Saturday, 30 April 2016

Z is for Zapper

A to Z Challenge

Here is a picture of a man holding a remote control.
Unfortunately, it's not my man.

The zapper in my house is the remote control for the television. When the dearly beloved is out in the pub regaling anyone who will listen with his views on every subject from aardvarks to  zyzzyva (destructive weevils), I decide what I am going to watch on TV, switch to the channel and leave the zapper close at hand.

When the DB is in charge of the zapper (i.e. whenever he is in the house) it is welded to his hand and he's zipping through the channels faster than a texting teenager on speed.

My head spins as before my very eyes whooshes two seconds each of the news, Coronation Street, a tennis match, Friends, Criminal Minds, a National Geographic programme about lemurs, something about Hitler, Goodfellas…ah, stop. Goodfellas is his favourite film so he watches this for ten minutes, mouthing the words with the actors as he knows it so well. I go and do something different. I know what Joe Pesci is going to do to that poor man and I don't want to see it again.

I rarely see the beginning of a programme because he's so busy zapping about that we miss it. And heaven forbid we should ever see an advert. Come the commercial break and he's off again, as if viewing a two-minute ad extolling the virtues of cornflakes is going to make him go blind.

Sometimes he's on his laptop and the TV is just background noise. There might be something on that I want to watch so I ask him nicely, "Can you pass the zapper, please?"

He looks up, fear in his eyes. "Why? What?"

I tell him I want to watch a different programme. 

"What is it? What channel is it on?

I tell him, "It's OK. I can change the channel if you give me the zapper."

By now he's starting to sweat and grips the zapper until his knuckles go white. "Tell me the channel and I'll do it for you."

In all relationships you must pick your battles and I decide this one is not worth the fight so I tell him what he wants to know. He switches over for me, the sweat beginning to dry on his brow and the twitches calming down.

Sometimes I wish you could zap people.....

  • So that's it for the A to Z Challenge. I have learned that there is an awful lot of good writing in blogs and that I can be self-disciplined enough to post more frequently than I have in the past. I hope, too, that I have made connections with other bloggers that will last for a very long time. See you later in the blogosphere!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Y is for Yummy Mummy

A to Z Challenge

IF there's one phrase guaranteed to set my teeth on edge, it's "yummy mummy".

I'm not sure if my friends across the pond use this description as they have mommies rather than mummies so for anyone who doesn't know what they are here's the simple dictionary definition: "an attractive and fashionably dressed young mother".  But the phrase has taken on a connotation that is so much more than that.

While lots of mums of very young children struggle to find a shirt to put on in the morning that isn't stained with vomit, spit or pureed carrots, these women walk tall and proud dressed in pristine designer gear with not a hair out of place. And they are those celebrities who almost as soon as baby has popped out are photographed with their lithe toned bodies in bikinis.

Yummy mummyism starts even before the baby is born. While the average mum-to-be resorts to wearing Halford's tents in the later stages of pregnancy, yum mum is showing off her perfect little bump in tiny tops, not a stretch mark or excess pound of flesh in sight.

Before giving birth  many young mums aspire to be yummy mummified. They read the articles and fantasise about all the time they will have on their hands once they give up work and become a mum (hah!).  They want to be glamorous and their life to be effortless.

Afterwards the reality of being on call 24 hours a day for a perfectly precious but all-consuming little despot destroys these thoughts in a shower of wee, poo, vomit and talc. So all these yummy mummies do nothing for the rest of the sisterhood except make them feel inadequate.

What aspiring yummy mummies may not realise is that Ms Flick-My-Hair standing beside her with her Gucci accessories and baby in a pram the size of an SUV has an army of help at home - from nannies and au pairs to gardeners and cleaners. You have your mum who pops round to lend a hand if she lives near enough.

So don't despair non-yummy mummy, you're doing a grand job and don't let anyone else tell you any differently. Don't worry if you're not like this:

but more like this:

Thursday, 28 April 2016

X is for Xantippe

A to Z Challenge

Xantippe was the wife of Greek philosopher Socrates and mother of their three sons. She has been portrayed through history as scolding, quarrelsome, nagging and irritable.

She lived with four males so what else did you expect of the poor bloody woman? I expect she was picking up socks and damp towels all day long, the combined smell from four farting men turning her normally sanguine personality incandescent with rage.

But Socrates said he chose her precisely because of her argumentative spirit, which impressed me, although he did go on to spoil it a bit when he added that, she was "the hardest to get along with of all the women there are, "  so he reckoned  if he could get along with her, he could get on with anyone.

He also said, rather ungallantly: "The goose is tolerated because it lays eggs and hatches young ones; so also must it be with his wife, for she bore him children."

There are lots of stories of Xantippe's rages and jealous nature. In one she stamped on a large and beautiful cake sent to Socrates by one Alcibiades.  I had to look up Alcibiades, expecting to find a   description of some trollop who ought to know better - and was more than a little surprised to find Alcibiades was a man.

In another it is said she became so angry with her husband that she poured the contents of a chamber pot over his head. Socrates was "philosophical" about the incident, saying: “After thunder comes the rain.” Ho, ho, ho.

If that was the quality of his "jokes", then I'm not surprised that Xantippe comes over as a little pissed off.

Personally, I like the sound of her. However, I may get a little cross with the dearly beloved occasionally but I have never yet poured wee over his head.

  • That's X done, only two more to go in the A to Z Challenge. How are you all finding it? I was fine until these last few days when I have been working full-time at my former workplace as well as honouring my freelance commitments. Time is running away with me but I have just about managed to keep up. Nearly there! I haven't visited as many blogs as I would like. There are so many now that I really enjoy reading, but I'll soon be back.
I have two blogs in the A to Z Challenge - I'm a glutton for punishment. The other one is called That's Purrfect.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

W is for Handy Hints for Wives

A to Z Challenge

 I PROMISED in my post called H is for Handy Hints for Husbands that I would do a similar one for wives. For those of you who didn't read the original post or have forgotten it, it was about two little books of advice written in 1913.

Don’ts For Husbands included very pertinent advice like: "Don’t sharpen pencils all over the house. It does not improve either the carpets or the servants’ tempers to find pencil sharpenings all over the floors."

Advice for women in Don'ts For Wives largely revolved around keeping house and keeping hubby happy.

This is one piece of advice written in all seriousness: “Don’t let your husband wear a violet tie with grass-green socks. If he is unhappily devoid of the colour sense, he must be forcibly restrained.”

Of course, every wife had to know her way around the kitchen, even it was just to tell the servants what to do. I must get to grips with this one:  "Don’t be afraid of cold meat. A few cookery lessons, or even a good cookery book, with the use of a little intelligence, will make you mistress of delicious ways of serving up leftovers."

And I mustn't forget this: "Don’t omit to pay your husband a compliment. If he looks nice dressed for the opera, tell him so. If he has been successful with his chickens, or his garden, compliment him." Darn it, the last time we went to the opera I clean forgot to tell him he looked nice. I hope he has forgiven me.

This one is going to be harder to keep to:  "Don’t say 'I told you so' to your husband, however much you feel tempted to. It does no good, and he will be grateful to you for not saying it."

I mustn't forget to, “Listen for his latchkey and meet him on the threshold." As he steps through the door I must gauge whether he is ‘nervy'. If he is it could be that his "tea habit is getting too strong in him" and I must keep a watch on him.

I directed this one at the dearly beloved and got a glare in return: “Beauty is only skin-deep and the cleverest men are rarely the handsomest.”

I also referred him to: "Don’t be discontented and think your husband not manly because he happens to be short and thin, and not very strong. Manliness is not a purely physical quality."

He glared at me even more and now he's not talking to me - so that's a bonus.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

V is for Victim (Fashion)

A to Z Challenge

I am to fashion what Osama Bin Laden was to world peace. Even so, for this post I thought I would take a cruise through my life as a fashion victim.

I was in my early teens when mini-skirts first made an appearance. This was how my friends and I gauged the optimum length - put on garment and check that finger tips were level with the hem. Yes, they were that short. Not a flattering look for a short, Devonian stumpwort.

Do any of you remember  op-art  clothes? I had a dress very much like this one in purple and black. I must have looked like a walking optical illusion. No wonder people put on their sunglasses when they saw me coming and yelled to their children, "Don't look directly at her, you'll go blind!"

Then in the 70s it was the era of long floaty dresses, floppy hats, Afghan coats and platform shoes. And who can forget those bell-bottom trousers? Love and peace, man.

By the 80s I was at work and so my clothes became a little more staid with a nod towards power dressing. I tended to look like Joan Collins in Dynasty on a very, very bad day. My shoulder pads were so wide that I got stuck in doorways and had people's eyes out if I got too close.

For the 90s I remember harem pants and Madonna's conical bras. I wore the harem pants but not the conical bras. I had enough people's eyes out in the 80s.

Looking at old photographs, the noughties were the time when I embraced long skirts and dresses right down to the floor. At least they hid my Devonian stumpwort legs.

In the present era, of course, I am at the cutting edge of fashion and when I look back in years to come I will see only an elegant, well-dressed woman who other women always wanted to emulate. Or something like that....

My other blog in the A to Z Challenge is That's Purrfect.

Monday, 25 April 2016

U is For Unsound Advice

A to Z Challenge

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming: "Woo-hoo, what a ride!"  (Anon)

I AGREE with the above so I am taking the advice of a Chinese internet doctor (let the word "internet" warn you that it might not be totally kosher… I don't want to be responsible for anyone's early death!).

On exercise:  Your heart only good for so many beats, and that it... Don't waste on exercise. Everything wear out eventually. Speeding up heart not make you live longer; it like saying you extend life of car by driving faster.  Want to live longer?  Take nap.

On alcohol:  There is no need to reduce alcohol consumption. Wine made from fruit.  Brandy is distilled wine, that mean they take water out of fruity bit so you get even more of goodness that way. Beer also made of grain.  Bottom up!

On fried food:  Food are fried these day in vegetable oil.  In fact, they permeated by it.  How could getting more vegetable be bad for you?!?

On sit-ups: When you exercise muscle, it get bigger.  You should only be doing sit-up if you want bigger stomach.

On chocolate:  Are you crazy?!?  HEL-LO-O!!  Cocoa bean!  Another vegetable!  It best feel-good food around!

On swimming:  If swimming good for your figure, explain whale to me..

Getting in shape: Hey!  'Round' is shape!

That sounds like a diet and exercise regime I can cope with!

I have another blog in the A to Z Challege called That's Purrfect.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

T is for... Wait and See!

A to Z Challenge

I DON'T want to give away the punchline of this (true) story so you will have to wait for the end to see what T stands for.

My niece works as a housekeeper for an elderly, wealthy woman in Austria who lives in a big house. With the European refugee crisis going on she kindly took in a Syrian family. They are a very nice family and all was well.

However, a few days after they arrived my niece noticed something in the fridge that was smelling very bad. When no one removed this bag of something unidentifiable (to her), she thought it was an item of food the guests had forgotten was there.

A few days went on and when it was time to deep clean the fridge, my niece threw out the bag.

In the evening the house owner asked her what had happened to the truffles in the fridge. The penny dropped - that bag of smelly stuff had been very expensive truffles. House owner was exceedingly cross as they had cost her nearly 250 Euros (£200, $288).

My niece said her employer didn't speak to her for four days!

So T is for Truffles.

  • People react to truffles in absolutely different ways. And scientists are getting close to the solution of the mystery of why it happens. Almost 25% of the population don't feel the smell of androstenone - the chemical that contributes to the brand truffle musk aroma (and drives female pigs sexually ecstatic). Another 40% of people are extremely sensitive to androstenone: they say it smells like rotten wood or sweat. The rest of the population likes its scent. (From Fine Foods Delicatessen).

I have another blog in the A to Z Challenge. Pay me a visit at That's Purrfect.