Saturday, 27 March 2010

Hello and Goodbye

After my long term sabbatical from Blogging earlier this year I finally managed to catch up with a few of my favourite blogs. In all honesty I had barely looked at a blog between January and about two weeks ago. I know, its bad. But then most of you already know what a terrible blogger I am. It's been over a week already since I last blogged.

I was sad to see that one of my favourite blogs 'My Shitty Twenties' has come to an end.

"There are only so many ways of writing “I was having a crap day, then my son said something cute and everything felt OK.” she says.

I was never bored by her but that's exactly the kind of thing I would think. As usual I didn't read her enough and was kind of pissed off that I hadn't been timely enough to follow her story from the beginning when the charming man who impregnated her left her with the parting words "Enjoy your shitty twenties". It's not all sad news though as it looks like she'll be writing elsewhere rather than not at all, so good for her. Goodbye, Shitty Twenties.

So now let's cheer ourselves up with a 'Hello'. When I met this lady she had a blog which hadn't seen any action in a while. Recently however she's been a hive of activity. I give you 'Tapestry Face'. I love the cute photo of her listening to a record player but I really admire her for her amazing creations. I challenge you not to be jealous of this. This lady is proof of how much more we could all get done in life if we had no man and no television. I salute her.

Lastly but certainly not least in my goodbye roll of honour 'Up The Duff.....'. I love to link her but you have to be invited to read her posts although this wasn't always the way. Up the Duff has been through some troubled times. This morning I received a text from her "I'm done blogging" she said. I hope that she returns one day because she had a a 'take no prisoners' attitude and she was also incredibly funny. I'm not sure if she stopped blogging because of the commitment or because she thought that she whinged too much. What are blogs for if not for whinging? Goodbye, Up the Duff (and feel free to link yourself if you've had a change of heart!)

I have to say though, hats off to all you 'serious bloggers'. Committing to blog every day, visiting others blogs, commenting on every comment somebody leaves you and all the rest of very time consuming.

And now to something a little bit different. I had to say goodbye to a colleague recently, except I didn't really get the chance to. She left under suspicious political circumstances after many years service, with little thanks. When I first started my job she gently told me that I had to toughen up. She was right. She has a book coming out which I can't wait to get my hands on. Here it is.

Recently I have said 'goodbye' to an old, third-hand, red sofa and 'hello' to a new brown leather sofa. Ah yes, the ubiquitous brown leather sofa. Who among you does not have a brown leather sofa?

Anyway, I had mixed emotions about the red sofa. When I received the sofa 18 months ago, it had already seen some action. And I do mean action. I gave it a damn good steam clean because I knew exactly what it had been through. It belonged to two couples before we had it and had been around for years. I personally have had sex with two different people on this sofa - yeah, it's that old. I'm not the only one. Cupcake has definitely had sex on this sofa. I'm taking a bet that Victoria Sponge has also had sex on this sofa - if she hasn't, then shame on her, because it belonged to her for years. I'm also betting that my friends who are now in sunny Oz have also been at it on this sofa because it belonged to them too. In fact, seeing as this sofa was with my group of friends for most of our hedonistic years I'm betting that pretty much everyone I know has had sex on this sofa. The sofa has not seen the end of its days however as it has been relocated to an illegal gambling den in East London somewhere. I find that something of a comfort.

I was kind of glad to see it go but at the same time a part of me felt like it was just another symbol of me becoming older and more boring. "When will I have sex on a sofa again?" I thought to myself. There's no way I'm doing it on my new sofa as I haven't even finished paying for it yet. And guess who has to clean the sofa and put the leather protector on it. Yeah that's right, me. Why do men never think of this shit? Probably because they're too busy thinking about shagging on sofas. Well maybe if they cleaned them a bit more often, they might get laid more often. Just a thought....

Anyway, while we're on the subject of sex, it's goodbye to all sexual activity in my house because thanks to my pregnancy it's been 'hello' to some very extreme flatulence lately. Nice.

Friday, 19 March 2010

I am not a racist.....but....I am

It’s been many years since I prefaced a statement with “I’m not racist…” and I don’t think I’ve ever said “I’m not racist…but…” before going on to be dreadfully racist. But, today I did something really, really bad. Before I go on to tell you what the really bad thing was, I am going to use my hormones as an excuse and do so unashamedly. Had I not been pregnant I would not have reacted in this way. It was sheer self-preservation.

It’s a complete misconception that as individuals we can be without preference towards, or prejudice against, groups of people. It is just impossible. Put a group of strangers in a room together and chances are they will gravitate towards their own cultural group. We feel safe with what we can identify and understand. For some time now I have stopped imagining that I am ‘not a racist’. Instead, I accept that sometimes I have involuntary, instinctive, racist thoughts; question them and then give myself a stern talking to. I have rationalised that these thoughts are natural, the important thing is not to act on them.

Well, today I acted on them.

It all began on a London bus this morning when I realised that I wasn’t yet fat enough for people to start kindly relinquishing their seats. Whilst this thought was still in motion, a lady with a muffled voice offered me her seat. I turned to see a woman dressed head to toe in black. She was wearing a Niqab (-see, I’m not so racist that I can’t be bothered to look that up!). The Niqab leaves only a small slit for the eyes and this lady’s veil was drawn so tightly, that it looked painful. She was carrying a Qu’ran and she was politely standing up and offering me her seat. I accepted gracefully, thanked her kindly and she asked me for some directions. As I was talking to her I couldn’t help thinking that it really would be much easier for us both if I could see her face. I had to lean in close to her and ask her to repeat herself and it felt awkward. Anyway, she got off the bus and as I settled into my new seat I started scanning my travelling companions.

I noticed a young Muslim man sitting opposite me. He wore a small white hat, in the Muslim style, a long shirt, sandals and a very large raincoat over the top. Then I noticed that he was sitting forward because he was wearing…yes, you guessed it; a rucksack on his back.

Then another gentleman sat down next to him and said hello. This man was dressed in the typical jeans and jacket, nothing to identify him as a Muslim but they began talking and it was obvious that they new one another. As I studied the first gentleman I noticed how he seemed incredibly ill-at-ease and nervous, as if the other man’s presence was causing him concern. The man with the rucksack was not particularly attractive or confident and I couldn't imagine him being popular with either men or women. Just the sort of person, I thought, to be swayed by an extremist group. It is now that my imagination, which served me so well at school, starts to work overtime.

My mind concocts a story whereby this man intends to blow up the 253 bus that I’m sitting on. I imagine that he is nervous because he doesn’t want to kill his friend but seeing as his friend is not a strict Muslim and possibly not one at all, maybe this has no bearing on the situation. Then I think about the woman who gave me her seat. She obviously was a strict Muslim. I start imagining that she had been given a sign by the Muslim man and that is why she got off the bus. I begin bizarrely imagining how much of the blast I might take if I remain in my seat. Will I lose a leg, an arm? Will I die ? I start imagining my other half losing me and our unborn baby, I start imagining him struggling to bring up our son. Before I know it I am standing up and getting off the bus.

I actually got off the bus.

I have lived in London for most of my life. After the 7/7 bombings I didn’t change my habits. I still got on the underground. I sat next to Muslims carrying backpacks because nobody else would and it was a free frickin’ seat as far as I was concerned.

So, since there has been no news of a 253 bus being blown up today, I can safely assume that my poor companion on London Transport this morning was not a bomber but merely socially inept. I on the other hand, am most definitely, officially and shamefully, a racist.

P.S If anybody is going to try and make me feel better by sharing their stories of racism, please don't. The best comment anyone could leave me right now is "Troutie, you are a racist".

I'm going away now to self-flagellate........

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Three Bags of Shit

I went to the midwife empty handed. I came back with three bags of shit.


I'll admit that it doesn't look like a great deal in this photo, but in reality it was horrific.

What I had to sift through, and what my council will now have to recycle, was 27 items including:

1. Mum Plus One Magazine - the most interesting thing I discovered from this glossy, handbag-sized load of tripe, was that getting married is still number three on the average woman's list of top ten things to do before they get pregnant. Taking part in an extreme sport was number 10.

2. Emma’s Diary – a week by week guide to pregnancy. The best thing to come out of this was the Tetley Decaf tea sample. I have taken immense satisfaction from knowing that I will never buy Tetley Decaf tea bags. Their advertising is wasted on me but thanks for the free cuppa.

3. You and Your Family magazine- supported by Asda - another magazine with exactly the same shit as the first two, just in a different order. Clearly for those who have lost all capability of thought. Ingenious suggestions such as "if you don't think you could cope with a baby on a plane, a domestic holiday is a good option".

4. Bounty – Your Pregnancy Magazine - Really? Another week by week guide to my pregnancy. Now you are really spoiling me. And how exactly is this one different to the other three I already have? Ah! I see. Some of the adverts are different....

5. Breastfeeding – You can do it! – sponsored by Bounty - well, sorry to piss on your bonfire but actually the chances of me being able to breastfeed are slim, despite your heartfelt encouragement.

6. The Sanatogen Guide to Nutrition - because I don't know what vegetables look like or what the words 'balanced' or 'diet' mean. And besides, why would I want to eat real food when I could take a pill?

7. My Pregnancy Diary courtesy of Pampers - Listen; I work, I blog, I child-rear, I eat, sleep and fuck and try to squeeze in some tapestry in between. I really don't have time to write a pregnancy diary!

The rest of the shit that was forced on me included adverts for Fairy, Photobox, Tesco, Next, Debenhams, Disney Scratchcards, A sample of Sudocreme (possibly mildly useful - I'll admit) and an HM Revenue and Customs Leaflet about a Health in Pregnancy Grant (apparently now you get £190 for jack shit - mines going on cocaine and prostitutes) and 'A Parent’s Guide to Money'. Oh yes and one last thing.........a sample of Ovaltine. This is just to remind you that your life is over, that you are officially old now and you should be in bed drinking Ovaltine.

In case you hadn't quite grasped my point I am very angry about Bounty packs.

I remember something similar from my previous pregnancy (which was not that long ago might I add). This consisted of one bag of shit. Now, less than two years later this has tripled. In another two years time you will be getting a wheelbarrow courtesy of Alan Titchmarshes Green-Fingered-Baby-Club, to wheel it home in.

Just because I am pregnant does not make me some kind of mindless vessel for your crappy advertising!

Did anybody consider the environment before they started this three-bags-of-shit routine?

Did anybody actually ask me if I wanted any of this?

No, of course they didn't. Because they assumed that getting married was number three on my list of 'Things to do before I got pregnant' and that sky diving was number 10, and that I need some asshole to tell me how to eat properly and that I might actually want to win a holiday to Disneyworld.

The moral of this story is: sometimes, even when you try to travel light, the world turns round and gives you three bags of shit to carry.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Special Delivery

My son is obsessed with Postman Pat. However; it has to be, simply has to be, Postman Pat SDS (for the uninitiated – Special Delivery Service). It has to be said that the world Postman Pat inhabits seems quite appealing. The lengths that man will go to, getting your special delivery to you, knows no bounds. It’s not uncommon for him to commandeer a helicopter, a motorbike with a sidecar, a tractor, ice-skates or a magic bloody carpet, to get that item delivered.

I keep telling my son that in reality after waiting in all day for your very important item, you go to the loo for two seconds, the bell rings, you remerge with your pants still round your ankles, only to discover a red postcard shoved through your letterbox with “While you were out we tried to deliver your Special Delivery…”. This is followed by a series of collection options, none of them particularly convenient. Does anyone else’s sorting office open for two hours at the crack of dawn on a Saturday, or is it just mine?

At 5.59 am this morning we had a very Special Delivery. As it turned out, Victoria Sponge was not full of jam and cream as we had all expected. Instead she gave birth to a whopping 9lb 1oz baby boy.

As the happy, post-natal glow set in; the sense that everybody was safe and cherished and content, I noticed an unusual feeling creeping into my brain.

“Perhaps I could look forward to having another baby?”

Over the past few weeks I have resisted the urge to write about my pregnancy. My scan passed by undocumented and in its place a cheeky poem was offered. This is actually what I began writing after my scan:

“There it was, on all fours, bottom in the air.

“Just like it’s mother” said a friend of mine when I told her.

And now I have to admit that it is real, that there really is something there and it’s making me feel awful. As the truth is revealed to friends, family and work colleagues the “congratulations” they offer has been met with a rolling of eyes, a squirm of embarrassment, a matter of factness that shows not a hint of enthusiasm or joy.”

As I continued to write everything spiralled dismally out of control. I checked myself and realised that if I didn’t want to read my miserable shit then no one else would; so I shelved it.

The birth of Baby Sponge has reminded me of those happy feelings, those awe-inspiring moments, the hard graft and the sense of achievement. But before I could start getting too soppy I had to spend the morning with an emotionally-detached, armed-robber. Oh well, nothing like jail to bring a girl back down to earth.............

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Life and Times of Mrs Grimes

Today I was sorting out some old papers. I came across this, dated 3rd December 2004. Apparently when I wrote it I was on a very dull training course (this may explain my desire to fling off my clothes.........)

The Life and Times of Mrs. Grimes - A Poem about Freedom

Mrs. Grimes got married and then she got divorced.
She traded in her husband for a saddle and a horse.
Whenever she was angry or feeling kind of down,
She'd saddle up her beauty and ride naked into town.

Along came plod the Policeman
And much to his surprise,
In all her naked glory,
He couldn't look her in the eyes.

Fixing on her pupils, he said
"We've 'ad complaints!
This 'ere town's respectable
And naked 'orseriding - aint!"

She replied "But Mr. Policeman,
There's no need to be a prude,
I'm not harming anyone
Just sitting here in the nude!"

"Can't you see," said Mrs. Grimes,
"My inner self must be expressed
and my inner self has told me
that she hates to wear a vest!"

"But, Mrs. Grimes," said Plod
"folk will get a frightful shock.
And imagine if every girl about town
went flinging off her frock?"

Mrs Grimes replied "That's something
I have never contemplated,
But Plod, what a wonderful world it would be
If everybody was naked!"

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Cursed be Haman and my Hairdresser

Today I had hoped to regale you with tales of drunken Orthodox Jews but, contrary to last year, Purim was a wash out.

Living, as I do, in an area highly populated by Orthodox Jews I have become familiar with their customs and holidays. Purim is by far my favourite. Last year I was astounded to wake up to truck loads of Jews hurtling towards my flat, in fancy dress, dancing to sound systems balanced precariously on the backs of vehicles, seemingly having a rip-roaring time.

For those of you not acquainted with Orthodox Jews, they live by some very strict rules which to a girl-about-town like me, doesn’t look like a lot of fun.

The women wear wigs and headscarves and heavy tights whatever the weather. Long skirts, flat shoes, quilted coats, jumpers and blouses with high necklines in dark colours are required.

If you ask me, the men have all the fun. Huge furry Russian style hats, long black satin jackets, thick white tights and, best of all, two perfectly coiffured ringlets either side of the head; I long to know whether they are tonged. They simply must be.

Orthodox Jews are not very keen on getting to know their neighbours. No eye contact, no polite smiles, no passing of the time of day. So it comes as quite a shock when you see them dressed up in afro wigs jumping up and down on the back of a truck looking quite tipsy. I was so shocked last year I had to call my authority on all things Jewish, my dear friend in Australia.

“What the hell is going on with the Jews?” I asked him

“It’s fantastic!” he said “It’s Purim and Jewish people are positively encouraged to get drunk. They will be rolling in the gutter by midnight!”

Of course this only applies to the men.

This year wasn’t a patch on the merry making of last year. I don’t know what happened. The credit-crunch? A lack of Kosher wine? I have no idea. Although in some ways I was glad not to have my nose rubbed into the fact that even Orthodox Jews were having more fun than me.

This explains my lack of blog inspiration.

“ update your blog or it's going to slip off my favourites.....” remonstrated a dear friend of mine.

But I haven’t even got morning sickness! My life is unparalleled in its dullness. It constitutes my tapestry and my bed and a very bad haircut.

That reminds me….I have a seriously bad haircut. I mean a seriously bad haircut. It’s so bad that I’m suddenly getting heaps of attention from the butch lesbians at work and someone said I looked like Annie Lennox. Don’t get me wrong Annie Lennox is very cool, but she is 56. Do you see why I am staying in bed now?

Events on the horizon this week include my dating scan on Thursday where I predict that I will discover I am having twins. This will finish both me and my blog off for good and who the fuck is going to finish my tapestry then?

I love the fact that after my last blog people seemed to be much more shocked about my penchant for tapestry than they were about the conception. I can't believe that I'm almost 33 and still haven't a clue about my cycle. Am I the only one who thinks that getting pregnant two days after your period has finished is just a little bit freakish? And just for the record I don't actually want a biologically accurate answer to that question. Just humour me so that I don't feel so utterly idiotic.