Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Hot Potato

I'm not quite sure who this charming lady is, but she has a very clever tip to pass on to you:


Potato salad will never be the same again!

Friday, 27 March 2009

I love you too

The gorgeous B, she of the dream home/husband/children/life/oh-and-did-I-mention-she-is-also-thin, shows she has all the above, and a sense of humour, too. She sent me this little joke, which I can't resist passing on, even though it will scare my one male reader, the lovely Chairman Bill:

"A man escapes from a prison where he's been locked up for 15 years. He breaks into a house to look for money and guns. Inside, he finds a young couple in bed. He orders the guy out of bed and ties him to a chair. While tying the homeowner's wife to the bed, the convict gets on top of her, kisses her neck, then gets up and goes into the bathroom.

While he's in there, the husband whispers over to his wife, 'Listen, this guy is an escaped convict. Look at his clothes! He's probably spent a lot of time in jail and hasn't seen a woman in years. I saw how he kissed your neck. If he wants sex, don't resist, don't complain... do whatever he tells you. Satisfy him no matter how much he nauseates you. This guy is obviously very dangerous. If he gets angry, he'll kill us both. Be strong, honey. I love you!'

His wife responds, 'He wasn't kissing my neck. He was whispering in my ear. He told me that he's gay, thinks you're cute, and asked if we had any Vaseline. I told him it was in the bathroom. Be strong. I love you, too, sweetie.'

Hee hee hee!

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Mother's Day

How do I do it? It's Mother's Day, and I'm on my own. The children are with Mr X and, as the cherry on the top of the cake, it's no speakies with True Love.

The children didn't even say Happy Mother's Day on the phone this morning. Well, they're only small(ish), and the Mother's Day impetus comes from grown-ups and let's just say there is not a lot of impetus around these days, as I am a Bad Mother and don't even deserve a paltry offering from Hallmark. And yes, I know the whole thing is all made up by card manufacturers (actually, there's strong evidence that Mother's Day is a pagan fertility festival that's survived two thousand years and the death of matriarchy, but I'm going to pretend I don't know that) but it still stings to be left out.

The TL aspect is more of a mystery. How is it that we can be relied upon to row during every major holiday? Christmas, New Year, Easter, Pancake Day, National No-Smoking Day, you name it, we've rowed. Mind you, catch us any given Wednesday and we'll be arguing, too. I suppose it's probably me, being much more aware of the family life I've given up, getting even more tense than usual during these bank holidays and being unable to let the slightest thing pass. Or maybe it's him, just being TL, bless him.

All I know is that it sucks, but thank God for friends. This morning, I went to the Royal Festival Hall with a chum to listen to a Bach cello concert. It was beautiful, and the blue, cloudless skies over the London Eye as we walked along the South Bank were as perfect as the heavens in the opening sequence of the Simpsons. Seeing the Eye reminded me of a Mum Chum who'd said it could be used as a wedding venue. Of course, my mind leapt, ridiculously and romantically, to scenes of me and my TL pledging our lives to each other in one of the airborne pods. As well as the gorgeous view, this would have the advantage, I was thinking, of meaning he couldn't possibly avoid me for once. And then I realised. He'd always find an escape hatch somewhere, even if it meant breaking the glass with his teeth and climbing down a rope made of his own shoelaces.

Ah well, I did get one Mother's Day offering, and it was presented with special love. As I sat down at my desk just now to whinge, sorry, post, I discovered the mangled corpse of half a mouse placed just where my feet usually rest. Outside, sitting in the garden with a bashful smile on her whiskers and a self-satisfied twitch in her pussycat tail, was Mme Bovary, quite clearly waiting to be thanked. Darling, you really, really shouldn't have.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Office life

Being back in an office has been a revelation. I had no idea, for instance, that people still made instant coffee! And my lovely co-workers can be such a giggle. The Comic Relief poster by the coffee machine, sporting the grinning chops of the lady who used to do Big Brother, was carefully annotated by one wag: 'Do something funny for NO money - work here!'. My, how we all chortled.

There are, however, some colleagues who are a tiny bit harder to get on with than others. That's why the dear, kind management has come up with this very helpful memorandum:

Staff Warning - Swearing at Work

Dear Employees

It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals throughout the company have been using foul language during the course of normal conversation with their colleagues. Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated. We do, however, realise the critical importance of being able to express your feelings accurately when communicating with colleagues. Therefore, a list of New and Innovative 'TRY SAYING' phrases have been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can continue in an effective manner.
Try Saying:
I think you could do with more training
Instead Of:
You don't have a @***ing clue, do you?
Try Saying:
She's an aggressive go-getter.
Instead Of:
She's a @***ing power-crazy b*tch
Try Saying:
Perhaps I can work late
Instead Of:
And when the @*** do you expect me to do this?
Try Saying:
I'm certain that isn't feasible
Instead Of:
@*** off @*se- hole
Try Saying:
Instead Of:
Well @*** me backwards with a telegraph pole
Try Saying:
Perhaps you should check with...
Instead Of:
Tell someone who gives a @***.
Try Saying:
I wasn't involved in the project.
Instead Of:
Not my @***ing problem.
Try Saying:
That's interesting.
Instead Of:
What the @***?
Try Saying:
I'm not sure this can be implemented within the given timescale.
Instead Of:
No @***ing chance mate.
Try Saying:
It will be tight, but I'll try to schedule it in
Instead Of:
Why the @*** didn't you tell me that yesterday?
Try Saying:
He's not familiar with the issues
Instead Of:
He's got his head up his @***ing a*se.
Try Saying:
Excuse me, sir?
Instead Of:
Oi, @*** face.
Try Saying:
Of course, I was only going to be at home anyway
Ins tead Of:
Yeah, who needs @***ing holidays anyway.
Try Saying:
I don't think it was supposed to turn out like that
Instead Of:
I see the @**k-up fairy has visited again then
Try Saying:
Sorry - I didn't quite catch that
Instead Of:
What the @**k are you wittering on about this time ?
Try Saying
Do you really think so ?
Instead Of:
No sh*t Sherlock
Try Saying:
Do you think that's appropriate work wear for the office ?
Instead Of
Have you seen the @**king state of that ? '>
Try Saying:
There is a cleaner required in the lavatories
Instead Of:
I'd give that a while
Try Saying:
He's / she's quite attractive
Instead Of:
I'd do it
Try Saying:
He does have a tendency to procrastinate
Instead Of:
He's so @**king boring, I am losing the will to live
Try Saying:
It's so nice to be in a busy office environment
Instead Of:
Why don't you all just shut the @**k up

Saturday, 14 March 2009

Vital Statistics

I'm indebted to one of my lovely friends Abroad for these pearls of wisdom. I'm never sure whether people want to be acknowledged by name in these pages, and after all, I cling to my own negligee of anonymity as desperately as any other Dulwich mummy cleaves to an unmaxed-out credit card - but you know who you are, and thank you xx

It takes your food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.
One human hair can support 3 kg (6 lb).
The average man's penis is three times the length of his thumb.
Human thighbones are stronger than concrete.
A woman's heart beats faster than a man's.
There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.
Women blink twice as often as men.
The average person's skin weighs twice as much as the brain.
Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.
If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.

Women reading this will be finished now. Men who read this are probably still busy checking their thumbs.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Back on track

Gosh, life in Dulwich can be exhausting. Let me talk you through my schedule and, by the time I'm finished you, too, will be yearning for a gin and tonic, a juicy re-run of ER and the love of a good man - and very good luck with that around these parts, my dears.

It all started, of course, with the usual harrassment from the Treasures. Promptly at 7.14 every morning, the little dears' carefully ironed uniforms either disappear or smear themselves in glue, so that when my darlings open their eyes, at 7.15, all their regulation gear is filthy/vanished and they are left with tights in tatters, PE kits missing vital gumshields or pullovers which have mysteriously grown elbow holes overnight. Sigh!

At least the mother I share the school runs with was taking the precious ones in today, as I accidentally guilted her into doing an extra turn this week, due to a long silence over the phone the other day which she took as evidence of my disgruntlement with the whole run arrangement. In fact, I had simply dropped the receiver and was scrabbling around on the floor for it - something I will be doing much more often, if it has this effect.

Then I was off to walk round the park with a lovely friend, followed by cups of tea. The real work of the day commenced with Pilates in the (rather dingy) sports club. For many months, I turned up and lay on the mat and let this wash over me, easy enough as it is early in the morning, the mats are reasonably comfortable compared to my bed of pain and guilt chez Divorce Towers, and the instructor plays deeply soporific whale music. Every now and then, Trudie, the instructrice, would exhort us to 'connect our core muscles' and I would blithely ignore her and float off again. Then, accidentally, my core muscles did one day connect exactly as they were told to and now, I'm afraid, it's all rather hard work. I do love it, though - particularly when she tells us to let our arms flop out onto the floor, palms up, and all over the hall you hear the distinctive thunk of diamond engagement and eternity rings hitting the floor. So very Dulwich!

Then on, in my ceaseless quest for self improvement (and some would say there's room enough) to my new still life drawing class, where today I wrestled for an entire hour with a banana, a piece of charcoal, and my conscience. Shouldn't I be working? Shouldn't I, at least, be cleaning something? Is it right that I should be devoting my life to the idle pursuit of pleasure when I've been such a bad girl and there's a credit crunch on? True Love is working very, very hard, even the Treasures are working (my eldest brought home simultaneous equations yesterday and, frankly, I'd rather have crabs). Still, I did manage a very creditable banana and the teacher is lovely.

That dilemma safely over, I popped home for a quick lunch before my next appointment, at the beauty parlour. I won't tell you what I went for. Suffice to say that I shall cut quite a dash on the beach this year, assuming I ever get to one, which is by no means certain. But I shan't worry my head over that now.

Back to the school for Child One, as Two was out to tea with a friend. Then briefly home, before taking Jumbo the rabbit to Child One's chum's house for 'rabbit therapy' (he has taken to pretending we are all carrots), picking up Two, then taking both chez their papa.

And now here I am alone, with you, and wondering quite how and why I got here. Still, as you can tell, life is really rather lovely and I do thank God (or someone) for my Treasures, TL, Mme Bovary and my gorgeous tracker mortgage.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Dog Hoarders Unite

I ring my lovely brother, who does terribly clever things on the other side of the world. He is quivering with outrage. Amazon has just sent him an unsolicited email, you know, one of those 'serving suggestion' ones, saying more or less, 'you've bought that book, so you're bound to like this book - buy it immediately.'

Fair enough as a sales technique, I suppose, though maybe a trifle invasive. Trouble was the book they were urging him to buy.

It was Inside Animal Hoarding: The Case of Barbara Erickson and her 552 Dogs

Now, no doubt this is a very hot tome indeed in dog hoarding circles. Its two authors, a sociologist and an investigator, seem like sensible types doing frightfully well in their professions. But here's the thing: my brother has no interest whatsoever in dog hoarding. He has never hoarded a single dog. He doesn't even, at the last count, have a pet of any kind. My niece has, it is true, experimented with keeping hermit crabs in the past but the shells are, sad to report, all currently empty. They are not pet hoarders or, as far as I know, hoarders of any kind. I didn't even know it was possible to hoard pets. Everyone has heard of the miser hoarding his gold (chance would be a fine thing) and, of course, Dulwich is awash with Yummies hoarding their handbags (and again, chance .....)but as for pets, three seems to be the most that anyone I know will admit to. Four if you're counting really small furries, like hamsters.

My poor brother is at a loss. It does remind me, though, that Amazon, saviour of the lazy shopper, can fire off the odd random salvo - one Christmas, I ordered my other brother a Blackadder book only for him to receive, with very muted expressions of pleasure, a volume called The History of the Sixth Fleet. For a long time, I wondered about the other five fleets until someone put me straight. Once upon a time Mr X did also get sent a book as a present which had been written by a rival for my hand. He sent it back, only to get another identical copy posted by return. Ah, had we but known it then, it was A Sign.

While my brother waits, in some trepidation, for the next suggestion from Amazon ('Knitting your own yoghurt', perhaps?) I must admit I do worry about what they might suggest for me. 'Moth Murder: A profile of insect serial killers,' and 'How Clean is it Underneath the Back of Your Fridge?' would obviously be sure-fire winners for me. And you, dear reader? What would your least favourite book suggestion be?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Men are from Mars, Women go to Cadburys

Do you ever feel that you don't understand the man in your life? Do you, perchance, feel that it's hard to communicate with the opposite sex? Well, worry no longer, for, as a reknowned expert on misunderstandings, contretemps and, indeed, divorce, I have decided to step into the fray and provide the world, and most particularly Dulwich, with a quick translation service.

What a woman says:

Darling, I love it! I'm taking it back to the shops the moment they open

You shouldn't have! You should have, and weeks ago

I love you This could be it - with a little work, you really might be a decent prospect

I wouldn't change a thing about you Except all your clothes, your mother and most of your friends, apart from the ones I don't mind flirting with

It would be lovely to spend more time together Because I'm having a few doubts, and this is probably your last chance

Let's have a lovely romantic dinner Because I want to check whether you chew with your mouth open. If you do, it's curtains

Darling, I think you're having doubts Oh my God! Thank God I didn't marry this one

It's not you, it's me It's sooooo you

I'm just not right for you You're not right for me

I'm holding you back You're holding me back

I'll always care about you I'm changing the locks

I wish you well If you fell under a bus, I'd do the rhumba

What a man says:

Whoops, I put my phone on silent Don't ring me

My phone ran out of juice Don't ring me

I left my phone at the office Don't ring me

You'll see me tomorrow No you won't

See you later No you won't

I'm on my way No I'm not

The train was late No it wasn't

I've already eaten With someone else

I have to get up early for an important meeting With someone else

I've got to rush Get off me!

I'll call you later No I won't

I love you Will that shut you up?

I'm not right for you You're not right for me

Let's stay friends Because I might be desperate for sex at some point

There, my darlings, now we all understand each other perfectly. Don't say I never do anything for you. I do hope it'll be a help as you skip through this game we call life. I personally think it explains an awful lot. Particularly the huge recent rise in Cadbury's profits. Now, where did I put those chocolate buttons?

Now they tell us!

Coffee morning!

Lampreys, the Inland Revenue, spring, security letter boxes with extra-thin slots at stations - these are just a few of the things I've been musing on this week. But somehow, none has made a blog's worth of thought worthy of troubling you with. So I'm off to see the lovely Susanna at http://www.thamesvalleymums.com/2009/03/3-march-best-of-the-mummy-bloggers.html to catch up on what my virtual chums have been up to. With any luck I'll get a bit of inspiration - and I'm planning to snaffle as many choccy bickies as I can. Don't tell, now!