Friday, 30 March 2012


This week’s been a helluva week. It all started last Sunday with a burst eardrum. I was resting in bed, recuperating from a nasty bout of flu, when this immensely horrible squealing noise erupted from inside my middle ear, as if there were a bunch of hedgehogs, fucking, right there, IN MY EAR. After that came an uncanny popping sensation, followed by an explosion of blood, pus, and assorted bits of ear percussion, all of which landed on my pillow. On Monday morning, the GP diagnosed a burst eardrum and told me I couldn’t a) go swimming, or b) wash my hair for six weeks.

Now as far as I’m concerned, going swimming with three kids in tow is probably third in the League Table of Stress after divorce, and moving house, so I’m not bothered on that count. But not wash my hair for six weeks? Are you kidding me? I will smell and look like Satan. My hairline will be festooned with boiling pustules of acne. There will be mange all over my scalp and rivers of excess sebum coursing down my forehead. People will start throwing rocks at me. 
Not that I’m the kind of person who washes my hair every day, or even every other day, in case you’re wondering. I’m a big believer in the idea that natural oils are good for the hair. Even to this day, I’m still wound up by that blond-haired streak of piss The Timotei Girl, and her disturbing addiction to keeping her mane clean. Listen, love, I want to say, I don’t give a shit that your shampoo is so frickin mild that you can wash your hair as often as you wish, or that it contains cheap detergent natural herb extracts, really I don’t. All I ask is that you DO. IT. INDOORS. AND. NOT. IN. A. BLOODY. PADDOCK. And please, don’t even get me started on those Wash and Go adverts. “Spend time on shampoo and conditioner? Take two bottles into the shower? Not me! I just want to wash my hair and go, so I use Vidal Sassoon Wash & Go.” Do you? Do you really? Is that because you’re a young thrusting go-getter with a UNIQUELY important and hectic schedule? Or is it because you’re a massive twat? Hmmm.

But, but … six weeks is a long time. Even for me.  
On the bright side, my greasy bangs will be bang on trend. I’m told that the environmentally-motivated no-poo (no-shampoo) movement is gaining a steady following, with Mathew Paris of The Times, Prince Harry, Jessica Simpson, and Julianne Moore, all advocating that we wash our hair using only water and/or a mixture of baking powder and lemons. I only wish someone would tell this to those sulfate-peddling assholes Unilever, who are planning another Timotei advert.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


This week I am knackered. Red Bull doesn’t touch it. Touché Eclat doesn’t hide it. 

Everyone has started asking me whether I’m okay.

It seems my face is the main cause for concern. I look like a bloodhound on chemo. More specifically, I look like a bloodhound on chemo might look IF he were forced to shuffle around, say, Asda, for the rest of his life. My body, too, is exhibiting signs. I walk at a pace that would embarrass a sloth. I sigh and whimper and make grotesque mewling noises. In the evenings, when I haul my sorry ass upstairs, my posture is so spectacularly humped I cast a shadow that looks exactly like a FAT Nosferatu.

There are many reasons for my exhaustion:

1. My partner has taken up a job in London, leaving me to care for three small children, two incontinent cats, and a house, single-handedly. When I say single-handedly, I’m not being literal. (I don’t know how that woman off CBeebies does it, to be honest.) 

2. I need loads of sleep – but I don’t get it. Mutants like Mrs Thatcher and Martha Stewart might only need 4 hours sleep a night, probably less, the fucking freaks, but I need 10. I love sleeping.  I love sleeping so much I have dreams about sleeping. You could put a million billion genetically-modified peas THIS BIG under my mattress, and I wouldn’t give a shit.  

3. Finally, there is the accumulation of six school runs a day, overseeing school creative writing workshops, blogging, the demands of a start-up PR business, and just generally trying to get my shit together after being at home with the kids, all on ONE day’s childcare a week.

Of course, it doesn’t help that we live in a country that has opted out of the European Time Directive - a country that has the longest working hours in western Europe – a country that can’t be bothered to provide adequate childcare or paternity leave but still expects you to be working 24 hours a day. *wipes rabid drool from chin, burns bra.* These days, if I happen to answer the door in my pyjamas, I have to pretend I’m a new mother, or a nurse who works shifts, or that I’ve been up since 5am, baking bread, writing reports for the UN Security Council, and ironing my children's fucking homework, and that I haven’t had time to get changed. Actually, fuck that for an excuse … I am tempted to say that I’ve been SO ridiculously busy that I got changed to GO to bed about six hours ago, but got so distracted by my important schedule - by the trillion things that just couldn’t wait – that I didn’t have time to sleep at all!! Anything is better than someone thinking I might be mental, or idle, or on incapacity benefit, or, in other words, not earning money, not fuelling the retail economy, not buying shit I don’t need …

Meanwhile, I’m not sure whether there are any solutions for the outward signs of my exhaustion. I could try facial yoga, like Gwyneth Paltrow, but then I’d have to hire a contract killer to take myself out. A less extreme solution would be to inject 50g of pure caffeine straight into my face. Or move to Denmark. Where it’s civilised! 

Saturday, 3 March 2012


Once upon a time, my mother told me never to wash my dirty linen in public.  

Luckily, my laundry has almost always been a private affair. These days, I am blessed with a new-fangled labour-saving device called a washing machine, which means that my smalls (which, naturally, reek of fornication and menstruation and other vile secretions) never have to make the journey to the village watercourse.

Of course, there is the possibility that my mother was using A Metaphor. In my childhood home, metaphors were powerful tools, used for moulding our young impressionable minds into dark abnormal shapes. Take this one:

ME: What’s the big deal with pre-marital sex?
MY MOTHER: You wouldn’t go to a greengrocer’s and take a bite from an apple before paying for it, would you? 

Now I’m the first to admit that sex is a fruity business. But not that fruity.

But anyway, if the advice about the dirty linen was a metaphor, I am about to disappoint mother (once again). You see, a month ago, I was tagged by one of my favourite bloggers, Adventures of a Middle Aged Matron, to write a blog for a meme called 7 + 7, which requires me to divulge seven secrets, as well as seven blog posts I admire. 

So here goes: 
  1. I once stole mascara from Boots. In my defence, it was a lash-thickening electric-blue affair that promised to make me look like Ziggy Stardust. Instead, it made each eye look like a mandrill’s asshole.
  2.  I was once involved in a relationship with a Trainee Apostle at a Pentecostal church, which consisted of bouts of vigorous ARMPIT SEX. Armpit sex was so off God’s sexual radar that it hardly qualified as sex at all, or so I was told. Also, being entirely non-penetrative, it didn’t intrude on The Holy Spirit, who lived inside my body, in a temple-thingy, and who didn’t like getting a whole load of penis in his face when he was simply trying to go about his daily business.  I have since discovered that the nasty old World Wide Web has whole pages devoted to Axillary Intercourse, or, as aficionados of coarse sexual terminology like to call it, ‘pit-wanking’, which I’m glad I didn’t know. Because, you know, if I had, I wouldn’t have felt quite so special.     
  3. I love snails. I love their coiled shells. I love the shy way they retract their antennae if you touch them. In a world that’s getting faster and crazier and more in-your-face by the day, I love their fat juicy slowness.
  4. I don’t get the fuss about tigers. I quite like The Tiger Who Came To Tea - although his table manners are truly shocking - and I really like Tigger, mostly because he mispronounces words, and does a stupid amount of bouncing, both of which remind my of my son, but if any REAL tiger comes anywhere near me or my family, I will shoot its stripy furry endangered ass dead
  5.  I want a tattoo. When I was younger, I thought about getting the words Quod Me Nutrit Me Destruit tattoed across my lower back, but then Angelina Jolie went and got it, and I didn’t want people going up to her, poor cow, and saying “You so copied that Flossing the Cat,  didn’t you?”  
  6. I don’t know how to operate an unattended/automatic car wash. I will never know how to operate an unattended/automatic car wash, same as I will never know how to play any card games (except Snap and Happy Families), or be able to drive on the motorway. What kind of over-achieving fucker knows how to operate an unattended/automatic car wash anyway? (I’m not obsessed, it’s just that I was confronted with one of these monstrosities in a petrol station forecourt last Tuesday, and the pain of it is still fresh and raw.) As you can imagine.
  7. I’m not telling you my seventh secret, except that it involves an accountant in a bad wig, a butch haulier from Carmarthenshire, in a tutu, and an episode of weeping not seen since the days of the prophet Jeremiah. I’m saving the details of it for another one of these infernal memes!   

And now for the blog posts I admire, all for different reasons:

A Beginner’s Guide to Middle Age – Adventures of a Middle Aged Matron
The Eagle Has Landed – Motherventing
Dear Beloved Friend - Older Mum (in a Muddle)
Newspapers, Poospapers – Maid in Yorkshire
Signing A Life Away – Stay At Home Dad