Monthly Archives: August 2012

Ask a stupid question…

… and you are bound to get an equal stupid (and sarcastic reply).

I have heard 2 very daft questions indeed this week, and wondered why they were being asked and if the person asking them really did think up the question all by themselves!

Question No. 1

Now, my mum has trouble getting up the stairs and this has been getting increasingly more difficult, so recently she had an “inter-floor perambulator” (or “personal elevation device”) installed – stair-lift in other words!

Now the company in question (and it wasn’t Stannah) phoned up this week – actually it was the 3rd phone call in as many weeks from customer service.

After 5 minutes of general chit-chat about nothing in particular, we get to the stupid question:

“So, could you tell me why you’ve had a stair lift installed?”

My mother was incensed at her stupidity told her what an idiotic question that was.

Generally, and correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought stair lifts were installed when people had difficulty climbing stairs – so basically this would be a stock answer from absolutely every single customer!

Who on earth wrote her script?

Question No. 2

Grand Prix weekend (not that we’re excited in this house *I believe in McLaren*) and I turned on FP2 this afternoon – funnily enough it was raining in Belgium, so no cars were out on track.

Ms Natalie Pinkham began interviewing Nico Hulkenberg.

She made some girlie gaffe about the brightness of his new white jacket, to which he drolly replied that it wasn’t new and was dirty.

Then came the classic…

NP. “So, Nico, you don’t live far from the circuit and drove here this morning. What do you drive?”

NH. “A car!”

Absolute classic, I nearly cried laughing ūüėČ

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Winter Hands (or Project Save My Hands from Cracking Up!)

As September approaches with alarming speed (where has this year gone?) my thoughts turn to my hands.

For reasons unbeknown to me, no matter how much cream I plaster onto them from the middle of September through to pretty much the end of June my hands get as rough as a fisherman (and no the Norwegian hand cream doesn’t work, tried it), and they crack to the point of bleeding. And yes, I wear gloves, dry my hands properly, etc.

I’ve tried everything;

  • Vaseline
  • Hand cream
  • Olive oil and brown sugar
  • Manuka Honey
  • etc

The only one that came pretty close was the olive oil and brown sugar exfoliant mixture, followed by smothering my hands in olive oil. Maybe if I start it now, my hands won’t crack up!

The thing that struck me as I perused the hand cream aisle in the pharmacists was the notice on a lot of products “contains 10% urea”.


Now, isn’t urea a component of urine?

If so, maybe I should just try peeing on my hands?

Isn’t that a tasteful thought?

Seriously though, if anyone has any recommendations I’d be ever so grateful.

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Wednesday Wisdom

I can’t change the past.

I can’t predict the future.

All I can live for is the present.

We have to trust our feelings.

I believe how I feel.

I have faith in my belief.

I have been given the gift of hope.

I trust that gift.

I am learning patience.

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1911 Census Snippet

Now I don’t usually do jokes, funnies, etc, but my dad saw this in his family history magazine today and it made us all giggle:

From the 1911 Census
Found in the household of John Charles Belton in Chester:

Peter Tabby, servant, 6 months, occupation: mouser; nationality: Persian

This line has been all crossed out in red and written in “THIS IS A CAT”

Looks like people 100 years ago had the same sense of humour as us when it came to filling out the Census form, although I bet he wasn’t fined ¬£1000 ūüėČ

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West Side Story…

… is as relevant today as it was when it first burst onto Broadway.

This Leonard Bernstein musical based on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet hits the right social and cultural issues, and makes you think. That’s why I believe every teenager should watch it.

Primarily, the rivalry is transferred from between 2 families to between 2 gangs. And as we all know gang warfare is rife on streets in cities today, just as much, if not more than it was in the 1950s. Barely a week goes by without some teenager being killed, by whatever means, by someone from a rival gang.

Over the years nothing has been learned, it seems.

As a mum to a small boy, I’m already fretting over his teenage years, which at the moment seem a lifetime away, but in reality will be upon me sooner than I can blink an eye.

What is ever gained by fighting, physically?

Why do people physically fight over the most trivial of things?

Where does it end?

SC has just started school and not a week has gone by where some charming child hasn’t physically attacked him. I don’t believe violence solves anything. So I tell him to walk away. No matter what, just walk away.

Mr Wrong No. 1 had the other approach with regard to tackling this issue with his son – he told him to fight back!

Now, my stance is if they fight back, where will it end?

I hit you, you hit me.

I hit you harder, you hit me harder.

I hit you with a stick, you hit me with a bigger stick.

I get a knife.

You get a gun.

Violence grows and no one wins!

That in essence is the crux of the whole musical. Maria (aka Juliet) says at the end of the show that she can kill now because she now hates.

Is that what all this gang warfare is about?

How can you hate someone just because they ‘hang with a different crowd’ or wear a different type trainer? You can’t really hate someone you don’t personally know, can you?

West Side Story shows that, at the end of the day,¬†no one wins with violence or hatred, and that we need to learn tolerance and effectively ‘love thy neighbour’.

I don’t hate. For sure there have been people¬†I have met in my life that I don’t like, but hate? No.

We’re all born different, be it hair colour, eye colour, taste in clothes, hobbies, etc. We all have good points and bad points. These should be embraced, not used as a reason for attack.

Can society change?

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A Tale for Moped Users Everywhere

Or more specifically teenage moped and bike users.

I had one of these moped users behind me the other day, and he was so close that if I had to apply my brakes suddenly he would have smashed straight into the back of me, or more horrifying been thrown over my car only to land in a crumpled heap in front of me.

But my real gripe about these teenage moped riders is more the fact that they think it is OK to just wear a crash helmet. I have also seen some motor bike riders donned this way too.

It may be cool on the continent to ride around on your moped with the sun beating down on your bare arms and legs, but what is not cool is not being properly protected.

Mr Wrong No. 1 rode bikes and before he would even let me ride pillion I had to purchase a set of proper bike gear.

And for why???

Not just to save me getting too horribly crumpled, should an accident happen, but as he explained “Imagine you are not wearing proper clothing and have a smash at 30mph and end up skidding down the road, what is the likely outcome?”

Any guesses from the moped users who like to wear jeans??


OK, here goes.

You skid down the road for however long it takes for you to slow down – say 300 yards. But here’s the warning, not only are you skidding down the road, but so is your clothing.

And what happens to clothing if it gets abrased? It starts to get bare!

And if you are still skidding when the material of your jeans have all been worn away, what will be next to start wearing away as you skid?

That’s right? Your skin – and we’re still skidding. So all your lovely skin is wearing down until we reach?¬† Yes, bone.

Are you following me?

That tale of how I could end up at the end of a skid with not just a gash in my leg but a flippin’ great¬†hole with exposed bone and flesh was enough to send me running to the nearest bike shop!

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How cool are the Octonauts?

Sound the Octo-Alert.

If you haven’t seen this children’s programme on CBeebies…you must!

It’s way beyond cool, it’s just sheer brilliance.

Think of it as kid’s Star Trek set under the sea instead of in space.

Created by Meomi (Vicky Wong and Michael Murphy) who also created the mascots of the Vancouver Olympics, the Octonauts are a group of 8 (funnily enough) undersea explorers in search of adventure and fun.

They live in an “octopod” which looks like a metal octopus and are led by an octopus called “Professor Inkling”, who generally moves about by chair (a bit like Davros from Doctor Who).

The team is¬†lead by a polar bear called Captain Barnacles – he wears a very fetching blue cat-suit and blue hat – he also plays the accordion. He is the firm favourite in this house to the extent that SC requested an accordion. SC plays his accordion very badly, but when he starts playing I expect morris dancers (no offence) to jump out and take a turn about the garden!¬†Captain Barnacles¬†always says “Sound the Octo-alert”.

Kwasi¬†the kitten is a pirate – the patch is over his right eye, but when he looks through the telescope he lifts up the eye patch! Mmm, don’t get that either, and he always says “in my pirate days”. He loves speed and drives the fastest boat, called Gups.

Peso the penguin is the medic – he always mends anything by applying a bandage, in super-quick time I hasten to add.

Doctor Shellington¬†– is a sea otter complete with Scottish¬†accent for all you trekkie fans out there. He is the ship’s scientist and knows everything about underwater sea life.

Dashi the dog monitors the computers and takes photos, she has an Australian accent bizarrely.

Tweak bunny – clearly from the mid-western USA states glows in the dark and is the ships engineer, famed for doing things “quicker ‘an you can say bunch of munchy, crunchy carrots” (affects bad Texan accent).

Finally there are things called vegimals Рcross between a vegetable and animal. The main one is called Tunip Рand they do the cooking.

So what’s so great about it?

Well aside from the spurious links to Star Trek, the title music gets you going, it’s fast and exciting and the programme is fairly educational on some higher plane.

We’ve learnt that the ocean is divided into 3 layers – sunlight, twilight and midnight zones, sea urchins and crabs have a symbiotic relationship, a whale shark is the largest fish in the ocean, anemones can divide themselves into 2 and much more.

To some adults it may seem far-fetched and maybe a tad daft – especially as they somehow have a diving helmet hidden around their necks which activate at the touch of a button – but the programme has been made into a 10 minute fast-paced adventure story packed full of excitement, tension and drama along with some fairly high-brow marine biological facts.

If you love Star Trek and that genre of television, you should really try watching an episode.

SC thinks he is Captain Barnacles.

Me – I love it!

Explore, Rescue, Protect!


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Why? (more random thoughts)

Why do we all feel the need to try to be something we’re not?
Especially in the looks department. Why are the only people deemed to be beautiful those that grace the¬†covers of magazines and that quite frankly look like they need a decent meal inside them. Ladies just because you aren’t a size zero does not mean you’re ugly, and men don’t fret about not looking like the latest James Bond or Doctor Who. It’s what’s inside that counts. True beauty comes from within, a beautiful soul can make the plainest Jane a supermodel. We’re all different and we’re all built differently – embrace it!

Why can’t magazines and catalogues show the clothes being worn be real people?
OK, so I know only beautiful people can sell clothes, but honestly it would be much more realistic to show what us ordinary Joe’s on the street would look like wearing this seasons must-have. Skinny jeans are not a good look on 99% of the population!

Why can’t clothes manufacturers/designers do the world a favour and STOP making tops with hoods on?
It’s not that difficult to omit the hood from the pattern. Cheaper, less material being used. And how much safer would everyone feel walking the streets not having to avoid youngsters wearing hoods – after all they could be harmless! Even with baby clothes all the cardigans and jumpers seem to have hoods on…Why? If it’s cold wear a hat!

Why can’t people at petrol stations realise that the hoses stretch?
So instead of¬†causing a major league traffic jam/blockage on the forecourt¬†by insisting on queuing at the first pump by the entrance on the side where your petrol cap is, pick ANY pump (OK I’ll accept the argument about different types of petrol, I’ve been caught out and¬†paid for super-duper 5-star graded diesel!). Most hoses are designed these days so they extend and can be manoeuvred over, or round, your car to get to the petrol cap.

Why do people drive with their fog lights on when it’s not foggy?
Surely they have to press a special button for their fog lights, I know I do. Also most cars have a light on the dashboard to indicate fog lights are on. Please, please, please don’t. It’s a nightmare for the person behind. When it’s not foggy and you’re following someone with their fog lights on it makes driving very difficult – dazzling one could say!

Why can’t adults involved in social activities behave like adults?
There at it everywhere. Any social activity you can think of and they throw their teddies¬†out of the pram at the drop of the hat. Behaving worse than toddlers.¬†Would these people behave like that at their place of work, or would they be happy if their children exhibited this behaviour? I don’t think so. Grow up and don’t spoil it for everyone else! It’s a hobby – which means you do it for fun!

Why does Britain grind to a standstill in bad weather?
OK, so we don’t normally have several feet of the white stuff in the UK. However, most years we experience some amount of snowfall, but even half an inch seems to send the country into some sort of frenzy and nothing moves.

Talking of weather, why is it a British pastime to constantly moan about the weather?
If it’s hot, it’s too hot. If it rains, it’s too wet. I say enjoy the hot weather (we don’t get it that often), get used to the rain and invest in a good pair of wellies, only use your fog lights in dense fog, and if it’s cold buy a warm coat and a pair of thermal gloves!

Why can’t politicians give a straight answer to a straight question?
No matter what party, red, yellow, blue, green or purple with bright pink spots they never give¬†a straight answer. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear a politician tell the truth?

Why do traffic wardens act the way they do?
Is it the uniform? Is it a power-kick? Or is it really to do with getting revenue? Now there are some parking violations that are agreeably definitely worth ticketing, but being 2 minutes over your allotted hour is not. Please kind traffic wardens there is such a thing as discretion. My worst¬†experience was when¬†I was out with my mum, who is disabled, and we pulled onto a double yellow (most places will let blue badges park there, I believe), behind a disabled bay as the person in the said bay looked as though they were going to be moving off. I didn’t turn off my engine, or switch off my indicator. Only to find a zealous traffic warden¬†proceeding to take a photo of my car in order to give a ticket. He didn’t even want to listen when I explained – he did ask the car in front if he was going and when I was told he wasn’t I moved off. But I ask you!!!!¬† However, just in case you didn’t know if you park in a 1 hour spot you actually have an hour from when the traffic warden notices your car – and I got that straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak!

Why do people without disabilities think that it’s OK to park in a disabled bay?
I really hate when people do this. Whether you’re stopping for 2 minutes or 2 hours it is never OK to park in a disabled bay if you are not actually entitled too – that includes wrongfully using your spouses/parents card if they are not with you. It’s just sheer laziness. If you want the space have the disability.

Why does the fact that I don’t drink alcohol seem to be difficult for people to understand and accept? It’s quite simple actually – I don’t like it. Enough said, I think.

Why do I worry about so many things?

Why should I give a monkeys about what other people think?


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Fish Spa Treatment

It was interesting to say the least have my feet nibbled by a hundred or so little garra rufa fish!

Yes, I have partaken in the latest spa craze and I would highly recommend it.

Last year my local hairdresser turned it’s back corridor into a relaxing fishy haven with 4 tanks full of fish to nibble away the dead bits of skin, callouses, cuticles and anything else they find on your feet.

So when my dad – yes my dad – told me this had opened, I naturally thought I’d better give it a go. After all, I don’t like wearing shoes and have danced for years so my feet have a few hard edges to them, which pumice stone alone cannot touch.

And that is how one afternoon last year I drove down to the hairdressers to have an alternative pedicure.

After picking up a copy of Vogue (obviously, what else does one read when at the hairdressers – not that there’s much to read, just a lot of pictures of very expensive clothes which, quite frankly are far too bizarre to wear when you are popping down to the local supermarket!) I was led to the fish spa.

You don’t just take shoes and socks off and dunk the feet – oh no!

Clearly taking off of foot garments is a necessity, but then you have to wash you feet under a water shower, set at a certain temperature (bit hot for my liking and I love hot showers) – no soap just clean running hot water. Next you have to dry your feet, but not with a towel – you stick them under a foot level hand dryer, and thankfully not one where you have to rub your feet together for an age before a small amount of air puffs out to dry your feet, no, it’s more like one of those fab high-powered Dyson dryers.

Then you are given a pair of flip-flops made of ultra-eco-friendly polystyrene to put on and led to the tanks. Actually thinking about it, they look like flip-flop shaped prawn crackers!

You sit on the nice high cushioned seat, with your copy of Vogue, take the flip-flops off and swing your legs round to perch them on the edge of the tank.

Then come the instructions:

  1. Do not put your feet on the bottom of the tank – this seems fairly obvious because the object of the treatment is for the fish to nibble the hard bits, which are generally on the soles of your feet!
  2. Do not shake the fish off or move your feet too vigorously – danger of harming fish.

And that’s about it. Take a deep breath and when you are ready take the plunge!

It is the weirdest sensation I have ever experienced.

The instant you plunge your feet in the fish go for it. Initially it tickles but not in a horrid, unpleasant way more of a wriggly tickly way.

When you get used to the tickly sensation, for me, it turned into a tingle like the kind you get when you have pins and needles, but again it was not uncomfortable.

At this point my feet were rigid in the water and incredibly tense, but after a few minutes, no more than 5 my feet relaxed and gradually sunk lower into the water.

Half an hour later and one copy of Vogue perused it was time to take the feet out, dry off and put socks and shoes back on.

The result?

My feet were actually softer (and still were 2 days later), I admit I have very bad hard skin on my heels and balls of my feet, but even they felt slightly softer and the cuticles on my toenails were trimmed to perfection.

Was it relaxing?

Yes, after the initial getting used to it stage, I would say it was relaxing. After all there is something very therapeutic and calming about watching fish – even if they are feasting on your dead skin.

Did I do it again?

A resounding and emphatic YES! I did a further 3 treatments, then, unfortunately, the hairdressers changed hands and the new owner had the fish removed!

Shame, it was the most alternative pedicure I’ve ever had ūüėČ

If you get the chance to have a go – do it!


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Random Bizarre Thoughts!

It suddenly entered my brain the other day, with no forewarning Рbut what actually constitutes a generation?

Bizarre thought, but does it have a definitive answer?

People go on about the baby boomers, children of the sixties, children of the digital age, but how many years does a generation span?

Is it 1 year, 2 years, or even ten years?

It’s not important in the grand scheme of things, but it was just a thought that popped in!!

Another random thought that sprung to mind as I was watching Bob the Builder with SC, is there a difference between concrete and cement?

You build a house with cement, but make a patio with concrete!

To me, I thought they were one and the same. Bit of cement mix, bit of sand, bit of water mix it all up and hey presto!

But what is it – cement or concrete?

Like I said, just bizarre thoughts, but comments appreciated.


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