Wednesday, 20 May 2009

List of HATE

I've been meaning to start this for some time, despite it sounding like an incredibly negative thing to do. Actually, I think this is going to be a cathartic experience and, through expressing my hates in the open they'll be highlighted in all their ridiculousness and therefore belittled.

First, a word or two about the nature of this hate list:

This isn't serious. I'm not going to be listing dark and disturbing thoughts here. Nor am I going to go into the things that make me deeply angry. There will be no ranting about my loathing of pretension, vanity, selifishness, self-absorption, blind opinion, judgement, Big Brother ... nay! This will be a list of all the things I find frustrating, distressing, irksome, in an everyday fashion. You know - traffic lights changing to red just as you get there, that sort of thing.

I'm not going to sit down in one fell swoop and list all my hates. Not only would that be emotionally exhausting and put me in the world's foulest mood for a month, but I'd be guaranteed to think of twenty five other, different and more irksome things the very next day and have to go back and change the list. No, this will be an ongoing notation of life's minor miseries, and I encourage anyone with a small, yet potent, irk to note them here and thus expend some frustrated energy.

I shall kick off proceedings with Hate Number 1.

1) Getting changed after the gym. There is simply nothing good about it. You start out hot and sweaty. You have a shower. You then spend the next 1o minutes returning to the same hot and sweaty state as you commenced the process, owing to the overheated nature of gym changing rooms, the tininess of the cubicles, or, if you're bold enough to use the open communal bit, the contortions you inevitably have to perform behind a concealing towel because some mother has brought her 6 year old boy child in and he's gawking at you like he's never seen an arse that big in his life. (To be fair, he probably hasn't). You also never - NEVER - manage to leave with dry socks. The gym floor is always wet thanks to swimmers (of which I am often one) and no matter how hard you try, you can't avoid putting your dry, cosy foot into a skanky puddle. By the time you've left the gym you wish to God you'd just gone home in a dog-sweat and showered there.

That's number 1. More - o so many more - will follow.

Friday, 15 May 2009


Good Lord, how remiss I have been. Sad that the more there is going on, the less time I have to write my blog and therefore the less interesting said blog is. And that is very poor English.

So: what's the craik, O clamouring reader? What newsworthy events have taken place in the little world of Bampot since our weekend escapade with Badge and Jan? Hmm.

*Flicks through diary*


First of all, Fisher's Dad - Sparky - got hisself all married up an' stuff. Fisher was less than enthusiastic about the whole process, which you can understand. She's got no problem with the new wife, who seems pleasant, or with Sparky getting hitched again, but it's not something she really felt very celebratory about. But we toddled along with smiles in our hearts, all dolled up and ready to make merry. It was teeming it down as we left our neck of the woods - and things didn't look much brighter in St Andrews. Sparky and the bride greeted us in skanky old clothes, which took me aback a bit - but they did get changed before the ceremony. This took place in the back garden, so we were all eyeing the clouds, gnawing our lips in trepidation. But lo! About 30 minutes before the ceremony was due to kick off, the clouds parted, the sun shone down, and it was as beautiful as Scottish weather ever deigns to be. The ceremony kicked off, vows were said ...

Actually, scrap that. The bride said her vows, but Sparky is a Geordie and therefore cries at the sight of a flower with a broken stem. He was completely unable to get the words out, sobbing like a bairn and, eventually, having to just nod and sniffle agreement as the registrar read out what he was supposed to be promising. Now, if I were the bride, I'd not stand for that shit. Sounds like the best cop out imaginable. "I've slept with this other woman, but if you recall, I never actually managed to promise anything on our wedding day owing to being overcome with emotion, so ner ner ner." I hope she pinned him down later and made him swear on his blood - BLOOD - all the things he was supposed to promise.

Then came the exchange of rings. Was there a cute little ring bearer all dressed up in velvet? There was not (thank god). What there was, in light of Sparky's obsession with railways, was a model railway track all the way round the garden, and an alarmingly large model train that chuffed up holding a small stuffed moose which, in turn, was clutching the rings between its be-tartaned knees. Amused? Indeed we were.

It was all very charming, but I must say I was surprised at the homily. The registrar kept banging on about how "once in a lifetime" romance comes along, and "once in a lifetime" you meet someone with whom you wish to share your life. Well, apart from the fact that this is a load of old hogwash at the best of times, there was a massive elephant in the ... er ... garden, trumpeting loudly and eating all the scones. This was Sparky's second marriage, and the daughter of his deceased wife was sitting in the congregation feeling, not surprisingly, extremely furious. Once in a lifetime my arse. What was Sparky thinking? What was the registrar thinking? It's not like she didn't know he was a widower - you have to fill that in on the form.

Anyway, that aside it was a pretty ceremony thanks to the weather and the beautiful garden. Hilarity ensued afterwards when Fisher's grandmother decided to get rather pished on 2 1/2 glasses of champoo. Not only did she stand, swaying slightly, spraying scone crumbs in her determination to tell us all that she didn't drink, that she was a methodist and had therefore been sober for 82 years, but she got her hands on the model railway controls and started sending the train whizzing round the garden like the Shinkansen driven by Nino Farina. I have an image of her grinding the controls, cackling with delight as Sparky leaps through the air in slow motion crying "no-o-o-o-o" as if taking a bullet for the Queen.

That was on the Friday. The festivities continued over the weekend, but Fisher had no desire to be put under the inevitable scrutiny of 'only child watching Papa marry again" so we'd bowed out. Instead, we had a visit from Lu and Arrow which was fantastic. We packed the weekend full with many trips, including one to Clunie gardens, which are beautiful - and I now know the difference between a Primula and a Primrose, thanks to Lu. (One is a flower. The other is a type of soft cheese in a tube). We also discovered a tiny little potter* just beside Loch Tay, consisting of an old dude in a cottage throwing clay around like nobody's business and selling it for tuppence ha'penny. We bought a fantastic, fat casserole pot with 6 little bowls that dangled from its lip - all for the mighty price of under £40. We also checked out Fortingall Yew, which was - until about 24 hours ago - the oldest tree in Europe (curse those Swedes and their Old Tjikko). It was one of those situations where you think "yeah, well, we're passing, so we might as well take a peek" and is actually incredibly, surprisingly moving. There is something truly humbling yet invigorating about standing, looking at something that people have stood and looked at for nigh on 5,000 years. Little Neolithic babies probably crawled beneath it, while their mothers skinned rabbits they'd caught and their father's slept off last night's pint from the Fortingall Hotel (no dogs, tinkers or Neanderthals).

We ended the weekend with a gathering of folk for Sunday lunch. We'd told Lu and Arrow that we were inviting Epona and Shah round, but not that Spar and Blar would also be joining us. I thought it would be a nice surprise - and indeed it would have been had, five minutes before their arrival, Fisher not asked loudly whether the person who'd just rung was Blarney and if they were running late. My clever, 'throw 'em off the scent' reponse to this was to stare angrily and say "what!?"

Nevertheless, we had delicious roast beef from Howies, delectable Yorkies from Fisher's Mum's recipe, and divine lemon layer pudding from Good Housekeeping - all washed down with fine red wine (in moderation, naturally). And then, slowly, the house emptied and Fisher and I were alone. Alone at last. What romance ensued!

Yeh. Right. 6 hours of cleaning the kitchen later and the romance ensued - just like that Elton John line in I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues: "... living like lovers, snoring like thunder, under the covers."

The following week was taken up by a saga with the drains like you would not BELIEVE. However, Fisher has documented this quite thoroughly in her blog here so I won't go into it again. It'll just make me angry. Instead I shall relate the joys of Blarney's birthday weekend. And by 'joys' I mean 'hard graft while Blar lay on a chaise longue and was fed ripe grapes.'

Hah haaaa. I've just seen, in my mind's eye, Blar's infuriated expression as she read that. Let's remember, folks, that she is 8 1/2 months pregnant and I do nothing but tell her that when Sister was that far along she was pulling a plough with her teeth, and that she should pick up a bloody scraper instead of poking dirty coffee mugs with a stick and pretending she's helping. Naturally, this is not well received, which gives me great joy.

So, we arrived in Edinburgh on the day of Blar's 31st birthday, armed with a sander - which we'd had to pick up from Dunfermline owing to Spar being given the runaround by B&Q in Bruntsfield. We were soon set to work. I was, suspiciously, given all jobs that required destruction in some way - removing a set of bannisters being my first task. This was easy enough, although there were a great many screws to be unscrewed, and most of them appeared to have been screwed in by some sort of ballistic-powered screwdriver. I was screwed. Actually, it was fine but I developed a teeny, tiny blister between my first and second fingers, which I delighted in showing everyone because it gave me the opportunity to stick an offensive V-sign up at them. Ah, maturity. Don't you love it? However, the offensive V-sign came in most useful when Spar blithely reported, after screw number 712 had finally fallen, that "oh, we have an electric screwdriver here." Blithering bastard.

Next up was stripping the walls of the sort of wallpaper your granny thinks is old fashioned. The rest of the team were doing sterling work in the 'master bedroom' so Koi and I set to work on the nursery. Without a steamer. And the wallpaper was woodchip. Anyone tried to remove woodchip? It's a bastard even with a steamer, so attempting to tackle it without was akin to storming the Bastille with a toothpick and the sudden realisation that your frères in liberté, whom you thought were at your back, have just nipped into the local bistro for a pint of vin rouge. We chipped away at it for about 20 minutes, removing approximately 3 strands of dental-floss sized woodchip, and then went and mugged next door for the steamer.

It still took the rest of Saturday to remove 2/3rds of the paper. I finished it off with Pro and Phid's help on Sunday, Gor' bless 'em. Monday also saw Fisher and me working at the place, and we were proud to strip the paper of the guest bedroom and also sand the floor with the temperamental sander (which behaved immaculately - must just have needed a woman's touch). I swear, if we don't get full membership into the Dyke's club for this then I'm cancelling my subscription.

That just about brings me up to date with newsworthy news. My Ma arrived on Tuesday but I had to take her to Connell airport so she could fly to see Sister and sons for a week. She'll be back to visit on the 20th, so we'll have a few things planned.

Today is the most miserable day you've ever seen - grey, wet, windy - but we've had such a run of unbelievable sun that I can almost forgive it. Yesterday, in fact, it was so sunny and glorious that I persuaded Fisher to come with me on a bike ride. We rode merrily to Little Glenshee ... or, at least, I started out merrily before realising that it's fucking HILLY around where we live. It was a 14 mile round trip and we took a picnic and ate it by the side of a wee burn. Idyllic, save for the chafing pain of my knickers gradually eating their way into my thighs.

Today I volunteered at the local society for the blind, where I met some cool older women and offered to ply my massage trade for them. The idea went down well, so come the beginning of June I may well be doing weekly massages there. Fisher and I then went for High Tea at the visitor centre, which is NOT on my diet, and chatted about this and that. And now I'm here. And now I'm not ...

*Tiny little pottery, that should be. Although the potter himself was pretty teeny, too.