Wednesday, November 30, 2005

don't try this at home....

A few small notes:

“dial emma” from the previous post…”dilemma” (please?)

and in my profile…this was supposed to be a picture of Charlie, because for ages I had a photo of Toffee there. Now I suppose everyone thinks I’m a dog.

So, how was your day? Honky dory? Smashing, mundane or really quite bad?

Want to play one-upmanship?

I just set fire to my pubic hair.

Accidentally of course, I don’t mind a little pain, but if it’s anything too intense I prefer other people to wear it.

There’s a coal effect gas fire in the living room. It’s more for ambience than heat because the central heating is on most of the time at this time of year. (I’m just setting the scene). So I came in from our walk, and the usual routine is to chage into some floppies – old baggy track suit bottoms and floppy t-shirt. Except this evening, in the nuddy, I decided to light the fire in the living room. The button is on the bottom of the fire, you have to hold it in for a little while, release a little gas (the fire not me) and then in theory the pilot light lights the fire and voila!!

This entails squatting. And I think I held the button in for too long, because when I let go a plume of ignited gas nestled directly in my…lap.

There was a crackling noise, like dry leaves on a bonfire, and a bright red flame engulfed my bits. (And a horrible smell! – those are ‘ketones’ by the way folks, I didn’t get a degree in organic chemistry for nothing (I got it so that if I ever go blind I will still know that the cat is on fire) ).

Shock is a more immediate reaction than reason, so I promptly fell backwards and beat the area with both hands – adding a kind of pubic toothache to the stinging sensation.

I’ve checked out the results in the bathroom. It’s not a pretty sight. I know it’s HNT tomorrow, but I don’t think this is the right place, there are probably specialist sites for that sort of photograph.

The area is largely deforested. I’ve singed my old chap and quite possibly bruised him too. It looks as if my willy has spent a night in a cell with Rambo, and called him a “nancy boy”.

My mother always told me to wear clean undercrackers in case I get run over….if I get knocked down tomorrow how will explain this?

I don't suppose there are any volounteers to kiss....

er, no

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

dial emma

Toffee's bored...

I'm not. I have shiny boxes, 3 of them, wrapped in silver gift paper.

And instructions not to open them for a very long time.

Down boy....

Monday, November 28, 2005

dulce et decorum est

that we change with time.

That we change so slowly that we don’t even understand the nature of the change, it is gradual, insipient. We don’t stand far enough away from ourselves to observe it.

One of our evening soirees takes us past a tiny stone church and cemetery, it borders the park on a square for almost half a mile, separated only by a low wall. At 7.30 these days it is pitch, and tonight there is a steady biting wind, the trees overhead bend and susserate in low voices, skeletal viola’s played by the bow of the icy air. A night of runny noses and wind whipped leaf devils, and apparently no one else.

We follow the wall, the boys snuffling amongst the low grass and I stare at the grave stones standing in irregular rank and file just a few feet away. There’s a low hedge running like a dark ribbon amongst the stones and here and there the midnight mushrooms of rowans and weeping willows betwixt and between the larger lozenge shapes of larger family tombs.

And there’s a flicker of light, just a few yards back, at the base of a larger head stone. A will ‘o the wisp of tiny pale light in the dark and the wind. It’s only a dozen feet away, and I’m curious, I slide over the wall to take a closer look leaving the dogs to their own devices for a minute or two. Just a few steps in it’s obvious that the light is a candle, in a beaker with a lid, like a storm lantern. Whoever tends this grave has seen fit to mark this day by lighting a candle, to what end I don’t know because the light of the candle isn’t sufficient to read the name of whoever lies there, or the dates to see if this is an anniversary.

I don’t feel irreverent. Neither for feeling curious or for stepping over the nameless inhabitants of the ground below to sate my curiosity. And it suddenly occurs to me that I don’t feel in the least bit unsettled by being alone, by the light of a fluttering candle, kneeling by a grave in the venerable shadow of an elderly church on a cold blustery night.

It wouldn’t always have been like this. I have been for as far as I can remember, scared of the dark. More so indoors than outdoors, I would lie in bed in the dark and pull in my hands and feet lest something touch them in the night, but nevertheless scared of what might remain in the dark when the light fled. (I think I had very good reason too, but they’re different stories).

So back over the wall I went a whistling, and groaning as it happened as my legs aren’t quite long enough to reach the ground on both sides and I rocked momentarily on parts of me that weren’t designed as load bearing members.

With the wind gratefully to my back we continue our circuit, all three of us chasing shadows in our own way. The manner of the change isn’t difficult to understand, in fact it’s very obvious. Quite simply I am not scared of death anymore. It holds none of the unspoken, vague but terrible dread of youth. It simply is. A practicality. The people in the ground are no longer a horrifying alien species, but now a mundane reminder of what we all will become, they’ve lost their power by dint of their sheer numbers and the certain boring fact that I will join them one day.

I swear that if a sepulchral figure were to trouble me one night in bed, that I would now simply tell it to “fuck off, I’ve got be up early in the morning”.

No, these days I have substituted these night fears for day fears instead. No fear of the grim reaper lives here, just a more languid, insipient fear. The fear of living.

The fear of fear itself almost. The fear of choice, for isn’t that what life is? A myriad opportunities every single day to make choices. I don’t know about your life any more than you know about mine, but every single day I have the opportunity to stand up and be counted, to do things that will change my life perhaps only fractionally but for the better. I can do anything that I want to do within the constraints of my imagination. I can speak to whomever I please, live where and how I like, keep my peace or say my mind….

In theory.

I don’t wish to be afraid. I don’t wish to let the future make choices for me, I want to make choices for my future and then live by them. Mostly I don’t wish to believe that that I have to make perfect choices, that the next choice is the only and final one. Fear of consequence , of some possible, frightful outcome, becomes an inability to choose at all, denies what might be, a small but very real death.

It sounds grandiose I know. In fact it sounds ridiculous even to me. In so much as the consequences of any choice rarely impact just on oneself.

It’s been a stated ambition of mine for a long time now to find a place, a perfect selfish place, where I have no impact on anyone else’s life. I know it’s something I can do, and I’ve come a very long way down that road.

All I need to do is be firm, or invest in a really sharp spade and a tarpaulin.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

dinner anyone?

I've begun to feel persecuted by the faceless strategists who dictate my shopping experience in supermarkets.

Because they do.

They analyse my spending, my post code (zip I believe), they know where I've come from and will travel to, how much I am likely to spend and in what aisles, they even know my bibbledy bobbledy route around their grand maze. Somebody out there is keeping a keen eye on my preference for loo roll and how many tins of tuna I buy in one go (completely unrelated incidentally).....there's a computer programme running somewhere that could probably predict what this little fish will buy on any particular shopping trip. I am that predictable.

So why do they keep moving items from one aisle to another? My favourites spend three happy months in one place and are then shunted to some obscure corner elsewhere so that I have to hunt them down. Of course I understand why it's done, so that I'm introduced to bits of this monolithic grocery that I wouldn't normally pass through...presumably I will suddenly realise that my life before sanitary towels has been futile, now that they've been drawn to my attention by mixing them in with my usual brand of shaving foam. It's subtle on most occasions, it's not as if the tomato's have been placed next to the dog food, although that would probably suit me as I generally need both, but it's manipulative.I understand why it's being done, what the generally strategy is, I just don't want to feel like a white mouse pushing a trolley, or Hercule Poirot, searching for the hidden gravy granules.

I've taken to picking up a few of the items that I want, and returning them to the shelf that they used to occupy to help the next one or two people in a similar predicament who come along behind me. Except that no one in their right minds will pick them up, I certainly wouldn't. You've got to be bonkers to pick up a lonely tin of haricot beans mixed in with the chick peas, what kind of loon would do that? (It could be booby trapped). (Actually I'm often very amused by the 'swapsies' that people have obviously done as they make progress round the store. You can see the single tub of butter amongst the olive oil rich spread where some one has succumbed to guilt or peer group pressure. Or fresh veg, personally bagged, in amongst tins of beans, yoghurt in the ice cream freezer, and a whole chicken slyly substituted for a leg of lamb in the meat cooler. I find it quite warming, it's somehow submersive).

On a tangent….choice….I give you choice, or rather we’re given choice on a fantabulous grandiose scale. Especially in toiletries it appears, how in hell’s name am I supposed to choose the perfect combination for my oral hygiene from amongst 32 separate kinds of toothbrush and 27 brands of toothpaste (with 8 varieties of mouthwash thrown in just to complicate things). And eggs, the ubiquitous egg, in all it’s many guises, from the “we think this came from a chicken, or all least some battery shaped morph of the chicken family” to the apparently exquisite version delivered by “a deliriously happy semi wild fowl, recently rogered by a free range cock”.

What I particularly don't like is "two for one" bloody offers. For goodness sake, don't these people realise that we are in London, which probably has the largest proportion of single flat dwellers in Europe. Don't they realise that "2 for sodding " 1 is a form of persecution. It's not as if it is precisely two for one either, it's as likely as not two packs for one. Two packs of eight frigging sausages, two large bags of crispy leaf salad (read liquid leaf salad for the second bag by the time you get around to it), two large pizza's, the biggest damn loaf in the world and it's twin brother...there seems to be no concession to a) the available space that I have at home, and b) the need that I feel to vary my diet occasionally during the course of a week (ooh, I know I'll eat chicken livers all week, because they're on snotting offer).

Now if they were to extend this courtesy to obvious essentials like wine and aspirin I might be less aggravated.

I've been thinking of ways I might get my own back, I quite like the idea of buying the vegetables but not putting them in the bags, 5 potatoes, six tomatoes, twelve satsumas, umpteen brussel sprouts....and maybe indulge myself in some of those nice seedless grapes....and passing them over in no particular order at the check out.

Actually it reminds me of a joke, about a young lady who arrived at the check out with a small carton of milk, half a cucumber, two tomatoes in a bag, a tiny piece of cheese, a single can of coke and an individual yoghurt, "Do you live alone?", said the young chap behind the counter as he passed her purchases through the register. She joined in with the obvious joke and smiled, and said "yes I do, what gave it away?". "Because you're bloody ugly", he said.

Tonight I’m having salmon fish cake sandwiches because I bought a pack of eight of the wretched things “on offer”.

Friday, November 18, 2005

pucker up

I haven't been kissed on New Year's eve for years (on any eve or morn for that matter).

And I haven't been to Alabama or Georgia yet.

I can't help making the association, it must be that all of the less discerning, 'ladies who spontaneously kiss strangers at the turn of the year' must live in the southern states?

I do enjoy an anymous good time, and it's my plan to put on my black tie and slip in through the back door of a party, and lie low - there's nothing better than being among a crowd of people who are enjoying themselves without being noticed. And then offer my kiss to anyone (feminine) who looks a little lost at 11.59pm.

Seems like a good idea to me, unless any of you know better.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

body warmth

I switch off the heating when I go out in the morning, and I used to wonder if the guys got cold while I was out. I think this answers that little conundrum quite eloquently.

I’m sorry I haven’t written anything for a while, and embarrassed that it’s been the cause of any concern, but I am very, very grateful for the kind comments.

So, by way of explanation….there’s not much to say really. It’s just that I’ve lost some articulation in my fingers. Writing is quite a painstaking exercise at the moment. At the best of times I’m a two fingered typist, and now those two fingers are sulking. On the bright side, having effectively dumbed down, my hands are running at a similar pace to my brain, which is a first, as I’m used to them ostensibly doing things of their own volition and then catching up with the consequences later.

It’s something I can live with in any case, I mean at worst I’m going to have to give up my embroidery? Or possibly sell the unused painting by numbers sets on ebay? Well bugger me, life is truly over.

Seriously, I have an appointment to see a neurologist in the new year, and then, when he’s looked for any suspicious bumps on my bottom he’ll make up his mind about the necessity for scanning, shrinking or pickling. Which I see as a good sign as it’s certainly not that serious then?

In other far more exciting news, I seem to be having the best dreams of late. You know the kind of dreams that are, quite literally, memorable? Some of them are bizarre, off the wall, fantastical, journey oriented, through mazes of alley ways and dark passageways under heavy tall, dripping buildings, a la Ridley Scott. This is a starting point, in a variation of this one of these buildings houses my flat which is truly huge, modern in a Spartan way, and it’s full of my friends who are deeply impressed with this warehouse come living area. (I say friends, but at least in my dreams the characters are populated by people who I know from other contexts – the postman is suddenly my best friend, the lady in the dry cleaners is in a mini skirt dancing in my imaginary kitchen and I’m sure I saw ex Pope John Paul skulking around by the fridge – probably looking for the crème de menthe). But the best ones are the ones that culminate in my ex’s begging me to take them very roughly on the larder floor (the bean bag, over the kitchen sink, IN the freezer – and once, oddly, in bed). By the way, if any one out there knows the meaning of these dreams, please don't tell me.

I’ve woken up in quite a lather, they are so, vivid. I couldn’t make up better dreams, and I want the moments between the alarm going off and the eventual hauling of my lazy arse out between the sheets to last as long as possible – because that’s where dreams live? In those blissful moments between sleep and waking? I’ve not had dreams this exciting since I was 15. (I once emerged from under my sheets on a Sunday morning, after indulging myself in my futile passion for the French student at the stables (her name was Abigail and she was 18, hence as distant to me as Kuala Lumpur), to find a steaming hot cup of tea on my bed side table – to this day I still hope that my mother imagined that I was petting the cat under the sheets, or I’d taken up blind origami).

It’s all a bit sordid, (at least I didn’t make any allusions to the benefits of numb fingers?) I know, sorry. All I’m saying is, that if the dreams are in any way connected with the other symptoms, I think it’s a reasonable trade for the moment.

Friday, November 11, 2005

more cabbage anyone?

Hurrah, we have a name for it...a latin phrase no less, but disappointingly not an 'ology.

Upon reviewing the symptoms and my notes my quack has reached his considered opinion. He's a gem my doctor, one of the old school, Dr MacFadzean, who keeps a bottle of scotch in his top drawer. He smokes like a trooper and comfortingly forgets one's name, he blames the worlds ills on junk food and lack of exercise and is as gloomy as a winter sky over Rannock Moor.

He thinks that the headaches are a symptom of 'dementia pugilistica', which was made all the more thrilling delivered as it was in a gravelly Sots accent, "Aye laddie, ye have a wee spot of bother with your noggin".

Apparently the effects of concussion are cumulative!! I didn't know that, but I have proof now, as I have a little card which I should put into my wallet that says something along the lines of "please look after this bear"...(oops, wrong one), "if you should see this person lying down in an unusal place please don't assume he's blind drunk, even if you do know him".

I'd always assumed that because one's head is hard and conveniently situated, that it could be used as a kind of bony shield to protect the rest of your body from injury. It's proved very servicable in this capacity, so far it has deflected hockey balls, various roads that would have made mincemeat out of more fleshy parts of my body. My head has been succesfully applied as a buffer whilst careering down the stairs on the ironing board, used as a musical instrument, been struck fairly and squarely by thrown crockery, struck repeatedly by a high heeled shoe and once, dramatically stopped a falling icycle from piercing my body and coming out of my bottom. In terms of it's ability to "get in the way" it's been a very good head, even if it is looking a little ramshackle these days.

Other than that it's hardly been used.

Dr MacDeath is adamant that I should have taken better care of it, that people were not intended to use their heads in the same way as "rutting he goats" (his words not mine, but doesn't it conjure up a lovely image?). On reflection I had to agree that it's a bit of a patch work quilt now, and we went through my notes thoroughly, (he never offers me a scotch!), and I added a few other un logged incidents to the equation - like the time that I forgot I was in the top bunk, and the man who mistakenly punched me in the chip shop in Wigan.

The last is probably the most apt as I am, punchy that is. Apparently that's what 'dementia pugilistica' means, literally 'punch drunk'. I never thought that I would be in such esteemed company as Mohammed Ali, Sonny Liston and Rocky Balboa.

I have to go for a scan, which is ace, very exciting as I've always wanted to see the inside of one of those machines, though I suppose they'll probably put me in it upside down and arse first if they are looking for my brain.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

the King's new clothes

I have a theory.

There's is a precedent, I did have another which I elaborated on over time and crystallised, and eventually presented to a plenary session of the British Entomological and Natural History Society, which has now become established scientific fact. It was entitled "Brontosauruses were thin at one end, got thick in the middle, and then thin again at the other end".

My theories are based on a level of observational acuity normally only associated with pipistrelle bats.

(May I tell a joke here? Two vampire bats are hanging from the cave roof. One says to the other, "I'm starving" and flies off. Ten minutes later he's back with his face covered with blood. "Blimey" says the other, "that looks good, where did you go", The first bat points a claw towards the mouth of the cave, "do you see that tree there?"...."no"....."well neither did I")

Anyway, about my theory. If you are reading this in the US of A at the moment you are currently being under whelmed by a visit from the most un engaging of Royal couples Charles and Camilla. The two separate halves of a pantomime horse, I'll let you decide which is the head and which the arse.

My theory concerns Charles, and it is very simple. I would like to make a proposition, that Charles is gay.

It's really very obvious.

He certainly wouldn't be the first member of the Royal family or British aristocracy to be homosexual (or mad for that matter). However in this day and age, where we are proud of our liberalism, we actually have a far more prejorative attitude to sex in some guises than that perhaps we might have had several hundred years ago. A complicating factor is the Royal family's relationship with the Church (or rather Churches of England (or better yet, the diverse religions of the UK)). Figuratively the Queen, or King, is the head of the Church of England. There is no consensus of opinion on the rightness or wrongness of homosexuality in ecclesiastic circles, and if there is a growing acceptance now it is probably more to do with the political will of the pastoral arm of the Church who can ill afford to alienate a significant proportion of an already dwindling congregation. Be that as it may, if that is the situation now, then 30 years ago it would have been far more burdensome for the Church to accept grace and favour in the future from an openly homosexual King.

It's my belief that an agreement was negotiated between the Court of St James and Lambeth Palace to the effect that the Prince of Wales might accede to the throne, but only if he publicly adopted the role of a family man, as 'befitting' a Royal role model and future representative of the Church. Never forgetting also that the Royal family would not have been thrilled with the prospect of unveiling a spare "Queen", having regained some of the groundswell of popular opinion during the war years that had been lost by the abdication of Edward VIII.

This may sound draconian to you and I, but the Royals are, or were at least, made from sterner stuff. Denying one's sexuality for the "common good" may have been proposed to Charles and accepted as the noble choice.

Which would mean that his marriage to Diana was a sham. And it is very likely that Diana was complicit in the sham. After all, it wouldn't do to be outed by one's wife? It would be much more sensible to appeal to a sensible yet impressionable young lady, impart a sense of national security, the future of the monarchy - whilst holding out discreetly the charms of being the Princess of Wales. Given the right candidate it may have been hard to refuse. And it is no surprise that the marriage was fruitful, it was necessary for both the portrayal of normal family life and, of course, to provide a route for a natural succession to the throne.

All of which went horribly wrong as the fair Princess discovered with time the extent of the onerousness of a loveless marriage, the strictures placed on her by the Court and the incredible pressure exerted by the press. There would be no Royal concubine for Diana, no comfort, except for her children, no respite and no place to hide from the paparazzi. However, the Court had succeeded in as much as she was complicit from the beginning, and of good stock, then her only route of escape was probably blocked by her own pride - although maybe it came close? (I have no secondary theory on the manner of Diana's death, no conspiracy theory at least, it would be preferable to imagine that it was a tragic accident - if a timely one for the Windsors).

So my theory is that, if Camilla is not actually a man, then she is Charles's confidante. She knows, and she is his best friend. He shall not now be King, too much controversy surrounds his relationship with Diana, and he has probably been offered a new deal, to keep his peace, enjoy his 'retirement' and ensure the eventual succession of his children.

So give him a wave if you see him, but not a wink, because he might take that the wrong way.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

I'm going to try a large vodka tonight

I’m dying, I’m almost sure of it.

That’s probably because I’m a man, and it hurts a little bit. It’s a well known fact that men have a lower threshold for pain than women, let’s face it if the act of childbirth were left to us then the world would be a far less populace place – I tried pushing a lightly moistened fist up my nose once and I have to say I didn’t like it at all.

I’ve been plagued by headaches for the past week and they seem to be getting progressively worse. Not that I’m a stranger to headaches, they’re a lifestyle event, but usually my breakfast diet of two aspirin a coffee and half an ounce of toothpaste does the trick in a jiffy. That and the simple fact that the boys can’t (but I sometimes think wilfully won’t feed themselves – they can open every other bloody door in the place, how hard would it be to get at the sack of dog food in the cupboard – or for that matter put the sodding kettle on for once in their lives), so life is a matter of prerogative, in as much as if I don’t function, we don’t function.

But these aren’t the usual morning headaches. I’ve tried all sorts of things, including my own recipes, mixtures of paracetomol, aspirin, ibuprofen shaken and stirred in glasses with whiskey and red wine (a sure fire cure if there ever was one!) and liberal amounts of cerveza, but all to no avail.

On a slight tangent here, have you noticed how you can really get into a good ache or pain. Lying there, especially at night when there’s nothing else to do, no distractions, nothing else but the umbra of pain itself, to be absorbed by the throb…the ebb and tide as it washes in and out with your pulse…last night I would happily have cut my head off with a rubber flip flop if I’d only had the willpower to get out of bed.

Which would all be okay in isolation. But more worrying, vaguely, if I could concentrate on it would be the increasing number of “moments” that I seem to be losing. I’ve always been a little bit absent minded, it’s a matter of course to make 8 separate trips to the kitchen to enjoy a meal in front of the tv…knife, fork, glass of wine, tv controller (oo, surprise, it’s in the bathroom), bread, switch the cooker off, more wine (I’ve drunk the original one while I was faffing about) and…bugger, the dinner…But, with increasing frequency, I’ve found myself suddenly being in a room without knowing what I’m doing there, or reading a book and “waking up” (that’s the only way I can describe it), as if I’d ‘slipped out’, for a moment – a kind of sleep walking, narcolepsy. Which is nothing more than vaguely disturbing at home, but potentially very embarrassing at work.

On the bright side I might actually spook my gimp! (He’s my colleague if you didn’t already know, a very disturbed bunny wabbit indeed).

On that same bright side, I have removed the ridiculous “phantom of the opera” mask now. So I look almost normal. At least as normal as I did before, which was not a particularly pretty sight but at least no creation of Julian Lloyd Webber, (and I am no longer afraid of Sarah Brightman as I was as a child), just a black eye.

And just to make it a perfect day, I drove to Rugby to go to a meeting. (If after reading the above, you are as nonplussed as I why I chose to drive 100 miles to the meeting, then welcome to my world).
Imagine the world as a great big bottom if you will. And all of the less attractive towns and cities occupying space in the dreadful crevasse of the bum cleft…then Rugby is deep in there, burrowed towards the very botty hole, a virulent speck of puss on a pimple on the arsehole of the world.

I don’t like Rugby.

It always seems as if it’s shut to me. That the people who live there have gone on a budget coach ride to gayer climbs and shut the shops, battened the hatches and taken anything of any value or beauty along for the ride.

So I am happily at home, tucked up in the corner of the sofa, squinting at my key board with my sadly neglected hairy idiots lying across my feet. Which is nice.

I might put off dying until tomorrow.

Friday, November 04, 2005

here's looking at you kid

There’s been a cease fire in the gastrological warfare chez zoo, so in lieu of any more anorexic dog dinners I wanted to think out loud about something that’s been pecking away at me for a while:

What exactly is, “being attractive”?

I’ve read quite a few of those “7 things” and other quizzes that ask people to name the qualities that they find attractive in the opposite sex, and there are answers that you would expect to find – nice hands, confidence, shapely bums and legs and shoulders, tight stomachs and tanned skin. But there are enough quirky answers too, enough to suggest what most people already suspect, that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Maybe we could, with a little help (given a wide enough selection of alternatives), describe our ideal partner. I think that probably most of us have a fairly comprehensive set of criteria already established concerning what we find attractive and distinctly unattractive. So, given that we are not absolutely all the same, shouldn’t we be out there looking for this identikit, ideal other half? (Obviously there’s one obvious flaw in that plan, in as much as you may very well not be their cup of tea should you find them).

But we don’t do that do we? We have some unfocussed mental image of the person that we are attracted to and then fall head over heals in love with someone that would have ticked very few of the boxes on a questionnaire entitled “ideal partner”. We’ve all had moments where we’ve been introduced to our friend's romantic interest and thought “my word, she’s going out with Uncle Fester”, or made idle chat with your best friend's new girlfriend while thinking that he would have been better off with Lucrecia Borgia.

There’s no doubt that there are some common denominators as far as “attractive" people are concerned, those whom the vast majority (of sighted people) would agree are “top totty”. They are the clause written in to relationships, by which I mean that if I were with a very beautiful girl and we were deeply in love, and she came home early one morning and announced that she’d just spent the last four hours being shagged senseless by Brad Pitt I’d have to say “well done!!” without any trace of irony.

However the majority of us poor mortals still manage to fall ridiculously in love and lust with others that we wouldn’t have regarded as an object of desire if they’d been described to us rather than had we met them. (Women especially seem to describe gentleness and sensitivity as a positive attribute in men, and then hormonally throw their knickers and broken heart at an utter bastard).

There are other people too, like Brad Pitt, but unlike him too, that exude a more inexplicable but equally tangible aura of sexuality, iconic people that examined under the magnifying glass of criteria wouldn’t seem to make the grade. Take Marilyn Monroe for example (and name me a man who hasn’t just intentionally misinterpreted that sentence). She was a ‘big’ girl, had a squeaky voice and extremely large feet, she was as thick as you like (no, I’m sure Einstein wasn’t really interested in her for her conversation), and by all accounts moody and easily confused….but attractive? (Rhetorical by the way, of course she bloody well was).

But you know, I don’t expect she felt so for much of her life. She was plunged into society and politics that she didn’t comprehend for much of the time, paraded at parties, put on pedestals and magazine covers and worshipped – and there’s nothing more likely to make you feel unattractive as feeling awkward.

We all come as discreet packages, of physical attributes and personalities. One person’s painful shyness, that makes them quirky and cute, would make another appear futile or stupid. What we seem to find attractive is the ‘whole’ person, the sum of the parts and not just the individual bits they are made of. I wonder how many women are desperately in love with men with dirty fingernails, and how many men agree with their girlfriends that her nose is little bit quirky – but perfect all the same.

So the other side of the coin is what do we feel about our own aptitude to be attractive? You know people and I do too, stunning individuals with wonderful personalities, with wit and charm that make you green with envy, who genuinely don’t think they are attractive? We worry about our weight, height, hair, clothes (!) and that we might be out of our depth – that we might be boring the other person senseless, we are scared that they want to be elsewhere and wish them away so as not to prolong the agony, a self fulfilling wish if ever there was one.

On a personal note I’ve never considered myself “attractive”, there are just so many things wrong, holes and scars and knobbly bits (but I’m not going to list all of the faults, anyone who is interested will have to find out for themselves). Even so, I’ve been held by people who, at least in my estimation, were beautiful (and I thought could have been very much more discriminating). So, without any vanity, at least at that moment, to them, I was – attractive (either that or it was some terrible practical joke that I didn’t understand). And in that case, who am I to argue, that would be silly.

And it’s true, what makes you feel attractive, new hair, new nails, losing weight, good clothes..we all seem to want something that we don’t have? And most of these are temporary fixes. I’d suggest that the only think that makes us feel truly beautiful and wanted is to accept that whatever we are, whatever shape of size or multi-faceted hotchpotch of personality traits, is deemed to ideal by a person that we love and trust.

I’m not suggesting for a moment that is an easy thing to do.

If you are lucky enough to be in the company of someone you love and trust, and are attracted to – then there’s every possibility that you are wondering what the hell it is that they see in you? And that’s the moment where the magic happens, where you let the barriers down and accept that for them, you are the one.

At that moment, try not to sneeze, or fart.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

some enchanted evening

The boys always need a bath when I pick them up from the kennels, especially in the winter, because they absolutely stink. So there’s no harm in taking them out for a big muddy ramble, except of course that I picked them up straight from the office so I’m not really dressed for the elements (and tonight was elemental indeed, gusty winds and driving rain), and the fact that it’s pitch black. But what the hey, I’ll have a bath too?

So we slithered and slimed and hullaballooed our way around the local park, scuffed by twigs and the occasional bush and shed uprooted and whipped along by the wind. And they scrubbed around in the undergrowth, collecting as much as possible in their ears and tails.

This is part of the problem you see. I have the foresight of a gnat. I know that Toffee’s ears and hairy undercarriage are magnets for any flaura with prickles or burrs, they just wrap themselves up in a curl of hair and wait there for the spring to germinate. I know this from experience after having to prune a small briar poking out of his arse earlier this year. But it still feels like a good idea to let them have their fun. So I made allsorts of discoveries as I lathered them up in the bath, and spent an unhappy hour after towelling them with a pair of scissors disengaging sticky bobs from their pits and bits along with a lot of hair that they probably need (you need nail scissors for the tricky bits especially around their unmentionables).

Bathing the dogs entails cleaning the entire bathroom.

And then washing the towels.

And then, mopping down the route that we took into the house.

And, buggeration, I left the bedroom door ajar, and Charlie has introduced himself to the pillows by, upside down rolling around and rubbing the back of his head on them to “scent” them. Which he made a perfect job of, so I changed the bed while I was at it.

Now I’ve just come back from Hamburg. I walked into my front door at 2am this morning after spending the beginning of the week at a conference and “entertaining” clients in the evenings / early mornings. I was in the office early this morning and there’s a pile of laundry, and bags to unpack, and a fine film of dust seems to have settled in just 3 days (I have issues with dust, I seem to have more than my fair share – I think that my place is keeping some other household completely dust free). All of this has been slightly compounded by the fact that I look like the phantom of the opera at the moment, courtesy of a plastic mask which is protecting the socket of my left eye which was fractured by a hockey ball on Saturday. (I’m a lucky boy there, because that’s the one I’m already almost totally blind in). But it is annoying, and I’ve permanent headache, and seem to be mislaying little fragments of time, a minute here or there, over the past few days (I found myself in the gents toilet in a bar in Hamburg standing against the sink still clasping my willy and wondered how I’d made it there from the urinal which was 5 yards away – and I was sober! Anyway, trust me, you don’t want to be seen provocatively posing with your old chap in your hand in ANY public place in Hamburg).

So all in all it’s really not been the best of evenings. It’s compounded by the fact that, almost for the first time I felt quite lonely and morose coming back to an unlit, cold home. I’m not given to loneliness at all, I’ve settled that in my head on the whole and I’m generally quite all right with my own company – except of course I miss the warmth and physical affection, (I’m selfish, but not completely daft!!). But once again I’m lucky in that respect too, because although I’ve had some fairly exhilarating relationships I don’t think I’ve ever had a “soul-mate”, so I don’t know what I’m missing.

But that’s a bit off topic, and I’m too tired for tangents, suffice to say that I feel at a bit of a low ebb. (Vulnerable?).

Nothing that a hot bath, a glass of wine, a bit of Bach and a good book won’t normally fix. (Or even a cheesy baked potato with baked beans at a pinch).

Which was when the vomiting began, when I was running the bath. Jungle noises in the hall. Jurassic sounds, great honks and hoots and rasping shuddering breaths, spittle laden respiration…the call of some disgusting other-nature, right here in my house.

I peered round the corner half expecting to see a yeti vigorously rodgering a gnu with a head cold. In retrospect I think I might have preferred that. The two idiot children were standing side by side in the hallway wracked with gut busting, rib cracking heaves sending gobs of white mucous and knotted undigested grass across the carpets, and up the walls.

They were doing a great job too. They seemed to be taking it in turns, resting, shallow gurgling and panting and then getting a good lungful of with which to shoot the gooey green gobs as far as possible. “Beat that”, “Giz a mo, I’ve got a good ‘un in the pipe”.

I grabbed the wine and a glass from the kitchen counter and sat on the bathroom floor for a good twenty minutes until the noise subsided.

I’ve never been entirely sure why dogs suddenly decide to eat a wild emetic salad – I’m supposing that they know somehow what the consequences are, it’s not as if they’ve any bovine ancestry, they do it to actually make themselves throw up because they’ve eaten something bad (worse!)? But this was like a vomiting version of mass hysteria.

So I spent a happy hour with the disinfectant and a pale of hot water, and the mop, and somehow dinner didn’t seem quite so appealing.

Is it Monday today – I know that God occasionally throws a spare Monday into a week if he needs a laugh.

I wanted to catch up on some correspondence, people I miss and want to talk to, but this is all I have the energy for at the moment, and I want to be better ‘company’ than I feel I could provide right now..

So, nite, nite everyone, sleep tight, I’m going to bed before anything else happens.