Thursday, December 26, 2013

A (quick) Christmas Quiz

In case you've been wondering where I've been and where is my promised short story collection, here's a short picture quiz which should enable you to deduce the answer.

My laptop, featuring a picture of my forthcoming short story collection.

A cup of green tea and lemon. (This mug was a gift from a friend  who, I think, was trying to give me a subtle message. Jokingly, of course.)

Speaks for itself really.

Yep, so there you have it; I drowned my laptop. In true Mrs T form, I manage to completely wreck it. However, as I try to look on the bright side of things, you might be interested to know that I can now personally vouch for cleaning properties of green tea and lemon. You may be even more interested to know that a range of previously unknown obscenities will be published in the English dictionary next year.

Anyway, to add to the hellish inconvenience of not being able to continue work on my stories, I couldn't do my Christmas shopping on the internet. Gross. I actually had to brave the shopping malls. This is a truly horrifying experience for me, especially as I seem to have one of those faces where people seem to want to stop and talk to me. Thus I was duly inflicted with several bizarre conversations about plastic jugs and tomato ketchup by strange people who for some reason thought I'd be interested in such things. Personally, I blame John Lewis for attracting too many menopausal women. Next time I go Christmas shopping in a mall, I am going to put lipstick on my eyes and eye-shadow on my lips thereby identifying me as a nutter who should be avoided at all costs. Hopefully, I will be able to do my Christmas shopping in peace then.

So anyhow I finally got my repaired laptop back on the 23rd December and since then have had too many family commitments to log on. So here I am at last to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy 2014. I will be back shortly with news on my now delayed short story collection and, hopefully, an update on progress with my novel submissions. In the meantime, thank you all for reading The Witty Ways of a Wayward Wife.

See you soon!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Thanksgiving Day Letter to Seth MacFarlane

Mrs Turley
The Towers
Seth MacFarlane
The Studios

Dear Seth

You have broken my heart. You have ruined Thanksgiving Day for your fellow countrymen. You have put the world in mourning.

How could you kill off Brian in Family Guy? How could you? I loved Brian as if he were my own dog. The fact I don't have a dog is irrelevant, but if I had a dog he would be just like Brian. We would have frolicked on my bed blowing raspberries, watching porn  the Disney channel and laughing about Americanisms. What fun Brian and I would have had! But now we can't. Because Brian is dead. 

As you can tell, even though I'm English, I was very fond of Brian. As your typical English person, I am also very pro animal rights (except when it comes to foxes and badgers) so I am outraged by your cruel and needless act upon an affectionate and loveable dog. It is an act of violence which must be addressed.

Accordingly, I have emailed Her Majesty and suggested she incarcerates you as soon as possible. Thus, the good gentlemen of the SAS will soon be arriving at your doorstep. And it's no good asking your special forces for help because your government would only send Sylvester Stallone or Arnold Schwarzenegger and ( I know this may come as a shock to you) but they're only actors. You can't really win any wars employing actors to do the work for you. And I know you think you've got an army - but have you looked in the Lego tin under your bed lately? I think you'll find it's empty.

Anyway, when the SAS have returned with you, I (as Her Majesty's chief torturer and executioner) will haul your sorry ass to The Tower and strap you to the rack. As I turn the screws, I will force you to mimic Brian, delighting in your every vowel, until your voice is hoarse and you are weeping for forgiveness. At which point, I will ignore your pathetic cries and throw you into the dungeons to contemplate your vicious act and spending the rest of your life as the most hated man on the planet. There will be nobody to listen to your jokes or bolster your ego. There will be nobody to love you. Thus, in your resulting madness, you will be forced to draw pictures of Brian on the walls in your own excrement. 

I know this seems harsh, Mr MacFarlane, but what you have done is a crime that deserves the ultimate punishment. The only way to save your soul (and intimate torture) is to save Brian. I don't care how you do it. Just do it. I'm even prepared to believe he wakes up from some surreal cartoonish dream. So do it - or risk my wrath.

Yours affectionately,

Mrs T.

Brian is dead. It's a sad, sad world. Picture courtesy of Wikipedia (Fair use.)

Monday, November 25, 2013

An appeal on behalf of mothers to the makers of Doctor Who

Dear Producers,

Are you out of your minds? Are you seriously going to have that old guy, Peter Capaldi, as the new Doctor Who? I've only just got used to the idea of Matt Smith as the Doctor and that's because he looks like a bloke in his thirties now and not like he's fresh out of nappies.

And particularly ugly nappies, if I might say so.

Look, I know most of the Doctors weren't exactly youngsters but that was before merchandising really took off. Have you any idea what it's like to wake in the night to a screaming child, run into their bedroom and find them pointing at a plastic figurine of Matt Smith bathed in moonlight? No? Well, let me tell you it's not great. But now you've gone and got Capaldi I expect the screaming to intensify. I shall probably have to hire a therapist soon.

I'd like to put forward the case for a handsome thirty/forty something Dr Who. Here's my arguments:

1. Just because Dr Who is quirky and plays with his screwdriver a lot he doesn't have to look quirky too. He could just act. That's what actors do. Well, some of them. I'm not sure about Harrison Ford but, to be fair, he does look good in leggings.

2. I'm fed up of nightmares. Looking at Capaldi bathed in moonlight would like be looking at the living dead as opposed to just looking at something out of Nightmare on Elm Street.

3. Mums like to watch TV programmes with their kids; it's a bonding experience. However, when we do this, ideally, we would like to admire an attractive man in his prime. And, if he can act quirky without looking a complete twat and dressing like Sherlock Holmes, all the better. Think David Tennant and you'll be on the right lines again. What's more, if you get an actor who looks like Hugh Jackman your merchandise royalties will triple overnight.

Now, I don't want to appear ageist, so I just like to say there are some other fine older actors who could have played The Doctor and who I'd have been happy to watch. I'm sure they would all have provided their own individual "take" on the role too. Here's a few suggestions:

I know Pierce is 60 now and old enough to be my grandfather father but he's still lush.
I emailed Pierce and asked him if he'd consider it. He sent me the above picture in return - just look at the sheer delight on his face at the thought of being The Doctor. Just imagine how much revenue the BBC would make out of Pierce figurines. I'd be happy to buy one. They could even make blow-up Pierce dolls. Again, I 'd be happy to buy one (or more) of those.

Yeah , I know Clint is even older then Pierce at 83 but I bet he could still use that sonic screw driver better than anyone else. Even if he had to perform in a wheelchair I'd be happy to be his assistant and push all his buttons for him. Who wouldn't love to see Doctor Clint shoot the crap out of a dalek? I know I would.

Chuck Norris as The Doctor. You can bet your life he'd have more than one sonic screwdriver. He'd have a whole arsenal. Brill.

But who'd be my favourite aged doctor? It's someone who I think would be just perfect. Someone who would bring kick-ass law and order to the universe in his own very individual style.

Steven Seagal. A karate-kicking, gun toting, no bull-shitting, explosive Doctor. Absolutely perfect. No one's gonna mess with this Doctor. Least of all me - which is why I say - Steven, you look great in pink. You blow me away.XXX

All the best,

Mrs T.

Ps -Pictures all courtesy of Wikipedia, creative common license. (With a little hindrance from Mrs T.)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I am the Anti-Writer

When I first started my blog, I used to write the occasional post giving new dictionary definitions for common words. Back then my life revolved around domesticity and children so they were words like washing machine (a square shaped inanimate object used for the cleaning of clothes which holds no interest for men despite having a round door which opens and closes without foreplay). These days, although I don't write much about writing here, I do occasionally mix with writers online and I certainly read a lot about writing and the arts in general. This has lead me to put together a new set of dictionary definitions appropriate to the moment. Here we go:

Artist: someone who talks about himself a lot, is likely to be mentally unstable and draws pictures of himself as the Elephant man. Artists are usually harmless but are usually into self-harm.

Painter: someone who knows the difference between Magnolia, Cream and Apple-White and knows how to install a dado rail.

Motivational Speaker: someone who believes he is Jesus but also has a book to sell.

Publicist: someone who has an Apple Mac and wants everyone else to know about it.

Agent: someone who sits on a fence trying to avoid a nasty wooden spike.

Serial Writer: someone, who as a child, read a lot comics.

Young Adult Writer: someone who wanted to be an artist but failed their art exams.

Psychologist: someone who laughs at other people and aspires to be a motivational speaker.

Women's Fiction Writer: someone who purports never to wear anything but pyjamas.

Crime Writer: someone who used to work in forensics before their eyesight deteriorated.

Thriller Writer: someone who admires Michael Jackson, reads Dan Brown for inspiration and occcasionally sticks his fingers in a plug socket.

Adult Fiction Writer: someone who still plays behind the bike sheds.

Traditional Publisher: someone who is standing on the edge of a tall precipice feeling slightly giddy.

Self-Publisher: someone who owns more than one set of trilogies.

Amazon:  a particularly moist forest from where books originate. Contrary to popular belief, the Amazon is not decreasing but expanding. This is due to excessive moisture requirements of some of its chief occupants.

A Best-Selling Author: someone who has hit the number one spot in the Kindle charts in the Caribbean dystopian fiction genre.

Manic Depressive: someone who hasn't yet hit the top of the Kindle chart in Caribbean dystopian fiction genre.

Bi-Polar Depressive: someone who has hit the top of New York Times best-selling author list but still doesn't need an accountant.

A comedian: someone who is not Russell Brand and knows what a punchline is.

A humorist: someone who knows the truth and isn't afraid to get lambasted for saying it.
"All you need to become a successful author is this bunch of carrots. They are free with my book which is $9.99 on Kindle, $11.99 in paperback or you can buy it from me today with a personalized inscription for just $10.99. It also comes in Braille for just $25.00.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Trouble in the School Changing Rooms

Yes, there has been trouble in the school changing rooms this week. Young Master Jacob has twice had money stolen from a zipped pocket in his trousers, resulting in him not being able to buy his lunch.

Obviously, I am not pleased about this, especially as I have experienced first hand the trouble one can have with school bullies. (  I recounted one "fight" episode in my blog post Kenny & Dolly & The Adventurous Tales of Mrs T .)

So, naturally,  I was discussing strategies with Master Jacob prior to school this morning. As I was doing so, Master Benedict returned from the bathroom where his teeth had undergone the rare experienced of being cleaned.

"Why don't you just box him?" says Master Ben. (I should point out Master Jacob has a suspicion he knows who the culprit is.)

Now the same thought had crossed my mind as it is a tad silly to mess with Master Jacob who is 6ft 2in, plays several sports to a high level and recently has been learning how to box. However, being a reasonable woman, I mumbled something about violence not being a good thing blah, blah, blah, appeasement blah, blah, blah and turning the other cheek blah, blah, blah.

Master Benedict, however, thought differently and launched into imaginary fight with accompanying commentary which included the words "kick", "butt", "testicles" and looked rather like the fight scene in the film, Ted. Eventually, having thrown himself all around the lounge, Master Benedict grabbed his imaginary assailant, dragged him down the hallway by the scruff of his neck and dropped him in front of the imaginary PE teacher.

The net result was of this was that Master Jacob and I laughed so much he missed his school bus. Now, I did think about lecturing Master Ben about the inappropriate use of violence but then I remembered my own adventures....

In conclusion all I can say is: I am grateful Master Jacob is a sensible and placid young man. Master Benedict, however, is more like me - which means I am expecting his days at upper school to be more "colourful" than Master Jacob's.

 I will be taking out insurance.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I am on Twitter!

Yes, I've finally caved in and signed up with Twitter. Now that my manuscript is out the big wide world accruing rejections, I thought I'd better join up with Twitter in case some big hot-shot literary agent pops in and thinks I'm not taking this writing business seriously. So I decided it was time for Twitter- cos let's face it at my age offering sex for publication is not really a viable option. Apart from the fact that lots of literary agents appear to be women and I'm not a lesbian, I don't think white, size eighteen thermal knickers would go down too well on the casting couch. So it has to be Twitter.

So here I am:

Now unfortunately, all the combinations of my blog title Witty Ways, Wayward Wife, Witty Wife etc etc as well as MY name were already taken. Pah!  So in the end I just had to settle for @turleytalks for my twitter handle.  I quite like it though and one thing's for sure I do actually do a lot of talking. I just hope I don't get sued. Fortunately, I've some wealthy relatives but I'm not sure if they'd cough up if I got sued for calling David Cameron a jackass.

Actually, I'd never call David a jackass; it's not his fault he went to Eton.

I could call Piers Morgan a jackass though. That's just true. You can't be sued for the truth surely?

Anyone with knowledge of libel laws please get in contact asap. Thanks.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A quick poem about my driving skills

Nissans are blue
Vauxhalls are green
I’ve hit them both
Which wasn’t forseen

Kias are trouble
But Nissans are worse
They sneak up on you
When you try to reverse

I’ve hit so many cars
The public are wary
And my husband's so cross
He looks rather scary

The police are on the lookout
For a woman on their list
Who looks like a loony
And drives like she’s pissed.

I’m hiding in the bathroom
Until the cops disappear
It wouldn’t be too bad
But the sewerage pipe’s sheared.

Where cars are concerned
I haven't had much luck
I'd probably be okay though
If I had a big truck

Friday, November 1, 2013

An extract from White Lies, from my forthcoming short story collection.

William Baxter crosses the floor, his sharp steps echoing in the marble foyer. The security guard looks up and touches his cap and Baxter gives him a cursory nod of recognition. Baxter always acknowledges security even though most of them indulge the rumour that he murdered his mother. Baxter knows that when you have a reputation as a man who pulls off impossible deals and bankrupts other business malicious gossip is always rife. He’s learnt to live with rumours, sometimes they even make him laugh, but most of the time Baxter just shrugs them off as inconsequential gossip. As for the rumour he murdered his mother – it’s one he quite enjoys.
            Baxter ignores the fanciful stares of two secretaries returning from lunch and hurries towards the exit, securing the buttons on his cashmere coat with one hand and stealing a glimpse at his Rolex on the other. Time is of the essence. He pushes the revolving doors with an impatient thrust, exposing his crisp white shirt cuffs and gold cufflinks. A limousine pulls up outside, light ricocheting off its polished silver fender. Baxter has fifteen minutes to travel the four blocks to Saviour Investments. He’s decided to make them an offer they can’t refuse. It’s a more generous proposition than he’d normally make but, since he made a killing on the stock exchange this morning, he’s feeling almost philanthropic. The driver opens the car door and Baxter quickens his pace once more when a sudden impact throws him off-balance and sends him staggering backwards.
            “For fuck’s sake!” curses Baxter, straightening up and preparing to give his assailant a lashing of abuse. But there’s no suited employee to take the brunt of his anger, only a dishevelled young woman lying on the sidewalk.
            “Mr Baxter,” says his driver. “Let me deal with it…”
            “No, no. It’s fine. I’ll see to it,” says Baxter, waving his driver away.
Baxter inspects the woman, making a quick appraisal of her worn heels, tired skirt and saggy jumper. He’s distracted from the spilled contents of her handbag by her skirt which has ridden up exposing the smooth creamy flesh of her legs splayed wide on the dirty concrete. The desire for academic victory over Saviour seems less urgent as Baxter feels the stirrings of unexpected lust.
            “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you,” says the woman. 
Tearing his eyes away from the naked skin and hints of flimsy underwear, Baxter notices the dark glasses askew on a youthful face with a surge of disappointment. He distrusts people, particularly women, who wear sunglasses especially when it’s dull and overcast. He wonders what the woman may be hiding: puffy eyes from a sleepless night, a bout of tears or something else? He remembers his mother’s cutting asides dispensed from behind her designer glasses, a cigarette poised at her lips. Defence or attack? He’s never quite sure.
            As Baxter surveys the scene, he spots an unmistakable object on the sidewalk and admonishes himself for not being more observant. His fastidious nature means he normally notices even the smallest details including the unintentional vocal nuances and facial grimaces which, in the boardroom, have put him one step ahead of the pack. But today he has been too preoccupied with thoughts of subjugation as, not only did he not see the woman, but he did not see her white cane.
            “Hello…hello?” says the woman, her voice wavering.
Words stick in Baxter’s throat for a moment as the woman briefly tilts her head to one side before turning to scrabble around for the missing cane and the scattered contents of her bag.
            “I was in a hurry and didn’t see you either,” says Baxter, kneeling on the floor. At the same time as Baxter regrets the dirt on his pants, he’s aware of an emotion he has not felt for a long time. So long, he is not even sure it still existed.   
            “I thought you’d left,” says the woman, turning back towards him.
            “No…I was winded,” replies Baxter. He picks up her bag, reaches for her hand and guides it so she can drop her collection of possessions back inside the bag.  “I’m fine now. Are you?”
            “Yes. I was just disorientated for a moment,” says the woman.
Baxter likes the fact she hasn’t demonized him or referenced her blindness. He picks up the remaining articles and deposits them alongside the others, a fleeting glimmer of curiosity passing over his face as he absorbs the information they reveal:
            Mary Anne Whitmore.
            Baxter picks up the cane, places it in Mary Anne’s hand and holds her by the other.
            “Let me help you up. Ready now? One, two, three!”
Baxter pulls Mary Anne to her feet.  He doesn’t release her hand but studies her as she steadies herself; she’s taller than he expected and with decent heels she’d meet his gaze at eye level. Her hair is thick and long but in need of a stylist and, whilst she’s not obviously beautiful, she has features that accentuated by the right makeup would make other women jealous and other men licentious.
            “Thank you,” says Mary Anne, pulling her hand out of his grasp.
            “I should make up for my clumsiness,” says Baxter with deliberation. “Do you like Italian?”
 “No need,” replies Mary Anne. “It was an accident.”
            “I won’t take no for an answer,” says Baxter. “Please accept my offer by way of an apology. If you prefer, we could make it French or Thai.”
            “I have an appointment.”
            “Whatever it is, I’m sure it can wait,” says Baxter.
            “No…it can’t,” says Mary Anne and turns away, her cane leading the way.
            Baxter watches Mary Anne feel her way down the sidewalk. He’s intrigued by her stubbornness and her blindness but his fleeting compassion dissolves as she merges with the crowd. As she disappears completely, he wipes the dust from his clothes and realizes he’s aroused by idea that she can’t see him for who he really is.

Comments welcome. Good, bad, indifferent I want to know, so I get this story bang on!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lattes, Mottos and Coffee Shops

Question: what's a motto?

Alrighty, let's first establish that a "motto" is not a new type of fancy coffee. Because if someone asked me would I like a motto I'd probably reply; "No, I'd prefer a latte, thank you."

You know, coffee shops confuse the hell out of me with all the different types of coffee and flavourings.They're popping up everywhere. We even have a barista bar at one the fancier tennis clubs we go to now which is revolutionary; I'm used to taking my own flask of coffee or paying fifty pence for coffee that's indistinguishable from liquid detergent. Anyway, at that particular barista bar, if I now ask for a coffee they look at me as if I've spoken a foreign language and I have to qualify my request:

"Yes, a coffee. A normal one: coffee, water. In a cup. Hopefully, delivered in less time it takes to watch an episode of Downton Abbey."

Question: Do you need a degree to be a barista?

Those barista bars look incredibly complicated though with all their knobs, pipes and steam shooting out everywhere, don't they? In fact, I'm sure barista bars were designed using the prototype of George Stephenson's steam engine the Locomotion - which took about two and half hours to travel from Liverpool to Manchester in 1830. That's about the average time it takes to get a cup of coffee in Costas. When there's no queue. If there's a queue - basically you're *ucked.

So where was I? Ah yes. Mottos. Well, mottos are not coffees they're statements used to express a principle, goal, or ideal or they're an expression adopted as a guide to one's behaviour. James Bond had a family motto. It was "Orbit non sufficit" or "The world is not enough". Here's a few other mottos:

My motto is: more good times - Jack Nicholson.

No surprises it was Jack who said that. Although, if it had been Michael Douglas I wouldn't have been too shocked either.

Attempt the impossible in order to improve your work - Bette Davis.

I keep attempting to stack my saucepans correctly in an attempt to improve my housework. Unfortunately, I keep failing. Again - no surprises.

My motto is: Live every day to the fullest - in moderation - Lindsay Lohan. 

The fullest being in her pockets - the moderation being when she's not wearing her overcoat.

My motto in life is: 'If you think it, you can do it' and if we all apply that thought we can end hunger the world over - Dionne Warwick.

You know, I keep thinking about having sex with Daniel Craig but as yet I haven't done it. My motto: don't ever listen to celebs. They talk crap.

If you are not bored by life, and your primary motto is enthusiasm and if you like your friends, family around you, it all translates into your designs. That's what keeps the creativity alive - Christian Louboutin.

So that's how Christian designs shoes. Deep meaningful stuff.  God knows what Vivenne Westwood's motto would be. Maybe something like: "I look at shooting stars, the moon and pretty rainbows whilst I sniff Mr Muscle and the next thing I know I've produced a work of creative genius." (Don't quote me on that, readers.)

My motto is to go wild on the accessories - the belts, the hair clips, the jewellery - Heidi Klum

Oh. Dear. God. There's not a lot going on "upstairs" with dear Heidi is there? Still, she looks pretty. I suppose one can't have everything. Maybe she should have a day out with Lindsey. They could go shopping together.

Question: what the hell was this post about?

Answer: I have a new motto:

If I don't like the way you park I'm going to drive into your car

Long term readers of this blog may know that I have had a few "incidents" in the past with my car. If you're wondering why I've come up with a motto now - you probably won't have to think too hard to work out why.

Do not park at the bottom of my driveway. In fact, do not park in my road at all. And, if you could avoid a radius of about twenty miles, that would be really helpful.

Ps - I don't like to end my posts on a negative note so here's some good news: that speed camera didn't get me the other day. Phew.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Modern Life: A Cover Story

I have some writing news. My novel, The Changing Room, has been edited, re-drafted and is finally under submission. I'm very pleased with my story and hope that readers, men as well as women, will find it entertaining as well as uplifting. That said, I know it will be difficult to find an agent or publisher that is prepared to endorse a novel with strong comic elements. To this extent, if I haven't received any interest over the next couple of months I plan to self-publish in the new year. I believe, that given the opportunity, people would read more fiction with humour in it and, even though humour is subjective, I have yet to meet anyone who prefers crying to laughing.

In the meantime, in December I'm publishing a collection of short stories called A Modern Life. Many of the stories have been trialled on my blog and elsewhere on the internet. However, it also contains two previously unpublished stories which reflect the more serious side of my writing - a story about homosexuality and marriage and one about greed and big business. The title of the collection takes its name from the lead story, A Modern Life. This theme runs throughout the collection and reflects my overall writing style. I am very much a contemporary writer who enjoys experimenting with style and genre and writing serious drama as well as silly slapstick. Hopefully, A Modern Life, will give you a taster of what's in store in The Changing Room.

The cover to my short story collection has been designed by Andrew Brown of Design for Writers. Andrew has designed many covers for both published for both traditional and self-published titles and I am delighted with the cover he's produced. Andrew has a very professional approach to his work. As part of the design process, I completed an in-depth questionnaire covering topics ranging from my opinions on covers already on the market to the ideas I had conceived for my cover - and everything else in-between. My objective was to produce a cover with a fresh, contemporary feel that complimented the title and would appeal to both men and women. I also wanted a cover that reflected my eclectic range of stories. I believe Andrew has delivered the perfect cover.

 A Modern Life will be available in December, initially on the Amazon Kindle device and later on other e-readers. It will contain thirteen stories and, most probably, the opening chapter of The Changing Room. Later this week, I will be giving a glimpse inside one of my new stories, White Lies, and next week I will be publishing an excerpt from The Changing Room which I will be reading at the story slam at the Luton literary festival this coming Friday.

Cover by Andrew Brown of Design for Writers

“I would not change a single word.”
 Hilary Johnson literary critique agency on the short story A Modern Life.

No Returns reads more like a prose poem, full of exquisite turns of phrase.This is a desperate woman’s life in miniature, full of sexually poignant poetry and glimpses of everyday strangeness. A worthy winner."
 Ray Robinson, author of Forgetting Zoe and Electricity on the short story No Returns.

"Readwave are enormously pleased to publish Jane Turley's chilling but poignant story The Princess and the Thief, and we're even more delighted to bring this story across the world through our Worldreader programme."
Rob Tucker, Readwave.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Thicke and Thick; The Opinionated Me

Over the last few weeks I have become addicted to the song Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke. I even dance (comically) to it. Consequently, my sons would like to fire me as their mother.

Now just in case you live somewhere remote (or in some imaginary world of fairies and unicorns) and haven't heard Blurred Lines here it is:

Oh boy, that is what I call a groovy rhythm! I can shake my booty to that. Watch out Beyonce; Mrs T is wired and live.

However, I do have something to say about the video which reminds me of the 1986 video of Robert Palmer's Addicted to Love.

It's AWFUL. ( I'm not even going to talk about the lyrics. Robin Thicke says they're about his wife to whom he's been married for twenty years, so let's just accept he can say what he want on that issue.)

Anyway, I really can't stand this fetish for women to make themselves look like whores all the time, and big superstars like Madonna, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera, Brittany Spears et al set no example to young women with their skimpy come-hither outfits. It's just my opinion - but I don't think you have to take off all your clothes and act like a slut to prove you're a feminist.

Here's a question: would it have been possible to have made the video to Blurred Lines with women who didn't look so completely vacuous?

Yes, it would. Anyway, I know many woman will say that some women are forced to act and dress provocatively because it's a man's world. I accept that argument is very relevant for some women but there's a lot of women too, especially in the western world, who can help to change this attitude but instead, continue to perpetuate these stereotypes.


Let's see an alternative version of Blurred Lines. This one's for the ladies.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I like challenges!

I've revisited some old posts and rewritten them for the Readwave reading website as part of their weekly writing challenge competition. If you're new to my blog and haven't explored my old posts, here's an opportunity to read a couple of my posts, re-vamped, re-edited but just as stupid as ever. If you click on the pictures it will take you the stories on Readwave. Don't forget to share if you enjoy them. Thanks!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

An Emergency Post

I have an emergency, readers. Yesterday, I made a truly horrifying discovery that has left me reeling with fear and racked with anxiety. Why?

I  have discovered I have a grey pubic hair.

I'm not sure whether this means my life is over or whether I need to get a Brazilian.

Any words of advice or comfort on this matter will be gratefully received.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Am I Cynic? The Problem of Plumbers

*Warning* Do not read this post if you are a plumber, married to a plumber, related to a plumber in anyway and, possibly, if you once had an affair with a plumber. If, on the other-hand  you have ever been overcharged by a plumber this post will probably appeal to you.


I think I've got more cynical as I've got older. I'm not sure if I actually like that trait in myself as it's nice believing everyone you meet has the best intentions, that firms might act in your genuine interests and tradesmen will do a good job without ripping you off.

Unfortunately, yesterday, I was in a cynical mood. It may have been the after-effects of being sold a dodgy packet of bread mix (see previous post ), or (perhaps more likely) because I'm a sour middled-aged harridan who's morphing into the kind of granny who rams shoppers with her electric wheelchair and bludgeons them with a pound of sausages as she speeds to the front of the queue at Tesco's checkout.

Anyway to get to the point; I was putting my shopping away and a business card fell through my letterbox. It read:

                         Traditional English Plumbing at Traditional English Prices

Naturally, the cynic in me burst forth as, in my experience, traditional English plumbing prices are calculated in a somewhat dubious manner. As an example, I've set out some costings below:

1. THE CALL OUT FEE: This is the calculated on the cost of approximately two days travel to and from the plumbers place of abode to your house - which he assumes is long distance even though you've told him it's in the next street. The plumber's call out fee will include: a full tank of petrol, one or two full English breakfasts, lunchtime sandwiches, three/six cups of coffee and (just in case he doesn't make it home by 4.30pm) a Kentucky Fried Chicken takeaway with extra fries.

2. THE HOURLY FEE: This could be anything. Literally. Pull a figure out of the air, double it, quadruple it and add on the date of your mother's birthday and you will probably be close to the hourly fee.

3. THE COST OF NECESSARY PARTS: The plumber will charge you the cost of the parts as they are in your local high-priced DIY store - despite the fact he will have paid peanuts at the local plumbers merchant.

4. THE COST OF UNNECESSARY PARTS: The plumber will charge you the cost of the parts you need - and the parts you don't need. You thought you had a leaking tap? No such luck. Your plumber will delight in telling you that your bathroom suite no longer meets current health and safety guidelines and you need a new one. He won't actually know those guidelines - but he will be able produce a glossy catalogue that you can look through while you make him a nice cup of tea with two sugars. And if you got some biscuits that will do nicely too.

5. THE COST OF VAT.  The plumber will tell you he can do your job for less if you pay him with cash which means he won't have to charge you VAT. This is a lie - he is still going to charge you VAT because he is not going to risk being caught by the Inland Revenue. So he will just charge you an extra 20% so that he can  knock it off and appear generous. The reality is you are getting stitched up and if you decide to pay by cheque/card the plumber will make an even bigger profit. Nice one, mate.

Here are five guidelines to follow to avoid supplementary plumbing costs:

1. Do not fart in the same air space as your plumber - he will charge you danger money.

2. Do not mention that you, your spouse or any of your relatives are a teacher.

3. Do not let your pets anywhere near your plumber as he will have to charge you for a day's extra work for a visit to the doctors to get a prescription for his asthma medication.

4. Do not mention you are thinking of moving house as he will seal your leaking pipes with Sellotape and charge the new occupiers for a return visit.

5. Do not tell the plumber you're a pensioner - otherwise his eyes will light up and he'll be ringing his investment banker before you've even made his first cup of tea of the day.

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.

So am I cynic? Yes, I am. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Another Baking Disaster

Cooking is not my strong point, as many of you know. However, even I reeled when I opened my bread-making machine and saw this:

The Cauliflower loaf - it will soon be all the rage in health food shops.
 Why ? Because it looks awful and tastes awful. Therefore, it must be good for you.

I am not sure what I did wrong, readers - as I read the instructions on the packet very, very carefully.

If anyone's got any idea how I managed to mess up a packet bread mix then please let me know. (Just stick to the facts though - no need to dwell on competency issues.)

Ps -I should add that the bread-making machine is one of Mr T's "useful" gifts. I am still waiting for the ipad.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My Top Ten Worst Companies for Customer Service in the UK

No 1. Coming in with unrivalled incompetence at No 1, the pole position for continuous spectacular incompetence over a decade of bad customer service, during which I have been reduced to tears and almost suffered a fatal coronary through stress is... British Telecom. This is the company that purports to be a communication provider but has as much idea what the word "communication" means as your average slug. In fact, a slug would probably arrive at its destination quicker then the average BT customer service assistant can understand the phrase "It is not working."

No 2. Sports retailer Sports Direct. The major difference between British Telecom and Sports Direct is that Sports Direct don't actually engage in any communication at all. They don't have a customer service telephone line, they don't answer emails and basically don't do anything at all. Unless you have paid for your purchase through a third party like Paypal there's more chance of the earth being hit by an asteroid than actually getting your money back or - in my case even getting the right product delivered.

No 3. British Telecom. Again. You know, I heard recently that the government are planning to install free BT phone lines in UK immigration holding centres. This is a cunning plan because the effect of experiencing BT incompetence will result in either the mass suicide of the illegal immigrants or they will return home as fast as possible - thereby solving the immigration crisis in one fell swoop.

No 4. This firm has a way of getting under your skin and is renowned for passing customers from one department to another and from service agent to another. During the course of one on-going complaint I once spoke to about twenty-five different people. This firm is.... British Telecom.

No 5. This firm gets its place not for continuous incompetence like British Telecom and Sports Direct but for the gravity of the situation which was totally *ucking up Master Sam's 18th Birthday present. This company is Comet. The customer service agents also lie at Comet which is not acceptable. Even British Telecom customer service agents don't lie - the customer service agents at BT are generally too thick to even understand the concept of lying. In fact, British Telecom service agents genuinely believe all the crap they spout. They believe that if they keep repeating the same answer, you will  also eventually believe your problem will resolve without the need to take any action. British Telecom customer service agents are usually religious - this is because they like to leave customer's problems in the hands of God.

No 6. You might have thought it was an urban myth that when you have a technical problem with your pc/phone/tablet, a customer service agent will tell you to turn it off and then back on again.This myth is not a myth it is actually true. Operating in a similar vein British Telecom's The Hand of God Concept this company believes flicking your switches on and off will also miraculously solve your problem. The company is, unsurprisingly, also British Telecom.

No 7. Microsoft. For having the most elongated procedure to change your password or security information ever. Forgetting your password is considered a crime at Microsoft and you will be made to suffer. Numerous forms, special codes, emails and phone calls later and I am still waiting to update Master Ben's Microsoft account. I now have to wait over a month before they will implement the change of email. It would be easier, and quicker, if Microsoft just sent you a whip and you could self-flagellate yourself as punishment. On the plus side, I should say that Microsoft customer service agents are very patient indeed and have an excellent bedside manner - there was only the tiniest hint of annoyance after my last approx 40 mins conversation with one of their reps - and I should point out that the reason our investigations were taking so long was due to slow broadband - which is the fault of British Telecom.

No 8 The makers of  Fifa 14, E A. To be fair to E A, I haven't actually complained to them yet. I have spent the last ten days trying to update Master Ben's Microsoft account and solve our broadband problem so that Master Ben can actually play Fifa 14. Sadly, now that we can access Master Ben's Xbox account the EA servers seem to be continuously down. Having researched this on the net, it seems this is an ongoing random problem. I am not sure if I can actually face complaining to E A. At this moment in time, I would rather take a gun to my head.

No 9. For being the only company where I have had to explain what an extension lead is to their customer service agent.

"An extension lead?"

"Yes, an extension lead. You know, it's a lead you can connect from your socket to your appliance so you can use your appliance in a different place. In my case, it's connected from the hub, runs up through the ceiling where I can connect it to my laptop, if necessary."


Yes, the no 9 position is British Telecom.

No 10 It probably goes without saying that British Telecom takes no 10 position. In fact, I actually feel a bit mean-spirited including Sports Direct, Microsoft, Comet and EA in the same air space at British Telecom who could actually take all ten chart positions with ease. I have a good friend who works for British Telecom (fortunately not in customer service.) I feel deeply sorry for her as she's probably going to burn in the fires of hell just for being associated with BT.  What bad luck.

Anyway, just in case you missed my artistic tribute to BT I created on one of my previous British Telecom rants, here it is again. I like it. It's kinda therapeutic.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Feedback on My Handbag Experiment

Okay, so it's time for feedback on my handbag experiment. If you remember from my post last week, Designer handbags are for women who are afraid they they can't keep their man the experiment I'd planned was to take my best handbag to my book club and see how my lady friends reacted. Would my handbag impress them so much that they'd be able keep their smutty hands off the gorgeous Mr T? Here's the kind of reactions I was hoping to analyse:

Would any of them pull out their little black books and delete Mr T's phone number?

Would any of them turn bitchy and make snide remarks about my bigger than average bottom?

Would they take it in turns to knock against my chair and manoeuvre me out into conservatory to sit alone whilst they discussed Mr T's sexual prowess and I was salivated upon by an overly friendly dog?

Would they even be impressed by best handbag or would they take it in turns to viciously mock my fake snakeskin Burberry purchased from Primark for the princely sum of £5.99?

Okay, so you can see there was the potential for a lot analysis from my night out at the book club. Like the authors of the report who had inspired my previous post I planned to get at least a PHD thesis out of it and maybe even a Nobel Prize. If I really got my act together I was hoping for a ten year research grant from Yale.

Sadly, my analysis didn't go quite as planned. Here's why:

I arrived home from tennis with the boys at approx 7.15pm. Book club started at 8pm at Mrs P's in a nearby village. There was time enough to get ready and change into something less creased and frumpy. However, Mr T wanted a lift to another nearby village to go the pub with a friend so he got straight in the car and I drove him there. This took approx twenty minutes. I returned home at about 7.35 believing I still had fifteen minutes or so to put on some clean clothes, some lippy and transfer some stuff into my best handbag.

Unfortunately, it was not to be - as Master Jacob and Master Ben had put the catch on the inside of the door so I couldn't get into the house. I was locked out.

I knocked on the door. I banged on the door. I practically kicked the door in.

I rang the house phone using my mobile 13 times.

I sent Master Jacob 3 emails.

At 8pm I left my doorstep and went to Mrs P's wearing my dirty trousers, scrubby shirt and holding my daily Kipling handbag which is at least six years old and seen better days. The arms have also fallen off the novelty signature monkey keyring which is attached: it is an armless monkey. Sadly, I arrived at Mrs P's in a somewhat distressed state and worst of all - since I had to pick up Mr T later I didn't even get to have a relaxing alcoholic beverage.

There is a moral to this tale. I'm not sure what it is but it probably involves not letting your kids have a television in their room and it certainly involves not buying them headsets.

I will be conducting the handbag experiment at a later date. If I remember.

I am planning on mounting one of these on top of my car to increase my chances of actually getting into my own home. It will be also be useful for those occasions when I get cut up by male drivers and I need to give them a piece of my mind.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Me and My Laundry Pile - A Short and Sorry Tale of Ironing Incompetence.

Oh. Dear. God. I am in serious trouble, Readers.

My ironing pile has spiralled out of control. (I'm not even mentioning the dirty washing pile.) I have no idea where to start. I look in the utility room and I just want to die. Or at least get therapy.

I'm not sure if I can afford the therapy but I'm pretty sure that Mr T will wring my neck when he opens his wardrobe tomorrow morning and finds there isn't shirt.

I hate ironing. How do some people run ironing businesses? I would rather swim naked in a large pool of sewerage than iron for a living.

I was not destined to be a housewife. I was destined to be something else. Maybe a taxidermist. At least then I'd have somewhere to stuff my laundry out of sight.


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Designer handbags are for women who are afraid they can't keep their man. Apparently.

This morning I read an article in The Daily Mail (yes, I've caved in and started reading some of that tripe again as it makes me feel intellectually superior ) which reported on an article in The Journal of Consumer Research. Apparently, the report claims that a woman's choice of handbag is a method she uses to tell other women to back off from her man and how much a woman spends on accessories is a sign of how much she feels threatened by the competition.

So my handbag choice, which is usually on the large side, has nothing to do with the fact that I like to carry a lot of stuff? You know - like spare knickers, epipens, shop receipts from 1982, several varieties of painkillers and indigestion tablets (essential for any woman approaching/in the menopause), eye drops, reading glasses, sunglasses, more reading glasses (I like to be sure I can see that tiny writing on food packaging that says 100grammes/1500 calories) and a various assortment of other essential equipment that are necessary for my and my children's existence. At one time this essential equipment used to include a nappy and a dummy but now it's usually a tennis ball and my bank card. Of course, the bank card is really the most important reason I carry a handbag - although I could just carry my purse or perhaps even wear it around my neck on a cord.

Okay, I'm lying. The spare knickers are the main reason I carry a handbag. But I refuse to wear them around my neck. It would just look silly.

Anyhow, if someone could please pass me some cardboard, glue and scissors. Also, some Semtex and brown paper would be appreciated as I'm going to make my own "handbag" and mail it to the report's authors as a reward for writing the biggest load of vacuous tripe I've read for a long, long time. And last week I read the Labour Party Manifesto so we're talking a seriously long time here.

Now, to look at this report in a more serious manner - if it had claimed that women buy bigger handbags so they can club their love rivals to death I might have had given it some some credence. But according to the psychology professor in charge of the research women buy designer handbags as a status sign and that other women infer such accessories means the owners are well provided for and have a "devoted partner."

*chokes on cornflakes*

Yeah, right. So you couldn't just treat yourself to a handbag with money you earnt yourself? Has this professor even heard of the feminist movement? You know, I'm not absolutely sure this professor's qualifications are genuine. Maybe he's trying to hide the fact he's really got a degree in Media studies by making up some crappy stuff about handbags? Because, let's face it, that's got be a helluva lot easier than stem cell research.

I'm going to my Book Club on Friday. I'm going to study my friend's handbags and see who is trying to warn me away from their husbands. However, I'm being honest with you now, Readers - I think most of them would willingly give me their husbands if I wanted them. Free of charge. Probably with a holiday thrown in.

I think I'll get out my best handbag for the Book Club (I'm not actually sure which one that is) and see if any of my lady friends notices. I shall be on my guard just in case I see any of them pull out a little black book and scrub out Mr T's telephone number. 

I shall report back on this vital matter next week. In the meantime, if you're a woman please ignore the stares of any woman looking at your handbag - the truth is they probably just noticed your left the clasp undone and your spare knickers are on show.

As a result of this blog I decided to sort through my old handbags to select one to take to The Book Club. These are my spare knickers found in a handbag from 1991. The spare knickers in my current hand bag are... somewhat larger. And less frilly. Possibly even a little more absorbent.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Yes, I am still alive! (Tales from the Summer Holidays)

Maybe you' re wondering if I'm still alive? Maybe you're not. If not, why not? Come on, folks, I hope at least one person has missed little 'ol Mrs T! Now just to prove I'm alive (even if only to myself) I am going to wriggle my toes.

Okay they're all wriggling. Apart from the one I broke. Yes, I've broken another toe. Thanks to a combination of Master Benedict's strategically placed trainers and a heavy glass pot. It was a painful experience indeed which, as you might expect, resulted in some profuse swearing but also the creation of some new art on the hall wall where the soles of Master Ben's shoes impacted. You see -I have a talent for creativity - even under the most arduous of circumstances.

You know, folks, not one of the males in the household came to my assistance when I screamed out as my toe was brutally pulverised. How shocking is that? The guilty party, Master Benedict, did later remark that he had heard me cry out in pain but hadn't felt the need to check if I was still alive. Comforting. Let's just hope I don't have a heart attack one day. Mr T who had gone to bed early (alcohol induced) slept through it and when I queried Master Jacob he gave me a look of blank incomprehension which is the expression most teenagers give after wearing their Xbox headset for three days. By the way, I also sent Young Sam, who is away at university, a telepathic message of distress but strangely enough I didn't hear from him either - in fact I'm still waiting for him to reply to my text message from New Year 2011.

Still, it's not all bad news regarding Young Sam; I have actually seen him this year. I didn't recognise him - but that's another story. He's just started an MA in philosophy and is sharing a flat with another philosophy MA student and a young German lad studying for a PHD in the philosophy of maths. Whatever the hell that is. I expect it could lead to some really dull and mind-numbing exciting and mentally challenging conversations. You know, a German studying philosophy kinda gets me worried. No reason. Just call me... cautious. Anyway, last Saturday I went to see Young Sam to drop off his Mastermind Chair and as I entered the lounge I found the other MA student polishing the coffee table. A mixture of emotions (surprise followed by a glowing pride that the lad would do such a thing to impress me) overcame me so that I blurted out;

Oh, no need to do that on my account!

At which point the lad looked up and said:

I'm cleaning the table because Colin is coming home later.

Colin is the German PHD student. So in another words, my son and his flatmate have more respect (or possibly fear) of their German flat mate than they do of me.

I am obviously failing in my duties. This is not something I have encountered before. I shall have to raise the stakes.

Anyway, I turned around and stamped down the stairs with Young Sam beside me shouting Schnell, schnell to his flatmate. I then drove off with the cash still in my wallet I had planned to give Master Sam.

Okay, I didn't drive off with the cash. I went to the cash point to get it across the road and it was one of those ones that charge you for the transaction.

That's all the excuse I needed, folks. The cash stayed in the cash point.

Anyway, I'm back. I'm alive and I am looking forward to meeting Herr Colin in the near future. I may have some more stories to tell.

This is very similar to Young Sam's Mastermind chair. I imagine it is where he will sit when he and his philosophy flatmates are discussing world affairs. I just hope Master Sam doesn't go into the civil service.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Hacked Off

Have you ever had a day (or days) when you feel hacked off? Well I am having several. (About two weeks worth actually.) I seem to have a never-ending list of things to do and people and things that annoy me. From broken-down cars, annoying messages and telephone calls, even more annoying schools, frustrating tennis centres, dozy people who reverse into pedestrians, too much washing and ironing, unusual moles, weight gain, injured children, lost tennis matches, sore chicken bottoms....

Shall I go on? It's a pitiful tale. We could all be suicidal by the end of it.

Okay, I won't elaborate further.

Well not much.

Cripes, it's just well I don't live in Africa isn't it? I'd be really fed up then. must try to think positively. There is always someone worse off than yourself.

Think Kim Kardashain's arse, Mrs Turley. It's just huge, isn't it? Yeah, I know people say it's sexy big but they're not fooling me. I have a big arse. I know the truth.

Blimey, I sound like a depressed writer. I am going to self diagnose myself with bi-polar.

Do not email me, text me, phone me or contact me in anyway unless you have good news as this is my current disposition which is made worse by the fact that having bought AVG Tune Up yesterday to speed up my PC  Master Jacob has purchased a game which has been downloading for about 18 hours. My computer is now working so slow I am contemplating taking a hammer to either his PC or mine. Or both. By the way, I started this post at 8 am this morning.

Luckily, writing is very therapeutic for me. I can let out a whole stream of obscenities  thought and I instantaneously feel better. So anyway, accordingly, this morning I thought I'd write some silly stuff and get myself back on track and just as I started writing the phone rings from Master Ben's school to wind me up some more. Gez. Gimme a break! I'd literally only just got over the text message from Master Jacob's school to tell me he was late to school  - which I already knew as I dropped him there. Unbelievably, he did not fly, parachute or teleport himself to school - I dropped him there because we already have a prior arrangement for him being late because of his tennis and we were a couple of minutes later than usual. Really, is it necessary to text me about lateness two days before the end of term when everyone knows that for the last three weeks of term all they do is watch DVDs? Anyway, telling me he is a few minutes late is not going to make any difference to whether or not he will be late again because if I want to go to the loo before I go out I darn well will go to the loo. Personally, I find it difficult to drive my car with my legs crossed and soggy knickers. Maybe teachers don't. Hmm. There's a question to ponder. Anyway, I thought about texting back to say I have a bowel disorder but to be honest I thought it would be lost on them. I just texted back and said "We were watching a DVD."

So now, where was I going with this? Oh yes, depressed writers. That's not me. I'm just an annoyed writer. (Verging on mania.) All will be good when I hear some nice happy news like the Duchess of Cambridge has given birth to triplets.

However, if I hear/read any more new about how many millions J K Rowling is going to make out of  her book published under her leaked pseudonym I am going to listen to a Leonard Cohen album and gorge myself to death.

My Nominees for the US and UK Elections and Other Waffle

It's the early hours of the morning, and I have had a large gin... Late-night alcohol is always a good recipe for writing gibberish. And...