classy. Were they real or henna?

She insisted they were real but when she said it there was always a twinkle in her eye which made me unsure.

After torturing her for a few hours the truth came out, her and her girlfriend had thought the idea of getting some transfers applied would be a good jolly jape to tease me with. I must say that it worked for sometime and a little bit of me was disappointed that the little red scorpion above her breast was not real.

There are a couple of twists to this tale:

One being that at a dinner party where she was meeting my friends for the first time, the Astrological birth signs became a topic of conversation. She declared that she was a  interjected with I thought you were Scorpio as you have a scorpion tattoo. No I haven't was a little embarrassed reply.  Of course my friends were intrigued as to whether she had a tattoo or not and what was the joke all about, them not being privy to it. For some the thought that my new girlfriend was a tattooed lady was, to say it mildly was a shock.

The other was that on my first visit to Maui I suggested that we get matching scorpion tattoos. Which we did.

That's when I found out that there is more to this tattoo lark than meets the eye. Firstly there is an art to it, the guy we used listened to what our thoughts were and then came up with a super design.

Secondly the positioning is important, we wanted ours hidden, private to us. Again we heeded the advice based on what we wanted and the least painful place.

Thirdly the cost. Tattoos are not cheap if done professionally.

They also need a lot of care for a couple of weeks after, no sea bathing, special soap and moisturiser.

We are very proud of our tattoos, however before you all rush off to the nearest tattoo shop.
Remember a tattoo is not just for Christmas (or any other religious holiday) it's for life!

Monday, March 30, 2015

All your questions answered..........Maybe!

In my last blog I left you with a number of questions regarding the outcome of my online romance,
they were hardly the most difficult of questions if you had been reading my blogs.

We had arranged to meet at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, I was going to be waiting at the exit from the customs hall when she came out, having travelled overnight from the West Coast of the U.S.

The flight arrival time was 9:30am so my first dilemma was did I travel the 7 hours from South West France overnight or go the day before and get an hotel room. I decided on the later not that it mattered as there is no good time to cross Paris on the last weekend of July.

The journey there was a mixture of excitement and fear with a healthy dose of planning for all eventuality, from what do I say, what do I do if the look of disappointment is obvious, what if she doesn't turn up!

Having taken 3 hours to cross Paris I checked in to my airport hotel, time for a Recce, "Failing to prepare is preparing to fail", came flooding back to me from my training days. I felt like the old days at work, checking car parking, exits and arrival information. I was not going to miss her at the airport if she turned up.

A sleepless night ensued and I was up showered and packed way before I needed too. I arrived at the airport early, grabbed a coffee and took up position with line of sight to both the arrivals board and the sliding glass exit doors. I was only a couple of hours early............

I passed the time people watching, airports are great for that and I hadn't been to a big international airport for some time.
Little did I realise that the next year I would be spending large amounts of time in airports.
I don't think that my eyes wandered of the flight arrivals board for more that a few seconds as time stood still. As airports go Charles de Gaulle is pretty crappy and to sit there in a state of uncertainty is not something I would recommend.

My neck was starting to ache as I was alternatively looking from the board to my watch, surely time had stood still.
The magic word, "Landed", clicked over followed by "Débarquement". Time to get ready.
There is no chivalry in love and war as I pushed my way to the front of the barrier that guards the exit doors, scattering men, women and children. I'm on a mission the prime position is mine by right so move over people.

Each time the door opened the crowed including me strained forward to catch a glimpse of the people we were meeting.

My first sight was this attractive head of blond hair just about visible above a cart with what appeared to be at least six suitcases. Hey, this girl doesn't travel light. Is it her? I think so but she is with another woman. She has brought a chaperon with her!

Yes that is her, both our natural instinct was to hug each other, from sheer relief I suspect.
The chaperon was in fact the person who had occupied the next seat and they had hit it off. So much so that the lady suggested that she accompany her to check out if I had turned up and if so did I have two heads.

In truth it was a wonderful first meeting. I think our joy of meeting each other in the flesh turned into embarrassment as both of us had decided to play it cool and there we were hugging each other.

Having been introduced to her travel companion and said our goodbyes to her we proceeded to the car. How long will it take us was the question, minimising it as best I could I glibly stated about six hours.
Off we set straight into the Paris traffic jam from Hell!
People in the north of Europe were changing places with those in the south, Paris was grid locked, nobody was going very far fast.
My estimate of 6 hours was turned into 12 hours. To spend that long in a tin box with someone was unintentionally a great way to get to know that person, though it could have been a deal breaker.
We had such a good report, I wish I could say that the journey flew by but sadly it didn't. She was most understanding however it didn't stop me wishing we had taken the plane.

Things could only get better and they did. During our Skype sessions we had talked about drinking Kir Royal, (Champagne & Cassies) on the terrace if she came to visit. I had prepared everything before leaving for Paris, despite the horrendous journey and her jet lag there we were sharing a long talked of moment. For me a very romantic moment, champagne, stars and a beautiful woman.

I don't think I knew how much my life was about to change, it would not be the same again.

More of that in the blogs to follow.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Cupid's arrow finds it's target..........or does it?

Yes you can! Yes you can find love online.

I have heard that 40% of people getting married have found their partner online.

This is how I found love in cyber space and turned my life around-- the start of a big adventure that is continuing.

Having battled long and hard with a French dating site I stumbled across a truly wonderful site called OK Cupid. It was and may still be a free site compared to the others that charge a monthly fee or some other fee to part your money from you. However the attraction goes way beyond that, it is user friendly and the ladies on it seem so much more interesting and talented.
(Note to CEO of OK Cupid, please put cheque in the post).

Seriously, as with other sites, you have to answer lots of questions, and the answers are turned into a score that rates to what degree the other person is a Friend or Enemy. You can then search on who is rated highly as a Friend or perversely who is your biggest Enemy. Opposites attract, maybe!

I was fascinated and in wonderment as I searched for the perfect woman. But after a while, it felt like, Hey, something is wrong with this site I can't find anyone living closer than Paris, not strictly true Barcelona was slightly nearer.

Everyone seems to be living in United States! Let me check the settings on my computer.  My location is shown as Saint Girons. Perhaps there is a Saint Girons in California or Louisiana.
No it is definitely set on the French Saint Girons.

Wow.....these American women are so good looking, they can't all have fake photos, they are intelligent and artistic. Such a shame they are so far away but I can still have some good email exchanges.  I just wont get my hopes up that this will be anything more that a cyber pen pal exercise.

Over the course of a month I met, (online) a number of great people and had an insight into their lives, I hope they felt the same way.
Some have remained friends, while others have dropped away.

What attracts one person to another on dating websites? I imagine that the sites do mega research into it but from a personal point for me it starts with the profile. What interests does this person have?  Are they compatible with mine? What are the differences?  Do they fascinate me?

Don't get me wrong.  Of course I look at the photos, though I hope that I have outgrown the shallowness that beauty is just a physical thing.

Okay that's the preamble. Picture me: I'm sitting in my house in France checking out these beautiful American women, most at least 4000 miles away.  Is that not weird?

I'm thinking is the US that far away, just a flight away, have I the nerve to go even if I was invited?

Then I am struck by this gorgeous image that fills my computer screen.  She has long blonde hair and the most strikingly beautiful blue eyes. I start to read her profile I'm captivated by it and excited. She is so active--likes to ride bikes, scuba dive, paddle board, dance, is very creative and spiritual. 

Where does she live............HAWAII.  What, isn't that somewhere in the South Pacific? What the hell do I know about Hawaii?  Elvis made a couple of films there. "Book him Dano, murder one" springs into my head from the TV series, Hawaii Five-O. Anything else? No, not really.

Is there any point in writing to her?  My head is saying no but my heart is saying, "Go on you've got nothing to lose ". For once in my life I listen to my heart and write a message explaining who I am.
For some reason the words just flow from my key board, I feel romantic, elated as though I'm on the brink of something big. Little did I know how big!

I had no doubt that when it was time to hit the send button I would, thence set in motion a change of events that has lead me to where I am today writing this.

I'm jumping ahead of myself.

Having sent my message I was nervous, checking the computer constantly to see if I had received a reply.

There it was a lovely response to my message:  One message and I was starting to fall in love. Pull yourself together!  Its not going anywhere were my negative thoughts.

I still needed to reply.  Again, the words flew.  Again, I agonized over whether I would get a reply.

It was exciting waiting, though full of apprehension. I started to find out more about Hawaii.  It was a lot further away than I thought:  Seven thousand seven hundred and seventy miles to be exact. Three sevens that's lucky, isn't it, I wondered, grasping at straws!

The messages on the site progressed to personal emails.  As we continued our online dating, we definitely had a connection and I was learning so much about areas of life that had passed me by, this whole spiritual thing for one. The problem was a small matter of distance. Could technology come to the rescue?

Of course it could:  There was Skype! This could be a blessing, a chance to see one another, to make a better connection. On the other hand it could be a curse.  With the sound of the voice one can conjure up the image one wants only for that image to be shattered when actually seeing the person.  What will it be for me?

Arrangements were made, a time was set for our first Skype. With a phone it doesnt matter how you look, but with Skype you can see each other.  I had my hair cut and changed into my Sunday best......I'm ready!

Lots of things go through your mind:  What if she doesn't like me? What if I don't like her?  Will there be any of those awkward silences?

I needn't have worried.  Suddenly I was talking to this gracious lady thousands of miles away about my life in France, and her life in Hawaii. I gave her a tour of my home, and introduced her to my dog.  Conversation came easy; it flowed. We spoke for an hour before we made arrangements to Skype again.

Skype became our means of communicating.  We would talk everyday. Normally, it would be my morning and her evening due to the 12 hour time difference. These talks would be the highlight of my day lasting generally for over an hour.

We were getting to know each other and I liked what I saw and heard.  I hoped she did too.

During one of these sessions we were talking about Tuscany and how it was top of her list of places to visit. I suggested against hope,  get to Paris and I will take you to Italy.

I had planted a seed and hoped it would grow. If truth be told I had been hinting at the idea of her coming to Europe on a few of our Skype sessions.

I'm not sure how it happened; however there was a moment when she said that she would come to Paris and I offered meet her at the Airport. This must be one of the biggest "Blind dates" in history!

Is this all a step too far and too fast?

Does she turn up, do I go to meet her?

Does it end in tears or laughter?

What do you think?  Put your best guess in the comments.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Internet dating, the saga continues............

If you remember in the last blog I was starting
to experience the ups and downs of online dating.

I had subscribed to this French site which was
not very good--though at that stage I didn't know it. I had scammers, Russian
super models (going by the photos they posted) wanting a European passport, and
women who thought that a 20 year old photo was still a fair
representation.  In fairness, I met some
nice women but no one who I really hit it off with. So still a long way to go to find the perfect mate, if thats possible. will I have to weed through a thousand more?  

I must admit I found the process quite
difficult—why, I have no idea.  Maybe it
is a generation thing but I always had this uncomfortable feeling which grew more with some of the encounters that I
shall now relate to you.

Okay now looking back I can see the funny side.
I hope you will, too.

I shall start with my New
York lady. First let me explain that most of the dating sites have a icon you
can click on to show that you are interested in the person without going the
full hog and writing a message. These icons have various names from a straight
forward "Like" to more seductive label like

Anyway I digress.  My New Yorker appeared
when I saw a profile for an American in Paris. Yes I thought, an
American in Paris.  How romantic. How
Hollywood. So I clicked the, "wink" icon. Now these icons are double
edged swords as some women see them as a " Cop out.”  They think, if
he is that interested then he should write a scintillating message to court me.

Well she obviously didn't think that way as I
received a "wink" back.  This
lead to some messages and our first Skype.

The first thing I noticed was her accent.  I would
describe it as a high pitched Woody Allen; a nasal New York accent that one
hears in the American films and TV shows.

The conversation had
the normal pleasantries and small talk. I asked where in Paris she lived and
was quite bewildered when she said she was in New York. I said I was sure the
site said she was in Paris.  Oh yes it
does, she informed me, I want to meet an English speaking Frenchman.

I did meet half the bill, I spoke English and
as I lived in France, and as I suspect I was the best offer she had had, I
would do as second best to a Frenchman. Not very flattering to a Brit I can
assure you.

It seems that she had lots of friends in France
and thought it would be great to fly over and get driven around France.
By the end of the first Skype she was virtually
booking her flight to Paris whilst I was back peddling like crazy. I needed an

This was presented to me on the second Skype.
She started off by informing me that she had
issues. (Now in American speak "Issues" are real bad news). Are you
good at spelling, she asked. Not bad, I lied, why? I can't stand bad spelling, she replies, I divorced my last husband because he was
so bad at spelling. Bloody hell, I thought. 
Why had my pride said I wasn't bad when I could have just told the truth
that I'm crap at spelling?

Americans are well known for being direct,
straight talkers.  Unlike us Brits, they
say it as it is, which is good.  But I
wasn't expecting what came next!

I have another issue:  Are you Jewish? No I'm Church of England.
Next was the weirdest conversation. Have you been circumcised, she asked.

Wow, did I hear her correctly?

Pardon what did you say, giving me time to at least think of what to say. She repeated the
question. Hey lady, we have only Skyped for a max of 45 minutes! That is not a
question that a lady asks a gentleman. Certainly not an English gentleman.
Without answering directly I said, "Why do you ask"? Her reply
astounded me, "I don't think I could give head to someone that has not
been circumcised" I must have looked
shocked or something as she went on to explain what giving head was.

My immediate thought was, Well I haven't asked
you you brazen Hussy and we have only Skyped twice, how many times would one need to Skype to be comfortable with that conversation? I know I was shocked and most properly 
embarrassed as well. 

Gathering my composure I explained that when I
said I wasn't a bad speller I really meant that I was not good at spelling and
that the issues were really deal breakers and we
should look else where........Whew! Escaped!

Let me tell you about the attractive Russian.  Since she was
in France, not far from me, I deduced that she had a visa, therefore permission to stay in France.

She spoke Russian and French.  We met a couple of times and had pleasant moments though I was confused
about why she was living in France. I put it down to a language problem, though
I did understand when she repeatedly told me that she wouldn't sleep with me
till we were married. I found that strange as our meetings had consisted of a
trip round a museum, coffee and a hike up a mountain.

Perhaps it was Russian humour or she knew the reputation
us British have as wonderful lovers and was fighting an over whelming desire to
jump into bed with me.

Sadly I discovered that her visa was about to
expire and it was my passport more than my body she was after...........I wish
I could have understood the Russian words that were shouted down the phone when
I declined to accompany her to the immigration department in Paris.  Or perhaps not!

My final bad experience concerned a Californian
It started well, sort of, “I am only looking
for a friend.” That suited me:  A cyber
pal, the 21st Century version of a pen pal.

All the exchanges were via email, normal stuff,
where do you live, kids, what are your interests etc. She lived in a gated
community and seemed to play cards most of the day.
The emails from her started to get a little
flirtatious, then salacious, then down right pornographic. Then they had porno
attachments and links, some of which my ISP refused to accept.  Time to change my email address I think!

I had this vision of a little old lady living
in a care home getting her kicks from writing dirty emails to guys on the other
side of the world. Bizarre!

I'm sorry people but you will have to wait for
my next blog to find out how I found great people and true love on line and how
my life
magically changed forever.

Yes it is possible.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Hi Everybody,

I have had a number of comments on the type face I have been using, that it is difficult to read.
If you have any preferences or suggestions please leave a comment.

Next blog due shortly so keep watching.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The World of Internet Dating!

As I mentioned in my last blog,  this one is about my adventure into the world of, "Internet Dating "

Cyber love!

If you have read my first blog you will have seen that I was living alone in my old house in rural France.  Now I don't want you to think that I didn't have any friends. I had, still have some wonderful ones who saw me through my darkest days.  Still, in the middle of winter I was felling very lonely.

A friend came from London to stay for a week and it was he that suggested that I go, "Online". I had this idea that there was something weird, not quite the done thing about it. I wouldn't say that I thought it perverted but something desperate people did.

He had met his wife online, (they were in the process of getting divorced at the time, funny enough) and also his current girlfriend. Not quite the best advertisement for the process but what he said made sense: No way was I going to meet anyone living in the area I was and really could I see myself going to Toulouse, the nearest city, to hang around pubs and bars?

He showed me the site he was on and as he was scrolling through the females‘ profiles At first, I felt like a voyeur, a peeping tom.  But, as I read the profiles I realised that these were ordinary people looking for friends, some hoping that it would lead to love and long term relationships.

I thought let's give it a go, I wasn't actually sold on the idea, I didn't tell anyone as there was still some embarrassment in my mind.

What site to choose? Dating sites all say that they are free.  Not one for reading the small print, I thought, well it's not going to cost anything.  Let's see what's available.

I choose a French site, living in France it made sense, since I lived there.  The next big hurdle was filling in their questionnaire and writing a profile. How hard do you sell your self?  Is pushy good or the more modest approach?  Then of course comes choice of photos--ones that flatter leading to massive disappointment if you actually meet someone?  Or true to life and fear that it will be a deal breaker.

I posted my profile in both French and English.  The photos were recent ones and were actually of me, not of Brad Pitt. I sat back and waited for a flood of hits! It doesn't quite work like that, of course I got some woman interested in me, however as my expertise in online dating increased I realised that these initial contacts are generated by the site as part of getting you hooked into it.

You see 99.9% of these sites are not free, they are free to register but to reply to a response you have to pay. Each site has different ways of parting you with your cash.  Some charge just a simple fee, while others break it down-- so much to send cyber kisses, more if it's cyber bouquets etc.

Of course you want to respond.  That’s why you went online and of course the ego wants to see who you have pulled!

I started to send messages to various people that I liked, mostly based on their profile but human nature as it is I couldn't help putting a lot of store in the photos.

On the French site, which was pretty terrible though at that stage I didn't realise it, I received lots of spurious contacts. The old adage, " if it looks too good to be true it is" is worth remembering. When you are getting messages from 20 something year olds with a photo looking like a super model telling you that they have fallen madly in love with you from reading your profile, something is not quite right!  I had quite a few of those, as well as the normal scammers trying to get you to send money.

 The site was poorly policed that's for sure, though amongst all the sort of crap that was going on I did meet up with some nice ladies, I suppose they were coffee dates, allowing us to check each other out. Very low key dating but at least it was getting me out of my rut.  It was giving me a reason to put on smart clothes and interact with other humans.

As I said it was all low key.  No love at first sight-- n fact no one really floated my boat.  An initial contact some emails, phone calls, coffee and goodbye.

One of these meetings taught me that though a picture might paint a thousand words it might not be accurate! The case in point was a lunch date with a lady in Toulouse. I arrived at the restaurant early and took a table that had a view of the car park.  That way, I would be in a good place to abort the operation if necessary. I was sitting there when this old lady joined me.  I was about to say, "Sorry I'm waiting for someone", when she said my name and introduced herself.  Being the perfect English gentleman I kept a stiff upper lip and engaged in polite conversation til the opportunity arose to mention that her age and look didn't match her profile. Her reply without a hint of embarrassment was, 

    "La photo est un vieux mensonge d'one et tous les femmes sur leur âge, ils ne sont pas"
    The photo is old and all woman lie about their age, is that not so?”  Difficult to argue with French logic!

These were my early days of online dating and I was on a sharp learning curve, the other problem is that a lot of the dating sites are owned by one parent company so you get inundated with three other sites trying to get you signed up.

In part two I will explain how I found a wonderful truly free site that changed my life .  You won’t believe the crazy experiences I had!

Stay tuned.

Thursday, January 8, 2015


I was going to write about online dating but I have been hijacked by something called a "Cleanse". 
As I write this I'm in day six of a seven and a half day cleanse. Let me explain.  As we were eating and drinking our way through the holiday season and beating ourselves up over all the delicious, but not very healthy food and drink we were consuming, my wife made a statement that on the 2nd January we would do a "Cleanse”. I, the new adventurous me, with my open mind said, "fine lets do it," not really relaxing what a cleanse was.

Well my friends, I did understand that it was some kind of detox, diet thing, but I was not quite prepared for the intensity of this cleanse.

It started with the shopping list and I found myself pushing a cart round one of these organic type supermarkets loading it up with crates of organic tomato juice, jars of organic sauerkraut, flagons of organic apple juice and tons of organic grapefruit. (Pause while I drink my hourly cup of some type of organic juice).

There were other items needed, kilos of sea salt, baking powder and apple vinegar. Everything in the shopping trolley except black strap molasses. 
There was a secret ingredient that arrived by post from somewhere in New Mexico, made by a Native American medicine woman in her teepee. Romantically that's what I would like to think, but in truth came from a Homeopath. 

The cleanse, or this cleanse consists of starting the day with, what was delightfully called a "Morning tonic” which is made with a mixture of sauerkraut and tomato juice, followed an hour later by a broth made with tomato juice and herbs. Then for the next 3 days you alternate every hour with the broth and freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. On day four you can add Apple juice into the equation, then fruit on day six.
There other enjoyable rituals, like for the first five days before going to bed you drink a mixture of olive oil and grapefruit juice.  Yummy! And soak in a bath of ether sea salt and baking soda or Apple cider vinegar.
Keeping the best bit to last, during the cleanse you give your self a minimum of three enemas of black strap molasses and water.

Now for me anything like this is deeply personal, to be kept within the family, not to be spoken about. So imagine my shock when my wife asked the shop assistant where she could find the molasses and when the woman asked what we wanted it for and my wife said proudly, "We're doing a Cleanse "' when I expected some other reason to be given to keep the "Secret"! Though, for the life of me I have no idea what one uses black strap molasses for.

You see I was ignorant of the fact that it seems that all Americans do a "Cleanse" of one kind or another and most of these there is a need to stick something up ones bottom and drink weird concoction. In fact it's not a taboo subject but on the contrary it's a conversation piece: “Shall we meet up?”  "Yes what a great idea, but not this week as we are doing a 'Cleanse’.” " Great I did mine last week, which one are you doing etc. etc. as details and results are exchanged.

Who would believe that I would be sitting in Hawaii doing a "Cleanse" with my beautiful wife, not I for sure. You see that's what an open mind and an adventurous spirit allows you to do.
Don't tell anyone but I am really feeling so great, I've lost all that holiday seasons weight and have loads of energy.

Time for another juice.

Stay tuned for online romance.