Tuesday, 3 December 2013

ON IRONING

The other day, my six-year-old found an antiquated travel iron, still in its box, in the sideboard.
“Mammy, can I play with that boat?” he asked, studying the picture.
Now I am the first to admit that basic object recognition has never been one of my son’s strengths, but in this case, the explanation is simpler. The fact of the matter is this:

I. NEVER. EVER. DO. THE. FUCKING. IRONING.

Ironing is pointless. Ironing is neurotic. Ironing is boring. Ironing is a pursuit carried out by maniacs like:

  • The Amish
  • Pingu’s dad (Listen up, you featherheaded chump, nobody in your family wears clothes, even, so why the fuck are you ironing?)
  • Anthea Turner. Atrocious Freak.  


Oh look. Pingu's dad is using a wicker basket to store linens. I'm guessing he must have seen the show where Anthea Turner tells everyone how "wicker baskets are good for storage". Wow Anthea! We didn't know that!


Perhaps what I’m trying to say is this, folks. If you happen to be one of those people who irons a lot, but especially if you ever iron hankies, socks, sheets, duvet covers, or for chrissakes, your leggings, you are basically dead to me. Ditto if you are one of those 'ironing martyrs' who likes to post pictures of their Ironing Pile on Facebook. Aaaaaaaaargh. Just do the ironing then. Or don't. *wipes specks of foam from the corner of mouth*

I should probably add that I’m not as skanky a slag as I sound. (Unless by ‘slag’, you’re thinking of someone who has had a lot of boyfriends. Cos I've had a lot of boyfriends. No, seriously.) But just because I don’t iron, it doesn’t automatically mean that there are humongous horse-sized cockroaches galloping across my kitchen, or that I store bags of excrement in my freezer, or that a lack of feminine hygiene has made my vagina die.

The truth is that I spend a considerable proportion of my life doing housework. And I hate every single minute of it. Sometimes, when I’m taking out the bins and I get a little bin jus in my eye, I actually want to die. But if I didn’t do the housework, my family would be breaking out in boils, nobody would come to our house, and my mother would go totally utterly apeshit. Again.

Ironing on the other hand, well, there’s no functional advantage to eliminating clothing wrinkles, and all you’re really doing is trying to achieve perfection. Which is not good for you. So for fucksakes, just quit. Please. 


On a more magnanimous and forgiving note, cos I love y'all really, I have heard that hot-ironing the gusset of your knickers vaporizes all those pesky candida spores, which is useful information if you get raging candida, unlike me. Ahem. 




Friday, 6 September 2013

I HATE DRIVING


Look, I know I’ve probably mentioned it before - once or twice at the absolute most  - but here’s the thing guys:

DRIVING. SUCKS. ASS. TO. THE. MAX 

Driving sucks ass so badly that I’d rather be doing any or all of the following, all of which also suck ass:

1) Housework – Doing housework is like being trapped in an eternity of hellish unending frustrations of the kind meted out to that bastard Sisyphus in the Underworld.  And yet, compared with driving, housework is Pure Unadulterated Joy. For example, if someone came up to me and said, “Would you mind awfully scooping out the gungy hairballs from the shower plugholes with your bare tongue whilst I nip to the shops in the car?” I so would. Like, totally. Moreover, I would be so stupidly grateful not to be driving to the shops in a farkin death trap of a vehicle that I would also lick out the sludge from their flange, and eat the bits caught in their trap, all of which are parts of a domestic bathroom or kitchen sink. That's how bad driving is. 

2) Reading The Sun – everybody who reads the Sun is a fucking imbecile and everybody who thinks it’s okay to stare at some Page 3 topless beauty's whamdanglers in public is not only an imbecile, but a boorish twat who deserves to have their bugfucker of a penis whipped out in public and ridiculed. Right? Having said that, if you’re willing to give me a lift to Swansea so that I don’t have to use the M4, or worse still, merge with the M4 via The Slip Road (or as I prefer to call it, The Riverbank of Hell), I’ll happily pop out at the services to get you your copy of The Sun, and we can drool over some fun bags together. That’s how bad driving is. 

Singing God Save the Queen – to be fair, we don’t do a lot of singing God Save the Queen over by 'ere in Wales, but whenever it threatens to happen, something happens to me that I can only describe as a psychotic episode. At first, I hear voices. The voices tell me that the royals are a bunch of freeloading horsefaced inbreds who also happen to be the UK’s most brazen benefit cheats. Then I get delusions of grandeur in which I imagine I'm a citizen, not a subject!! Wow. That's some crazy shit right there, yeah! By the time the song starts, I have such a hate hard-on that I just can't sing it, and I will never ever sing it, unless of course, you agree that we can take a taxi home from the concert and leave my car on the roadside and forget to come back to get it. Forever. Then I'll be so happy I won't be able to help myself. That's how motherfucking bad driving is. 

Bon voyage!


In case you hadn't noticed, and why would you cos I haven't used it as a title, this is kind of part of a blog meme called Room 101, in which bloggers list the things they would consign to Hell. Nobody tagged me to write for it. But in what is probably a terrible and unforgivable breach of blogging etiquette, I've written a version of it anyway, and I'm also gonna tag a trio of funnee bloggy folks to do the same:

  




Wednesday, 31 July 2013

THE GREAT (GUINEA PIG) ESCAPE


A couple of months ago we acquired two baby guinea pigs - my eight-year-old daughter's reward for learning her times tables. For a hutch, we bought an adorable Bavarian-style des res with an attractive tongue and grove exterior, an enclosed sleeping area, large recreational/ living spaces, and extensive views. Every day, we prepared vibrant medleys of organic cucumbers, peppers, and cherry tomatoes, served with oodles of aromatic chamomile grass.

We even bought a pigloo to die for, ffs.  

But then, a couple of weeks ago, on one of the hottest days of the year, the little fuckers escaped.

At first, I was kind of relaxed, partly because I could hear them speed-talking in the flower border, congratulating each other on their escape, comparing it with the great historic escapes of Colditz and Alcatraz. And in spite of having a whole day’s work ahead of me, a couple of deadlines, and a pile of shitty housework, I figured that a food trail of cunningly placed cucumber chunks leading back to the door of the open hutch would do the trick.

Right? RIGHT? 

Well, actually, NO.  

Because what I didn’t know was that cucumber chunks are as nothing compared with the dark secret pleasures of the flower border and that guinea pigs  – it’s totally true folks - are amongst the fastest creatures on Earth, second only to cheetahs, with the ability to accelerate to speeds of between 50 to 60 mph in less than three seconds. Especially when poked with a twig. In fact, the smaller of our guinea pigs, Gabe, travels at a speed that basically violates the laws of physics.

Needless to say, an hour later, I still hadn’t caught the little motherfuckers. Worse still, the cats, until then sunning themselves on the kitchen windowsill, decided that it was now high time to investigate the situation. They tiptoed across the lawn towards the hutch, shuddering along the length of their bodies, like angels of death.

"Fuck off cats!”  I shouted. “Just fuck off will you!”

I’m not saying it was a nice way to treat the cats, both of which are pretty old. But equally, the thought of my daughter returning home from school to find her beloved guinea pigs weltering in their own blood, with their guts hanging loosely from their assholes, was stressful, to say the least.



So I began to panic. I lost perspective. I texted a client to reschedule the day’s work commitments, blaming a sudden but horrifying migraine. I phoned my partner to explain to him that the burden of caring for two young children, one pre-schooler, two geriatric cats, two runaway guinea pigs, a starter business, and a house that always smelled weird - really fucking weird - whilst he was away at work all week, was just too much for me.  I ranted on about the impossibility of being a good mother and good at my job, and that if my daughter lost her guinea pigs, it would be because SOMETHING. FINALLY. HAD. TO. GIVE. I might have cried. I might have got hysterical. It’s entirely possible.

“Use the hose”, he said. “They won’t like the water.”
“I’ve only got two hands!” I screamed. “If I’ve got the hose in one hand, how am I supposed to catch both guinea pigs when they come running out, eh? I’m not a fucking octopod.”
“I can’t talk to you when you’re like this”, he said. “I’m in the middle of work.”
“Good. It’s just as well. Because I’m going to totally quit my work tomorrow”, I said. “I’ve so had enough. To be honest, I can’t wait til I’m ancient and totally past it. I can’t wait to be in a retirement home, waiting for the three-o-clock cake trolley. I. CAN’T. FUCKING. WAIT.”
"Are you on the rag?” he said.
I hung up.

Meanwhile, the guinea pigs were having a lovely time of it. Holiday of a lifetime. I practiced some deep breathing techniques. I googled “How to catch a guinea pig” and followed the instructions. I built a box out of a cereal packet and filled it with cucumber and meadow hay. I placed it on the periphery of the flower border.  I lay motionless in the grass alongside the border with the midday sun beating down on my back.

At some point – by now I had lost all sense of time - I heard the squeak of the neighbour’s washing line.
“You ok there?” asked my neighbour.
“Uhuh” I said. Yeah fine, yeah ok. Totally fine, yeah.” “I’m just trying to catch the guinea pigs.”
“Oh”, she said, bemused. “I see.”
I could feel her staring at me - like I was some giant freakoid.
”I’ve got to flip the box up when one gets into it”, I said. “I tried everything.”
But then, just as I was babbling on about something else, Gabe ran right into the box. Just like that. I cried out of sheer relief.
“If you need any help I’m always here”, said my neighbour, quickly disappearing into her house.

I phoned my partner.
“I caught Gabe", I said. “I made a box.”
‘Great”, he said.  “Sorry I shouted.  I was just worried about you.”

I made myself a cup of tea in the kitchen. It was almost half two. Almost time for the school run. Ok, I knew one of the guinea pigs was still out there, at risk of a fatal bite to the neck, a snapped spinal cord, disembowelment. But the fact that I’d succeeded in catching one of them made me feel less incompetent, a better mother. I tempted the cats into the house by shaking the biscuit box. I locked down the cat flap. I blocked up the gates so that there was nowhere for the other guinea pig to go. Suddenly I was a turbo-charged super woman, like that Sheryl Sandberg gal, or KaRRRRRen Brady (or however many farkin Rs it is).

Afterwards, I made my daughter and her best friend catch Timmy, warning them about the perils of leaving the hutch door open.
“It was sooooo easy mami”, said my daughter, less than ten minutes later, clutching Timmy.
As she spoke, I couldn’t help picturing the three-o-clock cake trolley again, with its selection of jammy sponges, moist Madeira cakes and bara brith. I imagined long days with nothing to do; no guinea pigs to rescue; no looming deadlines. At the same time, I was mesmerized by my daughter’s confidence, by her impish smile, by the way she twisted her hair around, over and over. I loved her so much. I loved them all.  I didn't want to miss a minute of it.
“You better go and give them some fresh water now", I said. “They’ve had a busy day.”
  






Thursday, 6 June 2013

ARE YOU BIKINI-SHY?


(No, obviously not you Beyonce, ffs ... *rolls eyes*)

The summer holidays may be just around the corner, but for those suffering from a devastating, poorly understood condition called Bikini-Shyness, frolicking around on the beach in front of a gazillion dribbling strangers won't be an option.

Although there are no precise figures available, it is estimated that this summer, the vast majority of women, including all those who are over size 6 and don't spend the entire day munching grapes, will avoid the itsy-bitsy teenie-weenie two-pieces available on today's high street, preferring to keep their nipples, aureoles, vaginas, and frankly, the whole region around their vulva to themselves. (Thanks. All. The. Fucking. Same.)

But according to fashion experts (whose views we should never dismiss as the unceasing prattle of a bunch of nonces and knobheads), sufferers of bikini-shyness are denying themselves crucial opportunities for self-expression and self-advancement.

“Bikini-shyness can have serious consequences for the emotional, social and professional lives of the lay-deez”, says Dr Hans Rudi, swimwear designer. “Wearing a bikini, like my very own favourite, the cheeky Peek-A-Boo bikini, which uses a length of fabric no wider than a string of dental floss to delicately screen off the asshole, makes a lay-dee feel more confident, more powerfully feminine.”  

Listen, I know that some people say that the bikini is a ridiculous garment aimed at making most women feel like a huge hatful of assholes, but as you can see from my body language, I feel on top of the world!


Dr Rudi points to the example of Beyonce, whose latest photo-shoot for H&M sees her dressed in a variety of tiny two-piece numbers. “Beyonce shows other women, especially depressives and neurotics, that by being liberated from the shackles of ugly normal clothes and giant knickers, they too can achieve their dreams", he says. 

Beyonce, too, acknowledges the bikini's ability to communicate the complex reality of women's lives. Describing the bikini photo-shoot in an interview for The Daily Mail, she said,“I really loved the concept we collaborated on, which was to explore the different emotions of women represented by the four elements – fire, water, earth and wind.” (Wow. Slow down Beyonce. I know you is, like, a radical feminist n'all, but are you seriously telling us that women have FOUR emotions?!!! Cos that is some crazy shit girl... ) 

But it's not just Beyonce and Dr Rudi who claim that the bikini is a modern-day powersuit. Kimberely Garner, from 'Made in Chelsea', has been totally spazzing out over the idea of designing bikinis since the age of nine and claims that her new collection of bikinis and monokinis will confer on the lucky wearer the power to inspire other women. "I wanted to make my designs wholesome but also sexy and cheeky and provide an aspirational image for young girls", she said.

Critics, sourpusses, and the bitter obese legions of the bikini-shy, however, point to scientific research from Princeton University that demonstrates that far from being an empowering garment, the bikini literally objectifies women.

Uh? Come again? Are you sure? 

Well, yes, because as it turns out, when men are shown pictures of bikini-clad women, a region of the brain associated with tool use lights up. The same brain scans reveal ZERO activity in the part of the brain associated with assessing another person’s intentions, thoughts, or feelings. Scientists at Princeton have seen this “dehumanizing effect” only once before, in a study where people were shown off-putting photographs of homeless people and drug addicts. 

Dr Hans Rudi is of course dismissive of the findings. "We shouldn't take these so-called scientists and their stupid boring facts too seriously", he said. "What do they know of fashion or the feelings of the lay-deez?" 

He may have a point. For many sufferers of bikini-shyness, the prospect of not being able to wear a playful scrunch-butt bikini, or a pubikini, or a monokini, or a microkini, or a peek-a-boo bikini, or one of those real hot and sexy cameltoe bikinis, is very painful. "This summer, I'll probably have to wear normal underwear, and a normal T shirt, and probably a normal hat, which will make me look a total fucking loser", said one bikini-shy mummy blogger. 

Others are more philosophical. When told about the research on bikinis, one bikini-shy woman simply said,"I could have told you bikinis were shit."   



PS: OK. I made up Dr Rudi. But there is a fashion historian called Oliver Saillard who claims that "the emancipation of swimwear has always been linked with the emancipation of women." But he is an utter cock. 

PPS: Many old-school feminists argue that Beyonce forfeited her right to speak on behalf of other women when she wrote these lyrics: 
"I know when you were little girls/ 
You dreamt of being in my world/ 
Don't forget it, don't forget it/ 
Bow down, bitches".

They might say she is possibly a fraud who can Go Do One. Just saying.


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

S is for the Shit You Breathe In


 (from The Extremely Over-Protective Mummy's Handbook) 

There was a time, not so long ago, when I didn’t give a fu@k about air quality; a time when I’d gad about the place, just breathing normally, like some reckless demi-god. But then, eight weeks after the birth of my Precious First Born, when an opportunity to sleep came my way, my mind suddenly landed on a single, terrifying idea.

Which was this:

What if there is a carbon monoxide leak in the house?

AAAAIIIIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

"Salad, darlings? I washed it in Milton's." 

Now, I’m not normally the kind of gal to go into a Blind Fucking Panic for no reason, oh no no no!! *suppresses horrible facial twitches, puts on weirdly superficial grin*. Neither am I the type to worry myself into an early fucking grave about a gazillion things that are all statistically extremely unlikely to happen, whilst at the same time doing precisely NOTHING about any of them. But if I were, these are the kind of thoughts I would have had:

Thought 1: Maybe I should go and live in the shed for the night? Yeah, yeah, coolio. Look, I know it’s minus 22 Celsius outside, and the shed may as well be called The Museum of Fatal Asbestos or The Asbestos Mega-Store or whatever (but with added rats, and bubonic plague, and frickin Weil's disease), but, BUT ... (and this is a key point, kids), if I don’t move us there soon, we will DIE.

Thought 2: Alternatively, I could drive to my parents’ house, which is only 100 miles away? Yeah, perfect. Ok, I know I’ll have to drive there through a thick fog of Satanic darkness, and there’s also a motorway slip road, which together make up two of the worst things in the whole world, if not the entire known universe, but both of them are preferable to CERTAIN DEATH? Right? RIGHT? 

Thought 3:  Or, OR, OR … fuck, I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before … I’m a fat dozy cow that’s why … I could just go and knock on the next door neighbour’s door and ask if we could stay the night there instead? Yeah, yeah, yeah, that’s what I’ll do!! It’s only 2am, ffs, and surely some things in life, i.e STAYING ALIVE during a carbon monoxide outbreak, are more important than the risk of looking like a fucking lunatic, and being the talk of the village, and then having to move and uproot everyone. Surely? 

Thought 4: Of course, whilst I’m weighing up the pros and cons of shed vs neighbours vs parents' house (which is an unbelievably complex and multi-faceted process, let me tell you), I should, at the very least, ventilate the fuck out of the house by opening all the windows, and probably the doors too. THIS IS THE VERY LEAST I SHOULD FUCKIN DO.  Listen, I know the baby could contract a nasty chill that could then mutate into a hideous secondary infection, I know that, of course I do, but what choice do I have? Eh? EH, EH??  

Etcetera etcetera until dawn (whilst not at any time moving from the bed or taking any kind of purposeful affirmative action.)

Since that night of course, I have been made aware of all sorts of other airborne hazards, which I feel duty-bound to share with you.
  • The Sun. Burny. Carcinogenic. Bastard.
  • Other people breathing over you, fucking outrageous – or worse still, other people breathing over you, whilst also being coated in a toxic layer of hormone-disrupting perfume, especially Impulse.
  • Secondhand smoke. (Look, I know you think you’re being considerate, smoking in the garden n’all, but unless you’re thinking of smoking directly into an extremely powerful north-easterly headwind, in other words, away from my baby, and unless you are also prepared to dump all of your clothes in that wheelie bin over there, and then blast off your epidermis with an industrial pressure washer, you are not touching my baby (or bump). Period.
  • Paint fumes. The woman at customer services at Farrow and Ball didn’t know what the hell I was talking about when I asked her whether any of their paints contained any known teratogens! Fucking hell, you’d think they know the basics.
  • Mould spores. Don’t get me started.
  • Exhaust fumes. To be honest, I found it fairly easy to avoid heavy concentrations of vehicle emissions, particularly whilst I was pregnant. All I’d do was run really quickly past moving cars, holding my breath in. It was no bother, honestly.

Like I said, this isn’t a particularly comprehensive list, and a great majority of you will now be screaming, “What about electricity pylons, and fungus, and pesticides, and particulates?” "And what about the clouds of formaldehyde almost definitely evaporating from my sofa cushions, and the giant plumes of invisible radon gas coming up through the gaps in my floorboards, and … grrrr ... the toxic mould spores in the bathroom that are playing merry hell with my orifices … and all the plastic shit … and ….." 



Hey, it’s not that I’m not listening to you. I just don’t want to come over all loony tunes.

PS: Driving in the dark - Unless you have the spectral range of a frickin racoon, or you own one of those psycho night goggles donned by Buffalo Bill in The Silence of the Lambs, I don’t see how it is possible to enjoy night driving. Yes, there is less traffic, which is a big plus, for sure, but on the downside - and I do apologise if I come across as a bit of nit-picker - You Can’t. Fucking. See.

PPS: As for motorway slip roads, they deserve a whole entry of their own. For now, suffice it to say that one minute you’re driving along a nice country lane singing nursery rhymes to your kids, the next minute, you have less than one septillionth of a second to accelerate to the absolute edge of The Speed-of-Light Barrier, whilst also still singing the nursery rhymes. BLOODY HELL. AS IF I HAVEN’T GOT ENOUGH ON MY PLATE.

  

Monday, 1 April 2013

F is for Formula Milk


Hey, here's another extract from the Extremely Over-Protective Mummy's Handbook. 



The world of food is full of strange unsettling facts, like the fact that Worcestershire sauce is made from dissolved fish guts, or that a jar of peanut butter contains a big bunch of rat hairs, or that infant formula milk (blow me down with a fucking feather ladies, you’re not gonna believe this one) is NOT, I repeat NOT, actually poisonous!!!

WHAAAA…..!

I, for one, am a little pissed off. You see, for three months prior to the birth of my first child, I was told that feeding my daughter any kind of formula milk - even as an emergency measure - was exactly the same as feeding her a ginormous bottle of raw sewage. Bottle-feeding, explained the NCT lady, would condemn my daughter to a life of constant shitting (caused by massive gastro-intestinal dysfunction) as well as (prepare to grow pale with fear at this next idea) turn her into a Totally. Fat. Fucking. Dufus.   

So I breastfed.

Within a week or two, one of my nipples hung by a jellied nerve end from my aureole; the other was Missing Presumed Fucked (although, I did find traces of it in a hawked-up fur-ball next to the cat bowl.) My daughter lost close to 10% of her own bodyweight on a weekly basis, whilst I was forced to follow an emergency feeding regime that allowed me to sleep for 20-minute-bursts, day and night, for a month. (Ha ha ha ha ha … ha ha ha ha ha …. please help me…why are there so many talking snakes? please make the scary voices go away mummy, please, I think I’d like to sleep now … ) You know the kind of thing, right, RIGHT? Anyway, after four weeks of this hell, my partner gave our daughter a big fuck-off bottle of formula milk while I slept. When I woke, he fessed up.

My memory is hazy and unclear (and forever compromised by a further eight long years without sleep), so to this day I don’t know exactly what I said, or did. But I think I stood there, on the upstairs landing, with my patchy hair standing on end, and my huge milky tits bobbing up-and-down and from side-to-side, screaming about how the milk supply-and-demand thing was now fucked-up FOR-EV-A. I also mentioned, yeah, I’m sure I did, that the baby was mine as well as his … and how he didn’t have the right to give her formula milk a.k.a poison. I may have asked him what he intended to do about the beautiful nutritious milk now curdling in my tits … bespoke milk that my body had lovingly and painstakingly made for OUR baby and was now TOTALLY UNWANTED????  I may have also suggested, just in passing, that I loved our baby more than he did  … and I may have asked other questions, too. Did he at least wash the bottle beforehand in hot soapy water and then sterilise it in the steam sterilizer for twenty minutes? Did he at least use the sterilised tweezers to insert the teat into the bottle? Was the milk at least organic formula milk with a unique blend of prebiotics, was it, WAS IT? And did he definitely use one of those BreastFlow double teats that simulated real nipples, because of the massively underrated but real and present danger of Nipple Confusion? And was the water he used to make up the formula fresh water that had been boiled, and then cooled down to not less than 70 degrees, and had he even considered the risk of constant shitting, or off-the scale cardiovascular disease, or worse still, the hideous neverending shame of our daughter, our precious firstborn, being a regular guest on the Jeremy Kyle show because she was now going to be obese and also mental?

You know how it is girls, right!

To which my partner calmly said, “Formula milk is not actually poisonous.”

Yeah, I know that. Smug motherfucker. 


PS: None of this is to excuse Nestle, who aggressively market formula milk in the developing world, in places where there is not always access to clean water, and in spectacular breach of international marketing standards. They are, unequivocally, bastards. 





Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Extremely Over-Protective Mummy's Handbook

When I was a little girl, I used to dream of writing an epic novel. The kind of novel that spans three generations of the same family, three continents, three tumultuous events in history; the kind of novel that addresses (with subtle eloquence) universal themes like the indomitable nature of the human spirit, or the enduring power of love, etcetera etcetera. But then, when I grew up, I realised I was much better suited to swearing, ranting, and writing a whole load of deranged hormonal drivel. Like 'The Extremely Over-Protective Mummy's Handbook: An A-Z of Neurotic Mummy Shit' . Ta dah!

Yes, this genre-bending debut of mine will probably hit the shelves in about, oh, let me see, a gazillion fucking lightyears, largely because I am unable to write during a) PMS episodes; b) whilst looking for keys or mobile phones; or c) whilst collapsed under the weight of adrenal fatigue, which leaves me with a writing 'window' of twenty minutes a month. In the meantime, I do have a few tentative little entries up my wizard's sleeve, which I'll be posting here over the next few weeks...(in hope of feedback..)



C is for Calpol
Calpol is an essential component of any paranoid mummy’s toolkit. Its primary aim is to reduce fever and pain in small children. But as a happy coincidence for mummies, it also tastes delicious; full-bodied, a good balance of sugars and pharmaceuticals, very morish.

Once, whilst staring through the window contemplating the atrophying of my aspirations and the utter fu$k!ng pointlessness of having treated myself to a higher education, I entered Calpol and gin head-to-head in a taste contest (with myself as the lonely adjudicator). Perhaps it was because the gin was a supermarket’s own brand, perhaps it was because the tonic was beyond its best-before date, but in my opinion, Calpol definitely had the edge.

There are two main problems however with administering Calpol: 
    The 5ml spoon. It doesn’t matter how many 5ml spoons you own, when you have a hot screaming infant in your arms, you WON’T be able to find a single one. Trust me. There is no point looking in the usual places, like the cutlery drawer, or the medicine cabinet, or anywhere in the kitchen or bathroom. In fact, the only places worth searching are a) the plastic play-house in the garden; b) the mythological realms of Camelot or Atlantis; or c) any one of the 26 space-time dimensions posited by string theory. Not only will you not be able to find a 5ml medicine spoon, you won't be able to find a normal teaspoon either. In the end you will have to resort to an approximation, using a shell, a tiny plastic ladle from your daughter’s play kitchen, or your bare cupped hand.

    Dosage. The Calpol bottle features instructions on how much medicine you are allowed to give to your child, depending on age. The print is small, the label is busy, but really, it shouldn’t be a problem. But you read it; you forget it all; you read it again ... and again ... and again. Basically, it’s like you suddenly have a reading age of about five. Is it a 2.5ml dose, a 5ml dose, or a 7.5 ml dose, you ask yourself, and what if your child is bigger than average, sicker than average, or between ages? in the end, you give them a 5ml-ish dose, using the ladle, but quickly realise you should have give them a 2.5 ml-ish dose, using the shell. You google ‘Calpol overdose’, you phone NHS direct, you wait for a doctor to return your call. Three hours later, only slightly reassured, you finish off the spare Calpol bottle (and the vile own-brand gin) and try to sleep.

What fresh hell is this? Mwa ha ha ha ...

P.S: I was going to start at the beginning of the book, with 'A is for Assholes', which is a personal account of Perineal Lacerations Beyond Fucking Imagining, but my partner told me that I talk about assholes too much. As$ho$e. 

P.P.S: My partner is not really an As$ho$e. He is very nice. And patient.