Wednesday 29 July 2009

Fashion Show!

For various reasons, some of which you are aware and some of which you are not, it has been a very worrying year for me so far. I considered dragging you all down with me, by going into detail about everything which has gone/is going wrong but, on reflection, I decided that none of you deserved that, so I have chosen to share one of the (rare) highlights of my year, instead!

I was more than thrilled, a few weeks ago, when one of my friends asked if I would like to go with her and her family to a fashion show, which would be part of Graduate Fashion Week at Earl's Court. I jumped at the chance and then spent an exciting, but, ultimately disappointing, few days looking round the shops for something unusual to wear. In the end, I decided against wearing something wild, opting instead to blend in, by wearing black trousers, a black, short-sleeved satin jacket, a bright pink top and a bit of jewellery. When we arrived at the show, I was relieved to discover that I had made the right decision. The majority of the people there were young fashion students, mostly dressed in dark colours, perhaps with the odd accessory to brighten things up here and there. In fact, they were almost wearing a uniform. As 2 of the oldest people there, my friend and I would have looked as if we had been having a midlife crisis, if we had turned up in something attention seeking. We did get a few funny looks, but I think that may have been something to do with my tiara ..........

I loved the show! It was amazing! Each graduate had produced 6 - 8 garments and a lot of the clothes were wild, some were outrageous and the majority of them were exciting! The first 3 garments, in the photos below, were amongst my favourites, particularly when I discovered that the young Italian graduate had designed and even printed her own fabric. If you can spare the time to click on the photos you will see how wonderful the fabric was.

Here are a few men's outfits

and a few women's:

These garments were amongst the most outrageous:

As far as I could gather, the flowery fabric used for the 3 garments directly above, must have been stretchy. It even fitted over the models' shoes and precariously high heels! I think I would have had a panic attack if I'd had that fabric all over my face. It seems that, as a fashion model, you have to be game for almost anything!

The whole show was more than I could have wished for. It is true to say that the designs were 'out of this world', but fashion is a competitive business and I suppose that young designers have to get themselves noticed. I was very impressed with the amount of skill which must have been necessary to put such unique creations together and to make the fabrics behave in such challenging ways! If I were young and daring again, I would happily wear any of the 3 outfits, designed by the Italian student. I also liked the cream 2 piece, with the cropped top and strangely shaped skirt.

What about you? How do you fancy the all in one grey jumpsuit, incorporating the orange knickers and orange stripes around the legs, or how would you feel about showing off your black stockings and suspenders by wearing no skirt and a short black jacket?

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Showing My Pants

Whilst shopping with my parents and aunt, in their local supermarket last week, I bought half a dozen pairs of pants, paying for them at the till in the clothing section, instead of putting them on the conveyor belt with my food shopping, where they would have been on display for all to see.

After we'd all come through the checkout and paid for our other shopping, I walked through the first set of exit doors, with my relations, but the alarm went off, which resulted in the young security man quickly appearing behind us, to ask if anyone had bought any clothing. I replied that I had, automatically holding open my carrier, so that he could see what was inside. My aunt and father pretended that they didn't know me from Adam, whilst my mother instantly leapt to me defence. 'She's paid for them' my mother said, quickly.

The young lad, who couldn't have been above 20 years of age, replied 'Yes, I can see that, it's just that I don't want anyone to go home with security tags on their clothes.' He shrank back somewhat, when he saw that I had a bag full of undergarments, so I delved into the carrier and pulled out the receipt. He thanked me and initialled the receipt, explaining that the shop assistant must have forgotten to scan one of the bar codes.

'I'm upset, now,' I said solemnly, to my aunt and parents, 'because the young security chap's seen my pants!' We regarded each other for a split second, before we all roared with laughter, then, once my aunt had donned her rainhat, she took advantage of the rain slowing down a little and set off for the bus stop. I stood, with my parents, just inside the second set of exit doors, for a few minutes longer, as my mother insisted that my father should put on his raincoat and his cap, before we left the store. When we stepped outside, we could see that my aunt hadn't yet reached the bus stop, because she had stopped to talk to one of the other security men, whom she knew.

'I'm just saying how you had to show your knickers, before you could get out of the supermarket', she called, giggling, as we approached.

The security man threw back his head, guffawed loudly and shouted to me 'Yeah, show me your knickers!'

I was very close to doing as I was told, for a split second, but stopped myself just in time. After all, I didn't want this complete stranger imagining what I was wearing under my jeans the next time I was with my aunt and bumped into him! Feeling slightly embarrassed, I joined in with the laughter, ignoring the security man's second command for a peek at my newly purchased undergarments.

'She's not going to show me!' he said to my aunt, in a disappointed fashion, then, as he turned to go back into the store, he startled me considerably, by shouting to me 'I'll see your knickers, next time, then!'

Several bemused shoppers stared after me, as I hurried away, with my parents, my aunt and a bit of a red face!

I occaionally feel that I've wandered into some sort of parallel universe, when I shop in this supermarket. A lot of the staff are really friendly, but there is one young male shelf filler, aged about 18, who chats to my mother and aunt and likes to kiss the female customers on the cheek, whenever he gets the chance. He is, otherwise, very pleasant, but reminds me very much of the character PC Goody in the The Thin Blue Line, if anyone remembers the tv programme. He has, so far, managed to plant a smacker on my cheek, on 2 occasions. The first time I was unaware of his little habit, so he caught me by surprise and the second time I wasn't fast enough in getting out of his way!

Am I alone in finding the behaviour of some of the staff, in this store, a bit bewildering? Perhaps I'm just a bit of a prude and not much fun, but I can't imagine anything like this ever happening to me in the supermarket where I usually shop!

Would you have shown the second security man your new knickers? How would you feel if the young male shelf fillers at your local supermarket started stealing a kiss? Would your feelings depend upon how good looking they were? Do you feel that this sort of thing would enhance your shopping experience?

Wednesday 13 May 2009

What Men Mean

Firstly, I would like to apologise for my absence. I have a lot of family problems at the moment - more than those I mentioned a couple of posts ago, unfortunately. I have been too preoccupied to comment and too distracted to put a post together, so I hope you will excuse me. Anyway........

There just had to be a follow up to 'Shock Poll Reveals What Women Mean' didn't there? Women are not alone in saying one thing, when they may mean another. Men can often be guilty of the same sort of thing. I've compiled a list of the most common things a man might say, in bold, along with what he might mean in italics. This post is tongue-in-cheek. Please don't take it too seriously. I won't be held responsible for any divorce proceedings instigated as a result of reading this post. ;0)

Before Marriage:

Would you like to go for a drink after work? I think you're really hot and I want to have sex with you, as soon as you'll agree to it.

Do you want to stay at my place this weekend? Do you want to bonk me stupid this weekend?

Shall we go on holiday together this year? Do you want to bonk me stupid for a fortnight?

Will you marry me?
Will you have regular sex with me, until I get fed up of you and find someone younger?

After marriage:

Is your headache better darling? Are you well enough to have sex, yet?

Do you want any help in the kitchen? If I help in the kitchen, can we have sex later?

Let's have a cuddle. Let's have sex.

Of course I'm listening. I haven't been listening.

No I'm not lost. I'm lost.

You're wrong. It's essential that I'm right, so you must be wrong.

I can do it. I can't do it, but I would rather not do it than let you show/tell me how to do it.

All the men at work fancy Lisa. All the men at work fancy Lisa, including me.

I could give up drinking if I wanted to. I can't get through the day without alcohol.

It's far too hot in this room. Aren't you hot? It's too hot in this room. If you're not hot, there's something wrong with you. There couldn't possibly be anything wrong with me.

I've cut the grass. It's spring and I've cut the grass, so that's my bit of gardening done until the autumn, when I'll cut it once more. If you think it needs cutting in between, you'll have to do it yourself.

I haven't got time to finish this job in the house today. I'll do the rest next week. I'm never going to finish this job. If you want it finished, you'll have to do it, or get someone in.

Do you think that this DIY job looks OK? I know that this DIY job looks awful, but will you let me off the hook, because I can't be bothered to do it any better?

Yes, that dress looks great! That dress doesn't look too good on you, but I hate shopping and I want to get home in time to watch the rugby on tv.

There's nothing wrong with a man hiring a Harley Davidson at the age of 58, when he hasn't been on a motorbike for 33 years. Help! I'm having a midlife crisis.

Have you seen my car keys/screwdriver/mobile/wallet/brain? You've tidied away my car keys/screwdriver/mobile/wallet/brain. It's lost forever, my life is in ruins and it's all your fault.

I would like to point out that this information has been gathered from other women's experiences, or from my own experiences in previous (failed!) relationships. My own dearest darling husband is, of course, guilty of none of the above. Well, maybe just the odd one here and there .........

Anything you'd like to add from your own observations?

Thursday 16 April 2009

The Ideal Home

It's been 23 years since my husband and I last moved house, but when my eldest son left home, last summer, it suddenly occurred to me that we were entering a different phase in our lives and it was possible that, in a very short time, we could once more be enjoying the dubious pleasures of house hunting.

We haven't made a habit of moving house since our marriage in 1976 and, when we were looking for our first property, we didn't have many requirements. We were both living and working in the Midlands, before we married, so our choice was limited to something we could afford and which was within reasonable travelling distance of our places of work. We finally found an old bungalow, which needed a fair amount of modernisation, but we lived there happily enough, until my husband was promoted 4 years later, when we were obliged to move a bit further south.

We were a little more discerning, when we were searching for our second property. It was difficult to find the sort of house we wanted, however, at a price we could afford, because we were moving into a more expensive area. On this occasion, we were again looking for an older, detached property, but with 3 bedrooms and a decent sized garden, in a village location, preferably with fields beyond. After endless searching, we eventually bought a neglected Baptist manse, which met most of our needs, but required a lot of repair work, before we could move in. Our mortgage payments doubled in size, as a result of buying the property and we spent a lot of money on renovations during the 6 years that we lived there. Our 2 eldest sons were born during the first 5 years that we spent in the house, but, by the time Middle son was 12 months old, I had set my sights on moving to a nearby country town. I had tired of village life, feeling that the whole family would benefit greatly from the wider range of activities and facilities available in a small town.

This time we were looking for a more modern detached family home, with as much space as we could afford. We were aiming for 3 receptions, fitted kitchen, cloakroom, one en suite bedroom, 3 further bedrooms, a family bathroom, double garage and a front and rear garden. When we finally managed to buy the house we had set our hearts on, we stayed put and, for the last 23 years, our home has truly been ideal. I shall be sad to leave the house where we have raised our family and made so many memories, but it will be too large for us, once the rest of our family has moved out, rendering the running and maintenance costs disproportionate for just 2 people.

Our requirements for our next ideal home, will be vastly different from the last. We don't yet feel ready to consider a complex for the over 55s, with House Manager, communal gardens, on site laundry, security door entry system and emergency call facility. We will, however, almost definitely be seeking out either a 2 bedroomed bungalow, or a house boasting a ready fitted Stannah stair lift and a downstairs toilet. A walk in shower room will be an absolute necessity, as will extra large windows to the front of the house, so that I can keep an eye on local goings on from behind my nets. A courtyard style garden, no bigger than a postage stamp, will also be high on our list of priorities, plus a garage big enough to house 2 mobility scooters, or one mobility scooter, with sidecar. Does anyone manufacture those? That's a missed business opportunity, isn't it?

The position of the house will be much more important this time. Views from the front of the property will hopefully include a pedestrian crossing, a couple of bus stops and a double decker bus at regular intervals of no less than 10 minutes, in each direction. Views to the rear should include the local Health Centre and hospital, which needs to be no more than 2 streets away. The house should be within easy reach of an extensive range of amenities such as the Co-op, Boots, Specsavers, the post office, the library, an NHS dentist (OK, now you know that I'm winding you up!), a hearing aid centre, a shampoo and set, a hostelry and the Crematorium.

We won't be considering any property, which stands at the top of a hill, at this juncture of our lives, as we feel that it would be too problematical. Whilst we feel sure that the trip down to the Cock and Bull, on our mobility scooters, would be a speedy delight, the return journey, after one snowball too many, could be meandering and tedious in the extreme, particularly if we roll down the other side of the hill, before I've managed to retrieve the front door key, from the bottom of my capacious shopper, and insert it, carefully, into the lock.

Finally, there is just one more requirement for our next ideal home, which I haven't yet mentioned. It simply must be within easy tottering distance of a cash machine, due to the fact that I am seriously looking forward to spending my children's inheritance.

Saturday 4 April 2009

A Difficult Choice

Doc didn't c me bt saw nurse insted, they already given me usual injection 4 bloodclots - 1 that have been havin al wk, but he asked em giv me notha 1 much stronga! So just had that, gdnite mum + sleep wel, love Middle Son X.

I deciphered my 23 year old son's text speak with a frown instead of my usual wry smile. It was 10.30, on a Saturday evening, in the third week of March and I was concerned about my middle son, who had been admitted to the trauma unit of the local hospital almost a week ago. I wondered what the stronger injection could be. Perhaps one of the hospital doctors had finally taken the initiative to administer some treatment for the suspected blood clot in my son's right calf, instead of waiting for the results of an ultrasound scan, which wouldn't take place until Monday. There was no doubt that my middle son's pain had worsened since the scan had been requested on Friday morning, so it would surely have been a logical step to take.

Half an hour later, I lay in bed on my back, my novel discarded on the bedside table, staring at a 3 stranded cobweb, which had formed between the ceiling and the light shade. I mulled over the events of the past few weeks, not yet ready to turn out the light and settle down to sleep. 4 weeks previously, my 84 year old father had been admitted into hospital, at short notice, to have his right hip replaced. I had travelled up to my parents' house, in the Midlands, the day before he was admitted, so that I could look after my mother whilst my father was away. She was unable to manage alone due to her failing sight and occasional confusion.

After the operation, my father had suffered from low blood pressure and his wound had been slow to heal, so he had spent 3 weeks in hospital altogether. The Saturday before my father's discharge, my husband had travelled up to my parents' house to stay the night and at 6.40 am on the Sunday morning, our peaceful sleep had suddenly been disturbed by a telephone call from our middle son, to let us know that he was in A & E, awaiting an x-ray, because of a suspected broken leg. By mid afternoon, one of the hospital doctors had decided that Middle Son needed to have an operation the following day and would have to stay in hospital for at least a week. Shortly after hearing the news, my husband had left for the hospital, whilst I had remained with my mother, so my only contact with my son, over the next few days, had been by text.

My father had been discharged from hospital the next day and, after a kind offer from Student Son to take over my duties at my parents' house for a few days, I had finally been able to visit my middle son on the Wednesday after his admission into hospital. In fact, after visiting my son and seeing his x-ray, I had felt much worse. I had realised that my family hadn't fully disclosed the extent of the damage to my middle son's leg and it had occurred to me, for the first time, that he might not regain full use of it. I had become even more upset the following evening, when my son had found himself inexplicably suffering increasing and unbearable pain in his broken leg.

I returned to the present once more, my gaze falling upon my bag, packed and ready by the side of the bed, in case I needed to stay with my parents for a further week, after our Mother's Day visit, the next day. I hoped that it wouldn't be necessary, but I needed to assess the situation, once we arrived and to check with my student son, to see how well my parents had coped whilst he had been staying with them. I sighed, reaching out for my book, once more, succeeding, this time, in concentrating upon the plot long enough for my eyelids to grow heavy with sleep.

Mother's Day was a rather odd occasion, in the circumstances. I saw none of my sons in the morning. My eldest son and his girlfriend had visited the previous day, as my husband and I were anticipating a hectic Mother's Day visiting our relatives in different parts of the country. We intended to have lunch with my mother-in-law and my husband's family, in Staffordshire and then an evening meal with my parents in the West Midlands. My husband rang the hospital before we set off to enquire about Middle Son's condition and the Sister confirmed that the stronger injections being administered to him were clot busting injections, so we felt relieved that some action was finally being taken to try and deal with the problem in his calf.

We spent a couple of hours with my husband's family and then continued to my parents' house, as planned. My father was feeling very relieved to be without pain for the first time in 2 1/2 years. His wound had almost healed and he had managed a visit to the local supermarket without any major problem. Student Son reported that he felt that my mother and father were managing well and would be able to cope by themselves. When I told my parents that I was willing to stay another week, if they needed me, I could see that my mother would have preferred me to stay, although she stipulated that I should return home, so that I could be near to my middle son.

After a hurried meal, with my parents, I helped to load Student Son's belongings into the car with a heavy heart. I had decided to return home, but it had been a very difficult decision to make. I knew that my mother had become used to having me around and that she would miss my company and support. When everything was packed away in the car, we said our goodbyes, the slamming of the car doors confirming the finality of my decision. When we reached the main road, I leaned out of the window and caught one last glimpse of my parents framed in their front doorway, illuminated by the light behind them. I raised my hand as we headed off into the night, weeping silently under cover of the darkness, because of the decision I'd had to make.

Thursday 19 February 2009

A Foolproof Guide To Repelling Girls

Warning To All Bloggers: Keep a bucket handy, whilst reading this post.

It's fair to say that I kissed a few frogs, in my teenage years, before meeting my prince, in my early 20s. During the extensive search for my other half, I learnt a few things about the male sex and their habits and it recently occurred to me that I could draw up a modern day list, for my 3 sons, which could help them to avoid a few of the common pitfalls, in their own search for true love. I thought that my advice might be better heeded, if I used the title above and presented it as below:

If you arrange to go out with a girl, do it well in advance and don't shower any later than 7 days before you're due to meet up.

If you cleaned your teeth after breakfast, don't clean them again, prior to meeting up with a girl in the evening, as this could neutralise the effects of the raw onion salad with garlic mayo, which you ate for lunch.

Whenever you go out with a girl, don't bother changing the clean clothes you put on 2 weeks' ago. They should be just rank enough for her to notice.

Always make sure that you pick something, if you're in the company of a girl, such as your nose, ears, teeth or scabs. In fact - pick everything. It's best.

Never go to the gents, if you have itchy unmentionables, whilst you are out with a girl. Instead, produce your gentleman's ball scratcher, (pictured above) with a flourish and proceed to push it down the front of your trousers, with unnecessary enthusiasm, accompanied by an ecstatic expression.

When in the pub with a girl, ensure that you overindulge to the extent that you

a) barf all over the bar, when ordering the next round or
b) pick a fight with the only chap in the pub who's built like a brick s**thouse or
c) forget which girl you came in with and go home with someone else.

It is possible to repel your girlfriend early on in your relationship, by showing her your collection of scabs, toe nail clippings, railway magazines, bus tickets, and Kit Kat wrappers.

If you're having a night in, with your girlfriend and she attempts to speak to you, only drag your eyes away from the Xbox for a nanosecond, because those aliens can tell when you're not concentrating, you know.

Mention 'putting out' as often as possible, when in conversation with your girlfriend. All girls need to know that characters like those appearing in American Pie and Superbad, were not fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, was not purely coincidental.

Always blow your nose with enthusiasm. Try to sound as if you're in danger of dispelling your brains out of your ears. Open up your man-sized tissue, afterwards, and carefully examine any debris. There's always a chance that you'll discover something you thought was lost forever.

Eat as much crap as possible, whenever you're with your girlfriend. Try donner kebabs, or chips with cheese and curry sauce. If that fails, dip anything and everything in Hellmann's mayo.

If you burp, whilst in the presence of your girlfriend, never excuse yourself, politely. In fact, make sure that you furnish her with far too much information by screwing up your face and following up with 'Ugh! That was a sick burp!'

Never break off a kiss, just because you feel the need to burp. You may need to think about that one, for a second or 2.

Never mince outside, or to the gents, if you feel the need to let one go, whilst with your girlfriend. Instead, raise one leg and one arse cheek, emit a loud trumpeting sound, laugh like a maniac and say something similar to 'Ah! Can you smell that?', or 'Aw, that was a wet one!' or 'Ugh, I think I've followed through!'

Follow these guidelines to the letter, if you want to live with mommy and daddy forever and ever and ever........

Monday 16 February 2009

What Are Your Earliest Memories?

My earliest memory is of waking in my cot, in the middle of the night and seeing snakes crawling all over the covers. I seem to remember that my sleep was disturbed more than once, in this way. Whenever I was ill, as a child, I often became delirious, if I had a high temperature, so I think that, I either saw snakes every time I suffered from delirium, or as a result of a recurring nightmare. Apparently, I slept in a cot until I was about 2 years old, so it isn't necessarily such an early memory as you might think!

My next memory is of sitting up in my pram, looking out, as my mother pushed me to the shops. Again, it isn't a particularly early memory, because I remember my mother telling me, on the day concerned, that it was raining much too hard for me to go into town in my pushchair, so I would have to go in my old pram. I was too big for the pram, of course, so I had to sit up, with the hood raised, because of the rain. Once again, I think that I was about 2 years old.

My next memories date back to when I started school, aged 4. I can vaguely remember my first day at school, feeling sick with anxiety when my mother went home, leaving me in the company of several other rising 5s, in a strange, but bright classroom, furnished with infant-sized desks and chairs. I was an only child and had had very little contact with other children, except for my cousins. I didn't take to school at all, at first and had to be dragged there, crying, a couple of times, during those first few days.

After a short while, I accepted the fact that I had to go to school and didn't mind quite as much. I particularly enjoyed learning to read and learning how to do simple sums. I always looked forward to Wednesdays, because Wednesday afternoons were known as 'choosing' afternoons and we were allowed to play with whatever toys we wished.

Another thing I enjoyed at school was learning how to use money. I don't know whether it was anything to do with the fact that the Bournville factory was situated just a few miles away from us, but we played shops with a wonderful selection of dummy Cadburys chocolate bars, which I found totally fascinating.

I made a few friends, spending most of my playtimes with the same group of girls, whose full names I can still recall, but I chose not to join in on the occasions when they played kiss chase with the boys, or went down to the end of the playground furthest away from the classrooms, so that they could play showing their knickers to the boys. I didn't start playing those sort of games until I was much older.

I did have a boyfriend, though, in those early days. We would walk in the playground, holding hands, at playtimes and we told our parents that we intended to marry each other, when we were older. The gentleman in question recently moved into a house very close to my mother, in the Midlands, with his wife and daughter, but I haven't seen him for a number of years. I sometimes wonder whether he remembers our plans from over 50 years ago!

During my last year, at infant school, when I was 7 years old, my class was taught by the headmistress. She was a dreadful woman - a proverbial spinster - tall, thin, bony and miserable, always dressed in black, wearing flat shoes and thick black stockings. When we painted pictures, she would run round, looking over our shoulders and shrieking 'More water! More water!' if the sky was too blue, or 'More blue! More blue!' if the sky was too pale.

During this last year, we were taught how to knit, if we didn't know already and then spent hours knitting dishcloths, with some sort of yarn, which closely resembled string. I have a vague idea that the boys went off to do something different, whilst the girls did this, but I'm not sure. It was very humiliating, when any one of us dropped a stitch, because we had to take our knitting to the headmistress, at the front of the class, who would generally unravel almost all of our hard work, down to the last 3 or 4 rows. She would then put the stitches back on the needles and thrust our depleted masterpiece back into our disappointed little hands, in a very disapproving and unsympathetic manner.

When we had PE (Physical Education), we had to strip down to our navy blue knickers and the headmistress would take the lesson in the playground, at the front of the school. I have no recollection of the boys' attire, at this time, but, the playground must have been a paedophiles' paradise, on those days, because the school was situated on a busy road, with plenty of traffic and people passing by.

After 3 years of attending infant school, I moved on to junior school, which was further to walk, being a 20 minute journey away from home, as opposed to 10. A few of the children, from my class, went with me to the same school, but the majority of them, I never saw again.

My old infant school was knocked down, many years ago and the whole area has since been totally rebuilt, leaving me unable to point to any place, in particular and say 'That is where my old school stood' because even the road it stood upon no longer exists. I can see the school in my mind's eye, as if it were yesterday. I tend to picture it, with my class standing in the playground in front, having a PE lesson, wearing nothing but our navy blue knickers!

How about you? What are your earliest memories?