Wednesday, 23 March 2011

3 x 9

Having been tagged by Libby, I promised that I would enter into the spirit of the 3 x 9 here goes:

Three names I go by: Mum,  Muuuuuum and 'CQ' (it's surprising how many people have taken to calling me that...)

Three places I’ve lived: Oop North, Dahn Sarf and (incongruously) Marseilles

Three places I’ve worked: A Hospital Operating Theatre, a school and at home and guess which was hardest?

Three things I love to watch:  Coronation Street (it's my Northern roots showing) My kids when they don't think I'm looking, our cats eating cardboard boxes like this:-

Three places I have been & love: New York, Dublin and home

Three people that email me regularly: The Shah (to hurl abuse), my friend A who likes to read the blog and regularly sends me her comments in an email, thousands of people on work-related topics, normally asking damn-fool questions

Three things I love to eat: Grapes, Chocolate and spicy food - the spicier the better

Three things I am looking forward to: The Easter holidays, the Summer Holidays and winning the Lottery so that I am no longer a wage-slave.

I think I am meant to tag 3 other people but I think everyone in the known universe has been got already.  So if you feel like following suit, let me know...!

Sunday, 20 March 2011


This week, the Shah and I took TD and a bunch of her mates to see Derren Brown's 'Svengali' Tour. This was by way of a 16th birthday celebration as the prospect of a party left us both shaky and twitching.  Faced with the likelihood of hanging around an unappealing town centre for a couple of hours waiting for them to reappear, we eventually booked tickets for ourselves as well - separately of course. There is nothing sadder than having your mum and dad sitting with you and your friends. I mean how uncool would that be?  Ironically, we ended up with brilliant seats and a great view of the stage.

There is something about Derren Brown.  I have to admit that I am slightly spooked out by him in a way that I never was by Paul McKenna in his prime.  There is also the fact that he bears an uncanny resemblance to my brother (albeit about a foot shorter) - which feels slightly weird.  However, there is something good natured and quite self-deprecating about his act which appeals to me - he lacks the veneer of polished smugness that Paul McKenna appeared to develop once he became extremely famous and, as a consequence, extremely rich.  As it says on DB's website "While his performances create the illusion that he has some kind of paranormal powers, Derren is a prominent sceptic and a pronounced atheist."  I find this quite comforting!

He says that he is "simply a performer who combines magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship" which is all very well when you find yourself standing in a packed theatre, feeling like a goon, quite unable to unlock the fingers of your right hand which is raised in front of your face on a rigid arm...ask us how we know....

Mind you, the Shah and I have already proven ourselves quite susceptible to hypnosis.  I managed to give up smoking over 20 years ago after one session with Marisa Peer long before she became well known for hypnotising famous bloaters on Celebrity Fat Club, sorry, Fit Club.  

The Shah's experiences with hypnotism were altogether more public and entertaining (wouldn't you know it).  We went with some friends to see the aforementioned Paul McKenna's stage show - we are going back about 20 years here as well because I was newly pregnant with TS, awash with hormones and irrationally terrified of somehow having a hypnotised baby eight months later.  
Pregnant women are expressly told not to participate anyway but, of course, the Shah had no such restrictions nor any qualms about leaping up on stage when volunteers were called for. 

He ended up being the star of the show.  Paul McKenna had him sweeping the stage at one point but, every time Elvis's Jailhouse Rock began to play, he had to use the broom handle as a microphone and dance like the King himself. The Shah, being a man of rhythm, was more than equal to the task and leapt around the stage egged on by the whoops and cheers of the crowd and the hysterical laughter of his wife.  I seem to remember he even had a bit of a late 80's/early 90's quiff thing going on as well.  Lol.

How I wish there had been camera phones in those days!  He might have looked something like this.  Or not.

Not the Shah

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Coming live from your roving reporter

Stand by your beds, faithful readers and students of Shahism (as opposed to Shamanism which is another discipline altogether) and prepare to feast your eyes.  The Shah is about to make his pictorial d├ębut on my humble bloggette.  Allow me to explain...

The way DIY works in our house normally goes something like this:-
I have a bright (DIY) idea.
I transmit this bright (DIY) idea to the Shah.
The Shah rolls his eyes and sighs heavily.
Several days or weeks later, I remind the Shah about the DIY.
The Shah rolls his eyes, sighs heavily and goes back to whatever it was he was doing.  Nothing, usually.
Several days or weeks later, I remind the Shah about the DIY again.  I am aware that my voice is taking on a slightly whiny tone.
The Shah rolls his eyes, sighs heavily and mentions the 'n' word.  No not that one - Nagging.  Then just to be sure, he feigns physical injury (known as "ooh me back, ooh me legs" etc)
I whine a bit more. And nag.  And nag.
Ultimately, the Shah flies into a rage and careers into the garage, emerging with a fistful of rusty nails and a bent screwdriver.  He then attacks the DIY project in the manner of a bull in a Denby shop and wonders why a) it all goes horribly wrong and b) the whole family is laughing hysterically.

Right now, the Shah is doing something useful.  He is attempting to reconfigure TD's desk and "study" area.  I use the inverted commas advisedly - if there is a GCSE in YouTube makeup videos, she will get 10 A*s.

However, the Shah is being a good dad and is currently trying to make one table the same height as another by virtue of its lovely, telescopic Ikea legs (you see, Swedish Superstore, you have your uses).  It is not going well.  It goes a hell of a lot worse when the Shah first of all bangs his head hard and then gets stuck under the table, rearing up with it on his back like a giant turtle with a white Ikea shell.

Alerted by the sound effects and language most foul, TD and I go to investigate his distress.  Unfortunately, our solidarity is mistaken for hilarity and the Shah waves at us like this:-

Possibly he means that he will only be another two minutes?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

The Bad, the Bad and er,Badder...

OmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigodOmigod.... This was the sum total of the conversation in the aftermath of the great X Factor Tour night.  Actually, that's a lie because it moved on shortly after that to a chorus of "Harry Styles SMILED at me, Matt Cardle blew us a kiss, they're all so much fitter in real life, we saw loads of people we knew there and it was just BRILLIANT!  OmigodOmigodOmigod" etc etc.

They had a better night than me and the Shah.  I eventually made it to Ikea (damn you, Wembley one way systems and the North Circular Road), expecting a nice quiet visit, a trot round the Market Place and a rendezvous with His Lordship.  The car park was mobbed.  It was worse than the first day of the sales.  Trying to find a parking space was a bloody nightmare because not only were there none, there were several dozen drunken, spaced out teenagers using the place as a skate park and in grievous danger of being mown down by a passing car too laden with Swedish tat for its driver to be able to see through more than three square inches of windscreen.

Inside, it was like the 7th circle of hell.  Where do the good burghers of Wembley go for their Saturday night entertainment?  Why, Ikea of course!  Sad bastards.  Wild-eyed children, way past the point of exhaustion, rampaged around the room sets, leaping out of wardrobes and hurling them selves off sofas while their parents affected selective blindness and deafness and ignored the little gits.  There was a huge queue in the cafe and downstairs in the Market Place, dead-eyed women pushed monstrous buggies around teetering pyramids of glassware and china, missing them by millimetres.  It took me ages to realise that I had no mobile signal there so the Shah, by the time he found me, was in a right royal strop.  One that was not appeased by the offer of fish and chips.  Hey - we know how to live on a Saturday night....

In the Market Place, I think they pump strange chemicals into the air.  If not, why is everyone buying all the crap that is on offer as if their lives depended upon it?  I suffered the irresistible urge to buy 480 picture frames, several dozen duvet covers and a print of Charlie Chaplin.  I hate Charlie Chaplin.  I hate Ikea and, most of all, I hate Wembley.

The traffic outside Wembley Arena was horrendous.  We got home at midnight.  I'm knackered, the Shah is knackered and worst of all, the teenage One Direction fan has found the ideal desk for her bedroom. 

Guess where?                    aaaaaaaaaaaagh.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

The Good the Bad and the Swedish

This week has divided itself up quite dramatically.  There has been good, there has been bad and there will be Swedish.  Let me elaborate.

Today is Saturday, a day when (by rights) I should be putting my feet up and recovering from the week. (GOOD).  But No.  For I am a mother and a mother's place is a) in the wrong and b) behind the wheel and I am going to be driving to the loveliness that is Wembley tonight to escort* my darling daughter and her best friend to the X Factor Tour.  This is BAD.

*(Well, when I say escort, I mean turf them out of a moving car somewhere near the Arena and bugger off sharpish.)

The arrangements were only finalised this morning and, up until then, the Shah was wearing the smug expression of one who thinks he is Off The Hook.  Ha ha!  Silly Shah!

He has already announced earlier in the week that he will be playing Hockey miles away up the M40 so, oh dear, he won't get back in time to accompany me to North London.  So I suggest that he might like to come and join me there as the A40 goes practically past the front door of Wembley Arena.  He agrees readily and I know why.  Wembley is full of curry houses and the Shah (who always has one if not both eyes on his stomach) is anticipating a nice nosebagging experience whilst the girls are busy listening to 

One Direction *scream* 

Aiden Grimshaw *shriek* 

and er, Wagner *silence*.

So, where shall I meet you? he asks all innocent, the poor sap.  This is when I deliver my killer blow with two words.


The resulting howl of "I've been done up like a kipper!" emitted by the Shah could probably be heard in Wembley but he is now in the horns of a dilemma.  He could "forget" and go straight home from the match.  However, this would be a risky strategy on many fronts:-

1.  He would incur my wrath and 'vengeance will be mine' sayeth the wife.
2.  He would have to cook for himself.  Too lazy.
3.  He would have zero control over how much money I am spending in Ikea and the resulting stress would ruin his evening.

So this is GOOD.

If there is anything exciting to report from our excursion I will do so tomorrow.

God Almighty - is this what my life has come to?  I have to look forward to wasting a couple of hours on an enforced visit to a Swedish Emporium and dangle that as a carrot to entice my readership.....*sigh*   Sorry.