Monday, 28 May 2012


Yesterday afternoon, I walked with my toddler and four-year-old son to the school. We walked in single file in the deliciously cool shadows of some cypress trees. My toddler was asleep in the buggy, fiercely clutching a dandelion clock, the spoils from an earlier battle with her brother. My son was wearing his beloved blue snowboots, from which he won’t be parted, in spite of the heat.   
‘Children get very tired walking”, he said. “Bumblebees get tired too, don’t they?”
I passed him his new red water bottle. He drank with both hands clasped seriously around the bottle, his eyes closed, and although we were late for school, everything was absolutely perfect.

Perfect, that is, until the driver of a massive fuck-off Eddie Stobart Heavy Goods Vehicle – which was already driving too close to the kerb – beeped his horn TWICE, long and hard.
“Nigel, mate”, he shouted, waving to a guy on the other side of the street. 
He beeped it again, this time for longer. The ground vibrated. Shock waves circled the village. A woman drew back her curtains, probably thinking it was Jesus, bombing down to earth, blowing a big End-Times trumpet. Or, a bunch of archangels going apeshit. The toddler woke, dropped her dandelion clock, started screaming. My son was even crosser than me.
“Keep it down you … YOU”, he shouted. “You … WINKIEHEAD”.  
Now I love all my children equally. But at that moment, my son was nothing less than a hero. Of course, I wasn’t best pleased with his use of the term ‘winkiehead’ so close to the school, and where he got it from is a total mystery. I also believe that the collective noun for people who use their horn with no consideration for other people, and in ways that don’t adhere to Rule 92 of The Highway Code, is, technically, KNOBHEADS. But this is nit-picking.

So, in honour of my small, supremely cross superhero, here is a list of total winkieheads I prepared earlier:  

  1. Taxi drivers: taxi drivers often beep the horn to let you know they’ve arrived. They are so committed to keeping a line of communication open with their customers that within minutes of arriving at your house, they will have beeped the horn three of four times, maybe more. This is particularly the case if they are early; in fact, the earlier they are, the more they beep. Once, I was unable to make it to the front door to acknowledge the beeping because, frankly, I was in the middle of pushing a gargantuan tampon into my vagina, and although there was a good five minutes left to go before my scheduled pick-up time, the driver drove away. But who can blame him? Can a taxi driver really be expected to conquer his crippling fear of doorbells, or risk entering an atmosphere not yet purified by the scent of Magic Tree, just because some flake is doing last-minute gynae shit? 
  2. Middle-management men from the banking or financial sectors: this group typically drives BMW Series 3 cars, or Audis (those cars with the LED day-lights and the cock-rings). These men believe that the one sextillionth of a second after the red light changes to amber is precisely the right time to beep the horn. But again, who can blame them. Right? After all, they are in a dreadful rush: quite unimaginable to the rest of us. In fact, anyone who thinks that a toddler wresting herself out of a child-seat, and/or climbing over the front seats towards the steering wheel, is good enough reason to proceed with caution at the traffic lights is a shilly-shallying over-sensitive chicken-shit loser who will never make it in the REAL world.  And last but not least (no, definitely not LEAST), many men from the financial sector are also afflicted by large burdensome penises that do not easily fit into the confines of a normal cockpit, which means that they must either arrange matters so that a) their appendages rest on the gas pedal, as often happens, or b) on the horn. 
  3. HGV or white van drivers who recognize a mate called Nigel on the pavement and think it entirely appropriate to beep the horn to say hello, in spite of the fact that the afore-mentioned Nigel may be a matter of yards away from someone fitted with a pacemaker, a baby asleep in a pram, a shift worker asleep in their house, an elderly person of a nervous disposition, or a psychotic whose violent episodes are triggered by external auditory cues (it happens, OK!), not forgetting all other road users who will now spend the rest of their day wondering whether they have an urgent problem with their cars, or their driving …    



Tuesday, 8 May 2012


Everyone knows that the world is divided into two kinds of people: Larks and Owls.

Larks love the mornings. Every morning, at the ass crack of dawn, they pop out of bed like a bunch of smiley creepy jack-in-the-boxes, before going for a run around the village, or composing entire symphonies, or eating thousands of goji berries, or singing really chipper hymns of praise to the Sun Goddess, or whatever.

Unlike me, larks don’t wake up every morning to a spectacular shit-pile of negative thoughts, which in my case, looks something like this:    

  • At least when I’m in a nursing home I won’t have to do THIS
  •  I’m so tired I must have got M.E.
  •  Would it be possible or practical to install an oxygen cylinder in the bedroom?
  •  If I don’t get up NOW, or at the very latest before the alarm clock says 7:28, something awful will happen.
  •  I could probably gain an extra half hour’s sleep if I home educated. 
  •  I wish I was three.
  •  Why is this bedroom so cold?
  • and …
  • Is there a God?


My mother’s take on the problem is that I need to alleviate the stress of mornings by preparing my stuff in advance, i.e the night before - as she did. I long to tell her that it was easier for women in the Seventies, because, you know, they didn’t use up all their energy trying to be nice to their kids, or fretting over stupid shit like their kids’ emotional and psychological wellbeing, so they had loads more energy for chores in the evenings.

But I suppose she’s got a point.

Deep down, I know I should get the kids’ school uniforms ready the night before, and prepare their lunches, and pack their gym kits, and fill their homework bags. I know I should divide almost ALL my free time equally between finding the permission slip for my daughter’s school trip, and finding the one working biro to date and sign the permission slip, and that I should also devote at least another hour to a) rifling through all the coats in the hallway in order to find a fifty pence coin for the PTA raffle; b) writing a cheque for a million billion pounds for the single 6 by 4 school portrait from fucking Colorfoto; and c) packing a piece of fruit for playgroup (or ideally, a selection of homemade croutons or crudités because * playgroup leader rolls her eyes * they always get given fruit, and if they’re to win the Gold Standard Healthy Snack Award, they require variety, blah-dey fuckin blah.) Yes I know this, ALLRIGHT. But, the problem with this strategy of extreme forward planning is that it extends the misery of what is already a relentlessly repetitive morning routine into the previous evening. Or, in other words, IT SUCKS.

You see, once the kids have gone to bed, I don’t want to butter bread, mainly because I have already spent eight farking hours in the kitchen. Not that you could tell. Neither do I want to empty the entire contents of the recycling wheelie bin on the floor to look for the school permission slip, or dribble all over a biro until it works goddamit. I want to watch The Killing, or attend to my haemorrhoids.   

And as for larks, they’re just cocksuckers.

Good night!