Friday, December 29, 2006

Mug Shot

I bought myself this mug today. I realise that it's not an entirely new concept, but I think it's a fantastic idea! Mind you I have a bit of a weakness for novelty mugs. It comes with a couple of sticks of chalk to write on the mug with and you can even write on the underneath. The downside is that you get covered in chalk when you use it, but let's not be picky.

I'm tempted to take this mug with me everwhere I go and use it to reflect my feelings. That would definitely work for someone who works in an office I think; you wouldn't have to talk to anyone if you were in a bad mood, you could just write "GO AWAY" on your mug and leave it on your desk. Or you could hand someone a cuppa and hope that they don't realise that you've written "I smell" on the other side... the possiblities are endless.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Tagged with a Meme

Meme (rhymes with gene) - A term coined in 1976 by British Biologist Richard Dawkins. To imitate or to copy. A cultural item that is transmitted by repetition; memes are the cultural counterpart of genes. Examples are tunes, ideas, catch phrases, clothes fashions etc.

I thought my lungs would explode. My heart was pounding. I had stopped running for a moment to catch my breath. My legs were weak. As I hid, a smile broke across my face accompanied by an involuntary giggle; the thrill of the chase, and the satisfaction of outrunning the one who was “it”. I felt like a child again. My childhood memories of running across the playground came flooding back. “Tag!” I heard someone shout, suddenly waking me from my daydream. I looked over my shoulder. It was too late. She’d tagged me and ran away… I had no choice but to play the game...

A - Available/Single? No, I’m married.
B - Best Friend? Mr Man.
C - Cake or Pie? Both. I don’t mean either, I mean both.
D - Drink of Choice? Hot drink: Barley Cup, Cold drink: Diet Pepsi, Alcoholic drink: Malibu. Or Archers. Or a cocktail. Or Baileys… (just kidding, I hardly ever drink alcohol)
E – Essential Item You Use Everyday? My mobile phone – it also contains my address book and diary. Choosing a mobile phone is as serious to me as choosing a marriage partner. Edit: Bog roll - and I take that as seriously as choosing a marriage partner as well - you have to when you use as much as I do.
F - Favourite Colour? Chocolate brown. No, olive green. No, chocolate brown…
G - Gummy Bears Or Worms? Worms are cuter but I wouldn’t eat them.

H - Hometown? I was born in Luton. Edit: Home of the worst one-way traffic system. Did you know that even the schools in Luton have one-way systems in their corridors?
I – Indulgence? Too many. Thornton’s continental chocolates. Expensive toiletries to pamper myself with. Eating/drinking out – cafes in the day time, restaurants in the evening.
J - January Or February? Can I let you know in March? Edit: Whichever one has the most snow.
K - Kids & Their Names? None of my own but I have 15 nieces and nephews with yet another on the way. Some of their names include Hyacinth and Freda. Parents can be so cruel.
L - Life Is Incomplete Without? Love. Edit: and laughter.
M - Marriage date? 27th October 1997.
N - Number Of Siblings? Four brothers and two sisters.
O - Oranges Or Apples? Apples.
P - Phobias/Fears? Spiders, and small toilets (because they’re usually home to spiders and there would be no room to escape!) We have lived in this house for 9 years and I have never set foot inside our small outside toilet.
Q - Favourite Quote? I quote things constantly, from adverts, songs, films… so how long have you got? Edit: "I've never seen anything like it in my life!" - Funky Monkey's Mother.
R - Reason to Smile? I love and I’m loved.
S - Season? I like all four for different reasons, but I don't like the change between each one.
T - Tag People? Mr Grumpy, Aiders, Angela and TP. If I thought they would play the game (or notice that I have tagged them) I would also like to tag Tom Reynolds (and it would also give him something to do while he's off work with a bad knee!), John Robertson, Mark Myers, and OSB. I think their answers would be funny.
U - Unknown Fact About Me? If I tell you it won’t be unknown will it? Edit: Besides, I can't think of one (or I can't think of one that's interesting). Another Edit (April): I've finally thought of one! I like to have the last bowl of cereal out of the box because I think the crumbs make it taste better.
V - Vegetable You Don’t Like? Asparagus.
W - Worst Habit? Why would I want to tell you that? Edit: I have too many bad habits anyway, including changing my mind all the time, so I couldn't possibly choose a worst one!
X - X-rays You’ve Had? My jaw. I think the conclusion was I just talk too much.
Y - Your Favourite Food? This changes daily. At the moment I'm craving a roast dinner because my oven doesn't work and I haven't had one in ages.
Z – Zodiac Sign? Not into that kind of thing.

Photo's from Google Images

Edit: 14th Jan 2007 - I wanted to change my answers already - See Worst Habit!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Model Specification - Human v 1.1

When you don’t feel well bathing is such a chore. Humans should be designed more like self cleaning ovens – you only have to wipe the bottom occasionally and the rest stays clean.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Today's Top Tip

Learn from your mistakes and don't make the same mistake twice.

Saturday, December 16, 2006


I'm sending this via my new phone. I have no idea how much text I can add to this entry; this is all very new to me. I have to say I am stunned at the level of technology these days. Last time I bought a mobile phone I had to buy a brick sized PDA phone to be able to have the kind of features I wanted. Now I have a cute slimline girly phone in pink with more features than my brain could ever imagine! I may be posting more photo's in future and possibly blog on the go!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Today's Top Tip

Don't buy three boxes of chocolates just because they're on an amazingly special offer, when all you really fancy is a Twix.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Death Wail over Whale Death

I’ve just read about a 43foot dead whale that has washed up on a beach, and the options that supposed “experts” are considering to dispose of the body.

Believe it or not, one option that is being considered, according to the article, is to bury it on the beach. I don’t know about you, but I don’t fancy sitting on a grave site to eat my picnic.

Another option, which thankfully has been ruled out, is to use explosives to destroy the body. I can’t even believe that this option was even given serious consideration.

What has happened to common sense these days? Just tow the blinkin’ thing back out to sea and let nature take its course. You'd think a whale had never died before. What the hell do they think normally happens when a whale dies?

Friday, December 08, 2006

Today's Top Tip

If you put food into your mouth that is too hot it's better to spit it out again than to swallow it quickly and burn your throat.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Soap Box

From olden times when a speaker would literally stand on a soap box to gain height, before making an impromptu speech, often about politics. Used metaphorically to describe a person airing their strong views unofficially and often uninvited, as in: “He’s on his soapbox again”

I was really annoyed last night after reading this post where Angela, a student paediatric nurse, tells us that in her essays her own opinion is viewed as worthless unless she can backup what she says with references to other peoples work.

As I said in the comments section of that post, since when can a student or “ordinary” person not come up with a groundbreaking idea of their own? And I list just three examples:

  1. John Nash – who was a student when he came up with his equilibrium theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in economics 44 years later.
  2. Patch Adams - who was a student when he envisioned a free hospital which treated patients with love and laughter. He realised this dream for 12 years until the hospital was forced to close due to lack of funding, but he now takes his unique form of medicine around the world to orphans and refugees.
  3. Augusto Odone - who had no previous medical background and yet educated himself on his sons condition, Adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD), and came up with a pioneering preventative treatment for the disease.

Clearly people don’t have to be highly educated professors who have spent their whole lives studying one particular area, before making a groundbreaking discovery of some kind. All scientific discoveries have to be based on a theory first, which by its very nature is unproven and has no “evidence based practice” to refer to.

I couldn't understand why the views of Angela’s markers had annoyed me so much, but as Mr Man put it "It stifles creative thinking". People should be allowed to develop and become more than what they are in various ways. Intelligence cannot be measured by how much of someone else’s work a person can quote, but by how much they can reason and discover themselves.

Mr Mans Wife steps down from her soap box.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Today's Top Tip

If you suffer from IBS don't go to a Cafe and drink coffee unless they have a toilet...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

“Early to bed early to rise…”

Proverb: “Early to bed early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise” Penned by US author Benjamin Franklin in “Poor Richard’s Almanack” 1753.

...2am is not exactly what I had in mind though.

One day seems to be blurring into the next at the moment; my disrupted sleep pattern means I’m never quite sure what day it is. Friday night I tossed and turned until some time past 4:30 Saturday morning, which was the last time I looked at the clock, and I had my alarm set for 10am. That’s not very early I know, but early for me, and especially considering I’d only had half the amount of sleep that I usually need.

Due to not being able to sleep well at night I’ve been sleeping in very late during the day time. People often make the amazingly simplistic suggestion of getting up earlier in the day and then forcing myself to stay up all day, to force my body clock to “reset” itself. That’s a brilliant idea. Why didn’t I think of that? That wasn’t my reason for forcing myself out of bed at 10am after about only 5 hours sleep, but I had hoped that after propping my eyelids open with match sticks all day I would be tired enough to sleep through the night by Saturday evening. Unfortunately sleep problems are never quite as simple as that.

Saturday night I went to bed at some time around 11pm, which I thought was a reasonable time – not too early, not too late. Then at 1:56am, after about only 3 hours sleep, my eyes pinged open like the doors of a department store elevator:

“Ground floor: Perfumery, stationary, and leather goods, wigs and haberdashery, kitchenware and food. Going up . . .” Doo do dodo doo… Doo do dodo doo… *

And here I am: completely exhausted but wide awake.

Man alive, I feel like death.

* Lyrics of the theme tune to “Are you being served” – a British TV comedy which aired from 1972 - 1985

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Today's Top Tip

Don't let unopened mail pile up for a month.

Sweet Revenge

After about 12 hours sleep last night I feel much more human, and as mentioned in the comments previously I did manage to get my own back on Mr Man on Wednesday morning.

Most of the time I sleep with earplugs in. This started years ago when some medication that Mr Man was taking made him snore horrendously. Although he doesn’t snore often these days I have become so used to wearing earplugs that even the sound of Mr Mans breathing can keep me awake, especially if I’m not sleeping well anyway. Wednesday morning was one such time. As I reached for my earplugs I recalled a time previously when I had reached for them during the darkness of night and knocked everything on my bedside table flying, obviously waking Mr Man: “What are you doing?” he asked. “I’m getting my earplugs” I replied. “Why? I wasn’t snoring was I?” “No, but I can hear you breathing”. “Sorry for breathing” he huffed sarcastically.

Recalling this event, as Mr Man slept peacefully beside me I burst into laughter, obviously waking him again. “What are you laughing at?” he asked, which made me laugh louder. Through my laughs, which were becoming increasingly louder, I tried to explain. “Alright, settle down” he said – a common expression from him when I have a laughing fit, which always makes me laugh even more. After laughing hysterically for several minutes I think it’s safe to say that his sleep was suitably disturbed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Let me sleep, and dream of sheep

A line from "And Dream of Sheep" by Kate Bush, "Hounds of Love" album 1985

Well, it’s silly o’clock in the morning and I can’t sleep. I haven’t slept all night. Another one of these stupid phases I go through. I tell you, sometimes I can sleep 10 or more hours a night and have a nap in the day as well, and other times I can’t sleep for toffee. When you can’t sleep you become obsessed with it. As soon as you wake up you want to know what time it is and how long you have slept for. The tiredness drives you insane. I swear I could murder sometimes just through lack of sleep. And that’s another thing: why am I having trouble sleeping when I’m already run down and exhausted anyway? I’m really not very happy about that.

Back to the murder thing though. Last night I couldn’t sleep either. Mr Man was tossing and turning, bouncing the bed around and huffing and puffing, and moaned “I can’t sleep”. It made me laugh when I saw this happen in a comedy sketch recently. Not so funny when you're lying next to it. Finally he got up for a cup of tea. Of course he had to bring it back to bed with him – which means the light has to go on until his tea has reached the optimum temperature for drinking. “Finally, I’m going to get some sleep” I thought, once the light went out.

It was only a few hours before my alarm went off for Mr Mans medication. I nudged him and then rolled over to go back to sleep. Unfortunately though we have the creakiest floor boards in our bathroom in the whole world. So, awake again I thought “While I’m awake I might as well use the loo, and then I can go back to bed and have a nice long sleep”. How wrong was I? I got back into bed and that was it – I was wide awake.

I decided to get up for a while and catch up on some blog reading instead of lying there looking at our ceiling. It’s quite a nice ceiling though. Mr Man painted stars on it in the shape of some constellations with some paint that glows in the dark. Very romantic. Still, not much to look at in day light. You can barely make out the greenish yellow dots in the day time.

By about lunch time I thought maybe I could manage to have an afternoon nap. It still took me ages to drop off to sleep, and then…

the phone rang.

It’s a friend of mine. “Sorry, were you asleep?” “Yes, it’s ok though, don’t worry”. Where did that come from? Of course it’s not ok. I was asleep, and now I’m awake again, how is that ok? She apologised and said goodbye so that I could go back to sleep. That was the theory anyway. I lay there for a while, struggling to get comfortable, and then just as I could feel myself drifting…

the door knocked.

It was nothing of great importance; just a leaflet. I say that as if there could possibly be anything “of great importance” worthy of disturbing my sleep.

By this time I want to put a very large notice on the door saying “GET LOST” for anyone foolish enough to want to knock on my door again; and unplug the phone, switch off the mobile and go back to sleep.

Sleep. Is that too much to ask for?

Now here I am again, and this is where the murder comes in. I have Mr Mans axe here; as you know, all Schizophrenics own an axe in case they decide that they want to run around chopping peoples heads off one day. So if you see the headline "Wife of a Schizophrenic Kills Postman with Axe" that will be me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Today's Top Tip

Don't eat six Cadbury's Hazelnut Brunch Bars all in one go.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mr & Mrs Man

While surfing the net one night I was surprised to come across this explanation for the name “Mr Man”.

Obviously my Mr Man is absolutely nothing like this. He adopted the name simply because he loves the Mr Men and has been using the name “Mr Man” since the early days of his musical expression in the mid – late 1980’s. At that time he composed computer generated music for two Amiga demo groups, one British, one European, and used the name Mr Man for his contribution to the groups. Since then he has composed music ranging from classical to techno, with everything else in between, my favourite being his “experimental” ragtime tracks.

Recently I have found that there is more than one “Mr Mans Wife” using the internet. I had been reading the rather new but very interesting blog of Trainee Paramedic, and in order to leave a comment I had to create an AOL account. During the registration process I was asked to provide a display name, but “Mr Mans Wife” was unavailable as it was already in use!

So if you go by the name “Mr Mans Wife” this message is for you:
If you were married before 1997 and your husband has been known internationally as “Mr Man” since before the mid 1980’s you should let me know – otherwise step down as you are clearly an impostor!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Oh listen sister, I love my mister man

From the song "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man". Lyric by Oscar Hammerstein II, music by Jerome Kern. From the musical "Showboat" 1927.

Ok, I’m writing this blog from the (rather cold) upstairs room of a working mans club. Following on from Mr Mans success in last years table tennis league*, he has decided to play in this years season also. Being the dutiful wife that I am, it is my great pleasure to sit here for 3 hours, freezing my butt off, sitting on a padded bench that is less than comfortable, watching a ping pong ball fly backwards and forwards at varying speeds.

Watching the players is more amusing than interesting: an old lady in shorts enthusiastically bounces the tiny plastic ball on the floor several times before serving, as if she was playing at Wimbledon, and then crouching low she sways keenly from left to right, clutching her bat and staring intently in anticipation for the return of serve, just like they do on the telly – only she misses nearly every ball that comes back to her. It’s then funny to see how she switches from “Wimbledon player” mode to “little old lady” mode as she scurries off in search of the ball. No ball boys here I’m afraid.

There are three players in each team. On our team we have a young lad with his proud parents sitting about 8 feet away from me. With each shot he tends to step forward, stamping his foot hard on the floor, as he pushes his bat from his chest in a deliberate and forceful manner, as if pushing a lawnmower. If he’d like to strengthen that back hand further he’s more than welcome to train on our lawn - lawn mower provided at no extra charge. I almost forgot to mention the hilarious flick of the head that he does each time he serves, which is obviously funnier to see than to read about, not to mention the facial expressions. I’d love to have taken a photograph of him but obviously this would interfere with anonymity.

The other player in our team is the only Chinese man in the league – a nation notoriously good at table tennis, it being their national sport. He gives us the pleasure of being able to see his legs, which are shaped like chicken drumsticks (although clearly shaved rather than plucked), and make me feel even hungrier.

In the opposing team is the old lady mentioned previously and also an old man who is quite tall and lanky, and he poses at the table like a Tyrannosaurus Rex; legs apart, knees slightly bent, leaning foward at a 45 degree angle, and holding his left wrist to his chest, dangling his hand in front of him. I couldn’t resist taking a photograph of this man; I’m not so concerned about anonymity with him as I guess one Tyrannosaurus Rex looks pretty much the same as another.

I’ve just been downstairs to the bar to get myself a drink, and the prospect of sitting there in an empty bar with my drink, which tastes more like fizzy water than the Pepsi it’s supposed to be, and listening to Lionel Richie with the ugly young barman, is far more appealing than the alternative. Still, I trundle off back up the stairs in time for Mr Mans match. He’s quite a lazy player; he hardly moves his feet at all, unlike the third member of the opposing team, who is forced to run 20 feet back from the table to return Mr Mans shots. The opponent is quite normal looking, even quite good looking (sorry Mr Man), although a bit goofy... and he has a big nose... and his eyes are a bit small... ok, he’s actually only good looking from a distance. He’s almost given up hope after losing the first two games 11-2 and 11-2 but after some mid match coaching from one of his team mates (you’d never get away with that at Wimbledon), he finally manages to triumph over Mr Man, although probably not through a huge change of his own game play; Mr Man is not yet as fit as he used to be, and was hanging over the table by this point. Obviously his opponent thought this would be an easy match as Mr Mans team has just been promoted from a lower division, but suitably impressed by Mr Mans technique, he approaches him after the match to “fish” for information about his table tennis back ground. “You must have played for quite a high division before your break away from the game” he prompts. Mr Man, preferring to remain the enigma that he is, simply replies with “yeah” **. I love that man.

The last game of the evening is a doubles game, played by Mr Man and Chinese Chicken Legs against T Rex and Navratilova’s mother – Goofy and the Lawnmower Kid sit this one out. Soon it’s time to finally go home. Just before we leave though the Wimbledon woman wants to examine Mr Mans bat. It seems she can't quite believe that someone else could possibly possess more skill than herself and outplay her. Baffled by his very ordinary bat, she hands it back and we set off.

Cold, hungry, aching, and looking at chicken legs all night, how could I resist nipping into good old KFC on the way home?

* His team finished at the top of the division and he won the highest percentage of games in his division, winning himself a nice shiny trophy.

** Mr Man previously played for the Premier division before a break away from the game of about 7 years, due to illness.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Today's Top Tip

Don't rest hot buttered toast on your lap without a plate.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pains in the Published

As you can see from the title, this blog entry was inspired by “Pains in Public” by Andrew Holmes. With every page I read I kept thinking “I should write something like this about authors”. I know this may seem like an obvious statement to make, but I don't like reading unless it's enjoyable. Actually I've spent most of my life thinking that I simply don't like reading, when in fact it's just taken me most of my life to find something worth the effort. This post doesn’t just cover the written word that has been published though; it covers any written word which has to be read and really puts people off reading altogether. This can be anything from emails to … well, blogs. It is not my intention to insult or offend anyone; this is just a collection of what I personally find to be pains in the written word. You may or may not agree.

I’ve swallowed a dictionary (and it’s stuck in my throat)
Who can be bothered to read a book when you have to re-read every sentence after looking up the words in a dictionary? This is annoying because it has more to do with appearing intellectual than sharing a talent to bring enjoyment to others. Those who write poetry can sometimes be like this. For them writing is an intellectual exercise designed to impress, rather than an expression of thought or emotion. A classic example is a poem I read about depression. The author shall remain anonymous, and I just hope she never reads this blog – other wise I could be adding hate mail to my list of pains in the written word. The poem was very dramatic as it described the bony hand of death pushing the author into the abyss of despair, and the “racking spasms which chafe and gnaw”. P-lease. When I was depressed the only spasms I had were caused by my irritable bowel syndrome. Is it me, or is that kind of poetry really boring? (Except the bit about falling “down, down, down” into the pit, “down though the abysmal hollows of sufferance”, which considering the poem was about the very serious subject of depression, had me crying with laughter) Although the piece was very “poetic”, it was obvious that the writer didn’t have a clue what she was writing about. Well, as I’ve probably said many times before, I’m not a writer of any kind, but here is my effort about depression, full of feeling and meaning…

Man, I feel like crap.
The End

Let’s go all around the houses… (Or “Would you accompany me on this vast literary journey, which takes us through several English country sides, so that we can admire the beauty of nature on our way to our destination?)
These ones are closely related to the “I’ve swallowed a dictionary” type, because they also use ridiculous words that your average Joe Public wouldn’t use in every day speech, but also it takes them forever to say it. So, instead of saying something like: “Although it was a sunny day, it was cold and damp enough to take your breath away”, they might say: “As the sunlight seeped in though the opening of the curtains, its brilliance reflected off each tiny particle of dust hovering in the air, illuminating them like fragments of faceted diamonds. A hazy mist could be seen over the dew covered fields, and a cold dampness peculiar to that time of year filled the air and asphyxiated all who inhaled the unwelcoming atmosphere.”
For these ones, the content itself is not really important, but how the content is written. Indeed the story could be total cack, as long as it’s written beautifully. I once started reading a book and never got past the first page, because that whole first page was spent describing the scenery and the weather, and I started to wonder if there were any characters in the story at all, or if the whole book was going to be a very fancy weather forecast. Can you imagine that? “For those who live beyond the hills and valleys of Yorkshire, currently shrouded in a blanket of freshly fallen snow, which glistens in the moonlight and lays undisturbed like the skin of a gently perspiring virginal young maiden in deep slumber; you may experience the wrath of the skies, with lightening like flashes of anger, lashing against the darkness like a horse whip, and forcing the rain to gallop ever faster to the saturated ground…” By the time the weatherman had finished giving the weather forecast, we’d be in a different season.

The kewl ones
Of course, at the other end of the scale are those who wish to appear clever in quite a different way. Evryfin they rite has 2 b re-spelt as if th Inglish langwij woznt gud enuf. I can understand that in writing text messages words may have to be shortened to save having to send 50 texts at a time, but why do these people continue writing this way in every other area of life? Message boards, emails – they all become a nightmare to read. You know, I had heard that this kind of spelling was even finding its way into school work. But the re-spelling which seems totally pointless to me is when the words are exactly the same length, just spelt wrongly, like “kewl” instead of “cool” or “woz” instead of “was”. It doesn’t seem very efficient to me, it just means you have to learn two languages instead of one.

Abbreviations really annoy me. The only thing worse than reading an abbr. is hearing one being spoken, such as “ASAP” or “TTFN”. My Maths teacher (yes, I realise that "Maths" is an abbr.) always used to say "thou" instead of "thousand" and it was so irritating. I realise that sometimes abbreviations are necessary, again such as in writing text messages as one example, but in most areas they are completely unnecessary and rather than showing efficiency just show pure laziness in the use of the English language. One news article I read recently spoke of an “Ass Ch Con” – a what? It’s only through reading Police Blogs that I could hazard a guess that this was supposed to be an “Assistant Chief Constable”, but you can’t presume that Jo Public is going to know that. In fact, I did a search for “Ass Ch Con” on several websites for "Abbreviations and Acronyms", including Police websites which have an abbreviations page. They all came up with nothing. The abbreviation doesn’t appear to exist, except perhaps in a journalists note pad somewhere.

The writers who swear all the [bleep] time
I can’t tell you how much this [bleep]s me off. It’s so [bleep] irritating and [bleep] unnecessary. They’ll try to tell you that it helps them to get their point across, or that context calls for it in a scene where emotions run high – [bleeeeeeeep]! It’s more to do with their limited vocabulary and trying to give the impression that they’re:

  • Individual – as in the case of teenagers trying to gain the respect of their peers and show the older generation that they won’t be confined by their rules
  • “With it” – as in the case of people who want to show that they’re “in touch” with “life on the street” and they know “what’s going down”
  • Still “with it” – as in the case of middle aged people trying to gain the respect of the younger generation
  • “No nonsense” kind of people – as in the case with people who are insecure and unsure of themselves but want to give the impression that they’re confident and not afraid of anyone
  • Funny – as in the case where a sweet old lady will blurt out an obscenity in a comedy sketch, to shock people into laughter. This sometimes works, but very rarely. This kind of attempt at humour is often overused or overdone.

Just to illustrate the point about having a limited vocabulary: recently a friend of mine was trying to explain to me how something had “gone wrong”. Due to children being nearby she leant over and quietly asked “What’s another way of saying f***ed up?” to which I replied “messed up?”

They are the five main styles or areas of writing that really annoy me, however there is another area of the written word that really annoys me, and that is misteaks or things that just are wrote bad. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know we are all imperfect, and I make enough written mistakes of my own, but surely something as important as news websites should be read by proof readers before being uploaded onto the net? Recently I came across an article on a news website about a popular comedy being shown at cinemas, which said in part: “The film has described as a "mockumentary" which follows Mr Cohen's travel across the US.” This obviously should have read “The film has been described…” or “The film is described…” not “The film has described…” That is just one example of regular findings of poor grammar on this particular news site, as well as numerous spelling errors.

There are other written things that I can’t/won’t read because they bore me to death (and I’m really not ready to die yet), such as “small print” or legal documents – very important but very boring; and instructions – again, very important but very boring, so thankfully I have Mr Man to speed read these things for me and then explain the gist of the content.

Thank goodness for the recent craze of Blogging. It has enabled me to find some reading material actually worth reading, and some of that has come from the most unexpected places – people who I actually know that have an amazing talent which I knew nothing about. I know some people may be bored by the endless amounts of Blogs available for reading, or maybe they feel it’s becoming a bit “old hat” or that every Tom, Dick or Harry is jumping on the “bandwagon”, but I feel that Blogging is something to be encouraged. It’s about time that we had a “fashionable” way of encouraging the art of writing, especially for the younger generation. Everyone wants to receive the compliment that their Blog is “well written”, or to have other “important” or “well educated” people show their admiration by linking to their Blog, and so I think this encourages people to try to improve their writing skills and think more about their style of writing. Surely, this has got to be a good thing.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Blogosphere

Have you ever tried clicking that little button in the top right hand corner entitled “next blog”? I sat here clicking it the other night, and this is what I found, in descending order from the most numerous:

Most of the Blogs were foreign and I couldn’t understand a word.

Another high percentage were actually advertising products or services. I suppose signing up for a Blog is an ideal way of getting free web space with all of the site design completed for you – you just have to type your text and upload an image of what you are selling.

Lots of people use Blogs to keep family and friends updated on their travelling adventures if they decide to take a trip oversees. These include lots of photographs. They're like a cyber postcard which has numerous advantages: 1. It "arrives" much quicker, 2. It only has to be "posted" once for everybody, rather than writing and posting serveral cards to different people in the persons address book, 3. The cyber postcard can be updated everyday, 4. Family can even "post" back in the comments section, although I thought people went away to avoid having to talk to family members for a while?

Some people use Blogs just as a way of sharing with people a hobby that they enjoy, such as classic cars, or even clothes shopping, again with lots of photographs.

A few people actually use Blogs as a diary strangely enough.

And then there are classics such as this.

Also I came across this Blog which I thought was an unbelievably cute idea, bringing out the very girly side of me. "I want one! I want one!" And incidentally this is where my first “Button” came from. But also it raises the very serious issue of awareness for people who struggle on a day to day basis with these kinds of “invisible” illnesses.

I know there are many other types of Blog, but these are the ones which I personally came across during my cyber travels… I hope the links compensate for my lack of photographs of cyber space.

I'm a Barbie Girl

A UK #1 hit for Scandinavian pop group "Aqua" in 1997

Regular visitors will notice that there have been a lot of changes going on with the links in the side bar. This is due to my recent fascination with “Buttons”. I know it may seem amateurish to some, and it’s something that will make me stand out, appearing to be a typical “newbie” to the internet and blogging (being dazzled by pretty things that do “stuff”), but I’m a girl and I like pretty things, and I make no excuses for that. Being the easily impressed, dumb, (born) blonde that I am, I tend to click on links just because I like the name on them, or because they’re pretty. I'm like a moth to a flame: "Don't look at the light!" "I can't help it, it's so beautiful" - Quote from A Bugs Life

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat?

It was definitely a treat; every time I think about it I start laughing again.

We have a poster in the window of our front door, saying “No trick or treat, please do not disturb”, so when the door knocked shortly after 6pm I thought “I wonder who that is? We’re not expecting anybody”. Mr Man jumped up to answer the door and was greeted by two young children with their faces painted. “Trick or treat?” I heard them say. “Can’t you read?” asked Mr Man, in his usual grumpy fashion, pointing to the poster. “No” they replied in unison, shaking their heads innocently. Mr Man didn’t really know what to say to that. He just said “No thank you” and came in laughing.

What a treat.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

I'm tired and grouchy

Today was another stressful day following a restless night. I didn’t sleep well, so I was not in the best of moods anyway, and I needed to take a trip into town, which meant facing the two areas of life guaranteed to cause me the maximum amount of stress – driving and shopping.

The stress started when I stopped at a junction joining a busy road in town. I didn’t actually need to join the busy lane of traffic but needed to pass through it to get to the lane on the other side. Someone waved me out, so raising my hand to say “thanks” I pulled out, but after waving me out he made absolutely no attempt to slow down whatsoever and nearly ran into the side of me. I was a bit shaken by this, and confused. If he was just waving his arms about while talking to his passenger he needs to be a bit more careful about using hand gestures while driving.

I went into that well known shop again that sells magazines and books, to buy a couple of magazines for Mr Man. As usual one of the magazines was missing the DVD on the front and as usual it was the last issue on the shelf, so I wasn’t very impressed with that. The girl behind the counter suggested that maybe it didn’t come with a DVD until I pointed out that the cover of the magazine states that it does. They're absolutely hopeless in that shop, but unfortunately it's the only one like it in our town. Amazingly they had the November issue of the other magazine, which I was expecting to be “out of date” by now. Maybe it’s for November next year; I’ll have to check the date.

The town centre was unbelievably busy, but I expect every weekend will be busy now in the run up to Christmas. Shopping at Christmas time is a whole other experience entirely, which I’m sure I will blog about in greater detail nearer the time, but already I’m finding the shops that usually sell sensible and useful items are now stocking their shelves with isle upon isle of Christmas decorations and wrapping paper. All I wanted was one lousy plant pot. How many variations of Santa could a person possibly need?

Going back to the crowds, how Mr Man coped yesterday I have no idea because everyone was really stressing me today. When I came out of a lift I was faced by a wall of people moving in towards me; I thought they would at least have the brains to let the lift empty out before trying to squeeze even more people inside. Everything about my whole shopping experience was irritating and stressful with noise and people walking straight across me. I made a point of not apologising to people today, not that I want to be deliberately rude or impolite, but I’m fed up with always being the one to apologise when people walk into me. I even got poked in the bum with the corner of this lads calendar while I was waiting in a queue. The only person that didn’t get on my nerves today was the friendly bloke who sells the Big Issue.

I just really hope I get a good nights sleep tonight. I’m so tired. I don’t want to be woken up tomorrow unless the house is on fire (unlikely - see previous post) or someone has died (and then they won't care or even know if I choose to ignore their death and stay in bed).

Friday, October 27, 2006

Relight my fire

A disco hit sung originally by Dan Hartman in 1979 featuring Loleatta Holloway, but best known as sung by British boy band “Take That” and Lulu in 1993. Dan Hartman died in 1994 from brain cancer.

As it’s our anniversary, and the weather has turned decidedly wintry, I thought I’d light our open fire tonight for a cosy romantic evening in. To make the job cleaner, quicker, and easier, I sometimes buy these “Home Fire Logs” which come wrapped in paper, and you simply place the whole thing on the grate and light the paper at each end. Sounds very “clean, quick, and easy” doesn’t it? Except the paper kept going out. So I placed a lit “fire lighter” at each end, which are supposed to be used to aid lighting a more conventional log or coal fire – and those bloomin’ things went out as well! Mr Man made a very valid point that “it makes you wonder how on earth home fires start, when you can’t even start one deliberately!”

It's just as well "I've got my love to keep me warm"*

*Written by Irving Berlin and sung by just about everybody, including Billie Holiday. Probably first performed about 1937.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Wot no blog?

"Wot no..." A popular expression used in graffiti in the 1980’s but originally from World War II, usually accompanied by a drawing of a cartoon character known as "Kilroy" or "Chad", peering over a wall.

I’m actually extremely tired at the moment. For the last few years I’ve noticed that I get very run down at this time of year. Maybe I always have, I’m not sure, but the first time I noticed it was in 2003.

I’ve been putting myself under pressure to keep blogging, but I don’t react very well to pressure, especially when I’m tired; I just get stressed and teary. It’s not writers block – I have plenty of ideas – but I’m just too tired to express them. It’s so frustrating.

I will get back to this, I’m just not sure when. It’s just such a shame that I’m feeling like this so early on in my blogging “career”; I don’t want people to think I’m just another “flash in the pan”.

I read some other blogs though and I’ve noticed that some of those bloggers don’t update all that regularly, but when they do their posts are good quality reading, so hopefully I can do the same.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Remember you're a Womble...

A song by The Wombles, a childrens TV program that started in 1973. "Womble" is sometimes used as slang for an old person. Also "A user who has great difficulty in communicating their requirements" - (Which sounds like me)

I’ve had a couple of people ask me now “When are you going to post again?” But the truth is “life” keeps interrupting my blogging habits. I decided I must make a serious effort tonight though, after seeing that a friend of mine is managing to find time for her own blog now, despite having 5 kids at home, decorating, and being a student at the same time. People like her really put me to shame; I only have Mr Man and myself to look after but I still don’t know where all the time goes. She is the queen of multi-tasking though. She is the only person I know who can actively participate in a conversation whilst typing at the same time. Blimey, I can’t even hold a conversation while I’m making a hot drink.

Just lately it seems that any multi-tasking skills of mine have long gone, and even my single-tasking skills are diminishing rapidly. To put it mildly I’ve been feeling a tad… well, brain dead really. As mentioned in my last post I have had moments with “sudden onset dyslexia” and when I’m driving I find that I am having moments with sudden onset “I don’t know how to drive anymore” syndrome. “I’m sorry for my terrible driving tonight” I’ll say to Mr Man. He’s very understanding and patient with me though, and will just calmly reply with “Well, you have made some rather unusual gear changes”.

The other night I didn’t realise I had served up cold chicken with our hot potatoes, vegetables, and gravy until I started eating it – I just completely forgot to heat it up (and yes, I was having a conversation whilst cooking). And last night I teased a couple of friends of mine whose partners have both gone on holiday (one male and one female), saying “Maybe they’ve run away together”, and it wasn’t until halfway through the night when I was laying in bed, I finally remembered that the two friends who have gone away are brother and sister!

If this is old age setting in I’m done for; it’s all down hill from here. Still, at least I'm not as stupid as this person.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mind your P's and Q's

To "Mind your P's and Q's" means to "Remember to say please and thank you".

I never have a problem with laughing at myself, and let’s face it, there are plenty of opportunities. Over time I’ll probably end up relating many stories of stupid things I did when I was younger, but for now, here’s a classic from this afternoon.

My husband and I were trying to work out how many pounds in weight were in X amount of stones so that we could then convert it roughly into kilo’s. So I said to him “What’s 112 and 112?” “224” he said. “So what’s half of that then?”

(I’m not even going to explain the joke, because if you don’t get it, then you’re as stupid as me.)

Also I seemed to suffer from a case of “sudden onset dyslexia” this afternoon, when I kept writing “p” backwards so that it looked like a “q”. I even tried to correct it, but just ended up writing a “q” again. Mr Man said I ought to mind my “P’s and Q’s”... groan.

And add to that the fact that I just cooked some sausages in the George Foreman grill, but forgot to put the drip tray underneath, so there is now hot fat all over the kitchen work top – I think I’m having one of those days.

I'm supposed to be going out this evening, but I'm thinking it might be safer for everyone if I just stayed home.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The three wise monkeys

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.

Thank you to Tom Reynolds, for once again keeping us informed about another blog which has been forced to stop due to pressure from the “powers that be”. Unfortunately this time I have not been able to read this blog myself so I am unable to comment on it personally. However, it is more than a little disturbing when people are unable to write truthfully about their experiences “behind the scenes” of services that we as the public rely on so heavily.

This takes me back to when my husband was in hospital. The way we were treated by hospital staff was absolutely appalling. We particularly had problems with the temporary consultant on the ward at the time and even some of the nurses were aghast at his treatment of some of his patients. These ones encouraged me to go ahead with my complaint but said they were “unable” to complain about him themselves and that I shouldn’t quote anything they had said. They wouldn’t tell me why but after what I had witnessed during my meeting with the “powers that be” (namely the Medical Director), and the subsequent result (namely the whole thing being swept very neatly under the proverbial carpet), it has become clear to me that these ones were also unable to truthfully voice what they had witnessed through fear of losing their jobs.

It appears to me that if you are employed in any way by the NHS, then speaking out against anyone (particularly of higher rank) or anything within that service is strictly prohibited. You are to remain loyal at all times, and protect the infallible identity of our Great National Health Service.

Of course I am not employed by the "Great National Health Service", so I can say what ever I like – and I will*. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for a lot of the services that we receive, and often the people within these services work extremely hard for little appreciation, but I am disgusted that these same people within this service are forced to keep quiet about things that are just wrong. Although my experiences are from the “outside”, I will freely post about them, and yes, I will quote what other healthcare professionals have said to me, as it is unlikely now that their identity would be discovered.

*You can read my experiences of dealing with the Mental Health Services in my other blog.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

I'm without stupid

As opposed to “I’m with stupid” – the name of a Pet Shop Boys single and also a program on telly.

I’ve been out quite a bit today and strangely enough I have not met one stupid person all day, and that in itself is something worth blogging about. There was one thing – a strange comment that a friend made, which in turn made me think about other strange comments along the same lines made by another friend once – but of course I can’t write about that because I made the mistake of telling all my friends about my blog. Damn it. Let’s just say some people have some very strange ideas about health issues and how to get treatment. If either of them dies I’ll let you know what it is they said.

Now you see him, now you don't

A phrase from a British advert advocating awareness of cyclists by motorists.

Tonight I nipped out to the supermarket to get a couple of things, and I saw the most sensible cyclist I’ve ever seen in my life. Not only did his bike have lights (I hear you gasp in joyful disbelief already) but he was wearing a yellow jacket with reflective strips on it, and a full crash helmet. I couldn’t see if he had a visor on the front of the helmet or not; my husband said I should have run him over so that I could get a closer look.

This is most unusual for a cyclist in this town though, which is obviously why he stood out to me; well, and because of the jacket of course. But the usual attire for a cyclist in this town is dark clothing from head to toe, and if you’re of a fair complexion then you should cover your head with a black balaclava as well. They don’t have lights, and they swerve all over the road, nip out in front of you when you least expect it, and ride on the opposite side of the road in the wrong direction. I witnessed this just the other night when there were two cyclists riding side by side - dark clothing, no lights, swerving all over the place, blah blah blah. I’d just managed to overtake them when a van came in the opposite direction. I was watching the cyclists in my rear view mirror and one of them swerved across the road and was riding towards the oncoming van, which obviously had to break quite suddenly.

If these people want to die can’t they do it in a way that is less distressing (and dangerous) for others? My brother once had a cyclist pull out in front of him with no lights on. He swerved to try to avoid a head on collision but unfortunately still caught him with the side of his vehicle. He was understandably very shaken up as the cyclist was left in a critical condition. Although it was in no way his fault, how can you not question yourself when something like this happens? And obviously it would leave the person nervous of driving again. Thankfully both of them have recovered, but the outcome could have been so different.

Don’t they give road safety lessons after school anymore? And if they do, do children still attend? Is it still regarded as "cool"?

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Blogging bloggery bloggers

Taken from the expression “Smegging smeggery smegger” from British science fiction comedy "Red Dwarf"

I wish all I ever had to do was read blogs all day. I’ve come across some brilliant blogs, some extremely well written blogs, some hilarious blogs, and some fascinating blogs. Alas, I don’t seem to have time, as I actually have a life, and I’m trying to write a couple of blogs of my own. (Notice how I list writing blogs separately to having a life?)

Once you start writing a blog it seems to take over your life (at least it has with me). I find myself “writing” blogs in my head while I’m shopping, driving, having a bath, all sorts. Unfortunately by the time I get to sit down with my laptop I’ve forgotten what I wanted to write. It actually takes me ages to write an entry too, and then even when I’ve uploaded it I tend to go back and edit it a hundred times. I really liked writing when I was younger, and had a lot of encouragement from my English teacher at school, but I’ve not done any writing for about 17 years now. I used to find it so easy; the thoughts would just flow and my pen could hardly keep up with my brain, and now it takes me ages to just string one sentence together. Still, I have the same problem when I’m talking these days so that should be no surprise.

I wish I had the skill of some of these other bloggers. One of the best blogs I have read, if not the best, is that of Inspector Gadget. I hadn’t even come across his blog before until I read this post on Tom Reynolds blog. I took a look and couldn’t tear myself away from it. He has a fantastically witty style of writing that I can only dream of possessing. Unfortunately his superiors at work seem to have taken a disliking to some of the very honest comments he has made. Personally I don’t understand the politics behind all this sort of thing, and I don’t really care, I just think this is a very interesting and funny blog. It doesn’t seem “damaging” to police image to me in any way at all; I haven’t learnt any shocking secrets about police policies. He just points out the ironies of how the system works, which most of us know about anyway. If he is forced to delete his blog it will be a great loss, not just to the blogging community but to literature - full stop. I sincerely hope that he is able to continue.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I feel like chicken tonight, like chicken tonight!

A line from an irritating song in a British advert for a chicken cooking sauce.

Mr Man and I went to KFC for dinner tonight. I accidentally asked for a McFlurry instead of an Avalanche, which brought back some funny memories for me of when I worked there. We had people coming in all the time asking for things that were on the McDonalds menu, including the fillet-o-fish and the McChicken sandwich! The best was when little old ladies used to come in and ask for fish and chips!

I know it must sound like a rubbish job to have, and in those days I only earned £2.50 an hour, but I had a fantastic time working there - despite my managers! I got on really well with all my other colleagues, I got to meet people every day (which I love), and I got to listen to whatever music I wanted all day long. I still miss those days sometimes, and the people I worked with. At the time I swore I could write a book on life at KFC as you could guarantee something funny would happen every day. I wish I had now, or at least taken some notes at the time because it was all a very long time ago now and I can only remember a few funny things.

One thing I remember, going back to the funny things that people used to ask for, is one time when we had a new food item on the menu. We always had to wear T shirts to advertise the new product, and we also had these square bits of cardboard hanging from the ceiling with a picture of the product on them. One day this bloke walks in and says “I’ll have one of those please” pointing at the piece of cardboard. My work colleague, who we will call Tom, instantly replied with “Certainly sir” and reached up and took the cardboard down and handed it to the customer!

There was also the time when I had a customer ask me for “three wings”. At that time the “hot wings” were a new product and being heavily advertised so I asked him “Would you like the ordinary wings, or the hot wings?” He replied with “I want three wings”. “Which wings would you like though? The hot wings, or the original recipe wings?”
“I want three wings”
“Well these are the hot wings” I said as I pointed to them “And these are the original recipe wings. Which ones would you like?”
“I want three wings”
This went on for an extremely long time, and in the end I just gave him “three wings” and I can’t even remember which ones. Thankfully he didn’t then complain that I had given him the wrong ones, which I was expecting. They were the only four words that he said though, so maybe he didn’t know how to complain.

Some of the funniest stories are the things we saw on the screen upstairs while we were having our break, via the CCTV camera. People seemed completely unaware that it was there. What made it even funnier though is that the person serving the customer would be completely unaware of what was going on over the other side of the counter. One time these two women came in, and while they waited for their food one put her arm around the other and smiled. “Ahh, that’s so sweet” I thought, watching from upstairs “you don’t often see two sisters show affection for each other like that”. How naïve could I possibly be? The next minute she had put her hand down the back of the other ones trousers! “Oh, maybe they’re not sisters then” I thought. And there was Tom, completely unaware of what was going on right in front of him!

The same sort of thing happened to me one night as well, when Tom was upstairs watching. A couple came in, one male, one female this time, and as I was busy packing their order the man got his “thing” out, nudged his girlfriend, and glanced downwards, indicating to her to look. She looked and then quickly turned away trying to pretend nothing was happening. He carried on nudging her and trying to get her to look, and then he started gyrating and “swinging” it about! And there I am in the background packing their food and wishing them farewell with “Enjoy your meal”, completely unaware of what had just happened! When something like this happened and one of us were lucky enough to witness it “live”, we would always come down stairs laughing and tell the others to rewind the tape and watch the last customer. They had no idea how much entertainment they created for us.

Sigh, they were the days.

Just as a side story, we had a piece of chicken left over tonight so I asked the girl behind the counter for a box to put it in to take home. We couldn’t figure out how to close the thing! The girl was laughing as I went back to the counter again, and she closed it for us. I said “It’s like something out of the Krypton factor, but I don’t suppose you know what that is, do you?” “No” she replied, shaking her head. “No, I expect you’re too young”. I then walked away, realising what I had just said and thinking, “How is it that the things we hated in older people when we were younger are the very things that we do when we’re older ourselves?”

Apparently there's one born every minute - I seem to meet one every minute

I can’t believe how many stupid people you can come across in one short journey to the local supermarket. I shouldn’t be surprised; the trip combines the two areas of life where most stupid people can be found – driving and shopping – although to be honest the shopping part was surprisingly lacking in stupid people tonight.

On my way there I approach a chicane in the road, with which I have “priority over traffic” – apparently there is no such thing as “right of way” any more. Whatever, they should still stop and let me through. You always get some bright spark who thinks he can “just nip through” before you reach it, but four cars in a row, forcing me to stop and wait for them?

I get to the end of that road and for once the adjoining road is completely clear for me to pull out into – except for one dithery person who I am waiting on to get out of my way and turn into the road that I am turning out of. This is a very wide junction so 1mph wasn’t entirely necessary.

So, once I finally get onto that road, further along I spot someone waiting at a junction on the left with no lights on, and it was dark. I flash them, and I don’t mean a flash flash, as in “After you”, I mean a flash flash flash flash flash flash flash, as in “It’s dark. Put your flippin’ lights on”. So he starts pulling out of the junction. A few more flashes and he gets the hint, so he’s not quite as stupid as the person (who I know but won’t name) who drove halfway across town with one of her doors open, with me following behind causing every epileptic in town to go into a seizure. I finally had to knock on her window when she had stopped at some traffic lights, which nearly gave her a heart attack. I find it very worrying that some drivers are so unaware of what is going on outside their own vehicle; if the person behind me got out of their car and started heading towards mine I think I would notice.

Anyway, I finally get to the supermarket car park and I’m halfway into a parking space when the person in the space next to it flings their car door wide open. Is it only me that this happens to, because this isn’t the first time? Sometimes the person will realise what they have done and pull the door in to allow you to park, but this person tonight?... There were plenty of spaces so I just parked somewhere else.

All of that in one 5 minute journey. Thank goodness I wasn’t going anywhere further away.

Pot calling the kettle black

An idiom meaning "to say something about someone else which is actually true of you yourself".

What the hell is wrong with me? Last week I managed to burn my face with a lasagne and tonight I just splashed mouthwash into my eye! And I'm writing a blog about the stupid things that other people do?

Saturday, September 23, 2006

What did I do to be so black and blue?

Title of a song by Louis Armstrong 1955

Ok, the story of my black eye. I suppose I must have been about 12, and I went to school with this very black eye. I was late for school that day, which was nothing unusual for me, but it meant a 15 minute detention after school. I didn’t care; to be honest I would rather do an extra 15 minutes at the end of the day than get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. Actually I had quite a vivid imagination when I was younger, and during my long walk to school I would often think up some amazing stories as to why I was late again, which helped the time pass much quicker during my boring 3 mile walk. I didn’t for one minute think that my teacher would actually believe that there was a massive crocodile blocking my path, but as I had to stand at her desk and explain my lateness to her in front of the whole class, sometimes I wanted to tell one of my stories just to make everyone laugh. I’d get to school feeling quite excited, thinking I had such a great story to tell, and then I’d walk in and sheepishly say “Sorry I’m late, I slept in”.

Anyway, this was one such day. I don’t recall any teachers asking me about my black eye during the course of the day, but they had obviously noticed it and discussed it amongst themselves in the staff room. By home time when I sat at the desk in my form room to start on my homework, I was approached by both my form teacher and my head of year, together. They sat down in front of me looking very serious and expressed concern about my black eye. They asked me how it happened. “My brother did it”, I said. “Why did he do that?” they asked. “Because I slapped him round the face” I replied. Looking relieved, and with a slight smile on their faces, they asked what had prompted me to slap him. “Because he pinched my bum”. Well by this time they were laughing, and they couldn’t resist asking for the full story, so I went on to explain that I was playing with a tennis ball (because that’s what 12 year olds did in those days), and just to irritate me (because that’s what older brothers do) he took the ball from me and held it up in the air so that I couldn’t reach. He was only sitting on a bench in the kitchen, but I was so short for my age I was still struggling to reach. There I was stretching and jumping trying to reach this ball and then to distract me further he pinched my bum. I automatically slapped his face without thinking, and then as quick as a flash he punched me in the eye. Shaking their heads and laughing the teachers got up to leave me to do my homework.

Incidentally, I didn't get anyone asking me about my burn.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Burn baby burn...

A line from "Disco Inferno" by The Trammps 1976

Today Mr Man has decided that he would like us to go out for dinner. I know, that’s so sweet isn’t it? And I should be so pleased especially as it means I won’t have to cook. But I have a huge burn on my face. Ok, it’s not huge, but it is horrendous looking. And there ain't no makeup on this earth that's gonna hide this. It’s all scabby at the side of my mouth where my skin fell off, and people will think that he’s been hitting me again. Hahaha, that “again” bit is a joke. I couldn’t have wished for a milder bloke. In fact when I shout at him I have to look away because he just laughs and it makes me laugh as well. It’s very difficult to stay angry at him.

So anyway, this burn… It was a couple of nights ago. I really was so tired that I fell asleep in the chair – virtually unheard of. I sleep a lot, but never in the chair. So it was microwave dinners all round that night. Mr Man opted for his usual curry, and I had a lasagne. He worries so much about me when I’m in the kitchen, so as I took the piping hot food out of the microwave he warned “Be careful”, “I’m being careful” came my usual reply.

You’re probably wondering how on earth I managed to burn my face with it. Well, as I scooped the lasagne out of the dish and onto my plate, some of the sauce spilled out onto my finger. It was so hot, and my immediate reaction was to lick it off quickly. Somehow I managed to flick this piping hot sauce onto my face and burn my skin off. Nice.

The funny thing is that it was the burn on my finger that seemed to hurt the most, even though I wasn’t even left with a blister. The burn on my face was sore, but I hardly noticed it as I’ve been so used to feeling soreness on my face for the past 10 years, due to an allergy that has only just been brought under control. My friend was shocked when she saw my burn and I told her that it’s no sorer than my nettle rash used to be. She said “Really? That just looked like spots” – yes, I used to get that a lot from people, which was rather irritating.

So there you are. That’s the story of my burn. I’m sure I won’t be scarred for life but I can assure you that lasagne will be off the menu for a while. I’ll let you know if I get any well meaning do-gooders take me to one side to ask me what happened. Oh, that reminds me of the time I had to go to school with a black eye…

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Getting pulled

Unfortunately not the kind you're probably thinking.

Whilst I’m on the subject of driving (and don’t for one minute presume that I am finished with the subject) I came across this post today. It brought to mind the times that I have been pulled over by the police myself. It feels like it has happened loads of times, but when I think about it it’s probably only ever happened to me twice. I don't remember feeling nervous on either occasion, because I knew I hadn't done anything wrong.

One time I was driving home at night from the hospital which was in the next town. There was a car driving so close behind me that all I could see were the headlights. I was really annoyed because for a start I hate it when people drive so close behind me – it’s stupid, and it’s dangerous – but also I felt like the other driver was trying to push me to drive faster all the time. As previously mentioned, the route home takes me through several changes of speed limits, and the car I had at the time (Honda Legend) had fast acceleration - so I used it. Each time I made sure I stuck to whatever the limit was; not that I wouldn’t normally, but I really wanted to make the point to this idiot that I was quite capable of going faster if I wanted to, I just didn't want to, and he wasn’t going to intimidate me into breaking the law. I was really surprised that he was actually able to keep up, because previously when I have had a "boy racer" pushing me from behind to go faster, and then I've reached a single carriageway and hit the accelerator, the car behind has become nothing more than a speck in the rear view mirror. It’s only when I went round a roundabout that I got a glimpse of the car behind and saw that it was a police car! A short while later the officer pulled me over. It was very strange as all he did was look over the car with his torch and then send me on my way.

Now, my husband has been pulled over loads of times. He used to work for Royal Mail which meant leaving for work anytime between 3am and 5am, and for some reason the police in our area felt that driving around at that time of the morning was “suspicious”. Each time that he was pulled over he was asked to produce his documents – his driving licence, certificate of insurance, and MOT. That’s why it seemed so strange when the officer that pulled me over didn’t ask for any of those things. Maybe he just liked my car and wanted to have a closer look?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Driving me mad - the return of the revenge of part two strikes back again, the sequel

I’ve thought many times about writing a book about the stupid things that people do on the roads. During the total 12 months that my husband was in hospital I spent a lot of time driving to and from there, sometimes as often as 4 times a day, and I drove along many different types of roads. Most people have been "cut up" on the road at some point, but when you spend that amount of time driving it’s amazing the stupid things that you see almost on a daily basis. I started putting these people into categories.

One speed wonders
These people tend to go at the same speed no matter what road they are travelling on. Along my route the roads would have various speed limits, but these people always drive at the same speed. This means that if they are travelling along a road with a limit of 60mph they will quite happily chug along at 40mph, which then becomes extremely frustrating for us law abiding citizens driving behind them, when we see a 30 sign and slow down – but these people don’t. You can almost imagine them blowing a raspberry through the back window, knowing that they have made you late for an appointment, as they speed off into the distance.

The camera shy
How people react to speed cameras is one thing that I don’t understand. Even drivers who manage to drive quite sensibly at other times seem to go all silly as soon as they see one. There’s a particular camera in our area that I’m thinking of, where the limit is 40mph. I can’t believe the amount of people who reduce their speed to 30 or even 20mph as they approach this camera, even when it’s facing the other way, and then as they pass it they promptly increase their speed to 60 even though the limit is still 40. It’s almost like they’re frightened that it’s going to bite them, so they approach it really cautiously, and then once they’re safely past they speed up to get away before it catches them. It’s most bizarre behaviour, as the camera will only “clock” you if you’re actually breaking the speed limit – that’s what they’re for. If people didn’t break speed limits they would have no reason to fear these cameras at all. Contrary to popular belief I really don’t think that these cameras are there to “catch people out” or to “make money”, if they were then they wouldn’t be big yellow things that are clearly visible to everyone, with a warning sign before you even approach it.

Village people
Groan. Village people. Well, these people always drive incredibly slowly wherever they are going. I have no idea why, unless it’s because they’re used to the speed of a tractor, I don’t know. I always know when I’m behind one of the village people though. You can guarantee, I’ll be driving along thinking “This is one of the village people” and then sure enough, when we reach the “village junction” they’ll turn off. I must have super mental powers.

You’re probably thinking by now that it seems to be every time a person drives slowly that it annoys me, but it’s not really the speed, it’s the drivers’ stupidity. I have to say, I have all the patience in the world for HGV drivers and learner drivers. The former have no choice but to drive slowly, and the latter – well, I remember those days clearly, and everyone has to start somewhere. It annoys me just as much when people go faster than the speed limit, as you can see from my previous post on the subject. I just wish people would obey traffic laws; after all they are there for a reason. I suppose everyone has those days when their mind is on something else and they don’t realise that the speed limit has changed on the road, or they forget to indicate, or they’re in the wrong lane, or whatever. I should know; I have plenty of those days myself. But you can tell when someone is either determined to break the laws or they’re just too “dithery” to even have a licence.

To be honest I’m much more patient than I used to be. My brother used to laugh at my constant running commentary on what everyone else was doing wrong, but these days I’m quite used to people pulling out in front of me, and not indicating until they’re halfway round a corner, so a mumbled “After you then”, or “An indicator would have been useful” is sufficient for me to make my point these days. (I can hear the people who know me well - and especially those who have been a passenger in my car - laughing hysterically) Okay, I try to be more patient than I used to be.

For some reason there was a phase when old male drivers would make a driving mistake and then shake their head at me as if I had done something wrong, which infuriated me so much, and it seemed to happen on a daily basis for a while. Yes, I was extremely tempted to either ram them with my car or follow them home and knock them out. But I’m not a maniac – honest. I’ve only knocked down a telegraph poll once.

Monday, September 11, 2006


My friend has just returned from Manchester where she was visiting her brother. She commented on how many teenagers were wearing tags in that area - it almost seems to be a fashion accessory. Obviously a high percentage of youths in that area commit crimes, and we joked about what a good idea it would be if all children were tagged at birth. It wouldn’t be a bad idea though would it? Just think of the crime that would be prevented in the first place. I suspect that most of the crimes committed by youths are when they’re with their peers rather than when they’re alone. Where’s the thrill in breaking the law if there is no one to share it with? So if they’re all home by say 8pm - voila! No more street gangs terrorising the neighbourhood. No more kids trying to get into night clubs when their only 14. No more gathering round a friends house to get drunk and smoke pot, and lets face it, that would be boring on your own too (not that I would know of course). And I suspect there would be a huge decrease in under age sex and teenage pregnancies as well.

It's not just teenagers that are a problem though. I spoke to my Mum on the phone over the weekend and she told me that one of my nieces (age 11) and two of my nephews (7 and 8) had gone missing that afternoon for nearly 3 hours, and ten police officers had been out looking for them. Ten! What a waste of resources for basically disobedient children who aren’t where they say they’ll be and don’t come home on time. One police officer was just calling for a helicopter when my niece arrived home. You see? Just tag them with some kind of tracking device and you’ll never lose your kids ever again (even if you’re trying to).

Thursday, September 07, 2006


I fed a homeless person today. I'm not saying that so that you all think I'm wonderful; it actually makes me feel quite crappy. Let me explain.

I was sitting on a bench in town, eating my hotdog (don't tell my slimming club leader), and this lad comes along and mumbles something to me. I asked him to repeat what he had said, so bowing his head towards me slightly and looking at my hotdog he repeated "Can you spare any change so that I can get something to eat?" I paused for a moment, not knowing what to say. I don't agree with lying, and I knew I had some change. But like everywhere else I suspect, we have a big drug problem in our town, and I can't possibly know if he is genuine or not.

I told him I don't give change to people I don't know. He gave a slightly pained expression, closing his eyes, holding his tummy, and tilting his head backwards. "Please" he begged. “Are you hungry?” I asked, and he nodded. “I’ll buy you something to eat if you’re hungry, but I’m sorry, I don’t give money to people I don’t know”. He seemed happy with that, saying “I totally respect that”. So off we walked to the hotdog stand, and I bought him a hotdog (with cheese at his request!) and a can of drink too. I made a joke about losing my seat on the bench, and then we parted company.

I can’t imagine how embarrassing it must feel to have to ask someone to give you the money to feed yourself. It was obviously hard enough for him the first time round, and then I made him repeat it. Then, it was obvious that I was buying the food for him, humiliating the boy even further. I couldn’t even give him the dignity of being able to buy it himself.

I usually avoid homeless people like the plague, but that’s only because of a bad experience I once had. A girl was sitting in the street in town, and it was late in the year, so it was dark although it wasn’t late. She was asking for money as people walked by, so I asked her if she wanted something to eat. Off I went and bought her something, and then we sat on the bench and chatted for a while. She admitted that she had used drugs before, and wasn’t offended that I offered to buy her food instead of giving her money. I suspect that the genuine cases usually aren’t. Then this big scary looking bloke came along and started shouting at her, saying that she had stolen his phone. It seemed to go on forever, and I didn’t know what to do. I was just sitting there, right in the middle of it, and I thought “How can I just walk away while this man is being so threatening towards her?” I spoke up to try to calm the bloke down, which was totally the wrong thing to do, and he started shouting at me as well, and accusing me of being a “smack head”. The situation totally shook me up, especially as I was feeling rather fragile at the time anyway, and I made my excuses and left. For a long time after that I suffered from anxiety attacks each time I went into town, especially if a stranger tried to approach me.

Homeless people seem different to how they used to be. Maybe it’s always been this way in bigger towns and cities, I don’t know, but years ago in our town homeless people seemed to be smelly old men wearing long coats and fingerless gloves, who maybe smoked roll-ups. These days you can’t tell them apart from any other teenager hanging around in the town centre. But then I’m not sure if these truly are homeless people, or just beggars. I don’t remember seeing homeless people actually begging before, although I remember seeing homeless people. They always used to just look through bins, although I am in no way suggesting that this is how a person should live.

One bloke in particular that I remember, always used to come into KFC when I worked there, when it was cold and dark, just for somewhere to keep warm. He’d buy a cup of tea, and go and sit in the corner out of the way. We always used to get a free dinner at KFC, which I didn’t always use, so I would put a bit of dinner on a tray for him and take it over. Again, I’m not blowing my own trumpet, the point I’m making is that he never took that for granted. He didn’t start coming in every night thinking he would get a free meal, and when he did come in he never asked for it, he would just ask for his normal cup of tea, and he would always pay for it.

On the other hand, we used to get another old lady come in, who I don’t think was actually homeless, but she was scruffy looking, and she used to buy a bag of fries and then ask you to slip some chicken in there for her. I would always apologise and say no, explaining that the chicken pieces are actually counted, so I couldn’t get away with it. It never stopped her asking though, and she was very persistent. But I knew that if I started giving it to her she would be coming in all the time for it. She should have gone to a chip shop instead; they’re much better value for money.

As I said, in the past most homeless people never seemed to expect help from others. There was a lady that my Mum met once, who said she had made herself voluntarily homeless. She said she was going to be a missionary in China, and that living homeless was part of her training. I don't know if that is true or not, or if she was simply embarrassed by her current situation. My Mum said she seemed well educated, and was well spoken. Anyway, one night she was outside a shop in the area where my Mum lived at the time, looking through a bin for something to eat. It was a cold night, with snow on the ground, and all she had on her feet were newspapers and carrier bags that she had wrapped around them. Some lads started throwing stones and snow balls at her, so my Mum gave them a telling off and checked that the girl was alright. My Mum asked where she would sleep that night, and the girl explained that she would just find a bus shelter somewhere. My Mum insisted that the girl spent the night at her house, saying that if she didn’t she would be worrying about her all night. The girl finally agreed, although she didn’t want to go; she kept saying how smelly and dirty she was and that she didn’t want to be any trouble. She said “Maybe I could just sleep in your shed?”. Realising that this was the only way she was going to get her out of the snow, my Mum agreed – and it wasn’t until they got to my Mums house that she told the girl that she doesn’t have a shed! My Mum offered her some shoes, but she wouldn't accept them, and she wouldn't accept any food to eat, only a cup of Bovril. She insisted that she didn't want to be any trouble, and she didn't want to go into the living room because she felt she was too smelly and dirty. My Mum offered her a bed for the night, but she insisted on sleeping in the hallway by the front door. She was very polite and appreciative, and left very quietly early the next morning.

I wish I had my Mums courage to show love for people in this way, but how do you know you’re not going to get that big scary bloke from town hammering on your door, accusing you of being a “smack head” and demanding his mobile phone back? I have nothing against homeless people, and I hope that my comments haven’t come across in a derogatory or stereotypical way at all. I don’t pretend to understand the issues surrounding homelessness; I just wish it didn’t exist.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Driving me mad

Maniac drivers have prompted this post today.

In the town we live in we have road bumps along just about every road. They ruin your car suspension, knock your tracking out, and if you've got a bad back you're definitely better off living somewhere else. They have these bumps, and the 20mph speed limit to accompany it, on roads where children don't even live let alone play. But actually right from the start my husband and I have said that if there is one road in our whole town that should have road bumps, it's ours. We live in a long straight road, with children living at nearly every house, two schools, and a history of children being run over. Typically our road must be one of the last ones in the town to get road bumps put in it.

Eventually the council decided to put bumps and crossings in our road, starting at the Catholic School end of the road, where mainly older people occupy the houses and the children arrive on coaches from out of town. They didn't progress any further along the road for ages, after changing the priority of traffic so that a "T" junction became a bend in the road, nicely separating the row of privately owned houses occupied by the older generation from the row of council houses filled with children of disfunctional families. I'm surprised they didn't also change the name of each end of the road to "Upper" and "Lower" to segregate them even further. And that was it. They did no more work for ages. Our end of the road where the local children live, play, and go to school was still used as a race track.

One day I was driving down our road towards my house when the sight before me threw me into a complete state of panic. Imagine that your spouse is in a very fragile state of mind, and you arrive home one day to see an ambulance on your doorstep, with flashing lights and everything. I slammed on my breaks and ran over to the scene, leaving the engine running, the door wide open, and my handbag in the car. As awful as it sounds, I can't tell you how relieved I was when I realized some poor kid had been run over and had his leg broken. I suppose it's then that the council decided it would be a good idea to put bumps and crossings in this end of the road too. We now have a crossing right outside our house (we live next door to the school gates), and at night the area is very well lit, which is all good.

However, I still don't understand why the road bumps stop a long way before you reach this crossing (which is flat, not raised like it is at the other end of the road) and start again a long way after it, just before you reach the end of the road. This means that maniacs still accelerate past our house at well over 30mph, although the speed limit is now 20mph. They've made our end of the road even better for these amateur racing drivers by putting railings along both sides of the road, so that no one can park there, thus keeping their "track" free of obstructions.

I'm convinced that the people who make these decisions can't possibly live in this town, or even on this planet. Another classic example is the main road that runs through our town centre, which is obviously very busy, being changed into a single lane of one way traffic. It also has several sets of traffic lights along it, so quite often there is a row of traffic at a complete standstill. Can you imagine what happens when an emergency service vehicle tries to get through?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Voile update

Well I just rang the shop that I got my Voiles from, and they actually have another of the correct length in stock! The lady on the phone even took it out of the packaging and measured it for me to make sure, without any complaining.

Now, the question is: Do I take down this Voile that is too long, and leave a huge gap at the window for everyone to see in through, so that I can just make a simple exchange at the shop? Or do I collect the other Voile first, and then take this one back later, meaning in total I would have had to have made five trips for these blinkin' Voiles?

Groan. I can't bear the thought of either.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The final curtain

I ordered new Voiles for our living room last week. After looking at the same dreary net curtains for 9 years I thought it was time for a change. My husband doesn't like change, but I tried to explain to him that although I'm not one who feels the need to have the latest fashions in home furnishings, you can be so out of fashion that you actually start drawing attention to yourself. Apart from that, I was just sick of the sight of them. Then he said "You've been looking at me for longer than that, are you sick of the sight of me as well?"

Anyway, I digress. I bought some Voiles the other week, but of course having a memory that is so poor that it rivals only with my husbands (he can't even remember that I changed the curtains in another room only two months ago), I forgot to take the measurements with me. Actually, in my defense, I did make a pretty good guess, only the measurement written on the packaging which I thought was the length turned out to be the width. So of course I had to make a second trip. And due to the fact that they didn't have the length I required in stock, I had to order them, and then make a third trip to collect them once they were in.

I collected them yesterday, and so today I got on with the jolly job of putting them up. I needed three Voiles as we have a bay window with three sections. Everything was going fine until I put up the third Voile. "Oh, I don't believe it". Hubby then said to me "Oh, did you pick up the wrong length?", "No, they gave me the wrong length". I love how he always assumes the mistake was mine. I tried to phone them, not really knowing what time they close on a Saturday, but there was no reply, so I guessed that meant they were closed. Good job I rang, because I wouldn't have been overly impressed if I had made a forth trip to find them closed.

This does however mean that I am now stuck with the wrong length until Monday when they will be open again. (Actually, I wonder if they're open on a Sunday? I'll give them a ring tomorrow and see.) As it turns out, the person who collected my Voiles from the stock room and gave them to me isn't as stupid as I thought - it's the packaging that was wrong. Thankfully that third Voile is too long and not too short, so I've decided to leave it up until I have a replacement, and at least it's not noticeable from outside. Well, I couldn't have two Voiles up with one dreary net that's 9 years old could I? (Just a side point, I have actually washed them during those 9 years, in case you were wondering) So, what's the odds on me now having to order a forth Voile, and wait another week for it?

All this "window" stuff reminds me of when we first moved in. We wanted a curtain rail to go round the bay window, but had no idea what length to buy. Someone my husband worked with just lived up the road from us, in a house of the same design, so hubby thought he would just go and ask him what length he bought. "Eight foot" he said. So off went hubby and bought an eight foot long curtain rail, and came home to fit it. When he put it up though there was a foot long gap at both ends. He went back to his work mate - "I thought you said you bought an eight foot long rail?". "I did" came the reply. "Well I just put mine up and there's a foot long gap at either end". "Yeah" he said, "mines like that as well".

Friday, September 01, 2006

Shops and me

You know what, shops and me just don't mix. I told you that I don't do shopping. But my venture into town today has given me something else to moan about at least - you lucky people.

I went into a well known shop today that sells magazines and books, and incidentally I asked for fellow blogger Tom Reynolds book "Blood, Sweat & Tea" but they didn't have it in stock so I think I'll just order it online. Anyway that's a side issue, the point is I went in there for a couple of monthly magazines for my husband. One of which was missing the DVD on the front, and it was the last issue, and the other one they only had Octobers issue. I asked them about this and the lady politely explained that once the new issue comes in, the "old" ones get sent back to the publishers. She said the October issue came in during August...

(That quietness that you are now experiencing is known as the "calm before the storm")





It's the 1st of September for goodness sake and the September issue is out of date??? I'd understand it if it was the middle of September but it's the 1st of September, and these magazines went out of date in the middle of August???

I noticed some 2007 calendars while I was standing there and I asked the woman if she thought I should buy one in case they sell out before the end of October. I mean, it's the 1st of September. Why are they selling calendars for the following year on the 1st of September? We still have a whole 4 months of this year left. That's a third of a year.

So basically they didn't have the book I wanted, and they didn't have either of the magazines I came in for, but they had a calendar that doesn't start for another third of a year. I could have gone to the charity shop for one of those, and maybe while I was there I might have found one of those out of date magazines I was looking for.



Ok, you can come out now, the storm has passed. But I told you I don't do shopping.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Cash only

Well, no sooner have I created this blog than something stupid happens to give me something to write about. I put off creating this for a while, worried that I wouldn't find anything to write, but it seems I underestimated Joe Public and it's stupidity. Really all I have to do is make sure I get out more, and I'm sure to find inspiration on a regular basis.

Tonight I decided to pop out to the local supermarket before it closed to get a bit of shopping, as you do. I prefer shopping later because there are generally less people to irritate me. Tonight I found that I managed to complete my shopping without getting irritated once! That really is a miracle, let me tell you, because I really don't "do" shopping. I mean I do shopping, because I have to, to make sure we have food. But I don't "do" shopping in the sense that I don't enjoy it. I know, a stupid expression, I really need to drop that.

Anyway, happy that I had managed to find everything I wanted, and no one had got in my way, and everything was labeled correctly, and the fact that I had even managed to get some bargains, I made my way to the check out. I went to pay with my debit card, as usual, and the old man behind the till started squinting at the signature strip and turning the card upside-down to compare my signature. Like I would have signed it upside-down. He said to me "I don't know how anyone could be expected to read that". I didn't take offence at this, thinking that he was referring to the fact that that it's so hard to see a persons signature due to the fancy squiggly pattern it has on the strip. Then he said to me "You should have signed it in black ink", to which I replied, "I did, but it's faded" thinking that would be the end of it. He continued to moan at me for not making my signature clear enough, so I tried explaining to him that it's not a new card, so sliding it in and out of my wallet the signature has worn off. He then said to me "I would be within my rights to refuse to accept this card", so I said "I would be more than happy to use the chip and pin facility, if you had it available". He said "This is a cash only till so we don't have chip and pin at this till", "I didn't realise" I replied as I looked around for a sign to confirm this, but of course there wasn't one. But he accepted my card anyway, saying "Anyway, I don't want to argue with you at this time of night".

Don't you always find that? That it's always stroppy people who start an argument and then say "Anyway, I don't want to argue with you"? I wasn't even aware that we were actually arguing.

What can I say? Apart from "There's life Jim, but not as we know it..." or as my husband would say "What the smeg's wrong with people?"

I'd just like to comment that in using the spell checker on here, it suggested I replace the word "to" with... umm... "to" and "that" with... er... "that". It's most useful.