Friday, 13 March 2009

Gnarley and Me

Brian and I went to the cinema the other night; Brian will see almost anything if it is Orange 241 Wednesday. The film was no more than Ok ish because:

1. The trailers had pre-viewed all the best bits.
2. Jennifer Aniston as post-natally depressed Mommy did nothing for Brian.
3. Owen Wilson's nose was even more disconcerting than usual.

The protagonist was a lovable but wantonly destructive Labrador whose antics served to re-inforce Brian's relief in having thus far avoided one of his two worst familial nightmares ie dogs and sons, the latter now being safely off the agenda for reasons too personal to mention. Of course, Sir William has not seen the film and had he known of its subject matter, would have been even more indignant about the curtailment of his after (daylight) hours roaming time. Yesterday, however, there was an uncanny re-enactment of one scene in the movie. As I was admiring a necklace just given to me by my very kind GF from Canada (once again sharing the sofa) and twirling it gently in the midday sun, a set of grappling hooks wrested it from my grasp and for the next half hour or so it remained jealously closeted in Sir W's bosom. Fortunately, as he is not a dog, Sir W is under no primitive imperative to put anything and everything into his mouth- quite the reverse - so the necklace (not his colour) was in due course abandoned and reclaimed by its rightful owner without resort to laxatives or latex gloves.

I have just discovered a foolproof method of getting rid of door-step pests: soi-disant reformed criminals, hospice fundraisers and yes, Labrador sponsors. Simply open the door wearing that day's CAB outfit (shocking pink T shirt and black tabard) from the waist up and wide-leg blue and green plaid pyjama trousers and baby pink mules from the waist down. A sharp kitchen knife and an air of barely contained exasperation are useful accessories. Just one look and they'll be backing down the drive claiming to have come to the wrong house - guaranteed!

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Bad Hair Day

Literally - in a weak moment I allowed my lovely hairdresser to apply straighteners to my already naturally lank locks and emerged looking like an Afghan hound - a rather elderly Afghan hound. After I'd been almost run over and then verbally abused by some p***k-brained youth in Sainsbury's car park, I was a very cross, old what-they-called-me which bore some relation to the female of the aforementioned species.

Sir William has also had a bad day, in fact, make that a bad fortnight starting with a horrid eye infection (trip to the Vet), Mum and Dad going away for the weekend (trip to l'hotel etc), an infected bite on shoulder and bursting bladder owing to difficulty in getting down from his sleeping platform (trip to Vet), check up (trip to Vet) and snow, snow, snow, effing snow. He has just begun to get out and about again in the last couple of days only to be confronted this morning by a fire engine with full crew (thankfully no siren) turning into Twitcher's Turning and making stately progress to the end of the cul de sac. Sir W was upstairs and back in the duvet bunker before I had comprehended his return. Some 20 minutes later, the red monster cruised back up past our window and out to the main road. I reckon someone's Mum had the coffee on - or perhaps, with any luck, Sir W's arch enemy (perpetrator of the wounded eye and shoulder) had got himself stuck up a tree.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Of course I can do Goddess...

I was fed up on Friday - snow-bound and suffering the usual inertia - so I decided to be a good wifey and hit the kitchen. For the next 3 hours I cleaned and cooked and so it was when MDH returned for the weekend, not only were the home fires burning but work tops were shining and laden with goodies including the piece de resistance, a delicious tower of fairy cakes displayed on my lovely new Kath Kidston wannabe cake stand. As I liquidized my own recipe parsnip with chilli and lemon soup and heated the pizza which, owing to its generous and irregular chunks of vegetable topping, could have passed for home-made (but actually came from Aldi), he expressed gratifying pleasure, tinged with just the merest soupcon of surprise, then spoilt it all by asking when I thought I'd get round to vacuuming the stairs! Forget "He's just not that into you"; in my experience, even after all these years it's much more likely that "He still just doesn't get it".

Jonathan Ross, Jeremy Clarkson, Carol Thatcher - we'd be better off without the lot of them and a few more besides. And Carol, if you're beating yourself up about the apology- don't. It's all about ratings (ie money) and you don't bring in any of those on your own account. If the Government needs any more evidence that self-obsessed, indulgent and absent parents raise mal-functioning offspring, the Thatcher twins could make an illuminating case-study. Talking of which, thank you to Jenni Murray and Weekend Woman's Hour for giving Sharon Shoesmith the platform on which to lay bare her total and absolute unsuitability to command the role from which she was so justifiably sacked.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Discoveries of a Domestic Slut

1. There is no need to buy any more kitchen bin liners - ever - as at least 3 charity collection bags come through my letter box every week.

2. If your tumble drier is broken and you are forced to dry towels on the radiators, you get a free full-body exfoliation next time you have a shower.

3. The "heart-healthy" cereal which is so very unpalatable at 8, 9, 10, 11 o'clock in the morning, when embellished with pro-biotic yogurt, a chopped apple and Aldi jumbo raisins makes a very satisfactory no effort, no guilt supper when your husband is away. But then so does a packet of Walker's cheese n'onion crisps and a large glass of Pinot - as long as no one else knows about it.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Out Damned Rot!

On the way back from l'hotel des chats yesterday evening, having dropped off a very disgruntled Sir W who had had the beans spilled to him earlier in the day by a careless- tongued vet, I heard an infuriating item on Radio 4's PM programme. It was an interview with Richard Olivier, son of Laurence, who had nabbed himself a no doubt extremely lucrative gig at Davos giving management seminars based on Shakespeare plays. The one in question was formulated on the Scottish Play ie Macbeth and Lady M (vain, suggestible, reckless and full of hubris) bad; Malcolm (steady, loyal, risk-averse) good - a conclusion that surely could be drawn by any half-decent English Literature A Level candidate. Apparently there are others such as "The As You Like It Business Model" - well I b****y don't, especially when I think of all that wasted dosh which just goes to show what a criminal waste of resources this Swiss farce really is. At least Alistair Darling had enough sense to stay at home - either that or he was too ashamed, the UK recession now expected, by all except Moron Brown, to be the worst in Europe. So, my apologies to the man in the Renault at the Town Hall roundabout - I wasn't shouting at you, just howling at the moon.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

It's the way you tell 'em...

There was consternation at CAB (Citizens' Advice Bureau) this week. A new "diagnostic" interviewing process is to be introduced whereby advisers split into 2 teams: the first team take down clients' particulars and diagnose whether their problem can be dealt with immediately or if they will need a more in depth consultation with a member of team 2. For some reason this new regimen has not found favour with the old guard, one of whom memorably described the process thus:
"So I ask them if a quickie is OK or would they prefer a longer session?"
I know CAB are always looking to expand their service but really...

When I got out of the swimming pool today, another "regular", a lady some years my junior, complimented me on my changing shape which she has been monitoring for some months. It is so nice to receive words of encouragement as few are forthcoming from Brian on this subject. Apparently I have let the side down by not retaining, at almost 55, the figure I had at 15 when we first met. But I am on a roll or more accurately losing one, as I have now dealt with the Texas/Christmas blip and am back on course to shed the final 10lbs of my initial target. To help me on my way, I have even started eating rice cakes (3 = 1 WW point) and although it is just like munching on polystyrene I am determined to stick with it. And before you ask me when I last snacked on a ceiling tile, let me tell you it's much the same as coffee which smells delicious and tastes like the bottom of an ashtray - just use your imagination!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Oh Bummer!

OK, hands up! Who felt a pricking at the back of the eyeballs while watching the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama on Tuesday? I'll certainly own up to that but, ever mindful of May 1997, was determined not to get too carried away. And there were just one or two false notes to help me keep my feet on the ground, not least the attempt of Bush appointee Chief Justice, John Roberts, to reduce the incoming president to the verbal infelicity of his former boss. Of course, Obama wasn't falling for that one and firmly closed the door on any possible constitutional wrangling by getting sworn in again properly today - that's our boy. And then we had the musical tributes, led by Aretha Franklin (wearing a startling piece of headgear which appeared to be a surely highly inappropriate, given the historical significance of the day, homage to Scarlett O'Hara's dear ol Mammy) singing not the American National Anthem as billed but a largely unintelligible song whose tune seemed to owe at debt to the national anthem of another country dear to our own hearts but once, as President Obama was pleased to remind his fellow Americans, a sworn enemy of the "States United". So much for the Special Relationship, then. And to round it all off an "original" instrumental piece by John Williams, featuring Itzak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma in which one of the movements was, I swear, first cousin if not a clone of "Lord of the Dance". I do hope these little mis-steps are not a portent of what we may get rather that what so many hope and expect from the Obama administration. I really want him to succeed but can one man really put right so much that is wrong and not fall into the traps of hubris and complacency?

Not much news on the domestic front. Brian (and his shingles) have been away in Korea. Sir W and I have developed a very nice little routine although perhaps not so nice on his part:

Day 1 - fight black cat out the front

Day 2 - fight ginger cat out the back

Day 3 - as Day 1 but later on so She has to make an unanticipated public appearance in pyjamas and curlers

Day 4 - Stand on fence hurling insults at grey cat so She comes out in the rain and climbs precariously on garden chair sunk in gravel, arms outstretched while I slide down the other side and squat under next door's shed feeling smug and dry.

Days 5, 6, 7 etc - more of same.