Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Shanewatch (an ongoing series)

She's at it again. You may recall my trashing of Shane Watson in a previous post and I'm afraid to report she's at it again.

In her latest must-read column in The Times she's back on the subject of WHAT MEN WANT. Oh yes. And what do they want? Shane, in her infinite wisdom, is able to tell us:

"We know that smudgy eyes and Balmain jackets and snakeskin heels are hot, even if men insist they prefer us in bias-cut dresses with shiny wavy hair and a pair of flip-flops.

Ah, how right she is. Men are forever poring over the Boden catalogue, suggesting that their girlfriends/wives buy that nice little bias-cut dress and then jump artfully over the nearest puddle/rock pool.

How would we ever get dressed without her?

The Magic Finger

I'm going to cut to the chase today. I cut through my finger, right down to the knuckle, last week. See, I'm not mincing my words, am I? I minced my finger though. Well, not minced exactly, more sort of sliced, but that wouldn't work, would it, saying I'm not slicing my words and I don't have a sub-editor to go all Giles Coren on.

Anyway, the finger slicing happened because some months ago the ceiling underneath my bathroom collapsed, all due to something and nothing really; running a bath and then, er, pratting around on Twitter and forgetting all about it.

The plasterer (lovely chap) has been and gone, and the decorators are due to start work this week. This led me to stare speculatively at what I believe is called "the paintwork". You know, skirting boards, banisters, door frames, doors etc. I didn't need to be the impossibly rude Ann Maurice to recognise that all of the aforementioned needed re-painting. The doors in particular have taken rather a lot of abuse. A shouty mother and two teens makes for rather a lot of slamming.

Funds being non-existent, I decided to brave the hell hole that is my utility room and see what half-used tins of paint might be lurking in the cupboards and could be pressed into service. Who cares if the various shades of white (china/chalk/cotton) don't match? Pish. Eventually Homes and Gardens will catch up with me and recognise that not-quite-matching shades of white are interior design's new black.

The search for suitable paints took rather longer than I'd anticipated, as the utility room is a repository for all kinds of crap. I have inherited my mother's thrifty gene, which means I am afraid to throw stuff out. Unfortunately, I haven't inherited her concomitant practicality, which would mean I actually do something with the object, instead of shoving it in a cupboard in case it "comes in" later.

So, after I'd waded through mountains of guarantee certificates and instruction booklets for various appliances that broke down years ago and were sold on via car boot sales (don't judge me, I needed the money)I found a plastic tin of paint that looked entirely suitable for the job. If I liked the colour, I'd start with that. Only I couldn't get the lid off, could I. Not even with my special paint tin lid remover gadget thingy. So I moved onto kitchen knives (nope), forks (bent in Uri-Geller fashion), screwdrivers (nope again) and finally my son's Swiss Army pen knife. I don't know exactly how I did it, but the plastic lid bent, the knife blade closed back on itself and seconds later I was clutching the knuckle of my right index finger, screaming "Arrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggghhhhhhhhh!" and trying to stem the flow of blood with dishclothes, tea towels and anything else I could reach.

About an hour later, when I'd stopped blubbing, I peeled off the makeshift bandages and had an experimental wiggle of my finger (bad idea of the week). Blast. Still bleeding. I couldn't ignore this, I would have to go to A&E. Now, I enjoy four hours of sitting in a waiting room looking at children with pans stuck on their heads as much as the next person, but I had a meeting to go to in a couple of hours and I couldn't afford to miss it (collecting payment). On the other hand, I was in rather a lot of pain, and it was a weekday morning, so surely Casualty couldn't be that busy? Pausing only to secure my bloodstained, tea towel-bandaged finger with a scrunchie, I got onto my bicycle and started the long cycle to the hospital.

For a mercy, the roads weren't busy, and you'd be amazed at how quickly one stops when one brakes only with one hand, although there is a certain amount of skidding involved. Free-wheeling downhill, the scrunchie failed to hold everything together and my now bright red tea towel unravelled, flapping gaily in the wind and scattering droplets of blood on startled passers-by.

When I arrived at the hospital and went to park my bike, I realised that in my panic, I hadn't brought my bike lock. The Hospital Reception staff greeted my pleas for some sort of substitute with blank stares. Eventually one bored charmer looked up from her computer monitor and called behind her to her equally bored colleague: "We haven't got anything that would do, have we Leanne?" Leeane dragged herself away from the no doubt thrilling occupation of gazing into space and replied "What?...............No."

I was then treated to a gripping lecture on the hospital's policy of parking at one's own risk, cannot be held responsible, more than my job's worth etc, and decided to cycle back home and patch my finger up myself, rather than face the distinct possibility of having my bike stolen for the sake of an elastoplast.

The following night I went round to a friend's house for dinner and one of the guests was a male nurse, who kindly gave the offending digit the professional once-over, asked me what I'd done to fix it (sprayed a bit of antiseptic spray on the wound, applied a couple of steri-strips, a dressing and covered the lot with a finger bandage) and said I done exactly what he would have done and not to worry.

And where did I find such professional wound dressing supplies? You'll never guess. The utility room.