I'm sure you wouldn't, but:

Protected by Copyscape Unique Content Check

Wednesday, 29 April 2009


the last to be asked, sob, but here it is:

What are my current obsessions?
finishing off making curtains, as have done the fun bit of creating sort of circles and have the dull bit left of sewing the circles on to material and then making the curtains themselves, all the tiresome stuff of measuring and dealing with 24’ of material. Hopefully it will be better than the frankly ghastly-sounding thing I’ve made it out to be. It resides partly still in fantasy land which is just how I like it. Reality makes me anxious.

Which item of clothing am I wearing most?
hate shopping, but a long black top bought in the Animal sale last year. God, it’s had some wear. Whenever I get a new best thing to wear, I can never work out what I used to use.

What’s for dinner?
ah, well, here I come into my own. Pasta (home made, sigh), with some sort of wholesome sauce and little brown rolls and then a couple of salads, tomato and seeds and rocket. Angels will weep.

Last thing I bought?
plants. Don’t tell Edward

What am I listening to?
the self-important huffing and puffing of the computer. Be quiet. We’ve all heard you.

What would I say to the person who inspired me to do this post?
don’t let the bugger get you down

Favourite holiday destination?
skiing. Waves imaginary pole crossly at the sky: why is it so expensive!!!

Anywhere I would like to visit before I die?
India. Not merely for the grub, though my little paw will drift to yummy platters as and when.

Reading right now?
God’s Own Country by Ross Raisin. Have just finished it and it’s great. A first novel which convinces. Toxic, short, witty, lots of white spaces and full of lovely words. Will probably follow it up with some embarrassingly trashy thriller. Me, that is, not him.

Guilty pleasure?
buying books and plants. Smuggling both in. Far-away expression on face, Oh, that’s been there for ages. That sort of thing.
And reading trashy thrillers.
And, best of all, the fantasy with the dog ... the lorry ... the slipped lead. (Had promised self not to mention the dog, and she is the only "copy" I have so should show her some respect, but who can resist??)

Best thing I ate or drank lately?
I blush to say that it was the most delicious little canapĂ© things made by, er, me for a chum’s party. An asparagus, pea and parmesan thing on little rounds of bread and an aubergine, chilli, garlic and prawn one ditto. With a glass of warm champagne in the other mitt. Yumtastic.

Care to share some wisdom?
how long have you got?
If being sensible, and perhaps a little bit American (sorry, Frances!), I suppose I’ll go for don’t tell lies and that includes being true to yourself, too.

Is there a television programme that I enjoy at the moment?
does ‘The Wire’ count? It’s on DVD as the BBC has only just started showing it.

Thing most looking forward to?
Holidays, always holidays, although what from, please don't question. But to be off with the ones I love, free from the tyranny of routine, can't wait!

Everyone else has done this one (small, bitter moue of the mouth), but for any other unloved souls out there who are kind enough to call, consider yourself tagged.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009


Unless you were shouting at your own children at the time, you quite possibly heard me roar “EIGHTEEN POUNDS!!!” last night, loud enough to bring tears to the ears of all in the vicinity.
Through some fuckwittery, where I had left the eBay account open while trying, unsuccessfully, to find a dog basket of all things (such cruel reward for attention to that hell-hound), F10 had scuttled on to the computer. While I was washing up, he, in his own words, had “got carried away.” With the consequence that we were the lucky winners (the term sticks in the craw) of a Match Attax card of some tosser of a football player. Cristiano Ronaldo possibly.

I’d gone upstairs to review dog basket options and so the first I knew of the other arm of our eBay activity was the cheery ping in the inbox and the enthusiastic announcement, “Congratulations, You are the current highest bidder …” At that innocent point, the bid sat at £12 which was enough to cause major freak-out. I'd look back on that halcyon amount with fond envy.

I thwacked off a panicky e-mail to the seller, trying to retract the bid.

Ping! Went the inbox. “Congratulations, You are the current highest bidder …” and the chilling climb to £14.50.
What all this was telling me, my frazzled brain worked out, was that some other dozy sod out there was actually bidding against me – aaargh, what am I saying, against me? against him!! Salvation lay in his desire edging crazily higher even than “ours.” The seconds were counting down in that way that thrills when the wondrous thing might just be yours and that horrifies when, well, when the wondrous thing might just be yours. Needless to say, Salvation failed to give a toss.

Every cheque we write seems to be for the children as it is without factoring in frenzied sessions on the computer. Shoes, piano lessons, piano exams (£43 for T12’s Grade 4, an exercise in stress I’m too near to to relate but will settle for reporting that it was All Alright On The Hour and a bad dress rehearsal need not mean curtains). Then there's ju jitsu, ju jitsu grading, karate, karate grading, clarinet lessons, residential trips, Robin the Bloody Storyteller coming to school for a bloody Workshop, football, rugby. A cheque for next year’s school bus sits on the side not quite written – well, at £740, would you? And then there are the cars, March bringing longer evenings but also both lots of insurance, tax, MOTs and services.
Somehow this eBay money held the full weight of the current financial crisis. Crisis and impotence in a demonic marriage. Cash in one way freeflow. The builders may have gone, but another set of gannets flocks in, hovering for scraps. The demands are endless.

I rang eBay, my fingers skittering like fat sausages over the tiny keys. The menu option enraged, as you can imagine, until I was put through to someone with the requisite scant English who insisted on reading the full Welcome guff. We tussled through the conversation, my half being frantic to convey “retract! retract! retract!” his centring tiresomely on “username” and “postcode” and “first line of address”. Somewhere around here, E had to be dug out to “give permission” (God, I hate data protection) for me to speak to eBay which was an irritating irony and nothing but a time-spinner. For somewhere else around here, the bidding closed and we were merrily informed by eBay that the closing amount was £18. Plus 99p post and packing. Congratulations!
I flipped.

The seller woke up, now that it was all too late, and sent a barely literate response to mine littered with meaningless "...."s. Are these indicating thinking time, surely not; who knows:

“i have no right to remove it, this system is contorlled by ebay. i will ask bidder 2 whether he wants it. if he do not want it....you may be have to pay or you can contact ebay...because i have to pay the final value fee to ebay, i do not want to lose money....”

Yeah, right, lose money. Bless. Needless to say my reply featured more syllables, relentlessly middle-class to the end, Full Sentences R Us. Fighting an urge to scream, “lose money, you greedy bag! You’re getting £18.99 for an outlay of 40p, a stamp and an envelope, all because I was stupid enough to think the dog needed a new bed.” I sounded instead contrite and grateful for whatever help she could give me.

F10 was on the floor. He had rummaged in his money box and prised out a Christmas twenty which he forced on me.
He sobbed.
“I got carried away,” he said again, “I feel so ashamed.”
What can you do to a response like that but say, “It doesn’t matter. It’s only money.”
It’d better be a shit-hot card though.