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......'protecting my lifestyle.' The man with the square jaw and chiselled cheekbones in a Saturday newspaper sparked off the terror. He looked so 'together,' with his 'not too loud' tie, his well cut suit, and carefully clasped fingers. There wasn't a rancid sandwich, baby sick or a cat hair in sight.
TIFFANY'S OR TK MAXX?
He's right though. Clearly; 'putting yourself in a aposition of financial independence gives you choices.' Couldn't agree more. I imagine he has plenty of them. He can't sleep because they're all circulating in his carefully coiffed head. It must be so tough. 'Should my Porsche have a leather interior? Do I need that private plane, or should I economise and go first class? And what about the poodle? OH NO! Last year's collar is SO vulgar, we must take him 'up TK MAXX.' TK MAXX? No, that was one of my lifestyle decisions, oops.
THE 'CARER PLUS' OPTION REALLY HIKES UP HEALTH INSURANCE..
I've got car insurance, because I have to. I had health insurance, but I had too many exclusions; (in the end no school would take me) and once you reach mid life it's like a second mortgage. Someone in the evils department is 'avin a laugh. 'Aha AHAA AH HA HA (theatrical sniggering) not only are you getting older, but you're going to get boils, a funny twist in your fibula (?) and start foaming from every orifice. And you want HEALTH insurance? That'll be a thousand quid a month plus another five hundred if you want the 'carer' option. I'd die now if I were you.
I'd really like 'life's going to be fine, it'll all work out in the end providing you put the rubbish out,' insurance. As if. This illusion of control is just that. A mirage where you put your money in case of a 'rainy day.' The Brits must be the most heavily insured nation in the world, then. My umbrella's up, thank the LORD I've paid this year's premium.
LIFESTYLE CHOICES: I KNOW, MOST OF US HAVE SO MANY......
Lifestyle choices. mmmmm. Eat breakfast, walk to the tube/bus, pitch for and hopefully get work and fix the boiler; (called a man in as the premium for this protection was, well, too premium.) Then I might have a jacket potato and beans later watching Eastenders. So? It's a lifestyle. it may not be exciting, but at least I don't need a bloody financial advisor to help me open the tin.
...thankfully he had a paper towel. It came on in Snappy Snaps. One minute I was designing a colourful photo 'montaaaarrrge' to go on my living room wall, the next I was sat on the floor by the artsy computer with sweat pouring off my face. The 'nice boss man' gave me three large bits of industrial sized kitchen roll. I swear there was an image of a happy family on one of them, and I wiped my face like I was cleaning the sink.
DON'T YOU DARE SWIPE MY WIPE
'My wife had it awful;' nice boss volunteered. 'Worse than you, she would have 5 showers a day.' I laughed weakly and tried to concentrate on the colour purple. Between you and me, I was overheating because I'd come in from a freezing street, into what felt like a greenhouse. I mean, those MACHINES, they're ultra warm aren't they? I could swear that two other people (PEOPLE not women) were looking at me with envy and clearly wanted to swipe my wipe.
HORMONES WELL BELOW 0.5 PERCENT IN THE HALIFAX
Truthfully, I am probably 'there,' at the mid life fork in the road. My hormones have gone left, and I'm trying to keep things right where they are or were. Later, In the Halifax, a kind elderly woman regaled me with tales of how the menopausal monster had caught her friends unawares. I looked longingly at the mortgage offers. If my hormones were an interest rate they'd be well below the Bank of England base. If only they could stay fixed at 5.99 percent. By the time I got to see the 25 year old financial advisor I was ready to lie down in A and E. (NB - even that's disappearing, see yesterday's post.)
CAT SHOWS NO COMPASSION...
A darkened room would have been fine, but I made do with the chair and strip lighting. In the privacy of my own home I whipped off my damp T shirt, and lay down on the sofa with the cat collapsed on top of my stomach. She looked at me with green eyed knowing wisdom as if to imply I had got my come uppance. She's 13, which is 91 in cat years. Mid life? She's spayed and had her hormone withdrawal as a 'mature?' kitten. Frankly she's rather too smug now. I guess what goes around comes around.
...'and if you love MEEEE you'll save our A and EEEEEEE.' And she WAS wearing a rose. 'I've been standin' here for 3 hours and I'm not givin' up. My grandson's given me these biscuits to keep me goin'.' (Opens polythene bag - contains chocolate fngers and a half eaten cake.)
We talked a bit, and I'm going to the demo. The 'powers that be,' say the demonstrators, want to get rid of Charing Cross hospital's A and E and remove 100's of beds. The demo's this Saturday, next to the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith. That's West London if you're not familiar with the names and places. There were shoppers queuing up to speak to her and her fellow campaigners. I haven't seen people this motivated for years. A real person, screaming in the street (and no-one minded) about a real passion that's shared by so many.
She'll still be there now: 'your Valentine for MEEEEEE, save our A and EEEEEEEEE.....
...you're not (they'll have just forgotten) - here's one, from me, to you, in advance. By the way, if you eat out that night - it's a bloody rip off - but when you're in love......
I am praying I don't get one from my dad or the dog. 'All my lovin'...I will give to yoooooooo .............................(Sung in a flat key...)
..that is 'PAUSE FOR THOUGHT.' You'll find me on Radio 2 'thinking out loud' for 2 minutes. Shake the duvet and you'll miss it.
Saturday the 9th: ...Why washing the car (even if it does smell of fags, and I don't smoke..now) really doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.
Sunday the 10th: .... 'our lines are currently very busy, however, you are important to us, someone will be with you very shortly.' Waiting. I'm not great at it, are you?
I've talked to myself in my head all my life. I always assumed that other people would understand me. My brain created a sentence, and I just forgot to say it. If other people didn't get my gist, then clearly they weren't listening properly.
THINKING (AND TALKING) OUTSIDE OF THE RYMAN'S PLASTIC BOX...
This has now moved a stage further on; to talking out loud when I am on my own. I forget to switch this skill off (for skill is what it is, as the conversation has to be interesting: well interesting to me) when with other people. This can cause problems. I'm in Rymans buying some of those small plastic boxes, useful for plasters, paper clips and tweezers. I start a conversation, (with myself.) 'I wonder if I should get another box for tampons? Trouble is they're see through; and you're meant to be discreet about sanitary protection.
...(I continue) You know I hate all that let's pretend it doesn't happen and put anything wimmin like in a white paper bag with a smiling Victorian lady in petticoats on the front. Do you remember those? I do. You can still find those bags in in motorway service stations. I should think they're collectors items by now....'
(Older man browsing pencils, looks at me suspiciously....) I smile and attempt to appear normal. 'No...no I'm not talking TO the plastic boxes...(false hahaha laugh) It helps if I talk things through with myself. Like being on a mobile in the street, except there's no earpiece. That red one's nice.' He moves on to A4 paper.
TALKING OUT LOUD TOURETTES
I can't be the only person who does this, can I? I have to be careful though, as the habit gets particularly noticeable in loud enivronments. Shouting 'SHOULD IT BE MATURE OR MILD CHEDDAR,' in Tesco, frightens small children, and OAP's, so I'm trying to limit the talking out loud tourettes to my flat and car. My lip has never been bitten (by me) so hard. It's like going on a 'noiseless diet.' Tomorrow though, I've got a job in central London, so I'm going to sound binge on the Tube.
.... the man who fought my 'Trojan' on the last machine. The screen then went red, flashed frantically and then shut down. I was NOT prepared to log out of my own life and breakdown trying to 'configure' my computer.
CILLA CALLS IT 'WEE-FEE.....'
I like technology. I don't call Wifi 'Wee Fee.' That was Cilla Black on room 101. It HAS improved my life, and it DOES make working, sorting, communicating and shopping, easier. BUT why is it, that any, I am sure relatively simple task to you, is described as 'very straightforward.'
Windows 8? So so EASY, once you get the hang of it. If you can edit cartoons, you can use this, and you'll only break into a mild sweat. Getting back on AOL? 'No problem. That's if you've got half a day to speak to someone who's trying really hard to be nice in a far flung country. Need to download PDF? A doddle. They even throw in a whole of load of 'extras,' you don't need. George Clooney's phone number is not amongst them.
FIBRE OPTIC FAIRIES...
So, Dimitri came by and 'fixed' it. It wasn't broken. I just didn't have the magic touch to get all systems go. I'm still nervous about moving the cursor. Pictures/icons/images zoooooom onto the screen like fibre optic fairies. How do I know I haven't bought a 12 piece dinner set by a mistake? Or logged on to a dating website for the 'midlife' woman?
I just trust the hard drive and hope for the best. Isn't that all any of us can do?
...I thought we were trying to move away from stereotypes. Clearly not. You'll find this 'hilarious' woman hating poster on the tube/subway in London. I haven't clocked a male equivalent. Either way, what century are we in? Even Jane Austen's Lizzie, 200 years' on from the publication of P and P (not postage and packing, obviously) was not classified by her critics as a 'DIVAGAGA,' 'HIGH STRUNG 99,' and 'COUGAR MOMMA.' Or the 19th century equivalent.
A WOMAN, A BOOKWORM? OH, NO! WE DON'T WANT A FEMALE BOFFIN WITH A BRAIN.......
Admittedly Lizzie was accused (by someone of her OWN sex) of being a 'BOOKWORM;' 'a particularly singular occupation.' So, when it comes to dating, an intelligent woman, who loves to read, and is over 40 is to be avoided. Is the Metro allowed? Only just, but we'd prefer you to be gripped by a kids' comic. Who came up with this 'let's rip the girls apart,' rubbish?
THE TALIBAN'S RECRUITING....
The poster's not funny, it's purile, immature and nasty. The Ad-Man (I do hope it wasn't a woman who created this) must be SO insecure. The Taliban's always looking out for new joiners: I suggest he finds his true vocation there. Please complain. I will.
....I mean I'm pleased, really. I've just turned forty, so we didn't want to hang about. A friend of mine's got married to this bloke, and all he wanted was children. She SAID she did; but now they've got two, they moan all the time. It's not as if they can't afford it; they've got everything but they still keep moaning.'
ME: 'I thought I'd have three kids by now; and 2 labradors, but just didn't happen.' (Pregnant woman: PW) 'I like the sound of the labradors. Perhaps we should have just got a dog. I mean all those BOOKS about breathing, birthing, and what to expect. What if I hate it?' ' (ME) 'I reckon there's a huge thing about women bonding with their baby, you probably will; but if you don't, then you're not crap.'
PW: 'I've got a year off work, so I can go back; but I don't know how I'll feel. I feel like a lump now, though; I mean you can't push it back up can you?' My husband's doing the shopping; I got to the bananas and felt funny.
(PAUSE FOR BREATH) If I could wake up and it'd be say, 6, then that'd be ok. Do you want kids?' (ME) 'Would've loved them, but the clock has well and truly ticked. I reckon I'm just about ready to have a child now. Bit late, sadly.' (PW) 'Sorry, didn't mean to upset you; do you want to swap? You give me the dogs, and I'll give you the baby.'
..you were just too high maintenance with an overwhelming personality. Yet, I loved you SO much. Time heals, though, and I've got a new partner now. Together, we'll continue the journey.
MORE MILES, BUT MORE SMILES
He's done a few more miles on the clock, but still has a bit of ooomph left in him. Frankly, he's going to be so much cheaper to live with. The nice man who introduced us: (Steve, from Bristol Street Motors in Orpington,) gave me a list of your great credentials before I signed on the dotted line.
KEEPING CALM AND CARRYING ON....
You've got experience of life's ups and downs, and when you meet a bump in the road, you know how to deal with it without overheating and losing your cool. You're fun to be with, and have great fashion sense. You accessorize without trying too hard, and I reckon you'll navigate life's obstacles with flair.
IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO MUCH WORSE.....
I'm still sad at letting, what I thought was the love of my life, go, but what could have been an acrimonious split, turned into a civilised separation. Steve, if you get fed up with selling cars, you'd be great at couples counselling.
......I've just been to Havannah. I mixed it up in a bowl, trying not to get it all over the kitchen, and LO! I've got wonderful copper streaks in my (natural, of course) blonde hair. I have been to Havannah in real life, and partied with some Cubans. I don't think they cared about my hair colour; particularly after I passed out trying a cigar.
YOU WANT TO GO TO MIAMI? NOW YOU CAN DO IT ON A SHOESTRING....
.....with 'Florida' (honey.) Or if you fancy 'Capri' (natural light brown,) it's there for the taking. In January, these magic mixtures are the perfect pick-me-up when you're de-icing the car and putting on your third pair of socks because the heating's gone. L'Oreal have NOT paid me for this endorsment. I doubt they would. I got carried away with the copper tones at the back of my head; so it's concentrated just above my neck. I can't see it though, so who who cares.
....HAVE YOU HAD WALKED INTO A DOOR, CLARE?
You've got to be a bit careful when you go blonde, brunette or even pink. Mike, the cameraman, does not mince his words. 'Have you been in an accident? That head wound looks nasty.' I was having a pink moment,trying to get a fairy light look for Christmas.
One word of warning. When you're 'rinsing off,' don't get any reddish dye on the shower curtain. A psycho murder scene in the bathroom, is a little off putting for visitors.
.....just after cosy Countryfile on BBC 1, on snowy Sunday nights. 'Call the Midwife,' and then 'Ripper Street,' back to back: both have screams a plenty. Tonight I was shouting, 'YES to gas n' air,' at the first, and 'can Inspector Reed (Matthew Macfadyen) stop talking in such an urgent way ALL THE TIME.' When he asks for a cup of tea, you feel Armageddon is on its way. Mind you, he had an urgent tone in Pride and Prejudice; I thought that was just the dodgy fitting breeches.
POVERTY AS PORN?
Are these programmes supposed to make us feel better about ourselves, even though we might have lost our job, be living on the minimum wage, or beneath the poverty line in the UK? 'Times are tough, but hey, I could be turning tricks in the East End, or pushing out my 10th kid because the old man won't use a rubber.' Better to be a 21st century voyeur, than a Victorian vagrant eh?
LADIES, FORGET BOTOX, HERE'S A......LOBOTOMY....
The women get all the action. They get their throats cut, are killed for sexual pleasure, (Ripper street, first episode) and if they're really lucky, end up in Bedlam. 'Ladies, .....now for that lobotomy,' says the evil Doc, 'It's just like botox.' Matthew tipped up, thank god, and Lucy, the (great looking) hooker with the heart escaped, with her mind intact. The baddie though, got his high voltage just deserts, dying on a live tube line (he'd helped to build) after being exposed by the lovely Lucy as, 'hell itself.' No, that's the Northern line at the weekend.
MIRANDA'S MOONLIGHTING NOW.....
I can't quite get my head around Miranda delivering a baby. Shouldn't she be breaking out into song whilst popping out the placenta? This week it was a ship birthing. To be completely accurate, a woman on a Swedish ship having her baby. The twist? Her father had lugged her on board to be the crew's sexual helpmate. Result? Her pregnancy. The father? probably a strapping sailor who didn't want to take 'precautions.'
Rape murder and poverty; mmmmmmm. For one minute I thought I was on a bus in India.
....complete with the scantily clad moddddellll on the front of the LP. Don't you just love saying 'LP?' 'LP, LP, LP!' When I'm sitting on my pee proof chair in later years, I'll say to 'the kidz': (if they're kind enough to visit,) 'in my day we had round plastic plates for music.' And their eyes will widen like......round plastic plates. They won't of course. They'll be listening to their iPODS and talking to holograms.
THE POPS 'POUT.'
I don't really remember being offended by the woman on the cover wearing a wet suit with her zip open from her chin to her naval. I just thought she might get cold. Clearly, I was a late developer. She was supposed to be the object of every teenage boy's fantasy; well the ones who didn't have access to their dad's magazines. I would have been impressed though, with the way she'd wrapped her scarf (on the right) and tried it myself with a towel in the bathroom, and then got bored.
AND THE MUSIC...THE MUSIC...!!!!!
If the beleaguered HMV sold this stuff now, they'd have closed before they'd opened. Woolworths was the place to locate the fake takes, and some of them were truly BAD. The 'waaahhhhh ' bit in Crazy Horses (Osmonds, of course) sounded like an alien baby in pain, and it was a relief when David Cassidy's 'Could it Be Forever,' wasn't. But to my teen ears, these LP's were an essential part of my music 'collection.' The REAL thing cost a fortune and would set you back around £1.99, the same as the half a pound of lemon bons bons I was supposed to be too grown up for.
'NOW' REPLACES 'THEN.'
The 'Now' music compilations replaced these plastic pop versions. Because they were/are the real thing they cost more than I could afford. HMV's demise has almost brought a tear to my eyes. It means that this really IS the end of lounging about in the record store in huge flares before you go to Woollies to get your weekly blue eye shadow fix.
..On the night white? It used to be just white. Like everything in the west, the market leads. If it says we 'demand more choice', then choice is what we get. I hate that argument. It's not as if I go to Homebase and stand next to a pile of tins ('egg shell,' since you ask) and roar; 'I DEMAND an egg YOKE, texture.'
SO I WENT FOR MAGNOLIA.....
......simply because I got mesmerised by all the apple, peach, cappaccino, pistachio, rose, triffid white options. I remember Wimpy. That's all there was. As a kid, you could only choose Wimpy, with its encrusted tomato shaped sauce bottle. Made life easier, somehow.
I know it looks as if I am poking my nose, but I am 'keepin' it real.' I've spent all day on my feet, trying to avoid getting 'satin cream' (this was for the doors) on the moth ridden carpet. The bedroom is now creamy/magnolia heaven.
I'LL HOLD YOU TIGHT WHITE
Exhausted, I flopped in front of the telly and tried to watch Kirsten/Kristen Scott Thomas in a film with French subtitles on BBC 4. She was having an affair with a builder. It was his sexy, I'll hold you tight white that did it for her. It got boring, but she does have amazing cheek bones. Facial cheeks, to be clear. It was that sort of film.
Tired now. White spirit put away until next time. Kristen/Kirsten didn't get to do much painting in the film. Not sure where she'd have put the brushes anyway.
CLICK TOP LEFT PAGE 2 FOR EARLIER BLOGS: OUR STORIES: WHY WE GIVE THEM AWAY TO OTHER PEOPLE TO TELL AND WHAT IT COSTS US..
+ CONVERSATIONS IN TESCO: 'LEN'S CHISEL.'
+ TRAVEL LIGHT AND JUNK ALL THAT EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE:
+ PLUS FISCAL CLIFF (RICHARD) MAKES MUSIC WHILE THE BOFFINS MESS WITH OUR MONEY..
ALL ON BLOG PAGE TWO TOP LEFT...
Hi Clare been reading your blog about your new car saying the old vw was high maintenance did you have lots of problems? Only asking as I am thinking about buyi
VW v good, no probs, no breakdowns etc. Servicing expensive - 500, plus replacing water pump every 4 years (they say) another 5 hundred. 3 tyres to replace450
Does talking things thru with yourself count, when you're walking the dog, it's dark, no-one's around. Until; yes, the're on the other side of the road.
When am I appearing in your blog?!!! Reference to your over-sized quasi-intellectual pal who likes cats!!
i can give you a name check anytime - or if i meet you in supermarket, you can be 'conversation in tesco no 4.' Such excitement!
Hi Claire - very entertaining! Good to see you earlier this week really enjoyed the sessions and a big big thank you for sharing yoru expertise with us
.....my pleasure. Now I know all about fish kill.
Like twist right at the end.
11.09 | 00:07
Thank you! Reply only 7 years late!
16.08 | 15:34
thank, you love. Apols for late reply. Clare
30.10 | 07:01
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04.08 | 07:34
I remember watching you perform this! You 'played' with army ranks - wasn't there a Major (Scandal? Disaster? Triumph?) and a Colonel in there? Funny and thought provoking- as ever. X