Friday, 12 May 2017


The OH and I like watching 'First Dates'.

He likes the young couples. I like the old couples.

This week, the old couple are octogenarians Eric and Jenny, who have lost spouses to cancer. Eric is an ardent devotee of Argentinian tango.  Jenny likes rock festivals and 'Snow Patrol'.

"Not sure I can watch old people eating cheese fondue", says the OH, as Eric and Jenny tuck into starters.

"Why not?" I say.

"Reminds me of pus", he says.

To be fair, it is Jenny who says the fondue looks like "bandages", so maybe it is she who puts the thought in his head.  But I am still indignant.

"D'you think people would be revolted by the sight of us sharing a cheese fondue?" I say.

"We're not that old yet", he says.

I am not convinced.

"No, but say I dropped an after-dinner mint down my top and had to ferret around between my shrunken dugs to retrieve it, would people reach for the sick bucket?"

He sighs.

"Or, say they had to watch me lifting an oyster to my shrivelled oral cavity, then suck the oyster out like it was eighty-year-old cum, would they end up blowing chunks on their dinner?"

"Or, if I was moving my thinning lips along the length of a moist corn of the cob shaft, gripping it with veiny claws, dropping butter on my chin hair, would people be trampling each other to fucking death in a stampede for the door? Would they?!!!"

"I"m missing the programme", he says.

A twenty two year old lingerie model walks through the restaurant door. The young men stare.  One man does a 360 degree head spin that is ickier than the head spin in 'The Exorcist'. His eyeballs bulge the fuck out of their sockets, like he's the result of millennia of inbred pug breeding.

"Thing I like about the old people is they have lovely stories", I say. "They know who they are. The young couples flounder around a bit until they discover they both like chihuahuas and/or 'The Lion King'. Also, who in the name of christ 'blow dries' their vagina?!"

"What the fuck are you talking about?" he says.

"Laura from Kent", I say. "Remember her? Blow dries her 'noo noo' before a date. The one who said she used to be "a lesbican".

"A lesbican?"

"A lesbican."

Meanwhile, Eric and Jenny are being asked whether they'd like to see each other again. Eric says yes. Jenny says yes. Eric is going to teach Jenny the tango. Jenny plans to cook Eric a fondue-free feast.

"All they talk about is their dead wives, husbands", says the OH. "It's great they haven't given up, that they've come out the other side, but it's still depressing".

"I think First Dates should do a bereavement special" I say, as the end credits roll.  "It would be ray of sunshine in a youth-obsessed schedule."

"Fucksake", says the OH.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017


People are starting to talk about my car.

"Your car is way old", says my daughter's classmate. "Is it from Tudor times?"

They're doing the Tudors in school. 

"It's only seventeen years old", I say.  

I admit that my car is not exactly a luxury brand. Frankly, it is a steaming turd of a car. If you stand close enough, you can hear rusting. On the other hand, it is still my car. So I am more than a little offended by the attitude of the mechanic who gives it an MOT last week.

"Sorry it took so long", he says, when I pick it up from the garage. "When you brought THAT in, me and Andrew, we were, like, you're having a fucking laugh aint' ya?!" 

The mechanic leans back in his chair and laughs malevolently, which makes his neck fat jiggle. I laugh too.  (Usually, the more offensive and/or the more sexist a comment is, the more I laugh.) This is because I am a pathetic people pleaser. 

"But it passed yeah?" I say.

He wipes a greasy discharge triggered by the exertion of laughter from his chin, then lowers and raises his head, briefly, in assent. 

"Thing with bangers is the engines sometimes last longer than the bodywork”, he says. “Andrew said it wasn’t quite as crap as it looks.”  

"Great. Brilliant" I say. "How much do I owe?" 

His fat stubby fingers hover over the MOT certificate. It is clear he doesn't want to give me the paperwork until he is satisfied that I have absorbed into my very being the horrible horror of my vehicle. He sets his pen on the table. 

"Thing is love, after you came in, this guy in a Land Rover drives up. Said he was a waiter", he says. 

I don't know what he's talking about. 

“Waiter?” I ask. 

The mechanic looks exasperated. It is as he suspected. Anybody who drives about town in a travesty of an automobile is bound to have the IQ of a bag of cocks.

“As in:  He. Was. Going. To. Wait. In. The. Office”, he says, slowly, for my benefit. “So we did the Land Rover first. That's why it took so long. Though it wasn't just cos the driver was waiting. Fucking beaut it was. Dog’s bollox. We had to toss a coin over who was gonna do yours!”

He laughs triumphantly. Ho ho ho ho. Ha ha ha ha. He is the Jabba the Hutt of mechanics. Sweat pours out from between the creases of his lardaceous neck fat like oil from the old Castrol GTX advert. 

"Ta", I say, in what is the climax of my Doormat of the Year routine. "Thanks anyway".

Later, driving my hunk of junk home, I start wondering if, maybe, I should get a new car.  OK, it would be totes bad for the environment, but at least it wouldn't smell like steamed monkey shit, and the window rubbers would be free of algae.

On the other hand, if I did get me a fancy car, there is a chance Jabba and his sidekick Andrew would take it in turns to jerk off into the glove box during the MOT, which is obviously unacceptable, so I'll stick with the Corsa after all. 

Thursday, 26 January 2017


The dog has bad breath. And by bad I mean gruesome. 

For example, if you were to rate smells on a scale of one to ten, where one represented good, bacterial vaginosis would be one, and Daisy’s breath would be ten.

“Any chance you can take Daisy to the vet?” I say to my husband. "Her breath is rank.“

The dog has heard us talking about her.  She is wagging her tail. This is because she has no self-esteem. Zero. You could literally say anything: 

Let’s put Daisy on a one-way flight to Korea. 
Daisy smells like she's been sampling Mike Pence's pump-action yoghurt rifle. 
Daisy is a bigger twat than Michael Flatley.

And she would STILL wag her tail. 

My husband takes her to the vet.

“Could you take a look at her teeth?” he says to the veterinary nurse. “My wife thinks her breath smells.”  

“I can’t see anything”, says the nurse, taking a look. “Is your wife, maybe, being a bit neurotic?”

I am a little peeved by this response. Last time I looked at the nurse’s name badge, it said Becky, not fucking Sigmund. My husband, on the contrary, thinks this is the most perceptive thing anybody has EVER said. I’m surprised he doesn’t shag her there and then. Maybe he does.

“Probably!” he says. “Thank you.”

He brings back a bottle of ‘Plaque Off’. As recommended by Becky. The title is worryingly lightweight. I turn the bottle around, hoping to read something along these lines: 

Does your dog smell like she's downed a sewage smoothie? 
Do your worry that your dog's oesophagus leads directly to the realm of the dead? 
Do you regularly consider running away from your home, family and children, just to be free of the gut-churning abomination of your pet's breath? 
If you answered yes to any of these question, sprinkle a fuckload of this on their food.

Instead, the Plaque Off label cautiously recommends one scoop a day for eight weeks.

“I can't take another eight weeks of this nightmare!” I say.  

Daisy wags her tail at my side. She seems euphoric.

Later, I see her trotting into the downstairs toilet. I hear slurping.

“What the fuck are you doing?” I shout.

I run in after her.

Daisy has her head in the toilet bowl. She is imbibing piss. Piss with skin on it. Piss brulee. She gives me a look as if to say, “This is delicious. Wanna try some?”

“Bed” I say. “Go to your bed!”

But it’s happy hour at the sewers. It’s drink-all-you-can at the Number One bar. Time has not been called on THIS pee-pee party. 

“Bed” I say, louder now. “Get to your bed!” 

Finally, she lifts her head up, a shudder of pleasure passing through her body into her tail.

I lift the lid of the toilet cistern, fiddle with the flush mechanism. For days now, the flush hasn’t worked properly. The kids aren’t supposed to use the toilet, but they do. I replenish the dog's water bowl. 

I text my husband: Caught Daisy drinking piss. Need to fix the toilet. Explains the breath problem xx 

He texts back immediately: Stop obsessing. You're being neurotic. 

Wednesday, 5 October 2016


I still haven't set up the voice mail system on my new smartphone.

This troubles my husband, who fears I could Miss Out.

"Somebody could be trying to get in touch with you", he says. "It could be important".

The truth is that I hate anything to do with phones and/or leaving messages, but checking voice mail is the absolute pits. Checking voice mail is like opening up Pandora's Box, except that instead of sickness, death, turmoil, strife, jealousy, hatred, and famine, you just get guilt, guilt, and then, oh hello again, guilt.

The voice mail on the landline is bad enough.  All week, the message icon has been flashing at me like The Eye of Sauron.

"What have I done now? What? WHAT???" I scream. "WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!"

Actually I don't scream, I just talk. To scream at the answering machine would be deranged.

Meanwhile, my mind runs through messages it might be harbouring. For example:

  • Is my mother worried sick about me because she hasn't heard from me in, like, 8 hours?
  • Did an elderly relative die, broken hearted, because I forgot to send her a thank you card for the birthday money she sent the kids?
  • Did I forget to RSVP someone?  Did I forget to pay someone? 
  • Are the PPI people still mad at me over my lacklustre response to the outstanding PPI claim I may or may not have? 
  • Or, does somebody urgently need to contact Mr and Mrs Twining, who used to live here back in the day and who, incidentally, managed to get themselves onto every fucking tele-marketing database in the known universe, useless tits. 
In the end, I check the messages, holding the phone away from me to reduce the impact.

The first two messages are from my mother.

"Hello? Hello? It's your mother (followed by her first name, in case I've forgotten)." And then, "Hello? HELLO? Is anybody there? ANYBODY?"

Immediately, I am overwhelmed by a sinking guilt feeling of the kind you'd only normally feel if you fucked up on a global scale;  i.e, if you broke the bit in the Hadron Collider that stops the Earth from being sucked into another dimension, or, if you triggered Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty whilst trying to renew your passport online. I delete both messages instantly.

The third message sounds like it comes from the innermost circle of Hell, an atrocious mash-up of caterwauling and static. I start thinking it might be a curse, like the video in 'The Ring'. I worry in case deleting the message activates the curse. I save it. I delete it. I'm a mess.

I take a break to compose myself before tackling the last message, piling through the kids' stash of fun-size chocolate bars in what could easily come across as a frenzy of self-loathing. Eventually I hit play.

"This is a courtesy call from the dental clinic. From our records, we note with concern that your children are overdue  ....

This is the worst message of all. The receptionist at the dental clinic is the scariest mofo in all christendom, a master of the dark arts, the dentist's most loyal servant. Once, while we were at the clinic, she offered the six-year-old a bejewelled Frozen sticker, dangling it before her as though it were a fifty pound bank note impregnated with LSD.

"But first, perhaps you'd like to tell me how many times a day you brush your teeth?" she said, her voice combining sadism with pseudo motherliness.

"Twice a day for two minutes", said the six-year-old.

Unfortunately for the six-year-old, the eight-year-old was standing behind her, giving a big zero fucks.

"We SO never do it in the morning", he said. "And if we get in REALLY late, mammy says it's ok to go straight to bed."

The receptionist made a sinister sucking sound, before pulling the sticker away.

"How about you all have one when you're brushing your teeth properly. Isn't it mummy?" she said.

At the time, I wanted to tell that although my children might not be the most fastidious of flossers, at least they didn't go around with so much fake tan on they looked like evil oompa loompas, unlike her. And at least they didn't draw their own eyebrows on. But that would have been childish, and impolite. So I didn't.

I eat the last of the kids' fun-size chocolate bars and delete the message from the dental receptionist. Later, I'll have to return the calls, sort out thank you cards, RSVP everybody, lie about things going into junk mail and/or getting lost in the post, and generally apologise for being an irresponsible excuse for a human being. There will then follow a brief few moments of guilt-free tranquillity, before the message icon resumes flashing.

That said, I'm gonna set up the voice mail system on my smartphone tomorrow.  Honestly.

Friday, 16 September 2016


Dear Facebook Friends,

Please forgive me for not posting any pictures of my darling little ones in their Roald Dahl Day costumes this week.

You see, the thing is, we suck at school dress-up days.

In our house, school dress-up days provoke a level of emotional fervour normally associated with nineteenth century melodrama. And besides, a photo of a child going blue in the face due to breathing problems caused by an admittedly cheap Mr Twit beard, pictured alongside a child whose face is so puffed up from twenty minutes of non-stop crying she looks more like Jupiter than Matilda, is a clear breach of the Facebook Picture Posting Etiquette Guide.

This is not the first time I have failed to provide photographic evidence of school dress-up days for social media.

Take last year's World Book Day.

It started well, as is so often the case, with the ten-year-old announcing she wanted to go as 'Gangsta Granny'.
"We can sort that in ten minutes!" I said smugly.

And so, grabbing a granny wig from the dress-up box, a cardie my mother bought me from the 'Per Una' range (ooh, thanks mum, I especially love the pearlised buttons and embellished trim), and other bits and pieces, I threw them over her, like a total pro.
"There!" I said proudly.  "Gangsta Granny!"
She studied herself in the mirror.
"Sick", she said. "Thanks mam."

But then, the following morning, with less than seven minutes to go before we needed to leave the house for the school run, and with me fannying about looking for the front door keys using a new beeping Trackr device that incidentally is only audible if you’re fucking Wolverine, there was an inhuman shriek from the dining room.
"I look ugly! Fat AND ugly!"
The ten year old was staring at herself in the mirror, wearing the Gangsta Granny costume.
"It's fancy dress", I said lightly. "It's not a fashion show."
"I look like a pig!" she said, her face morphing into The Scream face. "A disgusting fat PIG!"
"Go as Peppa Pig then" piped up the eight year old, who was only half listening.
"I HATE you, you're an idiot", she turned to him. 
"Quiet" I said, "Both of you. We've got to leave in SIX minutes!" 
But it was too late. The granny wig flew across the dining room towards the eight-year-old, knocking a cereal bowl full of coco pops out of his hand. 
"Clean it up, both of you!" I yelled. 

I returned to the kitchen to get kitchen roll. Finding another costume, now, was impossible. At the same time, I remembered how, one St David's Day, my mother had forced me to wear a traditional stove pipe hat to school, a tall shiny construction handmade by our cousin Winnie. The hat was the millinery equivalent of the Burj Khalifa, with scalloped frills that hung on either side of my face like humongous labia. The other girls, all of whom wore adorable bonnets bought from Tesco, giggled nervously when they saw me. The boys sang The Grand Old Duke of York. 

I didn't want my daughter to feel the same as I'd felt. 

Channelling Abraham Lincoln. An approximation of how I looked on that fateful St. David's Day. 
"Sweetheart. You don’t have to dress up in anything if you don’t want to", I said. "Just go in your school uniform. Loads of parents will have forgotten."
"No they won't", she said. "Only YOU forget stuff.”
"What about Veruca Salt then?" I said, trying to stay calm. "We've got all the stuff upstairs. I could bring it down to you in school."
"Noooooooooooooooo", she wailed.  "You're SO embarrassing." "You don’t care about me!"
"Of course I care about you. Stop being silly!"

I bundled the other two in the car, leaving the front door wide open. Because, you know, when you're THIS stressed, who gives a fuck about possessions. 
"Get in the car", I said to the ten-year-old, who was now weeping in a way that recalled a 'You Tube' video of North Koreans lamenting the death of Kim-Jong-il.
"We'll discuss it when we get to school." 

The next hour was a blur. At school, I headed for the classroom to tell the teacher about the Gangsta Granny debacle, leaving the ten-year-old wailing in the car. In Asda, I bought an Alice-in-Wonderland-type-thing, which was too small and cost a fortune, (although I'd have refinanced the house for a headband with the right fucking detailing), then drove my daughter back to school. And then, just as I was parking up at home, I remembered the 50p for the Infants' Section bastard book fair and drove back to school for a third time. And so, it wasn't until later, whilst I was wiping milk off the Gangsta Granny wig and making a mental list of the pros and cons of suicide vs home-schooling, I realised I'd forgotten to take photographs for Facebook. 


PS: This year's Roald Dahl Day was not as calamitous. After hacking massive chunks off the Mr Twit Beard using a nail scissors I found in my bag, (allowing the eight-year-old to breathe normally), and then promising the six-year-old that if she stopped crying for just one second over the girl next door’s Veruca Salt costume (which was "prettier" than hers), I'd organise a colossal truckload of Starmix to be delivered straight to her bedroom door, everything was finally ok. So, you know, coolio. See you at the next dress-up day folks!