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Showing posts from 2011

Is Bjork Bonkers?

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Let's take bets. I'm only giving evens.

It's time for another of my Christmas Musical countdowns which, you may have guessed, is Bjork. So here she is singing Crystallline on the Jools Holland show back in November. I was fascinated by her performance - and the song has quite an addictive equality to it as well.



A pretty good song there me thinks. Strangely addictive. Bjork is defintely an original artist. But I have to ask - what the hell was going on with the 1980s' disco culottes and the platform boots? And that hair? She looks like she had an accident with some candy floss and a bucket of sick.

And what is this current craze with false eyelashes about? Apparently sales of false eyelashes have rocketed recently. To be honest, I think when you're eyes are so loaded up with mascara and lashes like Bjork it just looks like you've got two dead blowflies on your face or you've done a couple of rounds with Mike Tyson. I tried putting some on the other day and …

The Indiana Jane Chronicles

One of the things I've noticed as I get older is that I spend considerably more time looking for things.

Unfortunately, the Fedora, the bull whip and the constant references to historical objects have not convinced Mr T that my quests are anything but acute memory loss. Not even all my diaries and notepads covered in scribbles and doodles have convinced Mr T that I am the next Indiana Jones.

Yeah, yeah I suppose my Ford Cmax isn't really a convincing Ark but, believe me, those keys to it are extremely difficult to find.

Although definitely not as hard to find as the Holy Grail. (My glasses.)

You know, the other day I spent a good ten minutes searching the tennis clubhouse for my reading glasses only to discover them on my head. I'm not saying I felt stupid but when someone asked me what I was looking for and I replied "my glasses" and they raised an amused eyebrow I had a feeling that were pretty close by. In fact, so close by that I actually touched my nose to s…

The Dangers of Men in Suits

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When I was a child I was a movie addict - I still am but now I have less time to watch as many films as I would like. My tastes back then varied from war movies, psychological thrillers and dramas to musicals where suited men like Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly danced the night away with glamorous leading ladies dressed in sequins and pearls.

These days, movies which contain dancing are comparatively rare and when you do see them the men are usually a lot more risqué in their clothing and dance moves. No woman can fail to smile at the thought of Patrick Swayze bare chested in Dirty Dancing but does he really beat Gene Kelly tap dancing in those puddles in Singing in the Rain? I once saw Tommy Steele perform the same routine at the London Palladium. I was so mesmerized by Tommy I even failed to notice his teeth.


Anyhow, I've noticed that suited men dancing are a rare breed in movies or indeed anywhere these days  - except perhaps weddings, office parties and such like. So I want to iss…

Dear Santa No 2

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Dear Santa,

There was something I forgot to mention yesterday.

Please, please, please can you notsend my boys any Lego. I know it's selfish of me to ask but you have no idea how many hours I've spent picking up those darn pieces. Once, I even got trapped under the bed for three hours trying to rescue a miniature Lego Star Wars light sabre. I know I shouldn't have put on weight but frankly if Lego didn't exist the world would be a much safer place. Then there's been times I've got up in the night with my insomnia only to find myself hopping in agony in the hallway whilst emitting a silent scream having trodden on a rogue piece of Lego. Then there's been the countless hours I've been forced to spend building replicas of the Taj Mahal, the Houses of Parliament and the Eiffel Tower. It's not easy building those things - I mean have you ever tried building a circular dome with Lego? No?  Unless you've got the patience of a saint, a large bottle of wh…

Dear Santa...

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Dear Santa,

I haven't written to you in a really really long time but this year I have a very special request. I am desperate.  I have not been able to find what I want anywhere and I need some help.

Please, please, please, pleasecan I have some jeans that fit? You know - those ones that stay up without a belt and super glue and don't regularly fall down showing your arse to the whole world.

I don't think it's much to ask and I have been a (fairly) good girl this year and well I don't really want to trouble Him Upstairs. Cos the chance is he's more into robes and wings and stuff and I reckon on your 364 days off you probably ditch that red gear and wear faded denims. You probably look really cool - a bit like a trendy Kenny Rogers. Only with Reindeer and an unhealthy interest in elves.

Thanks - I'll leave out a really big mince pie.

Big Kisses,

Janie





Christmas Musical Countdown No 2

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What I want to know is how a ten year old boy can be such a lethal weapon? This morning the boys missed the school bus and as a result I was subjected to a car journey of extremely odious proportions. I literally felt sick! In fact, I had to open the windows and speed up from a stately 50mph to 60mph just to get some fresh air circulating in the car. Then, to top it all, Master Ben says;

"I didn't get sent to the Headteacher when we had sex education."

"Oh yes? And why were children sent to the Headteacher?"

"For laughing and giggling."

"And what did you do?"

"Oh, I just pulled this face."

Mrs T looks in mirror and sees THAT face. The "Mr Smug, I know it all, are you really wasting my time with this?" face.

Ten years old. I have a problem on my hands. Hmm.

Here's another of my favourite songs of the year. Reminds me of someone I know who looks as sweet as pie but is the devil is disguise!


Christmas Musical Countdown

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Phew. I finished my IT course and passed. I've done two courses this autumn; the IT course and a teaching course. I haven't really decided what I'm going to do with the qualifications but one has to be practical and should I need to return to work they could prove valuable. My heart lies with the arts and I've always leaned towards creative expression be it with theatre, music, art and of course, writing. Unfortunately, the realities of life means that often we don't get to do the things we want to do most. There's probably a good chance I will always remain the frustrated artist!

Anyhow, now my courses are finished and I am beginning to make my Christmas preparations I thought it would be fun to play some of my favourite musical tracks of the year over the coming days. I'm a pop gal so don't expect any big surprises. So I'll begin with my current favourite - which may well turn out to be my favourite of the year - it's called Up by the hugely t…

IT bores me to death

I have found the cure for my insomnia!

It's called Information Technology. Yes, the reason I've been silent lately is I've been doing an IT course which I have to finish by Friday.

And it is boring the pants off me. It has literally been sending me to sleep. It's so dull and mind numbing. There are pages and pages of stuff on screen that I have to work through (which are set at a pace that even a snail would be twiddling his feet impatiently) that I have been quite literately falling asleep at my computer. After about 15 minutes my brain begins to switch off, my eyes glaze over and my head hits the keyboard.

Amazing. All those herbal pills and milky drinks and bangs to the head I've tried to cure my insomnia with and all I had to do was take an IT course. The only trouble is I don't really fancy doing IT courses for the rest of my life. How dull would that be? I might become a technology geek and entertain my dinner guests with incredibly witty stories about ho…

The Journey (Flash fiction)

My hands grip the gate, the cold frame slides open like a mortuary drawer. I slip through, exhaling. It snaps back into place like the sharp recoil of a gun.             A path lies before me, a stretch of pebbled stones giving way to sodden grass and soil. Branches of tall trees hang heavy, trailing like the tresses of a lover’s hair. A grey mist meanders, its cold, clammy fingers caressing me until my clothes cling like a second skin.             Mud squelches around my feet, sealing my presence. Sharp thorns and sneering faces taunt me from the dark recesses of the forest. But there is no other path, so I push my hands deep into my pockets, taking comfort in the smooth metal my fingers encounter.             My feet drag and my limbs ache as the path inclines. Sweat trickles down my face. I glance back, my body tingling as the track appears to close behind me. Yet I cannot falter, it’s the day I’ve waited for. The day of reckoning. I shiver and the silence hums like a mother’s whisp…

On the Morning Watch

Well just to keep you informed I did eventually manage to get some sleep between 5 and 7am this morning. I'm not sure exactly how much but I was sleeping when Mr T woke me up with his usual endearment;


"If you don't get up the boys will miss the bus."


Interpret as you will.


Well the boys did catch their bus. Master Jacob had no school tie though and neither of them had brushed their teeth. Hmm. I hope my dentist isn't reading this; he gives me a really hard time if they're not brushing properly. It's like the Spanish Inquisition at my dentist. How many times are you brushing? Left to right? Gums? Backs of teeth? Electric? Blah, blah, blah, blah. It's enough to shock any decent mother into lying.


"I'm afraid bad teeth is genetic, Mr Dentist. I blame their father."


So anyway, I did actually get some sleep and because I was woken up suddenly I can also remember what I was dreaming about...


So I dreamt I was a secret agent during World War Two. (O…

On The Night Watch

Three small sherry sized glasses of wine and 2 cups of non decaff and I can't sleep. That'll teach me.  Who knows what I'd be like if I did drugs if this is what mere wine and coffee does to me. I can't sleep at all. Nope, not a wink. I can't even imagine what taking some LSD or such like would do to me - forget the hallucinations I'd probably have enough energy to swim the channel and back. I know that sounds impossible but if David Walliams can swim the Thames whilst he has tummy trouble I reckon I can swim the channel with insomnia.
You know, I keep wondering what the inside of David's wet suit looked like while he was swimming. I'm not having pleasant thoughts. 
Maybe he wore a diaper?
Still, at least my kids don't suffer from insomnia. If they did I reckon they'd be pretty shocked to discover on Christmas Eve that Santa is a cross dresser and looks like a middle aged women with an addiction to cotton wool.
I should be in the secret service. If …

It's a turkey Jim, but not as we know it!

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Gosh. This morning I learnt a very interesting fact about my American friends.

They deep fry their turkeys!
And I thought Bush had just been pensioned off.
Oh come on. Don't get grumpy with me. It's just a joke! We have turkeys too in this country. Most of them have wings though. However, I'm prepared to believe Blair and Brown were turkeys and what's more I'm prepared to deep fry them too. In fact, I'd been happy to spit roast them.
Nothing like a red hot poker and a politician with his pants down to bring a smile to my face.
Yep, so I came across this video starring the lovely William Shatner of Star Trek fame on the subject of  deep-frying turkeys:




Right. I'm coming clean. I kinda have a crush on Bill Shatner. I don't think I've ever got over that original Star Trek series and I've loved just about everything he's ever done  - even T J Hooker. I'm not sure what that means - maybe I just have bad taste? But I do love his self-effacing …

Is a Blog a Liability?

Let me think about that question.

Um.

Yes.

How do I know this? Well this morning I spoke to my good friend Mrs B who said to me;

"Jane, I've seen a job you could do!"

Cue Mrs T getting all excited. A job suitable for Mrs T? There's not many of them around! I did think about applying for a job as a school chef a short time ago but I'm not good at cooking and I don't want to be associated with lumpy mash potato. Anyway, I decided to quit while I was ahead - I mean nobody likes to get sacked - so I saved myself the anxiety and didn't apply in the first place. Now I know you lot probably don't think I'm that bad at cooking so I might as well tell you that recently Master Jacob lodged a formal complaint about my toast. Apparently, I burn it. Hmm...and I just thought it was "well done."

Humph. I like my toast "well done". Who wants soggy toast? Not me. I hate toast that's all limp and drips marmalade down your tee-shirt. I used t…

The Bike with One Big Wheel and One Small Wheel

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Not so long ago I wrote a post called On Yer Bike which related a story about how Master Ben had asked me if I had a bike with "one big wheel and one small wheel" when I was young.

Now Master Ben is 10 years old. It is acceptable for him to not know the correct name for such a bike.

However, it has come to my attention that across the world almost daily people are Googling "Bike with one big wheel and one small wheel" and arriving on my blog.

Obviously, I am hoping they are all school children. However, as I am nothing but generous I am now delighted to finally make use of my history degree by informing the world that the "Bike with one big wheel and one small wheel" is actually called a ...

PENNY FARTHING



Now for a small fortune I will regale you with the story of how my grandmother invented the Penny Farthing. (You may recall my story of how she also invented the rugby ball.) However, if you want the truth just try Wikipedia or a history site. I'm no…

A Big Expensive Mess

I think this story  is most one of the most entertaining stories I've ever read. Certainly equal to the story about the woman who knocked herself out on her loo roll holder. 

Apparently, a cleaner in a German museum mistook an exhibit for a big mess and cleaned it  up. The exhibit was entitled "When It Starts Dripping From the Ceiling" and featured "a tower of wooden slats under which a rubber trough was placed with a thin beige layer of paint representing dried rain water."
Personally, I think the cleaner deserves an award; if the art looked like a pile of crap it probably was. It's hard to believe it had a price tag of 1.1 million dollars attached to it.
Hmm.... maybe it's an inside job. Perhaps the museum just got tired of seeing a stain on the floor and decided to fake a claim? I mean a stain on the floor and some old slats is hardly a Turner or a Picasso is it? I reckon they just got fed up with having to walk round the unsightly mess and just got som…

The Afflictions of Facial Hair (Part Two)

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Further to my previous post The Afflictions of Facial Hair I've been doing some scientific analysis on how this problem affects women as they grow older. I have now formalized this research into an easy-to- read chart so that the male of the species can fully appreciate the problems us women encounter.




This means that if you happen to be a brunette like my good self  by the age of 60 you will look like this:


Now it has always annoyed me that "blondes have more fun". However, it annoys me even more that when blondes forget to shave they don't have to suffer the embarrassment of people asking why there is a small gerbil attached to their armpit.

Which, of course, has never happened to me. In fact, Mr T will vouch for the fact that I never ever had a small gerbil under my armpit.

He may though say that he has seen a large domestic guinea pig.

Anyway, I am sure my brunette readers will pleased to know that on a recent stroll down the High Street I saw a blonde lady who l…

SLOW DRIVERS DRIVE ME MAD

I have just had one of those days where you want to scream, scream, scream.

For a start, it's a Monday so ..

SUNDAY DRIVERS SHOULD NOT BE OUT ON THE ROAD.

Yep, everywhere I went today, whatever the speed zone, there was always some Sunday driver doing about 20 mph less than the speed limit. It makes me want to tear my hair out. For God's sake, if they feel that nervous about driving why the hell can't they just GET OFF THE ROADS.

Not that I'm cross or anything you know. Just mildly put out.

Then of course there's those drivers who practically come to a standstill to turn a corner. In fact one person was so slow today I thought they were actually going to park in the middle of the road.

What is wrong with these people? Do they know that roads are for driving cars on? Or do they think that everyone else behind them is in a pony and trap and has 6 weeks to cross to the other side of town? I swear to God I aged about 20 years behind all those Sunday drivers today. The …

A Canter Around The Cheltenham Literary Festival

As I grow older time seems to pass more quickly. A whole year has now passed since I visited the Cheltenham Literary Festival and enjoyed a weekend listening to some our most famous contemporary authors talk about their lives and work. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to the festival this year so here for your enjoyment (I hope) is a review I wrote for The View last year.... 
I've often wondered about authors’ personalities and how much of their characters are reflected in their work. There are so many colourful stories about past literary giants it’s become almost impossible not to speculate about some of our more influential contemporary writers.
So, a few weeks ago, I took the opportunity to travel down to Cheltenham, the home of Britain’s oldest literary festival, to have a nose at some of our most revered authors as background to a possible review. Would I hear stories of pimples and pox, quail’s eggs and quills or just boring biros and messy manuscripts? Either way, Chelt…

Hold me back - I'm gonna blow soon

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Almost everyday I see them. They are everywhere; on street corners, in town centres, in the parks, propped up against railings and walls.

They are driving me insane. When I see them I am physically repulsed. Sometimes the sight is so bad my eyeballs are practically popping out of my head.

Recently though, not only has my stomach been even more queasy than normal but I have found words bubbling in my throat, tripping around tongue, imploring me to allow them to burst forth.

Any day soon Readers I know that fateful moment is going to arrive when I wind down the window on my car and yell...

"PULL UP YOUR TROUSERS - I DO NOT WANT TO SEE YOUR BUTT!"
Yep, and when I get a mouthful of abuse in return I shall give my parting shot...
"Nice cheeks - shame about the boils."
Yep, I can't stand them any longer. I mean why bother? Why not just walk around in your underwear. In fact why not roll up your trousers and stick them on your head. You could go camping in them - put th…

Thoughts on Womankind and My Mother

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It was three years ago on Saturday that my mother died. It was the most traumatic 24 hours of my life. Without warning, my beautiful mother and closest friend was taken from me by a brain hemorrhage.

Sometimes, the nights seem quite long.

I'm going to post the song Moves Like Jagger which, rather than make me feel even more sad, will make me feel better. Mum and I had very similar, almost identical tastes. In fact, we could wander round a department store, meet up half an hour later and find we'd both selected the very same item - and if it wasn't exactly the same it was the same article just in a different colour-way. I guess we were both on the same wave length.

Mum always kept up with modern music and films so I'm pretty darn sure she would have loved this song. She probably would have had a few succinct words to say about Mick Jagger as well. Well I would have - and Mum would have diplomatically said "Well, you know I preferred Rock Hudson."

Hmm. I think …

Me, The Car Parking Officer and Clint Eastwood

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Do you remember my vitriolic letter about my car parking ticket?  Well another car parking "incident" occurred yesterday when I may or may not have been illegally parked near to my son's school.

Now I hastened to add if I was such a person who may or may not been illegally parked it would be because of the very difficult situation of  a certain school being in the town centre with insufficient adjacent car parking  facilities. Now, if like the good Mrs T, you have to dash off to pick up another child and then dash off to tennis and can't afford the time to go to a car park further away you have no alternative but to either keep driving around and around in circles (which in my opinion creates even more congestion and risk when there are children running all over the place) or find a discreet and safe place to park.

So yesterday, when I may or may not been illegally parked, suddenly out of the sun strolled a Car Parking Officer. (Mrs T spits on floor and stabs small p…

How much did you say?

The cost to supply and fit a new kitchen mixer tap is £144.00.

How much did you say???

£144.00

Are you an "executive" plumber or does the tap come with bells and an inbuilt stereo?

Are you taking the mickey, Love?

Absolutely not. Merely making a polite enquiry.....

Well, that was the conversation in my head anyway. There was also some imagery involving a deep fat fryer and some fried meat balls.  So, Readers, what do you reckon? Is £144.00 legit? Now, the request was for a basic tap so the bulk of the amount would be labour. I'm also assuming that like 95% of the workman who have ever come to my house the preference would be for a "cash" payment.

So, I just watched this video;




So how much time for an experienced plumber to replace the sink with no unexpected problems arising? Shall we be generous and say an hour and put a price tag of £44.00 on the tap? So that's £100 an hour for labour. Sure, he's got about 10 mins travel time and petrol costs but I still r…

Master Ben and his Plastic Machine Gun

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Well since I've figured out how to use Windows Movie Maker I thought I'd post an amusing video I found on my camera about 18 months or so ago. It's Master Benedict's first attempt at a documentary which unfortunately involves attempted cat murder and some dubious shots of my carpet. However, it is rather funny. I think Master Ben might have a future in film. Or maybe in an institution.

Equality and Diversity. Yeah, right.

Okay, so this is a rant. I figure I need one. I've been working too hard and need to let off some steam.

So let's talk about equality and diversity. Now those of you who have read this blog for a long time know I'm a gentle, fair minded soul.  I believe in equality. I have absolutely nothing against small people called Tom who star in major movies and who may or may not wear platforms. In fact, I defend every man's right to wear platforms. It's a free world and let's face it - some people would have difficulty looking over the sweet counter without heels.

Anyway, I recently filled out a job application form which wanted to know my sexual orientation. ( The student advisor job - see a previous rant.)  Well, I have to admit I was a bit taken aback by such boldness and I felt rather like rolling up the application form and sticking it right up their backsides... then I thought that might suggest peculiar sexual fetishes so maybe that wasn't actually a good ide…