Tuesday, August 16, 2005


I'm off tomorrow, and as usual I've left everything until the last minute. Nothing is washed let alone packed. There's money to organise, dogs to kennel, bills to pay and bundles of other stuff to do (for one thing I like to change the bedding so I come home to clean sheets).
This year (unlike last year) I'll leave my neighbour a spare set of keys so that he doesn't get flooded when the ball cock falls off my loo, and this year I've promised myself that I will pack with restraint. I travel a lot on business and I have that down to a fine art, but for some reason when I go on holiday I seem to have a need to pack for every eventuality, flip flops, shorts, woollen jumper, umbrella, shark repellent.......

It's a bit different this year though, there are some things I will need, my suit for the wedding (in Toronto), and camping gear because I aim to drive West through the northern states to Oregon, and I aim to camp at least as often as I stay in hotels. So I'll need to be selective. I'm thinking just a few T shirts, 2 pairs of pants, and socks, and a bottle of travel wash...and maybe bear repellent, instead of shark.

So I'm going to be of the air for a while, until early September. I thought I'd take some photo's but they will be terribly dull. If you are alone like me there's a temptation to snap views, and they're really very boring when you show them to other people....and here's one of the sky, and another with a tree in it, and ooh look, there's a field - if you look really closely there's a squirrel in the bottom right hand corner. I always feel a bit of a prat asking other people to take a photo of me on my own camera too, posing for complete strangers. (I once did this on a Greek island, on a beach in the evening with some boats drawn up on the sand and a beautiful sunset for a back drop, I stopped a couple and asked them if they'd take a snap for me - I leant against one of the brightly coloured boats trying to look interested in the sunset. Just as they took the photo the boat rocked and I fell in. We all howled with laughter, it was genuinely funny, and I have a photo of my legs sticking out of Greek fishing boat).

There'll be no part III for a little while then, and I'm quite relieved, (I'm sure some other people out there are too), as they do (they did, genuinely get progressively worse and I was traumatised for quite some time after part IV.

Anyone want a postcard?

ps, don't worry, the Toffee and Charlie don't look back when I drop them at the kennels, the people are fantastic with them, they share a room and I'm sure it's a holiday for them too.

Monday, August 15, 2005

I visited a friend in Cornwall this weekend. He's a retired fireman (retired out of the service with an injury) and has chosen a to settle down in the West Country with his wife and their daughter. They're wonderful people, they have an enormous, rambling old house and acres of land, they're generous, fun loving and enjoy having their friends around them. So we came from all over and set up camp on their lawn.

It was a moving feast. Some people arrived earlier in the week, (I arrived on Friday and left on Sunday), others stayed for much longer and a quite a few of the local villagers came out for the evenings, many of them are the parents of his daughter who has made lots of new friends in school.

Most people would be content to simply let it roll, but our hosts had really gone to town, They'd hired a trampoline (for the kids), a swimming pool, porta loos and outside showers, and a marquee where whoever was there enjoyed breakfasts when they emerged in the morning - and long boozy dinners that went on until the early hours each day.

We fished, rode on Dartmoor, body boarded in huge waves and pouring rain (did you know that Mako sharks have been spotted off the coast?!!), bbq'd, got drunk, talked rubbish, made new friends and generally chilled out until our bottoms dropped off. The children played until they dropped, and everybody chipped in with the chores, nobody threw even the remotest of peeves.

I came home on the bike, (there's plenty of time to think on a motorbike) and I was wondering, if I had what they'd managed to create, an idyll in the countryside, whether I would be so generous with it.

Friday, August 12, 2005

inside Charlie's head

Charlie, (he’s the one who looks like a loo brush without a stick), fights well above his weight. I’ve seen him square up to dogs that would do him to death by just sitting on him. Not that he’s aggressive mind you, far from it, but if anything gives him a hard time he fights back. I’m quite proud of him when this happens, when he’s just chased off a Doberman – he literally hurls himself at them and sets about an ankle with plenty of grrrrrrrring, and I say to the owner, “oh I’m sorry, he’s not normally like that”. All the while I’m thinking “good boy, get in there my son!!!”.

But he’s scared of thunder. Last night we had a wonderful electrical storm that rumbled around the sky for an age. Charlie tried to hide, under Toffee, under the settee, between two cushions…and every time I moved he came with me, doing tight little figures of eight around my legs.

Normally I try to chatter away to him, in the kind of voice you use with children to show them that you’re not worried so there’s no need for them to be either. It went on for such a long time though, and he shivers all over with every clap that eventually I let him sit on my lap. Which unfortunately was a mistake – the next roll of thunder was almost immediately over head, and was connected directly to his bladder.

Does anyone know if they make ear muffs for dogs?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

on the laying of ghosts part ii

In the next eighteen months, between the debacle in the cinema and leaving for University I didn't so much as kiss a girl. There were no more dates, and no more voyages of discovery – except - for an incident on the last bus home from town one Saturday night. A girl that lived in one of the local villages that I vaguely recognised from school, and often caught the same bus, sat next to me even though there were lots of spare seats. After a minute or so of deafening silence she simply took my hand and guided it under her skirt, and, then, with a change of angle down the front of her knickers. This was extremely unexpected, and very embarrassing on two fronts as I had no idea what I was expected to do, and I wasn't entirely sure (exactly) what was down there....from the feel of things my first guess would have been a badly wounded hamster.

I needn't have worried, the young lady was quite happy to take charge. She smiled at me and lifted her bum off the seat momentarily, using my wrist to push my hand further down, parallel to the seat. The next twenty minutes were very odd indeed. She proceeded to wriggle around on my hand, with her eyes shut, completely oblivious to me or any of the other passengers. Fortunately there were very few of them and they were all sitting further forward. I sat in agony. My wrist was at an acute angle and had started to ache monstrously and my fingers were going numb so much so that I began to worry that they were actually being dissolved.

My stop was a triangle at a road junction a few miles before the girl's village. It was obvious that I wasn't really involved, the rest of me was just something that held my arm in place so I kept an eye on the road. About half a mile before the triangle there's a small humpty back bridge, my usual landmark and a reminder to ask the driver to stop. The bus driver took the bridge at speed causing me a lot of pain and I daresay my companion considerable pleasure. I rang the bell and tapped her on the shoulder, several times, before she opened her eyes. "Excuse me" I said "I have to get off". (The first words that either of us had spoken). She looked perplexed for a moment, annoyed almost, as if I was suggesting that it was my turn, and then it dawned on her and she repeated the bums off seat manoeuvre to release my hand. I squeezed past, muttered "g'night" and seesawed to the front of the bus.

She waved as the bus pulled away and left me at the lane's end, and I waved back awkwardly with my left hand.

It was a matter of a mile, down the lane to the house and I walked the whole way bathed in moonlight holding my distraught, moist limb in front of me. My wrist felt badly sprained and my fingers, although they were still lifeless, gleamed in the pale white light.

A few weeks later I arrived at Manchester University with my mangina completely intact and some very confused notions of what girls liked.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

on the laying of ghosts - part i

lest we forget those who layed down their dignity in our search for a cure to adolecsence

My parents moved to Scotland when I was eleven years old. To the middle of nowhere, our nearest neighbour was the game keeper who lived a half mile away. I was the only English boy in school, so it wasn’t particularly easy, and I’d also come from an all boys school, so girls were a foreign country as far as I was concerned. The upshot of which was that I was a very late developer. Obviously I knew you could do other things than just wee through ‘it’, but I could never see how I might get the opportunity to find out if I couldn’t even speak to a girl without fear of imminent seizure.

I was seventeen when I had my first date. The ‘my mate fancies your mate’ grapevine worked for me. She was short, pretty, and she had very large breasts, and all of my friends agreed that I’d done remarkably well. They also had a strategy. (Apparently it was okay to confer on these things, and since they all seemed vastly more experienced than me I was happy for the advice).

Our date was fixed for the cinema in the nearest large town, Ayr. We met outside the cinema, and I managed to stutter through the helloes and dutifully pay for the tickets. I was immensely proud and embarrassed in equal measure when she held my hand and sat us in the back row.

Now I was wearing a duffle coat, and it was very, very warm, but it was okay as it was a prop in the great strategy that we had developed in the lower 6th common room. I asked her if she’d like a drink, which she did and I excused myself to go back to the kiosk. I bought the biggest cup of Kia Ora orange they had, and a tiny bag of Revels with the money I had left (I wasn’t mean, just stupid) and toddled off to the toilet. Half of the orange went down the loo to make room for the half bottle of vodka that one of my conspirators had bought from the off license near the school (strange isn’t it, how there’s always one seventeen year old in each class who looks as if he could body double for Magnum?). The duffle coat was the only thing I owned with pockets big enough to smuggle it in.

She took the cup and held it when we got back to the seat, and I avoided any awkward conversation by feeding her the Revels, I think I remember her spitting one out, it was probably the coffee cream. The film began (no, I’ve no idea what it was) and when she occasionally passed me the cup I took tiny sips

Slowly, slowly, oh so slowly I put my arm around her shoulders. I don’t think I needed to have been so discreet as she leaned forward slightly to make it easier – and we sat for what seemed like a very long time with my hand resting on her arm and going gradually numb. Slowly, Slowly, oh how slowly I walked my fingers down her arm, (I had to make a move before rigor mortis set in), waiting for a shrug, any sign of disapproval, and finally sort of twitched my arm sideways with a "oops, 'scuse me" so that two of my fingers suddenly plopped onto her breast….and, my word, beyond all hope, not a murmur, in fact she’s snuggling, I’m sure she is.

I moved my whole hand and cupped nowhere near her whole boob. This was amazing, beyond my wildest dreams, I was in the back row of the pictures with a real girl who I’d scarcely managed two sentences with and she letting me fondle her breast.

I’m afraid that excitement got the better of me. I moved my arm out from behind her and she shifted backward in her seat with a little moan, holding on tightly to the cup with both of her hands and thighs. I needed room to manoeuvre. Her top pulled to one side (when I tried really hard) and her bra came up over her breast. I was fascinated, engrossed beyond any inkling of decent behaviour. I inspected it from every angle, visually and with both hands. Her top moved to the left too so that she was completely revealed. Now I still had a suspicion that there were bones in girl’s breasts, that the nipple was actually the stopper on the end of a bone that was connected at the other end to the rib cage (for support you see). But the scientific method never lies and I was delighted to find that the whole thing was soft and squidgy. (Except, remarkably, for the little bit in the middle which was beginning to mimic the eraser on the end of a pencil).

God knows how long this sordid examination went on for, but it must have lasted for the whole film. It was many moons ago when every feature ended with a rendition of the “Queen” before the lights went up fully. Dark figures began to rise from the seats in front of us, it was a much more gentile world even then, others passed by on the way out.

I was in complete panic, the young lady didn’t seem to care less. I tried frantically to put everything back where it came from but they seemed to have a developed a life of their own, expanded somehow like styrene foam, and nothing seemed to fit properly anymore. Every time I managed to push one bit of her incredible boobage into place, another popped out.

As the lights came up fully I did the only thing I could, I covered her with my duffle coat and we sat there, patiently until all of the other customers left.

It became apparent, when we were alone, that far from being a happy, willing participant in this encounter, she was in fact in an alcohol induced stupor. Kia Ora must have never tasted so good and there was only a half inch left in what had been two pint cup. I tried desperately and in vain to wake her up, then had a rummage around under the duffle in a last desperate attempt to put back that which I had so inelegantly released.

But the cleaners came, so I ran away. And went home on the bus.

We never spoke again, but I heard through the grapevine that we’d had a pleasant, but boring night, and that I wasn’t really “her sort”

of love and hairy toes

I am in love with the vet. She is petite and pert and pretty beyond description, her hair is all of the colours of an autumn oak leaf and her hazel eyes sparkle under delicate, natural lashes.

Toffee, bless his cotton socks, picked up another wild barley seed between his toes. Spaniel’s have very furry feet and it’s quite common for a seed to lodge there and slowly burrow it’s way into the paw. Once through the skin they can continue to burrow for a long way before settling and causing a very painful abscess. By the time it’s made it’s way in it’s too late and although I’ve managed to cut the more obvious ones out myself, more often than not a visit to the vet is necessary.

(Here’s a thing I’ve never understood. Flora finds the most ingenious ways to successfully reproduce. Windmills carry Sycamore seeds far away from the tree, some seeds can lie dormant for decades before germinating as a response to fire, there are endless varieties of seeds with microscopic hooks that hang on to passing traffic on the off chance that they may eventually fall on fertile soil – what kind of half arsed evolutionary meandering has persuaded this particular genus to make it’s preferred home in a dog’s foot? When was the last time you saw a stalk of grass growing out of a fucking Spaniel?))

Anyway I digress.

Toffee sits on the operating table, content to be the focus of attention. I hold his head close in my shoulder, like a hug, while she holds his paw in a firm but gentle grip. Her hands are slender, pale with no hint of varnish on her nails. She is precise and I notice that her eyes wrinkle at the corners as she concentrates, and as she cuts through the flesh on Toffee’s paw a single tiny fold forms between her nose and brow. “Good boy she coos”, “brave boy” I echo.

Everything is a little grey and fuzzy round the edges now. There is a stillness in the room, no sound and too little air. Toffee’s ear is soft against mine and I am rapt by her every movement. As she leans forward her collar falls away from the concealment of her hair and there, revealed, are tiny moles in the nape of her shoulder. There are freckles on her arms, and tiny, gossamer hairs.

Toffee grumbles and rolls his eyes, “there, there” she says “soon done” and, without releasing her hold on him leans forward a fraction to whisper “good boy” against in his ear. Our faces are only inches apart, so close I can feel the warmth of her breath and then the clench of goose flesh on my arms.

And then it’s done. The prettiest, most desirable woman ever to don a white laboratory coat produces, with a gratified murmur, the offending seed clasped in her tweezers.

Toffee is oblivious to the injection of antibiotics and because he will heal readily, there’s no dressing, just an antiseptic wipe.

She looks at me as we say our respective thank yous and goodbyes. She really looks at me. Oh no, what’s given me away, do I look odd, did she feel my stares, or is it written all over my face. Am I actually drooling? I have to consciously stop my hand from checking my face.

And she says, “he’s a brave boy, just like his dad”, “don’t worry, it’s okay to be squeamish”.

(And last night I didn’t really contemplate collecting grass seed and planting it between Toffee’s toes – well not seriously at least).

Sunday, August 07, 2005


The following questions are from Karla Karlababble, who although I know her hardly at all, apart from being gracious enough to think about some ingenious questions also acted like a true pal – the kind who tells you that you have a large obvious, piece of snot protruding from one of your nostrils before you walk into the bar – by pointing out that I’d spelt “bycicle” wrong in my own blog name (tah dah).

The answers are all my own work

1. If you could change any one thing about your life with the snap of a finger, what would it be?

Hell fire, the possibilities are endless. There’s all the very obvious stuff, riches, fame, location. And then the banal, maybe I could have a sparkling white smile, or an enormous schlong (I mean even more enormous), or maybe – and this is more realistic – some style sense. (I sat in a pub with my friends one evening playing the X-man game, ie what would our respective super powers be? My friends decided that mine would be the power to make even the most expensive and well cut clothes look like dish rags). But I don’t really want to, I’m happy enough, and I think that even the bits that I don’t like about myself and my surroundings contribute in some way to the whole experience of being me. So can I cheat just a little, (it’s more of a wish), can I snap my fingers and have just 10 more minutes with my mum please?

2. After an unfortunate mishap involving a short-circuiting electronic dog grooming brush, your dog Charlie suddenly loses the use of his back legs and becomes completely incontinent. The vet tells you you can get a little cart to hook up to him, so that he can wheel himself around by letting his front legs pull the rest of him around on the cart, and naturally, you will just have to clean up his potty messes all day or put him in a doggy diaper. OR...you can get him an operation that will fix everything, good as new...for $10,000. Charlie (because I'm calling the shots in this scenario) will be just as happy either way. What do you do?

I’m sure that there’s something inherent in this question that says very much more about your psyche than any answer I give will ever say about mine. Dog doo holds no fear for me, probably in the same way that the incredible amount of poo that a tiny baby can create is no longer a surprise for you. So then it’s reduced to a question of legs or wheels. I admit, he would be very handy pulling a little cart. He’s quite a strong little sod for his height so he would definitely help with the shopping. The clincher is that there are a lot of stairs in our life. We have a garden but we live on the 1st floor, so while I can see him freewheeling into the garden I can’t really imagine him making it back by dint of only his front paws and I’m certainly not going down to fetch him dressed in my trolleys every morning (and, did I mention, he’s insured, Huzza!!!).

3. What's the best thing about your life, and why?

Choice. I may make some very poor ones, but I still have the availability of choice in most areas of my life. (It’s freedom, but of course that has a cost too).

4. What's the most embarassing thing you've ever done?

Lawks. I have to choose? Have mercy…..It’s not just that there have been so many, but they come in different levels of acuity too, from the cringeworthy snot-bubble, to the shocking and grotesque like attacking my boss with a whole lobster at a corporate “do” (why did they keep filling my glass, the bastards!!). There is one that I do remember very well though, after playing hockey (and drinking a few beers with the chaps), going back to my new girlfriends house (full of resentment, on a Saturday night) to meet the in-laws over dinner. It all seemed to go very well, they hardly noticed me really, Grandparents, Aunties, Uncles, Sisters and Brothers, and her Father was no slouch with the wine. I have a very clear memory of them all retiring to the living room after dinner, happy smiling faces – and those same faces full of shock and dismay what seemed like just moments later. Apparently I’d sat on the floor because there weren’t enough seats to go around, and fallen asleep. It seems that I farted so loudly that I woke myself up….and no one, not a bloody one of them of them was even faintly amused. Come to think of it, I think I’ve caused more embarrassment to the people I’ve been with than I’ve actually felt myself.

5. In the game of "F***, Marry, Kill," (nicer people refer to it as "Shag, Marry, Push Off a Cliff," but I prefer the original, non-PC title), put the following ladies in their proper categories: Barbara Bush, Rosie O'Donnell, Condoleeza Rice.

When I read your blog I thought you were just very funny Karla, razor sharp of course and pithy, but now I realize that you have a genuine mean streak.

I guess you mean Barbara Bush the elder and not one of the twins? I’m also supposing that you won’t allow me to default by coming out right here and now?

Okay, I had to look up Rosie O’Donnell on google. I hadn’t understood the extent of my predicament until I realized who you meant. I shall throw her from the cliff, but then I’m going to run back away from the edge in case she bounces back.

I’m going to marry sweet Condoleeza, because I firmly believe that she might one day become the first female president of the United States. And I will be in her bed, playing her like a harp, she will be my toy and through her I shall rule the earth……(do you have her email address, there’s not a moment to lose).

And I shall do the deed with Babs, we could try a little oral sex? Surely one of the Bush’s can do something useful with their mouth?


Want to play?

The Official Interview Game Rules:
1. If you want to participate, leave a comment below asking to be interviewed.
2. I will respond by asking you five questions - each person's will be different.
3. You will update your journal/blog with the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview others in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Does anyone remember the name of the family in the school French text book?

And todays homework is: "quelle chance, le chat a vomi dans ma chaussure!!" answers by Monday morning please.

what kind of fish am I

I have a problem with relationships (let’s face it I’m sure there’s a very long list, this is just one that I’m aware of). I can’t argue.

I’ve watched couples have terrifying, public arguments, I mean real spittle-flying, spite ridden, skin shredders that don’t seem to have any ill effect on their relationship, in fact it seems to make them stronger? I’m sure it’s all down to personality. Some people seem to live their lives on an emotional roller coaster equidistant between moments of exquisite and vocal joy, and desperate anger and despair. They’re like loons, creatures driven by overcompensating hormones and I am very, very jealous.

Consider this, having twenty years worth of the feelings you normally associate with Christmas morning, your first kiss, your football team winning the FA cup, the best joke you’ve ever heard all rolled into a single day. Granted all of those shiny pennies have flip sides too, so they’re interspersed with the emotional equivalents of the dog getting run over, being stuck in a 12 mile traffic jam, and the injustice of being short changed at the fair. But it’s such a rich and colourful way to live?

As I said, I’m jealous. I just don’t have those drivers, of course I have ups and downs, but they’ve more in common with the Mendips than the Himalayas. This can be a fatal flaw in a relationship (allow me a moment here to indulge myself with the whimsy that this might be the reason, and not that I snore like a hound, fart at inappropriate moments or simply bore the tits off the object of my affection).

I’ve been out with some real tea-cup throwers. Girls who could have made Genghis Kahn turn on the water works. I’ve been publicly harangued and even, (on one notable occasion hospitalised), physically assaulted - and been totally unable to raise any defence. It’s just not there. Even when I know I’m right, that the furious, mottled face before me is talking drivel, I look inside for some motivation and inspiration to fight back and there’s bugger all. Worse still (and this may be a feminine thing, answers on a postcard please) the adrenalin-pumped-grotesque that your loved one has become – interprets your silence and straight face as some deliberate defence. There seems to be nothing worse, to someone who has worked themselves up into a frenzy, than someone who won’t fight back.

My trip to casualty was my own fault, I can see that now, it’s just that I tried so hard to argue (to please her), that I got the giggles – I mean, what kind of signal was that?, and the ashtray was so handy…..

It’s not always been this way. I don’t mean I’ve been more prone to anger and argument in the past, but I used to live in a world that was at least black and white. It’s all so much more grey these days. It seems that growing up is a process, in part, of realising that other people’s opinions are just as valid as your own, right and wrong are intrinsically simply a matter of perspective – let’s face it, in any scenario, it’s unlikely that anyone is going to entirely right, or 100% wrong?

In a relationship, for me at least, that uncertainty is compounded. I can see the light of my life standing in front of me in an ecstasy of self –righteous indignation, and even though I know that it can’t be all my fault, that she’s twisted some of the things that I may have done for the right reasons into heinous crimes – I can feel myself agreeing, and trying to see her point of view. What would be vastly preferable would be to rail back, making no sense but in a loud voice with lots of swearing, and then when the air is cleared go straight to bed for a community chest bunk up.

To the lady, in full spittle-ridden flow, who managed to summon up and shriek at her startled husband, (in Tesco), the immortal: “and another thing, you’re the reason our kids are ugly!!!” I salute you.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

@##% you too madam!!!

To the lady in the Toyota this morning, who took the time to temporarily put aside her mobile phone to shower me with a stream of invective - I'm sorry, I know it was a busy junction, and what with the telephone conversation, and the apparent problem with your eyelashes, you probably didn't need me to create another distraction by tooting on my horn. I do apologise, I can only assure you that it was well intentioned, it just seemed that several of the legion of children that you had managed to cram into the rear of your mpv were using one of the toddlers as bait to catch a passing car by hanging him three quarters of the way out of the window. On reflection, judging by the number of kids you had with you, one lost to traffic would hardly be a matter for grave concern....so easily replaced, and I doubt whether you would have had a difficult job explaining to the father of this particular ear of corn since the sheer number and diversity of the children suggest a lack of paternal continuity. Still, thank you for the advice, and I will certainly give it my best shot, but I've had a bit of a back problem and I don't think I'm anywhere near flexible enough......

To my fuckwit paper boy. It doesn't fit. Despite the fact that you roll it up and put your considerable weight and inconsiderable intellect behind it, the local paper will not go through my letter box. All of your ingenuity simply results in reducing the outer pages to tatters and obstructing the box. We have discussed this if you remember, after I returned from holiday to find that the postman had been to forced to squeeze my mail between the tiny cracks that you had left. To the passer by the message is obvious, it says "I am out, rob me". There's also an interesting by product on my side of the front door, when we are at home you see, Charlie is a very security minded dog. He is intent on protecting us from the outside world, anything that rattles our front door is a potential threat. Charlie's reaction takes the form of shrill barking, back somersaults and simultaneous urination (god forfend any poor burglar). I don't want the local rag, I admire your work ethic but I'd like you to stop.

Now I've always appreciated a good swear, but so astonishing was the bearer-of-many-children’s outburst this morning that I was too embarrassed of my limited vocabulary to attempt a rejoinder. But I will practice, and I know with time I can improve. So, my be-papersacked-savant, Charlie and I be waiting for you next Wednesday, he with a full bladder and a spring in his step and me with a few well practiced recommendations of ways you can introduce a variety of objects, including the paper, into your bodily orifices.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

poo bah

oh hell, what a contrast. Freedom for a weekend, concentrating on absolutely nothing except trying to stay upright. There's a wonderful release in trying to ride a motorcycle hard down country lanes that comes from the necessity to uninvolve yourself from every other concern. It's an exhilarating non-focus.

The upshot of which is the crashing disappointment of returning to the land where all of your personal ogres live. My talking chimpanzee has been on speed this week. It's got to the point where I can barely speak to him now. Every moment that he is not involved with something very specific to do his jaw drops open and fills the room with bile. He's rude, he's sexist, but not in the way that we can all join in with the joke, inappropriate, stomach churningly intense....he declared recently that he likes "to shock", but I have a different theory. Surely it has to be just attention seeking? Like a child throwing a tantrum, look at me, look at me everybody....I wish we could simply paint him purple with yellow polka dots, he'd be so much easier to ignore.

On a side note, my estate agent has been sending his imaginary friends to view the flat. That is, none of the people he has promised as prospective purchasers have as yet actually turned up. I’m disappointed, I live alone and I’m pretty sure that my colour scheme is, what shall we say, “horrendous”, a marvellous transition between baroque and burlesque, and I was really looking forward to gauging it from the looks on visitors faces. Denied.

Would somebody explain to me please why this man who claims to be able to proactively market my home, to actively “sell” it, to marry it convincingly to one of the enormous number of clients he has on his books all searching for just the right property – should get several thousand £’s for telling someone who walks in off the street what my address is?

On reflection I think it would be better off on ebay.