Daily Delivery versus the Longer Variety!


Today, you will be mightily relieved to know, I am not going to wax lyrical about the daily delivery of dung in the dunny (which so many of us take for granted) or, indeed, the dreary delivery of pestilential post (from companies we would not wish to be seen dead in a ditch with) courtesy of Royal Mail’s scarlet-clad finest.

Nay, nay! I shall, on this grey and grim August day, be getting to the bottom of that special kind of delivery which involves the emptying of one’s womb in a southerly direction, oft accompanied by the kind of metallic implements that would not seem out of place in a farrier’s shop – and which, as a ghastly side-effect, often causes a temporary stoppage of the first type of delivery mentioned in this dastardly diatribe!

So there I was – as are so many women, and a smattering of men – metaphorically chained to the low-slung bed by contractions which felt as if a carthorse had mistaken my uterus for a field and was ploughing the bejeezus out of it. To say that I writhed in pain would be to miss out on the opportunity to use imagery involving wild stallions, equine limbs, ropes and dismemberment.

Gas and air is all very well if you want to sound like Pinky and Perky overcome  by hysterical mirth (I didn’t!); Pethedine has its place, I am sure, but plunged into the thigh of a labouring woman, its use is more emetic than pain-reducing – and I found myself renewing my acquaintance with the Lucozade I’d quaffed an hour previously whilst still being in agony!

I was extremely tempted by the thought of stronger medication – and would, indeed, have gone for total anaesthesia, or a blow to the head, when the pain was at its worst, especially when the midwife, hacked off by my failure to break my own waters, produced what looked like a crochet hook designed for an elephant!

Just the sight of the bloody thing caused an immediate Nile-like inundation – and my labour quickened (euphemism for ‘became infinitely more agonising’) thereafter.

A jolly hour or so later – during which I felt as if I had extruded every single internal organ other than the baby! – a midwife announced that delivery was near at hand. So, in my view, was death! My own! I actually thought, at that point in proceedings (in so far as I was actually thinking, whilst trying to push what felt like theQE2 out of my posterial regions!), that I would almost certainly turn inside out and/or explode if I had to bear down any more firmly than I was already…

Bracing myself, puce of face and running most unattractively with sweat, I gave this delivery lark some serious welly – and, far from birthing my own liver (a very real fear, let me tell you!), found myself, minutes later, with a dark-haired male wean, wrapped in white and yelling vigorously, plonked upon my tummy. It was my little son, my very own precious delivery!

The Old Wives’ Tales insist that labouring women forget the pain. We don’t, not really. But our beloved children make it not just bearable in the retelling but – if you are a bawdy old bag like I am – positively funny!

Concerning the cushion that accompanied me to the privy for the next three weeks or so, I shall say no more: any woman who has delivered a child, will know whereof I speak; anyone who has not will not wish to know, take it from me!

Best delivery of my life, the Lad was!

I shall spare you both the delivery of the afterbirth and the featured image bit: there is a photo of me and Son taken immediately post-delivery, but the sheer humiliation factor stops me from doing that to my now-adult offspring!


Paragon? Pass the bucket!


I would love to have read Ambrose Bierce’s take on the word ‘paragon’, as I have a shrewd suspicion that he would have damned with faint praise that which we are wont to laud above all virtues.

So, I shall supply the cynical and scathing silver-grey underbelly of this prize fish. I shall, if you like – and many of you probably won’t! – do a Bierce on this word.

Paragon of Virtue: A sanctimonious twat who is so puffed-up with self-importance that he/she is in imminent danger of exploding and showering the onlookers with a veritable vichyssoise of internal organs and high-faluting moral superiority.

To be avoided at all costs, in other words!

Toad of Toad Hall had he ever got Religion!

Personally, I prefer my life companions to be interestingly-flawed and thorn-embedded, though genuine, of heart.

Puncture: The Humorous Guide to Eliminating Bullies from your Life…


I know all about being bullied – and have written many a serious post about the subject. Sometimes, however, it is both therapeutic and refreshing to laugh at these tedious and predictable scourges in our lives…

The buggers are like over-filled balloons, their egos an unwise bulge of too-generously applied helium. Puncture them, I say!

Bullies may come in many different sizes, colours and shapes, but they all operate to the same tediously predictable agenda: ‘If you don’t do A, or give me B, I will inflict Torment C upon upon you…’ There are, of course, variations upon this theme which allow the bully (who, typically, likes to think of him or herself as a cut above the rest intellectually and physically) to think that he/she is highly versatile, mysterious and adaptable. But the truth is that bullies are unable to think outside their nasty little boxes, the nasty little foxes…

…and, lest you think this is segueing into Dr Seuss, let me tell you that I don’t personally give a rat’s scrotum whether Bully A likes, loathes or is wholly indifferent to green eggs and ham (whatever the venue, weather condition or dining partner) as long as said creature learns the range of expletives which generally end in ‘off’ – and are usually accompanied by certain well-known hand and finger gestures! – and gets the hell out when told.

We all tend to think that, if we treat bullies kindly – under the mistaken impression that, like the Pirates in ‘The Pirates of Penzance’, they are ALL orphans, or were mistreated as children – they will stop. That all they are waiting for is the hero on the white charger to come galloping over hill and dale, in a romantic and dashing manner, strewing forgiveness and smiting under-the-bed monsters on his, or her, way. That, in some fairy tale world not even on one of Grimm’s worst maps, giving way and being decent will cause the bully to see the error of his ways, kneel sobbing at one’s feet and promise to be an angel thereafter!

No. On the contrary, a line so firmly cut into the sand that it resembles the Grand Canyon is the only way.

And that means Psychological Warfare – because, whether the bully uses fists or threats, the ‘transaction’ always originates from the mind – and only fox-like stealth, combined with bull-in-a-china-shop clumsy heedlessness, can trounce the buggers!

Backing away from the sabre-rattling only makes it worse. Giving that little bit extra – be it money, time or possessions – simply narrows the gap between each Jolly Roger incursion upon the Good Ship Bullied!

Most bullies are like cats. They fluff themselves up to look bigger, use claws, teeth and whatever else they have in their personal armoury to get the upper hand; but they are also more than capable of purring, giving you the huge-eyed look and miaowing piteously when they are hungry!

Therefore, dismantling/removing the cat-flap is always a good opening gambit, as is getting a Rottweiler/Pit Bull Terrier. Remembering that felines are more than capable of the old ‘Lurk in a tree/on a roof and leap onto head’ ploy, and given that pollarding/cutting down one’s entire woodland area is both expensive and wounding to the spirit, a course in Bestial Topiary can be most soothing to the frazzled nerves – and, once you’ve got the hang of it, you’ll find that a well-placed Jabberwock in the box hedge is worth any number of onions fired up your unwelcome visitor’s backside!

When you get the vast eyes and heart-string-pulling gutteral noises, immersion in a well soon sorts the men out from the boys, mainly because death tends to deter a repeat performance.

Some troublesome types express their aggression by spraying the furniture. A few judiciously-placed live wires very quickly cures them of this habit, however, as the sensation of peeing backwards brings tears to the boldest eye.

Dog-training techniques can also be utilised when dealing with the more intransigent bully. A whack across the snout with The Financial Times is especially effective because pain and intense boredom unman the worst of us, and a dicey day on the Stock Exchange can easily cause a veritable cascade of the more repellent citizens out of office tower block windows and the like.

Rubbing a bully’s nose in his or her own ordure has had some very positive feedback, though it is never wise to get into a Pissing (or worse) contest with the blighters because they invariably cheat and will have downed a jereboam of Old Engine Oil and fifteen Vesuvial curries in the hours leading up to the event.

Saying ‘No!’ in every known language is another good wheeze. It is brilliant for the brain cells, impresses your friends and can give you that valuable head start so that you can run away/lock yourself in/call John ‘Shithouse’ Smith from down the road or scream until you burst your bully’s ear-drums…

If all else fails, try Musical Warfare. Take up the violin. Especially effective if you have no talent for music and thin walls. The bag pipes are even better. Zealous practising of either, or both, is recommended, with the setting-up of Folk groups amongst consenting adults being a further diabolical embellishment.

Seriously, though: We do nobody any favours by pandering to those who get off on thuggery, emotional blackmail and Nuclear-strength rhetoric!

Start hammering nails into those cat flaps now – and, if one or two find their way into the metaphorical cat by mistake, so much the better!


Outlier: Ghastly, jarring word…


Some words sound horrible, don’t they? ‘Outlier’ is one of them – and, in that way, it is onomatopoeic – if only in the emotional sense – because the ugliness, as perceived aurally, melds perfectly with its meaning of something or someone who (or which!) lies outside the tribe.

As a word I am not 100% sure how to pronounce, it also has that edge of jarring difficulty and ostracism from the homogeneous crowd of little boxes made of ticky-tacky which so permeates our social world.

I, as a gallimaufry kind of a gal, am a classic case of the outlier given human form. Tribes shun me, or I them! My coastline lies far off the continental beaten track. My associates tend to be other outliers!

I have always been seen as different – and that, for the most part, has meant ‘wrong’. Accused by several of being Autistic, I have ploughed my own furrow almost as long as I can remember.

In a world in which being IN is so crucial, I have always been OUT! I have never run with the In-Crowd, never been smoothly popular, never been a candidate for Prom Queen (or its equivalent).

I have always been a craggy and rough itch on the backside of humanity! An irritant! But a pearl-maker too!


Yup! Outlier – and proud!

Follow the flock?! Bugger that! I’d rather eat it!

National Debt? A scary moment!

I woke to a flurry of emails, some relating to recent posts on here; others to business matters. These included an innocuous-looking one from my energy supplier of choice – let’s call them Gas O’ Leck, to give the whole thing that Irish flavour – which I opened in a desultory manner as I waited for tea to mash and dog to evacuate outside.

‘Meter reading?! No problem!’ thunk I. ‘I’m a grown-up now! I can deal with this!’

Off I trotted, kitchen chair at the ready, to the meter boxes. Pen in hand, a light air upon my lips, dog’s claws clicking most irritatingly on the wooden floor behind me, I hoisted myself up, opened Box A and wrote down the number.

There was, I will now confess, a small hiccup in the above when, with my usual carthorse level of dexterity, I tripped over the smooth carpet (don’t ask!) and dropped the chair on my foot – but, nothing loathe, I carried on.

The numbers I obediently jotted down looked pretty damn scary to me. Maths is, and always has been, a serious weak point – and any plethora of the ruddy things brings me out in hives.

I rang the free number and, having negotiated the usual gallimaufry of asinine demands and cheeky attempts to talk me into buying yet another service, used my keypad, like a good little crone, to enter the digits manually.

I assumed this would be the end of it.


A tinny voice – with more than a touch of complacent smirk about it, if you ask me! – informed me that the aforesaid meter reading was much higher than expected and told me to try again.

Aware that my eyesight is not brilliant, and that I could easily have misread the tiny figures, I went back and looked again. Exactly the same digits met my horrified eyes.

Back on the blower, I held out for a real person this time, not wishing to engage with the electronic version of Miss Snooty Pants again.

By this time, I was convinced that my bill would exceed that of the National Debt and that I’d find half Glastonbury had somehow found a way to tap into my electricity and gas supply!

These matters don’t half bring out the latent paranoic!

Miserably, feeling obscurely guilty, I read the accursed numbers out once again and then, yellow key in hand, went and wrestled with the gas meter box in order to, as I saw it, drop myself ever further into penury.

I was then put on hold while the whole thing was mulled over. Not a happy stretch of time, that: By the time my helper came back, I was already in the modern-day equivalent of Debtors’ Prison!

To my intense relief, the original flagging up was just a warning system – and, in fact, my numerical nightmare was nothing to worry about. Collapsing like a hundredweight of limp spaghetti upon the chair, I let out a gargantuan sigh of muscle-relaxing delight and, sipping at a restorative cuppa, felt the weight of financial guilt lift from tense shoulders.

But, this I have to say: I loathe and detest having to deal with the inhuman element in this way. I hate being directed to online sites, or telephonic Tardises, which are about as much use as the proverbial chocolate teapot, take forever and cause one to have to leap through eight million loops.

Bring back real people, for crying out loud. These automated systems are not quicker. They are not more efficient. They do not save hassle. They are stress-inducing Leviathans and it is about time Big Brother realised this fundamental truth and did something about it!

Dante, at his most demonically creative, couldn’t have come up with a more Mephistophelian tenth circle of Hades than our automated services!


Poisonous People: Label?!


Wouldn’t it be great if people, like bottles of liquid, came with ready-made warning labels already emblazoned upon them? If those who represented danger, or potential poison, had the skull and crossbones label slapped upon them as soon as their malign natures began to show…

Yes, I am aware that labelling others is deemed politically incorrect – and, to a large extent, I would go along with this view, having been labelled myself all too often – but, on the other hand, there is the hidden danger of harm hidden behind a benign appearance, and we could protect ourselves more readily if that metaphorical danger label were, like a dog chip, implanted under the skin.

Of course, this is turning people into one-dimensional beings – little more than paper dolls with their clothes, carefully cut out and coloured, affixed to the shoulders by rough tags – and implying that true evil is an incontrovertible fact, as opposed to just one stage along a hotly-debated spectrum of moral, emotional and spiritual order-disorder.

This is implying that it is right, or desirable, to identify, and label – and, thus, fix, butterfly-like, to an unchanging rigid memory board – another human being based, perhaps, on one fleeting moment of moon-calf madness. To label a minor misdemeanour as a life-long malignant habit.

I know all the good, very good, reasons why labelling people is wrong. I can see, with total clarity, the damage such an act can cause – and, as a teacher, have seen the ghastly reality many a time…

…but, there are, without a shadow of a doubt, those who look angelic, and are more demonic inside, wandering around our world, wreaking havoc wherever they fetch up, whose careers would be cut short by the simple expedient of a neatly-applied label visible to everyone: These Dorian Grays whose self-absorbed beauty and dangerous, snake-like, seduction techniques would be cut very short indeed if the label included the command: ‘See the picture in the attic first!’

We do not, as a species, wear our souls on our sleeves, as it were, more’s the pity! You know where you are with a charging rhino (many miles away, if you have any sense) or a roaring lioness (inside the vehicle with the window closed tight); they do not pretend, or aspire, to be anything but themselves. Nature may very well be red and tooth and claw, but at least it is not pretending to be charm personified and lamb-like gentleness.

Yes, I think the old chip and pin system would work a treat with the more egregious of our brethren and sistren, with little warnings, easily accessed, giving the summarised version of chapter and verse: ‘Cannibal: Do not bend over the freezer or turn your back near a heat source…’ or, Partial to younger women: If he says, “Have some Madeira, M’dear…” run like the blazes!’ or, ‘Werewolf: Collect the silver in a circle and stand clear…’ or, ‘Psychopath/Narcissist: Lies for the Known Universe: Avoid!’

The clever part of the above is that it becomes entirely optional, one’s own power and choice. There is no label showing on the surface – and it is, therefore, up to the individual to decide whether to activate the hidden chip or not.

Labels for unreconstructed wrong’uns? Yes, why not!



The spelling threw me for a moment: I thought it was either a little-known Eastern European composer or yet another aspect of post-death marking: Livor Mortis, Rigor Mortis and now Vigor Mortis…

The Grim Reaper’s triplet helpers, as you might say.

But ‘vigour’: Quite the opposite, the epitome of strength, life and vitality.

‘Physical strength and good health’ is the actual definition – so a real study in contrast with ‘rigor’ which, of course, implies very definite, one might say terminal, poor health, being stiff as a board and possessed of all the strength of overcooked spaghetti.

Isn’t it amazing how much difference one letter makes in the meaning of two words? Two, if you count my pedantic habit of spelling things the English way!






Sentiment: Emotional Candy-Floss


‘having or arousing feelings of tenderness, sadness, or nostalgia, typically in an exaggerated and self-indulgent way’


‘Fun Fair? Candy-Floss! Yay! Bring it on! Give me buckets, bidets, baths of the sticky pink gorgeousness!’

That, roughly, is the feeling so many of us get when we go out for the day to any kind of venue that contains merry-go-rounds, Waltzers, clowns on stilts, roller-coasters, coconut shies and so forth.

After participating (usually only briefly!) in the kind of hot dog immortalised in Terry Pratchett’s novels courtesy of the character Dibbler, the carny enthusiast then makes a bee-line for the Candy-Floss stall.

The cramming-in, licking of lips (and chin, cheeks, nose, fingers) and slight nausea section of the entertainment normally last a matter of seconds (a minute at most for the slow eater) – and is then followed, in slow spasms of ghastliness, by Candy-Floss’ unique and vile kick-back.

Vague intestinal quavers give way to roiling and gurgling, whilst the accompanying sugar high (or instant diabetes, as it is also called in the trade) propels all children over one ceiling-wards and causes more marital breakdown than adultery, money-laundering and murder put together.

But the pink and sticky stuff really comes into its own on the journey home, producing, as it does, Vesuvial outpourings of vomit – from all and sundry – plus moaning, groaning, whining and tummy-rubbing (and that’s just the driver) which causes all other vehicles on the motorway to take a speedy exit onto a C road not on any known map – and instant gridlock in all major cities.

And yet, come Carny Day next year, does this stop the eager, nay homicidal, lining up at the Floss Stall? Does it heck as like!

Same goes for the whole plastic-bag-wrapped confectionery that is sentiment. We crave it. We are totally taken in, and engrossed, and enstickied, by its frothy pink promise of triggering our tender, sad and nostalgic buttons. Our eyes widen in greedy delight as we rip off the cellophane covering and get stuck in; as our tongues masticate the spun sugar; as our cheeks bulge with the toffee-ish residue…

…and, as the first warning signs start a small upsurge of lava in our bellies.

Metaphorically speaking…

That’s when the revolting sickliness makes its presence felt. That’s when the Ghost of Self-Indulgence pulls back the curtains on our four-poster-beds and, taking us by the hand, leads us on a harrowing Scrooge-like journey of epiphany round the gobblesome realms and Mills and Boon moments of our depraved youths.

That’s when the gruesome spectre leads us to the empty tombstone of Sentimental Excess and, pointing a calcined (yet oddly fluffy and pink!) finger at it, intones those fateful words:

‘This is your death!’

Just saying!