2.060 Love Cat

Carole decided, this morning, that Pumpkin is in love with me.

There is some evidence to this. She tends to follow me around, a lot. She’ll nuzzle at me for some affection. She’ll lie next to me on the bed. She’ll lie at my feet when I watching TV or playing a game. That’s fine. I can cope with that.

Occasionally, though, she takes it to the extreme.

The other day I was in the kitchen cooking tea. I was reading a book while whatever was in the oven was in the oven.  I happened to lower my book for some reason and there she was. Sitting at the other end of the kitchen. Staring at me. Just staring. Not doing anything else. Just sitting there, glaring.

It was a little unsettling, if I’m honest.

But today she’s topped that.

I went for a bath this afternoon. I know, look at me bucking traditional bath times in favour of having a mid-afternoon ablute. This was partly because I fancied and a bath and partly because I’d started watching the Channel 5 afternoon movie (Ruth’s fault – not my fault) and it was dire. But it was dire in one of those ways where you’d just end up watching it until the end if you didn’t go and do something. I could have just turned it off, I suppose, but where’s the fun in that?

So, I went upstairs to have a bath. I took a coffee with me, and a book. It was one of those kind of baths. A long, luxurious soak. And I did. I soaked long and I soaked luxuriously. I read a good chunk of my book and I made myself nice and clean.

And at one point I happened to glance over to the side of the bath, having spied some movement out of the corner of my eye.

It was Pumpkin. Standing on her back legs, her front paws resting on the lip of the bath. She wasn’t doing anything. She was just standing there. Casual as you like. Just watching me as I lay in bubbly comfort and read my book. It’s a little bit off-putting finding your cat staring at you when you’re in the bath. I even moved some bubbles to protect my modesty. I’d gone all shy, apparently, because my cat was checking me out.

Either that or I was a little bit worried she’d reach into the bath and try to catch my gentleman’s area with her paw.


2.059 Grave Endeavour

On Sunday we went on a bit of an outing. We went to Wilkinson’s for some bird food, we went to Asda for some shopping. And we went to a graveyard for a nosey about.

It’s not everyone’s idea of a fun Sunday, it has to be said. I don’t think a lot of people make plans throughout the week to get up and have a meander round a local graveyard because you know that someone in the family tree you’re assembling is buried there. You know this because you have a piece of paper with the name of the cemetery on it, and the location details of the grave. I’m sure that anyone planning to visit a graveyard on a Sunday to have a look at this little slice of the history you’re investigation would take a few moments to look at that before they set off for the graveyard so that they’d know where to look. That would make sense wouldn’t it. Complete sense.

Obviously, we didn’t do that.

I lost count of the number of gravestones I read. I dread to think how many Carole covered in the two hours we wandered aimlessly through Edgerton cemetery.

If you’ve never been to a Cemetary looking for something specific before – we were both cemetery virgins, so to speak – the first thing that will strike you is that there’s no logic to any of it. You don’t find an old part and then a new part. Maybe you do in some places, maybe we just started out with a bad first example but they were all over the place. We’d get excited as we homed in on the 1930s, seemingly getting closer to our quarry, only to find that the next batch of graves where from the 80s.

I read every gravestone, took in every name, drank in every detail as I walked between them. All the while I was begging for a sign, just something to aid me in my search. Shortly after one beg, thinking I’d had a Most Haunted moment and struck pay-dirt, I saw a squirrel standing upright on top of a gravestone. What better sign, I thought, to be sent from beyond the grave, than a squirrel – the only squirrel I’d seen in the whole two hours I’d been walking around. It turns out, though, that the squirrel was not sent from on high. It was just a squirrel, eating something it’d found on the ground. It just fancied a bit of a vantage point.

We eventually gave up. We tapped out, called it quits and headed home to study the piece of paper with all the details on. While it would have been excellent to find it without that, when you’re looking for one grave in a huge site filled with graves it’s a lot harder than you may imagine and, if we have found it, I would have gone straight out and bought a lottery ticket because our luck would have been in.

And so we returned to the graveyard in the afternoon, armed with the information any sane person would have taken with them in the first place.

Which was when we’d discovered that we’d both walked past it during our two-hour exploratory survey in the morning. We’d both been, independently, within feet of the gravestone.

And after all that it didn’t tell us anything we didn’t already know.

But hey, it was good exercise.

2.058 An Open Letter To My Spam Folder

Dear Spammers,

Hello, it’s me. I thought I’d write to you because you’re always writing to me and that seems very one-sided. What’s that? You don’t know who I am? Well, you have my email address so I naturally assumed that you did. If I give you my bank details, would that help?

Ok, hang on, I’ll just get them…

… Psych!

You’re not getting my bank details. I’m holding them back out of principle because, if I’m honest, I don’t think you’re trying hard enough anymore. You’re suffering from a terrible case of quantity over quality and, like with any business, I feel your customers have a right to complain.

In the good old days, let’s call them the 90s, I used to feel special when I got email from you. I’d won the Spanish Lottery, or had been hand-picked by a Nigerian lawyer to hold some funds during a particularly tricky court case. Of all the things I’d put out onto the internet, I was proud that my trust and integrity shone through all the LOLs and winky-faced emoticons. Or, as it was then, words inside asterisks. *smile*

But now you’re bombarding me with emails. You’re desperate to get my bank details. But you’re just not trying, are you? I’m no longer trusted to aid a struggling Nigerian, I’m no longer entered in the lottery of a country I’ve never been to, let alone bought a lottery ticket for. No, nowadays, you try to tell me that my bank’s online system needs me to re-authorise my details. You email me from every bank imaginable except my own. If anything, you’re making me wonder if I’ve opened a load of bank accounts across a variety of institutions and then forgotten about them. Maybe they were to put the Nigerian’s money in for a little bit, you know, until his troubles blew over.

But these, these are just pathetic.

I’ve won two things in my life. A Weetabix colouring book and a Dungeons & Dragons set. Am I now, at the age of 34 supposed to believe that all the luck I missed growing up has caught me and bombarded me with free gifts from Asda. Or Tesco. Or that time I won two Blackberry torches (I rarely pick fruit in the dark, to be honest, so you were on a losing streak straight away with that one). Even if it is “very easy for me what to do” I don’t think I’m going to do it. It’s a supermarket, for God’s sake. Maybe where you’re writing these emails, Asda and Tesco are hailed as some kind of shop of dreams, where only the most prosperous could ever hope to shop. Here, they’re places where people go shopping in sweat pants, and who employ people for no wages. I fail to be excited by any prize they have on offer.

So what I’m saying, dear Spammers, is step up your game. You used to good at this stuff. You had an eye for dramatic flair and knew how to tell a good story.

If you give me your bank details, I’ll send you a bit of cash and you could have an office party. Have some fun. Let your hair down. Get your mojo back.

Come on, guys, it’s easy for you what to do.



2.057 Just What Are The Ten Signs Of Ageing?

There are seven signs of ageing. Everyone knows that. It’s been drummed into us by adverts for the past however long. Fighting the seven signs of ageing has become an almost daily challenge for people – mainly women, as men are seemingly immune to these signs – with creams and unguents and all sorts of other paraphernalia.

No-one, if push came to shove, could name any of those seven signs, mind. There’s probably wrinkles around the eyes, skin being less elastic and things like that. Maybe skin losing its colour, which calls for things like My New Pink Button to put a bit more oof in your foof.

But now, it would appear, there are ten signs of ageing.


Rachel Weisz told me so, in an advert last night. She was saying that she needs to multi-task as the advert showed her reading a book while standing, laughing while lying down and holding her hands to her face while pretending to care about the skin care produce she was advertising. I’m not sure how the cream helps you multi-task. I’m sure, in the ad person’s mind, it’s because the cream is worrying about the ten signs of ageing while you’re getting on with your daily things – standing, reading, laughing, lying down and putting your head in your hands with despair.

But the thing is, if we don’t really know what the seven signs of ageing are then how are we supposed to know what the ten signs are. I mean, those extra three signs could be three things that were already included in the seven signs but no-one’s realised because no-one really knows what the seven signs are. A bit like on the conveyor belt part of the Generation Game where people list the same thing a few times so it sounds like they’ve guessed loads of items but actually they’ve just said “Towels” fourteen times in quick succession.

And, if there are ten signs of ageing, then which ones of the ten do the creams that only tackle seven signs deal with? Do they cover off signs 1 to 7, or do they just cover 7 random ones from the list. Is the list in any particular order, in fact. Maybe an order of importance, like one of those Channel 4 100 Best Game Show Prizes countdown things that you get at Christmas, New Year or any other Bank Holiday, because what we need to see on a long weekend is a load of celebrity soundbites about things they don’t really know about but look cool discussing.

I can’t even begin to think what the first nine signs of ageing are. But I’d like to think that the tenth is this:

Your face looks like it’s been made out of elbow skin.

Although it’s probably written in a much more flowery way by the marketing people.

2.056 Behind Door Number One…

My mind has wandered today.

I’ve been home alone for most of the day while Carole’s been out meeting one of her friends in a shopping centre somewhere. Meadowhall, I think. I just need to hear the word “shopping” and I immediately zone out as I can think of nothing worse than going to shopping centre on a Saturday. After all, the weekends are the time when all the idiots who have been out-of-the-way chained to desks and such-like are released into society. It’s best to give that a wide berth.

So, as I said, my mind has been wandering.

It lingered on the up-lighter in the front room for a while, wandering how much dust was in there. So I had a look. Once I got past all the dead moths, it wasn’t too bad. And now it’s spotless, so that was good.

My mind wandered some more and, as I was washing up with a John Wayne movie on in the background, for some reasons it started thinking about train toilets. I don’t know why. I don’t question these things. It’s probably because I spend my mornings travelling to work standing next to the door of the toilet. If it was anywhere else I’d be arrested for some sort of loitering, but because I’m on public transport it’s perfectly acceptable to linger outside a toilet door.

Where possible I try to avoid train toilets. They’re for other people. Like having a poo at work. You know people must do it, but it definitely isn’t you that’s doing it. Train toilets are usually particularly skanky because man’s inability to wee in the proper place is multiplied ten-fold by the fact that the train is wibbling around. The reason you’re not supposed to go to the toilet in the station is because it’s just too damn easy and you’re less likely to piss all over the baby change table.

Anyway, once I was on a train heading South. It was either to London or Reading. It was definitely one of those. I’d bought a big bottle of water in Boots before setting off because, for some reason, prior to a train journey lasting a couple of hours, you convince yourself that you’re going to die of dehydration on the trip. Anyway, while it seemed like a good idea at the start of the journey it was quite clear that the water was going through me like shit through a goose and so I had to go to the toilet.

I made my way down the carriage. The toilet engaged light was not lit. The toilet was free. I could balance precariously on tip toes in between pools of widdle and do what I needed to do. I pressed the door open button. And the door swung open, like a door from Star Trek to reveal…

… a small Chinese woman having a wee.

She’d, apparently, not pressed the lock button. She seemed quite agitated. There’s a chance that, as the door slid open, she progressed – involuntarily – from having a wee. I made one of those “ohmigod” faces and punched at the close button like a crazy person, before running away and hiding in case the Chinese woman had to walk back past me to get to her seat.

You don’t realise how slowly those doors close until you’re waiting for it to close on a Chinese woman who you’ve unwittingly exposed.