Thursday, 19 July 2012

Morning has broken (Morning IS broken)

On a work morning my husband sets his alarm clock for 7.00am.  When it goes off at 7.00am he gets up.  Did you hear what I just said.  I'll say it again. When his alarm goes off. He gets up.


Not only does he get up, he collects a clean towel and heads for the bathroom, where he has a shower.  Just like that! Straight away, he just goes and gets in the shower.


Then he goes downstairs and takes the dog out for a walk. On this walk he actually talks to people who are also up. The actual exchanging of pleasantries, whilst out with the dog.  Imagine that.

He then comes in, and makes himself some toast, which he eats whilst watching the news. He actually sits down, on the sofa, with toast, ON A PLATE, and watches the headlines.

Then he goes to work and its still only 7.45am.  Only 45minutes since the alarm went off.

I find this kind of behaviour very suspicious. It makes me uneasy. Even after years and years I still find this creepy. He is like a weird morning stepford wife, springing forth from his bed ready to get on with the day. Heading out all showered and dressed and CHEERFUL to stand in a field making PLEASANT conversation with other dressed people.

I believe these people to be freaks of nature.

So lets go back to the soothing 'ERK ERK ERK ERK ERK' of the alarm. As we've already established  husband is already in the shower before the 6th 'ERK' is heard. I have two choices available to me I can either: Get up or go back to sleep.  I bet you can guess which I do.  The snooze button is my friend.  I am however an experienced snoozer.  The alarm clock is too primitive for me. I already have pre-prepared a complex series of alarms on my phone.

The series of alarms allow me to sleep for a further 13 minutes, then I will allow myself a further ten minutes of sleep however this sleep will be broken into 5 lots of 2 minutes, where I will allow myself the luxury of pressing snooze 5 times.  Incidentally, it is during this complicated series of micro sleeps that I have my most vivid and terrifying dreams.

So where are we.  Oh yes.  Its now 7.23am. I have stolen another 23 minutes in bed.  I now have a major decision to make. 


Last night I looked at my hair and thought the following:
  • Dear god I'm starting to look like Ian Beale
This morning, at 7.23am, without looking in the mirror I thought this:
  • Washing your hair too regularly strips it of its natural oil
  • It doesn't feel too bad (I assess this by how it feels on my head, not by actually touching it)
  • It won't look too bad if I tie it up
  • Thank you god for dry shampoo
(I did once have an unpleasant experience after running out of dry shampoo. I decided to sprinkle some talc on my hair and brush it through. However I clearly didn't effectively remove it from my scalp, and after getting a bit too warm at work, the talc mixed with my perspiration and I found that I had a thick white paste in my hair. I created quite a stir I can tell you!)

So having decided not to wash my hair I can get away with another 6 minutes of sleep/snooze/sleep/snooze/sleep/ snooze (3 lots of 2 minutes). When the 6 minutes are up I know I have to get up, shower and get ready. 

I go and wake the children (both completely normal, no leaping from bed, being all ALERT and weird) and start to head for the shower. 

Now this is where things get weird. I check the clock and it's 7.32am. I am sat on the edge of the bed, ready to leap crawl to the bathroom. I stand up and make my move.  I look at the clock again and its 7.56am and I'm still in the bedroom, still unshowered. I think very hard about where the last 24 minutes have gone and realise that I couldn't possibly have got in the shower as I had been doing very important things:

  • Looked at my feet and thought about what colour I might paint my toenails next
  • Looked for a navy blue nail varnish that I remember buying in approximately 2005
  • Wondered if my excessive tiredness is down to having ME. 
  • Google the symptoms of ME and self diagnose myself
  • Notice there is dust in the back of my hairdryer
  • Pick the dust out of the back of my hairdryer
  • Wonder how much dust I would have if I'd saved all of the dust out of my hairdryer
  • Look out of the window paying particular attention to the sky
  • Think I spot a rain cloud
  • Google the days weather
  • Notice a new freckle on my arm
  • Take a photo of the new freckle
  • Look at the picture of the freckle and wonder if there was any point in taking a photo of it
  • Think about crisps
  • Think about dips that go best with crisps
  • Wonder how easy it is to make your own guacamole
  • Google recipes for guacamole
  • Make mental shopping list for lemons and avocados
  • Look at the clock and crap myself when I realise I have just wasted 24 minutes.
Only at this point do I actually start to do what I should be doing.

My shower takes me only minutes, however I don't have time to wash my hair.  When I get out of the shower I have a quick glance in the mirror and am not really surprised to see Ian Beale peering back at me.

I manage to get myself dressed and apply some make up in approximately 29.6 seconds.  I look at the clock again and realise that in fact I took a touch longer to dress and apply my make up than I initially estimated.  It is now 8.24am


I realise with horror that:

  • Neither of the boys are dressed
  • No one has any lunch
  • I am supposed to fill the car with petrol
  • Instead of doing just lipstick, powder and lipgloss, I have applied make up that Lady GaGa would be proud of (how did I not know I was doing this)
I decide the best course of action is to just shout a lot, so I shout at the boys and tell them to go and get dressed.  They grumble but do as they're told.  They both however seem to be reluctant to finish watching the episode of the Simpsons they are watching.  Actually I don't blame them, its a really good one, I haven't seen it for ages. 


I rush around the kitchen frantically looking for things for lunch.  I decide there is no time for sandwiches so I throw buttered bread, ham and some lettuce in a bag and decide that today everyone will be having deconstructed sandwiches. I also give the boys an apple and a chocolate biscuit. I will tell the boys that we are having a build your own sandwich day.  The 8 year old will suck this up, the 16 year old will eat in on the way to school and then buy chips at lunchtime.  I'm ok with that.

I get us all arranged in the living room, bundle the boys into the car and give the chip pan thats on my head another spray with dry shampoo.

I check the clock again.  Its 8.54am.  Only 2 hours since the alarm went off.  We're like a well oiled machine. I congratulate myself for being so speedy this morning.

Off to work to relax.

Fifty shades of ridiculous

So we've all read the hype.

Apparently if you're female and between the ages of 16 and 95 you're not really a woman unless you've read 50 shades of grey.

Failure to read this book means that you are technically dead from the waist down. You are in fact 'frigid'. You are incapable of any kind of sexual pleasure. You lie prone in your bed at night, dreading the very touch of your inexperienced husband. You have given up on wearing pyjama's and have taken to sleeping wrapped in a rug, to ensure there is no inappropriate touching.

Failure to read this book means that effectively you and your other half are living as brother and sister. You'd rather have a scone and do a sudoku than have a snog and a fumble.

Having heard this I decided that I should definitely read 50 shades of grey. My sudoku habit (20 a day at the moment, but I'm on patches) does not make me frigid..

I decided to download it on my phone, rather than buy the book. My thinking being I could drip with pleasure in private, whilst looking like I was reading the daily mail online (in hindsight I'm actually more ashamed about being seen reading the daily mail in public than 50 shades of grey)

So before I read it, I read some reviews about it:

  • Claire from Oxford:  Good grief, its delightfully dirty!
  • Camilla from Chipping Norton: Blimey, one nearly fell off ones pony whilst reading it!
  • Cilla from Liverpool: Surprise, surprise...The unexpected hit me between the eyes....then between the legs...
  • Christine from Middlesbrough: Effing hell, I'm proper chuffed I never threw away me skipping rope and table tennis bat...pulling me knickers down as I type....Waynes right up for it
So I started reading.

It seems that the story is based around S&M (not to be mistaken with M&S) The first one is one person dominating, and giving pain to another. The second one is a person wanting to buy jumpers, candles and smoked salmon while the other one sulks.

It started off a bit on the bland side then got a bit ruder. He'd started tying her up and inflicting a bit of apparently pleasurable pain.

At this point I contemplated bringing a length of wood and a tennis racket out of the garage and hiding them in the wardrobe.  What could possibly be more erotic that waking up my husband at 4am with a hefty smack around his head with a table leg.  Just as he's coming round I would tie him up with my dressing gown cord, straddle him (erotically) while repeatedly belting him over the the head with a tennis racket.  I'm sure he'd be writhing in pleasure (convulsing with serious head injuries) by this point.

Some of the 'sexy' traits of the female lead character is biting her lip and rolling her eyes. The male lead character finds it desperately and distractingly erotic and deals with it by punishing her for being dreadfully naughty. 

Feeling sure my husband would react in the same manner I decided to start biting my lip and rolling my eyes too.

Husband: Did you empty the hoover
Me: No, I forgot
Husband: For gods sake
Me: Sorry *bites my lip and rolls my eyes*
Husband:  Are you OK *shouting* ARE YOU OK, ARE YOU HAVING A STROKE

Once the ambulance had gone, I admitted I was attempting to be erotic.

Only then did he punch me in the face.

Finally we're getting somewhere.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The nations favourite - just NOT mine!

As I write this post I am well aware that I am quite possibly going to become a figure of hatred. I will be stoned outside of the supermarket at spat at in the office. People will post dog poo through my letterbox and the woman in the canteen will wipe bogies in my sandwich (Yes in my mind everyone behaves like they’re 5).  Writing what I’m about to write is tantamount to admitting my new eye cream is made from the lungs of puppies or in my spare time I paint pictures using my menstrual blood. Writing what I’m about to write will make you wonder what kind of person I really am?

I do, it’s true I hate them. I’m sick to bloody death of them and this countries fascination with them, Even the name irritates’s so sodding twee and American.  I also hate how they reduce normally sensible women into gushing halfwits (they are no doubt filling bags with dog poo while I’m talking).
Let’s look at your standard cupcake, firstly, I don’t care how much you like cake, they are too big! There is too much cake in a cupcake; secondly they are very often dry. The bakers of the cupcakes won’t know this, because they NEVER EVER eat the cupcakes they bake. They just force them onto other people.  There is an annoying thing that happens with cupcakes, they are often that dry that as you’re chewing they form into a giant mush which wedges itself firmly into the roof of your mouth. This means that you are rendered incapable of speech, any thoughts you had of commenting on the dryness of the sponge are pushed from your mind as you consider the real possibility you are about to choke to death. 
Then there’s the icing, swirling piles of sickly, often fluorescent icing. No self respecting baker of cupcakes would leave it at the cake and the icing. It is imperative that ‘things’ are shoved into/sprinkled onto the icing. Buttons and bows and sprinkles. Flowers and leaves and sweeties. The cuter the better.
  • Bacon bits
  • A Yorkshire pudding
  • Liver (in fact any offal will be frowned upon)
  • Shake and Vac
  • Animal droppings
  • Anything marked ‘warning poison’ or ‘highly flammable’ (unless you are going for something more of a ‘novelty’ cupcake)

 The huge pile of icing and ‘stuff’ makes it almost logistically impossible to eat.  If you do manage to get the cake in your mouth, there’s a very good chance that the icing is going to go up your nose. At this point it’s highly likely that you’re already choking on a ball of cake, and to add insult to injury you can no longer breathe. Apparently cupcake related deaths are on the rise, this is why.
So I’ve told you why I can’t stand the cake, and I hate the icing but we haven’t discussed flavours and colours.  Apparently it is illegal to call cupcakes simply ‘orange’ or ‘chocolate’; you have to give them elaborate and ridiculous names.  Should you break this rule you’ll be stripped naked and lined up in front of 10 hysterical, pre-menopausal women, who will pelt you with stale cake until you are dead.
Orange:                Tangerine Dream, Satsuma Crush, Sexy Clementine, Urine Infection
Lemon:                 Citrus Twizzle, Lemon Ladyboy, Sour Jaundice
Chocolate:          Double Bubble Mocho Choco, Chocca Doopy, Poop Shute
At this point I’d like to make a suggestion.  We should remember that we aren’t American and we as a nation are damn good bakers, we should ban Cupcakes, that’s right, BAN THEM! Instead we should go back to baking the things of our childhood, that aren’t dry, or sickly or likely to suffocate you. We should consign cupcakes to the noughties and start a craze for ‘retro baking’. 
  • Butterfly cakes, with jam and a bit of butter cream, dusted with icing sugar
  • Fairy Cakes, with glace icing and hundreds and thousands, silver balls or half a cherry
  • Coconut Haystacks, made with condensed milk, shaped in eggcups
  • Rock Buns/Rock Cake, ugly little heaps of fruit studded cake, great with a cuppa
  • Maids of Honour – a pastry case filled with jam and sponge
  • Jam Tarts – sticky, jammy loveliness.
Bring them all back. Bring back Victoria sponge, and pineapple upside-down cake, and treacle tart and crispy cakes.  Let us return to our Bero book roots, America can have their 2quid a pop, cupcakes back, (oh bloody hell I’m going all independence day here, I’ll be stood on my coffee table in a minute with a megaphone), anyway you get the point. I don’t like cupcakes!
I’ll get my coat.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

A night in hospital

For those of you who’ve been keeping us with my blog you’ll be aware that I recently injured my foot in a freak accident with a jar of mayonnaise.  Well that was six weeks ago, and I’m still the proud owner of an open wound on the top of my foot, which not only looks revolting but hurts like a ‘baaaarstad’ (I said that in a comedy ‘posh’ accent!)  I’m technically swearing, but if my parents read this I can laugh it off and say, hohoho, no I wasn’t swearing as such, I was being silly.  The fact that I’m 37 and am frightened to swear in front of my parents is possibly more alarming than the giant weeping hole in my foot. It just wouldn’t go down at all well with them (Mother: There’s just no need for that kind of language/Father:  You weren’t brought up like that, you never heard it at home) which is why the most offensive curse word you will read in my blog is ‘bugger’ (you don’t want to know the words I’m really thinking)

So back to the giant weeping hole (chasm? crater? abyss? Too dramatic? Good Day to you Doctor, could you possibly take a look at my massive gulf? Dear god no!)  I took it to the GP the day before yesterday, who decided after 6 weeks to send me for an x-ray.  The x-ray people (they sound like a tribe of superheroes) ‘didn’t like the look of it’, so they sent me to another room for another x-ray. The people in this room didn’t like the look of this one either, so they sent me to A&E, who told me that they ‘really’ didn’t like the look of it (at this point I was starting to feel like a rundown boiler – I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid if the doctor shook his head, did an inward whistle and told me it was going to cost me) Anyway it turns out, they thought there was still glass in the wound so I’d need to see the consultant the following morning.

The following morning came around and saw me, sat with Phil (deserves a medal for putting up with six weeks of  extreme whinging  ‘It’s just not healing/it hurts so much’ With the extended disco version ‘I can’t c..c..c.cccan’t get my boots on’) and the strict consultant who I was arguing with.  He wasn’t  sure what exactly causing the problem in my foot however he didn’t like the look of it (really?) and wanted me to have a scan, IV antibiotics and complete elevation of the foot but ON THE WARD.

·   I can’t sleep anywhere other than my bed, with my pillow and my duvet and my husband (nurse suggests I bring my pillow and duvet but clearly draws the line at my husband)
·   I miss the boys (Yes really!!)
·    I know I snore and I don’t want to be the annoying one who keeps everyone on the ward awake ( as it happens I didn’t need to worry about this... read on)
·   I’m not comfortable using anyone else’s toilet but my own. Especially worrying as my past experience of hospitals includes everyone being packed full of laxatives ‘just in case’. I will refuse the laxatives but with only one toilet per six beds it’s almost certain they will be some kind of poo fest going on in said toilet.

Anyway my argument fell on deaf ears and I was  dispatched to Ward 31, where the nice nurse is waiting for me with a life or death question ‘Do you want a TV or not’, of course I said Yes, so I was shown to my ward and my bed, which at first glance looked to be a fairly quiet ward full of innocent looking old ladies.


I have literally sat down on the bed when the ward starts to come to life. The curtain beside my bed is semi-drawn and I hear a voice shout to me, asking if I’m new to the ward, I shout back that ‘yes, I am’. She then tells us that she broke her arm slipping on the ice and has had to have her arm re-set in surgery.  I feel a bit rotten about the curtain being drawn so I ask if she’d like me to draw it back, she thanks me and says ‘Yes please’.
I stand and draw the curtain back and she looks round and starts chatting to Phil, she asks him about the parking situation in the hospital, the traffic and the weather, she then asks me why I’m in hospital.  I can sense Phil squirming in the chair beside the bed; he is shuffling his feet and looking at the floor. I haven’t really looked at her yet so I’m not sure why he’s reacting the way he is. I decide to take stock. I start at her head, she’s a lovely grandma type, round her shoulders is a hospital gown. I look further and realise why Phil is behaving like an embarrassed teenager. She is completely swathed in blankets and gowns with the exception of one part of her body. Her left boob is completely bare and resting on her knee!
I have no problem with this, however Phil clearly does, his shuffling and muttering has reached new heights, he won’t even look up when I speak to him
 There is movement from the chair opposite, which seems to cheer Phil up, he’s been looking at the floor for 10 minutes now, this is somewhere else for him to look. I bet he wish he hadn’t.  The middle aged lady opposite, who had been sound asleep in her chair has woken and stood up. We both look at her only to discover that she is still wearing a t-shirt but the blanket round her legs is on the floor and she is naked from the waist down. 
At this point I’m convinced that Phil is about to combust with embarrassment. I stand up and try to move him so his eyes rest in a ‘safe place’.  I decide on the far corner, and just as I do so, a barely clothed woman appears from a pile of blankets and vomits noisily into one of those cardboard hats.  It’s like being in a Zombie movie everywhere you look half naked women are rising up. There are boobs popping out all over the place.
I know Phil wants to stay with me, but I do the only thing possible. I put my finger under his chin and raise his head from the floor where he’s (quite rightly) looking again. I grip his face between my hands, look him in the eye and say....
‘Go home now! This is no place for a man’
I expect an argument. I don’t get one. He pats me on the head (like I’m a Labrador) and practically runs out of the ward shouting ‘ring me when you’ve seen a doct.........’

From this point the ward goes wild, there is shouting, screaming, nudity, vomiting. The irony doesn’t escape me; I chose this bed so I could have a TV. A TV that I’m not going to be able to hear.  As soon as I see a nurse I’m going to complain and ask to be moved. I’m happy to have my stay without a TV; I just want to be in a ward with quiet, clothed people.
At this point the lady in the corner shouts out....
‘Please come here, I’m desperate for you’,
I pretend to be hard of hearing and stare at a threadbare spot on my blanket, she tries again,
‘Please come here, I’m desperate for you’,
I look around the ward to see if she is talking to anyone else, but miraculously as soon as she shouted everyone else seems to have lapsed into a coma. I therefore presume she must be talking to me.
I’m nothing if not good mannered so I approach her. She’s fairly innocent looking and as I get closer she holds her hand out to me, so I reach out too, and she grabs me, with a vice like grip.
She’s still shouting,
‘Please come here, I’m desperate for you’
I tell her I’m here, which does no good; she pulls me closer still and practically screams in my face
I’m quite scared now, she's holding my hand so hard I'm certain it's on the point of breaking.  I try to back off but she’s got hold of me that tight that if I take my hand back I’m going to pull her out of bed.  I ask her to let go, but she’s still asking me to ‘come here/desperate for me’ etc.

I'm certain I'm never going to remove her so I consider the inconvenience of managing day to day tasks/working etc with an old lady attached to my hand.  I decide it might cause a problem in my marriage (Phil comes up to bed to find an old lady between us in bed ‘This is Ethel, do your best to ignore her, she’s charming really)so I use my other hand to prise her off, before retreating to my bed.
I attempt to pull my curtain around my bed but Boobie McGee in the next bed tells me off, so I leave it where it is. The lady in the opposite bed has fallen back asleep in the chair, wearing only a t-shirt with legs akimbo and the naked vomiter is still vomiting noisily.

At this point a porter with wheelchair turns up to take me for a scan.  He says Hello to all the ladies on the ward, who all wake at the sound of a man’s voice and I am completely in awe of the fact he ignores their state of undress and goes about his work.
I return from the scan and within the hour a nurse appears, tells me I have an aggressive form of cellulitis, puts a port in my hand and starts to pump me full of IV antibiotics (disappointed its antibiotics and not crack, if I'm honest). I lie on my bed for two hours listening to the madness in the ward. 
·        End bed (Ellen)
Ellen has shouted repeatedly (amongst other things)
o   I desperately need you
o   Can you please take my hand, take my hand, take my hand
o   Will you give me a guarantee
o   I have such pain relief, I beg for your relief
o   I plead with you to give me a happy birthday (see later)
(having talked to her daughter and son when they came in they claimed their mother always went ‘a bit funny’ in hospital but was fine the rest of the time)
·        Opposite end bed (Valerie, known to the nurses as vomiting Val).
Val was in hospital due to a fractured hip and due to the medication had apparently vomited constantly since coming out of surgery. Inappropriately (as far as I’m concerned) was the birthday party her family decided to throw her during their visit. They brought with them balloons, party poppers (Ellen got over excited ‘bring me your gun’, ‘bring me your gun’, ‘bring me your gun’) and cake, which they insisted Valerie ate....The poor woman couldn’t keep a sip of water down, what on earth made them think that she’d be able to stomach a slab of Thornton’s fudge surprise. They left; we were stuck with ‘the return of the fudge slab’. Plus the foil 'happy birthday' helium balloons, which over excited Ellen.

·        Opposite Middle bed (Lillian)

Constantly shouted that she needed to go ‘wee wee’, once put on the commode by the nurses she shouted the following
o   I’m weeing, I’m WEEING....I’VE WEE’D
o   It’s coming....NURSE....IT’S COMING (comment from passing nurse ‘I’m not a sodding midwife’)
o   NURRRRRSSSSSSE......NURRRRRSSSSSE, I’m stuck in this chair (at this point Ellen (end bed/take my hand/ I’m desperate for you/I give you no guarantees) would realise that Lillian was shouting and reply ‘SHUUUUURRRRRRUPPPPPPPPPPPP’.... which would cause Boobie McGee (next bed) to shout back ‘ Ellen don’t be so bloody rude’. All this noise would cause Vomiting Val to wake up and noisily vomit. Whilst Darlo Debbie was wandering about naked from the waist down (if anyone's going to murder me in my sleep my money's on Debbie, she has the deranged look of someone who's killed before)

Carnage...Utter Carnage.
By this point it was after midnight, the lights were still blazing, the nurses were in our ward on their rounds, complete with ‘medication trolley’ I asked for another bed, only to learn the ward was full.
I asked if the people on the ward (all shouting by now) were due any sleep medication, but it turned out they weren’t. I was on the point of discharging/killing myself when the lovely nurse said something that made my day.
‘The doctor thought you’d struggle sleeping on this ward so she wrote you up for some sleeping tablets, strong ones, would you like them’.
 I practically snapped her hand off. I reckon I was asleep within 10 minutes.....
I hope my snoring kept them awake.

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

A journal of dead pets

Today we have been talking about the pro's and con's of owning pets when you have children.  Apart from the obvious reasons why you might not be able to have pets (worms, fleas, excessive biting - or is that just my children), we were in agreement that owning a pet is a healthy part of life for a child.  After a while the conversation took a morbid turn and we started discussing the death of a pet.

The people involved in the conversation discussed how owning, and subsequently losing a pet helps children come to terms with death. I was very uncomfortable by this point.  I'd already been spouting forth with my opinions regarding the benefits to children of owning a pet however this particular subject left me feeling uncomfortable. I had two choices open to me.

  • Stay, gather people closer and tell them the tragic tale of our dearly departed pets, knowing that they'll shed a tear, then envelop me in a warm embrace and thank me for my honesty (perhaps end on a song, probably the theme from the littlest hobo- 'there's a voice keeps on calling me, down the road thats where I want to be') Expect tears, high fives, group hugs etc
  • Remember a terribly urgent (made up) meeting and rush off knowing the subject of our dead pets was never going to win me any friends/supporters, in fact I'm very likely to end up on some kind of register if not 'hit list'
So obviously I chose number two, however not without reason.

We had a fair few fish in the early days, which despite being well looked after, died As all good parents do, we replaced the fish, however we were sprung when I replaced a black fish with an orange one. We tried all the excuses in the book:
  1. when black fish grow up they become orange (it's the same with children, we've no idea what colour you're going to end up)
  2. we've fed them orange fish food which changes their colour (I'd be cutting down on the baked beans if I were you)
  3. you're a halfwitted child who clearly has no idea what colour your sodding fish was in the first place
At this point we gave up on fish. Fish are obviously too difficult to look after so we did the sensible thing.


The hamster was dark brown and we called it 'Button' (as in chocolate button). It was very cute to look at but less cute when you touched it. In fact it was a vicious bugger. Both children spent months with bleeding fingers  Often when Joe was cleaning the hamster out, he would run past me, screeching and waving his hand above his head, in a mad windmilling gesture. A closer look revealed that the hamster was savagely clamped to his finger. (To give the hamster its due it must have been brave, I wouldn't put Joes finger anywhere near my mouth, they're like portable listeria) By this point I'd given up on dealing with hamster related injuries, so I letft him to it.  Sadly we found the hamster dead in it's cage a couple of weeks later, apparently hamsters can have very short life spans. Breaking the news to the children was not as traumatic as I'd expected.  They didn't even feign grief, instead they made a suggestion, so.....


After the hamster incident, any parent in their right mind would have refused, based on fact that if owning a small rodent in a cage wasn't enjoyable, owning a bigger rodent in a cage was unlikely to be a barrel of laughs. However as I am not of sound mind I agreed.  The guinea pig came to live with us in the June. He was black and we called him Ozzy after the prince of darkness.  I'm sure guinea pigs aren't know for their sparkling personalities however this thing was dull. He just sat in his cage, looking at things, sometimes he walked a few inches, then did some more sitting and some looking. You couldn't pick him up because he bit you. Like I say DULL.

His only redeeming feature was that he ate his own poo. Now I'm not suggesting for one second that eating ones own poo is acceptable or even welcomed, however it does give you an edge above the 'norms' in terms of talking points.  'Marion, this is James, he's an accountant, enjoys stamp collecting and in his spare time he eats his own poo'  See instantly you're intrigued, you're probably repulsed too but the point is you've changed your opinion of James. He might sicken you to your very stomach but at least you have an opinion. 

This animal died too, I suspect we over fed it actually, because it did no exercise and just laid around eating, it was the size of a small badger by the time we found him passed away in his cage.  PS I later found out that all guinea pigs eat their own poo, so its not like it was his own, original idea. This disappointed me, he really was a dull as we all thought.

There was still very little grief or weeping or wailing from the boys.(none) Now I know you'd think I should be glad, but every book on parenting I've read (none - I'm just making it up as I go along, stumbling from one parenting disaster to the next) said that losing a pet helps children come to terms with grief.  WHAT GRIEF?  These two were practically giddy with delight trying to decide what pet they could lose interest in next.  What will they do when I slip off this mortal coil, toss me in a skip and get a labrador no doubt. 

We refused another pet for nearly a year, however the boys started to moan that everyone had a pet but them.  I caved eventually after a particularly long bout of good behaviour  (35minutes) and agreed to get another pet. Now, this one seemed more hopeful, it was interesting and educational and I thought it would probably hold their interest, so we did our research and


The snake was a big hit from the start. He was a 5ft black and white cornsnake, he was very friendly, and everyone seemed to like him.  We didn't know what to call him at first (Thanks go to the pet shop for their 'oh so' useful tip. 'Whatever you do, don't call it Syd. Its a common name for snakes'. I covered poor Syd's ears when he said this, no child wants to know his name has hit #1 in the top hundred boys names for snakes for the 25th year running)  So obviously we called him Freddy after Freddy Mercury (no, no idea either!) and he held the boys attention.

The only downside to owning a snake was having a tupperware box of frozen mice in the freezer. When we bought our first box of mice the useful pet shop man gave us some hints and tips
  • If the snake doesn't take the mouse dance it around in front of the snake so it gets it interested (is merely jiggling it OK? Should I attach strings to each tiny paw allowing the mouse to attract the snakes attention by dancing to thriller?)
  • If the snake won't eat the mouse brain it (I wish I'd never asked, I'm not telling you google it if you've got a strong stomach)
  • Some snakes are picky and will only eat certain colour mice (do brown mice taste different to white mice - are they like bread?)
  • Don't defrost them in the kettle. Yes you heard. DO NOT DEFROST THEM IN THE KETTLE.  This is what he told us, apparently he's heard of people defrosting the mice in their kitchen kettles....JESUS WEPT....whatever next, eating your own poo?
So as I say the snake held everyones attention until tragedy struck.  I killed the snake!  Not on purpose obviously, in fact I still to this day feel bad about poor Freddies untimely demise. I threw my handbag (huge/weighs the same as a Nissan Micra) behind the sofa and accidentaly it hit the plug to Freddies heat mat and unplugged it.  We didn't realise for a while by which time Freddies core temperature had dropped too much to get better. This time everyone was sad. Poor Freddy.

About a year later we got our beautiful bullmastiff Mica, who we all completely love, in fact it was when we were in the garden recently with Mica that we started talking about the pets who had gone before.  I looked around our garden and asked Phil were they were buried.  He didn't seem to understand, so I asked him again, he looked confused,

'Buried?' he asked
'Yes, buried' I repeated, wondering if he was in some kind of delayed catatonic grief state.
'They're not buried' he replied.
I was confused, if they weren't buried, where were they. I looked at him waiting for an explanation.
'I've been putting them in the dog poo bin on the field!'


He had been putting our dear deceased pets, in Morrisons carrier bags and dropping them in a dog poo bin, because he didn't want cats digging them up. I was horrified and couldn't help wonder....

Mica is a 9stone bullmastiff, when her day comes how on earth will he squeeze her into the dog poo bin?

 I'm hiding the hacksaws.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

My parents - Head over Heels

I've talked about my parents before.  I absolutely love them. They're the kind of people if I wasn't related to them I'd wish I was, and as an only child I'm very close to them, It also has to be said I find them incredibly entertaining. 

Take for example last month. I had a day off, and they were going to Sainsburys and offered to take me with them (always worth going to a supermarket with them as they always have coffee and toast after doing their shopping). So we're on the way, with me merrily tweeting away in the back of the car (note: I was posting on twitter, not making bird noises!)  My parents are bickering, as only a couple who have been married for 52 years are qualified to bicker.

  • My dads refusal to call Primark 'Pree-mark' or 'Pry-mark, he instead insists on calling in 'prim-mark'. Despite him doing this for 20+ years it still riles my mam. He now does it on purpose and she picks him up on it every time.
  • My mams refusal to put the extractor fan on in the kitchen, because the noise of it irritates her. Pan frying Salmon turns into a highly hazardous experience, reminiscent of the blitz. By the time the skin is crispy and the salmon is cooked you couldn't find the extractor fan if your life depended on it.
  • My dads recent diagnosis with glaucoma (my mam already has it, diagnosed 4 years ago) 'He can't let me have anything!!!
  • My dads insistence of giving my mam obvious instructions 'I will pick you up outside of Morrison's, if it is raining when I pick you up don't stand in the rain, stand under the shelter'

So we're driving along Coniscliffe Road (To anyone who isn't from Darlington, Coniscliffe Road is one of the more affluent roads in town, full of houses set in their own grounds and more Barbour than you could shake a stick at), my dad is at the wheel and my mam is in the passenger seat when my dad suddenly gets cramp in his foot, his clutch foot.  He tries to drive but every time he lifts his foot off the clutch it goes into spasm so he has to pull over.  He really can't carry on driving so they decide to swap sides, he'll be the passenger and my mam will drive. I offer to drive, however, despite it being 20 years since I passed my test, they look at me like I'm a naughty 7 year old who has just made a silly suggestion. It's easier just to shut up. So the decision is made, they will swap places.

Now I can't stress this enough, not only are we in one of the poshest roads in town, we are in the posher end of it, near to the town centre. We are also parked in front of a retirement village which probably costs per week what most north easterners earn every year.  As I said, affluent. 

My mam is getting out of the car on the passenger side, chatting to my dad who turns to open his door. He turns back round, just as I look up from my ladybird book (my phone, I obviously meant my phone) and my mam has disappeared   She is literally no where to be seen. Then we hear a voice which seems to be coming from under the car.....I get out of my booster seat and scoot along the back seat to look out of the kerb side window and there she is, my lovely mother, laid in the gutter.  By this point my dad has realised what happened (she got tangled in the seat belt and fell out of the car) and is getting out of the car to go and help her up.  I can do absolutely nothing as I am child-locked in (I might as well stay put and just drink the fruit shoot my mam gave me)  My mam has obviously seen the funny side as I can hear her laughing (from the gutter). 

My dad steps out of the car and the leg with cramp partially goes out from underneath him, so he does a sort of crampy stagger around the car to my Mam. He's holding onto the car, relying heavily on his good leg as his cramp leg keeps collapsing.  He gets to the other side of the car, they're both past themselves with mirth by now, and as he pulls my hysterical mother out of the gutter it suddenly strikes me, despite barely ever touching a drop, they look like they are completely hammered.  Her rolling about in the gutter, him stumbling around trying to pick her up. They've attracted quite a bit of attention by now, curtains are twitching and Barbour-clad locals are looking on in horror. I'm not surprised.  It's half past ten on a Wednesday morning, in the poshest street in town. 

I lie down on the back seat.  I'll sit back up when we're at Sainsbury's.

Did I mention my parents are in their early seventies.

What an amazing pair............

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The dangers of eating mayonnaise

I'm the first one to admit that I'm on the accident prone side, in fact I've mentioned it in my blog previously, but what happened to me at the weekend is possibly the most ridiculous thing to happen to anyone since Joe fell out of first floor window onto a trampoline or my dad (aged 65 at the time) gave himself a hernia coming down a fireman's pole in a playground.

Our fridge is one of those Smeg style ones, about 7ft tall and with one hell of a powerful suction on the door.  Sometime you have to practically wrestle it open, which is what happened to me on Saturday.

So its about 10am and I'm awake and in the kitchen I'm immaculately dressed, with perfectly groomed hair and full face of make up (pink jama's, hair shoved up in a bobble and possible slight smears under ones eyes where make up has been quickly removed with a baby wipe) and I'm wrestling with the fridge door to try and find something cold to drink (slight hangover from previous nights 'what the hell it's Friday night' vodka or six).

I manage to eventually pull the door open and realise a jar of mayonnaise has jumped out of the fridge and is falling towards me.  I panic, try to catch the jar, fumble it and actually throw it further in the air.  I appreciate, for me, the story has been fairly normal up to this point, however this is where it gets ridiculous.  It could however have been so easily avoided. *press pause*


  • By buying mayonnaise in a squeezy bottle, which we normally do, for some reason (cost I presume) we currently have a huge glass jar of the stuff in the fridge.
  • By buying extra light instead of just normal mayonnaise, the jar would have obviously floated out of the fridge
  • By putting the mayonnaise back in the door or on a shelf and not perching it in a can holder in the door where it is ALMOST BLOODY CERTAINLY going to fall out when you open the BLOODY SODDING DOOR! (Investigations are ongoing as to who is responsible for this)
So where were we, Oh Yes. The Mayonnaise is level with my eyes in mid air, I have already fumbled it once and its about to fall to the tile floor and no doubt shatter into a trillion pieces.  *un-pause*.....and there it goes, but there's an unexpected twist. 

The jar doesn't hit the floor it hits my foot!  'Oh darn it, that smarts just a touch' I think to myself !  I look down to see whats going on and I go a bit funny (ooh actually I went a bit funny then just typing it, I might have to have a Kitat just for the shock).  Where I expected to see a foot and an intact jar of mayonnaise, there is a glass disc, an empty glass jar, a lot of mayonnaise, and EVEN MORE BLOOD!!!

WHY IS THERE BLOOD EVERYWHERE? (aka 'the science bit)

Here's why (what I now know happened when the jar fell)
  • The jar fell from approx my eye level (about 5ft 7) and hit my foot.
  • On hitting my foot the heavy glass base sheared cleanly off the jar.
  • Despite the lid remaining on the jar, the mayonnaise escaped.
  • Either the glass base or the glass edge of the jar sliced through a blood vessel on the top of my foot

So I'm there, as my foot pumps blood into the mayonnaise on the kitchen floor.  I shout for Syd (in the back room with the xbox - like cluedo just more up to date!) to go and get his Dad out of bed, Syd takes one look at what is now, quite frankly, turning into a bloodbath, and runs off screaming for his Dad at the top of his voice.

Now prone as I am to slight embellishment, I am absolutely telling the truth here, there is blood pumping out of my foot at an alarming rate. I decide to try and wrap it in a tea towel to stop the bleeding, or stem it at least.  Now this, that I'm about to tell you is a useful tip, that, if you're wise, you'll take with you throughout life.


I know!  I was shocked too! So I'm no nearer to reaching a tea towel, I am however now lying on the floor on my side, where I have slipped over.  At this point Phil arrives, with Joe and Syd hot on his heels, in the kitchen.  He obviously was aware about the handy hint regarding blood/mayo/tiled falls as he stops short of the blood and therefore remains on his feet.

He looks down at me in complete horror.  In hindsight I realise I am dressed from head to toe in pink and am lying in a foetal position in a mixture of blood and mayonnaise, which has taken on the look of marie-rose sauce. Its highly likely that I look like a giant prawn cocktail!

He's very good actually and calls 999 immediately, the children are past themselves with worry.
  • Syd crying and shouting 'Are you going to die?'
  • Joe taking photos of the blood to put on Facebook later
999 lady tell him that I have to get up and put my foot in the washing up bowl as they need to know if I've lost more than a mug full of blood apparently.

For some reason at this point I take very badly to the idea of using my red washing up bowl for anything other than washing up and point blank refuse to put my foot in it.  Strangely at exactly this point, Phil's patience runs out, I still have bruises on my calf where he wrestled my foot into the washing up bowl.

At this precise moment Joe decides he is going to faint and comes over all unnecessary in the kitchen doorway.  (Come son, join me in the blood and mayonnaise, there's room for one more!)  He thankfully doesn't faint.  Actually I'm convinced the blood has nothing to do with him feeling faint, its the first time in his life he hasn't had free access to the fridge, it's highly likely he's in the grip of malnutrition/shock.

I'm irritated by whoever is making that shrill high pitched screeching noise, and I'd like them to shut up.  If I'm going to bleed to death I'd like to do it in peace.  Its only when Phil tells me to shut up because he can't hear the 999 lady, that I realise its me that's making the noise.  Goodness how embarrassing.

So it would seem that Phil and the 999 lady have decided that its quicker for him to drive me to hospital than wait for an ambulance. Which is why Saturday morning sees me laid on the back seat of the car with my foot wrapped in a towel, inside a carrier bag, in blood stained jama's and my dressing gown heading for A&E. 

Despite looking like the Dingles in A&E, and almost vomiting on myself because Syd is parading around the room wearing the cardboard hat they have given me should I feel the need to puke, I survive the experience. 

I'm sure I'll look back on this and laugh.

Monday, 9 January 2012

An open letter to a Doctors Receptionist.

Dear Doctors Receptionist

Today I have holiday  from work and typically am unwell, therefore I have had the need to call you to ask if I can come and see a doctor so he can make me better.  I honestly wish I had never bothered.

Firstly you ask me if I I'm ill.  Surely the fact that I'm calling you and asking for an appointment suggests I am.  I'd have thought that since you've been doing this job since the dawn of time you'd have noticed that its not just a coincidence that only sick people ring you.  I consider telling you this but I've played this game before.  You're in charge of this conversation, I have to whistle to your tune, my tonsils are quite literally now in your hands.

So I tell you I'm ill and I ask to see a Doctor, I'm even doing my best poorly voice.  Straight away I can tell you're suspicious.  It makes me wonder if you're briefed by the Doctors each morning before you start work.

(I imagine you and your receptionist colleagues sat, pens poised for the days briefing as a straight backed GP marches amongst you, barking orders)

'RIGHT! Lately we have noticed an increase in healthy patients turning up in our office.  These people are in perfect health and they are 'stealing' appointments and you lot, YOU are allowing it.  So from now on take no-one's word for anything, unless they can prove it to you they must not be allowed an appointment.  They need to get past you.  I'M RELYING ON YOU HERE, EACH AND EVERY GOD-DAMN ONE OF YOU!!!'

OK, I probably imagined that but here I am, still waiting for you to offer me an appointment.  I can hear you banging on your keyboard and having a chat with your colleagues. Finally you speak to me:

'You can see a doctor on 2nd March at 9.15am'
I nearly choke........that's 6 weeks away. 
'That's 6 weeks away!!! 6 weeks!!!! I won't be ill by then' I splutter
'Then you won't need to see a Doctor, will you?', you retort, your voice is still dripping with honey. I know your type, you're like one of those super cute cuddly toys, you look and sound sweet but your head is held on with a 6 inch steel spike which could have my eye out in a crack.

I consider shouting at you, but I don't. I've been here before remember, I know it won't do me any good.  This is similar to hostage negotiation, one false move and I can kiss goodbye to an early appointment.  There's nothing left for it, I'm going to need to beg.

'Please'  I'm begging you now, I am on my proverbial knee's. I explain again that I need to see a Doctor, I know what's coming and I'm right.  You ask me what's wrong with me, in that conspiratorial voice that suggests if I tell you you'll get me an appointment but I don't want to tell you, yet I'm not sure I have a choice. I consider making something up, something so revolting that you'll regret you asked, but I know you, I know how your operate, you're a professional, nothing can turn your stomach, you're like a machine.

I end up whispering 'I'd rather not say'.

We're nearly at the end now, you know you've won, I know you've won, there's only one question left to ask.  You ask it.


There is no way to answer this.  You know that.  You've kept up your part of the bargain and offered me an appointment (albeit in 2014), you've tried to help me out (tell me what's wrong, I'll try and get you in) and now you're asking if its an emergency.

I consider saying the following things to you:

'I've woken up today and found I am suddenly fluent in Persian. 'I ave noo eeenglishh'

'I was chopping onions, slipped and accidentally disemboweled myself'

'I took off my polo neck and surprisingly my head came off with it, I've tacked it back on but I'm not confident its secure'

Obviously I say nothing of the sort (there is no point, you'd still ask me if I thought I needed an emergency appointment)

I just thank you for your time and hang up. I'll take my chances at the walk in centre.

Yours sincerely


Friday, 6 January 2012

New Years Resolutions (REALISTIC VERSION)

New Years resolutions are generally known as a bit of waste of time aren't they?  They may as well call them 'January's To Do List', because lets be honest they're generally all but forgotten by February.

How many of us are still using a new word every day by May, still eating only spinach and boiled eggs by June or still ironing every day to avoid the dreaded ironing mountain.

So this year, I'm cutting out the unrealistic resolutions and I'm making ones that I can stick to.  Maybe you can follow suit.

  • DRINK LESS COFFEE - I did consider drinking more water, 6 litres a day, however I have two children and I'm not sure my bladder is up to the job.  I did get obsessed with pelvic floor exercises at one point.  It was actually another unrealistic new years resolution. I resolved to exercise my pelvic floor so much it would resemble a bulldog clip.  Ladies, have you ever done pelvic floor exercises in public?  No matter how hard you try to be discreet  (go on have a go now, clench...hold, hold....clench harder....hold....hold....), you inevitably will pull a really weird face, something close to holding in an unexpected poo.  So, to recap,  I will drink less coffee! I will combat this by increasing my energy drink intake by 300%. The positive upside of this is that I will enjoy hoovering at midnight.

  • SPEND TIME WITH NEGLECTED CHILDREN - Mainly mine. Will try not to sigh and roll my eyes when one of the boys asks me a question I consider to be stupid. IE: When will there be food in the house again? Is 'chappie' a real cereal? Do other children wear trousers made from old curtains? Why have we got 'egg boxes' and not 'x boxes?

  • STOP CUTTING MY OWN HAIR - I'm sure people with beautifully groomed hair couldn't get away with this kind of behaviour, however my hair is practically a hedge of curls so cutting it myself is, in the main, unnoticeable (until I straighten it),  I often get bobbles stuck in it, so I just cut them out.  Lately at work I have developed a disturbing habit, if I'm on a conference call at my desk, I spend my time wisely and inspect my split ends.  I don't have any scissors (we're not allowed sharp things) so I have taken to trimming the edges of my hair with my hole punch. I estimate in the last month I've punched off at least 3 inches.  I recently twisted my hair up with a rubber coated pen.  That was a disturbing episode.  I had to wait until I got home to cut it out. I've so far managed to conceal the bald patch.

  • ACTUALLY LISTEN WHEN PEOPLE TALK TO ME - I'm really serious about this one.  I often find myself drifting away when people speak to me. I can see their lips moving and I know they're speaking however I can't hear a thing.  I'm generally thinking about stuff, or things or swans.  I only know they've finished talking when I notice a questioning face looking at me.  They say 'so what should I do?'.  I generally do the standard Manager thing and say 'what do you think you should do?'.  So they start telling me what they think they should do.  Now here's where you think I'd have learned my lesson. I should be listening but I'm not, now I'm worrying about why broccoli soup isn't greener, why you never see baby pigeons, WHY THAT PERSON IS STILL TALKING TO ME???....Then they do that questioning face again.....'Well, should I ?'......'Yes' (I always say), 'Yes'( I always agree.  I have probably just agreed to them popping on a tinfoil hat, setting fire to their pubic hair and running pant-less around the building Note: If they frown, then I shake my head and say ',no,no,no definitely no) This year is different. I'm listening this year! ( toys come alive when we're asleep....). No really, I'm listening.  Always listening. ALWAYS.
  • NOT INJURE MYSELF UNNECESSARILY - I am well known for being a touch on the accident prone side. Previous injuries have included: Breaking my nose in the cinema (I bent down to silence my ringing phone and headbutted the seat in front)  Tripping over a giant gorilla  hand in a science museum (people invited to try it on to see how life would be if one had giant gorilla hands) and breaking my wrist N.B contemplated suing them however claim would have read 'idiot woman was walking and texting in Giant Gorilla area, unsurprisingly she fell over and broke her wrist - claim void due to woman being complete dickhead)  Falling into (and struggling to get out of) the newly dug foundations of our extension and twisting my ankle (I was trying to get to the other side to water my chili plants - b*stards went and died anyway - couldn't get to them with a twisted ankle) Slipping in my slippers and sliding down the garage wall. Skinned my arm from elbow to wrist (resulting in arm looking like a side of uncooked gammon, would have looked much better with fried egg/pineapple ring adorning it) and my favourite: Closing my straighteners on my ear, then taking at least 4 seconds to realise what I'd done (my ear looked like crispy bacon and smelt like burnt pork crackling for at least a week - during this week became very attractive to dogs and fat men)  This year I will wear a padded suit and a crash helmet. I will not injure myself at all. I promise.
Lets have your ideas for New Years Resolutions.  Comment below. I'm off for 6 Red Bulls, this hoovering isn't going to do itself.  If you don't hear from me again I've somehow managed to trip over the hoover and suck out all of my internal organs.......

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Rounder than a planet and twice as big......

'Look at the size of her head'  That's what you're thinking isn't it. Yes I've changed the layout of my blog and am playing with the idea of having a photo on there.  I didn't anticipate it would be the size of Middlesbrough.  Anyway I'm going to keep it there for a while, if I'm offending you/putting you off your lunch please let me know and I'll remove the image.

That reminds me though, you won't know but I do have an inordinately large head.  I've never known the joy of wearing a paper hat out of a cracker.  My dad always had to leave the table to staple two together for me, which takes the magic away from Christmas a little.  I also didn't have a blue speedo regulation swimming hat at school. I had a bright red, sort of bubbled swimming hat.  Only one other child had one, Jennifer Clayton, and she had hair to her arse. She needed the room in her hat. I had a crop.  Bobbing about in my hat in the deep end you would have been forgiven for thinking I was buoy.  (Actually at the time I had short hair and no chest so buoy/boy???)

I know I have a big head. I've learned to live with it. My husband Phil, softens the blow with his loving nickname for me. He calls me Moonhead.  I can imagine my big round face, with its soft glow and authentic craters in the cold dark night are a comfort to him in some way.  I'm quite surprised channel 4 haven't approached me to make a fly on the wall documentary 'the woman with a moon for a head'.

And don't think its just at home a suffer from the taunts, for christmas my team gave me a splint for my neck (apparently its bound to snap one day) and this beautiful picture.......

HAHAHAHA I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT........(love moonhead x)

P.S I can only wear wooly hats and even then they're stretched to capacity. I'm trying to get my hands on a wheely bin cover in time for the cold weather.......

Weird things I've done when tired

It's time for me to go to bed. I'm really tired, which got me to thinking about how bizarre my behaviour becomes when I'm exhausted.  I don't know if I'm the only one who understands this, but when I'm really tired I get all confused, and that place between sleep and awake melds into a massive jenga game of confusion.  I melt into semi consciousness then a noise or a thought can pull one of those blocks out and I'm bolt upright shouting about oven ready chickens or coal or Norway.

So I'm going to quickly tell you of a few things that happened to me when I was in that middle ground. 

  • In my last job I worked for a pension company. After another sleepless night with our then baby (Syd now 8) I went to work, but from the go get I was exhausted.  All I remember was a customer calling to discuss his pension.  I was that tired I couldn't really concentrate. He'd asked me a question, which I'd written down because I couldn't trust my pulpy baby mind to remember what he'd asked. I remember asking him to hold the line while I checked something (WHAT, WHAT ON EARTH WAS I CHECKING)....All I remember was sitting bolt upright and taking him off hold.....Imagine my surprise when I realised I'd had him on hold for 17 minutes.  That for me was an all time low. I'd had 17 minutes of quality sleep, he'd had 17 minutes of appalling hold music.

  • Many, many years ago, in my early days with a well known north eastern newspaper I'd been out the previous night and was obviously exhausted, and dare I say, a tad hungover (this was 1997). I was talking to a customer and could hear him speaking but couldn't make much sense of what he was saying. He must have asked me a question, I'd probably been half asleep so hadn't answered him, therefore he didn't just repeat his question, he shouted it.....'CAN YOU TELL ME WHY MY ADVERTISEMENT DIDN'T APPEAR IN THE PAPER' I gave him the most comprehensive answer I was capable of at that time. I said.....And to this day I remember saying this......all I'll say is it made sense to me at the time. I said 'You opened the door and you let them all in....YOU LET THEM ALL IN'.  The shouting brought me to my senses.  I wasn't surprised to realise he'd hung up on me.

  • Recently I was watching telly and reclined to level one (we have reclining sofas, level 1 just lifts your legs up, after that you can recline to fully laid out).  As I'm sure you'd already realised shortly after I found myself completely flat and apparently sound asleep.  During this blissful sleep I became aware of someone slapping my forehead. I came round enough to realise Joe was attempting to wake me up to ask me something.  I lifted my head which at the time was heavy like a massive bag of spanners, and spoke comprehensively in beautiful BBC English 'What is it my delightful son, do you wish to speak with me, how can I 'elp you' (I grunted).  I don't quite remember this, however apparently what happened is this.  I sat up and grinned. Joe passed the phone to me. My ex husband said 'hiya Jools' and I said 'HELLO, HELLO, IS THAT SOL, SOL, IS THAT SOL'  Then hung up.
I like Pro Plus and coffee these days. Very much.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

A perfect day at the office.

Today I am demented.  No that's not enough.  Today I am DEMENTED.

Today is the day that everything starts functioning properly again in the UK.  There are no more bank holidays, no more skeleton staff, no more tins of roses for lunch, it is well and truly 'Business as  Usual'.

Foolishly I had expected things to still be fairly quiet and had planned a leisurely day, catching up with my team, wishing people happy new year and accepting compliments about my newly dyed hair (I've dyed it again since I mentioned it to you, its a glorious red now, rich and vibrant but more about my hair later)

Its the worlds windiest day and its raining that horrible sideways wind that soaks you so much more comprehensively than your standard downwards rain.  Its still pitch black and to add damp insult to sopping injury I somehow manage to get my feet tangled up in the strap of my laptop bag and almost end up face down in the car park (which won't be the first time as you know). However I manage to salvage the situation by doing one of those forward stumbling run things, which would make anyone look like a complete tit. I am soaked, my trousers and pants feel as they would if you had wee'd yourself (I'd imagine)

Anyway I arrive in the office to complete and utter chaos.  It would seem ours is the only office who's phone lines work, so we're getting every ones calls.  I think about cheerily greeting my team but they look like they might cry/kill someone.  I start to log my lap top in while surreptitiously sweeping all my dangerous stationary into my drawer and locking it.

I'm not for one second suggesting the current situation might cause my team to turn to violence but I'm taking no chances.  I once had to stop Claire from sticking a sign on the back of her orthopaedic chair asking people not to adjust it if they sat in it.  Which is fair enough, she does have a bad back, however the sign she typed up said.


You be surprised how much damage you could do with a hole punch I'm right to lock them away.  They're still snarling so I decide my red hair may well be angering them further (like irritated bulls) so I put  my black beret on tuck my hair up inside it and there I sit at my lap top in my hat.

After a couple of hours I'm called into a meeting to discuss resourcing (IE how many bums we have on seats).  I need you to understand that when I go into a meeting I change from myself into the bastard lovechild of Deborah Meadon and Alan Sugar.


  • That's a good idea, we should do that.
  • Awesome plan, you've got my buy in.

  • Right, I'll ask him.
  • No problem, I'll position that to him.

  • I'll have a word with her
  • Cool, I'll link in with her

  • I'm sure we can sort it out soon
  • Lets look for some quick and dirty fixes
  • OK I'll tell them now that we're doing it
  • Great, I'll 'comms' the guys to implement the workaround

  • They're buying in shops and online
  • Its all about the 'bricks and clicks' (I feel the most disgust about this one, so much so I've deleted it 6 times in case you think less of me)
I'll understand if you hate me after that confession but don't judge me too harshly, its my weakness. To be honest I might as well have a pile of money in front of me and every five minutes, in a Scottish accent, shout 'let me tell you where I am......ah'mmm oooot'  The second I leave the meeting I repeatedly hit my head off the nearest wall for being so much more of a corporate bot than anyone else, but the truth is, because I love my job I do get really into it. Too far into it perhaps. Oh dear.

Actually the banging my head against the wall thing leads me to another thing that happened to add to today's complete lunacy. I go to the loo for a quick wee when my phone starts to ring. It's a call I was waiting for so I'll be honest I did contemplate answering it but I find it quite unsavoury to have a conversation while weeing.  I'm always disturbed to hear people chatting whilst going about their daily business. How would that person in the bank feel discussing a direct debit if they knew the person they were talking to was 'mid wipe'.  Revolted I'd imagine.

Anyway so I'm hurrying to try and get out of the cubicle and I somehow manage to get myself tangled up (for the second time that day) which results in me falling forward and headbutting the toilet door.  It must have made a bang because the people either side of me ask if I'm alright. I'm actually not alright.  It really bloody hurt if you must know, however I do the British thing and laugh. Then I shout back 'hoho I'm fine, that'll teach me to drink vodka at work'.  Neither laugh. Oh dear god, they think I'm drunk at work, stumbling about headbutting doors. At that point I wish I was. 

When I finally do get out of the toilet (the walk of shame: would have only been worse had I just had a poo when I nutted the door) I notice in the mirror my forehead is forming into an egg and is the same colour as my hair (Still under my hat for fear of angering people)

I stay at my desk for the rest of the day. My trousers and pants are still damp from this mornings pouring rain. I don't take off my hat. I don't make eye contact with anyone. Everyone is still angry. There are still 2million calls in the call queue.  The stationary is still hidden. I am still the queen of corporate bullsh*t. I have headbutted a toilet door with my pants around my ankles. People at work think I'm drunk on vodka. (did I mention I wish I was)

I'm pleased to see the back of today.