Friday, June 25, 2010

Warning; A Vitriolic Post! (May contain asterisks.)

Imagine a rather naughty swear word, put it into a couple of sentences and you might get something that reads like this:

You can't be serious! What the F***? Damned no good stinking rotten ******* system. Unbelievable *******  decision. I blame that idiot, Blair. May he burn in the fires of Hell for all eternity!

Now I would like you to know, dear readers, that I wouldn't actually say that. Because I am, as you are aware, a sweet English rose brought up to be polite and good mannered.

I do, of course, think these things sometimes. My apologies to you all who thought my mind was also as sweet as my smile. I just can't help it. Sometimes I do actually think rude words - I don't mean to but I do. Sometimes I even think naughty things as well. In fact, today when American John Isner beat Nicolas Mahut at Wimbledon with a fifth set score of 70-68 in a marathon 11 hour match I thought to myself ...

 I wouldn't mind being his girlfriend. (Cough, cough.)

Still, one can't everything.  I guess if I'm too old for John perhaps if my boys make it to Wimbledon I might I'll pick up an old codger from the Member's Section and get some free Pimms.

I live in hope anyway.

Right, back to whatever it was I was going to rant about. Oh yes - what happened to me this morning to make me go mad. Now, I don't mean just ordinary mad like the time I got my parking ticket or the time I reversed into that car so creatively parked at the bottom of my driveway. I mean MAD MAD - you know, that kind of madness where you can't think straight and it totally screws you up for hours on end.

Hmm.....okay I was actually MAD MAD about those other incidents - so maybe I'm just losing it more regularly?

Cripes, maybe I need beta blockers.

Yep, so anyway there I was in the queue for the garage waiting for petrol when my phone rang. Being stationary, I decided to answer as I had a feeling that at 9.10 in the morning in all likelihood there was a problem with one of my boys.

And sure enough there was...Let me explain...

This morning Master Ben had a severe hay-fever reaction in the eyes. I gave him his allergy syrup and as it was a particularly bad bout I decided to put some eye drops in as well. I then put them in his cool box for school with the instruction to pass them on to his teacher should he need them later in the day.

So where was the problem I hear you ask?

I had sent the eye drops in a box which was marked with his brother's name.

So the school were refusing to administer them.

Now my pragmatic suggestion was as the bottle inside the box was unnamed - throw away the box and we can all go happily about our day.

Oh no. Nothing can be as simple as that.  In fact, no amount of logical reasoning would procure any common sense. A rule is a rule. I was therefore obliged to make haste to the pharmacy and buy a replacement box ( not bearing Master Ben's name obviously) and take it to school as a substitute.

Will someone explain please??????????  Let me see...I exchange one bottle of eye drops for another bottle of exactly the same stuff but without any name on it. I waste about an hour of my day doing a completely nonsensical trip and spend the rest of the day totally wound up.

WHY, WHY, WHY?

Ah tis unbelievable, is it not folks? Absolutely unbelievable. And we wonder why British society is malfunctioning.  Now I don't blame the people involved, I blame those mad policy makers who just won't let anyone think for themselves.  And now everyone is too damn scared to step out of line. Nobody will take the smallest risk... and let's face it folks..it's a pretty big darn risk giving some eye drops to kid whose mother has irresponsibly sent them in the wrong box because her other two sons take the same medicine! Oh yes indeed, such a mother must be a child abuser in disguise, No doubt she has secretly replaced the allergy eye drops with a hideous acid in which to burn out her son's eyeballs.....no doubt she also plans to eat them!

Hmm....today's pathetic episode reminds me of another occasion with Master Jacob's school. In that instance, I forgot to put Master Jacob's epipen in his bag and duly took it into school, whereupon I was told they would not administer it because the expiry date was that very day (or the day after whichever way you look at it.) Again, no amount of logical reasoning would persuade the receptionist that his epipen was perfectly safe to use. That time I was so MAD MAD I kept Master Jacob out of school for three days. A bit of a strong reaction you might say but well I was just a tad cross...

And if you think both those instances are stupid then you'll love this story. Unbelievably, a 5 year old schoolboy who had climbed a 20 ft tree in the school playground was left stuck up it for one and a half hours because of the school's policy of non-interference. Apparently, helping the boy might actually procure a fall or worse encourage bad behaviour.

Now am I right in thinking that the school's policy is nuts? It was a 5 year old boy not a teenage hoodlum! Anyway, the good news folks is that eventually a passer-by rescued the poor boy. And what did the school do? They reported the rescuer for trespass on school property!

It's no wonder ordinary mums like me are going potty having to contend with these ludicrous rules.Whichever way I look at it, I just can't understand this level of political correctness. And as soon as our new government wise up to the what's been going on the better. Life's hard enough at times without all this mindless, nonsensical drivel.

Right, I'm getting off my soapbox.

(Well until the next time anyway!)

Monday, June 21, 2010

Music Monday; Beauty in the Name of Bach

Here's a performance I came across last week. I think it speaks for itself. I suggest you close your eyes and focus on the music not the video. It's about 5 minutes long.



I know nothing about classical music but to my mind that is utterly beautiful. Listening to it totally chills me out..and yet I can also hear so many emotions.....wonderful.

James Rhodes' website can be found here. He has recorded two CDs one which I have just taken delivery off called Razor blades, Little Pills and Big Pianos  and his latest release Now Would All Freudians Stand Aside.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Early Morning Insomnia

The insomnia is back. Not that it ever went away but it has been much better in recent months. Not tonight though. So having lain in bed perusing over various matters I thought I might as well get up and do something before I drove myself nuts by deliberating too much with questions like these;

a) Am I having a hot flush? ( Windows closed, thick winter quilt on)

b) Does my itchy hand mean I have fleas or I'm about to spontaneously combust? (Skin repairing itself after scalding myself badly last weekend in the kitchen.)

c) Do I have cervical cancer as a result of a medical cock-up? ( Letter arrived yesterday inviting me for smear test when I had one less than 2 years ago.)

d) Is Doctor Who finally going to come a cropper after being trapped by all his enemies for supposedly causing the cracks in time? ( Penultimate episode to last in current series screened last night.)

e) Will I have time to get to the supermarket tomorrow morning before Mr T realises it's Father Day? (Whoops)

f) Why are men so different from women? (Everytime Mr T takes his pants off.)

g) Can we ever justify euthanasia? (Put my cat, Miss Cleo, to sleep last week.)

h) Do I have diabetes? ( Went to the loo in the night.)

i) If Master Sam goes to university shall I put a running machine in his empty(ish) room?

j) What time is it? (I've been thinking for a long time......)

Yes, these are some of the many questions that slip through my head at night. The other one that frequently turns up is;

"Why do things always seem worse in the night?"

Do you think it's something to do with the darkness? Or is it because when it's quiet we are better able to reflect? Or is it because there's no one awake to share our fears with?

Hmm....

Anyway, to avoid answering the majority of the above questions I decided to get up and do something! So I thought I'd post one of my favourite entries from all the songs that people suggested for my post Music Monday; Just How Will You Say Goodbye? I listened to all the songs and thought they all had merit as "Last Songs". I particularly liked Willow Tree  by Chad VanGaalen as suggested by Eddie from the Cliffwalk. It's simple and sort of sweet. (Although I'm reserving judgement at the mention of kerosene - listen out for it!)



Pretty good eh? Oh, it's just touching 4am and the dawn chorus is beginning. Now that's a sound I don't mind hearing in the night - the end of darkness and the beginning of light. Hoorah. Sleep tight everyone.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Afflictions of Facial Hair

I've been a little quiet this week because I've been very, very busy.

Do you have any idea how long it takes to remove facial hair?

No? Well let me tell you it can take me absolutely ages. In fact, the first thing I do in the morning even before checking my emails is to see what's sprouted overnight.

Cripes, sometimes seeing my facial hair is enough to make my face freeze into mock horror - rather like Joan River's. At 6am that's not ideal - imagine being stuck looking like a corpse for the rest of the day. Worrying, very worrying. Anyway, these terrifying moments usually occur after I've had a thorough defuzzing the previous morning. I get up with a spring in my step, look in the mirror and  suddenly I see an enormous hair that's the best part of a foot long. And I'm thinking...

OH MY GOD.That can't have grown overnight.It must have been on my chin for several days.

ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH......

Of course, as the panic sets in, I get images in my head where I'm looking like this;


Hmm. ...and this is just the perimenopause. What will I look like after menopause if I become a hairy old granny with an upper lip like Stalin? Oh God it doesn't bear thinking about...

Although on the plus side if I had a moustache like Stalin's and a chin like a Gorilla's it would probably prevent insects from flying in my mouth if I was sleeping with my mouth open. A bit like a human Venus fly trap I suppose.

Ugh. Imagine waking up and finding a Blue Bottle wedged up your nostril.

You know, I don't think I should dwell on such scenarios; I'm liable to make myself depressed and then where would I be? Middle aged, hairy AND depressed. Fantastic.

Hmm.Personally, I hold my mother responsible for my current obsession.

Oh alright, I know some of you know my beloved mother passed away nearly two years ago, but really if mum hadn't willed me her vanity mirror I would never have known that I had a face like a gorilla's arse. I would just be sailing through life all merry and content. I mean, I just had an ordinary mirror before with about 10x magnification and then I inherited my mother's mirror and then it was like...

WHAT THE F**K? I HAVE A BEARD!

Okay, I admit that secretly I've been after the role of Doc in Snow White ever since I played the back end of a horse in panto. But I was just planning on wearing a false beard; I didn't know I was actually growing one.

Anyway, a few weeks back I decided enough is enough. No more hairs. Ever. I weighed up all the pros and cons, examined all the options for permanent removal and decided I was going to zap the offending hairs. With a laser. Oh yes, no hair was gonna stand in my way ever again. I was gonna take those little hairy rotters out.

Yep, so I decided to splash out on a home laser kit. In a few months time I aim to be hairless...well on my chin at least. And armpits, legs, upper lip...

And before anyone asks - no you can't do it "there." Well not unless you want to be rushed to Casualty with first degree burns. Let's face it - you'd have a hard job explaining that one to the duty officer. Soo it's just in the general vicinity. Know what I mean?

Blimey, it will be good to go for a swim with out having to get the hedge trimmer out.

You know, this laser gun could be a useful (and enjoyable) weapon. In fact, if Mr T makes me do too much housework I might zap his eyebrows in the night.

Now there's a thought...

***********************

Picture courtesy of John Brody on Flickr

Monday, June 14, 2010

Music Monday; What Happened to my Memory?

It's official. My organisational skills and memory have gone completely down the pan. I think when I hit 40 they flew out of my brain and left a big vacant spot in my head on which one might hang a sign that reads "Out of Order."

Well that's the polite way of putting it.

Anyway, the tipping point was last Saturday afternoon. I completely forgot about a tennis match that Master Jacob was supposed to be playing in - the first time since he started competing about 6 years ago. Now as it happens, he couldn't have played as that morning he'd sprained his ankle - but the point is I could have let the other folks know - so all together a bit of a bad show from Mrs T.

Anyway, as a result, last week I decided to buy a new diary and be committed to writing everything down and becoming a super efficient mum like so many of my friends. So I duly bought myself a lovely purple Filofax and filled in all the events for this coming week. Excellent. What could go wrong?

Okay, it's only Monday afternoon and I've already cocked up. As we were going to school this morning Master Ben said "I think it's Red and White Day."  I was sceptical because on Friday it was a Mufti Day (dressing up day) in aid of the school fair. We've already had two dressing up days back to back earlier in the year - what were the chances of it happening twice? Umm...only 2:1 apparently ... because it was yet another dressing up day. Anyway, I couldn't turn back as Master Sam was starting his A Levels this morning and we'd set off early to make sure that he was there on time. So poor Master Ben had to go without a fancy dress costume. Again. ( But don't worry folks you can be sure the little rotter will make me suffer for my incompetency in due course....Oh yes indeed!)

But back to my memory loss. When I was younger I had a really good memory, so I just can't understand why my boys can never remember anything for themselves or until it's so late that I'm in panic trying to sort things out.

Am I being unfair... but do boys require more organizing then girls? I reckon if I rated my boys for their memory skills I would have to rate Master Sam as -10, (Yes, that is a MINUS sign ) Master Jacob about 0 (Zero) and Master Ben, the most reliable, is about...+4.

For example here's a conversation with Master Sam earlier last week;

Master Sam; Oh by the way, I decided to take A Level General Studies.

Mrs T: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!! I thought you'd given that up! ( Almost passing out at this shocking revelation.)

Master Sam; I need a revision book.

Mrs T; Oh right. When is the exam? (Note; Master Sam had only informed me only a couple of days previous that he had finished school and was on study leave.)

Master Sam; Monday.

Mrs T; You have an exam on Monday and you're asking me for a revision book now?

Master Sam; Yes. (General looks of impatience.)

Mrs T; Oh alright, alright. What examining board is it?

Master Sam; I don't know.

Mrs T; You don't know?! I can remember what examining boards my papers were from 30 years ago!

Master Sam; Well I don't know......(sigh, sigh, sigh.)

Mrs T; Oh for God's sake..... (Opens bottle of plonk and takes large slurp....)

Anyway folks, I duly went upstairs and started looking on trusty old Amazon. Now, not knowing which examining board study guide to buy and knowing that it would take hours to navigate the school website to discover the information I decided to order an all encompassing General Studies book - you know one which attempts to cover all the subjects by all the boards. Alas, I discovered that all the cheaper ones were not available for dispatch immediately - only the £18.00 one was still available. Naturally, I was not best pleased. However, being a dutiful mother I ordered it, paid extra for first class postage and it arrived on Saturday - thus leaving Master Sam 48 hours to navigate the book.

Yep, a whole 48 hours! How's that for diligence?!

Hmm.... you know, If Master Sam didn't remind me of myself at that age I'd probably have strung him up by his balls.

However, that said, I had an excellent memory in my youth so I would have remembered to get a book considerably earlier .....

.....even if I didn't actually do any studying until the night before......

Anyway the story continues. On Sunday evening, anticipating a mad dash to school to get Sam there for his exam, I laid out all the school clothes and informed Master Jacob that he would NOT be missing the school bus and Master Sam and Master Ben that we would be leaving home PROMPTLY at 8.15 am.

So today at 8.10am....

Master Sam; Have you got a calculator? I'm not sure if I'll need one but just in case.....

Mrs T; What? A calculator? Why didn't you ask me earlier; we're leaving in 5 mins!

Master Sam; Well I wasn't sure......

Now I should point out Readers that Master Sam is 18 - I have probably purchased at least 6, if not more, calculators in the last 8 years for his usage. Where have they gone? Are they lying in some huge redundant calculator pile at school? Did the batteries die and he chuck them in the bin? What about the solar ones? Did they burn up?

Has he eaten them?

WHERE ARE THEY ALL???

And what sort of question does Master Sam think he will get in a General Studies exam that might require a calculator????

Let me think...

Perhaps;

1. 50% of people believe in global warming, 45 % do not. Calculate the remaining percentage and explain why these people drive tractors.

2. If a British government is elected on 33% of the electoral vote, can you explain how and why the majority are not represented? You may use a calculator.

3. Your mother is Jewish. Your father is Muslim. You were born in the USA. What percentage chance is there that you will end up psychologically disturbed?

4. 75% of people believe in capital punishment, 20% do not. Explain what happened to remaining 5%.

5. You are a vegetarian. Your partner is a carnivore. How likely is it that your offspring will be a vegan? Explain your methodology.

6. What is the Greatest Happiness of the Greatest Number? Answers should be exact.

 And so on.....

Anyway, fortunately I have my own calculator, which is easily located... so we did actually set off in time. And I will be placing my calculator in my desk drawer when it returns.

Should it ever return......

Anyway, despite having an appalling memory, which my children have obviously inherited in abundance, I can remember one song about memories. So here's Elaine Page singing Memories from the musical Cats by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Fisherman, his Rod, his Wife and her Sandwich

It was the hottest day of the year. Even under the shade of my umbrella the heat was unbearable. I’d discarded my shirt by mid-morning, wading into the water in just my shorts and plimsolls. Casting my rod out, I’d watched the multi-coloured fly skim across the surface of the river whilst the waters slipped silently past.
Like my life.
It was peaceful here. Sheer heaven. Free from Gilda and her constant nagging: “Do this, do that. Clean the car, empty the bins, paint the kitchen, and don’t forget to mow the grass before your mother comes.”
Oh yes, and kiss my arse.
It was hard to believe Gilda was the same woman I’d married long ago with a smile that greeted me daily as I arrived home from my job with the council. How things change. Maybe I hadn’t been ambitious enough. My job cleaning windows wasn’t great. But it was reliable. It wasn’t like I was self-employed and the income irregular. There was always money to put food on the table and for holidays. Okay, so we hadn’t had holidays to the Caribbean but we’d always had them: a beach in Spain; a villa in Portugal; a gite in France. We even went to Venice for our honeymoon.
At first we’d had a lot in common. Gilda had been a sales assistant at Little Women, a clothing chain for petite women. Nothing grand. We lived a simple life during the week but on the weekends we partied or went to the cinema and, whilst I went fishing on Sundays, Gilda seemed content to do her own thing. It all seemed quite perfect and I never felt the need to become chief window cleaner or look for another job. It wasn’t that I’d never had aspirations but, as I passed from my twenties into my thirties and no kids arrived, there didn't seem the urgency to progress. With no extra mouths to feed and no need to buy the latest fashionable trainers, I suppose I just became content with what I’d got.
Gilda had gone through a broody stage though. We’d tried homeopathic remedies for conception, special diets and ovulation temperature gauges. Gilda had even tried handstands against the bedroom wall. “Anything’s worth a try,” she’d say, her long blonde hair trailing over her face. I watched at first; her slim agile legs splayed against the flowered wallpaper and her breasts, round and firm, with nipples still engorged from our lovemaking. But as the months passed it became increasingly tedious. My advances were counteracted by; “You've had your lot. A week on Tuesday and I’ll be fertile. Let’s save it for then.” Eventually, we went to the doctors; I with my sperm sample in hand and her with a chip on her shoulder.
It turned out that I had a low sperm count. I wasn’t barren but instead of fifty million plus of the little fellas, I only had about forty million and some of the buggers had passed out through exhaustion. I wasn’t officially infertile although Gilda often made me feel that way. On Saturday nights at the pub she’d have one drink too many and tell everyone I was suffering from “oligospermia”. The lads used to back-slap me and give me the “Never mind, you can put it about and she’ll never know” routine. But it fell on deaf ears. I couldn’t please Gilda anymore and it hurt.
We had our free allocation’s worth of treatment on the NHS and when that failed there wasn't the money to spend on more. Eventually we came to accept that we weren’t going to be parents. We settled into our old habits and Gilda stopped mentioning the oligospermia. Well, that was until they started doing politically correct stuff at Gilda’s work. She was no longer a “sales assistant” but a “sales consultant” and, on weekends, while I fished, she no longer visited her mum or sewed dresses but studied for an NVQ in retail.
Gilda began to change, almost imperceptibly at first, until her boss left to look after her kids and Gilda decided to apply for the manager’s position. I was chuffed when she came home with the news that she’d got the job and we celebrated down at the Indian. I thought that maybe the new responsibility would lay the ghost of our childlessness to rest. Well, I guess it did. But not quite the way I expected.
From that day onwards, we spent less time together. Gilda was frequently late home because of problem with the tills, an evening stock delivery or the alarm not setting up. She worked loads of extra hours and before long she was an area manager, packing her Slimfast bars in her briefcase in the morning and striding down the path with the parting line; “I won’t be home till late. Don’t wait up!”
And I just carried on cleaning windows.
I shuffled around under the umbrella trying to get my body out of the burning sun, took another bite of my cheese and pickle sandwich and gazed out over the river. It was quiet, almost foreboding. Heavy branches of a weeping willow, laden with leaves, drooped in the water on the opposite bank. A lonesome bubble burst on the surface of the water as I savoured my last crust. So far my luck had been abysmal. Even the fish seemed to be asleep, hiding away in the depths and crevices of the riverbed. I snapped open a cold beer and slurped it down in frustration. In the overpowering heat it tasted better than ever. It reminded me of when Gilda and I were young and life was fresh and exciting. When I was going to be more than just a window cleaner and she was going to be a mother.
I guess there hadn't been one definable moment when our relationship turned sour. It was a gradual separation of ways. We hardly slept together anymore, even though Gilda’s underwear was becoming more exotic and expensive. It had crossed my mind that the late nights were a cover for an affair but, in the end, I’d put her extravagance down to the extra cash and her yearning for a better life. If we couldn't have a kid then I supposed a luxury car or a fancy kitchen were the next best things. Anyway, that’s what I thought. Until I found the condoms. Well, a woman whose husband’s six-shooter is firing blanks doesn’t need condoms, does she?
Heaving myself up, I brushed the crumbs off my shorts, cupped them in my hands and tossed them into the river. I waded back into the water with my rod and cast out my line again. The sun was even higher now, the skin on my shoulders prickling despite my earlier attempts to lather myself with cream. I wished I’d remembered my hat as a surge of dizziness made the water shimmer and glow with an array of coloured lights.
“Hello, Harry. I thought I’d find you here.”
I twisted towards the bank, my vision blurring as my legs remained fixed in the silt like ancient roots. Gilda flashed in and out of focus.
“You look unwell, Harry. Is the heat getting to you?”
“Yes, I think so. I’ll come in for another drink in a moment.”
“Have you had your lunch yet?”
“Yes, thanks. Your sarnies were great.”
“You know, you’re not looking good at all.”
“It’s the heat. I’ll be fine.”
I wound in my line and splashed water over my face, revelling in the cold droplets cooling my searing skin. As my head began to clear, I saw Gilda still watching sullenly from the embankment. She’d never been able to hide her distaste for my hobby, even in better times.
“About your sandwiches, Harry,” said Gilda, a streak of impatience crossing her face. “I think you should know that I poisoned them. In a few minutes, you’ll be dead.”
Gilda’s malevolent words washed over me like an all-consuming wave. I sank to my knees, the water rising to my chest. I knew now the full intensity of Gilda’s betrayal. She didn’t just want an affair, but a permanent separation. A deadly separation.
“You were always so predictable. I knew you’d eat your sandwiches at midday.”
I reeled backwards, my body straining against the current and the impact of Gilda’s words.
“You’re a useless twat, Harry. I’ve wasted my life with you. All you think about is your bloody windows and fishing rods,” said Gilda, wading through the water until she stood before me.
“You’re right. I never had any imagination,” I said, looking up at her icy, unforgiving eyes. “I guess I should have stopped cleaning windows.”
“Goodbye, Harry.”
Gilda reached out and pressed her hands upon my head, using all her weight to push me further into the cold waters. But, as my face slipped under the surface, instinct overcame my lethargy and I seized her leg and began to pull her down with me. Grabbing her waist, I wrenched myself up against her until our roles reversed. Her blue eyes held mine as her mouth bopped in and out of the water, spluttering and gasping like a landed fish.
“Things are a little different now, aren’t they?” I said. “It really was the heat, Gilda. There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m not dying.”
“Harry...I...was...only...joking...” 
“No, you weren’t,” I said, as Gilda’s lungs filled with water. “If you hadn’t been so wrapped up in yourself, you’d have remembered I don’t like prawn sandwiches. I bought some others and threw your's to the birds. They’re behind the bushes with some dead sparrows. I thought it was odd...but now I know the truth.”
“Harry…”
“Goodbye, Gilda”
I forced her down into the water whilst she mouthed words at me, her eyes bulging wide as her life ebbed away. As her hair trailed behind her in the current, I remembered how she’d looked standing on her head all those years ago when we were young. When we still loved each other.
But we didn’t love each other anymore.
When the bubbles stopped rising and her thrashing arms fell limp, I dragged her as far out into the river as I could go, where the current was stronger and faster. I pushed her downstream towards the open sea and watched her sail away, her blonde locks still trailing behind her.
I guess Gilda never recognized the value of good window cleaners. They nearly always do a grand job.
And sometimes, when the grime is too thick, they use plenty of water.