Saturday, 12 March 2011

Where Have the Years Gone By?

I got fed up of blogging, I must admit. You see, I went into this job many years ago, where I was told repeatedly, Blogging is the way forward for SEO purposes...keep your content updated on a regular basis, and Boy, YOU WILL ZOOM UP THE SEARCH ENGINES.

All I wanted to do was bitch about the ex and some former employers...all of a sudden, it became a little too corporate and too much of a chore...and so I gave up...for nearly four years - haha!

I decided to have a break - I took leave of work and wrote a book (which is about 2 pages from finishing and entitled Ducks, Muck and Lots of Luck - shit title, I know, but a WIP) and attempted to breed ducks, geese and chickens.

After 18 months of the ducks and geese devastating everything outside of our bricks and mortar house, and making the most inordinate amount of racket, we sold them...after we had 'liberated' Gary and Barry (Aylesbury Ducks) on the beautiful River Weaver where we still see them and chuck them bread. Brenda, the Embden Goose died, leaving her sister, Mave the Rave on her own, so we sold her to a Welsh farmer whose gander was in a 'terrible state' having lost his partner.

And now we have 15 chickens. They are of varying breeds, but they all have names: Euphemia, Lavender, Ethel, Mavis, Maude, Violet, Betty, Joyce, Raquel, Tina & Cher (they are the Black Rocks and I thought a Rock Star name appropriate), Norma, Biddy, Hilda and Una. They each lay a mean egg - wholly free-range and wholly organic...and I now sell them across our village and beyond. For 75 frigging pee per half dozen when Tesco get two whole bloody pounds for the same!

What else has happened? As if you are interested??

I went back to work...I worked for the most racist person I have ever come across who made me feel physically ill when he ranted about his Asian customers...and so I got out after nine months of steely, gritted toleration, much to his chagrin. He threatened me, abused me and called me 'transient' when I handed in my notice. Out of goodwill, I offered to work a month, even though I only needed to do a week.

After he gave me a crap reference, even though I had netted them £1000s due to my PR and marketing (even landing them on prime time TV from PR), I walked out. His parting words were that he wouldn't pay me a sausage...and THAT is where you are wrong, Mister!

"Unlawful Deduction of Wages" act comes into play somewhere here...and thus I digress...

Hey! I grew some balls! I told that turd he was unprofessional, petty and filled with sour grapes. What a guy.

I mean to say, gurlies, how would you feel about a bloke who came in to work each day, unkempt, scratching his balls, burping and saying 'parrrr-dON' in a dodgy French accent, banging on about granny porn and the most recent consignment of porn he and his wife were expecting from the States (and then he would clear off home and go off work-chat while they watched unmentionable stuff)

...and then, when an Asian guy would ring up for his money back on one of his dodgy hair loss solutions, he would be screaming (while customer service were chatting to said customer): F*cking P*ki C*nts...tell them to F*ck right off!

Sorry, I don't buy into that type of hatred.

I start work with a new company on Monday. And Christ, I hope it works out because I am as stressed out as hell about it all - the case of fingers burned firmly springs to mind!

My biggest coup is landing my very first freelance PR gig with Planet Earth they cover all manner of sexual health that's going to be exciting, isn't it?!

I am going to TRY to keep this blog updated again...if I get more than five comments on this post, I will go for it!

Apologies for it being a dull one so far!

Agnes xxx

Sunday, 3 May 2009

The Senescent Charles Parsnip

It was my darling husband's 40th birthday on Sunday. As befits a man of his age, at 11am, Sunday morning, he was back in bed, snoozing until lunchtime as he cannot stand the pace. That's OK. I will never let him live it down, though, believe me...

It took me ages to plan his birthday weekend. It is always made much more difficult because I simply cannot keep a surprise to save my life and walk around with a cheesey, yet hopefully knowing grin on my face, as if to say, "I know something you don't know..." Then I ask if he wants to know what his surprise is, to which he always says, "No!", I gripe and wheedle, he gives in and I blurt it all out triumphantly and then have to do something else instead.

I decided that, as #2 was away at her father's, we'd make a weekend of it all. I started preparing on Tuesday night, baking his birthday cake, making a fantastic seafood pâté for his Saturday morning brekkie with home-made bread (which we had all scoffed by Thursday night), booking us a room at Cranage Hall down the road, blowing up countless numbers of balloons with #2 and organising a plethora of birthday cards ranging from a paw-painted one from Oscar (there are still green footprints in the kitchen) to a Happy 50th Birthday from the tortoises which are still in hibernation since last Autumn...

I was very kind to him yesterday. I allowed him to sleep in until 7.30am. I tend to wake up with the Dawn Chorus and stare at him until he rouses himself. He must find it a very religious experience as he often wakes up shouting, Jesus Christ!

I was ever so good, dear reader: I held my water for four days. I had it all planned out, to kick him out of the house, fill the conservatory with balloons and banners, pack the cards, chocolate and wine and then pretend to be taking him to Shakerley Mere for a stroll, yet secretly driving him to the hotel for the night. I'd packed our bags, fed and watered all the animals (apart from the tortoises which have probably dried up by now and will be my newest ash trays).

Friday night, he caved, wanted to know the plans and I 'fessed up immediately. I showed him the Hall's facade and he appeared delighted, as was I for getting the room half-price on a late-booking deal.

We set off for a walk and lunch at the Duke of Portland, a supposed gastro-pub which has won all sorts of awards. I haven't got a clue how they have won these gongs, because the food was that insipid and bland, that I complained and got the booze knocked off the bill. My leek and potato soup tasted like weak cabbage water and Mr P's macaroni cheese appeared to have been made with Kraft Singles. Nasty, skanky junk. We were glad to get on and get to the hotel.

And didn't it look posh?! Gosh, I was chuffed, driving up the long carriage sweep to the main entrance, where we checked in...and were then directed to the Travelodge annexe. Boo hiss! I was most disgruntled. I'd paid all that money and could have gone to the M6 services for the same quality of room.

My face fell. Mr P tried to make light of it all and said the main thing was that we could have some hot sex without waking #2. That wasn't good enough for me. I wanted a luxurious pampering session in the bath with all my unguents, a salubrious room and a view of the rolling Cheshire Plains, not the car park.

Mr P sank down into his chair, heavily, and picked up a brochure to scan. Inside, it contained pictures of people with their throats cut.

"What's that?" I asked. "Are they the people who have died here?"

"No. It's an advert for a murder-mystery weekend..."

I decided the only way to get through the weekend was to get drunk, but Mr P put his foot down and told me I wasn't allowed to. Yet another avenue of pleasure denied me. We had to smoke outside and the nearest exit was about ten miles away, down a veritable warren of different corridors. I got lost a few times and seemed to keep finding myself in the bar...

We decided to go and explore the hotel. The cleaning staff were out and about, and their trolleys, filled with bubble baths, soaps, moisturisers and shower caps were littered along the passage ways. I am a sucker for hotel toiletries and have come away with enough body lotion to moisturise a small hospital. Yes, I am a tea leaf: I never steal anything but hotel toiletries. I believe it is something to do with me wanting to get my money's worth...

We found ourselves at the Tempus Restaurant and were greeted by a wonderfully acerbic hostess called Gill. She explained that the restaurant was closed off as it was being taken over by a Beauty Pageant. I asked if it was lettuce and raisins on the menu and she raised a weary eyebrow. 

"They'll only go and throw that up, too..." she remarked astutely.

Sure enough, I have never seen so many anorexic teenagers before. But do you know what was so ironic? All their parents were massive. Clinically obese, some of them...There was also a wedding going on. I think Charles and I were the only 'normal' guests there to be honest.

We told Gill that we would be coming for dinner tonight and she winked at me - I'd already arranged for a birthday cake for Mr P to be brought to him and she told us she'd reserve one of the booths for us - which was very intimate.

We toddled off to the bar for a game of pool where I was mercilessly drubbed by Mr P, despite trying to get some advice from a young staff member who bore a strong Glaswegian accent. I could barely make out what he was advising me, and so it is hardly surprising that I continued to mis-pot the balls. I think Mr P was a bit jealous to be honest, but refuses to admit it. He claims it would never have future due to the language barrier...

The evening meal was jolly good, I must admit. And Gill brought out a birthday cake for Mr Parsnip. We only discovered the next day that she'd whipped down to the Co-op and bought one of theirs. The cavernous restaurant was practically empty and so we were waited on hand-and-foot - none of the beauty pageanters were in there for seconds, obviously.

We turned in pretty early, really, and were both out for the count when, at 2am, our hotel phone started ringing. I jumped out of bed in fright, started shouting, Where am I? What's happening? Where's that bloody phone? (I didn't know if it was on his side or mine) and then, Turn the bloody light on for God's sake. 

The minute I answered it, it went dead. Boy, was I annoyed...but not enough to lose any more sleep and I started sawing logs pretty much instantly. Mr P took much longer to get off. Probably because I was keeping him awake.

I was half-tempted, next morning, to get my own back on our anonymous caller, and randomly play knock and run on the bedroom doors when I went for my 5.45am fag over on the other side of the world. There were a few Sunday Papers shoved outside doors, too, and I considered swapping them around just to confound the guests...but that would have got staff into trouble, so I decided against that pretty sharpish.

Charles treated himself to a Full Monty Fry-up of sausages, eggs, beans, mushrooms, toast, bacon and hash browns.

We have not heard the last of it since. He is now so constipated that he has had to take two of my laxatives. And still there is no joy. I have offered to give him a suppository of soap, but he has passed on that magnanimous gesture.

Mr P spent the rest of his birthday gardening. We have turned a large area of scrub land over to vegetables and Mr Parsnip, as befits his name, is nurturing all sorts of vegetables and cat shit. To date, we have spent about £50 on cat deterrent gizmos. One is a sonic thingummy-jig which just seems to set next-door's dog off on a frenzy, and the other stuff stinks of garlic and pepper. #2 loves it and inhales it readily, like a Coke addict. So, I am most dismayed to find two fresh dollops in my newly hown plot this morning. 

Mr P loves his veg plot. Indeed, I think he loves it more than me nowadays. In his constipated, poorly state, yesterday, he even got his dressing gown and wellies on and went to inspect it. He was pleased to report a cat shit-free zone. And so it is to me to dash his ebullient mood today when he returns from the library, replete with SF novels, Photography guides...and How To Grow doubt.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Love Thy Neighbour...

As our other reader may be aware, I live in a large village in the heart of Cheshire. I believe, a few years ago, the local County Council voted to re-term it as a 'town', but the residents kicked up such a fuss (probably something to do with taxes), that the idea was shelved and 'village' it remains. It's an eclectic mix of demographics. At both ends of the village are the Knobs' Hills - enormous country piles; thatched cottages; elegant 1930s townhouses - and then in the middle, there are two rambling 1950s housing estates, built by the Council, for the large chemical works, ICI, which has since closed down. Workers were given the chance to buy their houses, and many of them did, only to sell them on later. I live in one such house - it was owned by a Mr John Langley, an original ICI worker, who bought the property for £5000, raised a son, and died here a few years ago. A builder then bought the place, ripped its guts out, did it up, and I toddled along, made him an offer and moved in six weeks later.

This housing estate's roads and closes are all named after trees. For example, there are Walnut Avenue; Hazel Grove; Ash Grove; Rowan Road; Laburnum Close (which on the other side, reads 'Laburnam Close' - a schizophrenic Town & Country planner, obviously). And, thankfully, there are lots of trees about, which is always a delight to me, although not to Mr P who suffers terribly with hay fever, and whose eyes look like pickled eggs in the summer months. The houses range from those designated for the elderly to townhouses to semis (such as ours) and a few detached. Due to the wildly varying prices, there are people from all walks of life living around here.

To the rear of our property is a row of shops. I have mentioned the colourful characters in the past, but it never ceases to amaze me who you can bump into over there (not Jonny Depp, most unfortunately...). On Wednesday, I visited the Post Office to withdraw some money. As usual, there was a queue of blue-rinsers who fumble with surprise into their bags once they reach the window, as if they are shocked to find themselves there and have suddenly forgotten what on earth they have come for...

As I stood patiently, a young 'lady' (and I use that term very loosely) entered the shop pushing a buggy containing a snot-nosed baby, and dragging a 7-year old boy and toddler. I knew she was coming to the post office because I heard her telling her child a mile away. She stopped traffic. She was the inspiration for the Fog Horn. She genuinely was not shouting at her children; she simply yelled instead of talking. 

Everyone in the shop stopped, aghast, at the noise which emenated from her vocal cords. My ears started to bleed and I got a fit of uncontrollable giggles. To try to stem my hilarity, I stared at the CCTV cameras and attempted to look as though I was about to stage a stick-up, imagining the hurly-burly of Cheshire Constabulary coming to take me away...It didn't work. I had to cross my legs as I thought I might wet myself. The faces of the other customers were pictures.

As I arrived at the window, the female teller rolled her eyes at me and shook her head sadly. She asked me for my request and I waggled a finger in my ear, and asked her to speak up as I had gone a bit deaf...By this stage, the woman had left the shop (and an audible vacuum). Had she still been there, I wouldn't have cracked this joke, as she was a big bruiser and would have snapped me in two. I quite like the arrangement of my body as it is, to be frank.

I got my money and then moved to the shop counter to purchase my cigarettes. An old bloke was in front of me, spending his pension on Lucky Dips, Thunderballs and Scratch Cards. He was taking forever, but he ponged of Famous Grouse, so perhaps he was just half-cut. Suddenly, the 7-year old boy returned, barrelling down the shop to the counter, picked up a Twirl and waited to be served. He was only there for about ten seconds when his mother 'said' from the door.




Mmm. Nice. I was thrilled to have been treated to that gem of information. At least it was a Number One. I shuddered to think what she might have divulged had her bowels been moving at that point...

There was a tangible sigh of relief went around the other customers as she left the premises. Half an hour later, as she arrived at home, a mile away, I heard her exclaim, "AAH! F*CKIN' 'ELL, THAT'S BETTER..."

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Pearl Necklaces and Other Gems...

I went to the hairdresser yesterday for a wee trim as my hair was starting to resemble a hedgehog which had mated with a Brillo pad. Sam, my hairdresser, knows me pretty well, and as my hair is still rather short, knows she can slot me in quickly in between lengthier appointments. Therefore, I didn't mind a short wait and decided to lower my IQ by flicking through the magazine, Closer.

In between scanning Jordan and Peter's latest scandal, and Kerry's weight gain due to her excessive vodka binges, I happened upon an article which displayed a picture of a grossly obese woman slathering what looked like flour and water on her face. Contained within the palm of her hand was a puddle of the stuff.

Intrigued, I read on further...

From a young age, the woman had been encouraged by her mother to look after her complexion, and subjected her skin to all manner of facials, unguents and treatments in order to have the perfect face (pity about the arrangement of it, I must admit). In her quest for the ultimate epidermis, she sought out labs in the United States and came across a company called CMEN*** (say it out loud).

Yup. That was no flour and water concoction adorning her rosy cheeks, but sperm: jiz; spunk; man it what you will.

She didn't have a boyfriend to ask for a few of his samples and 'didn't feel comfortable asking [her] male friends' (hardly surprising, I guess - 'Scuse me Steve, will you just jerk off in my face, please?'...) and so she spends a small fortune each month for a vial (or 'vile', depending on which way you look at it) of STD-screened sperm which comes with a bottle of lavender oil (to take away the pong) and a spatula for mixing. She puts this lavender-jiz mix on her face morning and night. The routine is to allow it to become crusty and then wash it off. She was amazed by the results! Within a few days, a dry patch of skin on her chin had vanished!! (Nothing to do with the healing properties of lavender oil, obviously, despite this being very well documented in alternative medicine journals). She has since spent £6000 on sperm, and although she felt somewhat uncomfortable at first, she pulled herself together and told herself it was 'just another skin treatment'.

Although she hasn't got a fella at the moment (and it's hardly surprising considering she's massive, not on the attractive side, and slathers her face in spunk), she claims she would NEVER give up her beauty secret if she did land some poor, unsuspecting sap. If he didn't like another man's jiz on her face, he wasn't the bloke for her...

I couldn't wait to tell Mr P, but I promptly forgot until this morning when I kindly brought him a cup of tea in bed. He was half asleep, had a go at me for snoring through the night, proceeded to snore himself and so I decided shock tactics might wake him up. I relayed the story to him in gory detail and suddenly his eyes opened.

'Wha? She puts sperm on her face?'

'Oh yes. And there was a photo of all this spermy gloop smeared into her cheeks.' I explained with glee.

'Oh God. That's disgusting. A stranger's sperm?'

'Yep! Probably sperm donor rejects...'

'Is it good for the skin, then?'

'I've told you many a time that it is. Why do you think I ask you to *&%$^££%%...?'

'Oh God. Oh God...'

'Don't think I'd fancy another bloke's man juice on me, I must admit. Anyway, the daft cow is paying a small fortune for the benefits of lavender oil, I'm pretty sure of that...'

I couldn't wait to tell #2 daughter, now that I had remembered the story. #2 loves to be revolted, so I collared her in the kitchen and started to tell my tale again.

'I was reading Closer in the hairdressers yesterday and there was this article about a really enormous woman, with long ginger hair...'

'Aw...bless,' #2 interjected.

'...who slathers strange men's sperm on her face as a skin treatment...'

'URGH! I'm gonna be sick! You mean SPERM? Proper SPERM?'

'Yes. She buys it from a lab called CMEN and has it posted to her every month. She's spent six grand on spunk now!'

'Oh My God, Mum! The dirty cow! Did you see it?'

'Yes. There was a puddle of spunk in her hand and she was slathering it into her face. It was quite putrid, to be honest with you...'

'Urgh. Doesn't it dry all crusty-like?' (I'm not sure how she has discovered the properties of sperm, and I must make a note to myself to interrogate her on this tonight when she returns from the ex's house)

'Yes. And that's the point at which she must wash it off. She reckons it has done wonders for her skin.'

#2 was speechless (which is a rare event) and cogitated this information for all of five minutes before continuing to bombard me with questions, the most modal being 'what did it look like?'.

And so, there you have it. Discard your Clarins, Clinique, Mac, Nivea, Oil of Olay and purchase some Oil of Ollie. If you have a man in your life, I feel certain he will oblige you and if not, don't be a wimp like this woman, just march up to the next man in the street and proposition him. It's cheaper than using CMEN. I feel certain that the erupting spot on my top lip will be gone by tomorrow now that I have this knowledge...

*** Please do not confuse CMEN with CMEN. I don't think it would 'go down' very well...

Monday, 27 April 2009

Flavour of the Month (Not)...

I have no idea about the rest of you in the world, but here in the UK, there is a brand of crisps called Walkers which currently has a marketing campaign to introduce a new flavour onto the unsuspecting British public.

The new flavours were submitted by people who obviously thought for all of ten seconds about the weirdest tastes imaginable and which were then 'developed' by infamous British chef, Heston Blumenthal, who appears to be two butties short of a picnic on the best of occasions (the guy makes porridge out of snails, for heaven's sake). Mr Blumenthal goes off with his chemist buddy, dickies around with all sorts of preservatives, E-numbers, carcinogens and MSG derivatives and comes up with the following:

Cajun Squirrel
Chilli & Chocolate
Builder's Breakfast
Onion Bhaji
Fish & Chips
Crispy Duck & Hoisin

So, in the interests of research, Mr P and I decided to try out each of these flavours for our other reader so that you don't have to (and believe me, you really don't want to...)

Cajun Squirrel

OK. The blurb reads that 'no squirrels were harmed in the development of this flavour'. Instantly, I am on my guard. If it says 'squirrel', I want to be sure I am eating squirrel. If no squirrels were harmed, how does Heston know what they taste like? Did he wait for some road kill or something? Did he ask a fox what squirrel tastes like? How many native Louisianans eat squirrel? 
Verdict: Tastes like chicken which has been rolled around in orange dust.

Chilli & Chocolate

This to me, defeats the object of a savoury snack. Why put chocolate into it? If I want chocolate, I'll go and buy a bar of Galaxy, not buy chocolate-flavoured spuds. That's just bollocks. Yes, I know that it is fashionable to sling a few pieces of dark chocolate into your Mexican banquet these days since some bright spark discovered that the Aztecs used to do it, whilst worshipping their God, Costalotl, but it doesn't make sense to me. 
Verdict: Tastes like spicy chicken with a sickly after-taste of something resembling saccharine.

Builder's Breakfast

Ostensibly, the Full Monty fry-up: bacon, eggs, mushrooms, black pudding, fried bread. What a mish-mash of flavours. When the packet is opened, there is an overwhelming smell of bad farts. It is reminiscent of the egg butties I make for #2 daughter who complains bitterly about the way she is ostracised on the school bus when her bag is accidentally kicked and an eggy pong seeps its way to the gobbiest kid's nose who then loudly asks, WHO'S FARTED?
Verdict: Tastes like the smell of rotten eggs with a smokey piquancy. Weird. Much to be avoided if you want to keep your friends and acquaintances close to you.

Onion Bhaji

I love onion bhajis. In fact, I love Indian food, full-stop. It has to be that cuisine dearest to my stomach lining. I decided to have a prawn vindaloo last week and suffered for 48 hours afterwards. I have never before eaten a curry which tastes of hot. I am glad I put the toilet roll into the freezer ready for the morning after the night before. But, I digress. These do not taste even remotely like onion bhajis.
Verdict: Taste like manky beef casserole.

Fish & Chips

Another bizarre combination for a bag of crisps. I mean to say, chips taste like crisps, don't they? So, is this not a bit of a con? I am paying extra money to have spud-flavoured crisps...which are made from spuds. Chuck in a bit of oyster sauce for a malodourous fish input and Heston reckons we can be kidded into tucking into a bag of fish & chips. Nooooo! You cannot bastardise fish & chips. It is illegal.
Verdict: Tastes like really bad prawn cocktail.

Crispy Duck & Hoisin Sauce

I'm not a great lover of Chinese food, particularly not the variety which has been devised for the 11.30pm chucked-out-of-the-pub-I'm-starving-let's-get-a-Chinese type. And Crispy Duck falls into this category as far as I am concerned. It's sweet gloop which has been created for those whose palates have seared off through the night after drinking ten pints of Carlsberg lager.
Verdict: Tastes like chicken. With chocolate.

Basically, Heston has revamped chicken, prawn cocktail, egg and beef flavoured crisps. And probably got yet another TV series on how to make castles of lard, black pudding and cress. So, there you have it. Which would you vote for? I wouldn't be bothered for any of them, personally. The winner will be as popular as hedgehog flavoured crisps were in the 70s.

Give me marmite rice cakes, any day.