Thursday, 26 January 2012


This week, I’ve been mostly battling the symptoms of Suspected Peri-Menopause.

It starts on Monday with an evil backache. In less than no time, I have turned from being a loving mother, partner, and daughter, into Quasimodo.

So my partner drives me to the local pharmacy.  

Now, the local pharmacist is a healthy young specimen. He isn’t sexy. He doesn’t smoulder. But he is handsome, and symmetrical, and if he were the last person on earth, you probably would. (To be honest, the criteria wouldn’t need to be that rigid.) So the last thing I want to discuss with the local pharmacist is my spine.  The very last thing I want to say is: Please, kind sir, I think I may have turned into a wretched hunchback. Could you please throw some rocks at me?

This is not what I want.

I want to be able to giggle furiously as I ask for a multi-pack of ribbed condoms. I want to blush like a teenager as I ask for the morning-after pill. I want to follow the local pharmacist into a private consulting room and have him warn me about the dangers of unbridled promiscuity.

But instead we have a conversation like this:

“I’ve got a really bad back. It absolutely kills. It’s my lower back.”
“Do you do any sports?” he asks, smiling. “Did you bruise it?”
“No” I say. “I just woke with it.”
I note that he says ‘sports’, and not ‘exercise’, or ‘gentle exercise’. I am pleased.
But then, after a brief pause, the conversation seems to take a nosedive.
“How old are you?” he asks suddenly. “Whereabouts are you in your cycle?”
I am forced to tell him my age. I note that he doesn’t flinch or look surprised.
“Somewhere in the middle I suppose”, I add. “I’m not so sure.”
“It might be your ovaries going a bit hay-wire”, he says. ‘You’re still a BIT young for it, but sometimes, around YOUR age, too many eggs pop out and your lower back can get a little bit tender...”
I am wondering when it became acceptable for medical professionals to use the words ‘hay-wire’ and ‘pop’ to describe biological processes. I am starting to think that the local pharmacist’s features are not quite as symmetrical as I thought. I am starting to think that the local pharmacist is a fucking amateur.   
“It’s like when you get a cluster of zits on your face, and they hurt because of all the pressure, it’s like that with the eggs, and the ovaries…” he continues.
“Do you mean peri-menopause?’ I say, interrupting. “Is it something to do with the peri-menopause?”
I am putting words straight into the local pharmacist’s mouth. But in my fevered paranoid brain, I’m thinking, I’d rather say it before he does. If he says it - I’ll have to kill him. Also, I don’t like The Zit Metaphor. I like The Zit Metaphor even less than The Popping Ovaries Metaphor. I have zits on my cheek. A small crescent of zits that now appears every time I ovulate. My mother has zits in exactly the same place - except that her zits are Angry Zits. Pissed-Off Zits. Zits that are like Eyes, Scanning the Environment for Snubs, and Slurs, and Perceived Slights.
“I suppose it might be”, says the local pharmacist. “But don’t worry about it. Just take some Nurofen.”
I buy the Nurofen. I fetch some Ibuprofen gel from one of the lower shelves. I examine a range of other potent-looking ointments. I look like Igor the hunchbacked lab-assistant from Young Frankenstein. I don’t bother to correct the stoop when I get up to pay.

My partner is waiting for me in the car.
“Suspected Peri-Menopause”, I say.  
“Fucking hell, could you please be a little bit more dramatic,” he says.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012


Inanimate objects suck. With a few notable exceptions - such as books, a special companion of mine called Lelo who lives in a velvet pouch in my bedside cabinet, and my iPhone - inanimate objects are all assholes.

Take this lot:

Don’t buy sellotape. You will lose it immediately. When you lose it, there is absolutely no point looking for it in desks, cupboards, ‘odds and ends’ drawers, or any other place normally associated with stationery. Instead, save yourself some time and check the following places: the cat litter tray, the fireplace, the park, the mythological realms of Camelot and Atlantis, or any of the 26 space-time dimensions posited by string theory.  

Curtain hooks etc
The other day I was trying to hang some curtains. I quickly came to the conclusion that any item of hardware connected with drapery is, unequivocally, a cunt.

Keys are despicable objects that live deep inside the lining of your coat.  Nobody knows how they got there, or when, as your coat pockets have no discernible holes. Sometimes, the only way of retrieving your keys is to take a massive, jagged swiss army knife, and stab at the beautiful, spotty red lining of your favourite coat until a huge ugly gaping hole appears. When you’ve done that, you will discover that the retrieved keys are actually a set of IKEA Allen keys, that your housekeys are in your bag, and that you are as mad as snakes.  

Ring pulls on tuna cans.
Is there anything worse than being splashed in the mouth by fishy brine juice or fishy sunflower oil? Well, as it happens, there is. You see, it doesn’t matter how vigorously you wash your mouth after being splashed  – plunge your face into boiling water or the cleansing fires of hell for all the difference it makes - you will still smell as though you have spent the whole of your life grinding your face into people’s genitals.  

Superkingsize duvet covers 
Superkingsize duvet covers are designed to fuck with your mind. At first glance they appear to have four corners, like a square or a rectangle ...mwahahaha ... mwahahaha... mwahahahahahaaaaaaa... But a superkingsize duvet cover is not a square, or a rectangle, or even a quadrilateral, numbskull. It is this: enneakaidecagon. Or sometimes this: pentakaidecagon. On really bad days, when you have PMT, it is this: hexakaideCUNTagon. To be honest, you can only be sure you're installing a superkingsize duvet cover correctly if you know how to apply the following equations:


Otherwise, burn the duvet, along with your coat, and your curtains, and your dreams, on a massive bonfire, and just walk out into the infinite night.   

With your Lelo.

PS: I have just discovered that Lelo is also the name for a high-end female pleasure object. What a weird coincidence!! 

Saturday, 7 January 2012


Not so long ago I took my car for a Gold Valet at a national car-wash chain. Usually I don’t go anywhere near car-washes or anything car-wash related. Whilst I’m not the kind of nutter who imagines that the giant foam brushes will crash through my windscreen or make me feel like I’m in a coffin, oh no no no, I’m still nervous of all those instructions about engaging certain gears, and stopping when certain lights flash, and how, if you’re not following the instructions, you might be KILLED or MAIMED in an unimaginably freakish way. But a valet sounds manageable. Even nice! I went as far as hoping it would mark the start of brand-new more organised me.

Yeah, right.

You see, I didn’t notice the small print, the invisible print, the print that should have been there:    

Do not bring your car for a valet here unless you like ritual humiliation. 

Do not bring your car for a valet here unless you like having shame heaped upon you.

Definitely do not bring your car for a valet here IF criticism triggers inexplicable feelings of rage and frustration, and/or can tip you over The Edge, into an abyss of despair and depression.  Motherfucker.

All I saw was a cheerful blue and yellow sign that said something like:  


I had a bad feeling as soon as I arrived to pick up the car, which was sitting in the middle of an empty, creepy parking lot, in a pool of dark waters. The doors were thrown open and there were weird drying machines everywhere, making the chassis creak and rock. Suddenly, a woman emerged from the car’s interior, like Jack Nicholson sticking his face through the door in ‘The Shining’, her face damp, her eye make-up everywhere, tufts of hair sticking out at deranged angles from her head.  

“Still damp luv. Shoulda told me about it shouldn’t ya?” she said.
“What d’you mean?” I said.   
“Back seat luv. Covered in vomit. Took ages scrubbing it.”
“It’s Frubes” I said. “I don’t think it’s vomit. It’s definitely Frubes.”
“Nope. Definitely vomit luv. Loads of it. Behind the kids seat too. Took me ages. I’ll leave the blowers on another ten minutes, it’s still damp.  Never seen nothing like it.”    

Now I’ll be honest. My car has seen some things. (Although not Dogging. Definitely not Dogging.) A few years ago, after the birth of my son, I didn’t drive for a couple of weeks. When I finally opened the car door, the upholstery seemed to twitch and swell and change colour; a black cloud rose from everywhere at the same time. For a moment, I had no idea what I was looking at. Then I realised. The cloud was an infestation of fruit flies - thousands – all coming at me through the open door, with everyone on the street, staring. But only once has there been an episode of vomiting. Once ever, I’m telling you. And I cleaned it up thoroughly.

Even if there had been vomit, surely it wasn’t the valet’s job to inform me? (Imagine going for a colonic irrigation, and then, halfway through the procedure, the practitioner freaking out like a proper mentalist and yelling about there being shit everywhere.) If nothing else, dear valet,  think of my poor mother. If everyone else goes around undermining the fuck out of me, what’s there left for her to do?

As it happens, my car is once again in need of a good valet. There’s a lollipop fused to the dashboard; it smells like Satan’s lair.  But this time, I’m waiting for one of the kids to throw up. Or better still, all of us.

Then I’m taking it.