Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Blogless Days

I'm sorry that I've neglected my blogging duties over the past few days, but not one person has requested an application form for any of the job opportunities, which I advertised in my last post! I can't imagine why not! Most of the vacancies were aimed at women and most of the people visiting my blog, are female, as far as I know. I'm beginning to doubt that any of you are used to working for low pay, or no pay!

Unfortunately, I left it rather late to advertise for help. I have to admit that, over the last few months, my blogging habit has resulted in a backlog of household chores. I've caught the bedclothes trying to make their own way to the laundry basket, on more than one occasion, just recently. The cobwebs, hanging from the ceiling, in our house, have been as thick as jungle vines, but they've come in very handy for swinging over the mountainous piles of ironing, which have taken on lives of their own, lately, continually running around the house in an endless search for the ironing board and iron. The garden has become so overgrown that family members are afraid to venture into it, without taking a precautionary packed lunch and thermos. It became necessary, therefore, for me to start catching up with the backlog of my own chores, over the past few days.

On the first day, I tackled some of the washing, which I had hoped to leave to the laundress. This included my poor, cream jumper, which had been in soak for a fortnight, since I dropped chocolate cake and raspberry coulis down the front of it, whilst visiting a local cafe, with one of my friends. It was an extremely pleasant surprise to find that my favourite jumper hadn't rotted away, but was, once again, stain-free. Hooray for Stergene Handwash! Complimentary goods to the usual address, please.

The next day, I forced myself to act as companion to one of my other friends, as she wished to visit a nearby ornamental garden and plant centre. My clean jeans were still wet, an hour before she was due to arrive, so I had to light the gas fire to dry them off. When the doorbell rang 50 minutes later, I was wearing my damp jeans, but still ironing the creases out of my newly-washed t-shirt. My friend was quite bemused, when I explained why my house was as hot as the devil's kitchen. She was obviously the sort of person who habitually went to bed at 10pm, got up at 6am and had all of her chores done, by the time some of us were still trying to force open our eyes, and find our way to the bathroom, with the vain hope of avoiding a full-length sprawl on the landing, in the process. She couldn't understand how I could be so disorganised!

We set off a mere 15 minutes later than intended, for the gardens and plant centre, where I was compelled to enjoy myself, throughout the whole of the day, admiring the beautiful borders, having lunch in the cafe, enthusing over the handmade items in the craft gallery and buying new additions for my own garden, in the plant centre. It was incredibly hard work and all for no financial reward! I have to confess that I overspent a little, in the plant centre, however!

The following morning, I had to meet some of my friends for coffee and then, whilst doing my own shopping, in the supermarket, a duty I had intended to leave to my newly-appointed cook, I picked up some flowers, for another friend, and walked to her house, to deliver them in person. My husband and I had enjoyed a lovely meal at her house, a few days before, so I wanted to take her some flowers as a thank you. I drank more coffee with my friend, forgetting to visit the loo before leaving her house, so I very much regretted that I hadn't worn my new, stylish, easy to wear, discreet and comfortable tena pants, that day, as I sprinted the last few yards of my journey home!

For the next 4 days, it was necessary for me to work in my own garden, as there had been no interest, whatsoever, in the gardening position I advertised in my last post. At the end of the first, long day of my gardening duties, I noticed that my right knee was quite painful, and after a lot of probing, I eventually removed the half-inch thorn, which had spitefully pierced my flesh at some time during the day. I searched, in vain, for some antiseptic cream to apply to my wound, but I suddenly recalled that my eldest son was away for the night and I realised that he had most probably taken the cream with him, to apply to his newly-tattooed, right, upper arm. DON'T GO THERE! By the next morning, the condition of my knee appeared to have worsened, the area surrounding the site of the puncture, appearing red and hot to the touch. I limped around, nobly, for the next 3 days, continuing with my unpaid gardening duties, regardless of the pain and discomfort!

I couldn't work on any of my embroidery projects over the last week, due to a recurring problem with my eyes, but I was able to catch up with a lot of my cleaning and ironing. The direct result of my busy week, therefore, is that I am 'laid up' on the sofa, suffering, exhausted and whimpering softly. I regret to report that I contracted pneumonia from wearing my damp jeans, at the beginning of the week, which turned into double pneumonia, by the time I had spent 4 days working, stripped to the waist, in the garden, towards the end of the week. I can hardly straighten up, because of my aching muscles and I'm suffering from septicaemia, due to the thorn which pierced my right knee.

Okay, so I may have exaggerated my ailments, just a little, but my frequent suffering has served to convince me that full-time blogging is definitely a safer and, on the whole, a more desirable option, for the mean, moody middle-aged woman, than life in the real world. After all, I've never found it necessary to wear damp clothes, never had to admit to any of my friends that I'm totally disorganised, never overspent, never come so close to sullying my clean undergarments, never suffered aching muscles, exhaustion, or had a thorn go into my knee, due to blogging on my computer. From now on, it's definitely going to be a blogger's life for me!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Job Vacancies

The following job vacancies have arisen in the Mean Mom household, due to her desire to take up blogging on a full-time basis.

Job Title: Cleaner
Hours: Morning till night
Salary: None
Duties: To include cleaning of all rooms, within a 4 bedroom family residence, paying particular attention to bathroom and toilet areas, where it will be necessary to shovel up short, curly hairs, at regular intervals, throughout the day. Full protective clothing, including face-masks, will be provided during fumigation of younger adults' bedrooms.
Ref: 1cl

Job Title: Cook
Basic Hours: 28 per week, but must also be on call from 7.30pm until 12am, each evening, to cater for latecomers.
Salary: None
Duties: Planning and providing nutritious meals for a family of 4/5 adults, some of whom have a list of allergies, likes and dislikes as long as your arm. Applicants must have experience of slaving over a hot stove for hours on end, only to be informed that the resulting dish resembles a plateful of vomit or diarrhoea.
The successful applicant will also be responsible for washing-up, stock control, ordering provisions and budgeting. Other duties will include running up to the 24 hour Tesco Express, without pausing for breath, when the tomato sauce unexpectedly runs out, in the middle of a fish and chip supper, on a wet Monday evening.
Ref: 1co

Job Title: Laundress
Qualifications: Diploma in miraculous removal of unidentifiable stains down front of personal clothing
Hours: 14 per week
Salary: None
Duties: The successful applicant will bear full responsibility for all of the day to day washing and ironing of personal clothing, and household linen, appertaining to a family of 4/5 adults. Applicants must be willing to make themselves available, every Friday and Saturday night, to wash, dry and iron favourite items of clothing, belonging to any of the younger family members, within a five minute time span, should the need arise.
Ref: 1la

Job Title: Gardener, females and over 30s need not apply
Qualifications: Applicants must be tall, dark, handsome, strong and worth a second glance, when naked from the waist up.
Hours: Endless from June to October
Salary: None
Duties: Mowing of grass, weeding, general maintenance of flower borders and small pond. Framework of shrubs, in the main garden, and mixed hedge, at the side of the residence, must be trimmed, day and night, throughout the growing season, in order to control their height and spread.
Ref: 1ga

Job Title: Embroiderer
Hours: Disproportionate to salary
Duties: Must have vast experience of completing half-finished projects, previously abandoned in desperation, to the highest standards. Successful applicants must not lose heart, during the 12 month waiting period, which sometimes applies before publication of successful projects.
Ref: 1em

Job Title: Counsellor, live-in
Hours: Must be on call day and night
Salary: None
Duties: The successful applicant will be responsible for the mental well-being of 3 young males, aged 19-25 years, associated girlfriends and most recent ex-girlfriends, one middle-aged male, suffering a mid-life crisis and manopause, and a mean, moody, middle-aged, menopausal female.
Ref: 1co

Job Title: Personal middle-aged escort, males need not apply
Hours: Evenings and weekends
Salary: None
Duties: Conversing and watching tv with middle-aged male, also accompanying him on outings varying from cinema visits and cheap meals out, to country walks. Successful applicant must be prepared to provide 'extras', as and when required, but the charging of fees will not be permissible.
Ref: 1pe

Job Title: Companion
Hours: Up to 10 per week
Salary: None
Duties: To include meeting up with a mean, moody, middle-aged mother's friends for coffee, lunches, garden visits, walks and the occasional theatre visit. The successful applicant will be required to answer the telephone, or gossip with friends and family, several times a week, for periods of no less than 30 minutes at a time. Some emailing will be necessary. Applicants must also be willing to travel, in order to spend time with relatives in various parts of the country.
Ref: 1com

Job Title: Personal carer, live-in
Hours: 24 per day
Salary: None
Duties: To carry out non-nursing tasks for a mean, moody, middle-aged mother, who must remain on her typist's chair, due to a blogging compulsion. Tasks will include assistance with eating and drinking, sponging on chair, dressing/undressing, hair care and toileting. The successful applicant will also be responsible for personal shopping. Applicants must have experience of endless tea-making, with loose tea, and will be required to sleep for 8 hours a night on behalf of the client.
Ref: 1pc

Job Title: Painter
Hours: Morning till night, for the occasional week only, anytime from June to September
Salary: None
Duties: Washing-down, sanding, polyfilling and painting various rooms, within a 4 bedroom residence. Applicants must have wide experience of watching influential, property presentation tv programmes, such as House Doctor, and some experience of painting with cream paint. The successful applicant must not find it soul-destroying, when pristine, newly-painted walls are spoiled by mysterious black marks and small chips in the plasterwork, within a few minutes of completion.
Ref: 1pa

Application forms for any of the above vacancies are obtainable from Mean Mom. Closing date for applications is 30/05/08.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Oh, Silly Meme!

Grit laid down the gauntlet, a few days' ago, when she tagged me with the mother of all memes. I was daunted for at least a few seconds, but then a wicked gleam came into my eye, and suddenly, I found myself hurtling along the path to self-destruction!

1. Do you like blue cheese?
I love Stilton, but I also love to fit into my jeans, so I only eat it at Christmas. I have an iron will and no money to buy jeans in a larger size.

2. Have you ever smoked heroin?
Is the emphasis on smoked here? Well, no, then.

3. Do you own a gun?
Several. My favourite is the sawn-off shotgun, which is a very effective deterrent against Npower doorstep salesmen.

4. What flavor do you add to your drink?
Yorkshire loose tea.

5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
No. I am menopausal. I tell my GP what is wrong with me. I tell him what I want. He types up a prescription, for me, I leave the surgery and he lives to see his wife and family again, at the end of the day.

6. What do you think of hot dogs?
I think that they should have been born with the intelligence to move into the shade.

7. Favorite Christmas movie?
Holiday Inn (1942). The frenzied excitement of getting to sing along with Bing Crosby in the song 'White Christmas', on 2 separate occasions, hardly ever fails to make me wet my pants.

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Tea, if I polished off all of the vodka the night before.

9. Can you do push ups?
At my age, I can't afford to waste the time necessary to 'get down', in order to be in the appropriate position to 'push up'.

10. Are you thinking about someone else, right now?
Yes, the person who devised this questionnaire, strangely enough.

11. What's your favourite piece of jewelry?
My engagement ring. It has a diamond and 6 sapphires and it didn't come from Argos. It was made by a member of the family, who was, and still is, a bona fide jewellery maker.

12. Favorite hobbies?
Smoking, swearing, drinking, gambling, injecting hard drugs and embroidery.

13. Phrase you use most often?
It was just a joke, honestly, it was!

14. Do you have A.D.D?
Sorry, did you say something? I was just distracted for a moment, there.

15. What's one trait you hate about yourself?
Shyness. It's ridiculous in a woman of my age.

16. Middle name?
I will never divulge my middle name. You can kidnap my hairdresser and hide my hairdryer, but I will never tell. I kept it secret from my lads for 15 years, before they finally tricked my mother into giving the game away.

17. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment:
Now that you've put me on the spot, my mind's gone blank. I can't think of any thoughts.

18. Name 4 things you bought yesterday.
Soda crystals for my drains.
Apple crumble for my tummy.
Hand wash liquid for my delicate clothes.
Wine for my husband.
I'll try not to get them mixed up, this time.

19. Next vacation?
One day, hopefully, when eldest son has moved out, middle son has finished his apprenticeship and student son reverts to being a son. Eldest son went to America, last year, and the younger 2 are off to America, in August. Something doesn't add up, somewhere.

20. Current worry?
In the singular??? Every member of my close family, including my elderly parents.

21. Current hate right now?

22. Favorite place to be?
My padded cell. It's so safe, cosy and windowless.

23. How did you bring in the New Year?
The same way as for the last 7 or 8 years. My husband's family joined us for a barbecue, in the evening and we had fireworks at midnight. In fact, this year, we were still cooking in the garden, at midnight and it was warm enough to have the patio doors open!

24. What'd you get for your birthday?
I haven't had a birthday since the year that there were too many birthday candles to fit on the birthday cake.

25. Name 3 people who will complete this.
Pass. I don't know any blogging insomniacs, who need something to help them to 'drop off' in the early hours. If any happen to be reading this, however .............. Oh! Too late! They've all dropped off.

26. Do you own slippers?
No. I don't like my feet to be constantly restricted. I buy cheap beach sandals from Primark, 4 pairs at a time, in the summer, so that I have enough to last me through the winter.

27. What shirt are you wearing?
I always blog topless.

28. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
I've never tried them, but I suspect I would slip out of bed, every time I tried to turn over. You would be lucky to find any satin sheets, these days, I think. Anyone putting 'satin look' polyester sheets on their bed, wouldn't be intending to do much sleeping on them, I suspect.

29. Can you whistle?
I can, believe it, or not! I have perfected the long, slow wolf whistle and I like to use it, when eyeing up nice young men from behind, in the High Street. When they turn around, they never suspect me, in a million years.

30. Favourite colors?
Black, navy blue, cerise.

31. Would you be a pirate?
No. The bandana would play havoc with my current hairstyle and the breeches aren't very flattering for a woman of my age. The parrot on the shoulder sounds like fun, though.

32. What songs do you sing in the shower?
I know all of the songs, off by heart, from the Joni Mitchell album, 'Blue' and I sing as many of them as possible, whilst in the shower, with the bathroom window open. Don't you wish that you lived next door to me?

33. Favorite girl's name?
Plum. I just love all of these modern girls' name, don't you? Peaches, Apple, Moon Unit, Chastity etc. Will the names still seem suitable, when the females concerned are in their 80s, though? If I'd had a daughter, I might have called her Plum and she could then have changed her name to Prune, as soon as it seemed appropriate. It would also work with the name Grape, which could later become Raisin, but what could you call your daughter, Chastity, when she was obviously no longer chaste?

34. Favourite boy's name?
My 3 sons have my 3 favourite boys' names and one of those is my favourite boy's name.

35. What's in your pocket right now?
The only thing I wear, when blogging, is my glasses. Have I never mentioned that, before? Where are you all going? Don't you want to read the rest, then?

36. Last thing that made you laugh?
Victoria Wood performing at the Royal Albert Hall. I watched it on Sky, very recently. Her stand up routines are inspired, I feel. Not so keen on Dinner Ladies, though.

37. Best bed sheets as a child?
Certainly not those Bri-Nylon ones that my mother loved so much.

38. Worst injury you've ever had?
Grit's reply to this one reminded me that it would have been my episiotomy, when I had my eldest son. It took such a long time for the midwife to prepare to do the stitching, that the feeling had returned to the area concerned, by the time she started. It was 10 times worse than the labour and took almost as long. The nurse held my hand and I almost broke her fingers.

39. Do you love where you live?
I love the house and its position. I would wish for nosier neighbours. Can neighbours ever be too nosy? Never, in my opinion.

40. How many tvs do you have in your house?
Planning a burglary? We have 5.

41. Who is the loudest friend you have?
****. She knows who she is!

42. How many dogs do you have?
None. We wouldn't want to upset our 3 cats, who, incidentally, have the intelligence to move into the shade, when they get too hot lying in the sun.

43. Does someone have a crush on you?
Yes. I've managed to attract the attention of the 95 year old billionaire, with a heart condition, who lives a few doors away. How have I managed to attract his attention? You mind your own business. All I've got to do now, is persuade him to change his will.

44. What is your favorite book?
How To Succeed At Blogging by N. O'Comments. I've read it several times, from cover to cover. It's been an inspiration.

45. What is your favorite candy?
I haven't eaten candy since I was in primary school.

46. Favorite Sports Team?
I suppose the England cricket team, since I discovered Flintoff and Monty Panesar.

47. What song do you want played at your funeral?
Agadoo by Black Lace. The wearing of tasteless shirts and soft leather-look pvc trousers will be optional, but joining in with the dance will be compulsory. No tears, please. I want to look down, or maybe up, if I go to the other place, and see everyone dancing in the aisles.

48. What were you doing at 12am last night?
Blogging - wasn't everyone?

49. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?
I'd have tom cat's b******s, for waking me, yet again, by scratching up the carpet outside the bedroom door, if the vet hadn't already beaten me to it.

What's happened to number 50, then? What sort of questionnaire has an odd number of questions?

Okay. That's it, then. Have I gone too far, again? Are the blogging police coming to arrest me, or the meme police, or the men in white coats? Not all of them, surely? You're not going to delete my blog, are you? It was just a joke, honestly, it was!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Dental Saga

Part 2

The first part of this saga appeared on 31st March 2008 and was called 'Open Wide'. It's not crucial to read the first part, in order to understand the second!

My second appointment, at the dental hospital, was scheduled for the end of last week. My husband kindly offered to accompany me, again, and, this time, we decided to travel by car. There was no doubt that this option offered several advantages over travelling by train.
  1. We only needed to walk a few steps to the car and we didn't have to get out again, until we had almost reached our destination.
  2. We didn't have to park, on rough ground, in the remotest corner of the station car park, as commuters travelling on the earlier 'peak travel' trains had bagged all of the best parking spots, and then hail a taxi to get to the ticket office.
  3. We didn't have to sell our most precious possessions on Ebay, in order to raise the money for the journey.
  4. We were absolutely guaranteed a seat for the whole of the journey, without the need to threaten any other passenger, with a Chinese burn, in order to persuade them to give up the unoccupied portion of their double seat.
  5. We didn't have the extra inconvenience of a 10 minute walk to the tube station, and then 2 separate journeys on the underground, before being within walking distance of the hospital.

The traffic was fairly easy on the motorway and, we'd been travelling for some time, before I realised that my tom cat had managed to pee on the sleeve of my jumper! I'd left it hanging on my wardrobe door, to remind me that I'd already worn it, for an hour or 2, on a previous occasion and, unfortunately, it would have been within easy 'spraying' distance, once he had sneaked into the bedroom. Everyone has instructions to ensure that our bedroom door is kept closed, due to tom cat's unsavoury little habit. Someone must have accidentally left it open. I had even put a notice on the door to remind everyone to keep it closed, but it didn't always have the required effect.

It wasn't the first time that tom cat had managed to slip, unnoticed, into our bedroom. One day, I was standing at the till, in Waitrose, when I realised that he had peed on the sleeve of my coat, and, on another occasion, I was shopping in my local craft shop, when I realised that he had, once again, 'done the dirty deed' on a long scarf, which was wrapped around my neck. I would like to point out, to all cat lovers, at this point, that tom cat was neutered, as a young cat, and we have tried out the Feliway plug-in facial pheromones. We've also consulted the vet', on more than one occasion, but to no avail. I simply have to be vigilant and spend more time cleaning than I would choose.

I flew into a panic, when I realised that my jumper smelled of tom cat pee. I had a mental picture of patients and staff, surveying me with suspicion, and wrinkling their noses, as I walked into the waiting room. We stopped at the next garage and bought some baby wipes. I used up half a packet, wiping my sleeve, inside and out, in an attempt to eliminate the smell. Unfortunately, the cloying fragrance of baby wipes simply mixed with the smell of tom cat pee and conjured up a totally different, but equally displeasing odour. I was very relieved when we arrived in the city, with plenty of time to spare and when we came across a small M&S, where I was able to buy a new jumper. It was wonderful to take off the smelly jumper and don the clean one. At least there would be no danger of the receptionist enquiring 'Can anyone smell babies' bottoms and tom cat pee?', as I walked into the waiting room.

My appointment, on this occasion, was half an hour later than last time and, once again, I was there until the end of the morning clinic. I didn't have to wait very long, this time, but spent most of the time in the dentist's chair. The hospital building is Victorian and it is a teaching hospital, so the 'surgery' is very large, with about 20 screened treatment areas. I was shown to a chair facing an old sash window, which was partially open. The window pane was frosted, but I could see a few shrubs growing immediately outside the window and I knew, from looking out of other windows in the hospital corridors, that there was a courtyard, beyond.

I spent the first half an hour going up and down in the dentist's chair, with various members of staff attempting to cajole it into a reclining position. The appropriate buttons were pressed repeatedly, but the chair simply moved in an upwards direction, and I felt, at one point, that if my chair had risen any higher, I could have relieved my boredom by counting the amalgam fillings in the wide-open mouth of the patient in the next cubicle. A little while later, I contemplated the partially open sash window, a short distance in front of me, and wondered whether I should suggest that it was opened wider, in case I was suddenly catapulted towards it, with little or no warning, at breakneck speed. I felt fairly certain that the shrubbery would provide a much softer cushion, than the frosted pane of glass in the Victorian sash window.

Eventually, someone begged the assistance of a passing student dental nurse and I heard a rather gruff male voice asking 'Is the patient still in the chair?'. Not for much longer, I thought to myself, as I glimpsed the male student nurse approaching. From his appearance, I gained the impression that he was probably moonlighting, as a bouncer, for the local Spearmint Rhino Gentleman's Club, in his spare time. I hurriedly asked whether I should vacate the chair and recklessly leapt the 3 feet to the floor, with remarkable agility for a woman of my age, before anyone had the opportunity to reply that it wouldn't be necessary. The male nurse moonlighter deftly moved the ceramic cuspidor, attached to the chair, over to one side and the temperamental dental chair graciously consented to recline. I knew that final exams were a matter of weeks away for these students. If any part of the paper covered The Mechanics of the Reclining Dental Chair, then the male nurse was obviously destined to shine.

Over the next hour, I suffered yet another dental assessment, which seemed very similar to the previous one, but rather more prolonged. I made my way through the maze of corridors, back to the reception area, taking only one wrong turn, in the process and found that my husband had become an acknowledged expert in the field of current affairs, in my absence, having read his newspaper 5 times over, from front cover to back cover.

I wasn't feeling as shaken as after my first visit to the dental hospital, so we were able to enjoy a museum visit, followed by a short tour of St Pancras station, before returning to the sanctuary of our country town. I love our occasional visits to the big city, although I prefer those without an incorporated hospital visit, but the best part, for me, is always coming home, safe in the knowledge that I don't have to live there. I'm already so excited about my next visit to the dental hospital that I can hardly contain myself - not.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

Toms and Queens

My husband has, over the past couple of months or so, taken to calling one of our cats Zara, when her name has been Tilly ever since we first adopted her, about 6 years ago. Zara is the name of my husband's female assistant, who started work for him approximately 6 months ago. The first 5 or 6 times this happened, I generously ignored his faux pas, even though, on 3 or 4 of the occasions, we had been in the bedroom, at the time. On the sixth, or seventh occasion my husband called the cat by the wrong name, we were once again in the bedroom and I asked him, in a very reasonable tone, why he kept calling the cat Zara.

He said that it was because we did once have a cat of this name. I replied that, of course, I did remember that, but she had died about 18 years previously. She had never been a favourite cat of ours. She had adopted us and allowed us to look after her. She had been close to neither of us and I couldn't even remember what had happened to her. In the 18 years since she had been gone, she had hardly ever been mentioned. The only thing the 2 cats had in common was their white and black coats.

The first cat, Zara, had been small, independent, aloof and never approached us for affection. The current cat, Tilly, is large, for a female, and somewhat clumsy. She has rather a large rear end, which she often thrusts in our faces, if she has the opportunity. She follows us around, from room to room, and likes to sleep on our bed, day or night. She occasionally sits on my husband's lap, but never on mine. She likes to sit on my husband's chest, when we are settled in bed, at night, and will occasionally sit on mine. She sometimes chases our tom cat around the house and he sometimes chases her.

It seems an enormous coincidence that my husband has suddenly begun to call Tilly by the name of Zara, only within the last couple of months. I could assume that, after 6 years, our cat Tilly has suddenly begun to remind my husband of our cat, Zara, who died 18 years ago. I could assume that his new assistant, of 6 months, is often in his thoughts. I could assume that our current cat, Tilly, reminds my husband of his new assistant. I would like to insert a table of comparisons, concerning our old cat Zara, our current cat, Tilly and my husband's assistant, Zara, at this point, but I am unable to do so, on Blogger, so the following lists will have to suffice.

Zara Cat
  1. Small
  2. Pretty face
  3. Graceful
  4. Small bottom
  5. Small paws
  6. Aloof
  7. Didn't thrust her bottom in our faces
  8. Never came anywhere near us
  9. Never chased the tom cat

Tilly Cat

  1. Large
  2. Pretty face
  3. Clumsy
  4. Large bottom
  5. Large paws
  6. Affectionate
  7. Likes to thrust her bottom in our faces
  8. Sits on lap and chest
  9. Chases the tom cat

Zara Assistant

  1. Large
  2. Face
  3. Graceless
  4. Large bottom
  5. Large everything
  6. Attempts to curry favour, using flattery and womanly wiles
  7. Fetch me a bucket! Too late, better bring a mop!
  8. Who knows what she might do, for an extra day's holiday?
  9. Whose tom cat is she chasing? Surely, my tom cat isn't chasing her?

My good friend, Christina, recently invited us to her house, for a meal, one evening, which prompted me to send her an email along the lines of the one below:

Hi Chris

I have checked with my husband and Thursday 15th May is fine for us to come round, for a meal, if it is still OK with you. You will be relieved to know that husband and I are speaking, again, so we will all be able to sit around the same table!

Husband has given a satisfactory explanation as to why he keeps calling one of our cats by his assistant's name, when we are in the bedroom. It is because we had a cat of that name, who died 18 years ago and has never been mentioned since. Lucky coincidence, eh?

You were right when you said I should be grateful that he had never called me Zara. I am very grateful. If he ever calls me Zara, I will knock all of his teeth out.

Do you think that we should have soup with no chunks, on Thursday evening?

Much love

Mean Mom