Tuesday, January 9, 2018

New Year Update

I have had a number of requests from different sources to update my blog so, finally, here I am.

Firstly, I want to thank all those of you who have continued to pop over here over the course of the last year. It has been heartening to see that my blog has not been entirely abandoned and that people still want to read my musings or check on my wellbeing. Thank you all very much.

So, the last year has not been easy. There have been many times I've wanted to let off steam on my blog. However, I decided that for the moment, at least, I will not directly write about the traumas I
have been going through. I am not yet divorced, primarily because my life has been so chaotic with endless problems arising that I have not yet completed all the paperwork. But I shall be granted a divorce of that there is no doubt. The terms will either be settled in mediation or, if need be, in court.

And I will not be signing my husband's small print clauses to silence my voice. That might mean going to court and stripping away my last few assets. But so be it. I had a very frugal upbringing and can do without and I am a lot tougher than people think. I'm not going to be sticking my head in the oven or blowing my brains over a divorce or being broke - a world shortage of chocolate maybe. But a divorce? No.

So the good news is that I still I have a sense of humour and this is what has kept me going alongside the support of my many friends. I have some awesome friends. I still find time to laugh daily and slowly I am healing.

What's more, I even got asked on a date last week! I declined though. I have enough crap going on
without dealing with date dilemmas and men who think with their penises rather than their brains. (I might have to revisit this subject in length at some point.)

I would be lying though if I denied the fact that I have shed a lot of tears over the last year but these
are not tears over the end of my relationship they are tears of frustration, anger and sadness at the problems I have been left to deal with and the fallout that has directly my children's future and wellbeing. The tears intensify every time my husband's family try to manoeuvre my children away from me. However, this manoeuvring hasn't worked so far and it won't because I am my children's rock and they know I would lay down my life for them.

On the work front, I have three jobs, lost one through the company going into receivership and am shortly to lose the third through redundancy. I have had a tonne of other crap to deal with which I shan’t even bother to write about for fear of this blog becoming an essay.

However, here I am. I am alive, facing my struggles head-on and doing the best I can in very trying circumstances. I am sad to be leaving my current job as it has been a source of great pleasure and friendship in a difficult time but life goes on and hopefully a new adventure awaits me.

On a different note, as you can see my blog appareance has started to change as I am thinking about
writing again. I think it will be sporadic at first but expect to see me back here more regularly in the coming months.

And we shall have some fun! Laughter is always the best medicine. Finding humour in the small things around me is probably what’s saved me in the last few years.

And I don’t intend to stop laughing until I stop breathing.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Ideas, Please.

Okay, folks. Time to come out of the woodwork. I need ideas and themes to write about. Anything you fancy. Next week needs to be Humour Week on this blog so hit me with your ideas and I'll see what I can come up with.

Update: So I never got to write a Humour week. Unfortunately, life is just a little too complicated at the moment. However, feel free to list any ideas below so when my nightmare marriage is over I can get back to writing. I am hoping this will be before the end of the year.

Please God let that be the case so I can start the year afresh!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Still Alive and Kicking

Well the good news is I am still alive. I am also hideously bored at the moment at work so I am doing the inconceivable and writing a post. Unfortunately, my work hours are not the best and sometimes I have to work until 10.30pm. Not ideal as a now single parent. And whilst Master Ben is 16 he is not always the best at cooking himself tea.

Sadly, this is the legacy of a marriage breakdown.

Ah, well. I tried my best. And paid a heavy price.

Anyway, on lighter matters my lovely son, Jacob, left to go the US on Wednesday on a tennis scholarship. It's been an emotional few days as I am very close to my boys and whilst I was excited for Jacob that his new adventure was beginning, I was also very sad at his departure. Here's a picture of Jacob (on the left) and his friend James who were travelling together to Kansas. I've now been writing this blog for 10 years so if you remember Jacob as a small boy you'll probably be surprised at how he looks now!

On other matters, I am wondering if I should sign up to a dating site and amuse myself between customers. Thoughts anyone? However, if any of you ladies out there know any eligible single men who'd appreciate an overweight but, hopefully, entertaining humourist do send them my way. I'm not overly fussy - so long as they're taller than Tom Cruise and have a sense of humour I'm interested. (At my age I can't afford to be fussy. However, ending up with a fella shorter than Tiny Tom after years of ridiculing him would be the ultimate humiliation.)

Any other qualities I'm looking for? Hmm...

Must like frozen pizza.
Must appreciate the arts.
Knows how to balance a cheque book but doesn't have to be loaded.
Preferably looks good in Speedos and tinned spaghetti but if he can make me laugh I can make an exception.

So girls get looking for me. And any blokes dropping by drop me a comment in you're on the market. ( Keep it clean though -  I have a sensitive nature.)

Applications from senile multi-millionaires also welcome. Preferably with a heart condition.

Monday, June 26, 2017

I am a humour writer

I am a humour writer
I am a humour writer
I am a humour writer

I am thinking folks that if I keep telling myself I am a humour writer eventually my humour will return. Not that it ever really left but these days other priorities have to take place over indulging myself with cavorting around on the net or writing mentally challenging fiction. (I'll let you decided in which way my fiction is mentally challenging.)

The good news is I've had some awesome ideas and inspiration for some new novels. It may be some time before I get them down on paper but I predict new heights of stupidity on the comedy front and drama on the thriller front from me in the years to come.

And we have a female PM to follow. And Brexit. And Jeremy Corbyn. And Diane Abbot. And Boris Johnson.

And Donald Trump!

Oh dear God. Could a humour writer ask for anything better? Not really. It's so unfortunate I have to go to work and not find time to be creative when there is so much going on in the world at the moment that needs analyzing on my blog.

Oh well maybe I could do a little something...

Watch this space.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Midnight thoughts

It's nearly 12 pm. My hands are covered with paint as I prepare my home for viewing by the estate agents. I'm tired and emotional.

Earlier in the day, I watched my youngest son, the no 1 seed in a tennis tournament (which is based on his past record) crash out in the second round to an opponent with not even half his talent. It's tough watching your child be defeated but when only three years ago they won a national tennis title at Wimbledon it's a lot harder.

And I wonder why I wasted so much of my life with someone who has created so much havoc in our lives and who, even now,  refuses to rise above his narcissistic self-esteem issues to salvage anything for his children.

There is such a burning anger in me. I know I should let it go or it may destroy me. But right now, when he has taken so much from me, destroyed every aspect of our marriage, stripped me of my family inheritance and the ability to secure the future for my children through his foolish actions, there is no forgiveness in me.

Nor will there ever be.

I have now cast aside all my trust, patience, forgiveness and my love.

And I will use my anger to drive me forward.


Monday, May 1, 2017

A Worrying Start to the Month

I was feeling pretty pleased with myself earlier this morning as I'd made it through the April A to Z Challenge when, truthfully, at the outset I didn't think I'd last the distance. So, as I am on the late shift today and have a 12.30pm start at work I thought I'd take a few cheeky minutes in bed before I tackled the housework. So I jumped into bed, leant over the side and picked up my iPad, popped on my glasses and set about spellchecking my last A to Z.

Only, horror upon horrors, since writing my last A to Z in the middle of night, my eyesight had drastically deteriorated! The page was all fuzzy when normally my typos are jumping out at me and slapping me around the face like a wet mackerel to remind me of my gross grammar incompetencies. Immediately, I cursed the menopause, the wear and tear of getting old, and rued the fact that with such rapid eyesight deterioration I was definitely not going to be able to avoid an optician's appointment and new prescription glasses.

That's when I sensed something else was wrong.

That's when I realised I was wearing two pairs of glasses.

Oh God, please don't let me do that at work. Please. It's bad enough being the eldest in the shop, don't let it look like I've got dementia as well.

Thank you, Lord.

Z is for Zealot

In previous years on the A to Z, I finished off with some spectacularly bad poems: Zachary the Inventor and Ziggy the Zoologist. This was mainly because I couldn't think of any other word other than "zoo" which is not very impressive for someone who purports to be a writer. However, this year I have actually thought of a Z word which needs discussing!

And that word is "zealot".

Be afraid, be very afraid!

So a dictionary explanation of zealot is as follows:

A person who is fanatical or uncompromising in their religious, political, or other ideals.

Now as you probably know by now I am quite plain-speaking so my simplistic definition of a zealot is someone who is...a complete nutter fruitcake. Sadly, there seems to be a lot of nutt.. fruitcakes in the world at present. I think most ordinary folks were hoping that the kind of zealots we are seeing active today had died along with Nazis Germany. Not so. In fact, the world seems to be bursting with nutters at the moment. Here, in the UK, as we approach an impromptu general election the nutters are out in force. In addition, almost anyone who is remotely famous seems to have an opinion on the political scene and especially the issue of Brexit which, undoubtedly, is the key election issue.

Unfortunately, a number of my Facebook friends appear to be nutter mode too. Some of them have
been banging on and off about the injustice of Brexit in various ways for months. There's no other way to say this - but their ranting is like being boxed in the ears indefinitely. Now, contrary to what you folks might think, I am actually pretty discreet about my political opinions on FB because, unlike this blog which is very much my own personal space, I don't see Facebook as a forum for sounding off about my political opinions and hacking off the majority of my friends who just want to see nice pics and be generally supportive of each other.

Yeah so since this is my space, I can come straight out and say it - the Facebook zealots are mainly (okay they were ALL) opposers to Brexit or to the present government. Somehow, they all suddenly seem to be experts on European politics and economics! Huh? How can this be?  In fact, I've noticed it seems a common trait in Remoaners generally to have a ridiculous level of self-righteousness that couldn't get any bigger without shoving a large poker up their asses. Several times over.

Now I enjoy a good political argument but it's impossible to have a reasoned argument of any sort with a zealot. It's a complete waste of time attempting to discuss anything which might otherwise prove interesting or enlightening with someone with opposing views but who is less zealous. You might as well go and do something more constructive like clean the loo or put the bins out. Generally, I just let out a large groan when I see another one of their moaning posts. I suspect most of their other friends do too, even those on the same political wavelength.

Anyway, it's not really their political opinions which irk me. There's nothing wrong with having passionate ideals and without people who are highly motivated by injustice some of the biggest political and social changes in history would never have happened. But, let's face it, European politics and economics is not such a clear cut issue as, for example, the abolition of slavery or the Suffragette movement. So what really annoys me about these new pro-European zealots is the way in which their opinions are written - mostly in a condescending, "holier than thou" manner which is extremely
offensive to anyone who might hold the opposing view. Some of the insinuations, in particular against those who have might have supported Brexit, have suggested that those who support it are bigoted, dim, uneducated, xenophobic etc etc etc.

Oh really? All of them? Huh?

Now I can't proclaim to be a saint when it comes to throwing insults (obviously) as I do it regularly on my blog but, in my defence, I only do it to people who I consider fair game and who, in the very unlikely event they ever stumble across this blog, would be unlikely to be concerned about a few jokes by an insignificant blogger.

Anyway, what it boils down to is I'm fed up with these know-it-alls. I'm at the point where I might actually rise to the bait or just delete them from Facebook. I like seeing pictures of fluffy cats on my timeline, reading personal success stories and seeing what daily stuff folks are getting up to!  If I want to read political discussions I can hang out at The Guardian or The Telegraph and if I just want some pictures of giant arses (political or otherwise) I can hang out at The Mail.

So that wraps up the A to Z. I didn't think I do it this year with all that's going on in my life. But I did.

Onwards and upwards as they say.

 If you've call into my blog during the A to Z and I've not dropped by your's yet I'll be playing catch up over the next week or so. In the meantime, keep blogging!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Y is for Yellow Belly

I just read my post from yesterday. And I've decided alcohol obviously enables me to get the creative juices flowing as when I started that post I had absolutely no idea what I was going to write.

Sadly, I don't think green tea with lemon has the same effect on me. *Looks forlornly at cup by side*

So only Y and Z to go on the A to Z! I didn't actually think I'd make it through the month so I guess somewhere I still must have a bit of stamina left.

Hmm. I still have no idea to what to write about so I'll just keep going until my brain fires up.

Oh yes. I'll write about an experience I had today at work. So I shall call this post Y for Yellow Belly which in the UK is a colloquial expression for cowardice.

Yep, so today I met a young lady, aged around 30, who was out shopping with her mother. I sold her a £1600 pair of diamond earrings to cheer herself up as she had just been dumped by text.

Now I concluded that because of her age, the amount of money she spent, and the fact that she was upset enough to divulge her news to a stranger it was probably a relationship that had been a lengthy one as well as a meaningful one (to her at least.) I felt very sorry for her - dumping someone by text - what kind of person does that? In my opinion, a "yellow belly" and, frankly, I thought if he didn't have enough courage to end it with her face-to-face then she was better off without him. (Of course, I didn't say that as it was not my prerogative to do so.)

So, I've observed in the course of my life that some people are really not good at communicating and that can severely impact their relationships and that quality of their life. When the going gets tough and they can't communicate on a deeper level about the stuff that really matters the relationship is basically shafted. A relationship can continue with problems unresolved especially if there are other considerations like children and housing etc but it's never the same for the communicator who never gets resolution. In essence, silencing one partner because of the other's inability to talk (whether intentionally or otherwise) becomes a form of manipulation and emotional abuse.

I think that young lady had a lucky escape. Being dumped by text signifies to me a lack of empathy and the ability to confront emotional situations. She could have ended up marrying him and finding that out only when the going got tough. Better to find out now and have a chance to find someone else who doesn't rely on texts or social media to do his dirty work.

Well rant over. Hopefully, that lovely young lady enjoys her earrings and finds an honorable young man to sweep her off her feet.

And when I am ready to move forward with my own life, I shall have "good communicator" at the top of my list. Along with about thirty other requirements. At least thirty. Probably more. A lot more. In fact, it could be a very long list indeed.

One, of course, will be the necessity to have a very good sense of humour indeed.


Friday, April 28, 2017

X is for people I'd like to x-ray.

Firstly, let's get something out of the way. When I developed my hiatus hernia a couple of years ago I effectively gave up alcohol. However, in order to face a huge mound of ironing earlier this evening that seems to have the capability to reproduce, I have decided to indulge.

Therefore, as I write this post I am verging on the tipsy. By the time I finish it, I could be pressing my keyboard from underneath my desk. Luckily, I have plenty of fat to absorb the alcohol but any minute now I expect my lips to do a Mick Jagger. Luckily, alcohol doesn't appear to affect other parts of my body (except my brain) otherwise my arse might turn into some hideous monstrosity like the one which is attached to Kim Kardashian's arse.

You know whenever I see a picture of Kim Kardashian's butt I imagine that scene from Alien where the Alien bursts forth John Hurt's stomach. I keep seeing it over and over in my mind - Kimmy lying on the beach when her butt suddenly explodes and this small lethal creature that has been living off globules of her fat bursts forth and latches hold of Kanye West's face.

Now that's what I call a summer movie. Not that girlie Disney princess stuff. They'd be queues right around the block for a sci-fi movie like that. Especially if Piers Morgan got mutilated in it too. They couldn't call it Alien Butts or  Butt Feeders or even Arse Armageddon

Now, what was I supposed to be writing about? 

Oh yes. A word beginning with X.

X-ray? Blimey, I'd love to x-ray Kim's butt and see what's inside. I could probably get a thesis out of it. Maybe even a Nobel prize for science. That would be super cool.

Whilst I'm at it - if I had to a chance to x-ray Gerard Butler I would. Any part of him. I'm not fussy. 

I'd also like to x-ray Daniel Craig's gun. I've heard it's pretty big. Apparently, it also never fires blanks. I think that's the sort of rumour that needs proper scientific investigation.

Who else? I'd like to x-ray Donald Trump's head. Just to see if there's anything inside it or if it's just an empty vacuum. Now I know he gets a lot of stick but I reckon there is something there. However, I'm not sure a packet of Jelly Babies is really that impressive.

I'd also like to x-ray Rupert Murdoch's wallet. And then perhaps his colostomy bag. Just for fun.

Anyone else? Oh yes. Tom Cruise. How could I forget my arch nemesis? Perhaps it goes without saying I'd have to x-ray his brain just to see what the hell is going on inside it. Perhaps it's full of tiny spaceships whizzing around? Hmm could be.

Anyway, it's gone 11pm here and I need to be up before 7 as I need to be at work by 8 am. So I must love you and leave you with this question - who would you like to x-ray and why?

W is for Why and Writing

When my children were small "why" was a word which cropped all the time at the beginning of sentences. "Why" would often proceed moments of amusement and laughter when I was forced to explain all sorts of weird and wonderful topics.

When I was a teenager, and I wondered how the world worked and was searching for those answers I often ask myself "why" questions. More often than not, I couldn't come up with answers about religion or existence or even about algebra but, eventually, I developed my own thoughts on life and accepted this life for what it is. I learnt that when it comes to philosophy, you don't always have to have the answer but sometimes contemplating issues give you a better perspective and appreciation of life.

Now, as I move through middle-age towards inevitable death, I wonder "Why" my life is turning out as it is.

I have some answers to some of my questions and for others, I don't. Those unanswered questions are difficult to lay to rest.

But somehow I must let them go. Hopefully, writing will be my cure.

V is for Vanity

So I am running behind on the A to Z again. Unfortunately, due to the complicated life I lead at the moment, I simply having no energy most days to write. I know some writers seem to thrive on stress and trauma but that's not me - my best work is when I'm relaxed and happy and when I can let my mind roam free.

So V is for Vanity. I was really going to let rip on this subject as I find the increasing emphasis on looks and body image, particularly in the media, very unwholesome and perhaps very damaging to many young men and women who aspire to look like photoshopped celebs. But of course, vanity is not always just about looks and when it is wrapped up in narcissism it can have so many more destructive traits.

So where I work at the moment, I see many women (mainly young but also older women too) absolutely caked in make-up and teetering around in high heels which in a few years will have their feet covered in bunions and deformed. I find it rather sad, that when these young women are at an age when the majority of them have healthy, fresh-looking skin they feel it necessary to plaster it with a cement about three shades darker than their natural skin tone. Top that with pencilled eyebrows and false eyelashes some of them just look like replica Barbie dolls. For old bags like myself, I kinda understand the need to cling onto to some looks and feel your best for as long as possible but, nevertheless, sometimes when I see faces with caked with makeup I seriously wonder if I would recognize the person underneath if I were to see them without makeup.

So, as I was saying, I was really going to let rip on this subject (I was just warming up there) but then last night Master Benedict and I were messing around with a mobile phone and he took a picture of me.

And there's no other way to say this...

But I looked like I'd been hit by a bus. A double decker bus. Probably travelling at 60mph.

And then after I'd been hit by a bus some bastard had inflated me with a bicycle pump.

So in other words, I looked shite. (And that's putting it mildy.)

So life hasn't been too good for me for the last two years or so and seeing that picture really brought it home to me that I need to look after myself more. In every way.

I guess there's a balance to be had in all things. At the moment I haven't found it. Hopefully, I'll find it soon but I am guessing it's not likely to happen for three or four years. In the meantime, I'm going out to buy some makeup and some bubble bath.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

U is for Ode to a British Urn

You still unused large pot of cream
You unwanted gift of Christmas 1988
A dusty reminder, who can express
Why I haven't cleaned my cupboards
Full of bottle ring stains and cobwebs
Of dead spiders and perfumes that stink
In bathrooms or in the kitchen
What crap in inside all of these bottles?
What ancient spice? What congealed mascara?
What putrid hand cream? What decomposed biscuit? 

I've heard some bathrooms are sweet, but those unclean
Are gross, I should know, I have one
Not to the obvious inspection, but on a closer look
There's a huge pile of shit
In cupboards, drawers and even in shoe boxes
Because I stuff bottles, jars and tins everywhere
Bold cleaning is definitely not for me
I'd rather read a book, or take a run
All you pots and tins, just sit there for a few years more
Until I die and some other fucker gets to throw you out


Well, that got rid of U in a few minutes. I suspect Keats is turning in his grave right now. Oh well.

 What next..."V".  Oh crap.

Monday, April 24, 2017

T is for Tradition

Tonight I am going to write about traditions or one British tradition in particular - the "stiff upper lip". Now if you don't know how the "stiff upper lip"tradition came about then let me explain:

When we are babies English tradition has it that we are left in our prams on promenades, piers or in our back gardens for a dose of good old sea air. (Apparently, it's good for the lungs and builds up a cast iron constitution.) Roughly, this tradition translates to 12 hours a day in the freezing cold with only a rubber teat for company and a flock of seagulls pooping on your pram. Indeed, I remember only too well those days spent looking forlornly out of my Silver Cross pram worrying if the seagulls were going to shit on me and yearning for my mother's breast.

(Okay, maybe a little dramatic licence there as I can't actually remember anything - I was practically mummified.)

Now this childhood induction into the great British "stiff upper lip" tradition lasts for about 3 years - or until such time you can undo your harness and scream "child abuse."

So that's how we English got a stiff upper lip - it started out because our lips were actually frozen solid.

Now, over the years, our reputation for having a stiff upper lip has spread throughout the world because other nations soon realised that there was no way they could ever defeat a country whose children were subjected to such hideous infant torture. And that, my friends, is why Hitler didn't invade England - as a man who had to keep his upper lip warm with a comedy moustache - he knew Germany could never match us Brits for resilience.

Anyway, bearing in mind this great English tradition for courage in the face of extreme adversity perhaps it's not surprising we were able to evacuate so many of our soldiers from Dunkirk with just a few sardine tins and a couple of upturned hats.

"I say Johnnie - there's a Stuka at 11 o'clock.  I'll cover you whilst you and the boys wade out in your wellies."

"Yes, Sir!  It'll be damn cold out there though, Sir!"

"Just bracing sea air, Johnnie. Perfect opportunity for an afternoon swim." 

"Yes, Sir!  Shall I tell the boys to swim the last two miles to Dover for some exercise, Sir?"

"Excellent idea, Johnnie. Don't forget to practice the synchronised swim routine too."

"Yes, Sir!"

"Right, heads down everyone! Brace your lips, I want to be back in Blighty for tea!"

Yep, so that's the story of how we got our stiff upper lip.

Well... maybe. (Cough, cough)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

S is for Shorts and Sex

I am currently on my lunch break which I am having to interrupt to report on the obscene matter of middle-aged white British men wearing shorts in the vicinity of my workplace.

It is 14 degrees here at present. The weather is mild and is partially cloudy. There is not a heatwave going on and yet I am seeing numerous men wearing shorts. If this isn't bad enough, it is made worse by the fact the shorts are on average one size too small. I am sick to the stomach, Readers. Sick, sick, sick, sick, sick!  How is a woman meant to concentrate on her work when she is forced to watch this unwholesome parade of hairy white legs and bulbous paunches.

So my advice is to British men who wear shorts is -  unless you have a physique like Rafael Nadal keep your legs covered up or don't expect you wife to be accomodatiing unless she is visually impaired.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

R is for Responsibility and Rage

I am a couple of posts behind with the A to Z so I'm going to do a couple of quick posts to play catch-up.

So, I am in a melancholic mood tonight so finding my usual spark of creativity is not easy. If I were to write down how I feel it would be explosive. But probably not in a good way. And so I must bide my time and wait for the moment when I can draw upon my emotions and use them to better my creative writing. That's what writers do and that's what I did in the more poignant moments in The Changing Room. 

At the moment, I am still in grief. Grief for my past and grief what might have been. My days and nights are full of responsibilities and worries for my children and for our future. My emotions flicker from sadness to incandescent rage and everything else in-between. 

On the plus side, I finally have control of the TV remote.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Q is for Quasimodo

There was a lonely hunchback called Quasimodo
Who some thought was a homeless hobo
But he lived in a church
Where he observed life from a perch
Until one day he slipped off and died

But the ghost of Quasimodo did rise
And from the bell tower he still spied
On lovers and embraces
And friends of all races
And at night in the dark he cried

I'll always be ugly he wailed
His face full of pain and paled
But then a circle of light descended
And Quasimodo ascended
To a place where only the soul was graded

To me you are beautiful said Jesus
Your heart is full of passion and kindness
So he took Quasimodo's hand
And led him to a land
Where love was the only rule

Now Quasimodo lives in peace
And his tears have ceased
Everyday he wakes with joy
To the sound of a celestial choir boy
And his smile lights up the world beneath

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

P is for The Problem with Plumbers

*Warning* Do not read this blog if you’re a plumber, married to a plumber, related to a plumber in any way or, possibly, if you once had an affair with a plumber. If, on the other hand, you have ever been overcharged by a plumber this article will probably appeal to you.

* * * * *

A while ago, I was in a very cynical mood. I was stomping around my house having just returned from the school run (which is so unfair at my age) and in the midst of a hot flush when a business card fell through my letterbox. It read:

Traditional English Plumbing at Traditional English Prices

Immediately my hot flush took on rocket propulsion proportions. Steam burst forth from ears like an exploding piston as I recalled, in detail, the numerous times I’d been screwed (financially) by plumbers and tradesmen. You see, in my experience, “Traditional English Plumbing Prices” are calculated in a somewhat dubious manner. Let’s examine the components of a potential invoice in more detail:

The Call Out Fee: This is calculated on the cost of approximately two days’ travel to and from the plumber’s place of abode to your home - which he estimates as long distance even though you've told him seven times it's in the next street. The fee will include: a full tank of petrol, one or two full English breakfasts, lunchtime sandwiches, six coffees and (just in case he doesn't make it home by 4.30pm) a Kentucky Fried Chicken with extra fries.

The Hourly Fee: This could be anything. Literally. Pull a figure out of the air, double it, quadruple it and add on Great Aunt Lil’s age and you’ll probably be close to the hourly fee.

The Cost of Necessary Parts: Your plumber will charge you the cost of the parts as they are priced at your local high-end DIY store - despite the fact he will have paid a pittance at the local plumbers’ merchant.

The Cost of Unnecessary Parts: The plumber will charge you the cost of the parts you need - and the parts you don't need. He’ll also delight in telling you that your bathroom suite no longer meets current health and safety guidelines and you need a replacement. He won't actually know those guidelines but he’ll be able to produce a glossy catalogue that you can look through while he phones the betting shop and travel agents.

The Cost of VAT: Your plumber will say he can do your job cheaper if you pay cash as he won’t charge VAT. This is a lie. He is still going to charge you VAT because he’s not going to risk being caught by the Inland Revenue. So he just raises the price by 20% so that he can knock it off and appear generous. It is a PR exercise: the reality is you’re getting stitched up and if you decide to pay by cheque/card he will make an even bigger profit. Humph.

So, my advice is to always get a detailed written quotation before you agree to anything. To avoid incurring “unforeseen plumbing costs” follow my five point guide below:

1. Do not pass wind in the same air space as your plumber or you’ll risk being charged danger money. This will be in the form of some jargon on the invoice like “C/T19195W faucet joint” or “1.5 screw-top head runner for C/T191195W”.

2. Keep your animals at a distance otherwise your plumber will charge for extra time to visit the doctors for a prescription for his asthma.

3. Under no circumstances tell the plumber you're a pensioner or he’ll be ringing his investment banker before you've made his first cup of tea. If necessary, tell him you are prematurely grey due to being hit by lightning whilst hiking through the Amazonian rainforest.

4. Hide all evidence of your creature comforts in case your plumber thinks you will “pay any price”. Include all obvious signs: Earl Grey tea, oversized underwear, dog-walking shoes and copies of the Radio Times.

5. Make sure you leave visible reading material in your bathroom. Include books like Undiscovered Serial Killers, Murder by Gunshot, Plumbing for Beginners and Death of a Salesman.

Finally, to prove that underneath I really am quite charming (and I don’t want to receive any hate mail). To all honest plumbers and tradesmen out there: You Rock.

When your plumber peers round your bathroom door wearing this cheerful expression
 and says "I've found the problem!" - you know you're about to be screwed.

O is for Otters and Onesies

So I was challenged to write a post about Otters by writer John Doppler. He likes them. And I like them. But writing a post about them which is more than saying "John likes them" and "I like them" is pretty hard.

I suppose I could write about their habitat.

But that would be a bit intellectual for this blog. And would require research. And I'm not sure if there's any articles about otters over at The Daily Mail.

I know I could make another attempt at poetry...

There once was an otter called Reg
Who had an artificial leg
Don't ask me how
Or raise a brow
Just accept that this story is true

Okay. I don't think the poetry angle is going to work. I'll just try another second verse to be sure...

One day Reg went for a swim
On a lake that was full to the brim
He hit his leg on a log
It fell off and blinded a frog
And the river police towed him away

Nope, the poetry thing is really not working. No one's going to appreciate a poem about an otter with an artificial leg.

I think I need to revisit the Turley Two Liner poetic form....

Otters, cute wet creatures
Smell a bit fishy

Hmm. Better. But I don't think I'm really capturing their cuteness. One last attempt and then I'll have to think of something else other than "otter".

Otters, big whiskers like Terry Thomas
Should be flying Spitfires, not swimming

Oh damn, damn, damn. I am just no good at poetry. I give up.

I know! Let's talk about onesies!

Hmmm.... onesies.....you know.... I'd like to see Kim Kardashian get her arse out of a onesie in a hurry. In fact, I'd pay good money to see it. In fact, I reckon it would probably take her so long you could make a feature film out of it.

Right that's O done. P next. Any suggestions?

N is for Necrophilia

Now before you folks start getting rowdy with me for choosing a pretty ghastly subject, I just wanted to say that this topic was suggested by a work colleague as the obvious follow-up to yesterday's M is for Mechanophilia blog.

Okay so let's get on with it....and I'll get straight to the point.

Necrophiliacs are the kind of nutters who make the Kardashian family look sane. And that's saying something as, by normal standards, the Kardashians with their narcissistic fetishes for photographing their false inflated giant-sized bottoms and boobs are completely and utterly bonkers. 

So I've thought long and hard about the people who participate in this kind of weird stuff and I've come up with this thought:

Nuke 'em.

Alternatively, put them all in a room with Kim Kardashian and stick a pin in her arse.

He who dares, wins.

Monday, April 17, 2017

M is for Mechanophilia

Yep, I wasn't entirely sure what "Mechanophilia" meant either until a few days ago, during a restless night, I popped over to The Daily Mail for my regular dose of dubious news reporting and read this article.

Now if you can't be bothered to read the article. I'll sum it up:

It was about a man who was recently prosecuted for trying to have sex with a Suzuki motorbike. Yes, men don't just do it with sheep. They also do it with bikes, cars and probably the No 43 bus from Paddington to Tottenham Court Road.

I also have it on very good authority from a friend who is a consultant radiologist they do it with a number of other interesting objects. To which I say:

Never buy a second-hand vacuum cleaner.

Anyway,  back to the article at The Daily Mail. Now I imagine when I first read this article I probably reacted something like this:

Then very quickly I felt like this:

Then I went into one of my writer's fantasies and wondered what would happen if the offender encountered one of these:

Then I thought:

What the hell... why don't I just write a story featuring myself a kick-ass heroine who rescues the world from a bunch of crazed mechaanophiliacs   mecaniphicacs   mechani  weirdos who like to shag cars.

So watch this space. I have a feeling my next work could be my ManBooker prize winning novel.