Tuesday, 28 December 2010

The Post-Christmas post

My previous whining about the Shah's inability to purchase a decent Christmas present here clearly stung him into action and I am happy to say that he totally outdid himself in the gifts-you-would-die-for department this year.  I'm not going to swank on about them because there would be nothing more annoying.  The only thing I will mention is that I have finally, finally, after years of begging, been given the complete box set of Frasier.  I am a happy,  happy woman and have so far managed to watch 12 episodes in one evening.  Would have been more, had I not been interrupted by teenagers in search of a mother with a pulse.

Meanwhile, I managed to jump onto the tail end of the BMB Blog Hop while wiping tears of laughter from my chops after the latest episode - the one where Eddie stares at Frasier non-stop....you had to be there really......

Friday, 24 December 2010

Ok Brian - you're forgiven

I wrote recently about Amazon and how I used to work for their current MD, Brian McBride and how they've never let me down blah blah.  As I wrote it, I had this little, sneaky feeling that I was tempting fate and, sure enough, my biggest order became a victim of the recent weather and got stuck in Scotland (note to BMcB - I'm reliably informed that at least one of your distribution centres is out in the middle of Scottish nowhere - not even close to Dundee airport where nobody goes - so shift it!).  It then made it as far as Warrington where it lingered for two weeks being "processed".

Finally, having given up all hope, it arrived this morning, in the nick of time.  I was uncommonly grateful.  Paddy thought otherwise and showed his disapproval.  Like this.  

Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas from the house of madness...

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

It's Office Party time!

Aah – office parties I have known....I could get quite misty-eyed about some of them – if only I could, ahem, remember them.

This year’s was a select affair – a bunch of us went out for a meal – don't get me wrong, it was highly enjoyable and really nice to sit down with colleagues and NOT talk about work for once but it was a pale and insipid creature compared with parties now lost to the mists of time and legend.

Most of the best Office Christmas Parties took place in the money-rich 80’s when the cash flowed and nothing was more important to the powers that be than to show their appreciation to their hard-working, hard-playing, high-maintenance staff.  Usually, they were held in hotels and just the change of location from home turf gave endless scope for misbehaviour.  If you could manage to remain remotely sober, you would have seen every cliché imaginable taking place in front of your eyes as senior managers skulked behind pillars with secretaries and pissed-up, predatory, high-ranking women (there were only a few, most of them ball breakers) goosed the post boy.

There would be the inevitable disco where at least one wag (usually Keith from Engineering) would feel it necessary to request ‘Staying Alive’ and then give it his best John Travolta, complete with stomach-churning pelvic thrusts.  Sadly, Keith is desperately unfit and, after a few struts and twirls the audience can  see the damp patches growing under his arms and the rivulets of sweat trickling off his brow and being caught up in his over-sized moustache which he hopes makes him look like Tom Selleck.   As if this were not attractive enough, Keith also begins to pant heavily as the physical effort takes its toll but, unable to back down now and lose face, on and on he goes, strutting like a maniac, trying desperately to keep up with the music but gradually falling a couple of beats behind. 

To distract from his distress, Keith undoes his tie, pulling it slowly and (he hopes) lasciviously from round his neck.  Even he realises that using it to mop his brow would be deeply unsexy so, instead, he ties it around his head like a bad-boy bandana.  By now, his fellow drunkards have formed a ring around him on the dance floor and are clapping to the beat and shrieking their encouragement.  The music pounds relentlessly on.  The DJ can see that Keith has done his job for him and got everyone on their feet and he is not going to let the moment go.  He segues seamlessly into ‘You Should be Dancing’.  Keith is hovering perilously close to cardiac arrest and wondering how much longer these Bee Gee eunuch bastards can warble on for.  He is really struggling now and wishing to God that, if it has to be the bloody Bee Gees, couldn't that spotty little shit behind the decks flip to ‘More Than a Woman’ so that at least he could grab Sally from Accounts and get her onto the floor to share his pain and cop a feel into the bargain. 

Meanwhile, the crowd is sensing that Keith is flagging and they are having none of it.  They redouble their efforts, whooping wildly to encourage him.  Suddenly, all Keith’s dreams come true.  Sally from Accounts joins him of her own accord, undulating across the floor towards him.  She is a little heavier than Keith recalls, large bosoms oozing out of the sides of her ambitiously low cut taffeta ball gown but what the hell?  He smiles a wolfish smile and pulls her towards him into a firm embrace.  Sally recoils slightly as several pints of Keith’s sweat are smeared from his shirt to her dress (borrowed from her best mate and she was hoping to get away with a dash of Febreze to save on the dry cleaning bills).  Sally and Keith then embark on a jive, each twirling the other and getting further and further out of time and more and more dizzy. 

The finale comes when Keith, unable to cope any longer with the physical exertion, the overload of alcohol and the dizziness, vomits copiously during a complicated spin.  It misses Sally but, as she screams in horror and tries to run, she trips and slides across the floor of the disco on a slick of chunder.

You may think the above is just the further workings of a twisted mind but, let me tell you, I went to a legendary office Christmas do where all the above happened pretty much as I have written it. Thank God this was before the era of camera phones.

At one of the best Christmas parties I have ever been to (thrown by the same company) the cabaret was Bob Monkhouse.  Oh yes, you may mock but he was the consummate professional, had clearly taken time to research the company and the individuals in it (no mean feat as there were several hundred people there) and cracked in-jokes and was generally hilariously funny.  Just about the best stand-up act I have ever seen and I’ve seen most of them before and after they became famous.

But then the recession bit and companies began to economise and ‘make do’ with a pared-down offering, usually consisting of drinks and nibbles in the office  with the lights turned off after 9.30 and someone’s tape recorder offering some crackly disco music or, if you were really unlucky, Pete from Despatch who fancied himself as a bit of a DJ and yep, Pete, you really were only a bit of a DJ.

After one such, I went to collect my coat, only to find it in use as, ahem, a shall we say “resting place” for a tired, emotional and lonely couple who were taking refuge in each other’s arms.  And elsewhere. 

Did I wrench my coat from underneath them bawling “give me my feckin’ coat back you dirty bastards and I’m sending you the dry cleaning bill?”  No, reader, I did not.  I saw who was involved and took her coat instead.  Then I wore it into work the next day and waited for her to ask me for it back.  There is sense in sobriety!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

In which I get a good night's sleep

I woke up the other morning a few minutes before the alarm.  Satisfying on the one hand to wake naturally – less so when you realise that it is set for 6am.

As I stirred, I felt a foot gently caress mine.  “Aha!” I thought – the Shah is getting frisky!  I turned my head to glance lovingly in his direction (Ok “lovingly” is a bit of an exaggeration.  Actually a shed load of exaggeration.  More like “fuckoffingly”) and almost fell out of bed in fright as I saw – not the Shah’s dusky features crumpled up in front of me – but the beautiful smooth olive skin of my daughter.  My spluttering woke her up.

Me:  What are you doing in here?
TD:   Mummy – I just wanted to sleep in your room.

Klaxons immediately sounded in my skull.  One word gave it all away. And that word was  MUMMY.  Never in the field of teenage terrorism has one fifteen year old uttered the word “MUMMY” without it indicating extreme emotional blackmail and manipulation.  The conversation continued.

Me:  Did you strip your bed last night?
TD: Er, yes
Me: and you ceebs to put clean sheets on it, huh?
TD: um, sort of
Me: Gotcha. Where's Dad?
TD: (sniggers) In the spare room

Nice innit?  I sighed the weary sigh of one resigned to her fate and staggered out of bed and downstairs.   Some time later, I staggered back up again having attempted to feed the cats in the meantime. 

I have to digress here a bit because one cat (Paddy, the Ginger Minger) has begun to communicate his feelings about food very clearly.  Food is very close to Paddy’s heart but he is picky and it is impossible to predict what will find favour with him on any given day.  One day you can bung down a bowl of Whiskas and he acts like Mr Creosote on speed.  Give him the same thing another day and he lets you know he thinks it’s shite.

The way he does this is to stand some distance from the bowl, sniffing the air disdainfully.  He then offers up dirty looks which I ignore.  Because of his lack of success in the ‘looks that would fry a lesser mortal’ department, he approaches the bowl and looks closely at the scran on offer.  He then proceeds to scrape the floor with a front paw, just as he would if he were digging a feline latrine in the garden.  I have even gone so far as to ask the Vet what this is all about.  She laughed uproariously and said she hadn’t a clue and he was probably letting us know what he thinks of the low-quality slop we try and give him.  Well, those are the words that came out of her mouth while written all over her face was ‘who do you think I am, the cat whisperer or perhaps Desmond Morris, you dozy cow?’

Anyway – back upstairs, the Shah is arguing furiously with his daughter (how unusual).  She is refusing to get out of bed, he is attempting to get dressed, by which I mean cramming himself into a pair of black trousers which probably fitted once upon a time.  He had hurt his finger playing football the night before (and no, he doesn’t play in goal, so go figure) and was finding it difficult to do them up.  His daughter meanwhile, was utterly disgusted at the sight of several yards of furry brown stomach on show and let her feelings be known which was a good thing because at least it got her out of bed.  The Shah tried once more to sort his clothing out, huffing and puffing and turning an odd mahogany colour in the process.  Eventually, he stopped trying to do his trews up (trews!  Ha!  Another word I haven’t heard in aeons – a bit like  ‘slacks’ – boy am I dating myself here!) Then he started to dig furiously in his trousers (sorry – TMI) and make exasperated noises.

“WTF are you doing?” I asked in a meek, wifely way.

“I’m, I’m trying to sort out my, um – oh what d’you call them?  PANTIES!”  quoth the Shah as I screamed with laughter, imagining the Shah clad in a pair of frilly unmentionables.   Unfortunately, the image stayed with me the whole day, but I didn’t feel I could share it with anyone at work for fear of starting unhealthy rumours.

PS - I thought I might add a picture to this post to liven it up a bit.  Take my advice.  Do NOT Google 'pictures of men in frilly pants' ahem.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs...

That was of the less meaningful sayings of my childhood in the chilly north.  Never did quite work out what it actually meant but it was a useful all-purpose phrase, used to express surprise, disgust, wonder, amazement or all or none of the above.  Being born and raised "oop north" I've been a long-time Corrie fan and I couldn't let this week go by without a mention of it's 50th Anniversary.  Even Victoria Wood likes it ....

It's just a shame that Blanche isn't still around to give us a few of her bon mots!

Te-ra Luvvy!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Dear Santa....

I'm not a greedy person, neither am I particularly materialistic – I believe it is wholly wrong to be owned by ones possessions.  However, just very occasionally, I lust after something really nice, really special and given the Shah’s parlous track record in the present-buying department I guess it might be time to air my ultimate wishlist...

The Shah has a well known aversion to holidays, but who couldn't enjoy themselves in one of these? 
A mere snip at only £54,000.

If that didn't fit the bill, a replica Batmobile would surely liven up the school run...
Loose change should cover it at £120,000.

Or (keep buying the lottery tickets) a watch like this (slightly more reasonably priced).

I wrote last time about the wig and the nails and had a phone call from Son at Uni who had read it and was laughing hysterically.  Come to think of it, they could still be in the old dressing up box in the garage.  If I manage to find them I promise I will post a photo of me (or even better the Shah!) wearing both.

Back in the real world, I might ask for a Wine Rack for Christmas to hold all the alcohol I am going to need to see myself through.  Sadly, I know that this is what I am likely to receive.  

Baps made of Booze - the Shah would be in heaven!