Monday, 17 November 2008

Hex My Pets

This post was reputedly going to be written by Mr Parsnip, considering he was the one who flew into high dudgeon over the event, but as per usual, he is all mouth and no trousers and his photography priorities come high above such quality literature as you read on HexMyEx.

As our regular reader may know, we have taken possession of a black and white, male kitten. I have had cats (as befits a witch of my calibre) since I was knee-high to a grasshopper but unfortunately, over the last 20-odd years, haven't had much luck with them.

'Tom #1' snuffed it of a heart attack just shy of his first birthday, so along came 'Lucky', a rescue cat whose fate wasn't that lucky if you care to read the link. Lucky was the last cat I owned at my parents' house and upon moving in with the ex, I obtained 'Scroff', short for Scrofulous, meaning TB-ridden. She was lovely. She got knocked down by a car within eight months of us owning her. 'Poirot' came along to replace her and we later had to donate him to the mother-in-law upon our expatriation to Oman. 'Sid' (short for Sidr, which was the Garden Court upon which we lived - and I thought 'she' was a 'he') adopted us from a bin when we lived in Muscat. She was a scraggy stray who wobbled from the bin into our house, ate my sausages and didn't leave. She was then taken on by another family upon my departure. Repatriation brought 'Tom #2' who now resides with the ex and is the size of a small pouffe upon which you can rest your weary feet; 'Holly', in my own house, was donated to a friend whose daughter longed for a pet and since I was living alone and out at work 12 hours each day it was deemed kinder; then 'Ollie' and 'Norman' have been here and since done a runner, having found that living on the other side of the main road, where there are many foxy Tabbies is infinitely preferable to living on this side of the road where there is little but Carling Black Label cans, smelly old dogs and too many curious children for their liking.

After a short gap and a resolution NEVER to get another cat, I got all starry-eyed for a kitten one afternoon in the local hostelry having read the Mid-Cheshire Buy-Sell free paper in which there were plenty of scrawny runts for sale at exorbitant prices.

-Mr P? Can I have a kitten, please?

-Err...Yes. I guess so. If you want.


Ten minutes later, I have a postcode, a time to collect the remaining male of the litter and suddenly, Mr P is more excitable than a bag full of monkeys. I learned that he had never had a pet from scratch, never named anything (apart from his City of Heroes' villains) and thus, I decided to 'give' the kitten to him, to love, cherish, feed, clean out its litter tray and leave the kicking and abuse to me.

'Oscar' came to our abode at the end of August, when #1 and #2 daughters holidayed in Spain. He was pampered, fussed over, molly-coddled and generally treated like a piece of precious porcelain by Mr Parsnip who even, at one point, suggested that he slept in our bedroom with us!

No bloody chance!

I have had one infestation of cat fleas in the house, many, many years ago and it was nightmarish waking up itching all over and as spotty as if I was suffering with wasn't even my fault for being a tardy pet-owner - the ex refused to give me any money to get some Bob Martin's; Tom #2 went a-wandering; obviously got in with a dirty woman cat and brought back his own version of VD to infect the manky carpets in the ex's house. Despite my constant complaining of flea bites, he refused to allow me to do anything other than scrub everything with bleach. It was only when #1 threw the Mount Etna of temper tantrums at the bites bedecking her legs, arms, hands and torso that he submitted and I was allowed to bring the disinfestation guys in. But only downstairs...

I had to use all my feminine guiles to get that disinfestation bloke into my bedroom...and I shall leave the rest to your imagination...!

So, while Oscar is a very cute kitten, with a gregarious nature, he seems to prefer to crap inside the house than outside. He has a vast expanse of garden, including a soft, squishy compost heap but, no, he will go outside, pretend he is 'hard' in front of rabbits Lambert and Butler, and then yowl to come back in for a dump. It is tedious. There were a number of accidents at one point, after we had gradually edged the litter tray outside and Mr P would frequently be seen with his head resting on the kitchen floor, spreading his hands out, doing a reccy for cat pee. With the dim lights in the kitchen, his hands would often slide right through Oscar's latest offering, smear it even further and then an outburst of filthy, filthy language would colour the air blue, offend my sensitive nature and the cat would suddenly learn how to fly. Invariably, I end up cleaning the mess.

It is Mr P's duty to empty the litter tray. If he complains, the girls and I chorus to him: He's YOUR cat! I suspect he has now sussed that the small matter of the naming ceremony, and presenting the kitten to him, as his very own, had a few hidden agendas on my part...

Anyway, on Saturday night, there we were, dressed in all our finery, ready for a night out from which we blobbed and decided to cook at home instead and Mr Parsnip hears the plaintive meowing of his darling kitten from the outhouse passageway, raises his voice an octave and gently coos, Oscar! Ozzie, Come on, Come on inside out of the cold. Aaah. Look at you, you're all soggy like a drowned rat...

Oscar stalks in, looking most disgruntled from his bath to which I subjected him after he came down from the loft with blue legs, belly and face; skinny and matted, scowls as only a cat can, and sniffs in the corner of the kitchen, six inches from his litter tray. 

There was then a moment of intense concentration. It was as if time stood still as Mr Parsnip stared at the cat; the cat stared back and suddenly, Mr P squawked, Is he having a sh*t? Another moment of stillness and then Mr P launched himself at the moggy, picked him up by the scruff of his neck, revealing a steaming, curled turd on the floor and suddenly had to arch himself backwards. The cat, all four limbs stuck out at odd angles had decided that his bowels weren't quite empty and continued to evacuate them mid-air. Cat poo splattered across the skirting board, the kitchen floor and the door mat.

The air became quite blue, the door was flung open and the kitten was flung out.

Dirty little F*cker! Dirty, Dirty Little F*cker!! That's just disgusting! Dirty, dirty Sod! Six inches from his litter tray. Six Inches!! 

While this tirade continued to rage, I did the practical thing: got some toilet paper from the bathroom, started picking up the mess in between gipping sessions, and then disinfected the areas. It was all sorted out within a few minutes and Oscar suddenly had a much cleaner litter tray to use after Mr P galvanised himself to pitch the used kitty-lit.

Later in bed, the tirade resumed.

MY kitten. Oh yes. MY BLOODY KITTEN, isn't he? 'Here you are, YOU can name him. He's yours now'. Oh I fell for that one, didn't I? I'm never listening to you get all starry-eyed in the pub again. Never. It was a bloody trap.

But I clean up his accidents, I responded, mildly. And I feed him.

We ALL bloody feed him. That's why he sh*ts so bloody much. He never stops eating. I have to clean his bloody litter tray out. He goes outside, and then comes back in TO SH*T!!

And then I got hysterical. Mr P, when in high dudgeon, is one of the funniest sights known to man. It took me about 20 minutes to contain myself. I laughed so hard, I didn't need to remove my make-up as the tears had done it for me. Upon my return from the toilet, Mr P levelled a scowl so hard at me, that if looks could kill, I'd now be six feet under the clay.

What's that look for?

I'm writing my blog, he said, ominously...

Obviously not...

Monday, 3 November 2008

Hexing on YOUR Behalf...Ingrates! Tsk...

Right. Since putting up the Hallowe'en Hex post, I have been positively inundated with requests to Hex people (well, I think three of you asked, anyway...). So, as I am a very biddable person and always keen to assist, I shall attempt forthwith. Trouble is, you haven't really told me any of the whys and wherefores, such as names, dates, incidents. Rubbish, aren't you? Therefore, it is up to me to guess.  

Here goes.

Karen: You asked me to hex some of your exes. I'll hex two of them for you (a sort of BOGOF deal - and in case you don't have that irritating mnemonic in the States, it means, Buy One Get One Free. When the noxious git who coined the phrase comes on the telly, squawking it at the camera in order to sell bloody double glazing, I have to mute the sound and hide behind a cushion. He is ghastly. So a hex on him while I'm at it, too...)

Ex #1. Let's call him Oswald. Oswald was a big, fat, slobbery chap with enormous rubbery lips. He was a terrible kisser and used to leave slaver all over your face. You didn't like this at all and asked him to stop making you feel as though you had been licked to death by a Labrador with halitosis. He wouldn't. This made you very cross. You also didn't like the way he would rub your cats' fur up the wrong way, thus making them very disgruntled. You don't like it when your cats are miserable. To top it all, every night, when you wanted to get jiggy in bed (as long as there was no kissing), he would bring up a plate of cheese and pickled onion butties, rest them on his big fat belly, and not offer you any. That was the height of bad manners to you. And then he dumped you. So you've never got over that ignominy. Thus, a Hex on Oswald. May his pickled onions chemically react with his slobber and his bottom explode...

Ex #2. Let's call this chap Norbert. Norbert was very, very mean with his money. He wouldn't allow you any spends and you would have to cut the NY Post up into strips for toilet paper. For six months, you lived on cardboard and beans, which unfortunately for you, was highly calorific, so you put on heaps of weight and became a right lard-arse. And you didn't like that in the slightest, did you? His meanness even extended to 'Belly-Button fluff farming'. Terrible. Each week, you and the girls had to line up while he extracted the fluff from your navels. Then he would force you to spin it into yarn and knit your jumpers for the winter. They were always grey-blue. After six years of this misery, he left you for a life in a Scottish croft with a woman he had met on a self-sufficiency website forum. They then wrote a book together, advising people on how to make money playing the stock markets and are now multi-millionaires and very happy since their marriage. What a cad, eh? Thus, a Hex on Norbert. May the tax man locate him, throw him in prison where he is too scared to bend down for the soap in the showers because he is a very pretty boy, isn't he? May he have difficulty going to the toilet for the rest of his life. And I know how awful that can be, so that really is a vicious Hex...

Ok, you're done. Next up is Keli who wants me to hex 3-4 people. No. You can have two like Karen. Stop being greedy. You don't give me any indication of who these people are...tsk! So, I will use my powers of clair-whatsit, and reckon that one is your husband's second cousin twice removed - Sandra; and the other is that bloke down at the Post Office - Ezekial.

Sandra. Well, what can I say? She really is a vituperous, malfeasant little vixen, isn't she? Do you remember that time you told her you were allergic to nuts, and during Thanksgiving dinner, she announced that since she had become vegetarian, you were having Nut Loaf as your main course? And as you are severely diabetic, you just had to eat it and blew up like a barrage balloon. Terrible. You've still got the swelling on your ear lobes to prove it, haven't you? She also sends Christmas cards addressed to your husband, 'Basil', the boys, 'Charlie and Chuckie' and 'her'. Not nice at all. In fact, she just doesn't like you because she sends me lovely Christmas presents like ornamental frying pans to hang on the wall. My favourite contains a chicken hatching an egg**. Thus, a Hex on Sandra. May the non-stick coating on her Teflon pans wear away so she can no longer prepare dinners and has to eat raw meat for the rest of her life (she's not really vegetarian, you know - she was lying...) which clogs up her colon and makes going to the toilet difficult. (As you may have gathered, this is a problem which is forefront in my mind at the moment and I cannot seem to get rid of it.)

Ezekial. Well, not only is his name rather daft and difficult to keep on typing, he keeps telling you to go to different windows at the Post Office when you want to tax your car, open a savings account, purchase some bonds, withdraw cash or buy a Lottery ticket. And, he short-changes you, every time, gawps at you when you correct him, calls everyone to witness what he is being accused of and makes you feel a right trouble-maker. From all this change he has creamed off you, he has bought a yacht which he sails in the Florida Keys (my geography is a bit crap - is that a watery place?). Thus, a Hex on Ezekial. May his main-stay mast get dry rot, and may he be forcefully beset about by Seaman Staines (say it out loud...) and Master Bates (again, say it out loud...).

Mars: Again, you wanted the exes, didn't you. Well, OK, one of them was my ex who you snogged at the Dubai Rugby 7s in 2002. I know. I saw you on the big screen. I have Hexed the Ex repeatedly in this blog so I can't think of much more to say about him at the moment as he has been rather quiet just recently. But it serves you right. You snog him, you get what you deserve. I know I certainly did. By gum, I must have been a bad bugger in a former life...Karma...that's what they say, isn't it? Am I rambling?

Linda: Now, thank you. Everyone!! Take note. At least Linda gives me something to work on. Blimey. She even gives names and vague incidents. So, first up, Maxine. Well, she was the golden girl, wasn't she? Everyone fancied her. And didn't she know it? And whenever she was on milk monitor duty, she'd always make you wait until last so you got the warm milk, didn't she? Not nice. Warm milk in the Australian heat. It was almost sour cream by the time you got your lips round that milk bottle. (I have a story about milk bottles, actually, but I don't know if it would fit in here as it is rather rude and it happened when my friend Andrew and I were very naughty teenagers and used to make crank calls to Gay Switchboard. We didn't know any better. We were horrible...). Fatty and ugly? You? Well, a Hex on Maxine. May her blubber be mistaken for a whale's when she is swimming off the coast of Tokyo; she is harpooned in her backside and can no longer go to the toilet properly. Rotten old faggot...

Your maths teacher. Mr Hiscock. His first name was Aaron. (Say it out loud, please, otherwise none of my excellent, subtle jokes will work. And I try ever so hard with them. Just ask Mr Parsnip...I told him a joke I had made up yesterday morning. It took him ages to work it out and I had to tell him the whole plot of Macbeth before he got it. Tsk! Sometimes I wonder what I am doing in this life...). So, back to Mr Hiscock. He knew, deep down, that you were related to Albert Einstein, a whizz at maths and thus had 'algebra-envy'. He made your life living hell, repeatedly dragged you out to the front of the class and forced you to deconstruct the Theory of Relativity, which he had learned off by heart and was waiting for you to write ♥=π + Ω / 2dy (∞ + 46 (Σ 1 + ½)) instead of ß = π + Ω / 2dy (∞ + 46 (Σ 1 + ½)). Bastard. (I hope you realise how long it took me to write out that sodding equation using all the flipping Alt keys...Ages...). So, may the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits, may his quadratic equations crumble to dust and may he be constipated for the rest of his life.

Bugger. I have just realised. Your maths teacher was a woman. Oh well, let's just pretend, eh?

Mr Charles Inigo Parsnip: You asked me to Hex cheeky kids. Well, I vividly remember that time Masher Malloy and Grebo Toerag threw cheese slices at you when you went to the chippy for your fried steak and kidney pie, mushy peas and fried rice. You were very shaken upon your return, weren't you? You also looked reminiscent of a McDonald's Bic Mac. But without the gherkins. I personally feel it is just zestful youth - an outlet for their angst and pain. To throw cheese slices at you isn't that bad, but, well...we can all be affected by trauma in our lives. So, a Hex on Cheeky Kids. May their pocket money dry up so they can no longer purchase cigs, Carling Black Label and WKD. May their tongues harden so they cannot speak and their bottoms cease to function normally so they feel sluggish and tend to stay indoors to watch Blue Peter where they can learn how to bake scones and apple pie. 

Right, I am spent. This has taken it out of me, I hope you realise! Eight massive Hexes in just one morning. I've got nothing left for the cat now, who is presently humping a furry toy sheepdog Mr P purchased for #2 daughter on one of our mucky sojourns to Wales a few months ago. Thank goodness his testicles haven't yet dropped...the cat's, not Mr P's, if you need clarification.

Donations for Hexes are always welcome. In GB pounds, please - none of your silly money over in the States, Oz and Dubai. Or cheques. As long as you write your card details on the back. Just make them payable to 'Agnes Mildew' as I haven't yet changed the name on my bank account to 'Agnes Mildew-Parsnip'. Let's work it out as 50p/word.

Perhaps I should 'pad' those Hexes out a bit more...

**The ornamental frying pan. I genuinely did receive this gift once from the ex's step-mother. And it did have a chicken in it, hatching an egg. I was utterly confounded by what I was supposed to do with it. So I donated it to the Charity Shop. I wonder who bought it?

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Curry Munching and Death by Grouse

I am an ardent curry lover. I can eat curry until it comes out of my ears, as well as other places (which is why a roll of toilet paper sits in our fridge). Whilst living in Oman, I was in Curry Heaven and it was The Real Thing! None of this wishy-washy 'hot' gravy stuff which seems to come out of every small town corner curry house in the UK.

Whilst pregnant with #2, I abused the rights of pregnant women and decided to feign cravings for curry and thus gorged myself on Pav (pronounced 'pow') Bhaji for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Every day. As they were the cheapest curries in the whole world, being made purely from potato, tomato, peas, chilli and onion, (some put cauliflower into it, but that is revolting and we won't go there...) it saved the ex a fortune on food bills, so his only complaint was having to drop into the 'pow barjee caff' each night on his way home from work. Unfortunately, what I saved on food, I lost on Gaviscon, as those curries certainly made their presence felt in the early hours of the mornings...

My very first curry was in the 80s when a group of us staggered from a seedy nightclub in St Helens, called Sindy's, decided we were hungry, and couldn't find a Donner Kebab van anywhere (which is a blessing in disguise when you consider that gunge aside →, from which they SHAVE meat into a warm pitta bread. It's reputedly lamb. I don't think it has ever baaa'ed in its life. Squeaked, maybe. Possibly even gnawed a few electric wires in someone's attic. But never baaa'ed).

So, into Tarik's we went. Being a nube, yet not wanting to appear a gurlie-wuss, as I was out with a group of rufty-tufty blokes who had been strutting their stuff on the dance floor to Mel & Kim and Wham!, I went for the chicken korma. A curry, but a mild one with coconut and mango. Sounded good. Unfortunately, my virgin tastebuds had never managed anything hotter than a Spicy Beanburger from Wimpy. The sweat oozed from every pore, I panted like an ageing incontinent Labrador, swigged back a few gallons of water and used every napkin on the table to mop up my tears. What a Girl! 

Yet, there was something about those exotic spices which addicted me. And I persevered and toughened up. Every week, I would attempt a curry after Sindy's, and when the sweating and tears started to abate, I moved up a spice notch and tried the next one. 

So, by the time I hit Oman, I was a Vindaloo Virtuoso and thus the whole menu had opened up to me and by gum, I hit the ground wonder I ballooned at one point, what with all that ghee and coconut milk!

One summer, when most of the expat wives had fled the scorching heat of Muscat for the cool, wet climes of the UK, I was asked to write a "Challenge the Chef" article for Living in the Gulf magazine in Dubai. So, it was time to collar the bachelors. Those poor saps whose wives had abandoned them, who were living on shish kebabs, samosas and schwarmas, and teach them how to cook. So, what was the best thing to teach them? Yup, how to make a curry. I visited the restaurant, Passage to India, collared the manager, explained that it would be excellent publicity for them, being a brand new restaurant, blagged a free meal for four out of him for that night, and set the date up with their chef, Sanjay. And so, The Curry Munchers' Club was borne from that night.

Dave (the bachelor hosting the challenge) and I went to the shop with Sanjay and gave him carte blanche on what to buy with 20 rials (our budget to feed four starving bachelors, me and the photographer, Richard). All manner of odd-looking vegetables went into our basket which I couldn't name now if you paid me as well as chicken, fish and loads and loads of firey chilli peppers. We sped back to his house where the other three bachelors, which included my ex, who had whinged at me so hard about being left out that he had to come, were well stuck in to their Millers. Richard and I set the shots up, dragged the lads away from the footie on Dave's 42" telly and got them to work. To be honest with you, the lads were so drunk by this stage, they couldn't have opened a packet of crisps, let alone made a Korma, and so Sanjay and I did most of the work.

The food was utterly fantastic, the atmosphere was buzzing and we were all having a whale of a time. Until Dave got his 3-litre bottle of Famous Grouse whiskey out (1 litre left) and started pouring out the drinks. This was around 1am and Sanjay was long tucked up in his bed. I demurred and asked for a Miller Lite instead. But Dave set up a chant of obnoxious insults, to which the others joined in and suddenly my hi-ball was a third full of Famous Grouse. Then it was a case of "Down in One or Show us Yer Bum!". And, always one to accept my own challenges, I acquiesced...time, and again...

It's not a good idea to eat firey curries, drink a load of lager and then toss back treble whiskies as though they are Dandelion and Burdock. It's also not a good idea to be the only woman in a group of hardened drinkers who have taken you to their bosoms and decided to make you an honorary bloke for the night.

I wasn't very well the next day. I had an article to write up, photographs to develop, two children to care for and another interview to set up. I just went back to bed and died a thousand deaths.

At 3pm, Dave called me to see how I was. I simply groaned. He sounded lighter than air; all fresh and fun. Reckoned the spices had given him a few grumbles in the night, but had really enjoyed himself, thanks very much and all that. I gently put the receiver back on its hook and covered my throbbing head with the duvet.

There is a saying in the UK that the only way to kill a Vindaloo is with a lager. Take heed of that, fellow curry munchers. Because the only way to kill yourself is with a Vindaloo and many treble whiskies.

The curry I partook of last night (as we have finally found a superb curry house in Northwich) was accompanied by Adam's Ale. Aqua Vita. Water. 

Hence why I am awake at 6.30am, writing this drivel, and feeling tickety-boo.

Learn from my research. That's why I do it. For you...