Every week Frank Leavers our man with the dirty Mac and half empty glass of inexpensive vino is looking at what lies just below the sophisticated gloss of island life. Come on folks; tell our Frank what’s really happening in Mallorca.
In this ‘Confidential’ column of mine today, I was determined not to mention ‘you-know-what’ even in passing as I think we’ve all heard quite enough of ‘It’ recently don’t you? So then, onward and upward! A fascinating survey has recently revealed what the Great British public have regretted most over the course of their lives. The answers range from the everyday - as in, worrying too much about almost everything, to the majorly significant; such as marrying the wrong person. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, what struck me was the number of small scale regrets quoted, rather than the big one’s I suspect that most of us try to hide, yet keep us occasionally awake at night. The survey gamely gallops around the course of minor miseries, such as - not exercising - losing touch with old friends and spending too much money at Christmas - but in my experience - the one’s that really trouble us (regrets that is!) are mostly those we rarely speak about. It’s often said that most regrets revolve around what we didn’t do in our lives, rather than what we did do, and what is more, I think that’s an easy truism that most people could agree with.
The trouble with this theory, is the fact that many of us have rather suspect memories. So that, for every 50 year-old who regrets not seeing much of his children when they were growing up because of work pressures, there will be those of us who will be off on a flight of fancy regarding super models being cruelly knocked-back at a Bolton nightspot, or football clubs ignoring the gleaming jewel in they midsts and forcing our hero out of his local clubs Under 12’s Development Squad.
Naturally enough, as an equal-opportunities columnist the above fantasies are as likely to be ‘regretted’ by women as by men - but it has to be said that the female of the species are much better at disguising their delusions. Interestingly, in the list of regrets one that stood out amongst the bleeding obvious was that of - ‘Not learning to play a musical instrument.’ I think we all regret that don’t we? However, when given the chance to learn piano - clarinet - violin on a Saturday morning session with Miss Melody Tuning-Fork, most of us would either throw a ‘sickie’ or cry so much that Mum wouldn’t let you leave the house. I tried learning the guitar, but quite honestly I was still a long way away from usurping - The Who’s, Pete Townsend, when I finally gave up, even though I could do that windmill thing with my playing arm.
“DO YOU SPEAK SPANISH UNCLE FRANK?”
However, stand-by dear reader for the biggest regret of them all - apart that is, from marrying the wrong person. Ta-da! - numero uno in the list of biggest regrets of Brits is…not learning a foreign language. What can one say? My nephews girlfriend (now wife) when they came to stay with us for a short stay the other summer, set aside time for a couple of weeks before she travelled to learn some Spanish. Nice girl that she is, she proclaimed to an increasingly nervous host that she thought it would be “Only good manners” to be able to make herself understood by both her hosts and those who live within our local community. Bugger, bugger, bugger! What to do, come on what to do? Julie was alright, because her Spanish (don’t start on about Mallorcan or Catalan please!) is both serviceable and competent - even though she does sound slightly Chinese when speaking it if you ask me. Anyway, when we greeted her, she thanked us for our hospitality and kindness in halting Spanish; Julie replied splendidly for us both in measured Castilian as I stood slightly behind her nodding and smiling inanely, as one does on these occasions. “Do you speak some Spanish uncle Frank?” inquired my little s*** of a nephew, knowing full well that I’ve always suffered badly in the foreign linguistic department, and given my age it wasn’t going to get any better some time soon, now was it? But there you are - we Brits, certainly the younger ones, would still like to learn to speak a foreign language - and let’s hope that unlike their parents, they won’t regret that they didn’t into middle age and beyond.
POSTING A BOAST? PLEASE STOP IT
As that song goes - “And so this is Christmas and a Happy New Year,” it was John and Yoko I think, but never mind all that guff - are you surviving it all? Yes, I am as well, just about, as some would have it - as we struggle to maintain a certain amount of sanity given the current situation. First of all, making a wild guess, this year we have received approximately 8 (eight) Christmas cards from our loved ones and those who profess to like us. In another decade, we would be struggling to find space for our cards, but at the moment they have been artfully arranged around the surface directly in front of the small television in our kitchen/diner. Normally, I am not a pedant, but in return for at least 37 (thirty-seven) cards sent out, I think that a measly eight in return is a bit of a poor show don’t you? If you have received one of our expensively purchased cards, yet have not been bothered to send one in return - that’s it, never again. As someone who has really nice handwriting, I was always in demand before Christmas to write cards as my ‘copperplate’ approach was incredibly classy. But, if you just want to send a selfie of yourselves along with your charming children via social-media, telling all who wish to know that you will be sending the money you’ve saved, in not buying Christmas cards to those who have sent you one - to a donkey sanctuary, I will personally hate you even more. This practice is known as “Posting a Boast,” You have been warned! Good eh, not one mention of Covid-19 - Oh Bugger!