Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Goodbye, Lucewoman

Not going to apologise for, or excuse my absence. Apologising would be like saying; "sorry fans! I've been busy working on new material (just like all those has-beens on Nevermind the Buzzcocks). I know you've all been on the edge of your seat waiting for the next installment of uncouth nonsense  from your  smalltown under-stimulated narsisisstic blogger".
I need a laptop, having a computer must be an enormous boon to aid blogging?

I met some extraordinarily beautiful ladies recently. Really, no exaggeration. The proof exists here here here and here.
I met Curtise and Clare first and was struck by their clear-skinned radiance and style.There was no awkwardness or bullshit. Clare speaks exactly how people who read stories should speak - softly but concisely and with the right level of animation. Curtise is as wry, funny  and engaging in person as she is on her blog.
Krista and Vix were waiting at the station and looked like a pair of ornate pained dolls; so petite, colourful, and pretty with the widest smiles possible. Positivity, fun and a zest for life oozes from their pores and I am so glad Krista was able to come to the UK to meet her soul sister.
Louise and her lovely mum had the most sparkly blue eyes, were so friendly and warm.I want to do it all again, but with ten hours in Second to None (the best second-hand shop I've ever been to) and a whole night of eating, drinking and laughing.

It's time to delete this blog. It will not be easy, it changed my life and catalogued a range of emotions which will be unique to the time.
 I will start a new one, I will keep up with all my favourites, as I have been throughout despite not commenting much.

I thank everyone who has taken the time to read and comment, everyone who has supported this 'diary'.

I will see you on my new blog, hopefully.

Thanks again for reading,

I'm of for a beautiful tomato Ainsley Harriet Cup a Soup with soya and linseed bread. Jealous?


Friday, 17 August 2012

The Itchy and Scratchy Show

I write my blog posts on the smallest, crappest piece of equipment. It doesn't even belong to me; it's Liam's.
Liam reclaimed the Netbook recently, mainly to watch videos on YouTube showing how to teach your Gerbil tricks.

Liam saved his pocket money (heavily subsidised by his paternal grandfather, who 'slips' him £20 notes  regularly) to buy a a cage and two Gerbils. 
I agreed to let him have them with the age old warning "you'll have to clean the cage and look after them".
Itchy and Scratchy are vile creatures. They smell like charity shops used to; of dried wee, greasy hair and dirty bottoms. One Gerbil spends the day trying to scratch a tunnel through the cage, the other hides, like some kind of neurotic, agoraphobic old lady who only eats Nairn's oatcakes, apples and runny yoghurt.

I watch the desert creatures and feel pity for them, despite all their needs being met, it just doesn't seem right that they live under a fine mist of Lynx in a metal and plastic enclosure. Pink eyes seem to focus on mine every now and then. I melt. What is is about us humans, we HAVE to humanise animals. "Aw, the little one is so clever, the big one is wild, he loves to play". 

What do I find myself doing at 11pm the other night? Why, fashioning an ad-hoc activity centre for the Gerbils from items in the recycling bag (toilet roll tubes and small boxes). "Look Liam, they LOVE it!". All I need to do now is create a little coffee shop for them, and make some bow ties and...a sports car, all pets need a sports car. If only I'd kept my Barbie's Ferrari, they'd look great in that sporting mirrored shades and maybe a sun visor. 

The 'summer' holidays feel strange owing to the absence of summer. I baked bread and cakes with the boys today. It poured with rain solidly and the curtains were drawn early.
Trips into town are 'in and out' events. I did hear a good line last week though, I'm never switched off;

"I'm not being funny love, but why order a full English if you don't fucking like pork?"


Maybe September will be warm, I'll be blogging regularly and commenting regularly. Stranger things have happened..

Bye for now...

Thursday, 26 July 2012

This Summer

Hooray! Some sunshine; cloudless skies and fully dressed washing lines. Small pleasures.

I have missed writing nonsense on here. There have been thoughts, tales and so many unanswered questions but also, a sense that I  need to make a few changes. Not sure what I want to write about any more. I just want to write.

I have missed commenting regularly too, I will resume as soon as possible.

There have been numerous encounters with interesting people, especially since I've been using public transport more often.
Charity shopping has been avoided in favour of de-cluttering.
I did buy some curtains from a charity shop last week, though. The shop manageress was measuring the curtains (which had just arrived) when I walked into the shop. "These will sell as soon as we put them out" she said.

 Quite right, I bought them there and then.

Unfortunately, I ended up being party to a conversation which is one of my least favourite topics - home décor.

Gesturing, as if to give an accurate representation of dimensions, she offered a detailed description of  he living-room furnishings

 ('yuh' = 'here').

"I got my wall art yuh" 
"then I got my silver buddha 'ead yuh"
"I got my coffee table yuh, and I got my plasma on tha' wall, then my 'uge mirror on tha' wall. I got teal and terracotta theme I have, and I got all cushions what match, but don't match like, if you know what I mean?"

They coordinate? I said.

"yeah! That's the word. I like stuff to match, but I don't like identical stuff. I love my living room, I even keep the table all laid tidy, like they do on TV when they do a makeover. We eat our food on our lap though, nuts, we are!"

Picnics, parks, streams, scooters, bikes, half-eaten ice-lollies, sunscreen peppered with grit, water pistols, hard skin on my feet, deodorant twice daily, gawping at creosote tans, a red and freckled nose, sweaty grizzly babies, the echoing noises unique to warm open-windowed evenings...all say it's PROPER summertime. Albeit for one week only.

I'll catch up with you all soon - I've missed you (really!)

Friday, 6 July 2012


Life-changing events are often punctuated with bizarre, moving and downright banal encounters and observations.

There was the accidental discovery of this video (an attempt to distract the boys) during an emotionally charged exchange with Rob.

A guy with a personality disorder latched on to me, I was already late for the school run. He'd emptied a large bag of peanuts for some crazed pigeons to feast on, and my niece, captivated, approved. I was loathe to deny her the chance to witness such an entertaining spectacle (she's only 1) and also loathe to engage with the chap (but he had other ideas). 

A mother at the school telling me she'd had a "horrendous day" because she had passed loose stools. I listened and made all the right sympathetic noises, while all the time thinking that my day had been possibly more challenging than hers, for reasons I won't go into.

Watching the boys eat Fairtrade bananas (the headmaster is obsessed with the Eco-Schools concept) smothered in chocolate sauce, with obvious enthusiasm and delight, while swallowing the tears of sadness and pangs of guilt. Such innocence.

My birthday (Wednesday) was celebrated in two parts. Drinks at The Merlin; a pub around the corner. Mid-nineties decor; terracotta and Fluer de Lys; too many televisions; a man who should have gone home at lunchtime. I just wanted a quiet chat. Firmly but politely, I told the animated gent that although I found his anecdotes very entertaining, I'd appreciate some time to talk to my friends without distraction. "Some people got no fuckin' sense of humour" was his sharply observed reply.

Later on, at home, I enjoyed coffee and cake with a friend from childhood. We chatted to the very open, honest, warm, beautiful and funny Krista at midnight via Skype. Krista sent me a parcel full of delightful treats, handmade gifts and wonderful garments for my birthday. I cannot thank her enough.

I cannot thank my readers enough for their support. 

Thanks to Lakota for the beautiful Origami card and hand made earrings.

Thanks to Rob for being being such a loving father to our wonderful boys. 

Friday, 29 June 2012



A quick update:

Rob and I split up on Tuesday.

I am fine,the boys are fine, so is Rob. I am going to keep the blog going, but an obvious recovery period will be needed.

Hope to catch up with your posts soon.


Monday, 25 June 2012

Celebrating mediocrity

I see so many inspiring photographs on blogs. Beautifully captured moments which tell a story. Artistic skill and attention to detail, sound knowledge of software, photography techniques and creative display methods.

You can tell a lot about someone's life by the photographs they share.

The boys were home from school on Friday. They watched The Incredibles.

Something Mr Incredible said caught my attention:

"They keep finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity"

I think that's my life summed up!

Here's the photographic evidence...

Iron bridge (no sore lips for me)

Being of Sound Mind

Spilt dog biscuits looked like camouflage once wet

At my friend's flat, she looks nonplussed 

Love the font

Once is unfortunate, twice...

I'd love to know what they overhear

Hope to share something more interesting next time.

What does your photography say about you?

Monday, 18 June 2012

The Human Chrysalis

The novelty of being able to traipse the charity shops alone is starting to wear off. Weekday meanders through Pontypridd are rarely uplifting experiences.
Today, I felt out of place owing to  the absence of a walking stick, buggy, carer or bag of cans.

I entered Barnrdo's charity shop.  Upon noticing the volunteer on duty, I steeled myself
In her early seventies; tall, slender and immaculately groomed, Barbara cuts a rather elegant figure. Long fingernails coated in thick pearlised pink polish set off her heavily accessorised fingers. Beige hair and custard-cream toned clothing lead you down to three-tone metallic leather shoes.
Barbara loves to chat,  I have lost count of the number of times she's told me about her successful. childless daughters. "I wish one of them was simple, I'd have had grandchildren then!"

The conversation starts,

"Hiya love, how's the boy doing?"

"Sonny loves school Barbara, how are you?"

Why do I ask? Why?

"Well, I'm still alive love!!"

A young man enters the shop with an unlit rolled-up cigarette perched between his dry lips. His demeanour is       
nervous, impatient, like a criminal waiting for an accomplice to finish the 'job'.

Barbara often attempts to engage the whole shop in a conversation, even on very busy days, gesturing at his roll-up, she says:

"Never smoked, me. Never tried it. Don't know what it tastes like"

Still rifling through a rail of faded mid-nineties t-shirts, the nervy smoker pipes up:

"Wish I'd never bloody tried it" 

Barbara then treated us to a rather fantastical story (though who I am to doubt the truth in it?)

My mother smoked all her life, loved her fags, she did.  I had to take my burgundy velvet curtains to the dry cleaners after her visits.
When she was dying, I had her living with me, I kept her alive for a year, I did, the doctor told me that. Anyway, she gave up smoking. 
One day, she was in the bathroom [I've got TWO bathrooms in my detached bungalow] and she called me, screaming, she was.
I walked in, and had the shock of my life! All of her skin had shed, in one layer. Like a sheet, it was.
The doctor said it's from giving up smoking. She looked like a young girl.

Bemused, I left the shop and headed home.

Why the detail about two bathrooms?

At home, I thought about looking for a job. 

Thursday, 14 June 2012

A story

Here is the story I entered into a competition. Thought I'd share it because it didn't get short-listed.

The opening paragraph was written by author Rosmund Lupton, entries were to follow this with a first chapter of between 800 and 1000 words.

You have to buy the magazine to read the first prize entry, the two runner-up entries can be read here.

I wonder if my attempt is a little disjointed and cheesy, but i did enjoy writing it, and will keep practising... 

The swaying of the train made her hands grip around her bag as if it was anchored and could support her. Outside the window, the trees were a blur of greens and it seemed to the woman as if it were the trees not the train which were moving, hurrying away from her, putting green distance between them. She’d started the journey with clearly defined logical reasons for it, which she’d neatly stacked up like a wall. But the rocking of the train, the judder as it had speeded up, had toppled them and the truth was now visible, poking out and ugly to her. Outside the window the moving haze of green trees was replaced by the still hard edges of a grey platform. She’d arrived.

People moved hurriedly and purposefully. Martha slowly looked around, she needed to find  her bearings. The toilets were dimly-lit, with mirrors protected by sheets of scratched perspex.  It was hazy, but the reflection clearly showed a tired and pained face.

The city, awash with dirty water. Fluorescent shop lighting and occasional flashes of flowing pillar-box red hair stopped it looking like a black and white film set.
Heavy rain forced people to bow their heads. Perfect funeral weather, a sad sky mourned the loss of its sun.

There was an hour to kill, easy in an identikit post-industrial city. Familiar cafes, familiar shops, unfamiliar faces.

Something about the narrow shopping arcade beckoned, perhaps she was lured by the unknown. Shops and cafes manned by owners, not staff, with handwritten signs - unique places.

Martha chose a cafe which screamed Shabby Chic, jars filled with marshmallows, sugared almonds and macaroons adorned the shelves. Myriad pastel hues and subtle lighting, sweet peas in old bottles on the table, very cosy.
Good coffee and robust home-baked cakes were usually a delight to the senses but
now, all she could stomach was a pot of delicately perfumed Earl Grey.

To distract herself from thoughts of the afternoon ahead, Martha looked out of the window. An elderly couple glanced at the chalkboard menu. His face looked as though it had been painted with a wishy-washy mix of purple, white and red.  The lady shook her head - prices too high and coffee not milky enough, probably.
Time and aging, regret and longing - never righting the wrongs. Such thoughts enveloped Martha in despair.

"The wettest week I've known for years" said the cafe owner. Martha could tell she was the owner, there was so much pride in the way she wiped the distressed oak tables and organised everything. Welcoming the distraction of dialogue, she searched her mind for a rhetorical response.
"Good or bad for business? I mean, in some ways people will be drawn to shelter, but others will just opt to stay home".

"Business ticks over, you never know when you're in for a rush or a lull.

Martha ran her fingers over the scroll pattern on her teaspoon and wiped the pale amber drips of tea from outside the cup. As if sensing her need for distraction, the cafe owner asked if this was the first time she had visited.

"Only, we have a loyalty scheme, I can give you a card if you'll be coming back".

"I used to live here, but I'm only here for the day. I will take a card though, I may be back - you never know".

Though, Martha could never imagine coming back.

With the spoon lined up equidistant from the cup and saucer, chair placed squarely back in place, it was time to leave.

Martha caught her reflection in a large blacked-out window. There she was - a slightly padded version of the young lady who had spent many nights in that city. Dancing and drinking, every last penny wasted trying to create the perfect weekend, to blank out reality and forget.

Feeling anonymous among the sea of faces, she drew comfort from blending in with her surroundings, being part of the shuffling throng.
Occasionally, someone would catch her attention and come into sharp focus. One lady had been on the same train, she wore a cerise mac. The tie belt skirted dangerously close to the ground on one side. Martha longed to pull the belt, even it up.
There was a longing to straighten out so many things in her life.

Looking up at the sky as grey gulls floated and swooped, hungry for fast food, Martha took a very deep breath.
It was almost time to go to the chapel,  no going back. Surely this journey still had a purpose? She refused to even consider using the word closure, all hope of that was gone.

The taxi rank was in the same place as years ago, only now there were double the number of cabs. Flashbacks to teetering on four inch heels across the cobbled paving, chips in hand, cold exposed arms covered in goosebumps. Of ending a night out feeling sad, wishing it could go on forever,  music, laughter and bright lights instead of that thump of dark silence. These memories didn’t feel at all distant.

Martha’s heart and stomach became overwhelmed with spasms of pulsating anxiety, getting into a taxi was the final part of her journey and made the feelings she’d experienced on the train fade into insignificance.

Perhaps it was a good thing - encountering the world’s nosiest, chattiest taxi driver. If only he hadn’t decided to talk about the funeral.

“Union Chapel, eh? I’m guessing from the black outfit that you’re going to a funeral...clever me eh?”

It was hard to reply, despite it being obvious this was not a quirky date with a fellow wearer of sombre black attire, she wanted to keep the details to herself.

“Yes, the funeral is at 1.30, I’ve come down from up North”

“That's gonna be a busy one, good job you’ll be getting there early. Terrible when someone young dies, innit? Such a waste.”

The taxi driver had summed up her feelings. Such a waste. Twenty years of waiting, thinking, dreaming and hoping. A past brought to life and shattered so suddenly.

All that loneliness and heartache for this, a chance to say goodbye for the second and last time.  Martha felt the physical pain of grief stab her coldly and deeply.  Smoothing down her skirt, she paid the driver as he said “I’ll see you again love”.

They had been her final words to her son.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Premonitions, Scratch-Cards, Shelters

Yesterday we enjoyed the wettest, coldest, smallest and most modest 'street' party imaginable. Huddled under a skilfully erected tarpaulin shelter, we learned a lot...
...rain doesn't matter when you're aged between 7 months and 10 years old.
Crisps are all you need to fuel children.

Who really cares what anyone thinks about the royal family?  They're here, they're normal people masquerading as some kind of other-worldly beings, and I don't envy them at all. Maybe I envy Middleton's waistline, but that's it. Waving, having a Maureen from Psychoville hairdo, listening to obsequious and nervous idiots telling you stuff you couldn't care less about - a tough job.

The best thing I read about the whole Jubilee shenanigans was this post.

Maureen, Psychoville

At the corner shop this afternoon, I was overwhelmed by a sudden and irresistible urge to purchase a lottery scratch-card. Gambling isn't an addiction I can imagine fully immersing myself in. Maybe alcoholism,.definitely food, possibly class B drugs. Throwing money around chasing unattainable larger sums of money, only to throw that away if a miracle occurs - no thanks.

I remember my mother's friend saying her agoraphobic sister had a mild  prescription painkiller dependency - "she pops a couple of Co-Proxamol and then she's on QVC buying all sorts of crap".  That sounds great fun. Maybe I'll try that when I'm elderly.

I was in the shop quite a while, rather like a 1950's housewife, I while away plenty of time there, eager to catch a bit of juicy gossip, or witness some blog-worthy display of uncouth human behaviour.

The green veg at the shop had turned grey - I offered to make some soup for Saj to sell at a pound per cup. My entrepreneurial skills know no bounds.

Saj declined my offer, and I won NOTHING on the scratch-card.The customers were mainly purchasing cigarettes and alcohol (recession? What recession!).
Back to the drawing board for me.

Earlier this evening, I picked Liam up from his dad's house.
Liam was supposed to be camping this week with his friend, dad, and dad's partner. As Liam's dad was playing golf, I chatted to his partner about the abandoned camping trip. Much bickering had ensued following an attempt to erect the tent in gale-force winds and torrential rain on a sodden field. Liam's dad was determined to get the tent up, determined to laugh in the face of wind, rain, mud, grumpy pre-teens and a simpering, damp, smelly coquettish dog.

"Men!" I exclaimed in a cliché and over-the-top tone. "Why do they feel the need have to  prove themselves by  providing an inferior shelter, when they have a perfectly sturdy,cosy and functional home?".

I was, of course, referring to the tarpaulin shelters which took Rob, Ken and Stuart (plus various other gentlemen in the street who rubbed their chins, squinted and laughed before retiring to the safety of their brick-built castles) two hours to tether in place

I must admit though, despite much tutting, eye-rolling and negativity from us ladies, it was great being outdoors; watching the children play happily and mingling with people I was barely on nodding terms with before.

I also got to meet Sue, the lady I said this about in a previous post:

"A new addition to my 'I've seen you before' file, intrigues me. I reckon I'll get to know her one day, she seems worth getting to know. I like her clothes and the way she looks up, not just around. I'd say she's in her mid forties, lives alone, and suffers from depression - her eyes look quite sad, like they're desperate to be rinsed out with cold water and shown a bright picture."

Turns out, she has recently moved into the next street, and is very pleasant indeed.

 Sue is joining a few friends and I for drinks tomorrow night. My premonition was right. Fancy that!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tah - Dah!

I've been itching to link up with Lakota's  Tah-Dah Tuesday, but, what to 'Tah-Dah'?

I don't make many things these days, maybe the odd card, but nothing as impressive as a pair of shorts fashioned from a curtain, a la Vix

It has to be charity shop buys, and not even modelled by me, just quick snapshots taken late last night, I was too hot and bothered to put underwear on and stand there posing in my finds.

I had been looking forward to a 'day off' last Friday, no niece to look after, and no skip to fill. Charity shopping and maybe a cuppa in the sunshine sat opposite the meat van man (he spends the day shouting crass double entendres, and running down his ex-wife into an echoing mouthpiece).

I did very well with the charity shopping, 2 pairs of shorts, a dress, a vest top, 2 t-shirts, an encounter with a paranoid and charmless customer who insulted the staff in the most abhorrent way imaginable.

I also had another haircut. After years of no haircut - two within 6 weeks.

I told the hairdresser  "do whatever you like"

She made me look like a cross between this:

 and this:

But by last night it had flopped, limp and lifeless, to this:


Tah - Dah!

Clarks sandals - £3 

Dorothy Perkins 90's dress - £2 

St Michaels vest - £1.50

Cheap razors - don't bother

Manual labour - don't bother

I also made a card, inspired by Mexican Goddess  Todo Dorado:

What else could I make with buttons, broken bracelets, a  tangerine net and  collage?

I got home, ready for a cuppa, and eager to try on my finds. The school rang, as soon as I got home

"We think Ricky has hand foot and mouth,, please pick him up"

He did have it. I had it a few years back, it's a horrible virus, painful blisters in your mouth and on your feet/hands (fancy that). 

At least I had a morning off. I'm all ready for summer, just in time for the sun to vanish.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lucy, she's here to help*

The soles of my feet look as though I've hacked at the hard skin with a cheese grater. My back, if it could talk, would be saying "why did you make me lift 3 tons of rubble today?". My hands feel like Velcro.

I fell asleep this evening between the hours of  8pm and 10pm, never a good slot for an impromptu nap.

"I'll help you strip some walls, Charmaine". That had been a very genuine offer to my running partner and school friend last week. Having finally sold her cramped house, Charmaine is now faced with the task of gutting and renovating her new house, as quickly as possible. 

I assumed her new house was on Berw Road (pronounced 'Ber - roo'). Whenever it was discussed, Berw Road was mentioned.

"I'll see you over there Luce, I've got to rush back to meet the skip man"

I was slightly late getting the boys to school, we walked. Sonny insisted on climbing every wall on the way, and there were various heated debates over who should press the button for the green man (at all FOUR crossings).

I had hoped Charmaine would accompany me on the walk to her new house. Directions were shouted to me over the school wall. "Police station side, Berw Road, you can't miss it".

I walked almost a mile out of my way. Thank goodness for mobile phones. The new house is BEHIND Berw Road. I also received a text from my friend Rosa asking if I could  look after her daughter, I felt awful saying no.

I changed into 'work clothes' (it's been a while) and found myself in labourer mode for a couple of hours.
We lugged huge pieces of wood, smashed up a bath, snapped, sawed, heaved, lobbed, and dragged all manner of detritus into the skip.

It was getting hotter, and with no running water, we were forced to work without a toilet or refreshment break.

I soon realised some of the rubbish destined for the skip, would fit in the car and could be taken to the tip  instead. I offered to drive there in Charmaine's  sister's (tiny) car.

Bags stuffed into the car, just enough room for the driver. Off I went. I've been to the tip loads of times. This time, I couldn't find it.
Happens to me a LOT.

"Hmm", I thought. "I can't go back with all this stuff". I dumped it at my house to save the embarrassment of explaining myself.
"Rob will have to take it".

Annoyed once again at my poor navigational skills, back to the house I went.
Another hour of manual labour, lots of dry-heaving from Charmaine upon discovering soiled underpants, washing-up bowls housing thick pools of dark green fetid slime, and myriad molluscs, worms and spiders.

There was slight sadness too - the old lady who had lived at this house before dying two years ago had children - why couldn't they be bothered to clear her home?. Holiday snaps, toys, clothes, all manner of possessions -  just left for a stranger to discard.

Soon after midday, I was most relived to hear Charmaine suggest we 'call it a day'. I had to fit in having a bath (no shower in my house) cooking dinner, and organising snacks, gym kits and drinks for the boys' Monday evening gymnastics class.

I hobbled the 15 minute walk home, pulsating blisters smarting. I took a route along a street which has numerous solicitors offices, the Citizen's Advice Bureau, housing charity offices and leads to the bus station. The worst examples of human nature can be found along this road, rather like a zombie-apocalypse catwalk.

A couple zig-zagged towards me.  Underweight, yellow-toned skin, vacant, staring eyes. They were arguing over who had the most tobacco in their rolled-up cigarette. I wonder if they went on to argue about the green man?

A girl approached me, pink hoodie with a light sheen of grime, off-white tracksuit bottoms, trainers and the expression of  someone severely constipated.

"'scuse me love, can you lend me a quid? I need £4.50 to get to Aberdare, I only got £3.50"

I felt sorry for her. She looked around 18, and her teeth looked 118 - as though they'd been daubed with a coat of mahogany varnish, and etched with a pointed tool in a freestyle fashion.

I gave her £!, and, rather patronisingly, said "you should say please when you ask someone a favour".

I resisted the urge to say "I want it back, with interest!" and "It's not can you lend me, it's could I borrow"

I came home to a house full of someone else's junk, and slumped.

 Gymnastics class was chaos - the waiting room is tiny, boiling hot, and packed with parents, older siblings, tired babies, people eating smelly food and people talking too  loud. This is where I feel most sympathy for children with Autism who are noise-sensitive, I cannot bear the sensory overload, so goodness knows how they feel.

Anyone else need a favour?

Please, don't ask me

*title taken from a film I like - "Harry, he's here to help"

Sunday, 20 May 2012


I have made many a light-hearted jibe about Christianity  (or religion in general) on this blog.
I cannot bring myself, though, to say I'm an Atheist.. Mainly because I'm under-educated.

I choose not to read books which suggest the Bible is full of shit, because any book can be full of shit, including a book suggesting the Bible is full of shit (and I'm guessing that the enlightened among you are thinking that makes me highly ignorant for saying that, and you'd be right).

When I was around 12 years old, I went through what must have been a pre-teen crisis. I decided to seek out attention in a variety of ways, one of which was to be baptised. My mother purposely chose not to have my brother or me Christened as babies.

Anther attention-seeking activity included spraying my hair with 2 bottles of Sun-In (peroxide) turning it a rusty-iron colour. Team that hair colour with a giant blue shirt belonging to my dad, a marker-pen thick slick of eyeliner, and a very tight, very long black skirt, and I'm ready for my school photo.

The baptism was an anti-climax. Bible study classes were boring, and any questions I asked the vicar were answered with "read the Bible - you'll find all the answers".

I did read the Bible, it's a good read, I wrote down a lot of the quotes and still have the book. Alongside crude drawings of  dresses I had designed, are quotes like "I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you".
I suppose a lot of what appealed to me at the time centred around 'love'. I've yet to meet an Atheist who believes love doesn't exist (outside the survival of the human race realm).

Sitting on the fence with regards to religion is not something I'm proud about. Having said that, I struggle to commit to anything because I challenge every fleeting thought, suggestion by others, idea, action, feeling....

Get a group of people together in any setting, and a loud-mouth control freak with an army of followers, a rebel, and a quiet outsider will emerge.

In the workplace, there will always be someone who talks a good game, captivates everyone, but does very little else. What motivates people to shy away or follow?

Religion aside, I found this video interesting. If you can bear to spare ten minutes, I know that is a MASSIVE amount of time in internet terms. Maybe like a six hour shift at a components factory with no toilet break

Deep question, perhaps...but, what motivates you to perform well?


I would put my motivtion down to a quest to find 'the answer' and I know I'll never find it. Even though I don't doubt for a second that the answer is 42. yes,  Sarah - you said it best.

Who judges whether or not we perform well?  Think about those clever little bankers....

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

And NOTHING Happened

The clock ticks are all I hear.
Boys all upstairs, Rob asleep on the sofa ( he's poorly). I've just finished my dinner, some of it landed on Liam's hoodie, I was cold, so put it on straight from the washing line - back in the wash basket it'll go tonight.

Twilight, between daylight and darkness, I've yet to switch on the lamps. My eyes itch, pollen and mascara falling out with each other. I still have my shoes on, I'll keep them on because the bathroom floor is still wet and I hate soggy socks. 

I'm thinking about the robbery which took place at the corner shop last night. The shopkeeper was forced to hand over cash at knife point, a second robber was brandishing a hammer. I'm also thinking about my greasy hair, I  feel about as attractive as Olive from On The Buses lately.

Olive, that's me, that is

The living room was just bathed  a lime-green glow, as if a filter had been put on a giant torch.  Quite soothing. I wonder if I'll ever have a 'sitting room' or a 'drawing room'. Standing only in this room, I'm afraid, and don't even THINK about doodling in any of my rooms. Lounge is an awful word, just like 'turbo' and 'greet'. I overheard a lady in IKEA say that she wanted a "chayze LOUNGE" once. I never wet back to IKEA.

I'm off now, I was so very bored. I typed loads of stuff and deleted it. Too personal.

Sometimes you spend all day looking forward to some peace and quiet, and when you get it, it deafens you.

Has anybody got anything interesting to share!?

Friday, 11 May 2012

In defence of daytime TV

I have a confession to make. During the wet, cold miserably grey days this past fortnight, I have succumbed to the horror of daytime TV. 
For 3 days each week, I looked after my niece and left the TV on from The Jeremy Kyle Show, through to This Morning and then, horror of horrors Loose Women. 

For those not familiar with these shows (don't live in Britain; too educated/middle class/got better things to do [like, work]) I'll try to briefly explain the formats of these shows...

The Jeremy Kyle Show - short-arsed former gambling addict, Kyle, uses his narcissism and overblown self-righteousness to deride, ridicule, anger and embarrass unfortunate people. 
Kyle's guests are usually unemployed, young, have poor communication skills and zero self-esteem. 

This Morning - 'national-treasure' Philip Schofield and 'the girl everyone wants to be' Holly Willoughby,  pretend to be interested in a variety of has-beens/minor celebrities' latest book or project (I'm looking at you, Denise Van Outen and Terry Wogan). 

They talk about the soaps, taste a meal cooked by a celebrity chef (it's always 'gorgeous' or 'amazing') and a fashion expert will host a feature on this season's MUST HAVE dresses/shoes.
"This costs just fifty-two nine-nine". 
What's wrong with 'ninety-nine?'

Loose Women - OK, my blog name is a take on the phrase - I apologise.
 Four women off the telly discuss topical news items, let minor celebrity guests promote things, and offer  'hilarious' insights into life. 

The four women 'celebrity' hosts will invariably be very sarcastic about men, look past their best, and are inexperienced regarding the topics they discuss. Like Kyle, they'll be brimming with a sense of self-importance:

"I'd NEVER choose drugs over my kids"

Maybe, but you'd get your jugs out on a low budget reality show in a pool with a bloke half your age?

Why watch them then? Er, I don't really know...

...I was moved to tears by one story on Jeremy Kyle. Two men met online and got very close over a period of a year. 
They met, fell madly and deeply in love (they lived quite a distance from each other) and formed a relationship.

It turned out they were half brothers. The heartbreak, shock and devastation was clear to see:

On This Morning I was fascinated by Tourette's sufferer Jess Thom.

Excuse the Daily Mail Link but you can hear her Radio 4 interview (and the obvious Tourette's symptoms) by clicking on it. 

Her website brilliantly celebrates Tourette's Syndrome.

I loved her self-depreciating humour and positive outlook. Despite continuously punching herself in the chest and saying 'biscuit' at least twice in every sentence, she's engaging and articulate (unlike Kyle's usual guests).

Highlights of Loose Women? 

Realising there's still a bit of time to enjoy myself before becoming an over-eye shadowed embittered thrice-divorced whining boiler (finger's crossed).

Friday, 4 May 2012

Grammar School

Friday, I remember when Fridays meant the working week was over.The week doesn't really have a beginning or end these days. Mondays and Fridays are 'free'  (between 9 and 3) but I usually have to fit in shopping, ironing cleaning and crap things like that on those days.

Today, I joined 3 friends (Helen, Meryem and Gail)  for lunch at Wetherspoons (pub chain). I have a sinus and chest infection, and didn't want to go. It's so dark in there, and the food isn't worth bothering with, if you ask me. I'm happy to just drink tea.
When we arrived, I was overcome by fresh paint fumes, it reeked and tightened my chest further.

The customers were either ageing chaps with mild to severe alcohol dependency and a penchant for sportswear   teamed with Elizabeth Duke jewellery, or young ladies with babies and bloated toddlers.

One baby looked as though he'd been born that morning, smaller than any of my children were at birth. The mother sat texting and knocking back pints of coke, rocking the pram with her foot every time the baby whimpered.

I enjoyed the conversation, we discussed the decline of literacy skills in today's youth.Keshling shared her thoughts on the matter recently too.

Last year, Gail set up a project to help high school students improve their writing skills, and is now employed by the education department to deliver the scheme.

It appears that lot of teachers no longer demand proper use of grammar and punctuation. I'm not sure where I stand,  but I do get irritated by this kind of thing (it's not very clear, but there's an apostrophe after every word; Banana's Potatoe's etc) :

Lucy Stare's at Clare's Pear's 

Poor grammar is unacceptable when its on show to the general public.Definitely. Poor spelling doesn't bother me too much, unless the wrong word is used 'their' instead of 'they're' for example. 
I refuse to get hung up on poor spelling, punctuation and grammar because my basic arithmetic skills leave a lot to be desired. Both my mum and oldest son struggle with spelling, but both have excellent mental arithmetic skills. Maybe our brains are faulty on opposing sides.

At the bar in Wetherspoons, a horrible man who knows my parents approached me. I only know he's horrible because an ex-partner of his told my mother she'd been dragged around the room by her pubic hair by him during one of his violent rages. Appalling.

 'Charm' personified, he touched my arm (urgh) and asked lots of questions. I felt like swatting him away like a fly. As a parting shot, he asked about a mutual friend of my dad and his - 

"I haven't seen him in ages, I've had a few textses off him though" he said.


How do you spell a word that doesn't exist. Maybe if you're going to be a bit over-zealous with apostrophes, you should be using them in speech. "I've been to Marks's for my trifle. We'll have a few wine's later and watch Eastender's"

One of my best friends, Rosa, is responsible for sending me the most hilarious text messages. Though she cannot spell or punctuate to save her life, her typed messages to me perfectly convey the chaos and drama which her life is always filled with.   

"My father lost his teeth in ponty he dunno if he took them out to eat his fish or if he never put them in at house. I'm runnin round town lookin for teeth and I gotta go to the hospital to see my friend who broke her leg. Some fuckin weekend I'm avin. Ow are you luv?"

I love it because that's how she speaks, it's instantly recognisable. 

My mother sends quite long text messages now, things like "what are you doing today?". When she first started texting, it was mainly to let me know where she was with Liam when I was leaving work. They would be one of the following:


Not as good as my friend's father, who didn't know how to put spaces in text messages:


My text messages frustrate some people because they're so long-winded. I don't abbreviate anything, use loads of brackets and dashes (like my blog posts) and often forget to add the obligatory 'kiss' at the end.

I can't think of Rosa without remembering the funniest (in my opinion) insult EVER.

Rosa has a real love-hate relationship with her older sister, and they're both very glamorous. 
About 12 years ago, Rosa went to Ibiza with a friend, spent the week drinking and eating, and had put on a tiny bit of weight. She didn't have a boyfriend at the time, and had a very deep tan. During an argument with Rosa about a stretched t-shirt, Tina exclaimed "Fuck off you fat orange LESBIAN".

All texts to Rosa start with "how are you, my fat orange lesbian friend?".

Her husband has tired of the joke.

Hope you all have a great weekend. Feel free to try and top that insult, and point out my errors.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

I am OK

I decided against asking a doctor for help to stop me feeling sad. I guessed I'd eventually feel sadder for taking tablets. I'm pretty sure I'm not clinically depressed. It's my lifestyle getting me down. Eating too much, exercising too little, few interests outside the home...

I sat with Clare on Sunday morning and wrote a five-year plan. It pains me to admit it, sounds like something I would laugh at.
It wasn't a pointless task, as I thought it may have been. I realised how many things were in my reach. How many small steps I can make to improve my 'well-being'.

On Saturday morning, I was delighted to receive a surprise package from Curtise. The scarf reminds me of the blog header. The turquoise bangle is the missing twin of my black one - how sweet. There were also purple tights in the package, which I wore today with my 'new' granny shoes. Don't you just love it when someone describes your outfit, or a meal you've prepared as 'interesting'?
That's what I was told about both recently. "Shit shoes and unpalatable meal Lucy". That's whatyou WANTED to say, isn't it?

Thanks Curtise - you got my weekend off to a brilliant start with your kindness.

So, this week, I started to clear my wardrobe.My wardrobe rail had buckled with the weight of all my coats, I was forced to get rid of 50% of my clothes.

 I will be giving lots of these clothes away very soon - I'll photograph some of the items and my readers can have first dibs (what does 'dibs' mean?).

I spoke to a blogger who has been following me since the start - she was as lovely as her blog. Swore more than I imagined, but in a posh voice (!).

I volunteered my services at the local Women's Aid.

I started a short story for a magazine competition. I baked a lot.

Most importantly, I resumed running after a sedentary fortnight.

I wore a light rain jacket, it belongs to Liam. It's a garish garment, I look awful in it, but with the exception of trainers and lycra trousers, I refuse to shell out on special running clothes.

Vicky and Charmaine are graceful, dainty ladies who wear size 6-8 clothes. We met up to run together.
They wore coordinated lycra running clothes and looked every inch the fit, lithe sporty type.
I was dreading the run, I knew I'd wheeze and struggle, and imagined every passer-by thinking "look at that poor fat lady  trying to keep up with those skinny girls".

We ran along a cycle track, dodging dogs and their turds, inhaling the odd gnat,  commented about it being nice to get out of the house, escape the children for a while.
By the time we were back on the main road, after about a mile and a half, Vicky spotted a former running partner of hers, he stopped to talk. I don't like stopping when I run. He told us about   completing the London marathon, introduced his girlfriend, who looked less than pleased about running with him, and about talking to us.
She seemed to warm to me, the most - probably because I looked unfit and scruffy.

Once we resumed running, we quickly picked up the pace. I needed my asthma pump. Unbeknownst to me, a few pea-sized pieces of pocket debris had collected in the mouthpiece of the pump. These made their way straight into my respiratory system, causing me to choke, splutter, cough and spit. I was unable to take a deep enough breath to speak, and explain what had happened.

I ran for another five minutes, and took a short-cut to my house. I felt a right idiot. As I sit and type this, my chest still hurts a bit.

Now, I feel better. A lot better.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Get a booth!

'Technical difficulties' with the train added an hour and a half to our journey to Bath yesterday.
During a half hour wait at Bristol Parkway station, my friend Clare bumped into 'Mr Nice' Howard Marks. I was on the toilet. I use italics because it's a joke beteen my mother and I. She once rang her hairdresser, who lived with his mum. "Is Mark there please?"
"Can you ring back in 20 minutes love?" replied his mum "he's on the toilet".

I think it took mum longer than 20 minutes to stop laughing.

After a hurried lunch involving a frustrating and fruitless effort to redeem an online code which would have cut our bill nearly in half, we went on to Thermae Spa
There, we shed several layers of skin and stress in the various steam rooms and heated outdoor pool. 
We witnessed several couples engaged in heavy petting, one female accidentally booted Clare in the back, as she clung to her partner's neck and used him as an ad-hoc float whilst she cavorted and splashed like a child. 

Our time at the spa had to be cut short, thanks to the poor train service - Sundays are 
never a good time to go anywhere on public transport in this country. 
It was, however, staying over at Clare's on Saturday night which provided the best relaxation and tonic. I was pampered by Clare;  had a 3 course dinner, my nails painted, and excellent support and advice from her.

We talked at length about prostitution, Clare recently directed a documentary in Amsterdam, which focuses on the lives of several prostitutes. Clare was keen to point out that these ladies were 'normal, everyday people'. I didn't disagree, I've learnt not to say "I could never...." because so many things have happened which I thought never would in my life.  I get very irritated when I hear 'holier than thou' types preaching their morality.

I can safely say, though, that I WILL NOT be found stroking/licking/groping anyone in a public bathing space.
Nor they me.

More about Clare's documentary here

Friday, 20 April 2012

This is not my beautiful house

I looked away earlier when I spied a familiar face in town. I couldn't have just smiled and said "Hi!".
It required questions; "how are you, how's work, are you still married to that man who wears suit trousers even on the weekend (his name escapes me)?"

I was consumed with guilt immediately after walking past, and considered cutting my jaunt short, lest I'm faced with the far more awkward scenario;  "I didn't see you earlier when I gave you eye contact, but now I've LITERALLY bumped into you, I suppose it's time for us to  chat"

Of course, the other person always feels exactly the same, but the Human Traffic bar exchange scene (above) never takes place.

I couldn't go home though, it would have caused upset.Ricky is convinced that wishing wells really work, he saw it on TV, so it must be true. When Ricky wants to do something, it invariably ends up happening, his nagging is probably akin to Chinese water torture. We were to source a well and throw pennies in.

This is the best I could do

It went down well as you can imagine. Not a well, no water - it had to do.

As he complained, I looked up at the market roof, the patched-up panes of glass looked like little works of art to me

I knew how Ricky felt. I remember my brother wanting to ride on a magic carpet, he thought they actually existed. A stall opened on the market when he was about 6, it sold rugs, and was called Magic Carpets - he thought his chance had finally arrived.
 It was a crystal ball for me, I couldn't imagine anything more fascinating. I also wanted a musical jewellery box with a ballerina inside who would come to life when I opened it and tell me nice things.

I imagined when I was an adult I'd have one of those large wooden globes which opens up to reveal a selection of spirits,  a cabinet with glass shelves and lights housing a selection of crystal oysters, teddies, dolphins and flowers (just like my 'posh' friend). Maybe a fibre-optic lamp too, and an ashtray on a marble stand, the type which  crushes the cigarette butts, because of course, everyone smokes when they're older. Oh, and  Jacuzzi bath - that'd be essential, and a swinging seat out the back.

As I grew up, I wanted a phrenology head, an antique dressing table,  Kenwood food chef, a sub-woofer in the car, a walk-in wardrobe, a traditional Welsh dresser full of junk, a dishwasher.

Steerforth's post this week showed a selection of post-wine consumption purchases that have been languishing in his wardrobe. At some point, an item will catch our attention, and  it ends up in our possession even though, deep down,we know there is no 'need' for it.

So, I look around my home - there isn't a  globe drinks cabinet, phrenology head, Welsh dresser, or Kenwood Chef  to be seen.  In their place is what could only be described as stuff.  I can't remember wanting, needing or buying the majority of it, I've acquired it.

At no point did I say "what this house REALLY needs is a low quality table with 3 chairs instead of 4. At least one chair should collapse every time someone weighing over 5 stone sits on it. In the kitchen, I'd like a 12 pack of Andrex toilet roll to rest on top of the units, and for this to be a permanent feature. In the boys' room, I'd like the wardrobe, which mum's neighbour gave to me, to display 40 hideous teddy bears, gifts from the older family members. They'll collect the dust perfectly".

Perhaps I should have kept my visions alive and made those purchases, particularly a Welsh dresser.

Of course, I did bump into that person again, and exchanged the required pleasantries. 

"I wanna move to be honest Luce, the house is getting me down"

I ALWAYS wanted to live in her house since learning about their history at  primary school

"The furniture looks all wrong in there Luce"

I doubt her furniture looks as wrong as mine.

Maybe I'm best carrying on as I am. No regretful purchases as yet. 

Have you bought something you always wanted?

"this is not my beautiful house"