Friday, 29 May 2009

Don't Joke With Old Ladies

The reason for trooping down Marks & Spencer on a Saturday morning escapes me. Something trivial. Something to do with needing food and baby clothes. Normally I wouldn't be seen dead in any shop at that hell-time.  This particular Marks & Spencer is probably the hottest place on earth. I'd rather go to the Caribbean in a yeti costume.  It is also probably the most over-crowded.  Exhausted and grumpy we headed to the cafĂ© for a recovery period.
In the queue in front of me was an elderly gentleman. He was holding a saucer with a scone and two little tubs of cream and jam.  A little old lady tapped him on the shoulder.
"Excuse me," she said, "I think that one is 'display only'". Turned out she had spotted him remove the saucer from the 'display only' section of the buffet table.
"It's probably been out for a few hours," she said.
"A few weeks more like," I said.
She spun round and seized my arm with a deadly pincer-grip. I scribbled down a mental note.
Don't joke with old ladies in Marks & Spencer. They may be small and frail but they are very strong.
Adorning her hand was so much bling that DJ Talent would have suffered a heart attack. Her nails were long and splattered with chipped varnish, exactly the kind of thing that upsets my delicate sensibilities.
"Oooh, cheeky!" she exclaimed and flashed a toothless grin, still gripping my arm.  It was one of those moments that stretched out for eternity, leaving me wondering if I would ever escape her grasp.  It felt like hours but was probably just a few seconds.  I scribbled another mental note.
Don't ever joke with old ladies in Marks & Spencer full stop.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Aliens Are Amongst Us

There are hats and there are hats. Hats that make you think cool hat, hats that make you think what the hell and hats that, when you see them, single-handedly turn your brain into scrambled egg.

Finally there are hats that an alien might wear in order to hide a tentacle on the top of its head. When I saw this hat I knew it had to be one of these. The being in the red fleece simply has to be an alien.

Stock up peeps, an alien invasion is clearly on the way. The cry is already making its way round the underworld.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

The Amorphous Mass of Pink

"Excuse me," she said, bounding up to me like a rabbit on speed, "do you know where the nearest toilet is?"

The band at the Gemini beach bar was rocking away, the sun was beating down, we had finally reached the beach after a maddening 30 minutes dodging Brighton's charity collectors. Out of the blue a large woman clad in a monstrous pink rugby shirt manifested herself. She was high and her body language smacked of a terrible bladder situation. She was discomfort itself.

"Um, I'm not sure," I replied.

To be perfectly honest I didn't even try. She had put one hand on Bubba Stoneskin's pram and was leaning forward uncomfortably. It's hard to think clearly in a world congested to overflowing with charity collectors and frenzied high-as-a-kite ladies in hideously large rugby shirts. Especially pink ones. In moments like these I tend to freeze.

"Please," she pleaded, "just make a guess."

"I think there's one by The Exchange," I suggested.

Hope came over the face of this amorphous mass of pink. She leaned forward, the stench of lager-breath was nauseating. Nothing could have prepared me for the randomness of her reply

"Thanks rabbit," she said, and shuffled off.


Friday, 22 May 2009

How To Confuse Followers and Upset Cats

I'll admit the connection is tenuous, but the idea behind this came from Mr Condescending's recent photo of a cat riding on the back of a truck. A puerile thought entered my mind, I imagined the scenario where an old lady keeps losing her cat. If anyone feels the need to mock my childlike scribblings then let me just say that I sketched it in my pad this morning while crouching down in the vestibule area of a moving train...

For the record Mr Muggles is alive and well, just a tad uncomfortable. I love cats (except when they scratch, spit, wee or glare at me). No animals were harmed in the production of this piece. and it does not contain nuts. The bizarre character with a huge bouffant and humongous glasses is Aunt Margaret.

P.S. Many thanks to The Jules and Gaston for giving me some awards this week. I'll do the honours next week.

P.P.S. If you are one of my new commentators and I haven't made it to your blog much this week then please forgive me, I will catch up over the weekend.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Asswipes, Smartasses, Blood and Buffaloes

The man opposite me was sitting in the aisle seat. The window seat next to him was vacant. He must have a good reason, I thought. You need a good reason to place yourself between the aisle and the other seat like that, especially on a commuter train. You'll have to get up to let someone in, then you'll have to get up to let them out. All this is a real pain in the backside, especially if it happens multiple times.

The train pulled into Hove, which is the most irritating stop on the line. The train is nearly full by the time it reaches Hove, and Hove is where a million people try and get on. They wait in impatient clusters on the platform. When the doors open they stampede on like a herd of crazy buffalo and fight for the remaining seats. Animals. If I get on a crowded train with hardly any free seats I always let the ladies take the seats. Proof that I'm a gentleman right? At Hove there is no such behaviour. I've seen total jerks barge ladies out of the way in order to nab a seat. Asswipes.

A desultory herd of buffalo charged down the aisle.

"Please may I sit there?" a female buffalo asked the gentleman opposite me, pointing at the vacant seat by the window.

"There's a stain," he explained, pointing at the seat. I knew there had to be a reason. I leaned over and sure enough there was a stain. It wasn't so much a stain, more of a bloody mess. I doubt it was blood, more likely it was ketchup, but it was red, wet and sticky, revolting, it looked like some gimp-grandchild had bitten into a hot dog and sprayed ketchup all over the seat.

"God Almighty!" she exclaimed, stiffened for a moment like a wildebeest surprised by a crocodile and then rushed towards another seat.

"Can I sit there?" asked a male buffalo.

"Sure," said the gentleman, "but it is stained." The buffalo insisted that he wanted the seat so the gentleman opposite me stood up and let him through. The buffalo almost sat down, saw the mess and then scampered off. The gentleman sat back down. The whole scene became even more comical.

Another buffalo asked if he could sit in the spare seat. Once again the gentleman said it was stained.

"Sorry?" asked the buffalo, leaning forward and cupping his ear.

"It's stained."



The buffalo inspected the seat, shook his head wearily and went and stood in the vestibule area, sulking in a pit of melodramatic despair. These buffaloes are depressive beasts. The gentleman opposite me grinned. If it was me I would have imploded. Getting up, sitting down, getting up, sitting down, repeatedly have to explain that the seat was a mess. He was taking all this remarkably well.

As ol' Clint once so wisely observed, there are two kinds of people in this world. I'd like to add to that. Some people use their initiative but the majority throw in the towel at the first opportunity. The forth buffalo used his initiative. He asked for the seat, chucked his paper down on it and sat on the paper. Smartass.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Feeling Good

The motion of the train, the passing scenery, the sun flitting through the trees, it was soothing to my soul. Listening to funky tunes, watching shadows dancing on the window, the previous week's lows were all in the past. There are times in life when you are screaming why?, there are other times when the why is forgotten, when you appreciate life's blessings and for a moment or two everything is just fine. I truly was feeling good.

I spotted my buddy Mark walking down the platform towards me and unplugged my earphones. We shook hands, joked about the shocking weather that is niggling away at our sanity and sat down on a bench to wait for our train.

"What's that in your ear?" he asked.


"You've got a bit of sponge in your ear?"


In a remarkable defiance of physics and a flagrant act of rebellion one of the foam earphone covers had remained in my ear when I had removed my earphones. Sometimes life is just not fair. At least he had spotted it before I got to work.

Monday, 18 May 2009

Poltergeists and Chocolate Puddings

Chocolate, she said, we need chocolate.

We were immersed in the spooky depths of a conversation about poltergeists and she wanted chocolate. Fair play, I thought, there's nothing better than a Friday night pig-out. Doctors, I believe, recommend it.

A friend of my wife has been experiencing bizarre and creepy things in her home. More recently the happenings suggest a poltergeist is having the time of its life. In actual fact my wife used to live in that same house. Her family also had their fair share of such experiences. I won't go into them in detail but here's an example. The house is a fully detached farmhouse, there are no immediate neighbours and at the time it had no piano. Often during the night they would hear a piano being played. If they went downstairs to investigate the music would stop.

Still discussing the poltergeist we made our way to the kitchen. Unfortunately we were out of chocolate but we did have some cocoa powder. My wife demanded that I make one of my specialities. Sticky chocolate puddings. We needed one, she said.

It is the simplest of recipes. Whack an egg, cocoa powder, butter, flour and sugar in a bowl, shove it in the microwave for 90 seconds with a plate over the top and a sticky spongy feast of goodness will fill the bowl. Let it cool for a minute, turn the bowl over, lift it up and a perfectly formed pudding will plop onto the plate.

Like I say, it is the simplest of recipes. But when poltergeists are being discussed anything can happen. I couldn't find the sugar. My wife remembered that we only had golden sugar. I rummaged through the cupboard, took the sugar jar down from the top shelf and we continued our conversation.

Recently in the farmhouse things have been going missing. Clothes, jewellery, books, ornaments. So what, you might be thinking. So what, I thought, any scatterbrained individual can lose a bunch of stuff. The other day my wife's friend was walking down the stairs. She was home alone. She heard footsteps behind her, slow stomping footsteps. She swung round and the footsteps stopped. There was a terrifying presence on the stairs.

She'd had enough. With great presence of mind she addressed the poltergeist. She demanded that it return all her things and then leave. Half an hour later she was walking past the stairs. On the bottom step were all her things. Clothes, jewellery, books and ornaments, all in a neat little pile.

I didn't know what to make of all this. Poltergeists pose all sorts of complex theological questions. Some people deny they exist. Tell that to a poltergeist and it will nick your stuff. For starters, what the hell are they? Demons? Human spirits trapped in this world? The disembodied souls of deranged hamsters? My febrile mind was in overload, painfully shunting thoughts around as if they were heavy boxes. I took the pudding out of the microwave. Something isn't right, observed my wife, inspecting the the damn thing. She picked up what I had assumed was the sugar jar.

That's couscous, she said. I had made a sticky chocolate pudding with couscous instead of sugar. It tasted rancid. I suspect we may have a mischievous poltergeist. It lives in the kitchen cupboard and switches the contents of jars around with a devil-may-care attitude.

Either that or men simply cannot multi-task.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Memoirs Of A Rubber Duck (2) and an apology

This week has been crazy, to be honest I've been feeling low, the tiresome rigmarole of a London commute, generally feeling run-down and feeling the need to take out my frustration on any insect that flies by, tempted to swipe morosely at the little buggers...but basically I've also been a bad blogger, please forgive me for not visiting so regularly this week, hopefully next week will be much better. Anyway, today's post is a re-post, but only (as far as I know) Me, Amplified has read the original. It is one of the most random things I've written - from the perspective of a rubber duck of all things, don't ask me where the idea came from, all I know is that the thoughts entered my head around the time of the bird-flu scare...

I write this from a cardboard box destined for a charity shop. The usual crap. Full of rejected items including a tea-stained tablecloth, some old computer speakers, a teach-yourself-Spanish book and a grubby teddy bear. I've not had an easy life, that's for sure. I hope we're going to Oxfam (I'm partial to the adverts).

Few people realise we rubber ducks have a soul, let alone the higher consciousness that we all have. Massive minds trapped in small rubber bodies, you wouldn't believe the strain that puts us under. Sworn to secrecy, those that have spoken out have been swiftly removed. Who by? Well, the Illuminati are the prime suspects. The Pope has made incriminating comments off the record, but publicly the Catholic Church denies everything.

I just can't bare to face another charity shop. The rejection, the under-valuation, the stuffy shop floor full of dust and bustling old ladies, it is all too much for an old duck like me. So I'm speaking out for the rest of us. If you don't hear from me again then you should fear the worst.

A low self-esteem is part and parcel of being a rubber duck. Destined to a life of bathroom (or charity shop) living, with the damp, the mould and the unlawful assembly of tacky bath toys. The things we witness. Some are too disgusting or inappropriate to relate.

Encased in a rubber body, typically isolated from other rubber ducks, our conjugal rights are non-existent. Subjected to viewing the basest scenes and foulest smells that humans can produce. A truly clean bathroom is a rarity. The damp, mould, mildew and ubiquitous pubes give us Monday blues every day, constant colds and chest infections. I knew a duck that died of pneumonia.

Children's bath times are the worst. The chaos, the wee, the clutter. Shampoo in our eyes, splitting headaches caused by the constant screaming, having to put up with low-life plastic bath toys.

Of course, there have been a few pleasant moments. The day I was put in a jug of Pimm's. An alcoholic disaster. The last thing I remember was drifting peacefully into oblivion. I woke up in a net with all the usual bathroom paraphernalia with a pounding migraine. Did I get any aspirin? Yeah right.

Our lives are so full of people, no personal space whatsoever. Oh for an uninterrupted life. Completely unemployable too, it's not as if we have any career prospects. Unless you are a blue rubber duck. They sometimes get to go on mass trips down the Thames. But nothing for a common yellow like myself.

I hope I don't sound contemptuous, I just feel used, downtrodden, destined to a life of misery and 50p price tags. Conventional economics I guess. If this ever makes it into public circulation I just hope something is done. If rubber ducks aren't oppressed, I don't know who is. Estimating conservatively, over one trillion rubber ducks have been produced. Where are they now? Landfill? I've got off relatively lightly.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

PROMPTuesday #55 (alternative title: We Need To Talk)

It has been a long time since I last participated in San Diego Momma's PROMPTuesday. Basically she dishes out a writing task. It gives my crazy mind a chance to stretch its legs. Today's task is to finish the story begun with:

“What are you doing here?” I hadn’t thought to knock.

Aaron raised his head from the table. His eyes wouldn't meet mine. "We need to talk."

Aaron was sitting at my kitchen table, clad only in some ghastly boxer-shorts and a mismatching pair of stripey socks. He had just decapitated an egg and looked decidedly fractious. Open cupboards spoke of a frantic search for coffee.

It all started to flood back. We were out last night on a bender. He must have crashed at my place. Aaron is the sort of guy who walks hand-in-hand with scandal. Something scandalous must have happened. He conveyed the impression that something had all gone horribly wrong.

Memories of the night before were materialising. We had a lot to drink. The VIP lounge, that's right, we found some VIP passes lying outside and managed to sneak in. A fight. There was a fight. Aaron is prone to getting lary with violent maniacs. Something to do with a blond he was fraternising with. I vaguely remembering a fight breaking out, we got thrown out, Aaron was rollicking about in the street...

"The Police were here earlier," he said while readjusting his boxers, "they're coming back later to ask us some questions."

"About what?"

"You know the Postman Pat kiddie ride, the one that sits outside the newsagent down the road?"


"It went missing last night. Two guys of our description were seen carrying it down the road."


Aaron nodded towards the window. Sitting on the front lawn was the Postman Pat ride.

"You're right man, we need to talk."

Monday, 11 May 2009

Something for Girl Interrupted and an unrelated story about morphine

Firstly, an award. Girl Interrupted has introduced us to the fabulous, leisurely and sunlit world of jelly-biting. So, Girl Interrupted, Mr Condescending and myself present you with this shiny new award.

Mr Condescending gets all the credit for the artwork, I'm merely the messenger. Mr Condescending has demanded that I also award it to myself. If anyone hasn't yet noticed my audio-narrative above then press play and pump up the volume, it was recorded entirely for your pleasure.

Secondly, a short story for you. A mate of mine just got back from a few days walking in Scotland. He and his buddies were descending a tricky ridge when one of them fell and dislocated a shoulder. He was in unbearable pain and being an honourable English bloke with a delusional sense of selflessness he implored them to leave him behind.

"Go on with out me," he gasped, writhing about on the ground. "I'll be fine," he winced, "it's nothing, nothing at all."

Of course they weren't having that, so they managed to get him to a hospital. Initially he refused to get into the hospital bed. He didn't want to "make even more work" for the hospital staff. Eventually he complied and while he received treatment the other walkers rambled off to get a bite to eat.

When they returned he was sitting up in bed. The combination of morphine and gas coupled with his situation in a hospital room had played havoc with his mind - with hilarious results. He appeared to believe he had just given birth. His expression was one of ecstatic joy fused with widespread confusion.

"It's a boy!" he exclaimed. It wasn't a gag, for a few priceless moments he genuinely believed he had given birth to a baby boy.

Friday, 8 May 2009

The 'Live' Post, the unadulterated scribblings of a man in a pub (oh, and a MadDogCast of my jelly-biting mission...)

Health warning. This is a 'live' post. What I mean is, this is the self-obsessed monologue of a man in a pub, the typed up scribblings from the night before, unedited apart from fixing a zillion spelling mistakes and slipping in a couple of commas. If you don't think you will cope then leave now...

I'm at the Evening Star, my favourite writing zone, the best pub around, essentially a beer-drinkers' heaven, four guest ales, four 'own' ales (the pub is owned by a local brewery), a couple of 'own' lagers, several guest lagers, a massive range of ciders and the largest offering of imported bottled beer in existence.

I have a meeting in a couple of hours so I'm killing time, writing my first 'live' post, meaning apart from correcting typos - a zillion of them - you are reading the unadulterated monologue of a self-obsessed rogue who is drinking Verhaeghe Pils.

There is an old man at the bar who is wearing the kind of outfit that should be outlawed. In fact, I expect it IS outlawed in some sensible communities.

This is what he is wearing. Hiking shoes, by which I mean the ones that look like ankle boots but have no ankle bits. Reddy-brown trousers, very red but slightly dulled, faded even. An orange and blue stripey t-shirt.


Orange and blue? Draped over his prominent beer-belly. What's really funny is that he's wearing it inside out, you can see the seams.

When I finish my pint I will try to take a photo. Captain Dumbass has been moaning constantly about my lack of photographic evidence. His incessant whining...

A man just wandered in. Long trench coat, black beret at a stupid tilt, a scruffy little black dog on a lead of string. String?


The guy in the stripey top just looked around and pointed at the string, laughed, and tried to share the joke with me. Nah mate, too busy writing.

Hmm, two guys nearby are having an in depth discussion about how to pronounce "Icin-glass". [I have no idea what that is, beer, mountain, glass purification?!] "I always thought it was pronounced Icing Glars." "Oh, no, it has to be Icing-Glass"...

How funny is this? There's a haggard old man in the far corner, crazy long grey hair, mature grey beard, a leather jacket that looks so old it could have been one of Elvis's. He has a Belgian beer - I recognise the goblet - who appears to be examining his beer with a magnifying glass. A magnifying glass? What the Hellman's Mayonaise?! This is EXACTLY why I love this place. I can't get a photo, he is 10m away and all I have is my Crackberry, but he is brandishing this little plastic magnifying glass, stopping every now and then to inspect his beer.

Right, I'm gonna go for a wee, then see if I can sneak a photo of the inside-out t-shirt. Ha! If he notices I'll say I'm photographing the beer taps. Genius. I'll draw a line on my pad to indicate a short break.


Right, I'm back. It's a bit blurred but look - it IS inside out. Actually, we had a good old chat about beer, and the problems with guest ales before I sneaked a photo.

[it's a bit blurred, hard to tell from this blurry photo, but you can see the seams, it was geniunely inside-out. Captain Dumbass I hope you appreciate the effort]

Thursday, 7 May 2009

Eccentric Uncle Fred and the Queen of Sheba

I read recently that the world is a bowl of toenails. I don't think it is. The world is, however, the playground of the eccentric.

I have an eccentric uncle. Uncle Fred. Not that he is my uncle, he isn't even a relation, he's merely an adopted uncle. Years ago he worked in the NHS alongside one of my real uncles, and from that point he was accepted as an uncle. Uncle Fred is a genius, a character of such quirkiness and extravagance that Wodehouse, Dostoevsky and Dickens would have been gobsmacked.

For as long as I have known him, which is in excess of twenty years, he has moved house roughly once a year. I say roughly because he has been known to move three times in a year. Not for financial reasons, he simply possesses an insatiable desire to move. What is even funnier is that he has lived in some houses more than once, frequently returning to a home that he had lived in a few years before.

I mention him because my birthday is coming up. He has sent me a birthday card every year of our acquaintance. The card always arrives early, provides notice of yet another new address, contains a comical story or summary of recent events in his life and without fail has a barely legible message scribbled at the bottom. The message is always the same.

I may have forgotten your birthday this year. If you do not receive this card please let me know.

A few years ago we were at the funeral of my Grandpa. Uncle Fred and I were feasting at the buffet table. Uncle Fred was on a roll, telling story after story. I was listening attentively, I regret that I didn't take notes. An old lady arrived at the buffet table.

"Excuse me," said Uncle Fred, "have we met before?".

"Beg pardon?" replied the old lady.

"I am sure we have met before," said Uncle Fred, "are you the Queen of Sheba?"

The old lady giggled and wobbled away. Shortly after another old lady approached.

"I know you," said the old lady, "you're Jean's brother aren't you?" Jean is my Grandma. At the time of the funeral both Jean and Uncle Fred were in their 70s.

"No, no, no," replied Uncle Fred, "I'm her great-grandfather." The old lady stepped back a moment, peered austerely over her spectacles and then wandered away confused.

It goes without saying that I'm eagerly awaiting this year's birthday card. I'm also looking for an opportunity to use the Queen of Sheba line. If I ever get caught jelly-biting I may use it. You can picture the scene.

Shop attendant : "Excuse me. What are you doing?"

Me, removing a pack of jelly from my mouth : "Um, err, I think we've met before, are you the Queen of Sheba?"

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

The Boob Job

Apologies to Vodka Mom, who has heard this story before, but it always cracks me up so I'll tell it again.

My wife used to work in a nursery that had an almost unnatural attraction to yummy mummies. This was partly due to the nursery's location, and partly due to the fact that yummy mummies tend to hunt in packs. In essence, any mummy that didn't have an astronomical bra size or wear twelve-foot-high heels was the odd one out. When the mummies dropped off or collected their children, boob jobs, tanning shops and beauty parlours were the primary topics of conversation.

On this particular occasion the children were putting on a Christmas performance. By performance I mean the nursery staff were attempting to keep 30 under-twos seated still for five minutes while they were led in song. And of course by song I mean bedlam, the raucous chattering of 30 toddlers drowning out an over-played Christmas jingle.

The performance was ready to begin. The toddlers were "seated" at one end of the room, the parents were waiting with anticipation at the other. A Mercedes convertible pulled up outside. Out stepped a mummy wearing monumental heels and equipped with breasts large enough to cause widespread tidal damage to the south coast. She staggered down the path, as unstable as a newborn giraffe. Her top was so low-cut that there was significant risk of spillage and the crushing of small children.

Anyway, as we all know, babies and toddlers like boobies. Natural instinct, the familiar smell, or maybe just conditioning. Bubba Stoneskin herself will frequently attack the boobies of a strange woman.

The mummy entered the nursery and walked past the children to find a seat. As a group the 30 under-twos experienced a mass cathartic release. Their collective gaze focused on her breasts, their little heads followed her as one.

I'd like to be able to say that what followed was a mass stampede and the mummy was chased out the door by a pack of toddlers, but sadly that didn't happen.

P.S. A couple more awards have come my way. Gaston, gave me the One Lovely Blog award. As I also recieved this a month or so back, and did the honours then, I feel I can be let off the hook. But I'd like to thank Gaston, I really appreciate the award.

Jan of Jan's Sushi Bar has given me a brand new award. If you don't know Jan you should pay her a visit, she is a rarity - both a comedic genius and a culinary wizard. Now apparently "
A Sushi Grade Blog is fresh, lively and of superior quality. It is rare, has character and is of good taste." It requires the nomination of 5 blogs. Visit Jan for the rules, but here are my nominations:

Anna Russel of Incoherent Ramblings. This girl is an absolute genius.

Gwen of Everything I like Causes Cancer. Show me a funnier blog and I'll buy you a pint.
Amy of Bitcin' Wives Club. This blog taught me what "mopping" is...
Eric of Bored Neoclassical Guy. Probably the most unique blog I've come across. Wit plus classics = Eric.
The Gun of Currently Untitled...A change of identity is afoot, but that doesn't take away from this blog's brilliance.

Monday, 4 May 2009

The celebrity crush

On Monday nights my wife and I watch Heroes. The last few weeks we've managed to catch the end of the preceding program, a Nigella Lawson extravaganza that I forget the name of.

On each occasion Nigella has been stuffing her cake-hole with some wild, abandoned feast of naughtiness, all the while dressed in a silky nightie. Note, there is not the slightest bit of mess, not a smidgen of chocolate down her nightie.

Last Monday we caught the end of the show again. For once Nigella wasn't wearing her customary nightie.

Me : "How odd, she's not wearing one of her nighties."

Wife : "Disappointed are you?"

Me : "Not at all, I'm just sayin'."

Wife : "She is wearing a remarkably tight top though."

Me : "It's nice."

Wife : "Ha! You have a celebrity crush on Nigella Lawson!"

Me : "No I don't, I just said it was 'nice'."

Wife : "Mo and Nigella sitting in a tree..."

My wife proceeds to mock me, I don't imagine she'll forget this quickly either. The things we men have to put up with. And for the record, I don't have a celebrity crush on Nigella.

P.S. A couple more awards have come my why, but I'll handle those during the week.

Friday, 1 May 2009

The Goats Had Eaten EVERYTHING

My grandparents arrived with my great aunt and uncle in tow. They slowly climbed the stairs to our flat, a dignified procession of four. My great aunt climbed the stairs backwards, something to do with her knee. I doubt I could climb those stairs backwards without falling and breaking my neck, but she managed the climb successfully.

The conversation was lively. My Nana and her sister are prolific talkers. Not even my wife, who has been known to talk hind legs off donkeys, could get a word in edge ways. Grandpa and Great Uncle John barely attempted to speak, they knew it would be futile. Instead, they drifted in and out of sleep. Every now and then Great Uncle John would wake with a start, contribute a few incisive thoughts about the "youth of today" and the "immigration problem", and then nod back off.

There was one brief moment when the conversation reached a lull. Great Uncle John woke with a start, seized the opportunity and without prompting told us the goat story.

For years he worked as an engineer for British Telecom. One day he was called out to a house in a quaint middle-class area of Weymouth. A problem with the wiring, he told us. He was met at the door by a lady that was a bit "out there". We asked him what he meant by "out there". You know, he said, shawls and things. I asked him if he meant she was a hippy. No, no, no, he said, not a hippy, just a bit "out there" you know, shawls and things.

The house was a cute little two-up-two-down. The family lived upstairs. The downstairs was populated by goats. The goats were everywhere, he told us. The nanny goats (there were fifteen of them) lived in the front room. The billy goat lived in the back room. What carpets and furnishings there were downstairs had been ravaged. The garden was bare. The goats had eaten everything, including the telephone cable.

The family was happy, the goats were happy, he didn't want to make a fuss. What did he know about the delicate etiquette of household goat-rearing? So he replaced the telephone cable and filed it under "problem with the wiring".

Shortly after this our guests left. My great aunt, of course, went down the stairs backwards. Something to do with her knee.
As I have quite a few new readers since I became a "Jelly Biter" I've put this up here again. To understand the context you must read this post!