Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Is This How You Spell Wiener?

Needless to say, I didn't write this, but thought it might make you laugh a bit.

How To Shower Like a Woman:

Take off clothing and place it in sectioned laundry hamper according to lights and darks.

Walk to bathroom wearing long dressing gown.

If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.

Look at your womanly figure in the mirror - make mental note to do more sit-ups/leg-lifts, etc., and stop eating chocolate.

Get in the shower. Use face cloth, arm cloth, leg cloth, long loofah, wide loofah and pumice stone.

Wash your hair once with cucumber and sage shampoo with 43 added vitamins.

Wash your hair again to make sure it's clean, but this time use shampoo with only 37 vitamins to avoid overload.

Condition your hair with grapefruit mint conditioner enhanced with real passion fruit.

Cleanse your face with crushed apricot facial scrub for 10 minutes until red.

Wash entire rest of body with ginger nut and jaffa cake body wash.

Rinse conditioner off hair.

Shave armpits and legs, trim bikini line.

Turn off shower.

Squeegee off all wet surfaces in shower.

Spray mold spots with Tilex.

Get out of shower and stand on bath mat.

Wrap hair in super absorbent towel.

Dry body with towel the size of a small country, carefully put wet towel in bathroom linen basket or hang over towel rail to dry.

Return to bedroom wearing long dressing gown and towel on head.

If you see husband along the way, cover up any exposed areas.

How To Shower Like a Man:

Take off clothes while sitting on the edge of the bed and leave them in a pile.

Walk naked to the bathroom.

If you see wife along the way, shake wiener at her making the 'woo-woo' sound.

Look at your manly physique in the mirror.

Admire the size of your wiener and scratch your ass.

Get in the shower. Wash your face. Wash your armpits.

Blow your nose in your hands and let the water rinse them off.

Fart and laugh at how loud it sounds in the shower.

Spend majority of time washing privates and surrounding area.

Wash your butt, leaving those coarse butt hairs stuck on the soap.

Rinse off and get out of shower. Avoid bath mat.

Dry off by violently rubbing body with towel in order to scatter short and curly hairs over the widest possible area.

Fail to notice water on floor because curtain was hanging out of tub the whole time.

Admire wiener size in mirror again. Shake it to watch water fly off.

Leave shower curtain open, wet mat on floor, light and fan on, window shut.

Return to bedroom with towel around waist.

If you pass wife, pull off towel, shake wiener at her and make the 'woo-woo' sound again.

Throw wet towel on bed.

Please don't take offence at this wild generalisation, folks, it's just an email which is doing the rounds at the office and helped brighten up an otherwise dark and gloomy but incredibly busy week.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

True Grit

Well, let's hear it for Captain Peter Burkill and his Co-Pilot John Coward who expertly and successfully brought stricken flight BA038 to a hairy but happy conclusion a couple of days ago. Or rather, if we are to respect their wishes, let's not. In true British iconic style, both Captain Burkill and First Officer Coward would just prefer to put their achievement down to good training and the reliability of their team rather than make a big deal of it or portray themselves as high-flying heroes. It is said that they find the story's front page status "embarrassing." How incredibly refreshing.

At a time when UK news is full of the fanciful sycophantic babblings of ex-Royal butler Paul (I've got a secret) Burrell, who obviously can't tell the difference between a patronising pat on the head and proper Royal Patronage, and who has remained in and out of the spot-light for the last ten years by spreading a little information incredibly thinly in order to appear more important than he actually is, it's comforting to learn that we still have heroes in this country who prefer to remain unsung.

It's hard to imagine the incredible pressure put on airline pilots and crews at the best of times. It can't be a stress-free job even in the general run of things. But can you imagine how it must feel to be in charge of the huge Boeing 777, 10 tonnes of fuel and the lives of 152 passengers and crew at the moment you realise the rubber band's bust? It's bad enough driving a car when you stick your foot on the gas and nothing happens, but at 600ft in the air? And still they had the presence of mind not to swap controls to let Captain Peter bring the plane in, thus saving valuable seconds, but held their nerve and did everything BA's extensive training had prepared them for. Fantastic.

And afterwards? Declaring that they were only doing their jobs, that they didn't want a fuss and after paying due tribute to their colleagues, what did they do then?

They went out for a quiet curry.

Bloody good show, chaps.

Friday, 18 January 2008

Fifties Chick

OK, so now you know I'm well over fifty, but please don't hold that against me. And guess what, being fifty plus isn't any big deal really. It just looks bad on paper. Of course, there are mornings when I wake up and think "Shit, I'm really old" but by the time I'm up and showered, have blow-dried my hair, put on some slap and a foxy outfit from one of my favourite non-geriatric stores (Hobbs, Zara or M and S on a good day) and spritzed myself with perfume, I am definitely hot to trot. Maybe with the odd wrinkle, but generally still "up for it" - whatever "it" turns out to be.

And that's the weird thing about getting older. Once you've learned to handle the inevitable hormonal helter-skelter (if you're a woman) or ignored it (if you're a man), you're sorted really and ready for the next slice of life, and often with renewed vigour. I'm not saying that I'm looking forward to it but, let's face it, getting older is certainly better than the only other alternative.

But one of the reasons I sometimes keep my advanced age to myself (apart from vanity) is that if people know how old you are, they tend to treat you differently. They have preconceptions of how each age group should behave and how it should be treated. It can be a little bit patronising. It's not exactly ageism, more an assumption that as you get to certain milestones, you will naturally do certain things and begin to act in a certain way. But why is that? Why does the chronological age of your body and mind mean that you will undergo a radical personality change? And is that inevitable? Can't we just be the same people we always were, but older? And hopefully a bit wiser, of course.

Recently I was a part of a conversation with a woman in her late 50's who was thinking of getting a smaller house because her kids have now left home and it seemed ridiculous maintaining a huge property just for her and her husband. She wanted to save cash to spend on exotic holidays, a new car, more fun. I could relate to that, but most people just assumed that she was "downsizing" now that they are "older" and would naturally opt for a bungalow, to avoid the stairs. She found this view quite amusing as both she and her husband regularly walk two miles a day, play tennis and badminton, go to the gym and have a landscaping business digging other people's gardens. Oh, and she teaches tap-dancing. But obviously, assumptions had been made, given her age.

As always, I have to rebel. So far I have resisted wearing my lipstick around the outside of my mouth, having a curly perm or buying a purple cape (unless they feature in Vogue), or any of the other stereotypes attributed to "women of a certain age". I haven't become invisible and I often (too often, some say) get my voice heard. I am me and always will be, personality-wise just the same as I always was but with a bit more time and money to spend on myself (until we reach pensionable age when I'll have to go on the game to afford makeup and gin).

And in the meantime?

No, I don't want an effing bungalow. But thanks very much for asking.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Up Close And Personal

Two of my favourite bloggers have tagged me recently, Wake Up And Smell The Coffee and Mopsa.

Mopsa's Meme asks for eight things I would like to happen in 2008. I am going to say straight away that I am not going to ask for world peace, an end to famine and pestilence, people to be kind to each other or any of that sort of stuff. It would all be very nice, but I have to be realistic.

Mainly my hopes for 2008 focus around home, family, health and happiness and to be honest, I'd pour all eight wishes into that. Selfish, I know, but we've had a tough time over the last few years in some ways, and frankly I feel my little clan deserves a break. So forgive me Mopsa, for being so introspective, but what I would really like to see is:

My son to get the recognition, support and respect he deserves.

My daughter and son in law to continue to enjoy their happiness.

My husband to realise that he doesn't have to hold the entire world on his shoulders and learn to relax.

Me to find a way to reach my personal writing goals.

OK, now for the rest of the world:

I'd really like to see Madeleine McCann returned safe and unharmed to her parents.

I'd like all the troops in Iraq to come home.

I'd like to see a change in attitude towards older people. Respect.

I'd like our Government to stop messing with people's lives and give professionals the opportunity to know best.

Oh-oh, watch out, I think I see pigs flying overhead.


Wakeup's Meme is to give seven previously undisclosed unusual facts about myself. I don't really think there's much you don't already know about me other than:

I once nicked a Bounty from our local newsagents (I was seven), tried to eat it but couldn't, guiltily threw it away, went back into the shop and put more than twice the original cost of the Bounty on the counter and ran out in tears. Odd girl. Still hate Bounties. Still have an over-developed sense of justice and fair play. Plus I was scared of being struck by lightning in retribution for a terrible sin.

Around the same age, I also dropped a toy car out of my bedroom window to scare my brother who was in the garden below, but instead of just hitting the ground beside him and making him jump, it embedded itself in his head. Blood everywhere. I blamed the boy next door, obviously. Well, it was his car before I "borrowed" it. Later I confessed to get him off the hook, burst into tears and ran off. again extremely worried about being struck by lightning.

The girl next door (whose brother's car I nicked) was horrible to me (I wonder why), so I carefully took the top off a bottle of milk which was on their doorstep and dropped a piece of fossilised cat poo into it and replaced the silver top. Later on I realised that this was an awful thing to do, ran round to confess, but they were all sitting there drinking cups of milky tea so I just burst into tears and ran off (see a pattern forming here?). At that point was convinced it was only a matter of time before the clouds parted and...... yes, you've guessed it. Kaboom.

When we left my childhood home I was eleven, leaving my best friend, every one of my relatives and all of the above fun and games behind and moved to Birmingham, and I was so lonely and unhappy I cried for two solid years (no kidding) but no one at home noticed. Or, so I thought, cared. By this time I think they were probably getting bored with the waterworks. It was such a terrible time, I think this was the lightning strike I'd feared for so long, and even now I could cry thinking about it.

In the 60's my friends and I used to wear mini-skirts so short they only just covered our knickers, but only if we didn't bend forward. We couldn't decently walk up the stairs at New Street Station and there often used to be a crowd of lads standing at the bottom of the steps, looking up and bumping into each other. But at least it taught me how to climb stairs or stand on the escalator sideways and block the rear view with my handbag. Unfortunately, these days I would need a much bigger bag.

In my 20's I did a bit of modelling (before you ask, it was the commercial type) and once modelled for a kitchen bin advert. Yes folks, it was my foot on that pedal and my hand on that lid. They didn't ever pay me or even give me a free bin. They must have thought I was rubbish.

And finally, I have over the years astounded many people with my slight psychic ability and fearsome ESP, but because of these "gifts" I regularly scare the shit out of myself before I really need to. No wonder I have high blood pressure.

But enough already, that's more than I've told anyone about myself, all in one go, ever. Without bursting into tears or running off, that is.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Oh Doctors, We're In Trouble


So. The Government now thinks it would be a good idea to instigate a screening programme for life-threatening diseases before they become a problem. On paper, that is indeed a great idea. Hopefully they realise it can only be a good thing if done properly and with a clear plan of how to deal with the inevitable knock-on effects, because without such a plan and a commitment to spend huge additional amounts of money, a screening programme will be useless. A bit like a one-legged man in an arse-kicking contest, it just won't stand up.

Admirable though the notion is, the idea that we can introduce universal screening without a guaranteed corresponding improvement in treatment availability means that this is unlikely to be successful in the long term. What "waiting list initiative" will be able to cope with the additional thousands of people who will no doubt swell the queues for specialist treatments because of their early diagnoses? Would it be better for them to fret about a potential deadly disease which may be progressing unchecked whilst anxiously waiting for months to be seen, or less worrying to live in blissful ignorance? Who can say? But perhaps the NHS should only ask the questions when it is committed to doing something with the answers. It's no good revealing a hidden problem early if there's no early treatment available for it, surely?

Forgive me for being cynical, but what concerns me is how on earth all of this is going to be paid for when, apparently, even now the NHS cannot afford the drugs which can prolong the lives of breast cancer sufferers and other patients are routinely switched from "too costly" drugs which treat their symptoms efficiently and are tolerated well, to something cheaper which fails to do the job and leaves the patient feeling ill. Psychiatric facilities are a shambles, geriatric services a disgrace, filthy hospitals are a breeding ground for bugs which are resistant to everything except good old fashioned cleaning, also deemed to be too expensive. So now we have to rely on bottles of gel instead of washing our hands, on antibiotics to make people better after we've made them sick, all for the lack of decent hospital cleaners and a bucket of hot bleach and a clean mop. Yet instead of fixing existing problems within the NHS, and goodness knows there are enough of them to go at, the Government is thinking of yet another way to put an additional strain on already hideously overstretched resources. And no mention of how it's all going to be funded. Brilliant.

Prevention certainly is better than cure, but it all takes money and unless this is definitely going to be made available (and not at the expense of some other deprived area of the NHS) just what is the point anyway? Hasn't anyone thought of the consequences and the requirements of a scheme such as this? If you ask me, it's a bit of a tease.

Or just another sick joke?