I Love Pussies!

It’s been a worrying week.  Stella, the tiny cat, escaped from her catio.  Lord knows how. She was missing for a few hours before she was found.  It was a tense time.  And when she was found, she had managed to lose her thundershirt – which she was wearing to keep her calm because of the storm.  Obviously!!  But there was some good news. Ms Oreo, she’s a 4 year old Tuxedo, has settled well in Austria having moved from Stockholm with her meowmy and the droolbeast.  And Ricky the housecat – he’s somewhere in Canada – is finally getting along with his new cat sister. Which is such a relief!  For a while I thought it was all going to end in furballs!

And just when I thought all was well, Sweet Joey finally crossed the rainbow!  His paw purrents were devastated.  Bless the little ginger kitty.  So as a mark of respect, the Friday Night Box-pawty was cancelled.  I think it was the right thing to do.

OK I know, I’ve been at stuck at home for a few months and you’re probably thinking I’ve finally gone bonkers.  But when life gives you lemons (without the optimistic bit) and it’s pissing down with rain, what can be more comforting and distracting from the citrus fruits of doom, than pictures of cats!!

Kitty Cute Cat Pets

DOESN’T THAT MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD?

I bloody love it.  I’m a catsofinstagram addict.  It’s not just a bunch of cat pictures.  It’s a whole community of lunatics, like myself, who post pictures of their adorable furry friends and talk to each other – as their cats, obviously.  My cat, Oliver – or Ollie_Purrs to his fellow feline Insta buddies, has almost 1000 followers.  He puts me to shame with my laughable 290.  He’s got friends all over the place.  Australia, USA & Canada, Dublin, Hackney.  We ‘like’ each others photos, we share funny stories and we grieve together when one of these treasured pets passes.

IMG_2833.JPG

OLLIE PURRS.  INSTAGRAM SENSATION.

But it’s not just instagram.  If you search YouTube for cat videos, you’ll find over 90 million results!  That’s more that Justin Beiber and Taylor Swift put together (these are young famous people, apparently). Cats rule the world wide web!  We’re obsessed with them!  Sharing over 4 million images and videos a day. But why?  Are we looking for escapism from the realities of life?  The misery of work.  The worry of money.  The same reasons that similarly huge numbers of, most surprisingly, middle aged folk, stab their weary fingers at cascade of animated sweets?

Worrying that I’m some sort of raving fruitcake, I like to research these things. The Huffington Post reports that Jessica Gall Myrick, an assistant professor at Indiana University’s Media School, recruited 6,827 people from the Facebook page of an animal advocacy group and surveyed them about pet ownership, Internet use, video consumption and their personality. During this study, she asked her users to recall the last time they watched a cat video and record their mood before and after the viewing. Overwhelmingly, respondents said they felt significantly happier after watching the videos and experienced fewer negative emotions of anxiety, sadness and guilt.

Look!  There’s even a graph to prove it!

cat-video-emotions-study

So go on. Give it go. Love some pussies. Trust me. You’ll feel fabulous.

As the saying goes, don’t knock it til you try it!

x

They Might Be Giants!

I often get asked if I have children.  Must be the grey hairs, the twitch and the permanent look of despair.  But it’s a reasonable question to ask someone of my age.  Trouble is, I’m never quite sure of how to answer.  The truth is, yes!  I do.  I have 2 children.  But I tend to associate the word ‘children’ as generally being those under the age of 10.  That lovely age where they’re unaffected by life, not a care in the world other than when they can next have an ice-cream or a trip to the park.  They’re cuddly and cute and you can tuck them up in bed at night and kiss their chubby little innocent pink cheeks. Children are sweet, small little things – well in my head anyway!

My ‘children’ are 27 and 22.  They’re adults.  But to say I have ‘adults’ just sounds, well, somewhat creepy.  And the word ‘adult’ is often coupled with the word ‘responsible’. Which I just can’t quite see them as!  They’re ‘Grown Up Children’. Larger versions of their younger selves. He shaves, he has a car, a girlfriend and a job.  She has just finished Uni, has a boyfriend and a penchant for cocktails.  And they’re both still at home.  But despite being ‘adults’ according to their birth certificates, actually they’re not. What they are is ‘Giant Children’.  Because despite their size and their age, the behaviour has barely changed at all.

150516STEBoomer01-xlarge_trans_NvBQzQNjv4BqVRYMpRRh5U8tfaESeId9UvqZZNFHDV94SvZdX1WqoFI

IMAGE FOR REFERENCE ONLY.  ACTUALLY I DON’T HAVE GREY HAIR AND MY KIDS ARE DEFINITELY NOT GINGER!

I think it’s something about being a) still in the house you grew up in and b) still being with your sibling that makes these ‘Young Adults’ behave like – well ‘Giant Children’. Although I manage to painfully eke some rent out of Giant Child 1, it is handed over begrudgingly and with an almighty huff.  I don’t blame him.  He’d really rather be somewhere else! His size 11 trainers are scattered here there and everywhere and despite being responsible for a mountain of crockery and utensils, the thought of actually putting them in the dishwasher is incomprehensible.  And he takes up so much room!  A whole sofa!  Coupled with the discarded footwear, sports bags and inability to master how a bin works, it’s all getting rather crowded in here.  The little bundle of energy that used to tear around the house now looms large in doorways, towering above us all, dispelling wind from any given orifice at any given time (apparently this is really really funny). Giant Child 2 is less imposing, a bit more helpful and smells a little sweeter.  But being fresh out of studying, with a huge debt (thanks to ‘Just Call Me Dave’), the chance of her being able to afford to move out anytime soon is just as far off as the other one – who despite having a decent job, has no hope of getting a mortgage any time soon.

Young adults are more likely to be living with their parents than at any other time in the past 20 years as record numbers struggle to fly the nest. There are nearly 3 million 20-34 year olds still living with parents, a 618,000 leap since 1996, according to findings from the Office for National Statistics.  The “failure to launch” phenomenon means there are now millions of young adults are still in their childhood bedrooms, which seems to somehow keep them in a sort of semi-childlike, limbo state.   House prices, university debts and sympathetic parents are making this generation somewhat potbound.

Family-Building-Society

Credit: https://www.brayleinoyucca.co.uk/blog/our-ad-that-really-is-the-dogs/

By 27, I’d been working for nearly 10 years.  University just wasn’t an option for me as, quite honestly, I wasn’t clever enough.  See 5 years of school reports!  But then jobs were in abundance so I left college, went to work in a large advertising agency at the age of 18 and slowly worked my way up the ladder.  Ok I only got about 3 rungs up but the parties were epic.  By 22 I had bought a flat and by 26, I had a small child.  It wasn’t really fashionable to go back-packing round Cambodia – well not if you valued your life.  The done thing was to get on the property ladder as quickly as possible – and it was easy. House prices were reasonable and mortgages were manageable.  Sadly, my kids will probably have to wait til I shuffle off this mortal coil before they can afford a deposit for a house.  Come to think of it,  I am starting to wonder why they keep offering me cups of tea – which, now I come to think of it, do taste rather odd.

So my advice if you’ve got giant children.

  • Make sure you have a stable wifi connection.
  • Make sure you’ve got ink in the printer.
  • Make sure you’ve got wine in the fridge – ideally a small hidden fridge in a part of the house that they can’t be bothered to go to.

But also make sure you make the most of them.  Because despite all of the above, I’ll bloody miss them when they’re gone and wouldn’t swap them for anything.

Unless anyone’s got Lego Cards 043, 095 and 107.

x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hip Hip Hooray!

Well it’s finally done!  After years of wincing, moaning and not being able to wear stupidly high heels, I’ve had a hip replacement.  Right now, if I could turn back the clock, I probably wouldn’t have.  I feel sore, swollen, uncomfortable and miserable.  But I also know, that in a few weeks, I’ll be thankful that I did.  I know it’s going to take time to heal. And I know without pain, there’s no gain!  However, I was rather grateful for one thing.  The NHS kindly paid for me to have the operation in a nice private hospital not far from where I live.  Not uncommon these days apparently.  The NHS have been outsourcing joint replacement surgery to the private sector for some years now.  In fact, a recent analysis shows that NHS patients who choose to have planned knee or hip operations in private units spend less time on wards, are less likely to be readmitted and have fewer procedures that need to be re-done.  And therefore, they don’t block beds needed for acute admissions. Win win!

Another recent study showed that four of the best six places for hip operations were privately run.  By contrast, the three worst-performing hospitals for knee operations were all NHS ones. And therefore, the results have been seized on by some as evidence that the independent sector does have a key role to play in improving patient care as well as relieving the strain on our overcrowded hospitals. But they are likely to prove controversial elsewhere because of concerns that the contracts set up by Labour, under which private hospitals took in NHS patients to help reduce waiting lists, paid them far too much for simple procedures and wasted millions of pounds.  So the funding row continues to rumble and probably always will. Thanks goodness we’ve got a general election coming, eh folks??

 

'I really hate going to hospital.' 'I know. It's unfortunate you're a neurosurgeon.'

 

So back to the story.  I arrived at 8am at the rather endearingly named Holly Hospital, and was promptly shown to my ‘guest room’ by the ‘concierge’ who gave me a guided tour of the facilities.  To be honest, it was alot better than some 4 star hotels I’d paid good Euros to stay in. I got changed as requested and it wasn’t long before someone came and took me down to theatre. She was very nice.  Like a smiling assassin.  Because, despite my outwardly calm exterior, inside I was utterly hysterical despite her reassuring words that no, the consultant definitely hadn’t been drinking and yes, he’d done a fair few of these types of operations before. And in no time, I’d seen the anaesthetist and was being led, mentally kicking and screaming into theatre.

I’ll spare the details.  But it went very quickly and in no time I was back in my guest room, with a constant stream of smiling healthcare professionals, checking blood pressure, giving me drugs and generally enquiring after my well-being.  An hour later, a light lunch consisting of a freshly made cheese sandwich and fruit was served and I was given a menu to choose my evening meal.  Melon to start, salmon fillet and veg and a fresh fruit salad.  Sadly no wine list.  “For obvious reasons”, she told me.  I took that to mean that it was more to do the cocktail of medication I was on rather than a nod to a penchant for Rosé.  I had Sky TV to keep me company and at the press of a buzzer,  my assigned nurse would come scurrying in, attending to my every need.  This is all rather nice, I thought.

However, I think after a couple of days, someone twigged that neither myself, nor a wealthy healthcare provider, was paying for this treatment.  I was here courtesy of the beleaguered NHS and I’d probably hit my budget allowance.  The offer of endless cups of tea disappeared, lunch was downgraded to soup (definitely Heinz) or a sandwich, and the evening meal was whatever the chef said I could have.  And as Friday was curry night, and I don’t eat the stuff, the only other option was a jacket potato with cheese. And hopefully they could “rustle up some beans too if chef didn’t mind”! First world problems, eh?  But I mustn’t grumble.  It was still better than being on a mixed ward, and not having to listen to other patients peeing/snoring/farting/howling was a blessing.  And I’m sure those patients would have felt the same.

Which brings me on to bed pans. How bloody awful are those contraptions??!!  For a start, it seems to be a one size fits all, which is fine if you don’t have a humungous backside. Mine was pretty huge to begin with but the added addition of swelling and a pressure dressing practically doubled it’s girth.  Plus it’s made of cardboard! CARDBOARD!!  I mean it’s not know for it’s absorption qualities is it!  Nor it’s comfort. Well the first day wasn’t so bad.  I was numb and fairly dehydrated.  Day two was a different story altogether.  I’d been put on a drip as my blood pressure was rather low so when I asked for the pan again – well let’s just say I wasn’t dehydrated or quite so numb. In fact, let’s just say I was totally off target.  The nurse was very sweet and said it was perfectly normal for accidents to happen.  Well not for me it isn’t, love!  The shame of sitting in your own piddle – three times in one day – will live with me for a while!  It took an age to strip me and the bed, clean it up and put me and the bed back together again.  She smiled throughout the whole half hour debacle, chatting away, whilst I – a grown woman of advancing years – sat there wrapped in a towel of shame, smelling like a tramp!  I’ve since googled bed pans.  There are far more ergonomic ones out there which look a lot more sturdy, comfortable and able to hold a few more pints.  Maybe I had the cheaper NHS version.

dd8094ddcc92bb1053671334121ebdd7

I THINK THE NURSE ON THE FAR RIGHT WAS THE ONE LUMBERED WITH CLEARING UP MY LITTLE ACCIDENT

Fortunately they had me up walking pretty quickly so I could get to use the toilet.  And by day three, I was on crutches walking up and down the corridor in my attractive hospital gown, all open at the back for the world to see.  But I didn’t care. What could be more shameful than pissing yourself.  Three times!  My dignity went years ago.  Along with non-disposable, ergonomically-shaped bed pans it seems.

ec1d3b07227aa72eef5534059e8ebaee_total-hip-replacement-clip-art-clipart-free-download-hip-replacement-clipart_450-450

I DIDN’T HAVE THE HORN!

And on day four, they sent me home, complete with crutches and complimentary raised toilet seat, saying if my leg falls off, just go straight to A&E and they’ll pop it back on.  So long as I don’t mind waiting a few days.  So here I am, selfishly wishing the days away, knowing that time is a great healer and codeine is the best invention in the whole world. Meanwhile, Mr H is embracing nursing/cooking/cleaning duties which involves a fair amount of arse-wiping, stocking-applying, pillow-adjusting and crutch-holding.  Sadly not the type he’d prefer. But he’s doing a sterling job.

For a bloke.  Who snores.

x

 

 

Hair Today …

Hairdressers are rather like husbands.  For the first few years they do exactly what they want and you always feel good afterwards.  Then they get a bit lazy and complacent and suddenly you don’t feel so special any more.  So when that happens, it’s time to start the nightmare search for a new one.  So where do you start?  Is there a Tinder for hairdressers?  Hinder, maybe?  And how do you tell the incumbent that you’re moving on to a younger, trendier salon?  It’s not you, it’s me? And if you don’t tell them, you end up trying to avoid the area for fear of bumping into them sporting a new ‘do’.   It’s a huge dilemma – one I’ve encountered on many occasions over the years.  I knew the false beard would come in handy one day.

There isn’t a high street in the UK now that doesn’t have at least 2 or 3 salons peddling their hairs. It’s an industry that has grown steadily over the years and currently sees no sign of declining.  It was sometime around the end of the 1800s when we slowly started to see the transition from men only barbershops to salons across the civilised world.  In those early days, wealthy women were having their hair styled by their servants.  All a bit Downton Abbey.  The rest of the classes probably just used some carbolic soap and some rusty shears.

The roaring 20s saw almost 25,000 hair salons open in the US. From the 1900s to 20s, bobby pins, hair dryers, perms and hair colour became more and more popular. It was the age of Hollywood movie stars, Jazz and Coco Chanel.  Everyone wanted to look like their idols!  By the 40’s and 50’s, beauty salons became the go-to-place for the housewife to escape from their mundane lives, get pampered and indulge in gossip. Gradually, the hairdressing salon became affordable to the masses and not just the upper classes, eventually combining other beauty services to pamper and preen it’s clientele.

Wartime_Hair_Dresser-_the_work_of_Steiner's_Salon,_Grosvenor_Street,_London,_England,_UK,_1944_D18212

“SO WHERE ARE YOU GOING FOR YOUR HOLIDAYS THIS YEAR?  BUTLINS?  OOH POSH!”

Nowadays, our high streets are awash with them.  Some part of a chain, others with quirky fascias such as ‘Hairport’, ‘A Cut Above’ and my personal East London favourite, ‘Jack the Clipper’.  But how on earth do you choose a good one?  Today it’s easier with social media, reviews and online recommendations but what’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the hairy old gander.  My own personal start point is that, if the hairdresser has bad hair, quite frankly I don’t want them anywhere near mine.  They are basically a walking advert for their profession.  Like I don’t want a dentist with bad teeth or a doctor with weeping sores.  I’m also rather seduced by a cool interior.  1970’s pictures on the wall, office furniture or rubbish towels are also a bit of a sign of apathy. Not always indicative but first impressions etc.  I also like hairdressers to be honest.  If it won’t suit, then please have the decency to tell me.  A stark reminder never to show them a picture of a poodle ever again!

witch hairdresser cartoon

So on a whim, I booked into a trendy Shoreditch salon for a cut and blow. I’d read the reviews, scoured the website and gallery and wandered past on more than one occasion. I could even book online which shows both innovation on their part and total laziness on my part. Tick!  Nothing worse than booking over the phone to a fairly dopey receptionist who gets just about every part of the booking wrong.  Most annoying to find out you’re booked in next Tuesday with Cilla for a perm when you’d asked for a Saturday appointment with Donna for highlights!  That’s happened!  Anyway, I was politely greeted,  ‘gowned up’ by a nice young man and promptly offered a cocktail.  It was after 6pm so why not!  Who doesn’t love a Espresso Martini full of hair!  Anyway, a chat with the Senior Stylist and a rather nice (and faintly disturbing for various reasons) wash and head massage from that nice young man, I was set about with sprays and scissors.  Oh and another Espresso Martini or 3.  Rude not to!  They were friendly, they’ve got dogs, alcohol and nice towels.  By the end I was hair cut, half cut and £65 out of pocket!  But you get what you pay for and I’d definitely go back.

 

Probably when I’ve won the lottery!

x

Back with a vest on!

Well hello there.  It’s been a while, I know.  A lot has happened since I last dragged my arthritic hip to this site.  Some of it hilarious and interesting (none of which I can remember) and some of it pretty tough.  Dad had a massive stroke which has left him with a severe loss of mobility and has pretty much changed all our lives.  And when something like that happens, everything else kind of takes a back seat.  He had a bumpy ride too – a victim of a failing hospital and obvious cuts in the NHS resulted in less than satisfactory care.  But with a lot of love and support from us lot, and all credit to the amazing doctors and nurses battling against the odds, he’s made great progress.  He gets a little confused with time and process but on the whole, he’s doing well.  So while quite a lot has changed for him, I’m sorry to have to tell you that, despite a huge bump on the head, he is still a Spurs supporter.

12928251_10154154794118825_7247132131461746527_n

CELEBRATING DAD’S 80TH BIRTHDAY AT DUXFORD AIRFIELD

But let’s keep this light-hearted.  I’ve missed writing.  I’ve missed ranting and moaning. And I’ve missed you lot.  All 3 of you!  So it’s time to relaunch this little indulgence of mine with a few more bells and whistles.  I’ve migrated to WordPress!  Get me!  I don’t even know what that means! Plus there’ll be Instagram and most probably Facebook and Twitter too in the future.  And new for 2017, mixed in with my musings, will be some reviews of wherever my fight against ageing, my quest for retirement and my pursuit of happiness takes me. Basically it’s an excuse to go and have facials and massages and eat in poncy restaurants.  I’ve even joined Slimming World.  That’s a whole new post in itself which I’ll save for another day.

But Spring is in the air.  I’ve joined the gym (again) ahead of the hip operation (end of April) in the hope of getting into some sort of decent shape before my leg is severed!  On the plus side, I suppose the crutches will do wonders for my bingo wings.  The plan being that by the time summer is in full swing, I’ll be fit, healthy and looking fab-u-lous in those daisy dukes and skimpy vests.  The reality is, is that I probably won’t be chucking my Primark cover-ups out any time soon.

Start diet today

CAN I JUST POINT OUT THAT THESE ARE CATEGORICALLY NOT MY FEET!

So with renewed vigour and a spring in my limp, I shall be back again soon with my first review of having my haircut at an extortionately expensive Shoreditch hair salon followed by a luxurious facial that promises a fusion of plants and diamonds to stimulates cell renewal and prolong the youth of the skin with a new lease of life.  And after that  I shall probably just about be able to afford a Tesco meal deal!

x

Losing it!

According to The Wall Street Journal, the average person misplaces up to nine items a day.  And one-third of respondents in a poll said they spend an average of 15 minutes each day searching for items such as mobiles, keys and paperwork.  I beg to differ.  I think it’s more like 60 minutes, maybe 120.  Well, it certainly is in our house.  For want of rolling out a familiar cliche, if I had a pound for every minute one of us has spent searching for something, I’d have around £2100.  And that’s just September!

Apparently, our genes are at least partially to blame, experts say. Stress, fatigue and multitasking can exacerbate our propensity to make such errors. Such lapses can also be linked to more serious conditions like depression and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders.  More often than not, at No 1,  it has something to do with alcohol and the resulting fuggy, blurry, morning after which has the ability to wipe one’s memory.  I’m not referring to me, of course.  It never gets that bad, mainly because my capacity for alcohol now doesn’t extend beyond a small Tia Maria and coke!  Mr H, though, has kindly taken over my capacity.  In fact he’s embraced it with great gusto and enthusiasm.

So last weekend was a perfect example of this genetic phenomenon.  I had tickets to the festival for the over 50’s, (or Radio 2 in the Park as it’s more commonly known).  We got there eventually but only after a monumental hunt for Mr H’s wallet.   Clearly it wasn’t in it’s usual place – his pocket or bedside table.  Neither was it in it’s unusual places – down the side of sofa, in the kitchen or in the car.  So then mild panic set in and the task of trying to remember where the friggin hell it was when you’re horribly hungover began.  Normally, the act of physically and mentally retracing your steps when looking for lost objects can work. “The more you can make your brain act like the way it was when you lay down that original memory trace,” the more successful you will be”, says Kenneth Norman, a psychology professor at Princeton University.  But trying to do that when you can’t remember your own name is bloody impossible.

Finally, we came to the conclusion that it had probably been left on the counter of the Happy Cockroach, the Thai takeaway where, due to a lack of inspiration, we ended up getting our evening meal.  And as they didn’t open til 5pm, it looks like our elderly rock fest would be somewhat hampered by lack of funds.  Pity I didn’t tell him to look in his shoe.  Because that’s where the bloody thing was!  I mean, who on earth puts their wallet in their shoes!  Mr H does.  Of course.  He remembers.  He put it there for safekeeping.  Who on earth thinks, “I know,  I won’t leave it in my jeans or put it on the bedside cabinet as I usually do.  I’ll put it in my shoe for safekeeping!  Where I’ll never look.  Until I need to put them on.  And then I won’t be able to get them on because they’ll be something in it.  Oh. My wallet”!

This, to be fair, isn’t unusual.  It’s just another in a long list, which has yet to be topped by finding a lost mobile phone in a bag with the bread rolls in the freezer compartment of the fridge.  However, the older we get, the more things we need and therefore there’s more things to remember not to lose.  Glasses – 2 pairs each plus spares, tablets – which has resulted in a whole new shelf creation housing a plethora of medication required to keep us functioning, various limb supports, spare keys, spare spare keys.  I’m seriously thinking of never planning to book up to go anywhere ever again.  There’s so many things to remember, that by the time we’ve applied/found everything, it’s hardly worth leaving the house.  At least then I can have a couple of large Amarettos and not worry about losing the kids, the car or forgotten to take something to stop something else dropping off.  And Mr H can down a few bottles of Marston’s Grumpy Old Fucker, safe in the knowledge that it doesn’t matter if we’ve lost something because we’re not going anywhere anyway.

I just hope that the we don’t acquire any thing else to remember not to lose.  I’m running out of places to look.  And I’m running out of shelves to put things.  At a push, I suppose I could always put whatever it is on the shoe rack.

Not that there’s any shoes on it.

They’re in the dishwasher.

Of course.

Getting On.

“I SAID HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED VARIFOCALS, MRS H??” The nice lady in Specsavers said to me for the third time, clearly becoming irritated.  She glanced up at the poster behind her. “AND DID YOU KNOW WE ALSO DO HEARING TESTS??”  I didn’t know, actually.  I’d been staring blankly at her for several minutes as she was blathering on and I could have sworn she said “My goodness, you look just like Angelina Jolie”, or “I can’t believe you’re over 40”.  But obviously she didn’t.  And varifocals?  Aren’t they for the over 80’s?  That’s just one of those words I tend to associate with the elderly, along with dentures, boiled sweets and surgical stockings.  Actually my dad swears by them (the varifocals, not the stockings).  But then again, my Dad is 78. And I’m nowhere near that.  No.  Most defnitely nowhere near it at all.

She finally convinced me to give them a go.  In fact, she also offered me a free pair and a contact lens trial.  I was totally and optically overwhelmed.  I’m sure she was starting to feel sorry for me. I went in there thinking I was getting a new pair of reading glasses, then suddenly I’m classed as elderly, practically blind and hard of hearing. Ah what the hell.  I can move with the times.  I’m up for the challenge of radical eyewear.  I’ve never fancied poking myself in the eyes on a daily basis and if I had a pound for every time I’d lost my reading/distance/spare/sunglasses, I’d have approximately £59.  They’ve taken getting used to I can tell you.  I was like a nodding dog for weeks.  People thought I was constantly agreeing with them. Which invariably I wasn’t.  I had a stiff neck too.  But I’m getting used to them.  In fact they look quite stylish.  And now I only have one pair to lose instead of 4.  Which is one less thing to worry about when you can’t hear the juggernaut!

Not Angelina Jolie!
They also came in handy when I recently had to go and see the specialist about my hip.  It had been niggling ever since I’d danced like a large orange twat at my 80’s themed birthday party dressed as a shit Madonna (the over-rated ageing singer, not Jesus’ mother – that would have been a totally different night altogether!).  I was also wearing inappropriate footwear for my age but gargantuan amounts of Jagermeisters seemed to numb the pain. The next day I couldn’t walk. I’d partied like it was 1983 and now I was walking like I was 83! Sparing you the long boring bit of copious visits to the GP, I eventually got a referral to a big knob, got x-rayed and there I am, suddenly staring at my misshapen pelvis, from a distance, clear as anything.  I could have sworn he said “You’ve got fantastic legs”.  What he actually said was “You’ve got osteoarthritis.  You need a hip replacement. I reckon you’ve got about two years”.  Crikey.  I really need that hearing test.
Large orange twat
I was too speechless to ask whether 2 years was how long I had left til the replacement or whether he’d noticed that I was wearing varifocals, decided I must be at least 80 and thought I might as well just be put down. I hope not.  I’ve just spent a small fortune on new fricking glasses!  But maybe it’s not such a bad thing.  Maybe I can choose my new hip.  Maybe I can ask for a thinner one. Like Angelina Jolie’s?  
Barley sugar, anyone?

A letter to the big man!

Dear God

How are you?  Good?  Splendid!  I know, I know, I don’t write, I don’t phone, I don’t pop round for a slug of wine and a wafer like I used to before I got slung out of the Girl Guides for throwing eggs at choir boys and calling The Captain of 1st Wanstead a fat Myra Hindley!  And I am still feeling bit guilty about that incident during Midnight Mass in 1978.  I don’t condone under-age drinking either but alcohol does funny thing to a young girl guide’s brain. I’m pretty sure none of the dry martini and lemonade I threw up would have stained the kneelers, though.  And the crib did look lovely, even though we had a fit of the giggles because we thought the baby looked like Kojak.  I know I didn’t do myself any favours as a bell ringer.  Who’d have thought front-fastening bras could cause distress to my fellow campanologists. But I know it’s no excuse for not staying in touch. I don’t suppose you’re on Facebook?  Or Skype?  No, I thought not. Time just flies, doesn’t it.  And there’s always something else to do. You know how it is.  That pile of washing to do.  That bin to go out.  Those socks to darn.  Not that I’ve suddenly turned into a 50’s housewife.  It’s just better than saying I’ve probably over-done it on the Tia Maria and HRT.

Shame I got expelled.  That beret was rather flattering.

Anyway, talking of time, well that’s really what I wanted to talk to you about.  Is there anything you can do about slowing it down a bit?   I feel like life has become one of those comedy time-lapse calendars.  I’m sure I’ve only just left school.  And now this year’s birthday has come round much quicker than expected and I’m somewhat unprepared emotionally.  Yes it’s that birthday.  The one with the big numbers in it that you used to think was really old when you were a child! I know there’s the obvious way of staving it off but I’m not quite ready for a face-to-face yet.  For a start, I’m dreading those stairs.  My knees are ruined.  Years of  trying to attempt step classes and wearing unsuitable footwear, no doubt! And white so doesn’t suit me unless I’ve got a tan.  And don’t even think about getting me to learn the harp.  I may be a grade 8 cellist (with merit) but that was only 4 strings!!  Old dog, new tricks, etc.

You see, I’ve still got some unfinished business here.  I’d like to see my kids get married and have children.  And then I’d like to go round to their house, pretend I’m deaf, leave my knickers on their bathroom floor and at least 3 pairs of shoes positioned to cause maximum injury. It would be a shame for them to miss out on that!  Before they have me institutionalised!

 I’d also like to see a bit more of the world that doesn’t start and end with 2 hours on an easyjet flight with the obligatory screaming baby and the complimentary tea/coffee (and I don’t mean either/or.  I can’t often tell which one it is).  But there’s countries I’d love to visit and seas I’d like to sail.  I want to sit on remote beaches and explore interesting cities.  I’m not looking to do anything overly stressful. I don’t want to go backpacking across India or paddle a canoe to reach remote Amazonian tribes (mainly because they never seem to wear any clothes and I never know where to look.  Some of those poor women really do need a good supportive bra).  Plus there’s nowhere to plug in a hairdryer.  Neither do I particularly want to hang out with Polar bears and penguins. I’ve been ski-ing and I couldn’t be doing with an endless runny nose and unflattering outerwear.  I just want some time to look out of the window of my 5 star hotel and wonder at the world.  I mean, if you went to the bother of creating it, I think the least I should do is have a look round.  I just seem to have run out of time.  Again!

Talking of time, I must dash.  These nails won’t paint themselves you know.  But maybe have a think. And if you do get any bright ideas – tweet me?

No Sex Please I’m Over 40

I’m wondering at what point did I stop waking up in the morning thinking ‘Mmmm, sex!!’ and start thinking ‘Mmmm, bins?’  At what point did I stop wanting to rip all his clothes off and start telling him to put on a vest!!  Or an extra jumper.  Or a balaclava!  OK this is just my humble grumblings but I pretty sure, somewhere been giving birth and 40, somebody stole
my sex drive!  And suddenly it’s all  become such a hassle. Spontaneity is just a long word.  Lust is lost.  And passion is just a type of exotic fruit. And the seeds get stuck in your teeth!


So, rather than succumbing to this Miss Jean Brodie situation, I thought I’d try and rekindle the spontaneity, lust and passion that has gradually waned over the years and try and unearth that sex kitten I one was.  Surely it’s not gone forever.  Surely there’s a way to put the xxxx  back into sex?  And in such situations, there really is only one place to start. 
Cosmopolitan’s Top 10 Tips For An Amazing Sex Life.

1. Randy Rub-a-Dub-Dub
Before you make love, take a bath together. Prepare the bathroom 

beautifully beforehand with fluffy towels and candles. Then put two 
drops of patchouli oil, three drops of sandalwood oil, and three drops 
of lavender oil into your bathwater. 


You see the trouble with this one is that, we’ve got a bit of a water problem 
upstairs.  So to get a nice hot bath, you need to boil kettles and pans.  
So by the time I’ve done all that, the candles would have gone out and the 
oil will be floating to the top and will look like some sort of failed soup.  And 
he’ll have fallen asleep in the chair by then.  Next …..


2. Pocketful of Pleasure
When he’s least expecting it, tell your man you need some change. 

Then stick your hand in his pocket and start rubbing his penis through 
the fabric, pretending that you’re really digging around for that coinage 
you need.

Unfortunately, I actually do need some change.  For the Tesco’s trolley.  
And anyway, as he’s got little legs, the pocket tends to be nearer his knees.  
Since when was knee-prodding erotic? Guess that’s not going to work either.

3. Heavenly Heartbeat
To feel more connected in bed, tune into each other’s heart rate. 
Lay your hand on his chest, and have him do the same. You might 
be surprised how easily you can become synchronized.  


Potentially dangerous.  You see he has mild hypertension and a slightly 
higher heart rate so I could end up out of breath without doing anything. 
I might as well do the hoovering!!!


4. Putting on the Ritz
Try re-creating that away-from-home atmosphere in your own bedroom. 

First, purge your room of any family photos or office equipment. Then 
buy sheets with the highest threads-per-inch count you can find 
which feel super silky to the touch without the cheesiness of satin. 
Invest in some thick, fluffy robes to lounge around in. And for the 
ultimate hotel-style indulgence, set up a tray of champagne and finger 
foods to savor after you make love

Well I recently bought a decent fitted sheet in Matalan.  And some really
 nice tea towels. Buggered if I’m buying new fluffy robes.  The egg-stained 
West Ham I bought him two Christmases ago washes up a treat.  Mind 
you, I’m not a big fan of champagne.  Last time I had one too many, I was 
so ill, I ended up in A&E.  It wasn’t entirely my fault.  I think the canapes 
were off.  And all this aside, I’ve roaming children who have a habit of 
wandering in our room to steal towels, face wipes and money at any time
 – day or night.  I’d hate for them to stumble upon a middle aged couple,
 wrestling in a threadbare robe, covered in mini sausage rolls.  Let’s move on.


5. Toy with Him
Stock up on some sex toys. Velvet-lined handcuffs can be exciting, 

and they don’t hurt like the metal ones do. Silk blindfolds build a 
sense of suspense — which can be really titillating. And you can 
never go wrong with a vibrator. 

Now this sounds all well and good, but he’ll need his glasses to tie any 
thing, or unlock anything.  He’s got 7 pairs. Can’t find any of them.  By the 
time he finds them, the blood will have probably been cut off and I’d be in 
serious danger of losing both hands.  Anyway, I’m no fan of toys.  I had a
vibrator once.  Due to lack of use, the battery leaked so I threw it away. 
The following morning it was on the pavement as some kindly fox had 
decided to drag my bin bag across the drive and scatter the contents for 
all to see.  I’m not sure what was more embarrassing.  The leaky vibrator 
or the empty family KFC bucket.



6. Bare Boogie
You don’t have to have a model-perfect body to have maximum fun 

in the bedroom. Look at yourself naked in a full-length mirror for 
five minutes a day and focus on what you love about your body. 
If this feels awkward, turn on some music and dance naked with 
your mirror image. By getting used to your unique shape, you’ll 
gain confidence that will naturally spill over into your sex life 
and make you twice as enticing to your guy. 

OK so I tried this.  And  you know what?  There is NOTHING I love about 

my body.  I’m grateful that’s it’s all there and it is in good working order, 
but there’s far too much of it.  Most of it shouldn’t even be there.  
Dancing naked with my mirror image would be like a night out at a disco 
with Dawn French.  And there’s every chance aforementioned children 
will barge in.  Seeing their mother boogie-ing butt-naked to Saturday 
Night Fever might well see them opting for voluntary adoption!

7. Sultry Slo-Mo
To surprise him and build anticipation, try doing the same things 

you always do in the bedroom, but slow down to one-fourth of 
your normal speed. You and your guy will have time to really bond.

This will just result in one of us nodding off.  Plus I’ll start noticing the 
dust on the skirting board, or the light fitting.  Mind you, I suppose I 
could finish that book …..

 
8. Finger-Food Foreplay
Have a romantic dinner without utensils so you can feed each 

other. There’s something sensual about placing food in your 
partner’s mouth. It’s such fun — especially when you serve 
stuff that’s not supposed to be eaten with your hands, like s
alads or pasta. After a meal like this, serve yourself for dessert. 

What’s erotic about this?  OK, strawberries and cream but salads 

and pasta?  Shovelling handfuls of spag bol and lettuce into his 
gob does not sound like fun to me.  It’s going to be messy and guess 
who’ll have to clear it all up and try and get the tomato stains off the 
cream tablecloth!  Yes me!  Give it a few years, I’ll probably have to 
spoon feed him anyway.  So I’ll be putting that off for as long as possible!  


9. The next time you go out with your man, wear your sexiest outfit. 
Go ahead — flirt with strangers and turn some heads. Tease. 
Once you return home from your diva-date, you won’t be able t
o keep your hands off each other

I had a bad experience flirting with a stranger.  It was at a friend’s wedding 
reception. Turns out he was the groom.  Next?


10. Grab and Go
If you’re turned on at an inopportune time, act on your feelings. 

Although it feels a little bit naughty, a quickie will help you stay 
faithful.  Quickies allow you to experience all of the having-an-affair 
thrill with none of the cheating. 

Not a good idea. After any physical exertion, I need to sleep.  And 

there’s too much preparation to be done before bed.  He’s got a selection 
of tablets and piles and I have an epic skin care regime. It’s not unheard 
of that, by the time I’ve applied the final layers of anti ageing retinol plus 
snake serum lifting gel and the overnight hand moisturiser mitts, the alarm’s 
gone off!  Plus, due to various snoring and breathing malfunctions, he 
wears a gum shield and I wear a nose strip.  It’s like Joe Bugner 
trying to shag a sychronised swimmer.  



Hey ho.  I guess those bins won’t put themselves out.



 

Flying Time, Dodgy Hairstyles, Football Shirts and Queenie

Fuck me!  It’s 5 past June!  How did that happen?  4 months since I last wrote about all those things in life that just make my wrinkles a little deeper and my hair a little greyer.  For someone who lists ‘writing about all those things in life that just make my wrinkles a little deeper and my hair a little greyer’ as their number one hobby (aside from cougar dating websites and bothering famous people on Twitter), it’s a pretty poor show.  So stand by for a moan up of epic proportions – which should take us all nicely though to October.

Bad Heir Day

Talking of hair, why is mine so crap?  I don’t think, in the 40-something years I’ve been on this planet, have I ever looked in the mirror and thought – WOW, you’re hair looks fab!  I’ve spent fortunes having it highlighted, tinted, permed, back combed, front combed, and chopped by allsorts of mincing crimpers.  I’ve paid through the nose and out my backside.  And still it’s fine, flat and mousey brown.  Oh and get a bit of heat or wind on it and bingo!  I look like I’m wearing a shit brown helmet.  I could have bought a small principality with the cash I’ve spent trying to look like a Pantene ad. 

I suppose I should be grateful that I’ve got some.  Even though I do resemble a rubbish Lego woman!

Lovely hair
Me
You Will Definitely Walk Alone!
I have just mentioned to Mr H that if he takes his West Ham football shirt on holiday, I shall divorce him.  Or kill him.  Whichever is less messy.  I’m not averse to chaps supporting their teams, but nothing screams I’M FUCKING BRITISH, BURNT AND PROBABLY DRUNK abroad more than a football shirt.  It’s enough that us brits fail miserably to ‘blend in’ abroad by wearing unflattering clothing over our scorched bodies but the sight of a fat bloke in a Man United shirt just seems to spell trouble.  It’s highly likely he’ll have an equally lardy lady in tow in ill-fitting faux-linen trousers and couple of unruly kids called Britney and Jordan.

I’ve never seen an hunky Italian on holiday in an Inter Milan shirt.  Or a sexy Senor sipping his San Miguel whilst wearing a Real Madrid top.  Nope, it’s just us lot.  In our British uniform.  Eating bacon and eggs for breakfast and complaining about the weather.  So if Mr H thinks he’s going to inadvertently portray me as a flabby Primark-wearing Northern doris, then quite frankly, he’ll be forever blowing bubbles out of his arse!!

Not Mr H
Definitely not me.  I’m blonder.
Jubliee Schmoobilee
I’m wondering.  Did the Queen really enjoy the Jubilee?  Did she really care that Gary Barlow had been round the world just to write her a song?  Did she honestly want to spend 4 hours on a boat in the freezing cold, waving at the prolls, whilst her poor hubby was clearly busting for a pee so much that he ended up eating hospital food?  Did she really want to listen to Jessie J and Ed Sheeran?  Can’t imagine they’re high on one’s list of latest downloads.  I bet all she really wanted to do was spend a few days on the sofa, with a couple of swan sandwiches, G&T in hand, watching The Queen on a loop.
But despite her critics, and trust me I’m no bunting-hanging, flag-waving loon, 60 years for a woman in the same job surely deserves to be celebrated. OK she’s not exactly performing brain surgery, or defusing atomic weapons, but someone’s got to fly round the world, collecting bouquets from eager children clearly forced into it or dining with militant heads of state prior to them nuking Greenland.  And for that she should be honoured.
What bugs me though it that suddenly, everything and everyone becomes British.  Tesco brings out a limited edition ‘British’ sandwich.  You can’t fart for tripping over some sort of red, white and blue paraphenalia and now look at us – we’re all patriotic and blubbing at Kate’s lovely hat. 
But you have to admire the British spirit.  We stood in the rain, eating rain drenched sausages and watching the jazz band electrocute themselves as the water seeped into their generator.  But they played on, through scorched fingers.  No other country would.  We’re unique like that.  And I’m sure, under that permanently pissed off face, she was actually rather chuffed we’d all bothered!
A typically British Sandwich


No you can’t have a knighthood Mr Barlow!!