A letter to the big man!

Dear God

How are you?  Good?  Splendid!  I know, I know, I don’t write, I don’t phone, I don’t pop round for a slug of wine and a wafer like I used to before I got slung out of the Girl Guides for throwing eggs at choir boys and calling The Captain of 1st Wanstead a fat Myra Hindley! And I am still feeling bit guilty about that incident during Midnight Mass in 1978.  I don’t condone under-age drinking either but alcohol does funny thing to a young girl guide’s brain. I’m pretty sure none of the dry martini and lemonade I threw up would have stained the kneelers, though.  And the crib did look lovely, even though we had a fit of the giggles because we thought the baby looked like Kojak.  I know I didn’t do myself any favours as a bell ringer.  Who’d have thought front-fastening bras could cause distress to my fellow campanologists. But I know it’s no excuse for not staying in touch. I don’t suppose you’re on Facebook?  Or Skype?  No, I thought not. Time just flies, doesn’t it.  And there’s always something else to do. You know how it is.  That pile of washing to do.  That bin to go out.  Those socks to darn.  Not that I’ve suddenly turned into a 50’s housewife.  It’s just better than saying I’ve probably over-done it on the Tia Maria and HRT.

Shame I got expelled.  That beret was rather flattering.

Anyway, talking of time, well that’s really what I wanted to talk to you about.  Is there anything you can do about slowing it down a bit?   I feel like life has become one of those comedy time-lapse calendars.  I’m sure I’ve only just left school.  And now this year’s birthday has come round much quicker than expected and I’m somewhat unprepared emotionally.  Yes it’s that birthday.  The one with the big numbers in it that you used to think was really old when you were a child! I know there’s the obvious way of staving it off but I’m not quite ready for a face-to-face yet.  For a start, I’m dreading those stairs.  My knees are ruined.  Years of  trying to attempt step classes and wearing unsuitable footwear, no doubt! And white so doesn’t suit me unless I’ve got a tan.  And don’t even think about getting me to learn the harp.  I may be a grade 8 cellist (with merit) but that was only 4 strings!!  Old dog, new tricks, etc.

You see, I’ve still got some unfinished business here.  I’d like to see my kids get married and have children.  And then I’d like to go round to their house, pretend I’m deaf, leave my knickers on their bathroom floor and at least 3 pairs of shoes positioned to cause maximum injury. It would be a shame for them to miss out on that!  Before they have me institutionalised!

 I’d also like to see a bit more of the world that doesn’t start and end with 2 hours on an easyjet flight with the obligatory screaming baby and the complimentary tea/coffee (and I don’t mean either/or.  I can’t often tell which one it is).  But there’s countries I’d love to visit and seas I’d like to sail.  I want to sit on remote beaches and explore interesting cities.  I’m not looking to do anything overly stressful. I don’t want to go backpacking across India or paddle a canoe to reach remote Amazonian tribes (mainly because they never seem to wear any clothes and I never know where to look.  Some of those poor women really do need a good supportive bra).  Plus there’s nowhere to plug in a hairdryer.  Neither do I particularly want to hang out with Polar bears and penguins. I’ve been ski-ing and I couldn’t be doing with an endless runny nose and unflattering outerwear.  I just want some time to look out of the window of my 5 star hotel and wonder at the world.  I mean, if you went to the bother of creating it, I think the least I should do is have a look round.  I just seem to have run out of time.  Again!

Talking of time, I must dash.  These nails won’t paint themselves you know.  But maybe have a think. And if you do get any bright ideas – tweet me?

No Sex Please I’m Over 40

I’m wondering at what point did I stop waking up in the morning thinking ‘Mmmm, sex!!’ and start thinking ‘Mmmm, bins?’  At what point did I stop wanting to rip all his clothes off and start telling him to put on a vest!!  Or an extra jumper.  Or a balaclava!  OK this is just my humble grumblings but I pretty sure, somewhere been giving birth and 40, somebody stole
my sex drive!  And suddenly it’s all  become such a hassle. Spontaneity is just a long word.  Lust is lost.  And passion is just a type of exotic fruit. And the seeds get stuck in your teeth!

So, rather than succumbing to this Miss Jean Brodie situation, I thought I’d try and rekindle the spontaneity, lust and passion that has gradually waned over the years and try and unearth that sex kitten I one was.  Surely it’s not gone forever.  Surely there’s a way to put the xxxx  back into sex?  And in such situations, there really is only one place to start. 
Cosmopolitan’s Top 10 Tips For An Amazing Sex Life.

1. Randy Rub-a-Dub-Dub
Before you make love, take a bath together. Prepare the bathroom 

beautifully beforehand with fluffy towels and candles. Then put two 
drops of patchouli oil, three drops of sandalwood oil, and three drops 
of lavender oil into your bathwater. 

You see the trouble with this one is that, we’ve got a bit of a water problem 
upstairs.  So to get a nice hot bath, you need to boil kettles and pans.  
So by the time I’ve done all that, the candles would have gone out and the 
oil will be floating to the top and will look like some sort of failed soup.  And 
he’ll have fallen asleep in the chair by then.  Next …..

2. Pocketful of Pleasure
When he’s least expecting it, tell your man you need some change. 

Then stick your hand in his pocket and start rubbing his penis through 
the fabric, pretending that you’re really digging around for that coinage 
you need.

Unfortunately, I actually do need some change.  For the Tesco’s trolley.  
And anyway, as he’s got little legs, the pocket tends to be nearer his knees.  
Since when was knee-prodding erotic? Guess that’s not going to work either.

3. Heavenly Heartbeat
To feel more connected in bed, tune into each other’s heart rate. 
Lay your hand on his chest, and have him do the same. You might 
be surprised how easily you can become synchronized.  

Potentially dangerous.  You see he has mild hypertension and a slightly 
higher heart rate so I could end up out of breath without doing anything. 
I might as well do the hoovering!!!

4. Putting on the Ritz
Try re-creating that away-from-home atmosphere in your own bedroom. 

First, purge your room of any family photos or office equipment. Then 
buy sheets with the highest threads-per-inch count you can find 
which feel super silky to the touch without the cheesiness of satin. 
Invest in some thick, fluffy robes to lounge around in. And for the 
ultimate hotel-style indulgence, set up a tray of champagne and finger 
foods to savor after you make love

Well I recently bought a decent fitted sheet in Matalan.  And some really
 nice tea towels. Buggered if I’m buying new fluffy robes.  The egg-stained 
West Ham I bought him two Christmases ago washes up a treat.  Mind 
you, I’m not a big fan of champagne.  Last time I had one too many, I was 
so ill, I ended up in A&E.  It wasn’t entirely my fault.  I think the canapes 
were off.  And all this aside, I’ve roaming children who have a habit of 
wandering in our room to steal towels, face wipes and money at any time
 – day or night.  I’d hate for them to stumble upon a middle aged couple,
 wrestling in a threadbare robe, covered in mini sausage rolls.  Let’s move on.

5. Toy with Him
Stock up on some sex toys. Velvet-lined handcuffs can be exciting, 

and they don’t hurt like the metal ones do. Silk blindfolds build a 
sense of suspense — which can be really titillating. And you can 
never go wrong with a vibrator. 

Now this sounds all well and good, but he’ll need his glasses to tie any 
thing, or unlock anything.  He’s got 7 pairs. Can’t find any of them.  By the 
time he finds them, the blood will have probably been cut off and I’d be in 
serious danger of losing both hands.  Anyway, I’m no fan of toys.  I had a
vibrator once.  Due to lack of use, the battery leaked so I threw it away. 
The following morning it was on the pavement as some kindly fox had 
decided to drag my bin bag across the drive and scatter the contents for 
all to see.  I’m not sure what was more embarrassing.  The leaky vibrator 
or the empty family KFC bucket.

6. Bare Boogie
You don’t have to have a model-perfect body to have maximum fun 

in the bedroom. Look at yourself naked in a full-length mirror for 
five minutes a day and focus on what you love about your body. 
If this feels awkward, turn on some music and dance naked with 
your mirror image. By getting used to your unique shape, you’ll 
gain confidence that will naturally spill over into your sex life 
and make you twice as enticing to your guy. 

OK so I tried this.  And  you know what?  There is NOTHING I love about 

my body.  I’m grateful that’s it’s all there and it is in good working order, 
but there’s far too much of it.  Most of it shouldn’t even be there.  
Dancing naked with my mirror image would be like a night out at a disco 
with Dawn French.  And there’s every chance aforementioned children 
will barge in.  Seeing their mother boogie-ing butt-naked to Saturday 
Night Fever might well see them opting for voluntary adoption!

7. Sultry Slo-Mo
To surprise him and build anticipation, try doing the same things 

you always do in the bedroom, but slow down to one-fourth of 
your normal speed. You and your guy will have time to really bond.

This will just result in one of us nodding off.  Plus I’ll start noticing the 
dust on the skirting board, or the light fitting.  Mind you, I suppose I 
could finish that book …..

8. Finger-Food Foreplay
Have a romantic dinner without utensils so you can feed each 

other. There’s something sensual about placing food in your 
partner’s mouth. It’s such fun — especially when you serve 
stuff that’s not supposed to be eaten with your hands, like s
alads or pasta. After a meal like this, serve yourself for dessert. 

What’s erotic about this?  OK, strawberries and cream but salads 

and pasta?  Shovelling handfuls of spag bol and lettuce into his 
gob does not sound like fun to me.  It’s going to be messy and guess 
who’ll have to clear it all up and try and get the tomato stains off the 
cream tablecloth!  Yes me!  Give it a few years, I’ll probably have to 
spoon feed him anyway.  So I’ll be putting that off for as long as possible!  

9. The next time you go out with your man, wear your sexiest outfit. 
Go ahead — flirt with strangers and turn some heads. Tease. 
Once you return home from your diva-date, you won’t be able t
o keep your hands off each other

I had a bad experience flirting with a stranger.  It was at a friend’s wedding 
reception. Turns out he was the groom.  Next?

10. Grab and Go
If you’re turned on at an inopportune time, act on your feelings. 

Although it feels a little bit naughty, a quickie will help you stay 
faithful.  Quickies allow you to experience all of the having-an-affair 
thrill with none of the cheating. 

Not a good idea. After any physical exertion, I need to sleep.  And 

there’s too much preparation to be done before bed.  He’s got a selection 
of tablets and piles and I have an epic skin care regime. It’s not unheard 
of that, by the time I’ve applied the final layers of anti ageing retinol plus 
snake serum lifting gel and the overnight hand moisturiser mitts, the alarm’s 
gone off!  Plus, due to various snoring and breathing malfunctions, he 
wears a gum shield and I wear a nose strip.  It’s like Joe Bugner 
trying to shag a sychronised swimmer.  

Hey ho.  I guess those bins won’t put themselves out.


Flying Time, Dodgy Hairstyles, Football Shirts and Queenie

Fuck me!  It’s 5 past June!  How did that happen?  4 months since I last wrote about all those things in life that just make my wrinkles a little deeper and my hair a little greyer.  For someone who lists ‘writing about all those things in life that just make my wrinkles a little deeper and my hair a little greyer’ as their number one hobby (aside from cougar dating websites and bothering famous people on Twitter), it’s a pretty poor show.  So stand by for a moan up of epic proportions – which should take us all nicely though to October.

Bad Heir Day

Talking of hair, why is mine so crap?  I don’t think, in the 40-something years I’ve been on this planet, have I ever looked in the mirror and thought – WOW, you’re hair looks fab!  I’ve spent fortunes having it highlighted, tinted, permed, back combed, front combed, and chopped by allsorts of mincing crimpers.  I’ve paid through the nose and out my backside.  And still it’s fine, flat and mousey brown.  Oh and get a bit of heat or wind on it and bingo!  I look like I’m wearing a shit brown helmet.  I could have bought a small principality with the cash I’ve spent trying to look like a Pantene ad. 

I suppose I should be grateful that I’ve got some.  Even though I do resemble a rubbish Lego woman!

Lovely hair
You Will Definitely Walk Alone!
I have just mentioned to Mr H that if he takes his West Ham football shirt on holiday, I shall divorce him.  Or kill him.  Whichever is less messy.  I’m not averse to chaps supporting their teams, but nothing screams I’M FUCKING BRITISH, BURNT AND PROBABLY DRUNK abroad more than a football shirt.  It’s enough that us brits fail miserably to ‘blend in’ abroad by wearing unflattering clothing over our scorched bodies but the sight of a fat bloke in a Man United shirt just seems to spell trouble.  It’s highly likely he’ll have an equally lardy lady in tow in ill-fitting faux-linen trousers and couple of unruly kids called Britney and Jordan.

I’ve never seen an hunky Italian on holiday in an Inter Milan shirt.  Or a sexy Senor sipping his San Miguel whilst wearing a Real Madrid top.  Nope, it’s just us lot.  In our British uniform.  Eating bacon and eggs for breakfast and complaining about the weather.  So if Mr H thinks he’s going to inadvertently portray me as a flabby Primark-wearing Northern doris, then quite frankly, he’ll be forever blowing bubbles out of his arse!!

Not Mr H
Definitely not me.  I’m blonder.
Jubliee Schmoobilee
I’m wondering.  Did the Queen really enjoy the Jubilee?  Did she really care that Gary Barlow had been round the world just to write her a song?  Did she honestly want to spend 4 hours on a boat in the freezing cold, waving at the prolls, whilst her poor hubby was clearly busting for a pee so much that he ended up eating hospital food?  Did she really want to listen to Jessie J and Ed Sheeran?  Can’t imagine they’re high on one’s list of latest downloads.  I bet all she really wanted to do was spend a few days on the sofa, with a couple of swan sandwiches, G&T in hand, watching The Queen on a loop.
But despite her critics, and trust me I’m no bunting-hanging, flag-waving loon, 60 years for a woman in the same job surely deserves to be celebrated. OK she’s not exactly performing brain surgery, or defusing atomic weapons, but someone’s got to fly round the world, collecting bouquets from eager children clearly forced into it or dining with militant heads of state prior to them nuking Greenland.  And for that she should be honoured.
What bugs me though it that suddenly, everything and everyone becomes British.  Tesco brings out a limited edition ‘British’ sandwich.  You can’t fart for tripping over some sort of red, white and blue paraphenalia and now look at us – we’re all patriotic and blubbing at Kate’s lovely hat. 
But you have to admire the British spirit.  We stood in the rain, eating rain drenched sausages and watching the jazz band electrocute themselves as the water seeped into their generator.  But they played on, through scorched fingers.  No other country would.  We’re unique like that.  And I’m sure, under that permanently pissed off face, she was actually rather chuffed we’d all bothered!
A typically British Sandwich

No you can’t have a knighthood Mr Barlow!!

Things that make me go ooooooooooh

As we hurtle through 2012 – the year of that sporting event that you probably didn’t get tickets to either, Liz ‘n Phil’s Diamond jubbly and a Euro Football thing that will probably involve Wayne Rooney breaking something, or someone, I thought I’d have another little rant about those things that made me just a little greyer than I’d planned.


I can’t think of anything worse than going on a camping holiday. I’d rather eat Ghandi’s sandals. As if having to sleep in an airless canvas coffin with your face too close to your shoes wasn’t bad enough, the thought having to dash across a field for a 3am wee or not being able to plug in a hairdryer is just ruddy ludicrous. Or even worse, having to pack it up every night in order to hike to another rain-sodden field only to have to put the wretched thing up again. It brings back awful memories of Girl Guide camping trips from which I normally returned home with a bag of muddy clothes, scurvy and constipation. So far, 3 people have told me how much they’re looking forward to their camping holiday this year. I’ve been twice. Two times too many!

GENT. DO NOT WEAR SPEEDOS. Unless you’re under 12. Or Johnny Depp.

Stupid Words
Did I miss something or have a whole new bunch of ridiculous words been invented. I bought my daughter a cupcake. “Is it nice?”, I asked. “Nom nom nom”, she replied. What’s that all about? It’s not a word, it’s a sound. But now, apparently, it IS a ‘word’ that means something ‘tastes nice’. According to the Oxford Dictionary, bajillions of new words and terms, like fnarr fnarr and bloody nom nom nom, mankini and fish pedicure make up some of 400 new entries in the 2011 edition. Other stupid words that have appeared in this glittering 100th offering are ‘domestic goddess’, ‘gastric band’, ‘sexting’, ‘red velvet cake’, ‘wonga’ and ‘textspeak’. But I guess it’s inevitable. As the world evolves and events happen, then so does language. Completely unbeknown to me, a lot of everyday words are actually down to Shakespeare. Believe it or not there’s at least 1,500 different words and phrases that don’t appear anywhere prior to the Stratford’s finest putting them on parchment. Puking’, ‘Advertising’, ‘drugged’, ‘torture’, ‘obscene’, ‘blood-stained’, ‘champion’ and ‘buzzer’ had never been heard until the crazy bard came along. These days, new words come courtesy of today’s poets – mainly kids and The Sun. But what about all those words that have been confined to the 14th Century. Why not bring them back? In fact, tomorrow, I think I’ll walk into Tescos and say ‘Huzzah, Wench! Prithee tell wherefore art the mead? Some lowly clapperdudgeon, nameth my betrothed, dost lie drunken hither. And can I pay with my Clubcard vouchers?’. Methinks I may end up in gaiol!

Foreign Call Centres
Seriously folks, I’m not trying to be offensive to anyone here, or any culture, in fact I love travelling and I love all foreign people (even the French) but everytime I get a little “taste” of some far away culture whilst trying to get some customer support, it just makes me want to shout at buses!

Recently I had to call a well-known banking establishment of ill-repute. For a start, I must have pushed more buttons making sure I get put through to the right department than if I was typing the complete Harry Potter series. And then I was subjected to a highly inappropriate monotone version of Rhianna’s S&M for what seemed like the entire Harry Potter series. So when I finally heard the music stop and the actual ring tone begin, I almost wept.

Well, for a start, Sir, I doubt your name is Dave. Who had the bright idea that we’d be fooled into thinking it was a UK based call-centre by changing all the poor employees names. I was almost tempted to ask to be put through to Brian, or Julia, just to see what happened. But I guess it wasn’t ‘Dave’s’ fault he’d been re-christened. I’ve since found out that all workers in the Indian call centre industry are trained in specifically American and British accents, as it allows workers to be shifted around to serve various markets without additional training. Sadly, Dave couldn’t help me. I genuinely couldn’t understand what the poor fella was saying. Maybe he was new to the job, or was just trying to hang on to his own culture. But for fear of ordering a lamb vindaloo for 30 people, I thought best I hang up and send them a letter. But I don’t feel too bad. Seeing as, by default, I actually pay his wages!

Don’t put your routers in the post, Mr Murdoch!

I think it was a Saturday morning. Maybe a Sunday. The birds were singing. The sun may have even been shining through the windows. But somehow, I sensed danger, fear and foreboding. The feeling that something terrible was about to happen. I could hear voices. Slightly raised. Doors slamming. Voices were getting louder. And more frenzied. Then the footsteps coming up the stairs. At first slowly. Then gathering pace. Towards my door. Outside it became dark. A murder of crows, disturbed by something malevolent, flutter furiously past the window. And suddenly, the sun goes in. A dog howls in the distance. The room goes cold. My door flies open. Standing there, with faces as white as ghosts, my children stand before me and utter those words. Those words any parent of teenage children dreads. I braced my self. My knuckles white. And waited for my son to speak.


It was pointless trying to scold him for swearing (he gets it from his nan). I could see the terror in his eyes. The horror of not being able to hook up with some borderline Columbine weirdo to shoot merry hell out of virtual paratroopers. My daughter, close behind, wailing like a wounded animal, at the unspeakable prospect of not being able to get on My Face or TwitBook to look at pictures of someone she doesn’t know.

It appears that, in the switch from one rubbish service provider to another, the ‘seamless process, Mrs Hards’ was about as seamless as something with absolutely no seams whatsoever!

I really wanted to spare them the ‘in my day’ speech, but alas, it was inevitable. “How about a game of Monopoly? Or we could go for a walk? Make cup-cakes or go to a museum? There’s …..”

They’re looking me in utter disgust. Like they’ve just caught Mr H and I in a compromising position involving gas masks and hot wax (which, trust me, will never happen). The kitchen window in the house 3 doors rattles as they slam the door and retreat to their lairs.

And so, I spend the next week on the phone to one of Rupert Murdoch’s employees (please leave brain at front reception) while hormones rage around me. New router on it’s way. Should take 2 days. But will probably take a week.

But at least we got to play Monopoly! And I got to be the Top Hat. And I beat ’em. Stick that in your Facebook and shoot it!

C+nt Alt Delete!

Beach Chic!

I have never been able to do ‘beach chic’. Even pre-kids, when I didn’t have to lug nappies, spare ones of everything and a buggy to the beach! Despite my best efforts to try and look like Ursula Andress emerging from the sea in a gold bikini, it tends to be more The Creature from the Black Lagoon’ …. in a gold bikini.

And this year was no exception. For some reason, I feel this need to head to the beach, complete with provisions for any eventuality. Anything from a cut finger to a full-scale nuclear invasion. And so the great preparation for a day at the beach begins….

4 suncreams of varying factors – check! First aid kit, insect repellant – check! Sunglasses and spare sunglasses, just in case an eagle swoops down and wrenches them off your face – check! Towels for the beach, towels for drying, sarongs, spare t-shirts, just in case the eagle accidentally shits on your t-shirt whilst stealing your glasses – check! Ipods, books, phones, spare phones in case the battery runs out or we get robbed by Mexican bandits – check! Water, extra water, Fanta, Sprite, beer, extra beer, more beer for Mr H’s lunch. Sandwiches, extra sandwiches in case the eagles and the hispanic outlaws render us stranded somewhere. Crisps, sweets, a flask of tea and some biscuits (we are British, of course) and some fruit – check! A camera, for those impromptu ‘getting attacked by an eagle’ moments, hairbands (for us girls, nothing for Mr H to worry about), pen, paper (for taking down insurance details of minor car prangs, attacks by birds of prey or moustached desperados), guidebooks, maps and enough cash just in case we have to spend the night in an out of town motel, run by an alcoholic old spanish guy with a son who’s got a drug problem and has a tendency to rob tourists. Check!

And it’s off to the beach we go. Mr H is laden like a flea-bitten mule in ill fitting speedos and I’m covered in factor 50 goose-fat, looking like I’m ready to swim the channel. And by the time we’ve walked 2 miles to find a suitable spot away from other families, marauding jellyfish and the nudies (as quite frankly I’m getting bored with his worldwide research project into Nipple Sizes of the Female Specie), we’re sweating like a couple of glassblower’s arses! By the time we’ve set up camp, we’re hungry, thirsty and covered in enough sand that we could effectively rub down a small wooden table.

Therefore, it is with rampant envy that I sit on my sandy towel and watch the bronzed Spanish couple pitch up beside us. He has one small rucksack and she has a small wicker basket out of which they produce two flannel sized towels, a bottle of oil, a handbag sized copy of Spanish Vogue, a book and a bottle of water. They spend the rest of the day, in and out of the water, sipping their Evian and rubbing oil on each other. I can only think that the Spanish are born with sand-repellant skin. And at the end of the day, they pack up their minimalist paraphenalia and ridiculously tanned bodies, brush 3 grains of sand off an arm and wander off into the sunset.


Meanwhile, Mr H and I spend the next hour decamping having had a fairly restless day manouvring various items in and out of the sun, passing and spilling drinks and getting covered in breadcrumbs. He’s attacked by a swarm of enraged wasps whilst trying to discard the remaining sarnies in an already overfull bin and I’m wrestling an unpredictable parasol. And by the time we get back to the car, we’re hot, bothered, red, sweaty and I have a hair-do that Wurzel Gummidge would be proud of. Oh and I have a sunburnt left foot!

So I resign myself to the fact that I’m British and I will never look good on a beach. Maybe I should just stay at home. The effort may soon start to outweigh the sheer embarrassment, stress and the huge expense of Piz Buin. And apparently, 47 is the latest age a woman can wear a bikini! Well, if you ever take any notice of the Daily Mail that is. Anyway. It’s decided. Next year, I shall be holidaying in the comfort of my own garden. Facilities on hand, Eagle-free and cheap!


Washing Machines and Mid life Crises

I’ve just spent a frightening amount of time trying to explain to my daughter about how, one day, she too will get ridiculously excited over a new washing machine. How appliances can be beautiful. Life-changing, even. How she will marvel at their ability to perform such tasks. But somehow I don’t think she was really listening. Or if she was, it was in total disbelief (her eyes were glazed or maybe she was just crying) and eventually she walked off with that look – you know, that ‘I’m going to have you put in a secure home’ – look.

What she didn’t understand was the hell I’d been through with the previous one. It took on a mind of it’s own some time ago. You know, not washing properly, not rinsing, trying to wake the dead! It smelled funny, trundled across the floor, was always getting blocked up (mainly hairbands and chewing gum!) and looked tired and grubby (I know how it felt). It won’t be for some years yet until she realises what pain a sub-standard washing machine can cause.

So when it finally chugged, clunked and spat out it’s last breath, I knew that it was that time. Thank goodness I’m horribly dull and have taken out kitchen plan insurance for just such occurrences. And in no time (actually at 7am on a bank holiday Monday after a party), those nice men from Comet turned up with a new one.

Oh and what a beauty! It’s black, with a brushed silver door. It’s got lights, an LED display and it plays a cute little tune when it’s finished. It’s got about 30 different programmes and Direct Drive! Yes, Direct Drive! I can hear you gasping with envy! I’ve no idea what it is but, trust me, you want it! It’s breathtakingly gorgeous. And once again, washing harmony has been restored.

That was a few weeks ago and since then, on more than one occassion, I’ve sat watching it silently churning as it’s lights twinkle, it quietly spins and eventually sings me a soothing song, telling me in it’s own sweet way that all is well with my whites. And also, I’m accutely aware that somewhere in the house, my daughter is searching the internet for ‘Homes for Lunatics’. Still, as they bundle me into the van, at least my knickers will be clean!

My husband is definitely having some sort of mid-life crisis. He’s bought a pair of skinny jeans, white pumps and swapped Burtons for Ralph Lauren. He’s talked of buying a Porsche, carries a man-bag and has an unhealthy interest in the Polish barmaids in his local pub. Fortunately he is unable to use ‘Regaine’ (something to do with his medication – which in itself, is rather ironic) although a couple of bottles do languish in the back of the bathroom cupboard, for when Magda starts pointing and giggling at his bald patch and he puts hair before care.

I’ve looked into this male menopause issue. Many believe that men go through a midlife crisis when they are in middle age. But apparently, that’s not strictly true. Many middle-aged men do go through midlife crises, but it’s not because they are middle-aged. It’s because their wives are. From the evolutionary psychological perspective, a man’s midlife crisis is precipitated by his wife’s imminent menopause and end of her reproductive career, and thus his renewed need to attract younger women. Therefore, a 50-year-old man married to a 25-year-old woman would not go through a midlife crisis, while a 25-year-old man married to a 50-year-old woman would, just like a more typical 50-year-old man married to a 50-year-old woman. Are you still with me? See, it’s not his midlife that matters, it’s hers. When he buys a shiny-red E-type, Superdry leather bomber jacket and grows a goatee, he’s not trying to regain his youth, he’s trying to attract young women to replace his menopausal wife by flashing his cash and trumpeting his wares.

So it’s all my fault. Clearly my hot flushes, night sweats, clammy hands, irritability, mood swings, sudden tears, insomnia, loss of libido, anxiety, feelings of apprehension and doom, difficulty concentrating, disorientation, mental confusion, disturbing memory lapses, incontinence, itchy skin, headaches, indigestion, flatulence, depression, weight gain, hair loss, increase in facial hair and bad breath are causing him some sort of problem. And as a result, he feels the need to strut around in front of young women, like some aged peacock, doused in Armani.

Well sod it. In my state of disorientation, I shall book myself into the local salon for a facelift, forget to write a will and head off to sunny climes where I intend to task some young Turk with finding my libido.

I may be some time.

Sod this healthy eating lark …..

Today was the first day of my health kick. Again. No really, it was. I’d planned it well. I’d emptied Holland & Barrett’s shelves of various lotions and potions. I got the book. And I dusted off the Gillian McKeith Superjuicer. Got a fridge full of fruit, veg and live yogurt and there was nothing to stop me.

In theory, it should have all been very straightforward. It’s just a change of routine. It can’t be that difficult. But it was. And it went something like this.

6.30am. Dark. Got up. Went to loo. Tripped over cat. Made hot water with lemon. Let cat out. Let cat in. Let cat out. Drunk lemon water. Was I meant to put sugar in it? Probably not. Start assembling juicer. It’s been a while. Seems bits are missing. Never mind. I’ll make do. Start chopping fruit and veg. Let cat in. Let cat out. Throw everything in juicer. Press button. Odd whirring sound and smell of burning. Turn everything off. Step away.

7.00am. Drink 2 glasses of water. Start Tibetan 5 Rites. Book says they are “A set of exercises that are meant to promote increased energy, stress reduction, and an enhanced sense of calm, clarity of thought, increased strength and flexibility, and an overall improvement in health and well-being”. Just difficult whilst holding a book. Apparently these exercises will also wake up my entire endochrine system. But probably won’t fix the juicer. Rite 1 involves spinning round very fast until you feel dizzy. It’s a stress buster. Allegedly. A top tip if you try this. Move the table out of the way. And anything else that your flailing arms might knock over. I have a bruise on my shin and I smashed a plant. I am not calm now.

7.10am. Exercises 2-5 are fairly manageable. Assuming you don’t have back problems. Which I do. Still, I’ve done them and hopefully I shall soon have clarity of though and endochrines that are cock-a-hoop by. Let cat in. Kick the juicer. It springs into life. 2 minutes later, my liver flushing, toxin-eliminating, cocktail is done. I tip the brownish liquid into a glass and drink. Funny, I didn’t gag half as much as I thought I would.

7.15am. Throw all the peelings into a pot of boiling water to make a potassium-rich soup. Rest of household wake to the smell of hot rotting veg and threaten to leave home. Leave to simmer. (The veg, not family members). Drink another glass of water. Wonder where cat is.

7.20am. Up to the bathroom for a spot of body brushing before showering. This will remove dead cells, toxins and improve lymphatic drainage. It will also leave you looking like you have had a rub down with a brillo pad. So, red raw and bleeding, I have a cold shower. Followed by a hot shower. And finish with a cold shower. Well I’m meant to. But it’s too cold. So I finish with a hot one. I now look like a freshly boiled lobster.

7.30am. Have a wee. Check colour. It’s meant to look like straw. Make a note to self to go and buy some straw by way of comparison.

7.40am. With a soft dressing gown covering my wounded body, I head back down to the kitchen to strain the rotting veg into a flask to take to work. Try to dismantle the juicer but it seems to be wedged together where I thumped it. Make rest of lunchbox. Box? I need a picnic hamper! Lunch consists of seeds, nuts, oatcakes, cottage cheese, salad and chicken. Stare longingly at cat food.

7.50am. Spend 10 minutes trying to find something to wear that’s made of cotton wool. Fail. Start hair and make up. I am now late.

8.00am. Scrape tongue with a teaspoon. And probably won’t ever again.

8.10am. Time to leave the house. I’m wearing odd socks. The cat has left home. I’ve got wet hair and have only managed to put mascara on one eye. “World Renowned Fucking Holistic Nutritionist” Gillian McKeith’s fucking juicer is in 29 different pieces on the floor. The Liver Flushing elixir has given me terrible wind and I think I’ve fractured a shin.

8.30am. Greggs.

An old person reviews The Brits 2011

I haven’t watched the Brits since 1989 when some clearly mental events organiser thought it was a good idea to get drummer Mick Fleetwood and Page 3 deformed dwarf-model Sam Fox to present a live music show. They had about as much chemistry as an art lesson. She kept whooping. And he clearly didn’t know where he was. Or who she was. And they also appeared to be reading from auto-cues for a different show entirely. So when Stock, Aitken and Waterman strolled off with Best Producer and Best Single for Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up, I decided to switch off this car crash and go to the pub, or a rave, or take horse pills. Or something.

So 30 years on, I thought it was about time I tuned in and see if things had improved and throw in my two penneth worth. Which, considering I’m currently listening to German Prog Rock, is probably going to be cynical at best. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a massive music fan and like allsorts from Andy Williams to the Arctic Monkeys. But most of today’s offerings do leave me a bit chilly round the ears.

So James Corden hosts. Shouty and not terribly funny. Or good at presenting. There seems to be a growing trend that just because you have a hit comedy, you can turn your hand to pretty much everything! I mean, is Michael Aspel really that uncool now? Isn’t Noel Edmonds available? Still, anything rather than Davina McCall!

I know nothing of Arcade Fire. Other than a chap behind me on the escalator telling a friend that they were an “8-piece bunch of twats from Canada and their music makes you want to slit your wrists”. Hmmmm. It’s a fair point. On their own advice, I googled them. Sadly, they appear to have all the worst kind of words associated with them – namely ‘husband & wife team’, ‘accordian’ and ‘hurdy gurdy’. A sort of Fleetwood Mac meets a Bosnian folk group. In all fairness, I think they were as shocked to hear they’d won as the rest of us were. But on the plus side, if it keeps 11th century Middle Eastern fiddles at the forefront of the music scene, then surely, it can only be a good thing. I won’t be rushing out and buying any of their LPs. Especially as the first one was called ‘Funeral’!

I’m guessing Tinie Tempah isn’t his real name. Actually I know it’s not. it’s Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu Jr. Which doesn’t sound terribly ‘grime’, does it. Mind you, neither does the line ‘Bin Southampton but I never bin to Scunthorpe’. Still he managed to win ‘Best British Breakthrough Act’ and ‘Best British Single’. With that sort of fame beckoning, he’ll be welcome at the Bamboogy Retro Bar in Scunthorpe in no time! I don’t mind this stuff. It’s quite clever and catchy. In fact, my daughter was playing it in her room yesterday while I was in their scraping her socks off the wall. So I sang along. And now she’s not talking to me. Again.

‘Best Album’ went ‘Sigh No More’ by Mumford & Sons. They sound more like a removal company to me. In fact, they are a London folk rock band, rather than the west country bumpkins I thought they were. This was the first time I’d heard them. And to be honest, I thought it was all rather dull. Plus there really is no excuse for young people to dress like The Wurzels. As The Sun describes them, Banjos, beards and blokes in chunky jumpers. Meet the Folkers!

I’m glad Take That won Best British Group. Because I hadn’t heard of most of the others on the list. The XX – Nope. Technically, the Gorillaz don’t really exist and can’t recall hey’ve had lots of songs in the hit parade recently, Mumford & Sons – those blokes in waistcoats again and Biffy Clyro who I’d also never heard of. Apparently they’re a Scottish rock group and one time Mercury Prize nominee – the kiss of death for anyone that wins it! Anyway, well done TT – although sadly they couldn’t muster up a decent acceptance speech. Robbie says “Shabba” and Mark Owen thanks Robbie for coming back (for good). Ends

There were others of course. But I really did lose interest. Shouty fat bloke and whooping crowds. A room full of egos and tables full of Dom Perignon. Jarvis Cocker didn’t run on the stage and show his bum and no-one tipped a bucket of ice over a politician. And for that reason, I shall probably not bother watching it again. The current music scene is starting to baffle me therefore I shall gracefully retire from it.

So it’s back to German prog rock for me. And Dreaming of Tangerines.


Who am I?

A recent conversation with my daughter went something like this:

ME: I quite like Rihanna’s music.
ME: Er … because it’s good?
ME: Oh what have I done now??

OK so two things here. One: there’s some sort of age cut off point for musical tastes that I didn’t know about so I’m guessing I shouldn’t be listening to anything beyond Spandau Ballet or Wham. Two: I am mum. Not Carrie. Mum doesn’t listen to hip trendy garage or R&B, or drink, or have sex (well that’s another post). Nor does she swear like a navvie or dance uncontrollably through mind-enhancing drugs. In her eyes, I’m placed on this mortal coil to cook her food, wash her clothes, pick her up from here, there and everywhere, dish out the cash, clear up the mess and dry the tears. Beyond those tasks, I don’t exist. Mention old boyfriends and ‘that’s disgusting’. Recount old antics I engaged in and that’s just ‘WRONG’. It seems I was born and married on the same day she was.

It’s a shame in some ways. Carrie is quite good fun. Done some pretty crazy things over the years. Some funny, some worthy of a few columns in the Sun. So I guess she won’t want to know about the time I got arrested in Spain for indecent behaviour, or the time I was physically removed from some fancy pants launch party by a burly bouncer for abusing the Radio 1 DJ. She’ll miss the story of me being sick in the collection plate at Midnight Mass because I’d had too many sweet martinis and thrown out of the girl guides for ‘being the exact opposite of everything they stand for’. And best she doesn’t know about the time I was found in the PE teacher’s wardrobe during a school ski trip.

Plus there was the incident on the West Ham team bus, the girls 5-a-side football match fight and that time I accidentally knocked that nice policeman’s helmet off. I really did think he’d find it funny. And they’re the ones I can remember.

On reflection? Maybe it’s best she doesn’t know all this. I would hate for her to think that this is normal behaviour or an imperative rite of passage. Best she only knows how good my chicken casserole is and how generous I am with pocket money rather than see me as a sort of rubbish 80’s Jordan-esque role model.

I can only hope she doesn’t read Frank McAvennie’s biography!