Saturday 30 June 2012

Top secret, but...

A "celebrity" (someone I've never heard of) has announced that she is "over the moon" because she's pregnant. She then asks that her privacy be respected.


Well, I once made love in a cowshed (standing up, because the floor was dirty), but please don't tell anyone.

Thursday 28 June 2012

Green doors

No. Not the front door kind. I'm talking shops and supermarkets, where the automatic doors slide merrily back and forth all day, often just when people are passing them and not going in at all.

My point is, we have been told to conserve energy. This week we have been roundly ticked off for leaving appliances on standby. Ok. Point taken. But what about the huge amount of energy being used by all these doors? When did we lose the ability to open doors for ourselves? Do we really need automatic doors at all? For wheelchair-users for example, of course. Smaller special doors could be allocated for their use. But the rest of us?

And there are hidden dangers, too. Am I the only person who has charged confidently towards a door, only to find that it is not automatic, with near-fatal consequences? I think we should go back to the good old days when we opened doors all by ourselves, like grown- ups.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Petrol prices and boiled kittens

So the chancellor is being really generous, and not putting petrol prices up by three pence. This, says he, will "help families and businesses".

No it won't. Since when has not doing something become a positive? Does that mean that by not beating up little old ladies or robbing banks I'll be helping to cut crime figures? Or does my not boiling kittens make ours a more humane society?

The world's gone mad.

Monday 25 June 2012

Do we really need balls?

Of the sporting variety, naturally. Having finished with the (English) footie, we are now into Wimbledon, and then the Olympics, which although not all about balls is sure to feature quite a few. What would sporty people do if balls had never been invented? Run about and jump over things, no doubt. Ever higher and faster.

Once upon a time, someone ( who?) made a small round thing and either threw it or kicked it to someone else. Why?

I do not like balls. If I see one coming at me, there's a part of my brain that says: Missile! Avoid and/or duck. Both, if possible. I cannot catch a ball or hit one ( many have hit me). I do not enjoy watching other people throwing and hitting and kicking. Is there something wrong with me? Does one have to enjoy balls and ball games to be fully human? And am I alone in being totally bewildered by the rules of cricket, rugby scrums and the offside rule?

Last of all, is there anyone else out there who can live without balls? If so, please let me know. I think I'm in for a rather lonely summer...

Sunday 24 June 2012

Magpie 123

For a nose job you'll pay a fat fee.
Can't afford one? Then come and see me.
I'm a man with street cred,
Fists as big as my head.
Ask me nicely, and I'll do it for free.

(With thanks to Tess at Magpie Tales for the picture)

Saturday 23 June 2012

The touchy-feely approach to bullying

I have a small grandson, M, who has suffered bullying on and off ever since he started school. He is a sensitive, bright (has just won 3 scholarships), kind little boy, but hates the rough and tumble beloved of many others and loves adult company. He is not, however, very brave. My daughter has been fighting his corner for years, and is relieved that his time at his school (which has not managed the situation well) is nearly over (yes, he could have moved schools earlier, but she was afraid he might be going out of the frying pan into another, possibly even worse, fire).

Yesterday, one of the teachers gave a talk on bullying; said it was unkind, musn't happen, etc. He then went on to (as far as I can see) see it from the bullies' point of view, by saying that very sensitive children, like M, might be the vicitims of bullies, and had he himself been a bully, he might well have chosen M. Hence, while not endorsing bulling, he was as good as excusing it.

Poor M was utterly bewildered, as the message seemed to be that while bullying is wrong, bullying a quiet, sensitive child like him is understandable.

My daughter is furious. I am furious. Because there is NEVER any excuse for bullying. Reasons, maybe, but excuses, never. I have been a counsellor for many years, and know well about respecting different points of view, but bulling is, pure and simple, unkind, and bullying in any form is wrong, and should be clamped down on. Immediately.

Needless to say, this teacher has recently been on a course.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Horse diaries

Well, he's allowed out of his box at last, to eat grass (see photo). Phew! And today we went for our first little walk. With halter, and me leading. Well, Titch was leading, actually, but that wasn't the plan.

Me (pulling uselessly on the lead rope): What - do'you - think - you're - doing?!
Titch: Hey! It's great to be out on the open road again. I think I'll spook at that hedge, act terrified at that motorbike, and then do a little dance, right in the middle of the road.

Which he proceeded to do, doing his OMG act, although we have been down that road scores of times before. This was proving to be an exceptionally bad idea. The motorbike kindly stopped. Everyone stopped, while Titch twirled and pranced and then tried to trap me in the hedge. I tried to get at my mobile to phone for backup, but I couldn't reach it. We did a seventeen point turn in the hedge and started back down the road, with Titch still leaping about doing his thoroughbred thing and making a spectacle of us both. We got home. Just.

Titch: Well that was fun. Can we do it again?
Me: NO! (and because revenge can be sweet, I decided to get my own back). Last night I looked up your breeding on the internet.
Titch (pleased): Good, isn't it?
Me: Yes. And do you know how much it cost for your father to sire a foal?
Titch: A lot?
Me: Yes. A lot. $25.000
Titch (smug): I thought so.
Me: Ah, but do you know how many races you won, out of sixteen?
Titch (looking awkward): I can't remember.
Me: One. Just one. One lousy race. $25,000 dollars, and all that keep, and you win just one race.
Titch: Shall we talk about something else?

I guess we're now just about even.

Monday 18 June 2012

Magpie 122

There's a hole in the ceiling,"
Said Mary to Jim.
"I can see trees, and sky,
And the rain's coming in."

"But what puzzles me more,"
Replied Jim, with a frown.
"Are those footmarks, where someone
Has walked. Upside down."

With thanks to Tess at Magpie Tales for the picture.

Friday 15 June 2012

June 2012. A true story

Towards the end of every May
I put my winter boots away.
Knowing that summer's coming soon
(And no-one wears their boots in June).

I get my sandals out instead
And paint my toenails cherry red
And wait for summer to resume.
(For I cannot wear my boots in June.)

Last night, the rain came down in buckets.
At last I flipped. And thought - oh, f*** it -
I'm hardly asking for the moon!
( I've put my boots back on. In June.)

Thursday 14 June 2012

What is it about window cleaners?

Looking at my blog stats - as you do, when you really ought to be doing something else and there's a man fixing work surfaces in the kitchen - I noticed that my fifth most popular post is the one entitled "window cleaners" (the top one, by a long shot, is still "in love with a horse"; I can understand that).

So - what I want to know is: have I missed something? Is there something about window cleaners that everyone else (except me) knows? Is it a euphemism for something exciting/rude/naughty? Or are readers just looking for a window cleaner? In which case they'll be disappointed, because I'm not one.

If you are party to the window cleaner secret, please let me know. I promise I won't tell anyone.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

I have issues with issues

Have you noticed that people no longer have problems; they have "issues". I looked the word up, to make sure, and the nearest the dictionary definition comes to is "a subject for discussion or argument". But we pedants all know that this is simply not good enough.

A couple of days ago, on the weather forecast, we were told that there would be "flood issues". No no NO! A flood is never an issue (unless you're making a scientific study of floods). Try telling that to those poor people wading waist-high in muddy water to rescue the cat from the top of the wardrobe. A flood is a PROBLEM! Soon we'll have tsunami issues, earthquake issues, famine issues. Where will it all end?

But during my researches, I came across a lovely new word: ithyphallic (having an erect penis). So much more fun than the usual tacky expressions. So it was all worthwhile.

Every cloud etc.

Monday 11 June 2012

On falling downstairs

Did you know that over 1000 people a year die from falling downstairs? No? Neither did I. But I found out about it today. Funny, that. We are warned of the dangers of drinking, smoking, eating fat/carbohydrate/pretty well anything - in fact nearly all the things that make life worth living - and yet something most of us do every day is that dangerous.

I fell downstairs nearly nine years ago, and was lucky. I flew from the top to the bottom without touching a single stair (clever, eh?) and only broke my back. (Yes, thank you. I'm more or less ok now, although it still hurts at times.)

But if this has alarmed you, there is help at hand in the form of some useful advice on the internet under the heading of "How to not Fall Downstairs". I'll forgive the split infinitive, for the advice is invaluable. An example:

Taking steps more than one at a time, jumping, running, skipping, dancing, or any other movement besides walking slowly drastically increases your chances of falling.

There. Aren't you glad you read this? And who knows.I might just have saved a life. Which makes it all soooo worthwhile.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Magpie 121

"Compare me to a 'summer's day?'
Oh, no!" quoth Mistress Hathaway.
"For, dearest Will, hast thou forgot
That summer's days are rarely hot?
Though gobal warming cometh, dear.
It will not be for many a year.
But I will take thy verses, all,
And pin them to the kitchen wall.
For it may be, the day will come
When they will fetch a tidy sum."

(With thanks to Tess at Magpie Tales for the picture)

Friday 8 June 2012

Horse diaries

Titch: So you've finally decided to visit me, have you?
Me: I've been away. I told you. I came as soon as I could.
Titch: With me so ill?
Me: I kept in touch, and was told you were doing well.
Titch: Did they tell you about my septic tendon?
Me: Of course.
Titch: And I had to have a general anaesthetic. Bet they didn't tell you that.
Me: Of course they did. I signed the consent form!
Titch: And did they tell you that there's a one in 500 chance of a horse dying under the anaesthetic?
Me: Yes, they did. They also phoned at 11.30pm to tell me you were back up on your feet.

Long silence. Carrots provided and consumed.

Titch: Of course, they gave me a private room.
Me: Don't I know it. I paid for it (actually the insurance company will pay for it, but I let that pass).
Titch: That'll be because of my grandfather. He was -
Me: Yes yes. We all know about your grandfather, and it had nothing to do with him. All horses get a private room.
Titch: Hmmph. (Pause.) I hope you told them I'm a vegetarian.
Me: All horses are vegetarian.

Another long silence. More carrots, and much noisy munching. Titch's neigh(bour), who has been snoring loudly, wakes up and sticks his nose over the partition. He too is partial to carrots. I give him one.

Titch (bridle - ing): Those aren't for him!
Me: There's a whole big bag. You can spare him one.
Titch: I didn't rate those grapes you sent. Nasty squishy things.
Me: Well, it's the thought that counts.
Titch: I've ever understood that, myself.
Me: No. Neither have I.

So, having reached a broad measure of agreement, I decided to quit while I was ahead (or at least, not facing defeat). While I was there, Titch's stitches were removed, and he was very brave (credit where credit's due). He'll be confined to his box for a while yet, but best not to tell him that. I don't want to push my luck.

As for the insurance, the bill has already exceeded Titch's value, but I thought it would be tactless to mention it. After all, he has been ill. And I do love him.