What I’ve been doing for the last seven months. In haiku

Autumn

Toad leaps. Fish gapes. Heron darts.

I lie on the sofa and eat Minstrels

Apathy has me in his grasp.

I’d struggle,

but I can’t quite be arsed

Peas or beans? Peas or beans?

Peas.

There. I’ve actually made a decision

Winter

We make strange bedfellows, Apathy and I.

He snores, and
I dribble.

I wonder if I’ve got S.A.D.?

Everything’s an effort, even…

Apathy has gone too far.

He has suggested

a threesome with Sloth

Spring

Mount Fuji looms above my window.

That’s weird.

I’m in Wolverhampton

Just checked – it’s still there.

Maybe it’s time to adjust my medication

April arrives, bringing gentle rain.

My torpor lifts.

My buttocks droop.

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SAME OLD CRAP, SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT FONT

THE BLOGGING WORLD WAS OBLIVIOUS YESTERDAY WHEN MRS NOTWAVING, CEO OF PIFFLE SOLUTIONS PROVIDER NOT WAVING BUT IRONING, ANNOUNCED THE SITE’S RELAUNCH.
ADDRESSING THE ORNAMENTS IN HER LIVING ROOM, MRS NOTWAVING DECLARED HER INTENTION TO REVAMP THE SITE BY SUBSTITUTING HER USUAL UPPER AND LOWER-CASE FONT FOR THE PUNCHIER LOOK OF CAPITALS.
‘THIS TYPEFACE INTERCHANGE WILL INTRODUCE READERS TO A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF DRIVEL,’ SHE EXPLAINED. ‘EXCEPT THAT THIS TIME, THEY’LL BE ABLE TO SEE IT ALL IN BIG LETTERS.’
NWBI CEASED PUBLISHING IN NOVEMBER LAST YEAR AFTER INCREASED COMPETITION FROM DAYTIME SHOWINGS OF ‘BRITAIN’S NEXT TOP MODEL’. NONETHELESS, MRS NOTWAVING IS BULLISH ABOUT THE SITE’S RETURN.
‘IF YOU THINK IT WAS SHIT BEFORE, YOU HAVEN’T SEEN ANYTHING YET,’ SHE PROMISES.
‘CONTENT-WISE, I’M REALLY GOING TO BE REALLY PUSHING THE ENVELOPE. I’M ALSO GOING TO BE SHOVING THE ENVELOPE, WAVING THE ENVELOPE AROUND IN THE AIR, AND FANNYING AROUND WITH THE SELLOTAPE DISPENSER. IT’S AN EXCITING TIME.’

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Dear 14-year-old daughter…

Our teenage agony aunt solves your style dilemmas. With brutal honesty.

Dear 14-year-old daughter

I’m going to a family wedding in the new year and I’d like to find something special to wear. Ideally I’d like a Bianca Jagger-style white trouser suit. Do you know of any shops that might stock one in a size 12/14?

Oh. My. God! A white trouser suit? With your proportions? Do you go out of your way to embarrass me? I mean, do you hate me that much? If you so much as try and squeeze your disgusting, wobbly backside into white trousers, I will literally die! You know Christian and Toby are going to be there, don’t you? I told you that, you senile old cow! Why can’t you just wear a flowery dress like all the other grannies?

 

Dear 14-year-old daughter

I’ve got a long body and relatively short legs. What style of jeans would suit me best?

I can’t hear you, I’m in the bathroom. I said, I’m in the bathroom. Jesus, stop hassling me! I’m on my period and you’ve NO IDEA what I’m going through!!

 

Dear 14-year-old daughter

My hair has always been long, but now it’s going greyer I’m finding it harder to manage. Do you think a bob would suit me?

Whatever. No one looks at you anyway.

 

Dear 14-year-old daughter

Kylie Minogue was recently pictured wearing bright pink Converse trainers. Do you know where I can get a pair?

They’ve got some in Office. Get them in a size 5, then I can wear them too. Yeah, I know you’re a 6, but you can sacrifice yourself, can’t you? That’s what mothers are supposed to do!

Can I have £20?

 

Dear 14-year-old daughter

I’m 45. Am I too old to wear patterned tights?

Blah, blah, you used to have ‘really nice legs’ at my age, blah blah blah. Well, last time I looked your legs looked like raw sausages. God, don’t cry! Are you having the menopause or something? Well, there’s no need to take it out on me. Your ageing process is seriously damaging my psyche. I’m going to be totally fucked up and it’s all your fault!

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Place your Christmas orders for my novelty aprons!

Christmas is coming, and what better way to celebrate the festive season than with a hand-printed, 100 per cent cotton novelty apron?*

Wear one on Christmas Day to impress your mother-in-law. Wear one around the house every day, in a vain attempt to make yourself feel efficient and useful, like you imagine people who wear aprons to be. Wear one to soak up your S.A.D.-induced tears, because the St John’s Wort just doesn’t seem to be working for you any more.

Our aprons cost just £6.99, and are lovingly hand-crafted by South Korean orphans in a 6ft x 4ft shed with no incoming natural light and no access to toilet facilities.

* All aprons are guaranteed 100 per cent hypothetical.

Choose from:

Order no 017A/Mildly depressed

I know I don’t strictly need it to cook microwave lasagne, but what the fuck

Order no 017B/In need of Prozac

Does my depression look big in this?

Order no 017C/Full-blown midlife crisis

My God, what’s happened to me? I’m wearing a motherfucking apron

Order no 017D/Menopause

If you can’t stand the heat, try HRT

Order no 017E/Mother-in-law visit 1

Remove my giblets, daub me with butter and stuff my cavity

Order no 017F/Mother-in-law visit 2

Your son is impotent

Order no 017G/NCT coffee morning

“Because you have sinned against the LORD, I will make you as helpless as a blind man searching for a path.  Your blood will be poured out into the dust, and your bodies will lie there rotting on the ground.”

(Zephaniah 1:7:18 NLT)

Also available: matching oven gloves, £4.99

We also print customised aprons to order: send your own slogans via the comments box below.

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Back to pap

My last post was a bit of a departure for me. I’ve not really written about anything personal on this blog before, and I’m not sure I’ll be doing it again. After all, if I stop repressing my emotions and start ‘sharing’, how will I ever get angina? However, I do want to say a huge thank you to all you kind and good-hearted people who posted such lovely and reassuring comments – they have gone a long way towards making me feel heaps more optimistic about the future.

But now, it’s back to what I enjoy best: puerility! Here’s something I found in the Oxfam book shop today:

 

 

Aaah, I feel better already…

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A great big bottle of whine

I’m wallowing today. C’mon in and join me in my mudbath of self-pity! Climb in, it’s lovely and warm in here, although you might find it a bit cloying after a while…

It’s looking like my ‘late developer’, ‘young for his years’ son has Asperger’s after all. To be fair, it’s not that much of a surprise. It’s something my sister first flagged up when he was 18 months old. (Oh yeah? What does she know? Well, unfortunately, she’s a speech therapist. Specialising in children with autism spectrum disorders. I know, I know – why couldn’t she just have worked in a pie shop?)

I know it’s self-indulgent to moan, because at the moment it’s fairly subtle, almost invisible to the outside world. What seven-year-old boy doesn’t bang on about Star Wars weaponry, hate writing, not know when to stop when play-fighting with an adult, complain his socks ‘hurt’, and have to be told 75 times to put his shoes on in the morning? It’s mostly apparent in the classroom; he stares blankly when the teacher is talking, as if the wind is whistling through his ears, and misses the simplest instructions. He reads like an adult but can barely put one sentence down on paper.

‘It’s mild,’ everyone says, and I know they’re looking to reassure me, and they’re quite right. He’s a ‘lil’ bit Aspie’, in the way you can be ‘a lil’ bit Country.’ Believe me, I am grateful for that. But ­– whisper it – because this is all relatively new, I’m not quite in the zone yet of ‘comparing’ him to other kids on the spectrum; I’m still clinging to ‘comparing’ him other ‘neurotypical’ children. (Parents who are struggling with children with severe ASD and other disorders, I will email you my address so you can come round and punch me really hard in the mouth.)

I guess it puts into context why I never felt that he ‘needed’ me as a baby. Why he used to sit for hours as a toddler spinning the wheels on his upturned pushchair, and was late to talk. Why he was 18 months old before he kissed me. Why I’ve often found him, to be frank, a bit of a struggle. (It also puts into context the behaviour of a few close relatives and the off-the-wall, inappropriate things they come out with. (‘How was the funeral?’ ‘Too hot.’))

But yes, it is subtle. So subtle that even I was shocked when he was doing the verbal tests with his speech therapist.

‘Tell me what you can about a house.’

‘It has four brick walls. It’s a cube shape, with a prism for a roof – the roof can be made of wood, or metal, or other materials…’

‘Tell me what you can about an orange.’

‘It’s spherical. It can be hard, or soft. It’s rough on the outside…’

No, son, it’s a fruit! A sodding fruit! He managed to explain 20 words without giving a single ‘big picture’ answer, or indeed a single emotional response or personal observation, like ‘I like oranges,’ ‘I live in a house.’

Being a glass-half-empty kind of person, I’ve already extrapolated into the future and had visions of him boring a girl into a coma with the exact specifications of the Bugatti Veyron. I’ve just got to do a mind-flip, now, and look at the many, many positives. He’s a lovely, polite boy, with beautiful grey-green eyes and a great sense of humour; he’s healthy, he’s happy and with a bit of ‘tweaking’ he’ll be just fine. Right, I’m going to climb out of the mudbath and have a refreshing cold shower. There’s still a bit of claggy self-pity clinging to me, so maybe I’ll get the pool boy to help. José! Hose me down!

DISCLAIMER: Just re-read my post and realised it would be horrifically insulting to any adult or teenager with ASD who happens to stumble across it. I’m leaving it ‘up here’ as it was an honest first reaction to all that has gone on, but I must learn to practise what I preach: I’m always telling friends that ASD is viewed very much as dyslexia was 20 years ago – as something to be collectively feared and marginalised. And that we need to try and have a better understanding and bring ASD into the mainstream. I am now going to get my cat o’nine tails and administer a sound self-thrashing. Think I’ll stick to sticking to blogging about biscuits from now on.

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Enter my world of dreams! But bring a sick bucket

“Ian McShane off TV’s ‘Lovejoy’? By the great sky god Manitou, this woman is sick!”

I don’t know whether it’s the weather or the perimenopause, but lately I have been having really vivid dreams and waking up bathed in sweat.

Hey, where are you going? Don’t you want to hear more about my sweat? I haven’t detailed the amount released, or the crevices of my body that are affected yet!

Well, if you’re still here, in last night’s dream I was sharing a crappy B&B room with a bunch of bitchy wags, owing to a double-booking error. The dream culminated in me, for some unfathomable reason, putting hair conditioner on my pubes, trying to wash it off over a wastepaper bin using a garden hose, and then storming down to the hotel reception to complain about the below-par facilities.

That proves what a boring cow I am; I’m even boring in my dreams. There’s always a prosaic element to them. Two nights ago, I dreamt I’d landed a copywriting job for an ad agency owned by 70s chat-show host Michael Parkinson. A client wanted to me to write some straightforward yet snappy copy about a hair-thickening product, but whenever I showed it to Parky, he was never happy. ‘I think we need to work in a Medieval theme,’ he’d say. ‘Maybe we could have a cartoon of a knight on horseback?’ and I’d have to go back to my desk trying to balance the requirements of the cosmetics company and my clearly deranged boss. Which I guess is not a million miles away from your average working day.

Anyway, let’s have a list. Here, in reverse order, are my top three disturbing dreams of all time.

3. I’d just died but was still able to walk and talk, and I was desperately trying to find all my friends and family to say goodbye before rigor mortis set in.

2. I was in bed, trying to read a book, while my husband and what I took to be his 20-year-old blonde mistress rolled around next to me. Occasionally he’d break off to sneer, ‘She’s so much better than you.’

1. I was shagging barrel-chested, bow-legged 80s icon Ian McShane off TV’s ‘Lovejoy’, who was dressed in a monk’s habit. And I was really enjoying it.

I tried to ‘interpret’ that last one using www.dreamforth.com, but sadly, there was no category for ‘shagging Ian McShane’. Although there were categories for ‘sandals’, ‘elderberries’, ‘obelisks’ and ‘walruses’. I’d welcome your explanations. Does it mean I have a fear of commitment? Do I need to embrace new work opportunities? Or does my medication need adjusting?

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