Wednesday, August 29, 2007

In Praise of St Anthony

' Think. Where did you last have it?'

Jack closed his eyes and sat down on my bed, trying to picture himself walking through Customs, collecting his bag from the carousel and climbing into his grandparents' car. I almost saw the light bulb flash on above his head.

' I put it in Grandma's glovebox. I think it must still be there'.

Great. At least we knew where his passport was, but how to get it might prove more of a challenge, given that Grandma was currently 1230 miles away expecting her favourite grandson to be arriving by plane in less than 12 hours and her car was sitting in an unknown airport carpark somewhere in the East Midlands.

A few well-placed phone calls and we'd found the car, persuaded a very helpful chap to spend his tea break rifling through it and kissed goodbye to any faint vestige of promised sleep. I went downstairs to make a cup of tea, the British default mode in a crisis and carelessly moved one of the many piles of papers that Jack and I had both repeatedly searched through at least 8 times each for the previous 3 hours. One of the many piles that was definitely not harbouring a passport. And there it was, cheekily poking out from between a council tax reminder and a voucher for pet food.

Oh how I laughed to myself about that, as I drove back up the sun-drenched M18 on my own a few hours later. Were it not for the sudden and unexpected phenomenum of blue smoke filling the car and a battery light appearing on the dashboard, I'd probably be chortling away to myself even now.

It proved to be nothing more serious than an alternator belt, although I did not know it at the time, so still made the call to a mechanically-minded friend to check I wasn't about to die. This was almost as good news as discovering that only a back section was needed and not an entire exhaust system the previous day. That really was the highlight of the entire weekend which otherwise saw me stood up by a bestfriend, visited by another (for all of 10 minutes spent predominantly looking around with a pitying expression at the shambles that currently represents my home before driving back to her perfect home, in her perfect car, with her perfect husband and perfect son), and inevitably cancelling my pre-arranged-but-never-gonna-happen afternoon tryst with my married rugby player in favour of the mechanic who never showed up.

Yesterday, I was told my entire groundfloor has to come up. They are coming to remove it on Friday. I am going to Wiltshire on Saturday. If magic doesn't help, nothing will.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Adults only it said. Book early to avoid disappointment. Bring your own wine. Barbecue 'til late.

This had to be the most promising prospect yet. Consenting adults, clear, cool waters discreetly tooked away from prying eyes and peeping toms. The promise of hot, charred finger-sticky meat. I was drawn like a floosie to a fleshpot.

Let the dip begin!

I'd have preferred my waterboatmen sporting thick fisherman's rib sweaters. The diver we found might have been Great but he was hardly clad in figure-hugging neoprene. Viewed under the microscope I'm sure I caught sight of an ex-boyfriend's relatives ( single-cell simple organisms). The highlight was a 2" long baby perch which looked a bit Tiger Barblike to me. It delivered sufficient points to see us streaking ahead of the competition. Sadly that was the only streaking done last night.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Throw Away Lines

Chances are you've bought throw-away paper plates at one time or another. They are indispensable at summer barbecues. Indeed, the barbecues themselves are likely to be of the single-use, instant variety.

Disposable nappies are easy, cheap and much less bother than their greener, towelling cousins.

Daily contact lenses, so flimsy they resemble small, regular pieces of clingfilm are worn by thousands every day, me included ( only not every day).

Lighters are more often than not, cheap, plastic and wind up on some desolate island in Oceania where they threaten to suffocate hungry albatross chicks.

We have disposable cameras, batteries, incomes and knickers. We make throw away comments in our throw away society. No wonder the number of dustbins and collection receptacles has quadrupled.

I want to do my bit for the environment. I recycle. I smile warmly, if not exactly hug trees. I haven't bought a disposable nappy in, oh, at least 15 years. I'd gladly share my bath, preferably with the England Rugby team.

There's just one habit that I can't seem to kick.

I have another disposable car.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rampant Rabbit Rival Revealed

Finally, the secret every frustrated single girl and would-be lothario needs to know. Forget Rampant Rabbits and other Ann Summers' animals.

Just buy a ticket for this show. Every 6 months should satisfy even the most libidinous.

Boys, invest in linen trousers and a panama hat. The results

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Dog Days

It seemed such a perfect plan when I suggested it to Mum. 'Cancel your kennel booking and I'll look after your dogs while you are away for 3 weeks'. I should add there was a mercenary element to this, and not just a sudden bout of charitable, anthropophilic largesse on my part. I knew she'd offer to pay me. I'd be a lot cheaper than the kennels and the dogs would have the pleasure of their beloved Auntie Cherrypie for almost a month.

I didn't give a thought to the logistics of 2 big, smelly mutts sharing a house with me, a convalescing cat ( did I mention he lost his tail? it was most traumatic) and some dehumidifiers. I've got a 5* purpose-built dog kennel. It's short of nothing except flushing toilets. It's also temporarily full of bookcases and paraphenalia salvaged from the flooded conservatory. We're finding it a bit of a squeeze.

Dog accessories have come some way since I last walked them. I didn't realise I needed NVQ Level 3 in Extendable Doglead Handling before I'd be safe to let loose on the streets and fields. I've been dragged through hedges backwards, tied to trees and pulled down wet, grassy banks. And that was just on one 45 minute walk last night. Fly danced ' In and Out The Dusty Bluebells' along a line of rowans while Rosa played Ring-O'-Roses around me. Fortunately the scooped poop didn't burst out of its little sandwich bag as I fell forward onto it, hobbled at the knees.

Things didn't improve this morning when I almost had to call the Fire Brigade to rescue Fly from my utility room. A pair of kitchen steps had fallen down behind the door and had wedged it shut. I couldn't climb through the window as it only opens 45 degrees. I could just about get my wrist through the gap in the door but nothing I tried to hook round the steps worked. I enlisted the assistance of a gas man digging up the road outside the house. He was useless but very cute. If I'd been Renée Zellweger, he'd have fallen in love with me.As it was he just scratched his head and wandered off muttering about looking in his van.

I finally released Fly an hour and a half later with the aid of a half-moon lawn edger. I'm not sure which of us was more relieved.

I've got 3 more weeks of this mayhem. Call the RSPCA quick - that's the Royal Society for the Protection of Cherrypie's Arse!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

To A Flame

The advert had to be a code.

A secluded wooded garden in Goxhill, a place well-known for weird goings-on where everybody has an eerie likeness to one another, and often the same name. A bright light. 30-odd fully consenting adults standing in a circle around it late into the balmy night. Excitement, expectation and a degree of fevered anticipation hung on the honeysuckle-scented breeze. Some of the more experienced men licked their lips as their eyes danced at the scene before them.

A hush as the older man, clearly the one in charge, raised his arms towards the light and then turned to the newcomer, the smallest and youngest. She reached her virginal hands towards him, blinking in the glare, her hands shaking slightly but instinctively knowing she should take it, bending forward to hear his whispered wisdom. Again and again he thrust towards her, his voice becoming hoarse, his brow occasionally knitted. She took on the urgent rhythm, and gradually assumed the confidence to slow it down, control it to her preferred speed.

She was a little disappointed to discover it wasn't a code at all. People really do hang around outside at night, trapping and identifying moths. She's hooked. She's doing it again in Dalby Forest on Saturday. Surely one of these nights she'll stumble upon some random sects.

Monday, August 06, 2007


I had a Perfect Hair Day yesterday. Every glossy, silky strand just fell into perfect place. It swooshed and swished fragrantly, glinting in the sunlight, tantalisingly falling over one eye, giving an alluring illusion of seduction and wantoness.

I had nowhere to go and no-one to see.

It was a complete waste.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cooking in Kathryn's Kitchen

Take half a dozen guitars, acoustic preferably. Mix around an assortment of knees. Spread the floor and worktops generously with friends, good ones for the most pleasing results. Lighten the mixture with some flickering candles, scented if desired. Liberally douse with alcohol ( or Coke for the designated driver). Let the smokers out every half hour, adding further quantities of liquor to maintain consistency and promote conviviality. Sway, tap your foot, sing along while it all comes together over 3 or 4 hours into a heady, harmonious had-to-be-there-but-can't-believe-you-were-there magical evening.

Ben Taylor, David Saw, Gavin Hammond and Andy, Josh and the lovely bearded guy who's playing drums for Prince at the O2 stadium on Saturday night really baked last night.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Bent Aylor

He's playing in my sister's living room. Tonight. It's a secret. Don't tell anyone.

Got to dash if I'm to have any chance of an armchair

It will look and sound a bit like this.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Once a Non-Bridesmaid...

What exactly are a non-bridesmaid's duties? You'd think it would comprise mainly of not getting off with the best man ( in this case the 11-year-old Godson, which would be so wrong on a number of levels) and maybe not being toasted in the speeches. The reverse of that is pretty much all a proper, official bridesmaid has to do, after all. That and not allow herself to be chosen 3 times, if she ever has hopes of being a bride herself. ( I was bridesmaid for my cousin and both parents, at seperate weddings).

You wouldn't necessarily expect, as a non-bridesmaid, to be helping the groom and the best man get dressed, straighten their ties, unpick the stitching in their pockets, defluff them of any stray cat hairs ( from their own cats, not a stray's), take custody of the cards to be read out, attach their button holes, then shoot over to the hotel to soothe the blushered bride, dish out the button holes to the official wedding party, zip the bride tightly into her dress, commandeer golf buggies for wobbly grandparents, be within a hand's reach for tissues/ lipgloss/ eyeliner at every moment, and most importantly, bear the weight of the dress while the bride sits on her throne. I was so relieved when she declared that she was capable of pulling her own pants down.

It's a wonder only this Cinderella's heel snapped.

Rachel - if you are reading this, I loved every minute of it and am proud you trusted me to be such a big part of your special day xxx