Thursday, June 26, 2014

Teenage Troubles

If you have a teenage son, you'll probably appreciate this. I know I do. Ho hum.


Monday, June 23, 2014

To be British, is to be Patient - Ten Examples of British Stoicism

I may have talked about this before - a peculiar characteristic of being British is being very patient and stoic even in the most difficult of times. But I am going to revisit this subject again as needs must. You'll find out why later. I would say I am a very patient person - although I am getting less so as I get older as my tolerance to ignorance grows shorter. (Please refer to the 500+ posts on this blog for details.)

So anyway enough about me. Lets look at some examples of this peculiar British habit:

1.

It goes without saying that at the top of the examples list is the British habit of waiting patiently in a queue. Sometimes people wait in queues for whole days outside Harrods at sale-time or sleep on the pavements outside Buckingham Palace for a glimpse of HRH. There is no greater crime in the UK than queue-jumping. Try it and you will be met with scathing looks or, at the very least, whispers about being mentally unstable, drunk or "not from around here." If you are in the doctors, dentists or hospital waiting room the conversation will always be about what position you are in the queue:

"He's first, I'm second, so you must be after the woman in the polka dot dress who's third."

"But my appointment is 10.30 and your card says 10.40."

"You were late. You've missed your place in the queue."

2. 

You're covered in blue welts, have ear ache, gangrene in one foot and ulcers on your tongue:

"Why don't you go to the doctors?"

"There's nothing wrong with me. If I'm not better in a few days I'll book an appointment."

3.

You've been waiting in the queue at the newsagents with a copy of  The Daily Mail and a pint of milk for thirty minutes. You didn't really want The Daily Mail but the pictures of the front caught your eye and the pint of milk is going sour but you did really want a lottery ticket and a packet of Benson and Hedges ciggies. You get to the front of the queue and:

"I'll have two lucky dips and a packet of Benson and Hedges."

"I'm afraid the lottery machine's just broken down."

"Oh. Just the Benson and Hedges then."

"I'm afraid I've just sold the last three packets to the man with the walking stick."

"I'll have a packet of Gillette razors."

4.

You're sitting outside your child's reception classroom. Your appointment was at 6.45 pm and it's now 7.55 pm. You've missed your favourite soap opera and peed on your trousers because you could only find the kids loos and your bladder was bursting. The teacher bounces to the door wearing her Jesus sandals, flowered smock and a daisy chain around her neck.

"Who's next?"

You leap up overjoyed: "I am!"

The woman next to you bursts into tears: "I can't wait any longer. My mother's in hospital and my husband goes on night shift in thirty minutes."

You sit back down with a thump. "You can go first."

The teachers wraps her arms around the other parent and give you an encouraging wink. You open up your bag and take a Sudoku puzzle and fill in random numbers whilst you imagine torching the school.

5.

Your ring British Telecommunications (BT) for the twentieth time to tell them your mother died three years ago, you no longer own that property and to stop harassing you for an outstanding payment you don't even owe.

"Oh, I see. I quite understand the problem. I'll just transfer you to someone who deals with this..."

" No! Wait......"

*Music plays*

6.

You go to the hairdresser and ask for a "few light waves" to add a bit of bounce to your thinning hair. Ninety minutes later you look into the mirror and see you transformed from a middle-aged, white middle class woman into a young Michael Jackson. You politely thank the hairdresser and walk to the nearest alternative hairdresser and ask them to cut it all off. Three months later, after you've spent thirty minutes smoothing down the last of the curls with extra strong gel, you open your Sudoku puzzle book and randomly fill out the numbers whilst fantasying about torching the hairdressers.

Your confidence can really be affected when you get the wrong haircut. If you're like me and get an  unexpected afro it ain't so bad as you can say you're a big fan of MJ and you're going to a rock-star fancy dress party. Unfortunately, the  gentleman above couldn't use the same excuse as his haircut made him look like Justin Beiber.
7.

You been waiting for fifteen minutes in the queue at the petrol station. When you finally pull up at the pump, just as you get out of your car the attendant appears and puts the "empty" sign on the diesel. You get back into your car, drive out of the station and onto the next petrol station. When you get there is it closed due to "Unforeseen circumstances." You drive home without the air conditioning on, trying to not to brake or speed and wondering whether you have a new book of Sudoku puzzles.

8.

You are just about to step on the 9.30 am train to London for a day's shopping, revisiting old haunts and tea with your best friend from college who you haven't seen for twenty years when your phone rings:

"Hello."

"Mrs Turley?"

"Yes?"

"I'm afraid Ben fell over and has a slight scratch on one of his fingernails and the hairs on his eyebrows look slightly out of place."

"Is he concussed?

"I don't think so."

"Is he bleeding?"

"No"

"Well he sounds okay. And as I'm just about to step on the train to London and I've already bought my ticket can you send him back to class, please."

"I really think you should come. It could turn into something serious."

*Long pause*

"Are you there, Mrs Turley?"

"Yes."

"Well we see you in thirty minutes then. I'll give Ben a cold compress."

9.

You ring BT and get cut off. You ring BT and get cut off. You ring BT and get cut off. You ring BT and get through to customer services and just as you tell them your problem you get cut off. You ring BT, you get through, tell them your problem and then you get put on hold. After ten minutes on hold a man comes on line and you tell him your problem again. He says "You've come through to the wrong department, I'll transfer you."

 *Music plays*

10.

You order the proof copy of your (stunning) d├ębut novel from the US. You are thrilled at the prospect of it arriving on the 9th June. On the 16th of June you are still throwing open the door with girlish optimism but sadly, it still doesn't arrive. You put the delays down to customs having a good read of the naughty bits and remember what your parents said about patience being a virtue. On the 23rd June you finally ring the US and discover your book has not even been sent. They claim it has been "lost en route" but you know better because you've looked up the tracking information. You gratefully accept the $15.00 dollar refund for the express dispatch fee and decide to invest in a new Sudoku book.

Subject to no further delays and my proof copy arriving with no further hitches I shall be launching The Changing Room on Tuesday July 1st. And yes The Changing Room is already online as an eBook but on the 2/3 of July I will be offering it at a reduced price to encourage all you good people to buy and help push it up the Amazon charts. In the meantime, if you live in the UK and want to splash out the few extra pence, you can get ahead in a little competition I shall be giving details of later in the week by purchasing and reviewing The Changing Room on Amazon.co.uk.

And now for a break. It's been another disappointing day. Time to be patient and stoic (with the aid of some very nice chocolate and a glass of vino.)



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

A Eye-Opening Question


How is it possible to own so many pairs of reading glasses and not be able to find a single pair?

I am almost embarrassed to mention the exact number of pairs. They're not all prescription glasses (just in case you think I'm loaded) I have two pairs from the 99p shop, several pairs from the "slightly better packaging almost 99p shop" and then there's some others from the cheap chemist...

And I can't find a single pair.

Grr.

In  desperation, I have taken to wearing glasses on my head and on a string around my neck like some mad old biddy. 

But most of the time that doesn't work either.

I doomed, doomed to an old age squinting at pictures and print whilst unintentionally signing myself up for constipation supplements. 

Doomed, I tell you.

I'm also tired of checking for the whereabouts of my glasses by tapping myself on the head which causes people to think I'm some sort of fruitcake. They should be grateful I don't stick my tongue out and sing "It's A Long Way to Tipperary" as well.

But there's good news, folks, whilst I am having to write this blog post in large print to see what the hell I am doing - I do not yet need glasses for driving.

Well that's what my lawyer said.

You know, I've had a good idea for a new kids' picture book series. It would be like Where's Wally but would be called Where's Mum's Glasses. 

I could make a whole series out of that for sure. Might even follow it up with a second series called Where's Mum's Car Keys.


When I said I couldn't find my glasses my neighbour kindly offered her dog to read to me. It's torture - I don't understand a word he's saying. Still, we've become great friends - I took him for a walk and he watered my plants. You can't say fairer than that.





Monday, June 16, 2014

Senility Strikes

Yesterday, I got into my car and drove to Tesco Express (an open-all-hours supermarket in the UK) with the intention of buying some food to make a spaghetti bolognese for tea. Food stocks are currently low in the Turley household and, as I hadn't fancied doing a big shop earlier in the day, drastic action was called for at 7pm.

Unfortunately, whilst I was driving I forgot that's what I was planning to do and drove past Tescos Express and back home again.

Tea was a minimal affair. Formal complaints were lodged and duly noted. I shall be producing a roast chicken and spuds today.

Well at least I remembered to get into my car. This woman has more problems than I do.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Importance of Tea... and Kettles

Now because my life is so exciting I need to report that I have a new kettle arriving today via Amazon prime delivery.

This is because my other kettle has gone all hormonal on me.

Sometimes it boils, sometimes it doesn't.

Sometimes I have to hold down the all systems "go" button. Sometimes I don't.

Yeah, I know all this "on and off" stuff sounds like foreplay. But let me assure you, dear readers, my kettle never, ever, turns on by itself.

Which is a pity because, as any woman knows, turning on by yourself can be a real bonus. Men seem to have a far greater capacity for turning on by themselves though which is not very fair.

Still, it's not always a good thing to turn on remotely when you're in the gym. Or the office. Or down the pub. Or in the cinema.

Question: is there anywhere a man cannot turn on by himself?

Hmm. Let me think about that.

I'd like to say "public lavatories". But I'm afraid George Michael put at end to my idea of what's they're used for.

Maybe the Cabinet Office?

Nah. I feel sure there's a lot of turning on in the Cabinet Office.

Anyway, back to my kettle. Sometimes I weigh down the all systems "go" button with a variation of objects so I don't have to stand there like a lemon with my finger on it. Cos you know what? Waiting for the kettle to boil with my finger on the button for a whole minute is so damn tedious. I could be filing my nails or reading the Daily Mail. So, if I am not in the mood to wait and I really, really need to finish reading that article on Kim Kardashian's arse, I weigh down the switch. The fact that an elaborate system of levers and pulleys involving rolling pins, knives, spatulas and any handy kitchen utensil which I've cunningly constructed and wedged up against the wall takes me longer to devise than the minute is takes for me to stand there with my finger on the kettle and wait for it to boil is neither here nor there -  I have got one over on my kettle and that is all that matters.

Because I am just shallow like that.  Getting a kick out of getting one over on my kettle means a lot to me.

Yeah, yeah I know you lot out there are saying I shouldn't be moaning about my First World problem but a gal's gotta have a cup of tea, right?

I mean how would I function without my tea? How would I cope with the daily grind?

Anyway, I've ordered an extra-special kettle which filters the water first so you don't get that scum on your tea. Yeah, I know I could just pour water from the filter jug into the kettle but that would take way tooooooo long and I've got important things to do. Like clean the bathroom.

I wonder what time my new kettle is going to arrive? I'm so excited. It's got a blue light on it like a police car! That is cool. Seriously cool.

Right, time to get back to work and work up a thirst before it arrives.

I have no interest in gadgets whatsoever. Only in ones that make my life easier. And make tea.