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Friday 101: 4 by 4s, up yours

24 Dec

I was waiting patiently at the large roundabout at the end of my road, edging out bit by bit, about to go, but then changed my mind as a car sped round the corner. Bam. Car goes into the back of us. So we got out to exchange the usual banter “Oh i could’ve done without this”, “My mistake, sorry about that”. “Oh don’t worry these things happen”. yada yada.  But all I got was a load of agression and nonchalance.

Now we clearly had two very young boys in the back of our car. Did he mention them or ask if they were okay? Did he heck. He was far too busy being pissed off at the stupid woman who’d failed to make a decision again.

Did I mention he was driving a 4 by 4?

I know i’ll alienate a large proportion of my readers right here. I’m sorry. Probably best not to read on if that’s the case. But put quite simply, if you don’t start out as an arsehole, a week behind the controls of a 4 by 4 and you soon will be. A big, egotistic, selfish, cavalier, self-important a-hole.

I’m sorry, but unless you are a farmer with 7 sheepdogs and a few acres, or the world’s most successful IVF experiment, or conjoined twins you don’t frickin’ well need a car that big. The UK is not the Rocky Mountains or the Syrian desert. You get on the road and you think you own it. You sneer your way around the crowded streets of london sticking two metaphorical fingers up to every other piddling vehicle blocking your way. You cruise your way round with a demeanour which says “I’m the biggest here, *ck off and move over”.

It’s not just that you are arrogant and self-centred, you are endangering my life and the lives of my children. “If you hit my child at 30 miles an hour you’ll likely kill them; if you hit them at 20 miles an hour there’s a 75% chance they’ll survive”.  Well, if you hit them with that twatty vehicle you might as well forget any statistics right there.

As for the idiot who went into the back of me.  We took him to the cleaners monster scrap yard of course.

Damn, that felt good. Friday 101 – oh how i’ve missed you.

Friday 101 (public snogging)

2 Jul

When i was a teenager it was considered cool. A sign to the world, not only that you had a “proper” boyfriend, but that you didn’t care who saw you. Kissing, fondling. In a public space.

But i never really felt comfortable doing it. Even then.

And as for watching other people do it. Yuck!

I still can’t stand it much.

As much as you try desparately not to notice, your gaze is drawn to them like a television in a darkened room. You feel perverted. But you just can’t NOT look.

I’ve always thought that maybe i was your typical English frigid. Or that i envied the romantic abandon? After all, it was only a public display of affection. Wasn’t it? It seems positively lauded in other European countries. In Italy, Spain, France everyone seems to be at it. Are they embracing a natural physical manifestation of young love? Or is it an overdisplay caused by too much sun and too few clothes?

So is it just our English reserve, or am i right to think it’s a bit gross? Watching people eating eachother’s face off. After all, noone could argue it was a pretty sight.

Either way, i just don’t like it. Get a bloody room!

Friday 101 (lazy *stards)

11 Jun

My 3 boys and I went walking last weekend. We were on our way in the car, took a wrong turn and ended up in the most beautiful little village. I say beautiful. It was magical. Idyllic. Right up until i saw the Harley’s Angel style motorbike carriage with a sticker on the back reading “There’s no law that says i need to like immigrants”.

Later that day we were walking along a stream in a beautiful wood, watching the sun stream through the trees and the dandelion fuzz floating weightless in the air, when i spied two men sitting on a bench. One was very fat. The other huge.

Both were sitting legs akimbo (to accommodate spilling overhang of gut), smoking cigarettes (polluting my peaceful idyll), chatting obscenities while their fat dogs crawled and dragged themselves around in search of a stick.

Now i’m not fattest per se. I’m a fatty myself (The difference between thinnies and fatties) but i do have an issue with extreme laziness. I go to the gym 3 times a week. Walk everywhere, and up until i had child no.2 i worked full time. I more than work the equivalent of full time now. I simply eat too much. Far too much.

These men were quite clearly fat through being lazy bastards.

I don’t usually like to make sweeping judements or generalisations but i would bank money on them having been on long term sick since 1985.

As we reached the end of the path i saw the harley’s motorcarriage again parked in the car park. Pretending to be regal with its stupid handle bars, fat arse carriage and offensive stickers.

Putting two and two together it suddenly made some kind of gross logical sense. Lazy, fat guys on bench = immigrant hating bikers.

The truth is, i would take one hard working immigrant over ten of those fat lazy bastards any day of the week.

What exactly are they contributing to my society?

Friday 101 (thank you cards)

21 May

If someone buys you, or someone you are responsible for a present, bloody well say thank you.

I’m not asking for a 4-page essay on how grateful you are.

I would just like to know, in passing, that you received it and that it was okay/ it fit / was fun / smelt nice / you didn’t already have it.

This isn’t a question of giving to receive. I don’t want anything back. Except perhaps those 2 kind words.

I always find it quite amazing that you can have a conversation with someone the day after, talk about how much their kids / they enjoyed themselves / had to drink and no mention of your present. You’d think it was a fairly successful aid memoire. Talking about it. One day later.

It’s true i come from a staunch thank you letter writing family.

Even before all the roast turkey had been eaten and the mince pies were cold, my mother would always ask “Have you written your thank yous yet?” I would dread that question. I had always forgotten. That or i simply couldn’t find the right words to express my sincerest gratitude for the winne-the-pooh note paper.

I’m well aware now that thank you letter writing is not venerated in every household. It’s not even the norm. So i’ve given up on cards. I’ve even given up on emails.

But the point is, if you’re constantly asking your child “what is the magic word darling?”, or “didn’t you forget to say something?” don’t be a bloody hypocrite, and jolly well remember the magic word yourself.

It’s really not that hard.

Friday 101 (shoe labels)

14 May

Once, when i was an impressionable, emotionally fragile teen a girl pulled me up for still having the labels on the underside of my shoes. I was about to go out clubbing with my sister’s friends. Grown ups. I was mortified. I felt like a pretender. A child.

Ever since then i am uncomprimising in my removal of shoe labels.

There is actually nothing more satisfying than removing a label perfectly from a shiny surface. Nudging back a corner, taking it between first finger and thumb and slowly, methodically peeling the white paper back smoothly and cleanly.

Problem is. Labels rarely come off like this. And certainly never shoe labels.

The sticky paper pulls back tantilisingly, before tearing, making it impossible to find a new corner to peel.

I’ve never really understood why labels have to be on the underside of shoes in the first place. What’s wrong with the inside?

Sometimes i let new shoes sit in my shoe box for weeks before wearing them, simply because i haven’t had the time necessary to carry out the complicated,
shoe equivalent of organ removal.

Regardless, I would never be seen dead with the labels still intact.

My sister’s friend was right to pull me up you see.

There is nothing more tacky. Nothing that looks as careless, trashy and cheap as walking along in brand new shoes with with a white label bouncing up to greet the person behind you as you clip clop along.

Perhaps it wouldn’t matter so much if it was Jimmy Choo or Prada peeping up to wave hello.

Unfortunately for most of us it is more likely to be Dorothy Perkins or New Look.

I’m all for cheap high st rip offs, but promoting yourself as a New look gal by your shoes. So not a good look.

So please girls. Be vigilant.

Friday 101: Part 4 (changing rooms)

7 May

Addendum: First past the post politics burnt on the bonfire first, followed by today’s 101….

The thing i would like to toss on today’s metaphorical bonfire (with a generous lashing of gasolene)?

Changing rooms in clothes shops.

My top 3 worst things about these cubicles of horror:

a) curtains that are way too small
b) three-way mirrors
c) total inconsistency in what i look like

So let’s take them in turn as all warrant a severe dressing down (ha ha, did you see what i did there?!)

a) I call them curtains but they could more usefully be described as a midget’s hand towel. Certainly, the only place they could possibly serve as window dressing would be in a child’s dolls house.

It usually takes me at least 10 minutes to work out whether the right or left opening is best sacrificed to peeping toms and / or whether i can hold the thing shut with one hand while simultaneously standing on one leg and hopping about like an unbalanced pogo sticker trying to get one trouser leg on.

b) I know women are vain, but women are also daydreamers, fantasists, especially when it comes to their own body image. Why an earth do we need 3 mirrors, all placed at different angles so that we can see our bodies in all their 360 degrees of glory?

When did we say we wanted to see our bottoms straight on? Our wobbly arms from the full benefit of front, side AND rear view?

Why can’t you leave us with the one remaining fantasy we cling to that our rear view is actually okay? That in motion it doesn’t really wobble as much as it feels like it does?

And the worst thing about it is that they’re so carefully positioned that you can usually see the reflection of the reflection of the reflection of your bottom in each mirror. Why in god’s name would i choose to have my fat arse tesselated like a screensaver in tile mode?

c) If mirror=reflection, why do i look different in every mirror i see myself in? The real problem here is that i always seem to visit the shops with the thinny mirrors first. I get lulled into a false sense of security. Then each shop after this seems to offer a progressively fatter image of me.

My typical shopping trip goes something like this.

Mirror no.1) ” Wow, I actually look okay in this. Maybe i haven’t put on as much weight as i thought”

Mirror no. 2) “hmmm, that’s not so good, ok maybe this is just an unflattering mirror”

Mirror no. 3) Jesus Christ, ive really let myself go,…No, not the rear view, please not the rear (exit sharpish and head straight to Starbucks to console myself with a quadruple chocolate muffin).

Still, I expect it could be worse.

I remember the days when all changing rooms were communal. You had to put up with all those skinnies feigning disgust “Oh Juliette, i just look sooooo fat in this”.

I was young then, and i didn’t like it.

Thank goodness privacy won over, even if i do have to make do with a piece of kitchen towel to hide my modesty.

Friday 101: part 3 (tutting)

23 Apr

I’ll get straight to the point this Friday.

I would like to request that the following type of person be sent straight to the recycle bin:

Anyone found shaking their head or rolling their eyes at me.

This typically happens when i’m driving and another driver disapproves of something i do. I would so much rather be called a “dumb *tch” or much worse, than be given this condescending, “i am above you” gesture.

It really gets my goat. Makes my blood boil. Makes me go euuugh!

I think it’s probably because it’s fairly easy to push my “inferior” button. Make me feel small.

Maybe it’s something to do with being the youngest child? You were always the one with the least experience. The least knowledge. The least power. All the shakes of the head and the “don’t be so silly” s piled up over those formative years into a bit of a chip.

And so when you get the shake of the head or the roll of the eyes it gets you like the elder sister frown. The mother tut. The disapproving voice of your father saying “Look what you’ve gone and done. Will you ever learn?”

Every time i promise myself i’ll get those laminated cards made. The ones you always wish you had to flash through the window. Cards with big lettering saying something really witty and cutting. So much smarter than the two fingers. The two fingers means you’ve lost control. Given away the upper hand. Plus i’ve usually got the kids in the car, and they can’t read yet.

That’s what i’d really like to do. To those drivers that are silently tutting at me. Symbolically trying to take me down a peg or two with their head shake or eye roll.

Either that or recreate that scene from the Omen with the plate of glass, and slice their disapproving head off.

Friday 101: part 2 (cyclists)

16 Apr

Before i proceed to this Friday’s assassination let me return to the subject of kiddie bike trailers for a minute (my nemesis in last week’s Friday 101). By co-incidence the following day I had the misfortune to find myself driving behind one of these contraptions on a busy road in Beckenham.

I say that i found myself behind one. Actually i didn’t even realise that this was what the bike was trailing until i was a few feet behind it. No warning sign, no “kids on board” badge, no nothing.

It turned out we were going to the same destination (the gym). Upon arrival, out of the contraption came not one, but two of the most beautiful, angelic little girls you’ve ever seen. Both under 5 with cherubic curly blonde hair. I remembering thinking to myself “Well at least that’s something. You’ll fit right in with the angels when your stupid dad *ing kills you”.

Anyway, onto today’s rant.

CYCLISTS.

There i’ve said it.

Okay, before i alienate the rest of my readership (my brother-in-law and many good friends in the process) let me narrow that brush stroke down.

My distaste for 2-wheeling vehiclists is specifically directed at those that:

1) don’t wear helmets, or even worse, send their own children out without protective headgear. If they want their own heads smashed against the corner of a pavement then i suppose so be it, but have some more respect and consideration for the lives of your children.

2) think that red lights only apply to motorised vehicles. You’re on the road, obey the law of the road.

3) ride on pavements. i’ve had the misfortune to have been knocked by a cyclist (who had almost slowed to a stop) and it really bloody hurt. i don’t much fancy being hit at a decent speed by someone who’s too frightened of being hit by a car, but doesn’t give a damn about hitting me. I’m pretty sure it’s illegal anyway, so let’s just call you criminals.

4) transport pieces of mail of various shapes and sizes under the name of “bicycle courier”. One word. Nutcases.

5) feel that all car drivers are arseholes and should be treated as such, even when it is clearly them that has just pulled the crazy manoeuvre. If you’re going to pull out to pass a parked vehicle without looking, don’t blame me if it doesn’t end well for you.

For fear of not being controversial enough last week, not inciting enough debate (you all, quite boringly, agreed with me on the subject of kiddie bike trailers) i have chosen to assassinate quite a big demographic this week. So, over to you friendly 2-wheeling folk…..Don’t let me down.

Friday 101: part 1 (trailers)

9 Apr

Today is a Friday 101 day. Reserved for the things that (in my opinion) represent all that is wrong with the world.

So today i am metaphorically shooting:

Anyone who has, has thought about getting, or even looked at a picture of a kid’s bike trailer with the vague notion that it looked like a good idea.

I just don’t get it. You’re dragging your child behind you on a road. Full stop.

Er, HELLO, do you have eyes in the back of your head to see whether a car is driving too close, or a van has come round the corner too quickly? When was the last time you saw a mother dragging a buggy behind her when she crossed the road?

And what about car fumes? “But it has a plastic cover” i hear them cry. Since when did plastic covers fitted loosely over a poor excuse for a modern side car seem like a good enough barrier against microscopic toxic particles? (in this photo the poor child is even riding “top down”. Lucky girl).

Would you wire your child up to a rothman’s cigar like a beagle in a smoking factory?

For me this picture says it all. The child is so terrified its hair is standing on end…no wonder the stupid dad and his idiotic friend look worried.

And breathe.

…….oops, i think i might have just lost half my readership. And i was doing so well.

(Next week, parents who let their children ride a bike without a helmet).