Tuesday, May 15, 2007


I thought I'd post something happier about my Mum today, so here she is in the lovely Ligurian town of Alassio: It was 1984 and I was going through one of my less felicitous financial periods, so to cheer myself up, I started entering consumer slogan competitions. An Italian company had just brought out wine boxes containing enough for two glasses and slogans were invited which extolled the convenience of the invention:
"It's wine for two
with less ado"
I scribbled on the form, sent it off and forgot about it. You had to buy one of the wine boxes to enter and Mum thought this was a dreadful waste of money as I am a g and t, rather than a wine lady. Imagine my surprise when, two months later, a letter arrived informing me that I had won a two-week holiday for two in Alassio, plus spending money! "Who are you taking with you?" asked Mum. "You, of course", I replied. We danced around to Italian music that evening, for my Mum belonged to a generation that did not, as a matter of course, holiday abroad and she'd never thought she would see Italy! See it she did that year and she came to understand why I loved it.

After that I went in for slogan competitions in a big way, for I have never been a lady who does things by halves! I'd scour the supermarkets for the latest competition leaflets, bought the "Competitors' Journal" and bought the products whose labels you needed to enclose with your entries. [I did some very weird cooking in those days, using up all these foodstuffs which I would not normally buy!] I started winning to the extent that it became a standard joke in my school [a different one, where I was happier]. "Hello, Pat, what have you won today?" the Head would ask each morning. Among the items I won were:
a microwave
a case of Budweiser [which I sold to a neighbour, then bought some gin with the proceeds]
a set of Le Creuset pans which I have brought to Sicily with me
restaurant meals
concert tickets
designer jeans
£250 Habitat vouchers [with which I bought a smart desk which has also accompanied me to Sicily]
a hairdryer and "2 years' supply of lacquer"
- And those are just the items I can remember!

Sadly, this type of competition became harder to find during my last few years in Britain: it was all prize draws or "click and win" - no fun at all!

Incidentally, I never let Mum forget that she'd said buying that wine box was a "waste of money"!


James Higham said...

Fabulous post, Welshcakes and I think you do her proud. Also, you're getting better and better.

Liz Hinds said...

Lovely photos. And what amazing plunder!

elleeseymour said...

What a dear mum, she looks very happy there, you did have some fun times together.

S B said...

Hahaha! Very good. I take a more negative approach to win things. The slightest fault to a product I buy, and I return it. You would be amazed at the amount of 'apologies' that I have received. The best so far was 6 months supply of any Mars snack of my choice! Brilliant!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thank you, James. That encourages me. Hi, Liz. I was pleased with my plunder! Sometimes I wish I'd brought my microwave over. I gave it to an asylum seeker student of mine. It would probably have caused the electricity system here to cut out, anyway! Ellee, yes, she was and we did, but we also fought like cats! Steven, what a good idea! I must try it here - only it would take about 25 years to get a response! Well done, you!

Lee said...

What wonderful prizes you have won, Welsh! And what a surprise the trip to Italy must have been! Great!

I'm flat out winning an argument with my two cats! ;)

Lee said...

Lovely pics of your mother, by the way. It's nice to see the lady you write so lovingly about. :)

Eurodog said...

Nice pictures of your mother. It sounds like a happy memory.

Chris at 'Chrissie's Kitchen' said...

Hi, WCL. Have just caught up with you again. Reading this post induced a touch of nostalgia - it was to Alassio that I went with my parents when aged 14, & the 1st time I had been abroad. My father was so entranced by Italy that he bought the complete set of BBC Learn Italian records & made my mother talk at breakfast every day in Italian. He learned to speak it quite well.

Ruthie said...

What a lovely story, and what a wonderful time you must have had with your mother.

Slogan competitions seem right up your alley. :)

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Hi, Lee. I take it you won?! Thanks re the pictures. Hi, eurodog. Yes, it's one of my happiest memories of her. Hi, Lizzie. Yes, I loved Alassio. That was very enterprising of your father.

Anonymous said...

Not sure how I missed this one. Blame it on the rain. I like it. I tend to enter things when I find a form that needs to be filled out, but sad to say. I just don't have your luck.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ruthie, yes, I did enjoy these competitions! Steve, thank you. As my Dad would say, "You've got to be in to win!" - so have a go!

Lee said...

With the cats, yes, mostly I win! There has been a rare time or two, I've not! ;)

jmb said...

Hi Welshcakes, I'm still catching up after getting back. What a clever slogan and weren't you good at it with all the prizes. I won't say lucky because you are talented.
Lovely pictures of your Mum, it's good to see her in happier days.
I haven't read the other post yet, I'm saving it to give it it's due and I got hung up on Miss Simi's travel adventures.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Lee, I can't imagine you not winning an argument - even with cats! Thank you, jmb. It's good to have you back safely. Glad you like "the travels of Simi"!

Maria said...

You never cease to amaze me! You won Le Creuset! I am sooooooooo very jealous!!!!! There I have said it... I covet your Le Creuset! lol

All the best!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Ciao, M! Yes, I'm very proud of my Le Creuset pans and I swear food tastes different when cooked in them! Love from Simi and me in Sicily.


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