Saturday, 5 June 2010

If this is news, then I'm a banana

I have always felt it important that we support our local newspapers, because if we don't, they'll die out but frankly, after reading a particular non-story in my local newspaper I'm starting to wonder if that is entirely a bad thing.

"Banana Drama For Irma" announces the headline, playing fast and loose with the meaning of the word drama. Goodness me, thinks the reader. What drama can this be? Let us read on, our admiration for the poor sod sent to interview Irma growing by every paragraph.

Irma said she was given the oddly shaped fruit after eating dinner one night at her residential home.

"I said, 'Oh, I've got a straight banana! I thought it was a joke," she explained.

I'm saying nothing about a 90 year old woman thinking it possible that someone, somewhere has "straightened" her banana as a joke. Yesterday I wandered around the house for 20 minutes looking for my specs, and only found them when I caught (blurry) sight of myself in a mirror and saw they were perched on my head. Ahem.

Meanwhile, the gripping drama of the straight banana continues. Are there any more details the dogged reporter can winkle out of Irma? How, for example, had Irma come across the straight banana? "Instead of the usual pudding I asked for fruit," she explains. Ah yes, how often we have done this ourselves. Well, I haven't, I don't live in an old people's home, but let's not get bogged down in piffling detail.

But what's this? The banana, it transpires, has changed. Our eager reporter is desperate for more details and Irma is only too happy to provide them. "It was a beautiful yellow to start with, but after a while it started to go brown." Alas, we are not told which shade of brown, a tragic oversight in my opinion.

Naturally, the reporter wishes to end this enthralling tale on a positive note. What will be the fate of the straight banana? Will it, perhaps, be preserved in a fruit museum, possibly in a tank of formaldehyde? Or studded with diamonds and sold to a very wealthy, straight banana collector?

Irma is keen to bring us down to earth. "If I can't do anything else, I will eat it," she announces, showing the kind of Churchillian spirit that made this country what it is today, that is, a place where people will eat brown, straight bananas.

How the mother of crap is this a story?

Friday, 22 January 2010

Milk, Actually

One of the great bonuses of Twitter are the internet gems fellow tweeters unearth.

Today, the sharp eyes of @victoriapeckham spotted this bit of lunacy (or upownarseitis, a doctor writes)

For those lazy sods who can't be bothered to read it all, in essence, Livia Firth, wife of British actor Colin, has a blog, courtesy of Apparently our Livia is keen on sourcing ethical garments and even keener on the exclamation mark, thus:

"With hours to go until the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, you’ll be relieved to know that I have settled on a dress! With a whole rail of great LA green designers, who should I choose for the second red carpet?!

I'm going for US designer Casey Larkin’s label, Mr Larkin. And the big story is: it’s made from milk fibre!

See how far I’ve come?!"

Yes Livia, indeed we can and I think I speak for all of us when I say how much we are all looking forward to Mr Larkin moving even further into the milk fashion arena and developing yoghurt g-strings and cheese shirts.

But wait! What is this I see? Why, 'tis an "exclusive interview" with non other than Miss Milkmaid 2010, Livia Firth! (Sorry, over-use of exclamation marks is catching).

Our keen interviewer, "greenmystyle" editor Sarah Woodhead, is clearly overcome with admiration simply to be in such a green luminary's presence. Oh good Lord, there's more of them.

"What happens when four influential and passionate women get together to chat ethical fashion and homewares?" she inquires, tense with anticipation. "The answer is a brand new shopping idea, of course!" (Sarah is also a fan of the exclamation mark.)

This shopping idea is 12 Degrees Of Fashion, a "buzzy new pop-up shop concept devoted to ethical fashion. "With a different pop-up fashion shop arriving every month for a year, and workshops too," says a breathless Sarah, "Livia, along with eco fashion doyennes Orsola de Castro, Lucy Siegle and Jocelyn Whipple, is one busy lady."

Isn't Jocelyn Whipple just the BEST name ever?

The rest of the interview is just a load of ethical old horsesh*t (which is green if nothing else) apart from her throwaway remark when asked what she's wearing. She name drops a couple of designers and then says "and my boots, which are not from an ethical designer but I’ve had them for five years..."

Livia's ethical credentials are thus shown to have feet of clay, albeit shod in five year old boots.

As you may recall from previous blog posts, I'm no lover of Shane Watson but I reckon Livia Firth could give her a run for her money.

Here's the best bit:

"Sarah: Livia, your life must be hectic. How do you manage to fit it all in? Does Colin help?
Livia: My life is hectic yes but this is my personality and I can’t help it. Colin? who is Colin?!"

No woman should be defined by the man she is married to, but for Livia, I shall make an exception and say to her, look love, your husband is the reason anyone gives even the most infinitesimal toss about you and your banana milkshake trousers.

Anyway, I must get on. I need to ring four passionate - not too sure about the influential - women and get them round to my house, pronto. We're going to come up with a shop "idea". Any suggestions?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Holy Sh*t

In my determined quest to stop the puppy widdling in the house, I have started taking him for longer and longer walks so that he will only pee outside. The puppy has got wise to this and manages to walk for at least an hour and a half, clenching his bladder heroically in order to save his watery messages for his return to the house.

I also read somewhere (gosh, aren't I thorough in my research) that walking a dog on the pavement is the best way to keep his claws at a reasonable length, preventing them strafing my thighs when he jumps up to greet me in the mornings.

To achieve these twin aims, this morning the hound and I walked around the streets of a not particularly nice part of Harrogate, as I am bored with walking around the best streets and planning which house I shall buy when I win Euro Millions (any day now, I am certain).

What an eye-opener, not to say nose closer. The streets were a veritable cesspit of dog mess. Numerous piles of rancid coils in varying states of spludgy decay decorated every pavement - forcing me to stop listening to The Archers Omnibus at the crucial moment when Brenda learns she hasn't been offered an interview for the job of Office Manager but Susan has - and instead concentrate on performing a kind of poo slalom.

Every coat I possess has at least two poo bags in each pocket. This has certainly proved interesting when groping for shopping bags in Lidl ("you'll never fit everything into that", said a particularly arch checkout operator yesterday) but if I can do it, why can't everyone else? It's not pleasant but it's an essential part of the responsibility of being a dog owner. Admittedly, some of the bowel movements left on the asphalt gave rise to the possibility that some Harrogate residents have eschewed the dog as a domestic pet and have instead chosen to go down the elephant route, but really. It's repulsive.

When I walk through the town's beautiful Valley Gardens, which is full of dog walkers by the way, there is not a single fetid deposit to be found. When I walk around the posh to middling bits of Harrogate, ditto. I am simply presenting these facts, I am not making any comment. I am only asking: why?

Friday, 18 December 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Cole is five months old and has never seen snow. He was therefore rather impressed this morning with this:

The Teens and I took him for a walk this afternoon, but he was far too excited to stand still for even TEN BLOODY SECONDS so I could take his photograph:

And even if I manage to snap a photo, a coal-black coat is not the best colour for showing detail:

The Teens, on the other hand, will happily stand still when I want to take a photo of them:

And they don't pee on the carpet either.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Don't come crying to me........

My beloved son was home this weekend. Well, I say home. I hardly saw him. He arrived at midnight on Friday, slept till noon on Saturday, went out on Saturday night with his friends, slept till eleven on Sunday and returned to his school two hours later. His room, which I had scrubbed, dusted, tidied, made up the bed with fresh linen, etc etc (you get the picture) looked like a typhoon had had a party in it within 20 minutes. Without thinking, I found myself yelling: "You treat this place like a HOTEL!"

Arrrghh. I have become my mother. When did that happen?

This got me thinking (rather like Carrie in SATC, only thinking about it, not rather like Carrie, in that I weigh more than two stones) about the stuff our mothers said to us when we were growing up. Here's a sample. Feel free to add your own bon mots.

(When asking if I could have a bike for Christmas five minutes after I'd spilled tomato soup all over the kitchen table) "Bike? I'll give you bike!"

"You'll be smirking on the other side of your face!"

"If you climb up that wall once more and fall off and break your legs - don't come running to me."

"Eat like a Christian." (Yes, I know. My mother is Irish and a devout Roman Catholic. I blame the nuns.)

"If the wind changes, you'll be left looking like that."

"Don't sit on a cold wall. You'll get a chill on your kidneys." (Perhaps there is a mysterious wall somewhere that is warm?)

"You can't go out with freshly washed hair. You'll catch a chill." (Whereabouts of said chill, unspecified.)

Me to my mother as she was making a cake: "Can I lick out the bowl?" Mother to me: "No. If you eat raw cake mixture, you'll get worms."

Mother to my sister and I: "If you two are going to kill each other, do it outside. I've just washed the floor."

"Keep that crying up, and I'll give you something to cry about!"

"Look at the dirt on the back of your neck." (How, Mum?)

"There's starving children in Africa that would be grateful for that cabbage."

"Eat your crusts or you'll never get curly hair."

And finally:

"One day you'll have children. THEN YOU'LL SEE..........."

Monday, 30 November 2009

She's behind you!! (Oh no she isn't.....)

It's Panto season. And this year, I've come into contact with both a Wicked Stemother

and a Fairy Godmother
(you know who you are).

I've had just the BEST few days away from home, staying with a terrific Twitter friend and meetings lots of other Tweeters. I went down South to see my son in his school play, "Animal Farm". I'm biased, obviously, but I thought it was a tremendous production (well done, Aldenham School)and afterwards I met my son's housemaster, who told me my son was doing really well. I can't tell you how pleased I was to hear this.

Those of you who read my blog regularly (hello, and thank you) will know that I was nervous about the son and heir leaving home and going to a new school and living with his father and stepmother and although the school has worked out brilliantly, home life has not.

His stepmother did not enjoy having her stepson living with her AT ALL. She made life increasingly difficult for him as the weeks went on. He was not allowed, for example, to study at home at the weekends. This, apparently, was not productive and he had to take himself off to Barnet library every Saturday and Sunday. Last weekend she caught him taking a small bottle of water with him and made him put it back in the fridge. "You get pocket money - buy your own water," was the instruction. Several hours later, he returned home in the pouring rain and couldn't get in (he's not allowed a house key; no reason given). He rang his father who explained that he and his wife were shopping and would be home in an "hour or so". He was to "find some shelter" and wait.

Then a few days ago, he was told that his father and stepmother wouldn't be coming to see him in "Animal Farm" as his stepmother, believe it or not, "didn't feel wanted".

On Friday last week I was told by my son that as from January, he would be a full-time boarder at his school. Presumably the decision to whisk my son down to Hertfordshire and live with them hadn't, um, worked out.

Fortunately, he's delighted to be boarding. And because he's happy about it, so am I.

I have no idea what it must be like to be a stepmother, but I imagine it's difficult. Welcoming someone else's child into your home cannot be easy, indeed it must be fraught with difficulties. I'm not going to say what I think of his father's role in all this because I can't do so without recourse to........... well, I'm sure you know what I'd like to say.

I worry every day how this will affect my son's feelings about himself: what will it do to his self-esteem? What kind of relationship will he have now with his father? Will he ever have any relationship with his stepmother? Somewhere along the line I feel I've failed him, but I don't know how to rectify this other than to make sure he knows he is loved and that I'm proud of him for dealing with this farcical situation with more grace and dignity than I would ever have thought possible.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

And they call it Puppy Love

If you all want to tell me I'm mad, that's fine. I know.

But just look at him. How can you not love that little face? His glossy black coat that makes him look as though he's been in the tumble drier? The teens raided their savings accounts to buy him and he wasn't in the least bit expensive either. He's an English Springer Spaniel, Patterdale Terrier cross, although at only seven weeks' old he is already much more Spaniel than Terrier.

We love him. Although I hadn't banked on his piteous mewing noises being quite so loud.

Especially when he's asleep.