My parents (Dad is 80 and Mum 68) have just returned from two weeks in Israel. They stayed in backpacker hostels and walked their way around Jerusalem. I tell you - I think they have more get up and go than I do. Apart from being horribly jealous, we prayed every night that they would be safe, well and the weather would not be too hot for them.
Whenever Mum and Dad go away, we receive post cards from them which delights Ellie and Harri. They regularly check the mailbox and there is much excitement in the house when a new one arrives. Not long after they return from their trip, a parcel arrives for us which is full of goodies and little treasures and this is met with so much enthusiasm that I often wait until the kids are in bed before opening it (wicked, horrible mummy!!!)
This time our parcel contained brochures form the hostel they stayed in, maps of Jerusalem with walking tracks marked out, a beautiful poster from Israel Ministry of Tourism depicting various fruits from the Bible, the obligatory fridge magnets, pens for the children with "I love Jerusalem" written on them, a small terracotta oil lamp for Nev, and a small, handmade tapestry bag for me which I absolutely love.
When I rang Mum to thank her for the gifts, she started to giggle and Mum's giggle is so infectious that I started giggling right along with her. I had no idea what we were giggling about which made me laugh more, and then Mum laughed harder (I think she was really tired) which made me worse and ....well you can see where this is heading can't you. After we had a decent cackle and wiping the tears from my eyes, I said "so what was that all about?"
Mum went on to tell me that she had seriously haggled over the price of the handbag with a Jewish man on the streets of Jerusalem. (This in itself is a pretty major event as Mum never likes to cause a fuss over anything) What had happened was that Mum had gone out on her own one afternoon and the shopkeeper had seen her eyeing off the handbag and had immediately started pushing her to buy it. Mum quite honestly tried to tell the man that she didn't have any money on her (Dad had it all in his wallet back in the hostel) and the more Mum tried to explain, the more the man dropped the price. "I let him keep going until I had an absolute bargain and then I said I'll take it", said Mum in between giggles.
I can just see it - my dear little Mum being all brave and having a go at haggling with a professional, and coming out the winner. She probably walked back to the hostel to get the money from Dad feeling really proud of herself. Well I'm proud of you too Mumsy - and I think the little bag (which I really do love) will always make me giggle. Thanks for that Mum!