Back to school: the shrivel-breasted hag speaks

Momm-i, the Shrivel-Breasted Hag, is addressing her seven-year-old son on the eve of his return to school.

Momm-i: ‘So, you are in Juniors now. This is a very important year for you, my son. You’ll have to work harder, and there’s less chance to play. It’s vital that you sort out your attitude.

Momm-i: ‘I’ve prepared a Powerpoint presentation, and I’d like you to pay attention to this year’s key objectives. Number one: concentrate! Did you hear what I just said?’

Spawn of Momm-i: ‘Huh?’

Momm-i: ‘By Drazon’s bowels, this is exactly what I am talking about! You never listen! That has to change, or you are going to fall further and further behind! And then it will be too late, you hear me?’

Spawn of Momm-i: ‘Too late for what?’

Momm-i: ‘SILENCE! I am speaking! When Momm-i speaks, you listen! You always think you have the answer for everything! Well, let me tell you, you have a lot to learn! If you don’t work hard at school, you will not get a job when you grow up, and you will have to sleep on the streets and look for food in the bins outside Count Zaylion’s Castle of Despair!

Spawn of Momm-i: ‘I’m going to be an inventor.’

Momm-i: ‘Oh, really? Well, inventors need at least 9 good GCSEs, and three or four science A-levels, then you’ll need a degree and possibly a PhD. How are you going to achieve all that if you never listen?

Spawn of Momm-i: ‘Can I go and watch Pokemon now?’

Momm-i: ‘By Lord Wrathgar’s mighty phallus, I despair!



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The Gallery of Unfortunate Art: Summer sale!

‘Venus in Pink’ by Not Waving But Ironing. Pink Play-Doh, 2010. £600

With its pendulous breasts, swollen tummy and fleshy thighs, ‘Venus in Pink’ calls to mind the stone goddess figurines of the Paleolithic era; like those ancient fertility symbols, it has a resonance and universality that would seem to defy time. Was it inspired by the Willendorf Venus – the 20,000-year-old goddess icon carved from oolitic limestone tinted with red ochre, discovered in Austria in 1908? ‘Um, no,’ says Not Waving But Ironing. ‘It’s me after too many caramel Magnums.’

‘Toilet Man’ by Charlie Not Waving (age 7). Felt-tip pen on paper, 2010. £250

Not Waving But Ironing’s son and artistic heir apparent, Charlie Not Waving finally comes of age with a hurriedly executed stick drawing that playfully subverts our middle-class expectations. The typography ­ ‘What a sight!’ ­ would seem to exhort the childish imagination to new heights, but the onlooker’s hopes for a butterfly, a dolphin, or at least an army tank, are cruelly dashed by Charlie’s hastily scribbled stick man doing a gigantic poo on a toilet. We’re left with unanswered questions: why is the toilet outside, not inside? Who is the lone man and what does his mournful expression mean? Was it really worth the artist’s mother spending £9.99 on one of those poncey ‘Let’s Doodle!’ books at Waterstones? Clearly, no.

‘Please, Mummy, Will You Play “Disney Princess Spinning Wishes” With Me?’ by Not Waving But Ironing. Scribble on birthday card, 2010. £200

‘Please, Mummy, Will You Play “Disney Princess Spinning Wishes” With Me?’ is possibly Not Waving But Ironing’s most evocative work to date. ‘I wanted to visually capture the dichotomy at the heart of motherhood,’ explains the artist. ‘Namely, that the desire to nurture your child emotionally by playing an overly complicated board game with her, can co-exist with an equally powerful urge to stab yourself repeatedly in the eye with a cocktail stick.’

The artist is currently working on the illustrations for a children’s book entitled, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and If You Haven’t Remembered Where You Left It by the Time I Count to 10, I’m Throwing Your Ice Cream in the Bin.’

‘Two weeks At My Mother-in-law’s’ by Not Waving But Ironing. Self-portrait collage, 2010. £450

The artist declined to comment on this particular work.


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I pity the fool who doesn’t own a Teasmade

This week, to celebrate Mr Not Waving landing a job, I had my carpets steam-cleaned. Which caused Oliv er Reed to start spinning in his grave. I then flicked through some back issues of Livingetc to pick out some tiles for a new kitchen splashback, while Mr Not Waving popped out to Argos and bought me a Teasmade. At which point Sid Vicious did a backflip and what’s left of Keith Moon exploded into flames.

I think Mr Not Waving was worried that as he’ll now be getting up at ‘fuck o’clock’ in the morning, I might not actually bother getting out of bed at all without the cuppa he  normally brings me. And with good reason. But now I have the Teasmade! I love you, Teasmade! Or can I call you Teasy? Your only, minor fault is that even with the Dimmer Facility switched on, you emit more light than a UFO. At 3am the whole bedroom is eerily blue. ‘We can make love by the glow of the Teasmade,’ my husband joked. Make love? Why would I do that, now I have an automatic hot beverage maker?

Unfortunately, my husband is becoming suspicious that my relationship with Teasy is more intimate than it should be – I think it was the tell-tale third-degree burns around my inner thighs that did it. I have a feeling Teasy might be sent into exile in the garage. Never mind, I have the Argos catalogue in front of me, and am already drooling over the De’Longhi Pump Coffee Machine with integral frothing action. And what about the Tefal Toast ‘n’ Egg with meat-warming tray and extra wide slot? How hot does that look? (Pretty hot. You’d definitely need oven gloves.) Or the Gordon Ramsay searing griddle with removable drip tray?

My God, I am  one sad bastard.


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What NOT to tell your daughter: a photo-story

Not Waving But Ironing and her daughter Mae are getting changed after swimming.

Mae Not Waving: ‘I’m dressed now, Mummy. Can we go and get some hot chocolate?’

Not Waving But Ironing: ‘Just a minute, I’m looking for my breasts. I saw them down here somewhere.’

NWBI: ‘Ah, here they are. They were on the floor.’

Mae: ‘Mummy, why are your boobies all droopy?’

NWBI [patiently]: ‘Well, Mae, boobies come in all different shapes and sizes. But it doesn’t matter what they look like, they’re for feeding babies.’

Mae: ‘Even droopy ones.’

NWBI: ‘Yes, even those. And do you have to say “droopy” quite so loudly?’

Enter Perky Pertpants, the neighbour’s Australian au pair.

Perky: ‘Oh, g’day Mrs Not Waving, g’day Mae.’

Mae: ‘Hello Perky. You are beautiful.’

Perky: ‘Hey, Mrs NW, d’you happen to have any body lotion that I can rub languorously over my silken, toned limbs? Ideally while standing right next to you, so that juxtaposed with my 21-year-old body, yours looks like it belongs to a mountain troll?’

NWBI: ‘Body lotion?’ [Laughs like a maniac.] ‘I haven’t used that since 1998!’

Mae: ‘Perky’s boobies are like circles, aren’t they Mummy.’

NWBI: ‘Yes, they are.’

Mae [sings]: ‘Droopy boobies, droopy boobies…’

NWBI [hisses]: ‘Listen up, Perky’s boobies are like that because she’s never had a baby. You hear me? Having a baby stretches your boobies, and then they pop like balloons until there’s only shrivelled skin left.’

Mae [whimpering]: ‘You’re scaring me, Mummy!’

NWBI: ‘And I’ll tell you something else for nothing. Having a baby really hurts!’

Mae: ‘Boo, hoo! I’m never having children!’


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Join my Beast Quest Challenge! What? Have you got something better to do?

I received a rather desperate email last night from Adam Blade*, author of the Beast Quest series of small-boy-pleasing stories. (No, he’s not a computer in the basement of Orchard Books. How can you even think that? The man’s an artist!). Incidentally, my son is a big fan – what he could tell you about Sepron the Sea Serpent, Arcta the Mountain Giant and Skor the Winged Stallion isn’t worth knowing.

Poor Adam, he’s writing series 75 of Beast Quest and is running out of inspiration. ‘I’ve done everything,’ he wrote. ‘Every variation of mythical beast. Series one, two and three were okay – I had my pick of minotaurs, phoenixes, dragons, trolls… Then for later series I had to get a bit leftfield, with ‘ghost panthers’ and vague, unnamed ‘fiery foes’. And then I really reached rock bottom with ‘Krabb, Master of the Sea’ – he was just a giant crustacean, for fuck’s sake. I mean, come on!’

Ladies and gents, can any of you help? I’ve been up all night wracking my brains, trying to think of new titles to inspire our literary friend. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Premenstrua, the Goddess of Wrath

Kam-ron and Klegg, Masters of Chaos

Snuffles, Guinea Pig of Fury

Momm-i, the Shrivel-breasted Hag

Colon, the Bringer of Wind

Not Waving But Ironing, the Hairy One (oooh, she sounds scary!)

Puff the Magic Dragon

Ikea, the Inescapable Terror

Slagg, the Woman Behind the Boots Counter Who Practically Accused Me of Shoplifting That Second Bottle of Ambre Solaire, When It Was Clearly Labelled, ‘Buy 1 Get 1 Free’

I think we’re getting somewhere. But if any of you can help Adam, I know he’d love to hear your contributions. And so would I. Although I am awfully, awfully busy.

* Oh, okay, I didn’t really.


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The Not Waving But Ironing Nighttime Worrying Index

At last, the gods have smiled on the Not Waving family – Mr Not Waving has landed a job! A permanent one, where you get to take home actual money every month! Anyway, given this exciting news, I have been able to adjust the Not Waving But Ironing Nighttime Worrying Index. ‘Money’ has been knocked off the top spot that it’s held for the last year and a half, and straight in at number one with a bullet, is… ‘Son’s speech and language impairment leading to educational failure and downward spiral in life’, while holding on to the number two position is golden oldie ‘Does everyone think I’m a twat?’. Here’s the top 10 run-down in full.

1. Son’s speech and language impairment leading to educational failure and downward spiral in life
2. Does everyone think I’m a twat?
3. Cellulite
4. Possibility of death in car crash: husband’s, children’s, mine, extended family’s, friends’, neighbours’, etc
5. Breast droop
6. Developing a horrible illness: husband, children, me, etc (see 4, above, for full listing)
7. Husband leaving me for vivacious younger model with upward-pointy breasts
8. Why are there cruel and evil people in the world? Why?
9. Money
10. Random attack by knife-wielding loon

Now don’t worry, readers – Mr NW may have found work, but I remain staunchly unemployable. A couple of commissioning editors I worked for fairly regularly last year are now not even replying to my emails. And the final blow to my confidence came on Friday, in the form of this note in my son’s book bag:
‘Thank you for volunteering to accompany class 2R on our trip to Leeds Castle on Tuesday. However, we have all the parent-helpers we need for this particular outing, so we will not be taking up your kind offer this time.’

And this morning I found this under my pillow:
‘Dear Not Waving But Ironing
Thank you for your efforts to date, but I have decided to take care of wiping myself from now on. As such, I will no longer be requiring your services.
Yours sincerely
Your Arse’


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Not Waving But Ironing’s problem page

Dear Not Waving But Ironing

It’s Sports Day at school next week, and my children always nag me to take part in the races. Trouble is, I’m not very sporty and don’t want to embarrass myself.

Why not just have a go? Then, halfway through the sack race, have a vaginal prolapse, and get the headmaster to announce over the tannoy, ‘Does anyone have a bucket? Mrs X needs it to carry her womb.’ I guarantee your children will never ask you to take part again.

Dear Not Waving But Ironing

Last night my seven-year-old son came downstairs naked, and I noticed his penis was coated with bright pink nail varnish. He said his sister had done it. How should I have handled the situation?

The best course of action would be to act as if nothing’s wrong. Start gently removing the nail varnish with a remover pad, being careful not to pull or drag the skin. Then, completely out of the blue, recall reading somewhere that sexual kinks are often triggered by childhood memories, and start panicking that your son might grow up to be someone who seeks out blowsy middle-aged prostitutes to coat his genitals in acetone. Offset this by alternately roughly scubbing at his penis like it’s a carrot you’ve just picked at the allotment, and batting it violently from a distance, until the tears are coursing down his cheeks. Job done.

Dear Not Waving But Ironing

Sometimes, when I’m hanging out the washing, I feel like I want to die. Is this normal?


Dear Not Waving But Ironing

I’m 41. Am I too old to wear jeggings?

Yes. Don’t even think about it.

What about skinny jeans?

Are you deaf? Forget about it.

Not even…

Listen up, Lamb-shank Thighs – stick to pencil and A-line skirts, and boot-cut flares only! How many times do I have to tell you? Remember that photo of you at the zoo last year where you’re wearing black leggings? Yeah, the one where you look like your abnormally long body’s been attached to two mini chocolate rolls? Well, think on…


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