Posted on April 30, 2008 in Conversations, The Home Front by Jay11 Comments »

PowderDkBlue2So, last night, I had my shower early and was rootling around in the airing cupboard wearing my glasses and a smile (it’s OK to do that now the boys have left home) when OH came up the stairs.

‘Ooh!’ he whooped. ‘Naked woman on the landing!’

I gave him The Look.

‘Hang on,’ he said, peering at my derriere, ‘what’s that white stuff?’

I’m puzzled. Surely he has seen me dusted with talcum powder before? While I’m still trying to think of a suitable answer, he continues -

‘Ah, you’ve been at the coke again, haven’t you?’

I throw him a derisive ‘Ha!’

‘Here’s a tip,’ he says. ‘You’re putting it in the wrong end.’

I would smack him one, only I’m laughing too much.

Posted on April 30, 2008 in Life, the Universe and Everything by Jay6 Comments »

NailVarnish300CJSNeutron News has a post up today about school chemistry lessons. My chemistry teacher was Polish. He was onto a loser anyway being one of only two male teachers in an all girls school, and looking like someone’s Dad, but …

Not only was Mr Stachnik’s English heavily accented, but we couldn’t read his writing – I still remember those erratic lines of cramped and illegible words scrawled across the black – er, green – board. And if anyone dared to ask him to explain anything he lost his temper.

I think I would perhaps have liked chemistry if only I’d been able to understand the teacher. As it is the only things I learned were how to collect gas under water – a skill which is incredibly useful in daily life, I’m sure you’ll agree – and how to make nail varnish.

Looking back, it seems he was trying hard to make his subject interesting to his bemused class of teenaged girls. Never, since then, have I heard of anyone else being taught to make nail varnish in school! Neither, it seemed, had the local chemist, who quizzed me closely as to why I wanted to buy amyl acetate and acetone.

It was kinda fun though, dropping a variety of plastics into the mix and seeing them dissolve. We made some very odd coloured nail varnish, and yes, we wore it, too.

Remembering Mr Stachnik got me thinking about the others. There was our geography teacher (her name now escapes me now) who spent half her time telling us about her husband instead of making sure we understood the role of impervious rocks in the formation of artesian wells and stuff like that. My friend Carolyn knitted a whole scarf in geography one term. See, I still remember things I was taught at school! For instance, when Mrs Geography first met Mr Geography, he said to her ‘Haven’t you got a funny, flat face?’ Whereupon she slapped him.

Ah, nostalgia! Mrs Wright, the maths teacher with the noisy false teeth, Mrs Brown, who looked every inch the bohemian art teacher with messy black hair, kaftans and orange lipstick, and … oh, Lord! Mrs Pipe. The dreadful and dreaded teacher of biology and PE. She who struck terror into all, especially those not wearing exactly the right uniform items!

Yeah. I think that’s enough nostalgia, don’t you?

In case you’re interested, I failed chemistry, maths and geography, but passed art with the lovely Mrs B, and miraculously, I passed biology, too. I think I was too terrified to do anything else.

Posted on April 29, 2008 in Junk Mail by Jay4 Comments »

Every so often people send me forwarded emails. Of course they do. It’s a fact of life for anyone with an email account, is it not? And mostly they’re okay-ish and I read them and smile, and sometimes they’re junk and I hit delete, but occasionally you find a little gem.

Here’s one I found in my inbox this morning from one of my oldest friends. I knew her at primary school, and though we moved a long way apart many years ago, we still keep in touch. And it’s clever, and warm and witty, and thought-provoking, just like my friend Estelle, so I’m passing it along to you guys.

In the beginning God covered the earth with broccoli, cauliflower and
spinach, with green, yellow and red vegetables of all kinds so Man and Woman
would live long and healthy lives.

Then using God’s bountiful gifts, Satan created Dairy Ice Cream and Magnums.
And Satan said, ‘You want hot fudge with that? And Man said, ‘Yes!’ And
Woman said, ‘I’ll have one too with chocolate chips’. And so they gained 10

And God created the healthy yoghurt that woman might keep the figure that
man found so fair.

And Satan brought forth white flour from the wheat and sugar from the cane
and combined them. And Woman went from size 12 to size 14.

So God said, ‘Try my fresh green salad’. And Satan presented Blue Cheese
dressing and garlic croutons on the side. And Man and Woman unfastened their
belts following the repast.

God then said ‘I have sent you healthy vegetables and olive oil in which to
cook them’.

And Satan brought forth deep fried coconut king prawns, butter-dipped
lobster chunks and chicken fried steak, so big it needed its own platter,
and Man’s cholesterol went through the roof.

Then God brought forth the potato; naturally low in fat and brimming with
potassium and good nutrition.

Then Satan peeled off the healthy skin and sliced the starchy centre into
chips and deep-fried them in animal fats adding copious quantities of salt.
And Man put on more pounds. God then brought forth running shoes so that his
Children might lose those extra pounds.

And Satan came forth with a cable TV with remote control so Man would not
have to toil changing the channels. And Man and Woman laughed and cried
before the flickering light and started wearing stretch jogging suits.

Then God gave lean beef so that Man might consume fewer calories and still
satisfy his appetite.

And Satan created McDonalds and the 99p double cheeseburger. Then Satan said
‘You want fries with that?’ and Man replied, ‘Yes, and super size ‘em’. And
Satan said, ‘It is good.’ And Man and Woman went into cardiac arrest.

God sighed ……… and created quadruple by-pass surgery.


And then ………… Satan chuckled and created the National Health

That first part gave me a few chuckles, then I read this, which is just hilarious -


After an exhaustive review of the research literature, here’s the final word
on nutrition and health.:

1. Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
2. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.
3. Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than
4. Italians drink excessive amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart
attacks than us.
5. Germans drink beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer
heart attacks than us.
6. The French eat foie-gras, full fat cheese and drink red wine and suffer
fewer heart attacks than us


CONCLUSION: Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what
kills you.


Finally, to complete the ‘I really don’t mind this forwarded email at all feel, here’s the addendum.

Send this to at least 14 friends in the next 60 minutes to receive
absolutely nothing back and something good may not happen, but may, or again
may not, but who cares, cos it’s funny!

Now, that’s the kind of forwarded email I like! I never forward the ones with threats or wild promises or hints of bad luck. Let that be the lesson to the writers …


Posted on April 27, 2008 in Hounds, The Home Front by Jay2 Comments »

We have two dogs, and about six dog beds in this house. What can I say? They like to lie in the same room as the monkeys (that’s us), and they like their comfort and they don’t do the sharing thing.

We have a nice squishy dog pillow in the conservatory covered with the most wonderful soft fleece, and we’ve moved the magnificent Orvis dog sofa close to the door now the weather’s warmer. In the lounge there is a soft-sided dog bed (perfect for keeping out those pesky draughts) which contains a squishy pillow. Next to it, a pad covered in VetBed for those occasions when those elegant long limbs need to stretch out a bit. The office is home to another soft-sided dog bed complete with fleece pillow and yet another flat dog pad, this one covered in a tasteful damson coloured fabric and leatherette – and there’s also the futon which The Princess has taken over as her own. The Pirate doesn’t do jumping up onto furniture, he’s too old and his arthritic old legs won’t take it any more, but that’s OK because after all, pirates aren’t royalty, are they? Even if his bloodlines are a damn sight more distinguished than my own. Perhaps I should mention that the Pirate can trace his ancestry back to a dog called King Cob, born in 1838, and a very famous progenitor of successful racers. The Princess, on the other hand is a descendent of Emperor, another equally noble greyhound sire.

But anyway, we were talking about dog beds, were we not? And a strange thing happened the other day. I’d been shopping and brought home a piece of 2″ thick furnishing foam. I had my hands full and dropped it in the hallway intending to pick it up and take it upstairs for the craft project I had in mind for it, but when I turned around, I found that the Princess had already adopted it.

Can anyone tell me why a blue-blooded aristocrat of a dog with six dog beds plus two sofas and an armchair to choose from should prefer to lie on a rough cut, naked piece of grubby blue foam? And in the hallway too, where clumsy monkeys might tread on her dainty paws in passing?

I can only assume it’s a bizarre manifestation of Cardboard Box syndrome. You know the one. It’s the cause of that perversity that has kids abandoning toys to play with the boxes.

It’s either that, or she thought maybe she’d get more petting if she put herself right where people would walk past most often. But I can’t help wondering … does she actually remember the days when she lived in a breeze block kennel and slept on shredded paper?