Saturday, 29 September 2007
It’s dark. The scene is a house on a hill. Police cars are everywhere and the house is cordoned off. There is a small crowd of neighbours watching the comings and goings of the CSI team.
Gil Grissom arrives in his SUV and grabs his bag before entering the dark house. As he enters, he switches on his flashlight as it looks moodier.
“Grissom, you’re here. Good.” says Brass, “We’ve got a possible B and E, but no sign of anyone else on the premises. Just this smell and this mess.”
He gestures to a couch that has been ripped apart. There is foam and stuffing everywhere. A child’s Baby Annabel toy doll is lying on the floor, still blinking and calling for mama, but with her innards ripped out.
“And the family?”
“Go by the name of the Flying Martinis. No real previous. Married, two kids. All gone.”
“I see, who was first on the scene?” Grissom asks.
“I was” says Sara, looking up from swabbing an area of carpet, “No bodies, no inhabitants, just this mess…and that smell”
“Have you found anything?”
“Traces of urine…not human. Animal, maybe?” she says with a business like air, unsuccessfully trying to mask the sexual tension between her and Grissom .
Greg Sanders suddenly rushes in the front door, “I’ve just come from the back garden. For want of a better word, it’s carnage, Grissom. Plants are eaten, lawn’s all ripped up, there’s broken household items everywhere; I’ve never seen anything like it. No bodies, but there’s woman’s underwear under a bush. It doesn’t make sense.”
Footsteps are heard overhead.
“Who’s upstairs?” asked Grissom who has felt the vibrations, not hearing the noise, given that career-threatening inner ear problem.
“Catherine, she’s looking into the possibility of the underwear belonging to a stripper.”
“Why’s that? Do you think it might have something to do with all this?” asks Grissom, confused.
“ Nah, it just wouldn’t be the same without Catherine revisiting her old stripper days, It’s kinda what she does in the show” remarks Brass.
“Yeah, and we get to have a flashback to her in her heyday. Something for the Dads, isn’t that right Brass?” says Nick entering the room looking foxy.
“You said it” Brass says with cheeky smile.
Grissom moves upstairs to see Catherine.
“What are you getting Catherine?”
“I’ve been swabbing the bedroom and the upstairs bathroom. I’m getting traces of urine. But what’s strange…”
“Is that it’s not human?” offers Grissom.
“How did you know?”
“Sara’s downstairs reporting traces of animal urine. The lab will tell us more. What else ya got?”
“Well, there’s a lot of toys everywhere, all of them completely destroyed. Whoever did this is outta control. I’m thinking psychotic.” Catherine says as she shakes her head.
All of a sudden there’s a commotion downstairs.
“Grissom! Get down here! Someone, call the SWAT team!” yells Brass.
The team are faced with a black and white beast leaping about the living room.
“Well” says Grissom with his customary opening scene pun, “Looks like this place has gone to the dogs…”
Cue: “Who are you?” by the Who and Opening Titles.
Thursday, 27 September 2007
I upset a granny yesterday. In a road rage incident.
The incident is bizarre for two reasons;
1. Road rage is always bloody stupid. People who get upset in their cars should not be allowed behind a wheel. It is ridiculous. Calm the hell down, everyone.
2. You just don’t expect 70+ ladies to be the ones who are raging. I always get a shock when I hear an old lady say the F word too; it’s not right or normal.
To illustrate my point, I am going to describe the rage incident in two ways; the first story will include the vehicles, and not just because I want to namecheck my new mini. In the second, I am going to remove the cars.
Stay with me, it’ll work.
Version One: In Cars
I am in the Tesco car park with the new mini, (wink).
Our local Tesco is being completely revamped, but of course, instead of closing it down while they triple it in size, it stays open to fleece the local community, give their workers tinnitus due to the incessant building noise, and confuse the hell out of everyone as they change both the shop and car park layout every week.
I have provided a crap drawing to illustrate the layout.
(Click on pic to enlarge, or if you're using blogger, Bild anzeigen in einem Neuen Fenster)
Misssy is motoring along looking for a space. It is raining and she has just straightened her hair. Parking place proximity to shop is a concern, as she has not umbrella and has natural bedspring hair.
She spots a car space (Parking Space 1), and pulls in. But it’s a doubler!! Yay! So she moves forward into the other one (Parking Space 2) , so that she doesn’t have to reverse out. There’s still a wee distance to the shop but she’ll chance it. She has a hat just in case.
But what’s this? Another space much closer to the shop across the second carriageway?
“Beezer”, she thinks, “I’ll have that.”
So she pulls out of space 2 and motors along the carriageway which, fact fans, has ample room for cars going in both directions.
There is a red car coming from the opposite direction. Missy thinks nothing of it and as she stops she puts on her indicator to let everyone know she wants to pull into the space and let the oncoming lady go past.
The older lady does not go past.
Instead, she stops her car, window to window with Misssy. She then SCREAMS with rage at Misssy, and makes a gesture to indicate that this particular carriageway is ONE WAY.
Who knew? Does it matter, there is ample room. No danger is present.
Misssy smiles at the woman and show her surprise at this news, “Sorry!” she mouths, cheerfully, "I didn’t know”.
What happens next is bizarre. The woman doesn’t move on. Instead, she bellows a stream of abuse in the direction of Misssy. Her face is red, and then purple, with anger. As her window is not down, Misssy cannot hear exact words, but there’s a couple of “fuckings” in there . And a couple of “bitches” . Whew what a torrent!
Let’s repeat one fact. This woman is in her SEVENTIES. At least.
Then, satisfied that she has sufficiently spewed enough bile in the direction of Misssy, the angry lady carries on her way. Possibly to have a stroke.
Misssy pulls into the space and assumes the universal “What the fuck??“ facial expression.
* * * * * * * * *
Version 2: On foot
Okay, one way systems don’t exist for pedestrians. I know that. (They may do in Germany, they’re like that. Rules for everything, that lot.) Anyway, suspend your disbelief, please.
A woman is walking down a street and comes across an older woman coming from the opposite direction as she goes past.
“This is a One Way street, you are not supposed to walk this way!” the older lady bellows in the face of the younger woman.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know” explains the younger woman, smiling.
“You stupid fucking bitch,” the woman screams, her face red and then purple with anger, “What the fuck are you doing, you bloody idiot?!!! This is a ONE WAY! A ONE WAY, YOU STUPID BITCH! WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU THINK YOU WERE DOING???????!!! AAAARRRGGGGHHHH!”
The woman walks off.
The young woman assumes the universal “What the fuck??" facial expression.
* * * * * * * * *
So, I think we treat this as a public service post.
1. Don’t do road rage, it’s silly.
2. Don’t underestimate pensioners. They can be bloody vicious.
3. Smiling at road ragers is a laugh and really winds them up more (not my initial intention, but hey, what a result!)
Lessons not learned
1. Pay attention to signs in car parks
2. Don’t be so concerned about your hair that everything else takes second place.
Sunday, 23 September 2007
There is a need for a list of the New Seven Deadly Sins. I have decided.
Come on, I’ve as much right to as anyone else as let’s face it, who the hell decided what they were to be in the first place? Some repressed bloke in a frock?
Over at Top Blog Mag, my good friend American Scot dissed the whole list of the original deadly sins quite effectively. Let me quote the tattooed atheist here:
“Lust? Without it, procreation of the species is impossible!
Gluttony? Who hasn't ate that extra slice of pie?
Greed? Sure, but I equally am capable of generosity.
Sloth? What's wrong with resting once in a while?
Wrath? Perhaps I could do without some of this, but then again, being passive never got me anywhere either...
Envy? Motivation to get something done!
Pride? Why shouldn't one be proud of one's accomplishments?”
So I have (with the help of former Religious Education teacher, Meeester) come up with some new ones. To help, he is currently wearing a frock to give the whole thing some gravitas.
And before we start, I’m not asking any of you to don some robes and join our cult or anything; we couldn’t be bothered with the hassle (we’ve a new dog and two kids, don’t you know? Cults cost! Ask David Koresh!)
See if you agree with the list:
Ignorance: I met a Polish bloke this morning at Asda. He did not want to nick my job, eat my baby or rob my house. Who knew? Yet that’s the kind of crap he’s up against. Fuck’s sake, haven’t the Nazis given them enough grief? None of us belong anywhere. Ignorance is killing this planet. This must be the number one sin.
God, I did a serious there. Normal service will be resumed shortly.
Selfishness: I’m alright Jack. Well, okay you might be but are your actions causing some one else distress? Think of that next time you sit next to someone in the cinema with some nachos and melted cheese, scarf the lot then proceed to fart throughout the film. Yes, bald fat bloke who ruined the Star Wars remastered version for me and my husband, I’m talking about you!
Superciliousness: No-one is better than anyone else. This is directly aimed at the Oil Widow Mum who felt sorry for me for “having to go back to work” after my daughter was born. I’m sorry, love. You, staying at home to raise your kids, does not directly contribute to society, especially since they are all brats and my kids are ace.
You just got yourself a meal ticket husband, and clearly no job that gave you any fulfillment, because if it had, then you’d go back to work now that they are both in school. Me, I like to pay my way. Call me a bad mother. Go on, I dare you.(And while we're at it, stop driving your kids the 500 metres to school in your SUV. Walk, you lazy cow.).
Violence: I’d like to kick the shit out of violent people.
Littering: My feelings on littering are well documented. But also can everyone buy a bag for life and just use it? And can the lady in our local shop stop looking at me like I’m demented for taking my own bag instead of her landfilling plastic alternatives? You know me, lady; stop sticking my stuff in placcy bags and make me have to tell you again! I’m not a hippy mentalist with hairy armpits! (Checks). Yeah!
Littering doesn’t just mean dropping litter, it also means causing it. I’m sorry I went all serious again.
Schadenfreude: I am guilty of this to a certain extent. I like to see girls I went to school with look shitter than me. Yes, schadenfreude is funny, some would even class it as a hobby. Not me.
But really, let’s be honest, it isn’t nice. Hilarious, but not nice…
Celebrity: It should be a sin to want to be famous. This is the single ambition of so many young people.
What happened to wanting to do something? Why do you think I set up Celebrity Litigation? (Please vote in the poll, we’re funny, honest. Well Farty is anyhow.)
I’d love to hear if there are any more contenders for the list. Because then I’d laugh at them for not being as good as mine, poke fun when you cried about it, trip you up when you ran away and step on your hands, blame you inadequacy on your orientation or race, eat loads of nachos in celebration and fart away, and drop the carton in the street on my way home. But I’d draw the line at appearing in Hello magazine…
This post appears in the most excellent (and pious) Top Blog Magazine under the Category of "The 7 deadly sins"
Friday, 21 September 2007
I’ve never been one for clubbing. Not ever.
But so many people are. I just don’t get it.
My optimum clubbing opportunity came at the height of the rave phenomenon in the early nineties. I lived and studied in
I believe it was called the Second Summer of Love. I hated it.
I would be dragged by friends to clubs, kicking and screaming. I would suffer humiliation roulette as I wondered which one of our party would be singled out as “not getting in” which was a kind of warped pastime of the bouncers. Despite the humiliation, I would pray it would be me, so that I could catch the last bus home and catch “ The Word” on telly.
Once past the threshold, I would fork out too much money to enter a condensation filled dungeon of unhygienic hideousness pumping out pounding, migraine inducing noise.
I would look around at people drenched in sweat, chewing the inside of their cheeks and blinking furiously as they danced.
I found it weird that you would never meet anyone new, you would never make friends with anyone, you would never have a good laugh. No-one was interested in social endeavour, people were only interested in getting off their tits and dancing til they suffered clinical exhaustion. Rave on. (Yawn.)
People would be three deep at the bar; not for real drinks; but for water. Water would be £5 a bottle, in a town that pissed fresh water all over you every day. You would be served the beverage of your choice after a 30 minute wait whilst the cooler than thou bar staff decided whether or not you were trendy enough for your image to be registered by their retinas.
The worst of it…the WORST of it would be that for the whole night I would look around me and think, “Am I some kind of freak? Everyone is having a fucking great time. Why do I hate this so much? What is wrong with me? When can I go home?”
In normal circumstances I would get a reprieve from the torture at 2am, happy to oblige when the bouncers flicked the strip lights on and told everyone unceremoniously to “Fuck off” (is there any other profession where you get to speak to the people who pay your wages like that?).
But this being 1990 and the year of extended licenses, I would be forced by my mates to stay til the shops opened the next morning for Sunday shopping.
And one by one, all of your mates would turn, Bodysnatcher like, from decent folks that liked to go down the pub for a blether* and maybe go see good bands, to “clubbers” brandishing glo-sticks, chomping pills and wearing lurex shorts in winter with no tights.
You would look tearfully on as the girl who moshed with you last year to Jane’s Addiction gig at the Barrowlands, blows a whistle whilst pointing rhythmically at a dork playing shit records.
“Woo-oop! Woo-ooop! Aceeeed!”
Clubbing might be great now, it might have been great in the seventies with disco and all that. I don’t know. But clubbing in the nineties was pants. Why won’t anyone else admit it? We were had.
*A blether, for those of you not from Scotland, is a chat. It does have undertones of gossip and gobshiteyness too which makes it an even better word. It's one of my favourite words and if you look in my profile, I think I describe myself as one. So, it can also mean a person who blethers.
Thursday, 20 September 2007
The 13 year old Misssy M is on the front row, last on the right.
Twenty five years ago this month, my dad took us all to live in Rio de Janeiro for a laugh. There are lots of stories I could tell about our year there but first of all, I want to tell you about the school we went to. Because it was a hoot.
The British School of Rio de Janeiro is in the Botafogo region of Rio, hence the nickname given to the pupils of the “Botafogo Brats” and it was an absolute shambles.
It was the most run down, woodworm infested fleapit ever to exist…and this is in a city that is surrounded by shanty towns (or favelas, as they are known). I don’t know how much it cost for a kid to go there, but whatever it was, it was too much. Yet my time there was one of the happiest ever.
The school was run by a probable fugitive called Dr Lewis taking advantage of the lack of extradition treaty with the UK.
This man was remarkable for a number of reasons. He had the most pendulous earlobes I’ve ever seen on a man, he spat foamy spit at you when he talked, he had a face like a bullfrog, and his background was shrouded in mystery. Had he ever taught before? Was he actually a Doctor? Is that spit infectious?
Apart from his headmasterly duties, he taught every class in the school Divinity. I use the word “taught “ very loosely. His lessons consisted of two things. One regurgitated lesson was about the Parable of the Good Samaritan; the other was the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Even now I could recite his rambling lessons verbatim. But what was a particular scream was that twice a year everyone had to sit a Divinity exam.
“Oh I wonder what the questions will be…” we would guffaw as we went into the exam room. Everyone passed that exam.
Mr Lewis was also remarkable for knowing Great Train Robber, Ronnie Biggs personally. My parents once went to a school run concert for all parents and they swear that one of the turns was Ronnie Biggs singing old Cockney Knees Up songs accompanied by Dr Lewis on the ol’ Joanna. Chas and Dave eat your bearded hearts out!
Other fleeting memories include the music teacher, Dona Anna, who was American and completely daft. She once gave us all percussion instruments and asked us to shout out a syllable each time we belted out a beat. She did not take into account that 13 year-olds are evil little bastards.
Despite being a fluent Portuguese speaker, this woman didn’t cotton on to the fact that our little improvised 3 beat ditty of “Vi-Foo-Der” (or Vai Fuder) had the whole class loudly chanting the Brazilian Portuguese phrase for “Fuck Off”. The sound of in- sync drums and rhythmic expletives echoed throughout the school corridors. Ahhh… happy memories.
Several of our teachers did not speak English despite being employed by a British School. The PE teachers were Brazilian nationals who would bellow Portuguese at you until you understood or pretended to understand. They were like toned, be-shorted prison wardens.
Given that fifty percent of our timetable was made of up Sport, we spent a lot of time in the snake and ant infested scrubland that the school used as a playing field with these lovable tyrants. I learned more about ant infestation, snakes, volleyball and basketball than I did anything else that year and I loved it. You would play your little heart out in 48 degree heat for fear of begin screamed at in a language you didn’t understand.
I have never won any school prize in my life, but that year I won the prize for Sport. This was hilarious as I am not a natural athlete by any means.
Coming away bewildered from the prize giving, I went up to Dona Filipa the PE teacher and said “Porque?” (why?).
She simply said in the only English I ever heard her say, “You try”. God bless her and her draconian teaching methods!
There’s a lot more I could say about the British School of Rio de Janeiro in the year of 1982, but the best thing was this; 1982 was the year of the World Cup. The Brazilian bus drivers, janitors and support staff would not work on the day of a Brazil game, so the whole school unquestioningly shut down. You've got to love a country that shuts down on the day of an international game. I have never rooted for a team so much in my life. The more Brazil played the more time we had in the swimming pool.
Sadly, they didn't win the World Cup that year, but I still support the Brazil team every World Cup (except when Scotland are in...but that's not happened a lot recently), because I know that all the Brazilian school kids are getting a day off.
And how cool is that?
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
A while back I posted about my lust for my perfect Mini. It has taken six months of searching the country with my savings burning a hole in my Levis (previously the Disney fund...but well, screw Disney) for the perfect specimen. But my patience has been rewarded by dint of a clearly too rich brat who traded this two year old beauty in for a brand new version of the same car (no, me neither, what IS it with people?).
I get it next week. And of course instead of working I'm thinking of the perfect mix CD to play in the car when I collect it. (It's got a CD!!!!! It's got a CD!!!!! Christ, I'm so lo-fi to be excited by that...)
For the 5 years it took me to pass my driving test I had "Roadhouse Blues" by the Doors on a tape so that I could pop it in the day I took my car out on my own for the first time. The first track on the CD has to be equally as splendid.
....And that's where you all come in. Suggestions please in the comments box!
PS: Oh and R Reg Seat Cordoba for sale (slightly soiled)
PPS: I am reminded of another favourite joke of mine. It works best if you read the woman's parts in a North east of Scotland accent.
A woman phones up her local paper to place an announcement.
Operative: And what would you like to say in your notice, Madam.
Mrs Reid: Jist put, "Peter Reid fae Peterheid is deid"
Operative: Mrs Reid, you do realise that it's the same price for nine words as it is for six. You can add more if you like.
Mrs Reid : OK then, son.... (thinks) ....Here goes: Peter Reid fae Peterheid is deid... Volvo for Sale"
Monday, 17 September 2007
Like star crossed lovers, Meeester and Misssy held hands as they passed into drowsy sleep not knowing if they would see another day. Who knew what the night would bring?
So, it’s mushroom hunting time in the vicinity of the Village of the Flying Martinis. Hooray! As much fun as it all is, and as many books you have read on the subject, there’s always that element of doubt.
Poisoning is such a medieval kick ass way to go, that's what I say. And wild mushrooms are GOOD!
It was not exactly a bumper crop this year, as it turned out. I was also disappointed to discover that my fourteen week old puppy does not have a natural ability for truffle hunting. Bah! Shoulda bought a pig.
A wet summer is good for the production of fungi, but apparently equally as important is a little warmth. It has not been warm in these parts for a couple of years now. It’s only a matter of time before some khaki suited anthropologist turns up here to make a documentary about the "Tribe that Lives Without Sunshine".
Despite the less than ideal mushie growing conditions, I was delighted to come away with a haul of some Chanterelles, lots of Hedgehogs, a couple of Ceps and a little Blusher. See below for photos of all in case you want to try a little Woodland Roulette yourselves (but don’t come crying to me if you die).
My personal top tip is to look for nibble marks of little animals on some of the mushrooms. If the animals can eat them, then so can you. Obviously, if there is a stiff dead mouse lying next to the batch you are investigating with foam dribbling out the side of his gaping mouth, then I'd move on.
We ate the mushrooms fried with some garlic butter and parsley on toast, but not without first teaching the kids how to contact the ambulance service and showing them where the insurance documents were stashed. The kids don't like mushrooms so we were assured of the continuance of the Flying Martini blood-line.
“Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall says only ever collect mushrooms if you’ve been on a course,” warns my sister.
“What rubbish. He’s only saying that because he’s got an online course he wants to punt,” say I.
“Yeah, fuck him. I say, chow ‘em down,” she immediately recants.
And they were excellent, I must say. If we were French or Italian, we’d all be out there snapping them up. But since we’re not, there’s plenty around for those game enough to get out there and collect them for tea.
All the same, on Sunday morning both Meeester and Misssy say the same thing as they wake up from a good night’s sleep.
Saturday, 15 September 2007
On the day he went missing, his parents called the police and not much was done. The Chief Superintendent liked to be in charge of pretty much everything and he wasn’t around to make any decisions.
Two missing persons, then.
One was a small boy being held by a convicted and paroled paedophile who should have been closely monitored, but wasn’t.
Another was a Chief Superintendent who was banging a woman who wasn’t his wife in a lay-by, too busy to go into work.
An enquiry later that year pointed all fingers of blame in the direction of the Chief Superintendent. Who knew how long the boy had been held alive before his horrible death? Who knew why the police couldn’t suss out that a dangerous convicted paedophile living across from the playpark in question might be responsible? Who knew how much of the lack of action was because the boy was the son of a benefit financed council estate family who had a colourful reputation?
I was telling you about the Drug Awareness Mandatory Course. I promised you all I’d write about it.
You’re thinking that maybe I’m going to belittle the efforts of a hemp wearing Dudley-DoRight-Drugs-Action-Type-Guy, aren’t you? But I’m not. That might have at least been useful.
So anyway back to the Ex-Chief Superintendent. What do you do when you are forced, kicking and screaming, into early retirement by then First Minister, Donald Dewar, your reputation in tatters? Well, you write a book. Not about the little boy. No, you can't touch that one. You look around you, you see how well that chap Mr Nice is doing with that drug trafficking book. So you write your own. Except this one is from the point of view of a law enforcer (kinda).
And then you get a nice little earner pontificating over a strung out two day (TWO day!) course lecturing educational professionals about the international drug trade. These educational professionals sit hoping to God that at one point the monologue will at least lead to some informed pointers on dealing with young people in their charge who may need help with drug addiction. It does not. It is like sitting in front of a 5 hour Party Political Broadcast. And then having to come back next week to do it all again.
So “Drug Awareness” it was called. Three months worth of lectures subjecting all employees to the course. Nice work, if you can get it. As a result, all teaching staff can tell you anything you want to know about the evil that is hash, cocaine and heroin. We know how it is made, where it is made and how illegal and nasty it all is.
What we can’t tell you is how to get help for any of our students who maybe having trouble with drugs or how to tell any of the signs of being under the influence in your classroom.
But let’s face it, they probably all live in council estates and are not to be bothered about anyway. Or possibly the self proclaimed expert on drug awareness has never met a junkie, or been any where near a drug rehabilitation centre in his puff.
Maybe instead of doing all those things he was banging some woman who wasn’t his wife in a lay by, being covertly photographed by the local papers….
Thursday, 13 September 2007
I hate the word "mandatory" almost as much as I hate the word “more-ish” (and that's a lot and another blog entirely).
One of the supreme joys of no longer being in an educational establishment for my daily bread, is that I don’t have the obligation to attend “Mandatory Courses”.
The list of these bore-fests was a long one and new recruits were meant to do them all within their first year of employment. I tried to avoid almost every one and I was actually quite good at it. Six years on, I hadn’t completed the list. Result! I didn’t do Disability or Race Relations and guess what, I didn’t upset any one with a disability or of a race different to my own! What are the chances? Could I be a natural?
I actually tried straight off to cut down on my list of college-led Mandatory Courses by pleading exemption with the Personal Development Office. Having just come from a previous workplace that was anxious to obtain their “Investors in People” status (load of old cock), I had already done the MANDATORY list of;
- Dealing with Disability (despite the fact the old boss shared Hitler's view on that particular issue)
- Sexual Harrassment in the Workplace (Ha! Have you read the blog about my old boss?)
- Time Management (during which I stressed about meeting deadlines due to having to attend mandatory courses)
- Fire and Safety ( I got to let off a fire extinguisher , woo-hoo!)
- Manual handling ( I don’t DO lifting, I have students/runners, darling)
- Teambuilding (something to do with being stranded on the moon, I dunno)
However, the college were unimpressed. I had to do them all again, so that tickity boxes could be ticketied. And of course, this being a college there was about twenty other bollocks courses that I had to add to the list. Including:
- Working with Bubblewrap and Sellotape
- Child Protection Despite the Fact You Don't Work With Children
- Falling Over By Mistake and Not Suing the College
- Teaching and Assessment the Hard Way
- Classroom Management without Weapons
- Being Ridiculously Politically Correct
- Toadying to Visiting Politicians in the College Environs
- Obliterating Any Chance of Enjoyment or Learning Through Health and Safety
- Stress Management Through Repression and Not Moaning about Stuff
- Going Outside Safely
And…the absolute corker of:
- Drug Awareness.
It is on the Drug Awareness Course that I will be blogging next. Bring sandwiches.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
I don’t know if I mentioned this, but I quit teaching. The term has started without me.
I am now officially freelance and a hired gun. I now write stuff for a living.
Meeester is worried about me working from home. He thinks I’ll get lonely.
“You’ll miss the adulation of your students,” he claims.
I got many things out of teaching and I don’t recall adulation being one of them.
But the man has a point. I’ve started a new job and yet…I’m here at home doing the vast majority of the work. Alone with a dog and three cats, who lovely as they are , don’t have much chat. I’ve gone from being hoarse at the end of the day from talking, to looking up from my keyboard at the clock, and realising that it’s four hours since I’ve spoken to anyone human.
But…I quite like it.
But what if one day I don’t.
What if I start phoning up sex chat lines for the conversation ("no love, never mind about that, how are you?")…or indulge in some lunchtime tippling with the farmers at the local boozer…or go to coffee mornings at the church for the wicked chat…or start inviting the postie in for a chinwag…or move my desk out into the front garden just so I can news with passers by….or God forbid, start having coffee with the oil widow mums at the school? Aaarrrghhh!
What if I forget how to banter…?
Nah, it’ll never happen.
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
I know it’s early to be thinking about Christmas but I am. I have to. This year it’s the turn of the Flying Martinis to play host for Meeester’s ever growing side of the family on Christmas Day.
I’ve only ever cooked Christmas dinner once and I can’t really remember a damn thing about how it turned out, I was that nervous. It may have been okay; no-one died.
But it’s a fraught affair isn’t it, this Christmas lark? And this year I am booking us into the local hotel for lunch to ease the general fraughtness and re-introduce some Christmas spirit back into the proceedings by way of paying other folk to clear up our mess.
So, since Christmas is on my mind, I am going to treat you to a top ten list of:
Flying Martini Fraught Christmas Moments.
- It’s Boxing Day at Meeester’s brother’s house. His now long-gone girlfriend (now replaced by an infinitely better model) shrieks loudly and manically in the kitchen in earshot of assembled family members, “If they think they are getting a fried breakfast they can think again. They’re like a swarm of locusts!!!” Car ignitions are put into action a mere ten minutes later.
- Snowed in at Misssy’s parents’ house. It's Meeester's first Christmas as a married man, and his first at the new in-laws. The assembled family decide to go round the table and ask each family member to sing their party piece. Meeester seals his reputation with my aghast aging grandparents when he launches into, “The Hairs on her Dickie Di-Do”. Cue Christmas tumbleweed. Snow plough ignitions are put into action minutes later.
C’mon everybody, you know the words!
“The hairs on her dickie di do
Go down to her knees!
One White One,
One Black One,
One with a bit of shite on,
And one with a fairy light on
To show you the way!”
Very festive, I think you’ll agree.
- Back in Meeester’s brother’s house, other brother in law opens 20 year-old vintage bottle of wine, uninvited from wine rack. Tears are shed privately. People are not invited back.
- Twin sister in law sits down triumphantly after serving sumptuous first ever Chrissie dinner. At that very same second a marital barney erupts between another couple. Tears are shed. Car ignitions are in action before party games can even begin.
- Misssy’s drunken and now deceased grandfather wanders disorientatedly downstairs in full view of living room full of revelers, completely naked. Misssy’s brother describes his little bottom as “You know how a balloon goes soft and wrinkly after a few days…like that”
- My darling mother in law (no, really she is darling) and her new husband dress up as snowmen in white chemical protection suits and silver wigs and perform “Frosty the Snowman” for the kids. This was three years ago. The kids have only just felt calm enough to approach them again. Scary. Evil clown scary. We’ve got it on video but it would be like showing you that video tape on the film, “The Ring”.
- My dad fashions a penis out of the plasticine used in the game “Cranium” and my elderly Gran asks him what it is. My mother immediately sends him to bed like a naughty child. And he actually goes!
- My brother in law, dressed as Santa, is violently ill on my parents’ lawn after liberating the contents of a whisky bottle. Grass doesn’t grow on a 5 inch patch for over two years.
- The same brother in law that drank the vintage wine tips the two-hours-in-the-making raspberry coulis for desert down the sink whilst washing up the main course plates. Misssy stifles tears.
- There’s a power cut on Christmas Day at Aunt and Uncle’s house, and the turkey has to be cooked on the barbecue in the snowbound garden. That bit was fun. Entertaining the telly-less grandparents is less so; an impossible task. Uncle reaches in desperation for the guitar to play “House of the Rising Sun” (his only song) as the lights come back on and we are all saved.
Monday, 10 September 2007
I was going to leave you all hanging.
I’m not particularly proud of this. But, I guess you all want to know what can possibly make a love sick Italian nineteen year old Lothario voluntarily want to get on a train?
When faced with an immovable Italian force you need to get ruthless. The Allies did it with Mussolini, the Picts did it with Caesar’s Roman Army and the FBI did it with Al Capone.
I did it with Salvatore.
I enlisted help.
I thought spending the evening in the pub with another man on the Friday Sal wanted to take me out for dinner would be enough to sicken him off me for good. It wasn’t. We were two weeks in and he was showing no sign of leaving. If anything he was getting more insistent and it was too much to cope with.So, I reluctantly asked the pub-mate in question, who was really only a friend of mine, to come over and make himself at home.
“Bring your toothbrush”, I said, “This may take a couple of days”
In the event, the presence of another man pretending to be a love rival did the trick remarkably quickly. An evening spent in the company of a man who was very polite, sitting a bit too close to the object of his affection and very interested in when Sal was going home, was too much for Sal.
It wasn’t the chat that did it though, it was the beautiful acting on the part of my mate. He was very convincing. He arrived and held my face in his hands as he kissed me. He helped me with the dinner and put his arm around my waist subtly. At one point he lovingly brushed my hair away from my face as I ate my dinner. Quite brilliant. Not too full on, and enough to make the boy pack his rucksack that evening.
Twenty-four hours on and he was on the train back to London and Dover and off across the Channel. Later on, I phoned my friend.
“Thanks for that. He’s gone. I owe you one”
“Thank Christ for that,” he said, “For a horrible moment last night I thought I was going to have to shag you”.
The Misssives were reviewed as a whole on Top Blog Mag this week. See if you agree with what the reviewer said.
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
Paul Simon made it all sound so easy.
You just skip out the back, Jack
Make a new plan, Stan
You don’t need to be coy, Roy
Hop on the bus, Gus
Drop off the key, Lee
..and set yourself free.
Sorry, it’s not that straightforward, pint-size.
When I was nineteen, I lived in Germany as part of my studies at university. Whilst there I met a diverting chap called Salvatore, who was of Italian parentage but born in Germany. He was eighteen. He was also one of my students. OK, OK but I was a student teacher and I was NINETEEN, OK?
Anyway, I saw him for about five months. I'm a big Al Pacino fan and I guess I had a little Michael Corleone thing going on (the years in Sicily, specifically, since you ask).
Salvatore said he loved me. And I thought I did him too. Until I got on the train out of Cologne back to Ostend to go home, that was. As soon as the train left I decided, I did not. I was NINETEEN,OK? Stop giving me a hard time!
Back home in the Motherland, I got a summer job and started seeing some other bloke I worked with giving nary a thought to Sal. I replied to Sal’s letters of undying love with the news that “Hello, I’ve left Germany. Time to move on.”
He didn't take the hint, so I wrote a letter informing him of a new boyfriend. Then it started. He made phone calls in the middle of the night to my parents’ house in tears. You do not want to see my Mum being woken up after a couple of hours’ sleep, trust me. The phone calls had to stop.
And they did, for a while.
One year on, I get a letter from Sal at my student flat saying that he’s on a tour of Scotland and could he pop by to see me. I see no harm. I’M TWENTY for Godssakes, of course I didn’t see it coming!
Turns out, of course, that Sal takes the casual affirmative reply to mean he’s back in there. There’s no bloody tour of Scotland that he makes out to sound like he’s doing the old backpacking thing with mates. He is coming over alone specifically to see me. Indefinitely.
Of course, the fact that he’s thrown in everything to come over and be with me doesn’t dawn on me until after a few days after he's arrived. He just doesn’t leave, and it is excruciating. I find everything about him annoying. Even his shoes annoy me.
I also keep asking him things like, "So are you going to go and see Edinburgh?", "So is a tour of the Highlands on your agenda?". He doesn't budge.
Worst of all, my flatmates and friends think he’s adorable, even though I have tried to hide him from them. They think he is cute and laugh at his little jokes, but everything he does embarrasses me.
Worse than that, he tries to creep into bed with me every single night. He cries (he’s Italian, remember?) when I say I don’t love him anymore. The only plus side I can see about his presence is the fact that my finals are coming up and the German conversation is good practice. But the linguistics is not enough; I have to get rid of him.
I start a campaign of making him hate me, so that he’ll leave. I leave him waiting in for me all evening whilst I go out straight from class and get pissed on Friday night with another bloke. I make no attempts whatsoever to entertain him in any way whilst he is in the UK for the first time. I am rude to him, I purposefully try to make myself look unattractive to him. I make no attempt to smother any bodily emissions in front of him (as you would normally do in the company of a bloke), because I know he is quite chauvinistic Italian about how a woman should behave, and it will annoy him.
But he does not get the hint. If anything, he seems to like me even more.
I have to do something drastic before I end up marrying him out of politeness.
I break his heart and put him on a train.
Monday, 3 September 2007
Meeester comes back from work today with a tale of a presentation given to school pupils about careers in engineering by an acting group. You may have seen the like before. Struggling actors pay the rent by being involved in a community or corporate theatre groups and do little skits with a message for money. Traveling minstrels for the modern age.
These outfits are easy targets for blog humour and I am not about to re-live the experience for comic effect, as most importantly it wasn’t me who witnessed it; it was Meeester. I can only relate Meeester’s utter contempt for the whole ordeal.
OK, I am going to take the piss a little.
Meeester comes back with the scenario. The theatre group promise a show that will entice youngsters into the fruitful career of engineering. The main characters are played by an array of mid to later thirties actors. And here’s where it gets bizarre. They propose to outline the advantages of a career in the fast lane of engineering by simulating the characters of:
What the blazes that lot have to do with CAD programmes, building the world’s superstructures and planning civilisations, is anyone’s guess.
My guess is that a bunch of middle aged guys in the education department of a government organisation came up with people that they thought teenagers would respond to. There is no other explanation as to how wrong this whole concept could be. The characters could have been anyone. The list of players could easily have read:
Pete Docherty (“Hey guys a fruitful career in civil engineering could be just the ticket to get me off the smack”)
Big Brother contestant Charley (“I’m not being funny right, but engineering’s well wicked”)
Billie Piper ("I gave up time-traveling and the only decent role I’m ever going to get to plan the pipelines of Eastern
Britney Spears (“When I get clean and git ma kids back, you can bet your ass I’m gonna get my SVQs!”)
Simon Cowell (“Well, I thought that was atrocious. Have you ever thought of going into Town Planning?”)
It wouldn’t matter who was portrayed, as long as “the kids” could relate.
Meeester had to sit through the whole thing. As he watched the good work he had done on careers guidance slowly being unraveled by bad acting and misinformation about what makes teenagers tick, he struggled not to flip.
He even considered injuring himself quite badly with a retractable pencil, so that an ambulance could be called and he could get the hell out, or better; possibly stop the whole performance for the benefit of all..
To illustrate how bad it was to me, he gave the Ant and Dec segment as an example.
Ant: "Wae Aye , man. I fancy a bit o’ that engineering lark. It sounds fantabulous!”
Dec: “Aye Man, but how d' ye get into that like?”
Ant: “Ye can get yer SVQs lad. Ye can gang tae the college!”
Dec; “Fabaroooni! Man!”
He is not joking; this is how it went on. I almost feel like tracking down the lawyers of Ant and Dec to inform them that their names are being used in such a way. I’m not usually one to defend the famous, but in this case, I actually feel that a serious injustice has been done.
Then, as if their audience aren’t alienated enough, some actors dressed as Alex Ferguson, Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLaughlin appear and so some skit about how much folk in engineering are earning and how simple it is to get into the oil industry.
Except Meeester says that they make out
But what must the kids have thought? Are any of them seriously thinking that engineering sounds cool because some no-mark actors badly acted their way through a cringe-worthy representation of famous people they couldn’t give a damn about? Of course they aren’t.
Meeester suggested a far better alternative. Take them to the Shell office car park and let them wander around checking out the Ferraris, BMWs and Mercs of the workers inside. Then show the bank statements of a couple of 19 year-olds who’ve just spent a fortnight on an oil rig.
One good thing has come of the afternoon's presentation though. The five kids that wanted to go to RADA are now applying for proper jobs.
Saturday, 1 September 2007
Anyone who has ever driven on the A90 to
This is the Stracathro Services near Brechin. Frequented by truckers and the country's future heart attack patients.
I don’t know how well you can see the sign but just in case you can’t read it I will display it for you here:
Ye May Gang Faur and Fare Waur
What the blue blazes does that sign mean?
For years as a kid, I would drive past with my parents and we would all go on about how never in our entire lives have we heard anything approximating this phrase. At first we put it down to being Weegies. Perhaps after a couple of years in the land of the Aberdonian Doric speaking environs we would be able to understand it. But no, it is not Doric. It is just utter pish.
We think it means this:
You May Go Far and Fare Worse.
What kind of ad is that for an eating establishment?
Let’s break it down, shall we? In fact let's imagine we are trying to get a concrete answer from the utter moron who thought it up all those years ago.
Are we actually saying, “There’s worse food out there but you’d have to travel far to find it?” No?
So, are you saying, “Our food is so bad that worse cannot be found in the immediate vicinity?” No?
So, let me get this right, you’re then saying, “Our food is fucking terrible but there’s not another restaurant for 40 miles, so you might as well put up or shut up.” No?
So, to recap, you’re saying, “You may go far, but there’s a hell of a lot worse out there than our crap, so what the hell are you complaining about” No?
Well what are you saying then? Is it a greeting? Is it a warning? Is it a Northern Scottish version of “Bon Appetit!”?
Oh, I’m getting really annoyed just contemplating it. Nothing quite enrages Meeester and me as the sight of this building. The Flying Martinis drive up and down
Actually, we don’t rant as much anymore, as Meeester gets so worked up about it, that he can’t vent without swearing and now we have two impressionable kids in the back, he can’t get away with it. The rants have now subsided to Meeester grimacing, a vein popping out on his temple, and the delivery of the two fingered salute in the direction of the establishment. Just to make sure we register our displeasure.
In fact, it’s a ritual. Once we went past and I didn’t see him give the Services sign the Vs.
“How remiss,” I thought.
I double checked with him, “Did you..?”
“Yes, I did it back there, quickly” he assured me.
It’s like I am checking with him that he put the kids’ seatbelts on or he switched the gas fire off before we left. If we forget to do it one time, would we have to do a U-Turn and submit our rude gesture before making our way on our planned journey? I think possibly we would.
What is it about that sign that enrages us so? I think it’s a number of things:
- It is bloody typical of that Scottish negative turn of phrase. Another example of this is:
Person A: “How are you?”
Person B: “Nae bad”
Person A: “How’s it going?”
Person B: “
Like it’s disappointing that they can’t complain! How gutting! What a nightmare, I can’t complain!
- It’s not a phrase! Has anyone ever been offered a sandwich at someone’s house and been cajoled into accepting it by the phrase,
“Well, ye may gang far and fare waur”.
“Oh, okay then, load me up, odd lady!”
- It is twee. I bet the tourists love it. They think we speak like that! We don’t. I feel angry and misrepresented. No wonder Gaelic is dying.
- Everyone who wonders about the sign goes in at least once to the “restaurant” (the loosest use of a word ever) to find out the answer to the riddle. They leave with amoebic dysentery. My in-laws were caught out with this not two years ago.
So can I ask you all should you ever pass the Stracathro Services, to join us in raising those two fingers aloft? And if you don’t plan on coming up this way soon, but would like to join in anyway, then scroll back to the photo at the top of the post and similarly give the place the respect it deserves.
Stop Press: Head on over to Top Blog Magazine to read my post Paper, Pregnancy and the Princess as well as other primo stuff. It's a little different from the usual Misssives fare. And if that doesn't entice you over then perhaps if I say "Ye may Gang Faur fae the Misssives and Fare Waur"? Arrgghghgh!