Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Boy George knows my feline, feline knows Boy George....

Time to refer back to the activities of the dimmest cat in the western world.

There was a time in the life of Boy George when he adopted the habit of wearing heavy, theatrical makeup with a thick, dark stripe across his neck and under his chin.  I think it was meant to...well, I’m not entirely sure what it was meant to achieve, but hey, it’s a free world and all that.

It was never a look that I went for particularly but then sporting it in my world would lead to instant sectioning under the Mental Health Act.  No such worries for Paddy, oh no.  Never really at the cutting edge of fashion, he is still a few years behind the times and has only just caught up with BG’s 90’s phase.  At least that is the only reason why I can imagine he came home last night with a thick, symmetrical black stripe under his chin. 

At first we thought he was going for the designer stubble look – more George Michael than Boy George, but then we weren’t so sure. (This reminds me of a story about my brother, whose name is Michael and who was on a train, and two teenage girls obviously decided to wind him up.  “Hey, aren’t you George Michael?” asked one of them.  “No,” replies my bro, who has the quirkiest sense of humour you are ever likely to find “I’m his brother, Michael Michael.”  This completely stumped them and they slunk away, all attempts at smart-alec wind ups abandoned.)  Not sure why I told you that, so let’s get back to the cat stuff.

So have a look and see what you think.  I would just like to point out that, in the interests of entertaining my readers, I had to spend a good portion of yesterday evening coaxing a reluctant and, frankly, disinterested, cat into posing with his chin in the air.  Imagine my success!  Eventually, TD had to wrestle him into cooperation.  


Boy George 

After that, he wisely hid on a chair but still had a sneaking interest in the camera

I've no idea how he came to be so filthy.  All I can say is that, if he is going for a new look every so often, I can't wait for the George Clooney  version...

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Harrods Experience

So Mohammed Al Fayed has flogged Harrods off to the Qatari Royal Family.  It feels like the end of an era.  As a child, when we lived in central London for a while, my mother used to take me to get my hair cut in Harrods.  She claimed it was the same price as everywhere else but the cut was far superior to your average high street salon.  I can still remember riding a huge rocking horse there (well it seemed huge at the time).  After every hair cut we would visit the pet department and coo over puppies and kittens.   Eventually, we moved up north and I didn’t darken the doorstep of the world’s most famous department store again for some time.

Fast forward a number of years and we found we had a school age son.  We enrolled him at the local primary and he joined the nursery when he was 4.  He went almost overnight from being a bright, lively child (and yes, wilful and demanding but aren’t they all at that age?) into a thug of astonishing aptitude.  He seemed magnetically drawn to the naughtiest boy in the class who taught him all he knew about inflicting pain and a few choice words to go with it.  After a while (and once we found out that the school was letting him coach the other boy in reading - a bloody teaching assistant at the age of 4!!) we bit the bullet and moved him to a local mixed prep school – smaller classes, better discipline we reasoned, blah blah blah.  The uniform supplier of this school at the time was Harrods (you see where I’m going with this now?)

TS was joining one term after everyone else but, as luck would have it, Harrods was visiting on the last day of the holidays for a uniform sale.  I took the precaution of phoning them to make sure they would bring a blazer in his size.  As I arrived at the sale, I saw my blazer being sold to the woman ahead of me in the queue.  They had no others with them.  They helpfully rang the store for me.  None in stock but they could order one - it would take two weeks.  TS was beside himself.  Never good at handling change, the prospect of going to a new school and being the only child there without a blazer was all too much.  In a state of infuriated maternal stress, I sat down and penned a strong letter to Mr Al Fayed berating him for the psychological damage he had personally inflicted upon my semi-naked son.

The next thing I knew, I had a phone call from his P.A.  Deeply apologetic, she assured me that they had sourced a blazer and that it would be delivered the following Monday.  To be honest, I was gobsmacked and more than a little impressed.  Monday dawned and I was expecting a bit of a brown paper parcel through the post.  Time passed, the postman came and went – nothing.  At around 5pm the doorbell rang.  A guy of, say, 22 filled my doorway.  The words ‘brick’ and ‘shithouse’ floated across my mind.  He had a rectangular green and gold box in his massive paw.  “I say!” he began and I stifled a snigger.  “Are you expecting a blazer?”  “Um, yes,” I replied.  “Do come in.”  The children were wildly excited to have such a massive and unexpected visitor.  As he lumbered into our tiny terrace, the clearly-visible boot print on the side of his face gave away his status as a rugger bugger.  TD was bouncing excitedly on the sofa.  “Hello man!” she shrieked.  “I say!” said ‘man’ again, “she knows my name!”  This was almost too much for me and I politely turned my laughter into a coughing fit.  Not so the kids who just roared with 4 year old hysteria.  He didn’t seem even slightly perturbed, just laughed with them and went on his way.  So; honour was satisfied, TS still hated school but at least he had a blazer now.

Two weeks later, a swanky green and gold van drew up outside the house.  You could almost see the neighbours curtains twitching – eyes out on stalks.  A man alighted and handed me a familiar-looking box.  “Sign here please.”  I did.   Guess what was inside?  Thanks Mr Al Fayed – it came in very handy when his sister started at the same school a couple of years later.

Friday, 14 May 2010

A labour of love....

When I started this blog, I was determined that I wouldn’t use it to make pronouncements on news items, unless they were light-hearted ones or I could find a comic angle – it’s just not what this blog is for and God knows, there are plenty of smug gits out there sharing their views on everything from global warming to the common cold.

Having said all that, this has been one of the most interesting and exciting periods in politics that I can ever recall.  The run up to the election, the night itself and the morning after with all the possible permutations of a hung parliament to pick over.

It was a joy to watch the likes of Jacqui Smith sent packing, not to mention that waste of DNA that is Lemsip Armpit or whatever his name is.

For the first time ever (and it certainly never happened in the past three years) I was actually impressed and moved by Gordon Brown and the speech he gave as he left Downing Street for the last time (much as I despise his period in power, the zillions of stealth taxes he waved through and his government’s signal failure to control the Banker Bastards).   Why did the aerial view of his car, containing his family – the sons he has admirably kept out of the limelight and the stalwart Sarah – complete with Police outriders, sweeping into Buckingham Palace as he went to take his leave of the Queen for the last time bring a lump to my throat?  FFS, I’m going soft in my old age!  But it was all slightly spoiled by the BBC voiceovers – David Dimbleby rudely interrupting everyone, clearly labouring under the delusion that he was more informed and interesting than everyone else. 

Then we saw DC and Sam Cam via the same aerial camera, swishing through the rush hour – no police escort this time – and getting held up in a queue of traffic.  The best bit was the guy on the pavement who suddenly spotted who was in the car.  He was jumping around with excitement, waving and pointing and jabbing his hand into his pocket , scrabbling for his phone.  It wasn’t possible to see the reactions of the Camerons but I like to think they might have flipped him the bird for being such a dick.  So he takes a few photos, leaping around in front of the car and pointing wildly into the back and then phones a friend who tells him where the camera is, so the next shot is of him waving like a loon towards the top of Nelson’s column.  Eventually, two hefty, dark suited blokes emerged from the car following the Camerons and ‘persuaded’ him to feck off and leave them alone.  Perhaps not the dignified start to his leadership that DC might have liked.

Better still was the footage shown on ‘Have I Got News For You’ last night of a press conference held by DC and Mick Clog.  A question was asked of DC as follows:- “Prime Minister, do you now regret that when you were asked what your favourite joke was, you replied ‘Nick Clegg’ and Deputy Prime Minister, what do you think of that?”  Genius.  At least Britain can still inject humour into its politics.  Can’t wait to see how this parliament pans out.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Brother Lee Love

Someone has recently produced a book advising parents on how to cope with sibling rivalry.  Whenever I see something like that, I castigate myself for not having thought of it first.  The only thing is that, had I thought of it first, I would have dismissed the idea as being nothing more than a statement of the bleeding obvious.  Clearly I am an idiot and need some intensive lessons in obtaining money for old rope.

But back to the point:  I consider myself something of an expert on the topic of sibling rivalry as I have a brother who is some 5 years younger than me and it took until after I had left home in my late teens for us to find that we had anything in common.  In fact, he was a painful little git for much of our childhood (and I’m sure he would say the same of me).  For example – he and I attended schools that were next door to each other.  When I was in the Lower Sixth, I had a boyfriend at the boys’ school whose name was Reg (it wasn’t his fault).  He used to wait for me in the square outside school every day at 4 o’clock and we would walk hand in hand to the bus station together – all together now, aaah!  My darling brother and several of his equally delightful mates formed themselves into a gang which they called “The Regiment” (geddit?) and made it their business to follow us all the way through town shrieking and whooping and making 12 year old-type comments. 

When it came to having a family of my own, I remembered the bad timing of the 5 year age gap and was determined to have my kids closer together, assuring myself that they would then grow up to be the best of friends.  Hah!   Although there is a mere two and a half year gap between my offspring, they are at daggers drawn much of the time.  Admittedly, they are getting better as they mature but, in the early years, I was required to judge some situations that would have had Henry Kissinger throwing in the towel.

I worked hard at strategies to enable them to live together harmoniously but to little effect.  The Shah and I instituted sanctions for bad behaviour and rewards for good but, with the stamina of youth, they simply wore us down with their constant warfare.  TS was inclined at one stage to call his sister “stupid”.  It’s a word I dislike and one that (understandably) upset her – which, of course, made him use it all the more.  So, the word was banned completely in our house.  Then, instead of “stupid”, he began to call her “boopid” – well, it’s not “stupid” is it?  But the meaning still comes through loud and clear.  He developed a range of unpleasant nicknames, some of which (like ‘the Rat’) still come out on occasion today.  She, being younger and less able to fight with the same level of eloquence, responded with physical violence – he still bears the scars of some of the times she dug her nails into him hard enough to draw blood.

In the end, once she reached the age of 8 or so, I advised her to keep a diary of all the insults and wrongdoings in the hope that a) it would help me to determine what was really going on; b) it would give her something to do other than retaliate and c) it would shame her sibling into reining it in a bit.  She did this religiously for a while, then it was abandoned, time passed and they learned to negotiate around each other without internecine warfare on a daily basis.

Somehow, this little book has survived two house moves and came to light again the other day.  Oh the memories it brought back!  I feel, in the interests of solidarity with other pressurised mothers out there, that I should share some of its contents with you:-

15th February  Today, my brother has called me these names and done these to me:-

Gay x 98
Blub McNub (when I cried)
Poked me round the waist x 2
Coughed on me x 7
The rat
You’ve got a funny nose
You live in a ‘fat’ched cottage
You goon

16th February
You are looking a bit ‘fatty-gay’ (meant to be the French fatigue)
Idiot x 2
Gay x 19
Lez x 2
You goon
Attempted punch x 2 (I dread to think what she did to stop him)

22nd February
Oi, fatty!
Threw a jumper in my face
Poked me in both cheeks
Coughed on my food x 4
You’ve got fat wrists (whaat?)
Threw paper at me
Attempted jab with umbrella x 14
Called me rat-a-tat-tat x 22

24th February
Hit me with a shopping bag
Covered my face with a coat
Called me rat x 25
Flicked me x 16
Said ‘this is you’ and made a double chin
Farted in my face  x 3

I must be a really bad mother because it makes me laugh and I find it quite inventive (fatty-gay? c'mon!)  Then I realised that he was playing up to her efforts to record his peccadilloes by giving her more ammunition than she could possibly handle.  So, for example, when we see that he called her ‘Gay’ 98 times, it means that he sat there going 'gaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygaygay...’ and she busily counted them!  Well, I suppose it stopped them trying to kill each other.

Happily, the diary peters out after a few days and then they probably just reverted to open conflict.  Strangely, I seem to have blanked it from my memory.

So it just goes to prove that there is nothing quite like brotherly love and this is, indeed, nothing like Brother Lee Love.

And if you remember him, you are officially old!