Ali Chrisp’s career has included teaching aerobics in the early 1980s (often demonstrating death-defying lunges and squats on a dangerously wobbly trestle table!), working as a sales negotiator in a local estate agent, then spending twenty-three years as a civil servant. For the last five and a half years she has been working part-time as a personal assistant to a lady with Alzheimer’s.
Ali is a real animal lover and the proud owner of Lola, a bonkers, mud-loving Labradoodle, and Winnie, a feisty rescue cat. She lives with her husband and their semi-feral teenage son who lurks in a dark corner of the house. He is mainly nocturnal, coming out to forage when the house is quiet and leaving a trail of destruction behind him. She wouldn’t change him for the world though. More at www.alichrisp.co.uk
Hooray! It’s that time of year again when you start to daydream about the lovely summer holiday that you’ve booked. When the time comes, you’ll pack your suitcase, get on the plane and spend a week or two feeling thoroughly pampered and relaxed, right?
WRONG! By the second day, little things will already be winding you up and you’ll suddenly remember what holidays are really like. Here are my top 15 holiday niggles:
- Children who constantly kick the back of your seat on the plane, making you want to grab onto their ankles for the entire flight.
- Pretending to be fast asleep whenever the ‘fun’ entertainment reps prowl around, bullying innocent victims into doing pilates, aqua-aerobics or darts.
- Body builders wearing tiny, colourful Speedos who strut around the pool then hog the steps just when you want to get out. Observe them closely and you’ll see that they never actually get in the water all holiday. They just pose.
- Overweight men in Speedos who sit on the side of the pool with their legs apart, displaying things that you just don’t want to see when you’re licking your rocket-shaped ice lolly.
- Feeling your heart sink when you go in search of the much-hyped evening entertainment, only to find it’s a man on a keyboard singing Stevie Wonder’s ‘Isn’t She Lovely.’
- Discovering that a new extended family has arrived and that they shout loudly to each other from their balconies. They’re the same lot who take over the pool by sitting on each other’s shoulders, dive bombing and constantly throwing a ball all the way from the shallow end to the deep end.
- Avoiding hung-over people who float around on menacing inflatable sharks, feigning innocence when they bump into you. Never mind – you didn’t want to keep your eyes and hair dry anyway!
- Having to endure that irritating person on the sunbed behind you, who shouts out nearly every crossword clue from their puzzle magazine. Resisting the urge to shout out, ‘B U blank blank E R space blank F F.’
- Noisy neighbours whose headboard bangs increasingly louder and faster against the wall in the middle of the night. Explaining this to your inquisitive child.
- People in the room below who seem to move all the furniture around for 30 minutes at 5.30am.
- People in the room above who walk around in clicky-clacky stilettos at 2.30am.
- Avoiding ‘hairy torpedoes’ - men who power up and down the pool with their faces in the water, taking out toddlers and pensioners in their wake.
- Having a sudden attack of ‘holiday tummy’, and desperately running back to your room, only to find that two maids are in there cleaning and chatting.
- Trying not to thump the people who have just thrown stones at the funny-looking stray cat or dog you’ve ‘adopted’ for the whole holiday.
- Having to smile sweetly at the couple next to you, who have just opened three parasols, putting you in complete shade.
Jo Longford's life takes an unexpected turn when her bosses wrongly accuse her of stealing from a client. Suddenly, she needs to find a new job and a new home for herself and ten-year-old son, Tom. Not to mention their small menagerie of badly behaved pets.
Her selfish mum isn't much help; obsessed with keeping up appearances, nothing her daughter does is ever good enough for her. But at least Jo can rely on best friend Val for support. They've been getting themselves into mischief since they were teenagers, and that includes joining a cringeworthy dating agency and an eventful school reunion. Some things never change!
Life certainly doesn’t get any easier for Jo. Will she be able to fend off her sex-mad landlord – a retired businessman who struts around in Lycra and thinks he’s God’s gift to women? Are her new employer and quirky clients at the Handy Jobs Domiciliary Care Agency all they seem?
And will Jo ever be able to sort out her chaotic love life when two equally unsuitable men gatecrash her world?
If you want to know what Tanya thought about Ali's novel Home Comforts then make sure you pop back to the blog at lunchtime to read her guest review.