Saturday, 26 March 2011

Aren't People Lovely?

They are, I mean it, people are so lovely.  I have 'met'  many new people recently through blogging, joining Twitter and conversing with strangers. There was the guy at the new ice-cream shop in town who let me have an ice-cream despite being 30p short. The hairdresser who tried desperately to reason with my 2 year old in order to trim his fringe, he screamed, lashed out and turned purple with rage. I didn't have to pay and she still said "aw love him, keep bringing him in every week for a lolly and he'll get to know me". Comments on my blog have been heart warming, inspiring and funny. Twitter banter leaves me laughing, intrigued enlightened.
 You could argue that people are often on their best behaviour when they don't really know you. There's an element of restraint, formality or maybe it's a "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" scenario. Hopefully, this won't set me up for a meeting with the biggest arsehole on the planet, but I haven't met a total prick for a long time.
So, where do all these pricks, arseholes, bitches, and *insert rude word* come from? Sure, if I went into town right now, and walked into any pub at the top end, I'd struggle NOT to find a jerk. Outside the corner shop between the hours of 6pm and 9pm can be found a gaggle of  youths who represent all that is wrong with parenting, schooling and morality. A stroll through the High Street this afternoon wasn't without it's ear-pricking, eyebrow raising moments.
Even those shop door dwelling teens are perfectly reasonable if you speak to them nicely. Why do we expect 'respect' from teenagers yet speak to them in such a hateful way?
I wonder if my posts come over as looking down on society and mocking people, as if I'm better. The truth is that occasionally I do feel this way, but mainly I just love observing and commenting on human behaviour.  I don't for a minute think that my life is enviable, my behaviour is a model for people to follow or that what I say is always accurate.
I conclude, people generally are alright. We are not all the same, I hope. The big huge glaringly obvious 'rights' and 'wrongs' can be seen by most. It's the people who don't realise they are slightly too close to the edge of these boundaries I love.

 I secretly long to be like them

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

A no news day

I didn't have much fun people watching today. I went to the park in town straight after the school run, there were only two others there.  The peace, increasing warmth, birdsong and sense of optimism Spring often induces was inspiring. After around 40 minutes, the park filled with people, the atmosphere changed. The people were pleasant enough, nobody dodgy looking or overly uncouth. The volume and lack of personal space began to upset my Chakra (I don't really use that phrase).  Ladies arrived in pairs, 'friends' whose only link seemed to be motherhood. I could tell from the strained, slightly uncomfortable conversations that most of them weren't firm buddies. That  forced, over-enthusiastic put on voice mums and grandparents adopt when speaking to children started to irk me, I had to leave. I think children should play in parks, explore freely and yes, maybe learn the odd harsh lesson about turn taking, gravity's pull and kinesthesia (maybe not the potentially devastating speed/velocity lesson being hit by an occupied swing teaches).
Children were sort of guided methodically around the play apparatus "wow, shall we go on the swing next? (for 1 minute) "do you want some juice now" (it's bloody squash woman, not juice!!)  Mobiles ring, I cringe waiting for the Dom Jolly reply "Yeah, we're in the park HAVING CONTROLLED FUN!" Our cue to leave.

I walked the scenic, peaceful route, more birdsong, gently rustling trees, that's better. Back through town for the charity shop circuit, the only shops worth going in. Then, dare I venture into CoOp? Go on, it's quiet, you never go there, there's little choice, the prices are shocking, and the chance to bulk-buy anything is remote, but it WILL save having to go shopping tonight. It's a poorly managed store, as was Somerfield, Gateway and Fine Fare before it. No till rolls, no carrier bags, miserable bitch serving me hadn't cleaned her teeth or combed her hair for work, and was chatting to the customer behind me, ignoring me and my child who was grinning pleasantly.

The charity shops were full of those people who you imagine David Cameron is referring to when he's having a pop at the jobless. Overweight, childish, poor spacial awareness, 'duvet day' clothes on... I think Cameron described them as 'languishing on the dole'. The few times I've braved 'Game' I've seen the same set.  It's as if they are unaware of how rotund their lifestyle has led them to become, and they still feel 12 years old,  8 stone. 

I stayed out, enjoying the weather for as long as I could, even going back to the quiet area of the park. 
How would I be described by the people I encountered today?  A sullen loner who doesn't engage with her son? A pain in the arse going into small charity shops with a pushchair? An unwelcome stranger to the social club that is the Co-Op?
 Nah, I just blended in with all the other mums, which left me feeling more lonely,  I'd rather be on the outside looking in than on the inside looking out.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Lucy's Daydreams

It's sometimes a relief to wake and discover a morning unsuited to leisurely park and outdoor type pursuits. Monday mornings are usually an unpleasant scene in the home of a slattern like me. Today though, the pile of ironing I saved for Sunday night (which by Sunday night I make the executive decision to put  off 'til Monday) was neatly folded, ironed and ready for putting away. The two dining tables are pretty clear, they usually look like the world's most disappointing table-top-sale. "Come and get a vintage school letter covered in some black blobs of banana, a snapped crayon still in it's original jacket, some pants which may smell of washing powder, or wee, a selection of carrier bags complete with  receipts, and your last chance to open that bill-will it be a final demand?".

The house looks OK ( for me) today. If I were to spend some time dedicated to sorting, tidying and cleaning, I could almost make it look normal. 'OK' will do me nicely though, I have made a firm decision to eschew the pursuit of domestic beauty. Perhaps one day, when the boys are slightly more dumbed down and begin to observe the unwritten social rules more reliably, I will become the ultimate wife and mother.

In my mind, I live in a large farm-style dwelling. There's an Aga, flagstone flooring, a  Belfast sink and several Welsh dressers in my kitchen. The Welsh dressers house a variety of carefully selected, delightfully mismatched china, pottery and glass . A constant supply of fresh bread, cakes and casseroles emerge from the Aga.
Visitors come and go sporadically throughout the day, enjoying a slice of my cake, some home made lemonade in the summer, a big pot of tea or coffee in the colder months. We have either deep, meaningful conversations, or childish giggles over amusing anecdotal topics. Egyptian cotton bedding flaps on the line, along with vintage tablecloths adorned with exquisite floral patterns and embroidery.
I am always busy, yet at peace, I wear a serene expression and never say "I'm too busy/tired/haven't got time".The evenings are spent engaged in mind-expanding cultural activity, or hosting an informal dinner party. I'd make three or four course meals, decorate the large, scrubbed oak table with bud vases and sweet-peas, sometimes a hand-made place setting. Everyone will be laughing, maybe one guest will bring a guitar and we'll end with a sing-song around the open fire.
I will always wear a dress or skirt, and my children will only wear sports-clothes when partaking in sporting activity. My hair, long and flowing with that low-maintenance tousled look that celebrities spend a fortune trying to achieve. I'll go shopping with a basket everyday, and my herbs, fruit and vegetables will grow in the garden. The lady who owns the local fromagerie and I will be on first name terms, exchanging pleasantries as I try the latest cheeses. A large tree in the garden will support a tree house big enough for around five children to play in. It will be decked with bunting made by a friend who loves to sew, large aztec design rugs,  posters on the wall saying 'Keep Out'.
We'll all be fit, breathing in fresh air, walking miles and eating fresh food...

Snap back to reality, and remind yourself of something you promised you wouldn't forget: Planning my escape from an unhappy relationship, and dreaming a little.
"I'd like a house of my own, with double-glazing, laminate floors and a leather sofa. I'd have my own car, and a computer. I'd meet a really nice man who treated me kindly, and we'd spend the evenings talking and laughing instead of in deafening silence. Perhaps I'll have more children, and I could enjoy being a mum, and make friends"...

That dream came true. 

Saturday, 19 March 2011


Mum to toddler  (OH'S Uncle over heard in Sainsbury's)

"Oi, it's not 'uh?' It's 'wha'?'

Couple in park with children

"Your mum can't have the kids tonight? Fuck's sake!"

"Well, you get wrecked tonight and I'll babysit, and I'll get wrecked tomorrow night instead is it?"

"I'm getting fucking wrecked this afternoon, tonight and tomorrow so you do what the fuck you like"

Old guy in supermarket, Weymouth

"I'm not George Michael you know. And that's a clean joke"

 (he went on to repeat this line at least 10 times to anyone he made eye contact with, often repeating it if they didn't pretend to laugh)

Posh toy shop owner to my grandfather (after he purchased a gyroscope for my dad when he was little)

"Have fun with yours sir"

Posh driving instructor (to my dad on approach to traffic lights)

"Hover sir, hover" (foot over brakes)

Dad's colleague discussing his hangover

"See, you can't drink whiskey like beer can you?"

Friend's sister to hairdresser 

"I've always wanted to work in a saloon"

Friend to my dad making small talk

"Fireplace World, I wonder what they'll be selling there?"

Mum to OH and I

"So, his name isn't Baracko Barma,  it's Barack Obama is it?"

Overheard 2 ladies in town (my mum and OH were not familiar with mealtimes being referred to as 'having food' until moving here)

"I want food, I do"

"I've had food, I have"

Mum on John Travolta

"He belongs to the Church of Science Fiction"

Mum telling me what she had for tea

"We ordered a pizza from Dominic's"

Petrol garage attendant (it was around 2 am, in her defence)

"What flavour chocolate milkshake do you want love?"

to be continued...

Friday, 18 March 2011

Who needs luck?

I would like to apologise in advance for moaning when there are so many people having a thoroughly shit time elsewhere in the world, who would love to be in my shoes.
 I'm 'lucky';  I've got three healthy children, a house, a partner and I'm not dying of cancer (yet). My parents are still alive, more luck there, and I can drive.  Shorter people have informed me 'luck' is the reason I'm tall (has nothing to do with being spawned from an average height gene pool, 5' 7" is hardly statuesque). A friend with thin hair tells me I'm 'lucky' to have plenty of hair. Mum tells me I'm lucky I can spell (she's dyslexic) and for having use of a washing machine, disposable nappies, and her to call on for help.
I'm genuinely  grateful for all that's good in my life, even praising an imaginary God for my family, good health,  food to eat and so forth. I appreciate hearing birds sing, sunshine, the mountains that surround me and  having a partner who doesn't beat me up. When my fridge is full, the washing is on the line (what is this obsession with the bloody washing line?) and my children are happy, a feeling of contentment often threatens to overwhelm me.
Gratitude is so important, it helps you to enjoy the present and take a snapshot which your mind can store for  future reference. Occasionally though, feelings of guilt creep in, leading to a sense of impending doom. Do I deserve my family? Should we be eating cheap chicken breasts because we're skint, or still buying free range but feeling like we haven't earned the right to such extravagance. Is cancer slowly creeping around my body looking for somewhere to hide, waiting for the right moment to say 'boo!' Do people really like me, or do they tolerate me out of some sort of pity (only in my deepest moments of paranoia). Feeling guilty for not suffering is incredibly counter-productive, so what do you do when you feel a bit down? Does calling one of those days where you opt out of society and don't get dressed or move a 'duvet day' turn it into an event rather than just a temporary state of torpor.

Is there such thing as luck? Sometimes I like to do things for other people so I feel better about myself, it's a very selfish act, or maybe an attempt to rack up karma credits.  Surely that makes me a first class bitch (albeit a lucky one).

What place does self-pity have in the social pecking order? Some people shape a very successful living from feeling sorry for themselves. A colleague once managed to have the entire staff (of about 30) rallying round to help her get back on her feet following her divorce. The hours spent crying in the staff room and airing all of her soiled laundry paid off. 'Soulmate' number 2 (I think she's on number 4 now) turned up within weeks and she had a new hairdo, home and wardrobe too. I kept my break-up quiet, only a few people knew. I felt it was all my fault that I'd got together with a wanker in the first place, and deserved to suffer in silence. I doubted anyone would be interested, didn't really like the sound of my own voice (how things have changed!) and just plodded on. Countless obstacles over the following two years stood in the way of my personal progress, but I got there. Who had the right approach? I think I did.

It is fine to be fed-up, dissatisfied angry and feel helpless at times. There always has and always will be  horrendous goings on in the world,  putting your plight into perspective. Contentment can still wash over you during some of the most depressing periods in your life, out of the blue. It is the human spirit which you need to admire and appreciate above all else. We, humans cannot control nature however meek or powerful it's force.  Seeking to control other humans is the one thing that's sure to make life difficult for you over and over.  

I shall try to burn onto my mind the positive images that emerge from Comic Relief, the earthquake aftermath and all other potentially distressing scenes. I am not lucky, nor unlucky. I am just a human being.  I could be run over by a bus tomorrow (groan).

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Positive Day

Today, what with it being sunny, dry and warm, I decided to be 'positive'. Don't walk around looking for all the unsavoury, depressing and socially inept sights or characters.  Don't tut to yourself, don't make harsh judgements based on appearances... 
I was behind schedule for the school run this morning, this would usually mar my day. Being late, even by minutes is something I find completely inexcusable. I only have one friend who shares this view, it seems to be a dying habit. Today, no way was I going to let being 3 minutes late for the bell make me feel I was destined to burn in hell (oh dear, that rhymes).
On to the supermarket, not a place I frequent, I usually shop online. Doing a full weeks' grocery shopping for a family of 5, with a toddler in tow? Testing.
 Large spaces with lots of people in are only good for one thing-people watching. Shopping? Putting food which can then be transformed into a meal into a trolley?  Impossible. Instead of loading up on vegetables, fruit, nappies and so forth, I usually find myself  picking up 'stuff'. Said stuff can be anything from a years supply of hand wash to yet another wooden spoon (I have lots).

Fair play to me, today I managed to do a reasonable shop, lots of healthy food. Nobody remarkable  really stood out,  probably because I had decided to abandon focussing on the negative aspects of modern British culture.
Putting shopping away is crap, I loathe it, along with putting ironed clothes away, dishes etc. Today I just did it, and then walked to the park with Sonny.

En route to the park, I witnessed some charming scenes; an elderly gent playing the saxophone outside Nat West Bank, and two ladies hugging unashamedly (I think they hadn't seen each other for ages). I saw a lady who looked to be in her seventies dressed very elegantly, purple trousers, purple knitted jacket, coordinating floral scarf, tan leather bag with matching shoes and pretty earrings (I wanted to take a picture of her). Over the bridge to the park we were delighted to see a group of ducks socialising at the riverside.

The sun was strong, the air slightly crisp, happy toddlers sliding, swinging and see-sawing, a clichéd park scene. Sonny didn't fall, do a pooh, cry or have a tantrum, the park was a success. I pointed out a squirrel, Sonny marvelled at it and made me laugh trying to pronounce 'squirrel'.  I decided to head for the other side of town, where a new ice-cream parlour has opened. I arrived to discover my purse housed just one solitary pound coin, and they didn't take cards. The kind owner let me have an ice-cream for £1 instead of £1.30,  Sonny loves ice-cream.

 Walking back through town, I refrained from thinking too much every time I saw an unpleasant scene. Sonny was taking his time eating the ice-cream, so I avoided most of the shops. Withdrawing  some cash from the bank, I overheard a familiar voice. Realising it was an old friend of my brother, I turned to look, 'my goodness' I thought, 'he looks bloody awful'. I got the impression he deliberately hung back in order to walk behind me,  pretending to be looking at a stall on the market. I sat on a bench to feed the last drops of melted ice-cream to Sonny.
 I was approached, "I don't know your name, but I know your brother don't I?" Still reeling from the deterioration of his appearance I replied, "yes". More small talk than I was comfortable with ensued, including the classic question "what are you up to?"  Indeed, what on earth am I up to? "Not a lot, the kids keep me busy"
I was reluctant to pose the same question, the honest answer would have been "oh, you know, shooting up heroin, snorting coke, smoking weed, drinking shit cider, the usual really". 
His next question was "are you married then?" hmm, "No, but I live with my partner, we'll get married one day" (and if I was't with someone, you'd be top of my wishlist).
Purposely giving off a standoffish vibes, I wrapped the conversation up, "I'm off now, loads to do, look after yourself". 
"Bye, and I just want to say, you've lost loads of weight haven't you?"
"Er, yes I have"
"You've always looked lovely to me though, say hi to your brother for me, take care."
I practically ran off, dived into the first shop, which happened to be my favourite charity shop.

I found a lovely dress, old school Marks and Spencer's, St Michael's. Only £2.25, and in unworn condition, it was waiting for me. 

As I reflected on my dialogue with the troubled friend of my brother, I chuckled. It comes to something when the only compliments you get are from junkies who look twice their age. Today though, was positive day so I changed my view; a compliment is a compliment, whoever it is from.

When I tried the dress on at home, it fitted like a dream.

The dress

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Pointless Arguments

I try very very hard to avoid arguing with anyone. In seven years, my partner and I have had less than five arguments, and they weren't dramatic, just misunderstandings. My preferred stance is mediator, the flexible one who 'doesn't mind'. I try to see things from other people's perspective a bit too much, (my mum brought me up to do this) it is equally a blessing and a curse. It's difficult to be loyal when you always see both sides of a story, and I can come across as not caring enough about friends and family when I don't rush to defend them.
Major arguments are scary, loud, painful and unforgettable, sometimes the damage is catastrophic. The minor disagreement or misunderstanding on the other hand, can fester away inside like a hidden banana. 
This past couple of days, my mum and I have had two rare mini collisions.The first was at my parents' caravan on Sunday afternoon. I was swigging the dregs from a bottle of Coke  The look on my mum's face said it all, she was disgusted. "Why are you always drinking from bottles, you should get a glass, like me?" I replied, all defensive; "It's my Coke, the water is mine too,  I've cut my finger and the plaster keeps getting wet every time I wash up, and I'm running out of plasters so I'm trying to avoid washing up".  These excuses were valid,I felt, and I rarely drink Coke anyway. She let that one go.
Today, on returning from my Zumba class, I was delighted to find the front door locked. 'I can put the washing on the line before mum gets back' I thought. Alas, mum and 2 year old were out the back garden. My mum was pegging the washing out all wrong. Pegging out the washing is a ritual for me, it's one of the few things I make a meal out of regarding household duties. The pegs have to be the same colour for each garment (on bad days I stick to 2 colours) and the clothes have to be a certain way, MY way. 
I started to change the pegs first (tuts from mum) then, I changed the orientation of the socks and trousers. After a brief explanation of why she does things the way she does, mum stormed off, looking back to say "I'm never going to put your washing out again!". With that, she went home without saying goodbye to me or Sonny, who  spent the next ten minutes looking for her in the bathroom, under the table, in the beds and finally the cupboards.


That tale of course, can be beaten, and though it's years old,  I doubt a more amusing pointless argument will be witnessed by me again. I do  love witnessing a bickering duo, it makes my day to eavesdrop on a storm in a teacup. This was such good entertainment.
 It was summer 1992, a boiling day, and I was staying with my aunty in Bristol. I was sunbathing in her back garden. The dividing fences on either side were very high, but you could hear all the goings on from next door. Her neighbours Lyn and John are real 'characters', and have the broadest Bristolian accents imaginable, adding an 'L' onto every open vowel. Lyn had gone to the shop, John was pottering in the garden. I presume John heard Lyn return, then he shouted  "loverrr?"  Five minutes later "loverrr, come out 'ere". Lyn did as she was told, and said:
"what are you shouting for, what do you want?"
 John replies quickly "where's they scratch cards Lyn?" 
"I scratched 'em John, we ain't won, they're in the bin"
"you what?"
"I done 'em on the way back, we ain't won sod all John"
"I can't believe it Lyn, I said bring them back and we'll scratch them TOG-E-THER"
"you've spoilt my afternoon now Lyn. It's a beautiful day, I was having a nice time in the garden, I 'telt' you to go to the shop, get some scratch cards and we'll scratch them together, I was looking forward to it"
"we never won anyway so who cares?"
"I care, I was really looking forward to scratching them TOGETHER, you don't understand, I'm really pissed off now Lyn, you've spoilt my day"
I was treated to another 40 minutes of this, calling my cousins to join me for a snigger, it was great. Who needs TV or the radio eh? 
John eventually stormed off to the pub, Lyn muttered "miserable fucker".
 I like Lyn and John, so does my aunty. They make her dinner once a week and always end up bickering over something. That's true love.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Liebster Blog

The style savvy Lakota aka Faith, Hope and Charity Shopping (charity shopper extrordinaire) passed this award on to me.  It took me a while to work out what it was all about, and how it works, but I think I get it now.
It's awarded to bloggers with a relatively small following (300 or less) but to me, anyone with 20+ followers is doing very well!
To accept the award is to share it with some bloggers you follow who you feel are worthy of recognition. I'm loathe to share it with some of my favourite reads, because I just know it wouldn't be their thing, so I will stick to the rules (pass on to 3-5 people) but will mention 2 without embarrassing them with the award, and pass it on to 3 (still technically following the guidelines).

Firstly TALLULAH ELLE who I owe a debt of gratitude for helping me get started with blogging, offering excellent advice, and making the job of keeping up with the fashion barometer very easy. Writing comes naturally to her, and there's a good chance we'll be seeing her rise through the ranks

Secondly,  DannSindWirHelden this blog is quirky, funny, written to an impeccable standard of English, which puts me to shame as it's my FIRST language and it's a generally positive, feel-good blog

Thirdly Katryoshka ramblings I found this by accident and I find myself envying their lifestyle. Just read the profile and check out their Etsy, unique, inspiring, talented, crazy and likeable.

Now, two blogs worthy of a mention, but I reckon the authors would be mortified at getting an award

1) Grey Area I'm completely hooked on this sort of online diary. 

2) The Age of Uncertainty This blog is simply a 'must follow'. If you don't already, you won't regret starting. A book seller  who often comes across old photographs destined for the bin, he gives them life on here. Poignant, fascinating, moving and interesting, every picture certainly does tell a story.

Thanks again to Lakota for thinking of me, and introducing me to some excellent new follows. I am very nervous about how my posts come across to others, sometimes holding back for fear the Nonsense Police will come and get me. Hopefully some more feedback will be made now my followers have doubled in number. Constructive criticism always welcome.

Thanks for reading....

Lucy x  

Friday, 11 March 2011

Parent's Evening

Blah, blah,blah

Parent's evening at my 11 year old's school.

 I'm sure  parent's evening used to  be a rather subdued affair. The parents dressed 'tidy' and the kids, if they HAD to come along, sort of hung around the foyer. This evening, it was like an X-Factor audition.
Kids everywhere, some on bikes doing wheelies in the car park. Parents, grandparents, step-parents and 'real' parents en mass. A stall selling tea, coffee, coke, chocolate and crisps. I hadn't taken my purse, but the EX had, and was fleeced out of  two quid for an official 'programme'. The dress code seemed to be 'sports casual' so my effort to look 'tidy' was a waste of time. I didn't take my son along, but understand some people had no choice but to bring their 12 year old, and all the rest of their kids aged between 21 years and 2 weeks old.
Any attempt to co-ordinate the affair with time-tables, place names, subject divisions and so on went out of the window. The internet was 'broke' so the staff couldn't access the important lists drawn up to help parents (the tech guy had gone home, no doubt, so nobody available to suggest switching off and on again).
Massive queues for the important subjects, then bored and forlorn looking Music, D&T and Art teachers started to tout for business, smiling hopefully at everyone and asking if they can help. What a shame Music, Art and D&T aren't the important subjects eh?  If that was the case schools may churn out creative, inspired and happy kids with a real future ahead of them. 
History repeated itself, I endured the same spiel my parents sat and pulled all the right faces at 21 years ago. "Doesn't concentrate,  could do better, talks and messes around too much..."
By the time the queue for the rather stressed and thirsty looking maths teacher had gone down, I was in another world. I simply cannot cope with loud, crowded spaces for long without drifting off into my imagination to escape. Initially I tried the 'I am listening, honest' look ( but I must have done a shit job of it). Snapped back to reality by Mr Maths... "I can see where he gets his daydreaming from, you're not listening are you?". Oh dear. I tried to explain the difficulty I have concentrating when there's such a lot going on. Guess what? Mr Maths wasn't listening.

Good luck with the next 4-6 years in school son, you really are going to need it.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Worst first date

 I believe I was born with very poor spacial awareness.
I didn't learn to use a knife and fork properly despite sitting as a family every single night at the table to eat traditional fayre. Many an errant slice of sausage, flyaway hunk of chop or catapulting carrot landed on the floor, I was a scrounging dog's dream. My nickname as a child was Frank Spencer, as I often caused a chain-reaction of calamities with my clumsiness. You get told off an awful lot when you're clumsy, and it just makes matters worse. When we visited friends of my parents, they would often ask "Is Lucy left handed?" This was probably a polite way to ask "what on earth is wrong with your fuck-witted daughter, is she blind and pissed?"

My tale this evening (all true, as always) is about me going on a date. I hate dates, I don't know how anyone can enjoy one on one meetings with people they hardly know. I must have been about 18, and living with my parents, they were getting concerned that I never went on dates. Why, I don't know. 
The first meeting of the guy who was to go on the worst date of his life, was at closing time in a local pub. My friend (really, I'd say if it was me) wanted a piss but they wouldn't let her back in. This guy offered to shield her while she relieved herself behind the train platform. Obviously, she declined such a bizzare offer, but he insisted on chatting, and we discovered our mums knew each other, and that we'd gone to the same nursery. This was enough for him to think he was on to something special, I just thought, what a shame he's short, ginger and thin ( being tall, podgy and dark myself). We were escorted home by him and his friend (who's appearance has been erased from my mind). When my friend went in for a wee, he asked for my number, I didn't give it to him, just said it's on the first page of the phone book, and gave him my surname. I did not expect to get a call. Embarrassed, I just sort of mumbled OK when he did ring, asked if I'd meet him at 7 o'clock outside Marks and Spencer's on Thursday. I told my parents and they were delighted, "his mum is nice" said my mum "he's in the Army, that's good" said my dad.  Thursday came, I had no intention of turning up, but couldn't bring myself to ring and cancel either. My dad bought up a bottle of wine to my bedroom and talked me into going.

 I put a wrap over white shirt on, jeans and I'm sure I put pink lipstick on, I probably looked awful. I was pissed.  I wobbled into town, feeling as if the whole world was watching my every move. It was just as excruciating as I'd imagined in my worst moments of doubt. Looking shorter and thinner than I remembered, we looked ridiculous together and totally mis-matched. The pub was dead, save for the handful of regulars who stared, it was obvious we weren't a proper couple.  Conversation was difficult, I asked rhetorical questions but the answers tended to be 'yes' 'no' or 'not really'. I stupidly had 2 pints, on top of the bottle of wine. Absolute bollocks starts spouting from my mouth, I wish I could recall an example, but all I remember is a painted-on polite grin which grew increasingly unconvincing. We were sat at the bar, on stools,  the landlord came over for a chat. The pub dog came over to say hello, I patted him on the head, then he lay down near my feet. I felt dizzy, but ignored it. My tepid date and the landlord were chatting away about men things, I leant forward to pet the dog. I fell forwars slowly, landed ON the dog. The gap I fell into was small, it was difficult to move without hurting the dog, so I had to be yanked up, by Mr Muscle. 

I can't really remember the rest of the evening, I know I was escorted home. I didn't dare tell my parents what had happened, I said it was a 'nice' evening.
Two days later, I received a call, "Hi Lucy, I really enjoyed our date, would you like to meet up tonight?" I thought, for god's sake, just how desperate are you mate? I look like I could carry you over my shoulder while still eating pie and chips, I get legless, talk shit and fall on a dog during our first date, and you want to see me again? I made my excuses, but felt incredibly guilty, I had been the arsehole, not him.

I explained to my mum what had really happened on the date, she said "he's in the army and he's short, he just wants anyone to be his girlfriend". That was the truth.

The girl with the wolf jumper

I watched a documentary featuring Wolves last night, which reminded me of a girl that I once knew.....

I passed very few G.C.S.E's. Becoming a chiropractor was my ambition for a while, I couldn't get onto the access course with my rubbish results. The guy interviewing me at college (clearly bored) suggested I took the 2 year N.N.E.B (nursery nursing) course. I said 'OK' just wanting to have something to tell my mum, who didn't want me on the dole.

They were quite a mixed bunch on the course; slightly geeky, sweet girls who 'loved kids', girls who flipped a coin (heads - hairdressing, tails - childcare) and a large number of women over 35 who wanted to get a job in a school.  The friendship groups soon formed, luckily I had a friend from childhood to latch onto, or goodness knows which group I'd have plumped for. 

The most fascinating group by far, were the nerds, who seemed to pair off into couples quickly. I shouldn't use the term 'nerds', they were possibly the most well rounded individuals, and didn't have anything to prove. One girl, I can't remember her name, let's say 'Jenny' was particularly interesting. 

Jenny loved  Wolves (the animal) and wasn't afraid to show her love for them. Wolf pencil case, pens, rucksack and best of all, a wolf jumper. The wolf jumper was navy, she wore a white roll neck underneath, her jeans fell just shy of her ankles, revealing pristine white ankle socks. On her feet, which were tiny in comparison to the rest of her, she wore sensible flat black leather lace-up boots. Jenny's packed lunch was always a cheese and cucumber sandwich, ready salted Walkers  crisps, a Blue Riband wafer and a carton of supermarket orange juice. 
All of her coursework was beautifully presented, handed in on time and her assignments always got a distinction.I got to know Jenny a little throughout the two years, not enough to 'work her out' properly though. I discovered she was an only child, and that her parents had thought they couldn't have children. Jenny's mum was 43 when she found out she was pregnant for the first time.

Lyn, a girl who was deaf, became Jenny's friend on the course. Lyn quickly became very dependant on Jenny for help with the course, and I think Jenny enjoyed this role. 
Towards the end of the first year, Lyn announced she was pregnant (along with many other pupils). Jenny became a true friend, accompanying Lyn to scans, shopping with her and almost becoming a stand-in dad. 

When the baby was born, Jenny came into college with photographs, and chatted about the baby with such pride, her devotion was touching.

At the end of the course, parents were invited to an awards ceremony, I looked forward to seeing Jenny's parents. I had an image in my mind of how they'd look, and wanted to know how accurate this was. Apparently, Jenny's mum was 'poorly' so dad came alone. The vision I'd conjured up was pretty close to perfect. Slightly overweight, bald, inane grin, Marks and Spencer's cords, v-neck sweater and shirt. 

The following weekend was to be our night out to celebrate, all the lecturers put their names down, and Lyn said she'd be there too. I noticed Jenny's name wasn't on the list. I asked her if she'd be coming, and commented it'd be nice for Lyn. Jenny replied, 'no, I won't be coming'. Sometimes the look on a face tells you not to ask why.  On the very last day, there was a lot to take home, all the toys and games we'd made, all the coursework (which was a lot, there was no exam at the end of the course, just masses of assignments). As my friend and I left the car park we saw Jenny getting into a car, her dad sat there grinning with a bloody Wolf jumper on.

The rumour (later confirmed) on the night out, was that Jenny was pregnant. 

I'd still like to be a chiropractor.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Confessions on Sunday

Indeed, I must

I have been eating too much, my diet starts tomorrow

I have been moaning too much, more positivity required

I have been neglecting the chores, must join the 'fly lady' revolution

I have been letting the children watch too much TV, more books and pencils

I have been 'too tired' - must go to bed earlier

I have been drinking too much tea, more water!

I have been plucking my eyebrows all wrong, sort it out

I have been buying too many peppers, they go all floppy

I have been spending too much at the corner shop; stop it

I have been saying "I can't be bothered", cut it out

I have been using the tumble drier, ban it from March 'til October

I have been letting my hair get greasy, it looks gross

I have been dressing like a Christian - why?

I have been 'putting off 'til tomorrow what I can do today'

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Wednesday on Wednesday (just about)

I enjoy reading blogs which give a clear insight into people's personal lives. In other words, I am very nosey. This morning I looked at a blog in which an American 'stay-home-mom' showcases her home. The blog was so positive, oozed with pride, had a self-assured, assertive feel to it. Though not to my taste, her home was immaculate, and brimming with well-placed  stuff. I should have read it and looked at the pictures thinking 'good for you, girlfriend!'. The inherent negativity I carry  just can't help itself, I found myself mocking it.
My thoughts must stem from jealousy, insecurity and sheer cynicism, just a lady who's sharing her life like so many of us.

Hours of fun await...

There were eleven comments on a post about favourite cleaning products, mostly starting with 'I love this post'. I both pity and envy people who claim to 'love' cleaning. when I watch daytime television (usually during periods of mild depression) the commercial breaks seem to be speaking to me. The message I hear is;  "buy these cleaning products woman, and put some slap on". "Spray chemicals everywhere, and 'millionize your lashes' that will ensure your reputation as the worlds best mum and wife are upheld". I saw an ad yesterday, I think it was for Harpic, which tells us that everybody judges your toilet giving it marks out of ten. That's a battle I've lost even after cleaning mine. Peach bathroom suite which I can't afford to replace, wonky 'white' seat which never looks clean because I put loads of bleach on it, turning it to a wee-stained looking colour and dodgy flush. One out of ten for effort.
I see clean-a-holicism as just as much a compulsion as having pride and high standards. Towards the end of my three pregnancies I had a true insight into this. I simply could not sit down until everything had been scrubbed, polished and tidied. Most of my thoughts centred around what chore had to be completed next, and there was little room for satisfaction because I never got to the end of my to-do list. My imagination had to go into power-save mode, there was no room for it. Spontaneity  was also out of the question, I had to have order, routine and 'slots' for everything. I felt permanently tense. I know you could argue that hormones played a part, but I get the impression that friends and family who are a bit obsessive about cleanliness also feel tense until everything is done. Perhaps I'm just plain lazy?...

The very t-shirt

It's taken me all day to complete this post, I started at 9.30 am, it's now 23.05.
It has been a  glorious, text book early Spring day, with a two-hour jaunt to the park. The first sight we were treated to was of two blokes who initially seemed to be without a child. They had a giant bottle of  white wine each, and were chain smoking. Neither smoking or drinking alcohol are allowed in actual play area of the park. They were dressed quite respectably, and were trying their best to look like it was quite normal to be guzzling plonk on a park bench at 10:30 am whilst in charge of a 3 year old. The child, a girl who looked reasonably well cared for,  (clean clothes, cheap but new looking shoes) was just playing on her own happily. Occasionally she'd shout "dad look at me" or "can you help me", she was ignored most of the time. After a while she took her coat off, she had a t-shirt on which was too small. When I got a closer look, I realised it bore the charming slogan 'Future WAG'. The responsible duo were asked to put out their cigarettes and put their wine in a bag, they left, saying "sorry Sir" to the young man who had nervously approached them.  When she asked why they were leaving, the girl was told 'because that man doesn't want anyone to have fun'. The future WAG looked confused.
That is my day, I'm off to clean my teeth....

Tuesday, but on Wednesday....

I looked poor today. Faded threadbare, leggings and £1 size 18 T-shirt from the charity shop (I'm a size 12). Tuesday is 'Zumba' day, one solid hour of dancing up a sweat. Dressed like one of the mothers of a troubled teen on the Jeremy Kyle show, all I needed was grey roots and a few less teeth. Of course, EVERYONE else had either Nike or Addidas exercise clothes on, some had matching top, bottom and trainer combinations.
Sometimes I really enjoy Zumba, and feel energised after it. Today I just thought "what the hell I am doing throwing myself around to shite music?". Humans eh,we do the strangest things sometimes.
The trouble with sports clothes is that there are only two ways to wear them. One, is the acceptable "I'm about to partake in some physical activity, and as you'll notice, my physique shows the garments off a treat". The second is "I'm so unfit and out of shape, sports clothes with elasticated waistband and unisex styling allow me to blend in with the other jobless underachievers". I'm leaning towards the second category, and will possibly get into character by stopping off at Greggs for a snack, start carrying a bottle of Coke or  Lucozade (maybe Stella on giro day) and go window shopping at Cash Generator. I'm already a jobless underachiever, I may as well embrace the whole lifestyle.....