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Generally bad knowledge

9 Jul

I have no general knowledge. That’s slightly untrue. I know the exact calorific content of various bakery items, the name of all of Keith Sweat’s albums in the 1980s, the capital of Outer Mongolia, oh, and the mating ritual of the brown garden snail. But that really is pretty much it.

I’ve shamed myself on too many occasions to mention. I thought Jamaica was an island off Africa, that Bing Crosby was a black dude, didn’t know HP sauce was named after the Houses of Parliament (despite the big fat logo on the, erm, front), and certainly never guessed that pineapples didn’t grow on trees.

And these are the ones I’m prepared to mention.

I usually avoid intellectual conversation for fear of looking stupid. I’m okay with logic or philosophical thinking, but fact-based knowledge? World geography or European history? I’ll suddenly develop a severe case of weak bladder.

So I’m on a mission to get high brow. Might have had something to do with not being able to keep up with my 5 yr-old’s schooling.  I even picked up a copy of The Economist yesterday. No i didn’t buy it, someone had left it with their half drunk flat white at Caffe Nero. I wonder if THEY got past the first page.

So what embarrassing things did you only learn as an adult? What crucial pieces of world geography did your class learn while you were snogging Tony behind the bike sheds? Clearly I was off smoking in the toilets when they covered herbacious perennials of Southern America.

Oh, and the snail? The pair caress each other with their tentacles and then the male snail pierces the skin of its partner with a ‘love dart’ to provide a favourable environment for his snail sperm.  Ah sweet.

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.

A booze filled hole

23 Dec

A while ago i caught a documentary that looked at each stage in a woman’s life from “underage” through “student” to “mother” and even on to “grannies” and reflected on their relationship to alcohol. Yes it was a rehash of a lot of what we’ve seen before about the booze culture that pervades these shores. Yes there was vomiting and drunken girl on girl snogging (yawn) and the drunken female equivalent of “winding” (ewww).  Yet, for some reason this one was even more depressing than usual. It managed to portray an even bleaker, more tragic picture.  Why?  Because you got to know the people as individuals, and started to see that, pretty much, they all drank due to some deap-seated psychological issue. Usually because they hated themselves.

I’m not even talking hopeless drunks, though there were some of those of course. I’m talking people who just enjoyed a drink, most days, a laugh with their friends, you know not much different from me and you. But watching from the outside in, it was obvious. Issues of loneliness, worthlessness pervaded.

What is it about the Brits that drives us to fill a hole with booze, a hole that should rightly be filled with self-belief?  Why do we forever feel we need “dutch courage”, “one for luck”, “one for the road”  just to get up and on with our lives? To have the confidence to do stuff we don’t, soberly, believe we can do.  Is drinking for confidence as normalised for children growing up as the idea that a good night out must always involve copious amounts of it? Are we a nation of tattered egos, broken spirits, lost souls desparately on the search for something to fill that hole, whether it be alcohol or armfuls of big macs? Or are we simply complicating it. It’s a good laugh, freely available, and quite frankly we’re all just a little bit addicted…. (including those MPs pussy footing around the issue because they’re too scared of having their own crutch taken away).

It’s all a bit depressing really, and nothing more than having to watch those girls again with their pants around their ankles. Girl power? Makes you wonder what my heros The Spice Girls fought so hard for.

Better go drown my sorrows…..

The Big Issue

21 Dec

image courteousy of sporkinthedrawer.typepad.com

I’m a scumbag.

Here’s why.

Last week as I left work I walked past a Big Issue seller that could have given the eskimo ice seller a run for their money. It was bitterly cold, and she was giving it all she had. Now, what i thought and did at this point makes me cringe.

I thought: “I can’t believe how bloody cold it is. I am f-r-e-e-z-i-n-g! Thank god i remembered my gloves today. No chance lady, i’m not stopping today, too cold.”

I did: Hurried straight past and into H & M just to see if they had that gorgeous stripey top i’d spied the day before”.

A scumbag of the highest order.

And do you know what i also did last week? I gave a present to a charity that donates Xmas presents to those children that are unlikely to get any this year. And i was smug. Ooh, look at me, little miss charitable. “And it’s ToyStory. I bet my present’s the frickin’ best present this kids ever had.”

Had i gone out and bought this gift with my own fair hands, reached into my own warm pockets? Of course not. It was a double gift left over from my son’s last birthday.

What a schmuck.

If you want to see how it should be done this Christmas check out The Bloggess’s seasonal pledge. Now this little lady is most definitely NOT a scumbag.

Dummies

17 Nov

Neither of my children had a dummy. I didn’t really like the look of them. Substituting something natural for something unnatural, just because you couldn’t hack the noise. Babies make noise. Plus it looked cheap.

My eldest (4) still has a muslin he calls a Yah. His favourite is the “crispy yah” – an old, well chewed muslin square where the saliva has hardened on a corner, probably mixed with a bit of chewed up food. He likes to play with the crispy bit and tickle the end of his nose with it.

He complains when i try to give him a clean, fresh one because (you’ve guessed it) it’s not crispy.

At night he shoves about half of the muslin in his mouth and massages it with the muscles at the back of this throat producing a very loud clicking noise. I know this because if he ever sleeps in our bed it keeps me awake.

I find these Yahs everywhere. Discarded on the floor, down the side of the sofa, under his pillow, in the car. Disposing of them involves handling a soggy, smelly piece of cloth which makes me wince. Recently he has taken to having many Yahs all at once. I found this out when removing one from his mouth in the middle of the night (as I try to do every night) only to find 3 more under the duvet and one under the bed.

It is an obsession with hygiene implications. A dependancy way worse than any dummy, and tolerated only because we can’t face the consequences of taking them away.

In my face.

Stating the bleedin’ obvious

9 Nov

You know those times when you’re in a bad mood, and sadly your children suffer a bit. They’re being naughty but you have the patience of a drug addicted gnat on a rolled up £10 note so you are grumpily chastising them more than you normally would. You start to tell them off, and it just carries on like diarrhea until you’re halfway through a sentence and you’re stumbling over the words. You’re no longer sure what you’re saying, you stutter and then out pops something that not even you understand. It plainly lacks all logic. Or you’ve grasped desparately for a word to finish the argument that you’ve picked on something ludicrously grown up like “irresponsible” or “pedantic” and your poor child is looking up at you as if you’re talking in Swahili. The voice inside your head is muttering “Christ Henri, is that the best you can do? No wonder you lack authority when it comes to these children”.

Well at the moment, my favourite nugget of parental nonsense that seems to pop out of my mouth at peak moments of stress seems to be the following;

“Why are you crying over something as silly as that? All this whining is not the way to get what you want. Oh come on, can we stop now? That’s enough. Now really i can’t. take much more. than this…OH FOR GOODNESS SAKE, WILL YOU JUST STOP BEHAVING LIKE A CHILD!!!”

Yeah exactly. Authority. None.

Not all boys can be cherubs

1 Nov

What is it with mums and their son’s hair? Is it me or are there an awful lot of , let’s face it, perfectly pleasant looking but certainly not ethereal, boys running around with mops of hair down to their shoulders because mum thinks it looks angelic?

Mud coloured rather than golden, wavy and strawlike rather than falling in golden ringlets.

Why does everyone seem to think that they can recreate the cherubin look on their child just by growing their hair long and never brushing it?

I know that having boys can be limiting. The clothes are never as good. The shoes are definitely pretty ugly. And if you’ve always wanted girls, well, it must be frustrating not to be able to indulge your love of all things frilly and glittery. But it’s like mothers are losing all perspective of what their child actually looks like. I know that every parent thinks their child is a Caravaggio (Mr Milk recently put a picture of my youngest on facebook thinking Botacelli might come back from the grave to stare in awe and wonderment), but we need to get real.

“But it’s the only time in their life when they can grow their hair like that. They’re so innocent and sweet and adorable.” What utter tosh.

At this point i’m sure i’ll be getting all the feminists out there screaming at me to stop adhering to a stereotypical segregation of the sexes based on superficialities, or some such. I actually have absolutely no issue with boys having long hair per se, just if it looks crap, and let’s face it, most of the time it looks crap.

He might be a cute, innocent little 3 yr old, but a mullet is still a mullet.

sore feet, misplaced vanity

21 Aug

photo reproduced from http://www.ltmcollection.org/

To that woman i saw hobbling along the street as we drove back from Heaver today after a lovely family day out:

If you can’t walk in the bloody shoes don’t wear them.

This isn’t the 19th Century where you’re carried about by a sedan chair and a couple of porters. There are lots of lovely shoes out there you could at least make a good attempt at teetering in when you’re sober.

You might say you only need to get from cab to bar and back to cab. But really, you’re being a tad unrealistic.

The thing is, when you stand in front of that mirror you might look all perfect with your freshly manicured nails,  topped-up tan , hair coiffed and lines botoxed, but when you’re in motion my lovely, you just look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame with skinny legs and a nice pair of shoes.

One quick trip to the loo and the aura of sophistication and glamour you’ve worked so hard to create is gone in an instant. Poof.

Why can’t men……

17 Aug

(a few gripes about “liquids” and things)

Why can’t men wee in the right place? I mean they’ve been blessed with the anatomical equivalent of a super charged water gun, so where exactly is the problem? It’s either all over the floor and seat. Or in the wardrobe.

Ok, so i’m mainly talking about my sons (the floor) but my husband is about the only grown up man i know that has never weed in a wardrobe (to my knowledge anyhow). In the case of a good friend (no names) he was partial to a wee in his girlfriend’s shoes. Ok, it was when he was drunk. But if you’re going to bother to wee into something, surely it might as well be the toilet. Otherwise, the floor is just as good. Or bad. If you see what i mean.

And why don’t men notice things? It’s not as if they even just walk straight PAST things without noticing. They can walk through, in or even OVER things. Put a dirty nappy in their path through the front door, sat just waiting to be put out, and they’ll step over it. Carefully, so as not to squidge out its contents. And when you ask them “Did you not see that nappy waiting to go out” they’ll say “What nappy?”.

And empty cartons of milk put back in the fridge. Sorry, let’s rephrase that. Put back with “s-o-m-e left”, if you count enough for a bumble bee bidet as a useable portion.

And toilet rolls. How do they manage to leave just enough to wipe a badger’s arse, but certainly not mine. The last bit that’s always stuck solid to the loo roll. “But there’s s-o-m-e left”. Here we go again. So they don’t bin it. How considerate.

They’re also pretty economical at finding space in a bin bag.

Christ. In hindsight what am i complaining about? Their super-economy, non-wasteful activities are positively laudible. They’ll be saving the planet right there.

To be fair i’m pretty sure it’s not all purposeful cheek. They really just don’t seem to register.

Duh.

Actually, I watched a documentary once that tried to argue this point, backing it up with quasi-scientific (that’s “fabricated” to me and you) evidence. Women are programmed to notice detail, men are not. That’s why we are more naturally suited to the domestic.

No really, they did try to argue that.

Oh well, it’s not all bad. At least it means they believe you when you tell them you’ve had that pair of shoes since, like, F-O-R-E-V-E-R, when you prance out for a night on the town with a brand new pair of (non sale) jimmy choo shoes.

(Yeah, okay, who am i kidding? Dorothy Perkins with the labels still intact)

Still, it’s like pulling the wool over the just opened, watery eyes of a tiny baby lamb. Ahhh.

Who needs fathers?

12 Aug

Maybe I’m unqualified to write this post seeing as, luckily, my family are still very much together. However, its something i feel really strongly about, and even more so since watching the fantastic BBC 2 series on fatherhood (Fatherhood Season).

It really pisses me off when some women bash on about fathers being unnecessary. That women can do it all on their own.

I’m not talking about situations where women find themselves on their own (or men) through death or abandonment. Of course both men and women can do brilliant jobs on their own if they have to (and thousands do a great job up and down the country – my mum was an ace single mum).

I’m not talking about same sex partnerships, where a child might have two mothers or two fathers. I’ve seen examples heaped on examples of truly fantastic parenting in “a-typical” family set-ups.

What i have a real issue with is women shutting out willing and able fathers because seemingly their hatred for their ex spouse is stronger than their desire to do the right thing for their children.

I’ve long had real sympathy for those cape crusaders standing about on public buildings. It’s true i don’t know all the backgrounds, and i’m sure there are cases where the woman is (or thinks she is) doing the right thing by her children by not letting them see their father. He is unreliable, lets them down too often. A bad influence. On drugs, or drink.

But where exactly does a flawed father become a better father by being absent? If a father is willing and able is it ever acceptable to shut them out?

Even if he pisses you off. Left you heartbroken for a woman half your age. Is it still not important to nurture your kid’s relationship with him?

In a society that screams for men to take responsibility. Embrace equal parenting. Why do we think it’s acceptable to see them as second class citizens once a relationship breaks down? Socially AND legally.

It just feels like a bit of a crap redundancy policy.

And good dads are really very special. Wait. Even moderately average dads are pretty damn important.