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!

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!