Thursday, December 28, 2006

New beginnings..

Come and sit down for a minute, said the Other Half. I want to talk to you.

It was about nine o’clock on Christmas morning. Fuck, I thought. He’s going to leave me. On Christmas day! He’s never sat me down to have a talk before. What on earth can have happened? Nervously I made my way to the sofa and awaited my fate.

We’ve talked about this before, he said. You’ve always said that a girl likes to be asked. So, I’m asking you now. Producing a small, jade green box from his pocket, he continued speaking…Will you marry me? As he opened the box to reveal a beautiful, delicate diamond ring, I stared in utter disbelief and tried to assimilate what was happening. We have talked about getting married, and it was tacitly agreed that it would definitely happen at some point, but for some reason* I wanted to be asked properly instead of just drifting into it. And here we were, having a Proper Proposal. I must have looked so shocked as to have panicked him slightly….Um, so will you?

At this point emotion took over. As I offered a slightly wobbly “of course!!” we just sort of stared at each other, simultaneously grinning like lunatics and crying like girls. It was beautiful. The ring is beautiful. The Other Half has once again proved himself to be the most wonderful man on the planet and we couldn’t be happier.

So. We are engaged. Squeee!

It’s only just starting to sink in that this means we will be getting married in the next couple of years or so. A wedding. Blimey. Having been at my brother and sisters’ weddings (they didn’t marry each other – we might be a slightly odd family but we’re not that weird), I will admit to a slight pang of I-want-this during my father’s speeches. But, you see, I’m not really a big-white-dress-and-dancing-with-my-aunties sort of girl. If we have a wedding like that, my mother will want to come. If my mother were to come, my father and stepmother wouldn’t attend. To be honest, if my mother were to come I don’t think the Other Half and I would attend either. It would just be my mother and the registrar, shuffling uncomfortably and wondering when the buffet was kicking off. Bruh.

But I don’t know what I do want to do. Mostly, I want to be barefoot on a sandy beach. Just me and him and a celebrant. Waiters for witnesses. Jumpers for goalposts. All that. But then I want Small Person there too. But it wouldn’t be a children’s holiday really, would it? So what if we get married here, then go off somewhere on honeymoon? But where, here? I’m fairly confident that a registrar’s office isn’t for us. All silk flowers and stuffiness and being glared at by a portrait of the mayor.

I’m just so difficult. So, for the moment, I’m just revelling in the warm-and-fuzzies. Life is pretty fucking brilliant, all things considered.


* The reason being, of course, that under the sulky-teenager bravado and the tattoos and the snarling and the grouchiness, I am really a hopeless romantic. But don’t tell. Shhh.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Season's Bleatings

So, kids. It's that time of year again.

Here at Surly Towers the preparations are in full swing. Well, I've bought a turkey. And some Pringles. So we're all set, pretty much. I get to see Small Person on christmas day this year, which pleases me no end. Then it's lunch with Mother on Boxing Day, and off to Fifi Sis' that evening (sans Mother. Woo!) for karaoke and much silliness. Hurray!

The pressure of wondering what to buy for people, actually getting round to buying it and spending three weeks vaguely knowing I ought to wrap some stuff but not actually bothering to do it means that, as usual, I have left everything until the very last minute.

All of which is a bit of a long-winded way of saying that D-Flat Chime Bar is closed for the festive season. I'll be back some time after christmas, when I will launch into a protracted whine about how fat I have got over the holiday, and how January sucks because it is long and cold and dark and hasn't got any money in it and how I can't even seek solace in sweet, sweet alcohol since we have decided to Go On The Wagon and maybe last a bit longer than this year where we got to the 8th of January and went to the pub.

So. Anyway. Ever mindful of the need to watch my cultural manners, I will close by wishing you all a very happy Winterval. Click here for seasonal joy (needs sound).

Carry on.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cup of tea, Mr Herriot?

Once again, I am confused.

Now, I know this is pretty much standard operating procedure round these part. Life in general confuses me. But hear me out.

I didn’t arrive at work until this afternoon, which in turn delayed my usual browsing-the-news-while-pretending-to-be-working routine. It wasn’t until nearly lunchtime that I happened across this frankly astonishing story. I just don’t know where to begin.

Let’s try and break this down. Some dolphins (in China) have swallowed some plastic. Attempts to retrieve said plastic using “instruments”* failed, as those pesky dolphins used the old contracting-the-stomach manoeuvre to avoid giving up those delicious plasticky shards. But, you see, the dolphins are their own worst enemies. Shame and remorse have led to depression, and unhappy dolphins make for unhappy visitors. Something has to be done. But what? Experienced, qualified zoo vets are flummoxed. Brows are furrowed, heads are scratched. What to do?

I know! Let’s google “arms longest Asia”! A flurry of keystrokes later and a plan is formulated. 7 foot 8-and-a-bit inch Mongolian herdsman Bao Xishun is, presumably, flown** straight in to resolve the dolphin/foreign object interface situation. In an unrivalled display of modern veterinary technique, towels are carefully applied to the dolphins’ jaws to stop all that bitey/scratchy stuff that always happens (to me, anyway) when going shoulder-deep in aquatic mammals*** and Mr Bao was straight in there. With scant self-regard and selfless bravery, he plunged his arm one after the other into the dolphins’ mouths, wiggled about a bit and then held his glittering prize aloft, a bit like in the final of the Krypton Factor where a social worker from Kettering correctly slotted the last piece into his 3D model of the human genome in the shortest time and got to take home a cut-glass rose bowl with his name scratched into it. Hurray!

What the fuck?

Seriously. What. The. Fuck.

* I bet they never tried the fangufangu nose flute, as beloved by the people of Tonga. Amateurs.

** The story is a little sketchy on the details. Perhaps Mr Bao was just passing by. Maybe he’s on twenty-four-hour call, worldwide, for people who lose stuff and need someone with really long arms to retrieve it. I just don’t know.

*** Shut up.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Crazy talk

I swear, the world has gone mad.

Let's look at the evidence.

Kerry Katona, despite being a pudgy crack-whore (how does she do that? what's her secret? Is she mainlining golden syrup on the side?) who has recently been shopped to social services after being outed by her own mother in the tabloid press, and who is about to marry a thieving drug dealer, is still the advertisers' favourite; touting happy, wholesome festive fare from Britain's favourite, ahem, budget frozen food store. I mean, if the sight of a pikey scouse junkie isn't enough to tempt you into a bulk purchase of Iceland's famous king prawn rings, you must surely have a stone for a heart.

My six year old daughter has accepted Jesus into her life. I learned this from the Ex who, on delivering her home on Sunday after the christmas party at the British Legion (don't ask), whispered conspiratorially "we've failed as parents" and informed me, between horrified giggles, that Small Person had had quite the chat with Grandma over the weekend. Apparently, she (Small Person) has taken to buying bible story books from jumble sales and hiding them under Grandma's spare bed. She also, um, prays on the toilet, as she "can't do it in her room as Mummy or Daddy don't believe in it". For want of a better phrase, good lord! What the hell? So, on Sunday night, I had to have a cuddly chat in which I explained, through gritted teeth, that her beliefs were her own affair but that she could of course discuss them with any of us whenever she wanted. Oh, and that maybe her bedroom might be more comfortable if she felt a spot of praying coming on. We're doing the facts of life next week. Spare me.

You can't watch TV for more than five seconds these days without being accosted by adverts for the current christmas advertising wet dream, namely the DVD game thing. It's everywhere! From the more, um , mainstream offerings of Trivial Pursuit and Who Wants to Win Thirty-Two Thousand Pounds, to the slightly more random joys of Richard and Judy's You Say We Pay, which, despite retaining the moronic on-screen presence of two third-rate presenters fluffing difficult clues such as "it's round!", "it's orange!", "it's an fruit!" and the hapless contestant (in the home version I presume this gap is filled by a Mad Auntie after a fair crack at the port and lemon) determinedly getting it wrong, fundamentally fails to fulfil the "We Pay" part of the bargain. Rubbish. See also the oddly-marketed Michael Barrymore DVD game, which blithely ignores said "entertainer"'s status as potential witness in a still-unexplained death-in-the-swimming-pool-at-a-drug-filled-party enquiry, and instead urges you to invite the man in question into your living room to really hammer home the fun of a good old knees-up.

Still, soon be christmas, eh? Eh? Bollocks.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Um, no?

So anyway, I ordered this watch online.

It's just a bog-standard Casio cheap shitty running watch. I figure that if I actually get a new one, it might give me the impetus to stop smoking, start the running again and stop the gradual descent into walrus that I am currently in the grip of. I hate shopping in Real Life, so online is the place for me.

I ordered this watch on 27th November. By December 8th I still had no watch, and had heard nothing from the company I ordered it from. I checked my confirmation email and noticed the little "we're great!" customer service blah at the bottom of it - apparently, this company is "fanatical" about doing the very best for their customers. Right, thought I. Lets sort this out.

I was wondering, I politely enquired, when my order might be despatched? I've been waiting ages, you see and I haven't heard a thing from your "fanatical" customer service team. Any ideas?

Mind you, they did reply pretty sharpish. I was a little taken aback, however:

Unfortunatley, the Timex watch that you have requested is current out of stock. As yet, we do not have a delivery date for this and so I cannot be sure that we will have it with you before Christmas.

Are you happy to wait for this indefinatley?

Please acceot our apologies for this.

Kind Regards

Eh? What? What sort of transaction have I entered into here? How long should I wait before cancelling my order and going to Bloody Argos like I should have done in the first place? Should I give it a month? Five years? The rest of my natural life? Will my watch finally appear, even as I move the single cardboard box containing my worldly goods into my one-room, council-run retirement "flat"?


Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Thanks to the lovely Arabella, I don't have to think of anything to post about today. I don't normally do memes*, but, you know, what with it being Wednesday and all.

1) If my shoes don't match my handbag....I am confused. Why do I have a handbag? I don't do handbags, unless I am somewhere posh that demands I hide my fags and tampons and I do not have any pockets. I am more of a giant cavernous satchel girl myself. Or a rucksack when exploring derelict mental asylums, to hold orange squash, ham sandwiches and mace**.

2) The first record I bought was.....Wherever I Lay My Hat by Paul Young. Technically I didn't actually buy it. I had new Clarks school shoes and received a voucher entitling me to a free single. I chose Paul Young and so began a three-year obsession. It could have been worse - I think one of the other choices was a Simply Red record***. Doesn't bear thinking about, does it?

3) One of the things I like to eat is....cheese and marmite sandwiches. They rock. Fact.

4) A few years ago I considered.....taking my mother up on her offer of a paid ticket to Hong Kong to live with the gorgeous Fifi Sis. I didn't take her up on it of course. I would have missed going to the pub with my friends and claiming the dole and living hand to mouth and shopping in the out-of-date section at Sainsburys. Durrr.

5) I miss.....riding a motorbike. I really am going to get another one one of these days. If only I had some money, and a basic understanding of when a bike is a good one and when it might turn out to be a rusty, unreliable money pit. Boo.

So, there you go. Fascinating, wasn't it. If you want to take this and use it instead of thinking of anything to write, like I have, please feel free****. And I didn't mention baked beans once. Result!

* Yeah, yeah. We all say that, don't we? And everyone does them anyway. I'm just trying to be all cool and nonchalant and stuff. Is it working?

** This is not true. I generally carry fags, a torch, site maps and a great deal of fear, of the head-swivelling what-the-fuck-was-THAT? variety. No mace. And I prefer blackcurrant squash. So refreshing.

*** My inner pedant demands that I footnote that this couldn't possibly have been the case since Simply Red didn't have a record out in the summer of 1983. In the true spirit of pedantry, I looked up a chart listing to confirm this, and googled a Simply Red discography to back myself up. I really hate myself at times.

**** See? There I go again!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Hot action here

Whenever I heat up baked beans, I get to thinking about how they end up hot.

Ohhh, yes! I think to myself, when the heat hits the beans it agitates the molecules and that's how the beans get hot. Now, I have no idea at all whether this is even true. For all I know I have totally made it up. Actually writing it down now, it seems a little implausible to me. And I never think it at any other time, or when I'm doing any other cooking-related activity. Only when I'm heating baked beans. Every. Single. Time.


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