Friday, March 31, 2006

This is my Bridge. I feel quite proprietary about it. It's been part of my life as long as I can remember. I lived in the shadow of it whilst it was being constructed. We regularly went for walks with Dad along the river bank and watched them winching the sections into place. They started on seperate banks and gradually grew closer and closer til it met in the middle.

Before the Bridge was opened, you either had to take the ferry, a really exciting trip for a 5 year old. It felt like I was going to New York. Or drive about 80 miles out of the way to get to the East Coast.

Dad took us over it on the day it opened. It was great. I had been looking forward to it for months. In the event, we just drove across, paid the toll ( which was only about 20p then), drove straight round the roundabout and went back home.

I was there the day the Queen came to open it too. Our whole school was out waving flags. All we saw was a big car speeding past. I think that might have been my fault. I'd given her a hand-picked bunch of Sweet Williams out of the garden when she'd visited the area during Jubilee Year. Didn't discover til we got home and saw the kitchen window where Mum had put another bunch, that they were infested with little black storm flies. I'd watched her so proud of myself when she'd put them on the parcel shelf of her limo. Bang went any chances of my Damehood that day!

I reckon that if you added up all the money I have parted with to cross it since, I have probably bought the South Tower at least. Chances are, this will never be recognized by the Bridge Board. Did I ever mention my surname is Leaning?

Thursday, March 30, 2006

I''ve just found out that the Bridge which I use every day to and from work was toll-free for one day only this week. The first time ever in its 25 year history. The first time ever in the 10 years that I have been travelling over it daily.

I wasn't working! I missed the opportunity to save £5 of the approximate £12000 that it has cost me to work in Kingston-Upon-Dull as opposed to staying in Dullthorpe. I am such a loser sometimes.

I was instead playing shops with Vickie. She runs ( and is about to buy) a small sandwich shop and I took the rare opportunity to call in and watch one of my friends working. She was really busy so I soon found myself wearing a pinny and standing behind the counter before a queue of customers stretching outside the door. My first job was to serve a pre-order to a big dusty council worker. I handed him the large bag and carefully tried to enter the prices in the till. I couldn't see a subtotal button so I shouted round the corner to Vickie. Well how was I to know it was the digital weighing scales? It looked till-like.

Vickie took great delight in ensuring that every single customer that came in after that was regaled with the story and also appraised of my occupation. I decided to try something less demanding and asked instead if I could use the meat-slicer. I've always fancied having a go at that. I love watching the women in Tesco get the Serrano Ham so waferlike. Apparently you have to go on a special course to be able to use one. I argued that no-one was going to know and that if a school-leaver can be shown how to safely work one ( they can't - you have to be 21! even 17 year olds can drive cars for goodness sake), surely I, with my higher than average IQ, would find it a doddle. She reminded me of the till/ scales misidentifaction and I spent the next 3 hours out the back, with my hands in the sink. I know my place. Once a scrubber always a ...

Anyway - that was a few days ago now. The only thing I have done today ( apart from a 12 hour stint in the office, getting my money's worth of Bridge toll), is deliver a lecture worthy of the College of Law to my son on the Thin Skull Rule and the Murder/ Manslaughter Statutes. I made him repeat back the MacNachten Rules over his Coco-Pops, despite his protestations that the chances of a man with a proverbially thin or egg-shell skull would be rolling around on a rugby pitch ( his arguments are getting just that little bit too eloquent - we do NOT want another lawyer in the family). Let's hope he remembers that lesson next time he finds himself on the blind side of the ref.
I had a dilemma tonight - or rather a trilemma.

  • Should I go watch Jack play in the first ever Colt's game for which he had been selected? I've not missed a single match since he started playing 7 years ago ( crap school fixtures do not count) and he was playing with big boys this time
  • Couldn't I just come straight home and savour the sights of our fund-raising efforts on the TV and, perchance, get a name check from the impossibly tiny Lord Levy?
  • Or should I attend the Housing Bored (sic) Meeting?

The latter won out on account of the buffet they were serving immediately prior to the business in hand ( complete with broccoli quiche and stuffed mini-jacket potatoes) and the fact that our ballot returns were announced today. The People of North Dullshire turned out in their 67% droves to say "Yes!" As of now, we have a serious job in hand transferring over 10,000 rotting council-owned homes and an army of SUPER-TUPE staff to our embryonic organisation. The fact that the Press might be there to document the first ever official meeting of the former Shadow Bored did not enter into my head other than to chastise myself for choosing an extra 15 minutes in bed rather than washing my hair this morning.

Fortunately the news had yet to spread to the papparazzi. A hasty text message from Darbster informed me that tonight we had been beaten to the post by a story about neglected dustbins. And Jack didn't score a try but made some rather hard tackles and was very proud at how he'd managed to squash someone's head whilst the ref was otherwise occupied.

I'd also had a call that the Bleakerton Lions were seriously dischuffed because their generous and philanthropic donation had been under-rated and, unforgiveably, appropriated to the Bragg Lions, their neighbour rivals.

Tomorrow I shall be mostly eating humble pie, writing corrective editorials ( oh! They'd also said the whole Comedy Idea was Darbster's, and as much as I love him and am so not doing it for any glory or recognition whatsoever and that is the whole truth and nothing but the truth so I shan't be correcting that particular error but ensuring that those that should know, do!) examining imaginary stud marks on my precious son's back and serving him with a constant supply of ice packs for his uber-imagined war wounds, and wishing I'd snuck back and salvaged the remains of the buffet before heading to the pub with the Transfer Team to celebrate the result with a customary game of Killer Pool and Guess How Many Pants Adrian's Wearing Tonight.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

They came. They watched. They laughed 'til their sides ached. What a relief!

It was a huge success. The Village Hall was crammed with people. I don't think they've had more in it since the 1978 Blue Peter Jumble Sale when there was a rumour that the glamorous wife of a wealthy chap, who were widely rumoured to be the hub of the local swingers and host of numerous car-key swapping parties, had donated some of her lingerie to the event which almost resulted in the riot police being called when 2 members of the rival WI and 8 O'Clock Club both got hold of seperate ends of the same baby-doll nightie. Our audience were much better behaved, cheerfully putting their hands in their pockets and donating a whopping 2.2K (My pound sign has disappeared since my keyboard decided to naturalize as an American citizen and moved everything around, anyone know where I might be able to find it)?

We locked up shortly after midnight, tired but thoroughly pleased with ourselves, vowing it would henceforth be an annual event. We returned this morning to help carry the tables and chairs that we had borrowed from the chapel. The Friendship Club, a weekly gathering of desiccated do-gooders, was already in residence. We did not get the warm, friendly welcome and hot cross buns that was advertised on their board. The decidedly unfriendly harridan that appeared to be the ring-leader instead offered up a 5 minute long diatribe on the state of the kitchen. We had heinously left a couple of tea towels on the worktop to dry and had not put the cutlery tray back in the proper cupboard!!!

We rather pompously consoled ourselves by remembering that the number of people and the amount of money we had raised in one spectacular night would have taken them over a year to match.

We then rushed back to our homes to make cups of tea, sandwiches and settle down comfortably on the sofa to watch the lunchtime news, texting everyone we knew to be sure not to miss the opportunity of seeing Richard being filmed running through puddles ( he had to do the same bit of road 16 times before the cameraman was happy with it). We waited and waited. We saw a report about 2 fashion students who hadn't a hope in getting a job working for George after they graduate, let alone Gucci; an interview with Daniel O'Donnell, who is playing in the next-but-one county tonight; and finally a story about a delivery driver who used to be scared of horses but is now working in a stable as a groom! How slow a news day does it have to be for that to get on the telly? In whose universe could that possibly be more newsworthy than our very own Dashing Darbster?

I rang him, outraged. He agreed that he felt used and abused, having prostituted himself in the promise of some minor media attention. He asked if I'd call the reporter in my best hard-nosed press agent styley 'cos he didn't want to appear pushy ( something which I have learned to accept as an inherent element of my make-up). It turns out we were victims of the 24 hour Trade Union Strike that had also seen Jack's school closed for the day and numerous public sector organisations affected. They had put together a quick easy schedule from their archives.

I'm at work tomorrow and then have the meeting where we find out whether the proposed Stock Transfer has passed the Tenant Ballot. Has anyone got a recordable dvd player?

Monday, March 27, 2006

Ok. Now the brief is to come up with a witty and appropriate caption for this picture. It's my mate, Darbster and his personal Hercules. It was taken in his garden, not the Vatican Museum.

It's gonna be featured in an article all about him and Ruth in the local paper. For those of you that haven't heard their tragic story ( and I'm slacking in my job as International PR Extraordinaire if there are more than a couple of you), I'll give you a short, poignant summary.

Ruth was beautiful, funny, gregarious, caring, magnetic and wonderful. She was a 30-year old mother of 2 gorgeous boys, Max & Sam, aged 3 and 18 months. She was feeling tired just after Christmas last year, not unusual for a busy, young Mum. Eventually she went to the doctor for a pick-me-up. She was diagnosed with leukaemia. It was Thursday. She died the following Tuesday morning.

Nothing can change Richard and Ruth's sad story, but he's determined to do as much as he can to prevent it happening to another loving family. I'm trying to help him.

He's running in the Flora London Marathon on 23 April. He's been training daily for months, taking part in the Great North Run and more recently in the British Half-Marathon Race at Silverstone where he beat his Personal Best by 23 minutes but missed his goal of inside 1hr 45 mins by just 2 seconds when he was legged up by a Blue Peter cameraman at the eighth mile and didn't even get a Badge by way of apology.

The Comedy Night tomorrow was my way of supporting him, boosting him along his way and raising a few extra quid for his charity, Elimination of Leukaemia Fund. I mucked it up a bit by accidentally booking it on his and Ruth's Anniversary but Richard, in his typically benevolent and equananimous style, has chosen to verbally, if not cellularly, forgive me. But it's made me even more determined to ensure that the whole thing is a success.

Please help inspire a caption for the picture. Take a look at to learn a bit more ( if you leave a comment there I will follow your blogs eternally) and tune in Tusday to hear how it all went and find out what time to turn on "Look North".

Friday, March 24, 2006

I'm getting quite scared now. I've only got the weekend and then potential comedic disaster is upon me. I tend to leave everything until the last minute but fortunately, I've done some preliminary planning, mainly because Darbster would have collapsed with worry otherwise.

I dragged myself and a recalcitrant overgrown shopping trolley around the Cash & Carry last night, not a pleasant experience after a 10 hour day. I deftly adapted my plans when I discovered they had run out of frozen mushy peas and just picked up 6 gi-normous tins of Bachelors. I wasn't so unflappable when it came to selecting the mint sauce and could quite easily have wept over whether to opt for the ready-prepared or concentrate. The very act of choosing a colour scheme for the paper table cloths and napkins was enough to leave me dithering up and down the aisle for a good 25 minutes. The store detective must have assumed I had some sort of obsessive compulsive stress disorder, so often did I pick up one set, then another, only to return to the original pack within seconds.

At least you know where you are with conveyancing. All estate agents are evil. All clients are lovely, reasonable people until it comes to mentioning completion dates when they narrow to one-track minded self-obsessed tyrants ( if you are a past, current or future client, I am not of course referring to you but simply using this for illustration purposes, please be assured that you remain lovely and reasonable). My Lovely Boss is Lovely. And I pretty much know the answer to any problem or situation that may arise as it's likely to have happened at some time or another over the last 18 or so years.

But catering! that's a completely different kettle of poached salmon. I'm alright at the serving bit, and I'm fantastic at the eating part but I'm not so sure about the whole preparation, quantities and timing thing. Fortunately, Steph the Chef and Vickie the sandwich shop owner are taking charge of the kitchen with the gifted, talented home baker, Sheila assisting so I think I'll be able to cope with the washing up afterwards.

Meanwhile, Darbster's been snapped by the local press standing next to one of his garden sculptures. He's supposed to be emailing a copy of the proof to me tomorrow. We've got to come up with a caption by Monday morning.

No prizes for guessing what my next post is going to comprise.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Update on the emails from The Hacker with the Smacker: 10 and counting
You'd think a Sunday morning trip to a preview of the soon-to-open local country park with my Dad ( who was celebrating his birthday) would be pretty unremarkable and in the large part, it was. The local community television network was there interviewing the few people that had bothered to turn up, including my Dad, who was the most handsome, articulate and intelligent respondent of all. I watched him with pride. I can see now where I get my camera presence (!?) from. I had no desire to give my two penneth, mainly 'cos my paltry knowledge wasn't worth even that much. So it only took her once to ask me if I wanted a go, before I was reapplying my lip gloss and ad-libbing ( no autocue this time) to camera. I'm not sure the hastily applied make-up will differentiate me from the middle-aged ( I'm being kind) bearded blokes but at least I tried.

I left not before getting her to commit in principle to filming our Comedy Night next week. I don't think anyone watches it but it might excite the audience. They haven't had any media attention since the chemical works blew up in the neighbouring village 30-odd years ago. Come to think of it, they haven't had much excitement since then either.

That over, I flew back to pick up a mud-splattered Jack, losing half my exhaust en route, had a quick costume change before heading out to an authentic Indian lunch lovingly cooked by Surinder for me, Moustache Mark and about 80 of her closest friends. She'd pledged to donate any money they raised to Darb's Leukaemia Fund, so I had double, if not triple helpings. My charitable nature knows no bounds. She raised £750.

The media theme has continued into this afternoon when someone sent me the contact details of a bloke who I vaguely knew years ago, who now works for the Press Association. I emailed him. I wasn't certain whether he'd be willing or able to help, or even that he'd remember me. I added a postscript that I thought we'd shared a snog once, in the hope that it might just help my cause.
I sat back and waited. And waited. And waited. And in the time it has taken you to read the last line, I'd had a reply. Clearly my kiss had left an impression. It took less than a minute for him to get back to me. It was so quick I assumed it was an Out of Office AutoReply.

I've had 7 more emails so far this afternoon, providing direct contacts to each prime time news show in the area, with the names of presenters, producers and editors. I've had tips, suggestions and promises to send the information to other entertainment forums. Proving it's not what you know, but who you very nearly slept with that gets you ahead every time.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Genghis Kh**t
Random Brutal Sex Master (RBSMf)

We almost called you Brutus the Uterus and attached this picture:

But we figured you wouldn't understand, and rightly so. We don't understand either. So you are Genghis Khunt: master of man, bringer of pain--riding your way to conquest after conquest.

Your sexual avarice is legendary. You've already had an unusually high amount of experience, and, still you look for more. You intimidate many. You make no apologies.

Personality-wise, you're carefree and relatively easy-going. You don't plan things out ahead of time; you tend to live in the moment. Of course, this can cause some damage when the moment happens to include a screaming orgasm with his younger brother. Hence the 'brutal' tag we've given you.

But you know what, take five seconds to lock the doors, and you'll be fine. There's nothing wrong with a little sex, or a whole lot.

AVOID: The Slow Dancer
CONSIDER: The 5-Night Stand, The Hornivore, The Playboy

Your exact opposite:
The Sonnet

Deliberate Gentle Love Dreamer

There I go again. Clicking on other people's links and getting myself into all sorts of bother. This personality profile certainly would explain why I get so grouchy. I am clearly not hard-wired to live the life of a nun. Now where does a girl go to meet the Hornivore of her dreams?

Friday, March 17, 2006

Huh? The picture's back. The Leper Notice has gone.

I just confessed to Grievous Bloggery Alm when I could have got away with it?!!!

What a loser!
I'm never satisfied. I always have to push things just that little bit too far. I think I'm so blooming clever, I get all smug and self-satisfied. And then I go and f*** it up and land myself flat back on my lardy sorry arse.

I finally managed to find a web image with a short enough file path/ address thingy to post a picture to my Profile. It wasn't one of a delicious, tempting big wodge of generously stuffed confectionary which would naturally have been my first choice. The only ones I could find wouldn't fit in the box, but it was better than nothing ( and a heck of a lot worse than some of the really clever ones out there). It was good enough to tide me over until I get round to buying a digital camera and checking out the delights that Flickr has to offer.

I didn't have anything to write about as absolutely nothing of any note, virtue or interest to me or anyone even as remotely bored as me, has happened this week. So I started hopping about catching up on a few Proper Blogs. I was merrily clicking on Links here there and everywhere, delighting in the diversity that is the blogging community, coveting some of the more carefully constructed pages, admiring all the infinitely superior writing when I went just that little bit too far.

I selected an icon which I thought was going to reveal the number of visitors a particular site had generated. It didn't. It took me to another site offering to provide me with my very own site counter. All for free.

I'm never able to resist a bargain, a freebie. And I'm vain enough to want to know whether anyone other than my mate and her Mum ever stumble across here. So I signed up. All I had to do was republish and ta-da! "Congratulations. You are the 5th person to visit this site ( oh! But don't count the last one really 'cos he mistook it for an award-winning fishing blog)" greetings would soon be gracing my pages.

I republished without incident. I'm competent enough at that. I logged out and back in, just as it had advised.

And now I've got an awful Leper Notice smack bang at the top of the page telling every body and his dog that I am such a cheapskate amateur goodfornothing wannabe that I have to upgrade my account if I want to link things to it.

I want to upgrade. Please let me upgrade. I'll be a good blogger. I promise. Just tell me, please, HOW DO I DO IT? I've searched all over the place and can I heck as like find where to insert my credit card details.

I am a Cyber Pariah.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Margaret 1944-2006 xxx

Monday, March 13, 2006

Monday night = Date With Dad. He's finally cottoned on that he can call me, when his mate Brian is indisposed, to go to obscure events. In the past it's been a Dubliners concert, surprisingly enjoyable; a whisky tasting, I drove(humpph!); a Whist Drive where we were the only ones not wearing Eau De Commode; and a smattering of parish events that usually result in the ( replacement-)hippest and wildest of the local over-50s rampaging through his drinks cabinet like drought-ravaged locusts whilst I serve them cheese and biscuits and the occasional cup of medicinal coffee.

Tonight it was the turn of the local Museum Society. It started at 7.15pm, we got there at 7.16 ( I get my time-keeping genes from my Dad). We followed the directions of the bored curator on the door and found ourselves at the lecture room. It appeared to be filled with Exhibits. For a moment I thought we'd stumbled upon an exhibition of Comb-Overs Of the Last Century. One of them finally moved, probably no more than a pulse from his pacemaker, but sufficient for us to ensure that we were, indeed, at the right place.

I hadn't had time to eat beforehand, having dashed around every budget store I knew looking for a black coat to replace my cheerful red maternity smock ( I'm going to a funeral in the morning) so I thought it might be nice to get a bite to eat afterwards at one of the new places that has sprung up around town since I last ventured out at night ( 1997, if my memory serves me correctly). Alas, Dad dumped me unceremoniously straight back home. The gritter lorry had made him nervous. Probably worried about slipping and breaking a hip. He's only 57!! In glorious health, winning more than a couple of envious looks at his thick head of hair from all the shiny pates sitting beside us tonight, and stronger than an ox. My guess is that he was more freaked by the chap from the Museum Society who had assumed I was his wife. It comes to something when you are too old even for your Dad to want to be seen with you!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Grim Jim and Dawn got married. My first successful matchmake. Well, the first that has actually deteriorated to marriage anyway.

They had a party last night to celebrate it. I didn't really want to go. It wasn't like it was a BIG wedding bash, taking place in their new kitchen, the one in the new house I had helped them buy, but it was a Wedding Do nonetheless so my heckles were naturally raised.

I went early, unfashionably so, due in part to the time of my appointment with Danny the Oracle Hairdresser ( that accounts for the early bit) but more to the fact that since growing to resemble Bella Emberg's larger, less attractive sister, I avoid clothes shops, specially the type that have angled mirrors in the changing rooms and Anorexic Assistants who smile through you rather than at you. I had attempted to buy something new but I only managed to get stocked up on large comfy knickers. It wasn't like there was gonna be a Handsome Best Man or anything to impress.

I did make an extra special effort for my visit to Danny, though. I normally go for a touch-up ( for my roots only, sadly) on a Thursday night straight after work, by which time my hair is usually looking distinctly lack-lustre. This time I was able to wash it ( in my most expensive shampoo) and style it immediately beforehand, and pull straight up outside the door of the salon so it didn't even have time to frizz up into its Crystal Tips impersonation. Danny approved. I'd persuaded him to chop about 5 inches off it just after Christmas. I haven't had it cut since and it's now just skimming my shoulders. It sort of flicks out a bit and bounces quite a lot ( pretty much like the rest of me really, wide and still moving 5 minutes after my feet have come to a halt).

Danny pronounced me "Hot" and predicted that I'd meet someone. I giggled, blushed, scoffed, and disabused him of such a foolish notion. Who on earth would Grim Jim poossibly know that might be in the slightest bit interesting? He comes from the far side of Goole, for goodness sake.

After helping put the finishing touches to the party food, without pinching a single thing, not even the mushroom vol-au-vents, I went outside to the small marquee to check the karaoke machine was working properly. I was thorough, singing my way through 8 CDs before the first party guests arrived. Unfortunately, Dawn didn't tell me anyone had shown up and left me out there singing my way through the last 4, with the back door open, before bothering to fetch me in for introductions. Bitch! That's the last time I fix her up with one of my absolutely-no-potential-whatsoever ex-travel companions.

I knew a few people from the estate agency where she works, a fellow lawyer who seems to be on perpetual honeymoon, maternity leave or stress leave so never returns calls, and of course, Grim Jim's parents who I had met once or twice around the time of our trip to Rome last year. It felt like I knew all GJ's friends, the ones from his home village. Well, once you'd met one, you'd met 'em all. They all looked alike and probably shared a few common genes.

I didn't know the guy with the twinkly dark eyes over in the corner by the cooker, though. The one with the broad shoulders and fit back. The one with the cute tight jeans and wide, sexy smile. THE ONE WHO KEPT LOOKING OVER AT ME. The One who didn't have a Mrs Twinkly Dark Eyes draped on his arm.

He started to make a move towards me so I did what any confident, intelligent woman with bouncy hair would do. I went back out to the karaoke machine, dragging GJ's 12 year old daughter with me for company. That was where Dawn found me to tell me that Mr Twinkly Eyes, or Gary as I learned, was asking all about me and seemed keen to get acquainted. I stayed outside until I had drunk enough wine to attempt the operatic bits of Bohemian Rhapsody ( I thought I did rather well so I must have been seriously pissed), by which time the kitchen had emptied, all apart from Gary Twinkly Eyes, the next door neighbour.

I sat down with Dawn, GJ and GTE in the lounge for a night cap. I smiled at GTE, thinking how attractive he was. 40 years old, a builder, owns his own company, with staff. All this I had learned from Dawn. I hadn't actually spoken to him up to this point. That was when it all went wrong. He opened his mouth. And all I heard were the words of Moustache Mark. Peas in a Pod. They could have come out of the same Approved School class.

Why can't handsome men be single AND intelligent? Why can't interesting men be attractive? Why on earth didn't I go on a date with Dynamo Dean when I had the chance?.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

I dragged Darbs along to the bi-monthly comedy night that is currently filling my contemporary cultural needs. We got our heads together ( although not too closely as I remembered a passing remark he'd made about nits in his son's nursery class - I'm sure they don't go for thick hair like mine, even my hair is so fat that nits don't fancy it, but I wasn't taking any chances) to discuss potential comperes.

It occurred to me that if I wore a large black t-shirt and messed my hair up a bit, I might get mistaken for Jo Brand. Talk about value for money! I even went so far as to point out that with my musical abilities, I could play the piano in the interval and the crowd would believe Victoria Wood was also appearing. Darbs thought they were more likely to think Les Dawson was alive and well. We resolved that a professional compere was essential if only to save our own sanity and friendship.

I'd not had time for tea before I'd gone out. Darbs had mentioned the prospect of a pizza on the way home but I pretended that I was sticking to my diet, much more attractive than admitting to chronic gluttony even if the tell-tale rolls of fat were escaping over my seat belt at the time. So I was ravenous when I got in and promptly polished off a tub of cottage cheese, a triangle of Laughing Cow, 2 rhubarb and gooseberry yoghurts and a cereal bar, the only things that took absolutely no preparation that Jack hadn't already devoured.

It was only this morning that the truth of what I have become dawned on me. It explains the inability to concentrate for any length of time, the mood swings, the bloatedness, the dramatic weight gain, the ill-fitting clothes, the constant need for cash.

I am a SnackHead!

I know I should try cold turkey, but I'd only smother it in lashings of mayonnaise and a side helping of chunky chips.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I had planned on taking my car to see the Consultant yesterday morning. I already know he's gonna tell me that the oil haemorrhage is terminal and suggest that I have her put down peacefully. She's been a loyal old thing and somehow I'm not quite ready to give up on her just yet ( Who am I kidding? If I'd just started a new job with a healthy car allowance like Mrs Roger, I'd not be looking back as I left the scrap yard for the Audi dealership).

My plans were scuppered by a sudden snowfall. It started the previous afternoon and naturally took me completely by surprise, despite the fact that severe weather warnings had been given for much of the country and I'd heard a rumour that a milk bottle had been found frozen on a doorstep in Withernsea a few days before.

We had nothing but glorious sunshine yesterday and everything was melting really fast but I thought it better not to make any unnecessary journeys. I should really have done some cleaning. I had finally flushed the potential new boyfriends down the sink with a few squirts of Domestos and my knicker draw wasn't completely empty so I sat at the computer and did some work instead. Proper work. The sort I get paid for.

There was so much of it to do that 5 hours had passed before I realised that I still hadn't washed my face, scrubbed my teeth or removed my egg-stained pyjamas. I beat a hasty retreat to the bathroom before the neighbours complained and the Environmental Health Dept broke down the door looking for the dead body. I stayed there for the next 2 hours, topping up from the hot tap whenever the water dropped below scalding, reading the latest Wildlife Trust magazines. I didn't hear the Message Alert signalling a text from Dynamo Dean. By the time I got out of the bath and discovered that his team had a match in my home town that afternoon, it was too late to go watch, or even catch him for a drink. I had time only to dash to Tesco for some hold-ups and then back again to await my lift to the Round Table Dinner Dance.

I have no idea why I agreed to go. There were 19 of us on our table. Guess who was the 19th! I'd taken 70 quid with me for the ticket, drinks and the taxi home. I was hoping there would be enough to cover Jack's school lunches until Easter too. That illusion was soon shattered when I was confronted with raffle tickets and the communal wine kitty. I had a generally rather nice time, some tasty food, a good boogey and was almost persuaded to buy a van from Mark on the basis that it was really just like driving a car with the added advantage that I couldn't take more than one passenger at a time and could always pick up some delivery work if things got really tight.

I was stopped by a man in a dinner suit as I was leaving, wanting to know what on earth I was doing there. He'd been watching me all night and he just couldn't tell how I fitted into the dynamics of our group, apparently. Fortunately, he was dragged to a waiting taxi by his friends before he had time to expand on his thoughts. He'd probably only have asked me what a pregnant lady was doing salsaing with her friends' husbands in any case.

Here's that hideous old troll that looks a bit like my Grandma again with friend and salsa-challenged husband. Being a Scot, his homage to The Proclaimers was truly rather magnificent however.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Is there a section on Blogger Etiquette anywhere on this site? I've searched all over the Dashboard but I can't seem to find anywhere that tells me how to behave towards comments.

I've looked at other peoples blogs and they all seem to be chatting back and forth. I'm not sure if that is because they already know one another in real life or just that people across the pond are so much friendlier and unreserved. I can appreciate how easy it is to become friends and develop a feeling that you know someone quite well if you follow a blog for any length of time.

I can imagine how it must be to sit around a large, well-worn table in a warm cosy kitchen and eat a hearty meal with Joyce, perhaps having a glass or two of wine and sharing jokes that Brian doesn't quite get.

Or drink coffee in a chic city cafe or slam margharitas in a cool club with the Tart and her stylish friends, not quite following the arty conversation but enjoying the sensation of being included in a select group and secretly resolving to do something about the middle-aged frumpiness spreading around me from my tummy to my flattish shoes. I think I'd wear my Gucci boots for that occasion to increase my confidence.

My Gucci boots are the only designer item in my wardrobe ( apart from the Donna Karan sequin cocktail dress which I haven't been able to fit into for years but reminds me of a handsome Glaswegian architect so I'll never part with it). They are my band aid. I bought them immediately after having been dumped spectacularly by the last bloke I foolishly thought might be around long enough to share breakfast with on more than one occasion.

Mrs Roger, back in the days when she was still just Eva, accompanied me on my recuperative shopping trip. I was dancing around the shoe department in Harvey Nicks, professing love for the softest, sexiest boots I had ever worn.

"Yes! And they won't leave you after 6 weeks" she said.

But the clincher was " Ooh! Cherrypie. You look a size 8 from the knee down!"

My guccis and I have been almost inseperable ever since. We celebrated our 5th anniversary last November with the Moschino handbag that came home with us on the same day. We didn't get any cards but the Visa company still writes regularly.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

I took a flyer from work today so I could get Jack to his College interview. I wasn't really needed other than to provide transport. He'd prepared and planned a presentation, even down to a glowing letter of recommendation from his current School's manager. There was no mention of the fact that he happens to be her grandson.

I was amazed with the way he handled himself. His knuckles didn't scrape across the floor once. His words were properly ennunciated and understandable, not to mention appropriate and polite. He flashed his smile, shook hands ( that had been washed) firmly, held good eye contact, asked sensible well-thought out questions and generally gave the impression of a decent young man. I bit back the urge to ask why he can't behave like that all the time. I was so proud of us.