July 29, 2014

How can there still be sand
Under my nails or between my toes?
I went to the beach three days ago…
Is there anyone out there who knows?

At the weekend it got in our food
But that sort of thing’s bound to happen
We even got sand on some polos
Which turned the minty snack to a crap ‘un.

I get that there’s sand in my shoes
It’ll be there for some time I guess
Or it’ll all come out when I least want it to
On a clean carpet and make such a mess.

I know that there’s sand in my pockets,
The shorts I was wearing have lots
But of people who have sand in crevices
I’d rather be from the have nots.

How long should I keep finding sand though?
I’ve cleaned out under my nails
So why now and then, if I clean them again
There’s always sand there – never fails.

I’ve not been near sand since.
No other beach or child’s sand pit
So why’s it still here, clinging on like it does?
How the hell do I get rid of it?

Life’s A Beach

July 28, 2014

I walked very close to some sort of impromptu modelling session on the beach at Lytham on Saturday.

There I was, minding my own business, strolling back up from the sea, some sixty miles to my rear, when I came across what could best be described as a slightly seedy looking photographer and a bored-looking girl in a bikini who, even when she wasn’t having her picture taken, couldn’t stand normally and insisted on having her arms at ridiculous angles and her tits thrust out.

I think, if you’re going to go and do some bikini modelling, then the ideal time to do it is on a day when the beach is quite busy because there’s a kite festival on. I mean nothing adds a level of sophistication to a shot more than small children and dogs running around in the background of someone who couldn’t look less thrilled to be a model if they tried pulling some sort of pouty face which is probably supposed to be alluring but looks like a cross between them thinking they might have left the gas on and wondering if they need a poo.

That wasn’t the only thing ¬†I passed though.

A little further on from Britain’s Next Top Model, I walked past a group of lads who were having a heated debate about music and things of that nature. Now, a lot of it washed over my head because – as we all know – I stopped listening to music when Steps split up, but I still enjoyed the lively nature of the discussion. The main gist of it was that Lil Wayne is rubbish because he sings about killing people with guns but has never killed anyone with a gun. I think. I mean, if that’s the criteria for things then probably a lot of other recording artists should be called out.

Has Sting, for example, ever woken up to a hundred million bottles all washed up on the shore?

Was Freddie Mercury ever a rocket ship on his way to Mars?

And did Dexy’s Midnight Runners even know anyone called Eileen, let alone…



The Tide Is The Opposite Of High And I’m Holding On

July 27, 2014

Yesterday, we went for a paddle in the sea.

Quite normal when you’re at the beach, you would think. But because it’s us obviously nothing is straight forward.

When we arrived at Lytham St Annes, the tide was out. Well, the tide was on its way back in, but it was definitely out. So we strolled on the beach and then went and splashed about in the sea, and watched it creep closer to where we’d left the bag and our shoes. Then we splashed about in the sea carrying our bag and our shoes. And it was great fun. And at whatever past nine in the morning we were practically the only people around and it was lovely.

We’d walked a good way down the beach to get into the sea, by this point. Far enough out to be able to see Blackpool Tower and the Big One, at least. And we walked along the beach, still in the sea, for a bit longer, chasing off sea gulls and marvelling at the fact that there wasn’t that much crap floating around in the water.

Eventually, though, we headed inland to enjoy some more of the kites and to head into the town for Carole to engage in her hobby of visiting independent bakeries to see if they do cheese straws. The one we went in didn’t, and weren’t particularly amused when asked if they could tell us a bakery that did. I was outside at this point, pretending that Carole wasn’t with me.

As the sun continued to beat down on us, and it reached noon, we headed out onto the beach to have a picnic and, again, watch the kites do kitey things – albeit less successfully as the wind hand dropped off quite considerably. I’m not sure how far off the ground a kite should be if it actually wants to be known as a kite, but a lot of them were more just elaborate beach towels at this point.

It should be noted, here, that the tide was in. Really in. Not that far down the beach at all. If we’d wanted to paddle again it would have been a simple matter to stroll for a minute or so and our feet would be wet. But we were picnicking. We were not paddling. That would have been too easy.

So the day progressed, and we explored the tackiness of the arcade on the pier. And had possibly the longest game of air hockey in the history of the world which, eventually, ended with me winning 7-5. But that was all. We didn’t spend ages playing the 2p machines, we didn’t spend a small fortune on those claw machines trying to win a series of allegedly licensed soft toys from films and popular TV series, we hardly touched any of it.

But we did really enjoy the kites.

And then we fancied another paddle.

You remember how the tide was in at lunch time?

Well it was distinctly not in when we went for our final paddle of the day. We walked for fricking miles to get to the sea. I estimated we were approximately halfway to Ireland by the time we hit water. It was almost worth walking all that way just to dip a toe in, declare loudly that we didn’t like it and begin the walk back up the beach again. We were further out than before because we could see more of Blackpool Tower and quite a lot of the Pleasure Beach as well

I mean, it was totally worth it.

It was beautifully cool and a nice contrast to the heat of the day – although we were only so warm because we’d walked fricking miles in the sun to get there in the first place.


Lytham St Annes Kite Festival

July 26, 2014

A warm, sunny day in Lytham St Annes
The tide is out at the mo
There’s kites over there – an owl and fish.
Oh wow, there’s a tiger, let’s go.

Kites of all sizes tied onto string
Floating about the beach
At the start of the day, they were low to the ground
By mid-afternoon, out of reach.

The world’s largest teddy bear kite
He came along for the ride.
But he wasn’t as good as the crab or the dragon,
Or the family of elephants we spied.

When it comes to kites, or so it would seem
There’s not really much you can do
If you’ve got enough string and material
And a fair bit of money – that too.

You can build kites so big that to hold then in place
You tie them onto your car
If you try to hold on with your hands it won’t work
But at least you could say they’d go far.

A lizard appeared in the sky after noon,
Floating out above the pier.
It was bloody huge, it has to be said
And amazing to see when you’re near.

A dog, ladybirds and a ray
Floating for all to see.
But the biggest shock came later on…
There was a kite that looked just like me!


July 25, 2014

I like to be prepared for bad news.

I like to be in a situation where I can grab hold of something for support, or where I can collapse and be safe as I digest what I am being told. I don’t like to have bad news – potentially devastating news – told to me when I’m standing in the middle of the front room.

But that’s what happened tonight.

The phone rang at about half-past seven, and we answered it – which is unusual, I will grant you – because we thought it might be Sainsbury’s to say that the delivery would be late for some reason or other. Last week, for example, it was late because one of the drivers had “headbutted a freezer”. At least I think that’s what she said. He might have headbutted a Friesian. Either way, it rendered him incapable of delivering groceries without dribbling on the receipts and passing out in his truck.

But it wasn’t Sainsbury’s.

It was an American woman who rang up to tell me that someone in my house has had a car accident in the last two years.

I don’t think it was me. So it must have been Carole. But what I couldn’t understand was why she would hide something like that from me. You’d think I would have noticed if she’d come home in a different car one night. Or in one of those full body casts with her arms out and supported on sticks like a Plaster of Paris Kermit. But none of that had happened, had it? I don’t remember it happening.

But then what if someone’s playing mind games on me, and it’s part of some elaborate conspiracy to keep me from learning some truth about something which I don’t yet realise I’m caught up in. I’ve seen enough films like that to know that it’s vaguely possible. Maybe Carole has been in a car accident but “they” – the mysterious force behind everything – have covered it up, substituting a doppelg√§nger for Carole while she recovered or something like that. I should have been watching out for every tiny detail. Like, thinking back, has there ever been a time when we’ve sat down to watch something on TV and she’s not needed to start a very important conversation with me as soon as the show begins? I don’t think there has been a time – but it’s something like that I should be looking out for. A clue that would send me down a rabbit hole into a world of intrigue and double-lives.

But then, if I don’t remember Carole having a car accident that was not her fault, then maybe it is me who has had it. The woman on the phone was quite clear that she had the report from some made-up road association. It could be me and, in the course of the accident, I’ve suffered some sort of catastrophic memory loss which means I can’t even remember it. I might possibly start to have dreams about it now that I’m thinking about it, and no doubt the truth will come out in some kind of flashback which will leave me screaming, crying and rocking like a Romanian orphan.

In the end, though, when the woman asked me to confirm if anyone in our house had been in a car accident that wasn’t our fault I just said no.

Seemed a lot easier.


Taking The Biscuit

July 24, 2014

One of the things I remember thinking about the new series of Doctor Who was that if it started on the Saturday we go up to Edinburgh I would have to seriously plan out what shows we were seeing to ensure that I was in a position, somewhere, to watch the first episode with no major interruptions.

If it had come to it, I’d have found a pub someone, gone in and switched the TV to BBC One, got a pint and just asked everyone to shut up for an hour. Or I’d have just gone back to the B&B to watch it. Either way, I wouldn’t have wanted to find myself in a position where I had to wait a week to watch it because I was off enjoying myself laughing at people instead of geeking out and then enjoying myself laughing at people.

And then they announced the date of the first episode and I was happy because, as well as being when I’d figured it would be, it was clear of any prior holiday commitments. I could breathe easy once more.

And then today I discover that the new series of Bake Off starts on the 6th of August. So I can watch the first episode and pick my winner (as I did with Frances last year) but the second episode is on while we’re in Edinburgh. And I think we have shows booked.

I’m gutted. I will be laughing at people rather than feeling the pain of a soggy bottom or a poor bake. I will have to pick up with Bake Off several days after the event. Several days. You can get away with stuff like that for The Great British Sewing Bee because, let’s face it, you never come across anyone discussing that anywhere.

But Bake Off?


Cat’s Eyes

July 23, 2014

The other night, Pumpkin appeared with one of her eyes glued shut with eye gunk. So for the next hour or so I followed her around the house with several soaking wet make-up removal pads, making a grab for her every time she stopped so that I could try and soak her eye enough for her to get it open.

Pumpkin is not a particularly approachable cat if you need to do something to her. With Peppa you can scoop her up and hold her, and she’ll wriggle about a bit but she’ll be fine. Pumpkin is a whole different can of worms. Worms with very angry sharp edges. But I managed to scruff her about five times and soak her eye a little for her.

We had to lock the catflap because Carole didn’t want her to be in a position where she went out, rested for a bit and woke up to find that both her eyes were glued shut and she had no way of finding her way home. Which makes sense, I suppose, although at the time it sounded like crazy talk.

So we did all that and went to bed with discussions of taking her to the vets and having her looked at…

Come morning, both eyes are open. It’s like nothing happened. There’s a little bit of gunk, but nothing major and she seems absolutely fine and dandy. So we stand down on the taking her to the vets in that morning plan, and adopt the second plan which is to phone the vets and have a chat, see what they suggest and go from there.

So Carole did that and the end result was that the vet thought it would be best if he had a look, and she was booked in for today.

Then today comes along and you’ll never guess which cat had the clearest eyes in all of England.

Yeah, that’s just bloody typical isn’t it?

We didn’t take her, in the end, opting instead to keep a close eye on her and take it from there, because everything points to her eyes being fine now. And she’s got enough on her plate with the kidney thing without the trauma of having to be held down and drops of something-or-other put into her eyes on a daily basis by someone – or two someones – who are acutely away that one wrong move and they’ll be spraying blood up the walls.

They’d still like us to keep bathing her eyes though.





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