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!

New Year Random Gripes!

Happy New Year, faithful followers! Let’s hope everything I hoped would happen in 2010 will now happen in 2011. Although the likelihood of Johnny Depp getting the urge to move to a semi-detached in East London is fairly remote. However, I remain optimistic that I will stick my new year’s resolution. Which was not to make one! You see I can’t stick to them. No, not even abstaining from alcohol for 1 month. Plus life is too short. And knowing my luck, I’ll be hit by a truck – my departing thoughts being that if only I had a hangover, it would be so much less painful!

So far, nothing has pushed me to the edge this year. Work is calm. The trains are crap. The weather is awful. Same old. So I thought I’d reflect on some of the random irritations of last year. Things that don’t warrant a full-scale rant but nevertheless are worthy of mention. Apologies if you fall into any of the categories. Remember it’s all done in the best possible taste.

Men in Gladiator sandles
OK I know they were originally worn by men. In Roman times!! It wasn’t a great look but they seemed to work fairly well so long as you’re wearing armour and carrying a sword. Otherwise you just look gay. In fact they’re horrible things even on girls – particularly if you’ve got short legs. It lust looks like you’ve got your ankles caught up in some discarded bits of leather! Leave them to Julius!

Self Service Checkouts
It really shouldn’t be that difficult. So why have relationships between us and these machines has become so fraught? The moments of ‘barcode blindness’ where you almost end up with repetitive strain injury trying to get the frigging thing to scan. And when you finally do, you’re greeted with he phrase “unexpected item in the bagging area”: a phrase so synonymous with the 21st Century shopping experience it’s become a T-shirt slogan. What’s so unexpected anyway? You only swiped the item a second ago and were charged for it. So you have to wait for a member of staff to come and press a few buttons while you stand there feeling utterly incompetent. Still it does at least allow me to buy all those embarrassing things that the spotty checkout assistant probably snigger at.

Public Snogging
Nobody wants to hear your slurping noises. Is it that urgent that you can’t wait til you get home? Or at least find an doorway or a large tree to hide behind? There is a solution though. Get married! Then this revolting desire to eat each other’s faces off will be instantly cured!

Text Speak
Alright it’s OK if it’s a life and death situation. Maybe you’ve just taken a wrong turn up Kilimanjaro (apparently the road signs are rubbish) or you’ve slipped down a ravine in the Amazon rainforest and are clinging to a clifftop while starving crocodiles are snapping at your feet. Clearly you need to get an urgent message to someone and understandly punctuation and grammar aren’t top of your list. So apart from that, or you’re 14, please don’t! Trust me there’s nothing worse that getting a text from a 40 something which reads ‘OMG it ws Gr8 2 c u’. It’s just lazy. More importantly, it takes me twice as long for me to figure it out. But that’s another issue entirely.

Women Who Do their Make Up On The Train
Can you really not spare 5 minutes to slap on the polyfilla before you leave the house? Be honest, it’s not easy is it? Trying to coat your bottom lashes whilst hurtling through tunnels at 60 miles an hour. In fact, just this morning I got off the train covered in a thin layer of Clinique powder while the lass who’d been trying to apply it looked more like Coco the Clown.

That’s enough from me now.

Happy Bloody Christmas!

I’ve got a cold. A ‘Woman Cold’. It’s like ‘Man Flu’. But it means I still get to cook and clean. I get it every year. For Christmas. Still it makes a change from scented shower gel.

Can someone pass that trumpet? I’m going to blow it for a while. Hell why not? It’s the festive season and we all like to blow something once a year. I just want to say, despite this temperature, this hacking cough, this permanent running nose, I successfully managed to entertain 30 guests on Christmas Eve and cook dinner for 7 on Christmas Day. Ok, I had a little help here and there but being a kitchen control freak, it’s often better for any willing helpers to steer clear. It’s a dangerous combination – me, ‘woman cold’ and a boiling hot bucket of mulled wine!

And you know what? It was a roaring success. Even though I say so myself. Just a trumpet? Hey, pass me the tuba!! No one died of food poisoning. Nothing ran out. Nobody argued. Ok, one of the ageds knocked a bottle of red wine on the white table cloth, but that’s an annual event not to be missed. And it means I get to put the washing machine on on Christmas Day!

So it’s now the 30th. And I confess my sum total of doing anything since then has been a disappointing zero. All my plans to clean out that cupboard and empty those boxes have been scuppered by a few good films on tv, a tin of Quality Street and feeling like the walking dead. Still I feel I’m entitled to it. I did all the Christmas shopping, made pickles and chutneys and a Christmas pudding. Just call me Nigella!

OK, you can have the tuba back. Blowing it is hurting my weakened chest. I’m heading back to the sofa. You all know where the left-overs are if you’re hungry. I shall be sat here for the foreseeable, desperately trying to remember when I last had a shower. Maybe if I’d got some scented shower gel for Christmas, it might have reminded me.

Happy New Year, friends.