All entries for July 2005

July 30, 2005

A Letter to My Stalker

Dear Mr Rain,

It has got to the point now where I feel there is no option but to communicate my feelings on this matter in writing, as my gentle hints, patient attempts at mediation, and out and out abuse have all been to no avail. You will, of course, be aware of the matter to which I refer.

It is simply not acceptable or seemly for you to continue your behaviour, hanging about outside my house at all hours of the day and night, and making your presence felt by persistent tapping on my window. Now, I feel unable to leave my house without suitable protective measures, as I feel a continuing threat from your presence. I never know where or when you will appear next, and the one time I thought it was possible to leave the safety of my home, you exposed yourself just around the corner. It took me two hours to recover, with the assistance of both a hair and tumble dryer. Lately too, you have been showing no respect for my trusty umbrella, and employing a horizontal approach to your activities that reduces my poor spindly escort to a quivering mess of sticks.

You have been dogging my footsteps continually for the past four days, and as you are probably aware, this state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue, for the sake of my general health, happiness, appearance and social life.

Please leave me alone, or I will be forced to contact the authorities regarding this matter.

Yours soggily,

Elizabeth Jenner

July 17, 2005

Massacre in the swimming pool

I am not best known for my maternal feelings. My attitude to children in general could probably be summed up in a sentence as 'Ahh, that's nice… keep it away from me, please.' Don't get me wrong, I have no aversion to children as a species; I'll hold sleeping babies quite happily until they wake up and start drooling/spitting/crying/peeing/projectile vomiting, and the odd spot of babysitting if a child hasn't had too many E numbers/is feeling like they want to go on a doll dismembering spree is fine. However, anything that involves closer contact than that is liable to send me running for the hills, or at least finding a happy place in my head to visit until the trauma is past. I would even go so far to say that the noise of children playing is actually a pleasant background noise, as long as you're not close enough to realise that they're actually vicious little bastards shouting 'die! die! die!' at each other.

To sum up, I do appreciate the need for their existence, as long as they don't have to exist too near me.

So imagine my distress, gentle reader, to arrive at the local swimming pool to find it teeming with foam floats, abandoned goggles, and children clonking each other over the head with punctured arm bands, screaming. It was kind of like an 17th century sea battle in minature without the attractive men in boots and britches – or maybe that's just because I've been exposed to too much Hornblower recently*. It was Sunday morning at the swimming pool. I should have realised. I felt the way I did when I was travelling home at the perilous hour of 3.40pm, and a whole school of year 9s with dripping fizzy drinks and not enough deodorant swarmed the bus.

I should have admitted defeat then and there. I should have just turned round, gone back out dry and safe, and pretended that my swimsuit was actually just the newest haute couture in gym wear. But I didn't. Like a small fisherman desperate to get home to feed his family in the middle of a great sea battle, I took a deep breath and entered the fray.

I managed a length. I passed a boy forcibly drowning his sister by the pigtails, three girls trying to board an enemy float, two howling babies being thrown in the air by their fathers, and also successfully avoided being kicked by a multitude of flailing limbs, though I had a number of near misses. When I got to the end of the pool, one father spending quality time with a little girl also tried what I think was a chat up line** but then his daughter tried to strangle him with a pair of goggles and I made my escape, to the bubbling sanity of the 'over 18s ONLY' jacuzzi, which, unsurprisingly, was completely deserted.

So, from my private throne, I watched in safety the massacre that followed, kind of like Queen Elizabeth viewing her armada (am I taking this analogy a little far? I think so). I left before the midday whistle and the body count could begin, and the mothers who had desperately tried to keep their hair dry and failed started to drag their offspring from the scene of the incident.

So, the moral of the story? Don't go swimming on a Sunday morning. Children are vicious. And a leetle bit evil and scary.

However, they can also be lovely and charming, and when my friends start reproducing this will be my official line. I also have a horrible suspicion that one day, when my biological clock has done a few more turns, I too will develop a doe-eyed smile, and will become one of those surveying the massacre and surrendering my hairdo with the patient and gentle resignation of one who loves children.


*Ioan Gruffudd and Sam "you will always be Caspian to me" West in the same period drama. Does it get any better, I ask you? Robert Lindsay was also in it, if that's what floats your boat+.

** On me. Not the little girl. Because that would just be wrong. Not that him hitting on me wasn't slightly odd. Why do I always seem to end up in these situations?

+ Horrible pun. Not intended. I apologise.

July 06, 2005

Not really about the Olympic victory but caused by it

If it wasn't for the Olympic woo! thingygummy and the fact that Neighbours was postponed because of it, and so I was forced to look elsewhere for my lunchtime viewing pleasure, I would not have been exposed to one of the most random daytime television moments I have seen in a while: namely, the spectacle of Nigella Lawson teaching a glaze-eyed Charlotte Church how to make lamb burgers. Nigella, in her pink floral dress, was happily flouncing about her kitchen, whilst Charlotte, in black denim and hoop earrings, perched on a stool and tried to look entertained by discovering what hummus was, and made an effort to enthuse about mint.

However, she couldn't quite contain the look of horror that flashed across her face when she realised she would actually have to eat this minty, bulger wheaty lamb pitta, stuffed with salad and oozing with this strange form of food that was hummus. Sensibly, the producers went straight to an advert break as she took her first mouthful, so we were saved the sight of her spitting it out and reaching for some chips to take the taste away. After the break, we were back with the mismatched pair on a tasteful sofa, while Nigella quizzed Charlotte primly about drinking and peer pressure and growing up in the public eye, to which we got some pseudoprim answers, and lots of gentle toothy smiles.

What was the point? What was she doing there? It's like when she appeared on Have I Got News For You… mind you, watching Paul Merton take the piss out of her was pretty funny. Needless to say, there was no such gay bavarderie with Nigella and her kitchen implements.

I suppose the more important question is what on earth is Nigella doing with a studio chat show? A studio chat show, moreover, that can't decide if it's a chat show or a cookery programme, and so condemns its guests to sitting around uselessly for half of it, and then Nigella for the other half. It's not really an exciting concept, is it?

Oh daytime television, what depths will you plumb next in the name of entertainment?

July 01, 2005

Things that have changed since last I walked these laminate floors…

So I got home, expecting everything to be just as it was before. I mean, it's home. Nothing happens here. I ring up, tell everyone about my exciting life, and they tell me about putting the bins out, and going to the vet* and what's been on telly.

But oh no. This place has been active since my last visit. You could even say this place was happenin'. Though you wouldn't want to. Or if you did, you should be very ashamed.

Ahem. I feel I have got off topic slightly. Anyway, going back to the excitement that is my house, this is what has changed.

1. We have come out of the dark ages of dialup into the bright light of broadband. Oh yes.

2. My brother's collarbone is now in two pieces rather than the conventional functioning one. He has a sling and a new nickname (Quasimodo).

3. Housemartins have nested above my window, and about once every 30 seconds a little white dollop of bird poo flies past. It's charming. Kind of like one of those ornamental fountains for your living room, but organic and natural.

4. The Neighbours has gone. The TV is a dull void of lunchtime despair.

5. Can't actually get ice cube tray out of freezer now. The freezer really needs defrosting… Kind of a problem for cocktail making. Suspect I am going to be asked to do it if I whinge though.

6. My mother has a better social life than me. All my home friends seem to be in sunnier climes.

7. My wardrobe bulges suspiciously, and is a timebomb waiting to explode with all the paraphenalia of being used to living in two places and now only having the one. If I don't blog for weeks you will know I have suffered a violent and ironic death at the hand of all my possessions.

8. I'm almost 20. How the hell did that happen so fast? (Yes yes yes, I know all you guys did this last year, but I'm a summer baby and therefore am a little… slow. Let the jokes ensue – I've had them all my life. I'm blonde too, if that helps you make some more witty quips.)

*Should point out that's taking the cat to the vet, not going to have themselves checked out for fleas.

July 2005

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