Category Archives: What the…?

239. Um…

“The thing is, before I retired, I used to rush around on a Sunday trying to get everything done.  But I’m finding now that I say ‘I’ll do this, that and the other tomorrow’ and do something else instead.  Then whatever it was never gets done.  Do you find that?”

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223. Reasons to be Cheerful Part Four…

i) Walking into the Ladies’ Changing Room at the gym to find three giggling girls – aged about 5 – clothed only with the contents of a very large (and now, presumably, empty) jar of talcum powder.   Cheerful singing from the shower cubicle.  #InterestingTimeAhead.

ii) Repressurising the boiler in YoungLochinvar’s shared house with the aid of a flat head screwdriver and YouTube.  What drives anyone to video themselves adjusting a boiler, goodness knows, but God Bless them everyone.  Hot water and heating restored to half a dozen blokes.  #IrresistableFeelingOfSmugness  #OldBiddyPower

217.When troubles come…

Life can turn on a sixpence.

Ann from next door and I were chatting yesterday whilst sweeping leaves off the pavement.  Ann has an uncle – we’ll call him Pat – in his mid-nineties.  He’s been married for forty-seven years to his second wife.  Let’s call her Jess.  She’s about ten years younger than Uncle Pat, so mid-eighties.  There are two sons, both abroad.

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195. Knock, knock – who’s there?

Talking of which, this response has flooded in following my last blog.  What a genius way to deal with cold callers!

“My brother … would greet them with the message ‘we are experiencing a very high volume of enquiries today but your call is important to us. Please hold the line’ and then follow up by playing Wagner until they lost the will to live.”

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194. Now is the summer of our discontent…

Stop there.  Your name is not Mary; you are not calling from Microsoft – go and get a proper job.  I’m busy.  Goodbye.

Stop there, person that is almost certainly not called Peter.  At what stage in your life did you decide to become a crook?  Suppose it was your grandmother who had picked up this phone and was even now installing your evil malware?  Now, I’m very busy – I need to get to the shops – go and rethink your life choices.

Hello.
Hello.  Now that winter’s here…

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185. Desert Island risks…

Today I am covering Mrs Grenfell’s class and am under instructions to lead a discussion on different sorts of airborne travel: aeroplanes, helicopters, rockets and the like.

“I have something sad to tell you about Mrs Sugarsprinkles,” I start.  The children glance at Mrs Sugarsprinkles, who attempts to look grave.  “At the weekend,” I continue, “she got stuck on a desert island.”  I draw on the whiteboard a stick figure with a sad face and long hair, standing by herself under a tree on a small island. I add some surrounding sea and sharks fins, in an attempt to rack up the excitement.  Bit of a masterpiece, if I say so myself. Continue reading →

164. Rage against the machine…

“Now, when someone joins the department you write their name, date of birth and reference number on this card.  It’s called an M11.”  I nod and try to look intelligent.  It’s my first proper graduate job and I’m being shown the ropes by an old hand in the staffing department.

“What’s the purpose of the card?” I ask.

“Oh, it’s not for us: it’s used by other people in the department.  We just make them and put them into this index box.”

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163. Down these mean streets…

Leave my iPod in the car? Are you mad?

For one thing, the best technique I know for surviving IKEA on a Saturday afternoon is to be plugged into a good audiobook. In my case, that cosy celebration of country life “Slaughter in the Cotswolds.”

As Thea started her new house-sitting assignment, she hoped that she wouldn’t get caught up in the ghastly murders which had made the previous twelve so difficult.

Great stuff. Whisks you past any amount of unpronounceable furniture.

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162. “Oh no,” said Jellywoman, “I can’t stand this…”

Probably, my own fault, to begin with. Shouldn’t have had the tea. Shouldn’t have gone online.

Last night to our local flea-pit to see ‘Carmen’, streamed live from the ENO. Brilliant: sultry, sensuous and edgy. Matched the weather, which has been hotter than Spain.

“Well she’s no better than she should be,” was ActorLaddie’s verdict. How true.

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148. Question Time…

It’s an encouraging sign as to how far we’ve come that, before I had the MRI last week, the technician asked me in all seriousness whether I was a sheet-metal worker. I raised myself up to my full 5 foot one and declared that I wasn’t.

Just out of interest, I’ve looked up the statistics and apparently 9% of sheet metal workers in the UK are women, which is actually more than I’d guessed. They must be pretty brave souls, forging their way in an overwhelmingly male world. I remember with some shame how, forty years ago, I bottled out of doing Physics A-Level when it turned out that I was one of only two girls in the class. It wasn’t that I was hassled in any way; I just felt very, very uncomfortable and – at sixteen – didn’t have the … guts to stick it out.

I nearly used another expression there, but my mother reads this blog. Although, it would have been a particularly apt one.

***

Fred, who I tutor for GCSE English, tells me that they’ve started studying ‘An Inspector Calls’.
“Have you read it yet?” I ask.
“No, but we’ve watched Titanic.”

***

I find myself complaining about having to go all the way to the bathroom to get drinking water, because of our kitchen refit. Then see a trailer for Red Nose Day and feel thoroughly ashamed of myself.