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Monday, October 29, 2007

stars and stripes

So I was at another wedding on Saturday, which was wonderful. But I'm not going to bore you with stories about dancing queens. No, instead I shall tell you about my journey there and back. After all, was it not Sterne who once said: "To travel is better than to arrive?" Or was that someone else? No matter, he was talking balls.


Waiting for the taxi to arrive chez moi, I thought it expedient to ask the operator what colour car would be picking me up. "A white peugeot". It was a blue skoda.
Then the guy got lost. A 20-min drive took nearly an hour. He should have driven me to south croydon. He took me to West Wycombe. Then he almost lost the entrance to the Hotel and Golf Club and nearly crashed into the wall...

The Journey back

I know - once bitten, twice should be shy. But it was nearly 1pm, I was sharing with a couple of friends, and the taxi firm is cheap. I also naively assumed that, having already driven there, the driver would be able to find his way back relatively easily. But the first conversation with the taxi firm operator went thusly:

"Please may I have a taxi to Streatham"
"Where is that?"
"You ARE streatham vale taxis?"
"Well, Streatham is where you are"
"Oh yes okay ma'am thank you very much okay where you want go to?"
"WHere picking you up from tonight"
"The Selsdon Park Hotel"
"Where is that?"
"In Selsdon"
"What is the name of the place in Selsdon"
"The... Selsdon... Park... Hotel"
"I will send him...he has a silver peugeot. What is your name?
I lied: "SAM"
"How do you spell that madam pliss"
"S - A - M"

Of course by now I should have been worrying. But I did not start really worrying until 45 minutes later when my phone rang and a croaky foreign voice creaked out: "Hello lady? I am ringing to say that I am not the same driver, I am the different driver"
"Right... so do you know where you are going?"
"I will be there in 15 minutes. Where is it?"
"Selsdon Park Hotel. It has an exclusive driveway"
"I will drive into the Park"
"Um... not the park, don't drive it into the park, it's going to end up in the playground... it's called the Selsdon Park Hotel and Golf Club."
"You at the golf club or at the park?"


Breathe...1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10...

"No dear, let's take this from the top. Drive down the A23 to Croydon and on the flyover, take the A2022. Continue down towards Sanderstead, and then you will find a BIG BIG BIG Sainsbury's on the roundabout. The entrance to the SELSDON PARK HOTEL AND GOLF CLUB is right next door, the very very very first entrance on the LEFT. DRIVE UP THE DRIVEWAY. IT HAS YELLOW POSTS AND TYRE MARKS IN THE FLOWERBED FROM YOUR LAST DRIVER"

"yiss yiss I have I know - I three minutes, maybe three, maybe 10 minutes away"...

By now it was half one and I wanted to cry. Miraculously... it was a silver peugeot -and he knew the way back home. However, he did not seem to believe me that I lived on a one-way street. I ended up having to walk up my road simply to stop him reversing several times into the Police Station in the road adjacent to mine. What a croc!


I saw a shooting star! It was travelling extremely fast, and almost completely horizontally across the horizon! How cool is that? And no, it was not a firework. And yes, I did make a wish.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mermaid on the rampage

Mermaid and Major General Lobby the Lobster

The other night I was woken up by the sound of what I thought was a pair of drunks singing. It was about 5:30 but I was so soporific I could not actually wake myself up properly, but I remember feeling very afraid and vulnerable so I prayed about it. Usually I would have just called the Royal Guards of Oceana - the great lobster army, led by major-general Lobby the lobster (pictured, above) - to go and investigate, but I realised that Lobby lives in Canada.

The next morning I read that two men had been shot, one fatally, at the top of my road. My road is almost as famous as I am. Streatham is becoming dangerous and the Mermaid is at the end of her very patient tether.

When I first moved in, on the first week of my residence down that road, two robbers dressed as cleaners cleaned out the barclays bank at the top of the road. Given that it was my mum's bank, this was disturbing. Two months later, the road was cordoned off one evening following a "gun incident". Several months later there was a fatal stabbing after a domestic row, and now this double shooting.

Some people may say this is an unnatural coincidence, as they have heard of the mermaid's propensity for stapling things and stalking celebrities Mermaid is Healed! but I assure you, these events are all unrelated to me, and besides no-one knows about the disappearance of several postmen whom I have captured and forced to make endless supplies of staples to satiate my insane craving for them. Oh no, that is our little secret. Mua ha. Mua ha ha.

But now the mermaid is at the end of her tether. She has already started kick-boxing training at her local gym and is paying far too much attention to X-men films. I am worried about myself, that I might turn into an urban vigilante, haunting the streets of St. Reatham to hunt down and nullify threats to the safety and honour of our streets. Except I would be bad at this for several reasons:

1) I am fast with a staple gun, the fastest paper-clipper in the West. But a bullet is still faster
2) I couldn't kick-box my way out of a wet paper bag
3) If I were able to staple a felon to the ground, I'd be distracted too easily by anything cute and fluffy... "Hand over those stolen goods, you charlatan!"
"Look over there"
"There - I think it's a kitten"
"Awww... here, puss puss puss..... darn! He wouldn't have gotten away with it if it were not for you pesky cats...."

So there you have it. A frustrated wannabe vigilante. In addition to all my other problems of the heart. But be warned I WILL be watching my road. And if I hear any strange noises again, I will be ready and armed with my biggest, bad-ass stapler. Failing that, I shall simply throw Monty at them. He can be a bit of a demon...


Friday, October 19, 2007


1) I have broken my toilet again. IT WONT SCREW UP PROPERLY
2) Monty sicked up on my Duvet. My winter duvet. With my most expensive embroidered white egyptian cotton duvet cover. Its now in the bath as it is too big to wash
3) I am finding that old feelings are being stirred up again. Which I find very confusing.
4) I have spent four nights this week playing... TETRIS. AND I suck at it.
5) I hate the Independent on Sunday. Although I love the Telegraph
6) I am not eating properly.
7) Men suck
8) Cats are my only friends
9) I have a permanent headache
10) I feel sick
11) Life sucks
12) There's no chocolate in the house
13) The Independent on Sunday Sucks
14) I keep thinking about someone
15) That sucks
16) I need a holiday
17) I dont want to spend it playing Tetris
18) I missed off the apostrophe from don't in 17) and I'm not even bothered
19) I went a whole day without checking my blog
20) I have 20 reasons to be miserable

20 reasons to be happy:

1) My cat loves me
2) My friends love me, but most never call me, and if they do, only one (Clare) actually calls me just for a chat. the others call me because they are blue and need to vent their feelings and I listen like the mug that I am.
3) Geoff Ho proposed ( I said no)
4) I have broadband
5) I've lost three pounds
6) The telegraph wants me to write some stuff for it
7) Someone bought a card off me today ( I make cards)
8) People think I'm funny
9) My hair looks great since I got it done on Tuesday
10) My cat loves me
11) I have broadband
12) I stayed alive for a whole day without checking my blog
13) Geoff Ho proposed (and I said no). Actually 3 and 13 are not reasons for him to rejoice, but at least I will die knowing that someone wanted to marry me, even if it was by kneeling down at a press party and giving me a weightwatchers calculator instead of a ring.
14) I have a weightwatchers calculator
15) I know how to use apostrophes
16) My cat loves me
17) I have spare duvets
18) er
19) that's it...
20) David Hasslehoff

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Chip off the old female block

There are so many people in the world, all of whom have business to do, managing their own affairs and helping their own families.

Then there are some who do so well at managing their own family affairs that they have to start managing their own.

Take my mum’s next door neighbour, whose loud-mouth brother often decides to irritate my mother. Once, when my kitten was in her front yard, the Fat Baldie came out and hissed at the cat, then proceeded to launch a tirade to the trees and parked cars about how much he “hated that cat.” The fact it was the first time that Monty had ever visited mum did not seem to register in his dinosaur-like brain (pea-sized and extinct).

The next time mum chanced upon the SOB was when she caught him lobbing fag butts over her fence into her dahlia bed.

Mum is usually shy around strangers and who, in the typical English way, won't do anything because “I don’t want to make a fuss.” Instead she usually mutters and moans sarcastic epithets aloud hoping he will get the message.

But the worm turned the other day. Having discovered a wasp’s nest under her bedroom window eaves, she was talking to the neighbour on the other side about how to get rid of it. Now she has had a small hole in her roof for about six months and has patched it up on the inside, rather than getting someone to fix a new tile on. “It’s on the to-do list.”

While discussing with nice neighbour about the nest, she said: “I don’t know how they got there, we removed a nest from the shed last year and I thought they had gone.”

Suddenly the SOB popped his head over the fence: “They will come in if you got a bloody big hole in your roof, that’s how they bloody well get in, through a bloody great big hole.”

“In that case they’ll be nesting in your mouth next year,” replied my mum.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Terracotta Worriers Bite Their Nails

As mum said: What a day.

It started out so well- a lie in, nice sunny weather, got to mums at 11:30 (1/2 hour earlier than 12 deadline)... and then things started to go wrong. We were intending to go to see the terracotta warriors, well, they'd been inviting us round for ages but we were always too busy. We expected to have to queue up for tickets to get in, hence we wanted to leave before 12.

1) by the time we got to the bus stop, I noticed mum's shoelace was undone. I knelt down -in a massive swab of gooey lung cookie and without thinking, went to wipe my knee with my finger, thus ensuing much panic and overuse of baby wipes. Yuck yuck yuck.

2) Victoria station underground was closed. We got on a bus

3) Bus got stuck in traffic for an hour near Piccadilly

4) The Terracotta warriors were booked up. Until JANUARY

5) We booked January but the lady got the date on the tickets wrong and so we had to wait again in the queue to get the right ones

6) Too jaded to look round the b-mus, we decided to get a bit of food. Although we were nearly the first people in the restaurant, EVERYONE was served before us and the brie in my "gourmet sandwich" was tasteless and salty. French cuisine, my foot.

7) The tube on the way back home caught fire. As soon as we got on at oxford circus I could smell burning rubber. I asked anyone if they were slightly perturbed by this. The couple opposite said: "if there is smoke, that is when you have to worry." Three tube workers were in my carriage, I asked them if they knew why there was a really bad smell of burning rubber. They just shrugged. By now mum was getting embarrassed by my harrying. Thankfully I was proved right when, at pimlico, the tube driver announced with characteristic understatement: "ladies and gentlemen, I have been informed there is an apparent defect on this train. Please get off here."

As we got off, there was billowing smoke from a few carriages up. "Apparent defect?!" I yipped, a little like a Westie, it has to be admitted. "The ruddy train is on FIRE."

The tube workers just laughed.

Mum and I decided to get the bus - but NOBODY else left the platform. Are people IDIOTS? There's a ruddy train on fire, there is no way it is suddenly going to open the doors and let people on again. All trains are going to be held up for hours to come, so WHY were they all (and I mean, at least 100 people) standing there gormlessly looking on? Are they complete and utter gooseberries? Did they drop out of the silly tree and hit every branch on the way down? Were they all at a convention for the protection of total plonkers? When they were born, did the doctor squeeze their heads a bit too tightly?

What if it had been a bomb? I cannot express my utter disbelief at this sorry batch of humanity. What morons. They deserve to have been blown up to prevent the gene pool being further diluted by these brainless imbeciles. Really, the case for involuntary sterlisation gets harder to argue against each day. When we exited the station, there was a worried-looking mother who came up to ask us whether there was a train on fire as she could smell the smoke from the foyer and was worried about her son, who she was meant to be meeting. I said: "Yeah, its on fire, but everyone else decided to stay down there and watch instead of coming up." It's like those horror films - people hear a creepy noise, the lights go out and they go to investigate to see where that unearthly shrieking and running water is coming from. Not me, matey. If I heard a scary noise I'd be out of that house like a shot, running hell for leather until I was in a crowded place, most likely a police station where there are lots of strong men and women with guns and things to protect me. "He who lives to run away, lives to run away another day." Curiosity will not kill this cat, no siree.

8) We finally get home and nip to Sainsbury's, where mum forgets to get cash back and then goes back for a second try. After which she is convinced that the dopey man serving her has memorised all her card details because she can't find her bill, so even though she actually has her card, she cancels it in case the man has stolen her identity. If he were really able to memorise all the numbers on a card in less than 20 seconds, he would not be a 30-year old Sainsbury's till assistant. Yet somehow it is MY fault for giving mum a nectar card and I have to listen to a whole saga about why he would not have given her a bill (my suggestion - that he just forgot - was considered "parochial" and "missing the point").

Seriously, you can't make this up. Mugabe himself could not imagine such torture for me. All because I cursed the person who swabbed on the ground. I bet that person has been having a wonderful day. I would damn him again, but I can't deal with any more bad karma. Seriously, Old Testament dudes cursed people all the time and they were blessed. Elisha was mocked by loads of asbos for being a baldy, so he curses them and a bear comes out and mauls 42 of them. I curse a pavement spitter and it's me that gets a shoddy day. Why couldn't a bear have come out of the sideroad and bitten that gobbing chump on the rear, just to assure me that there is retribution on this earth? Well, maybe not a bear, but perhaps a dog? Even a pigeon. Just anything.

9) At last I get home, with my Tiffin, hot chocolate drink and double-bill of Friends. I get a phone call from mum, where she informs me that she was chatted up by a local shopkeeper, but when she left the shop she realised her fly was open. It's not really retribution but it helped.

At the time of writing, it's 11:10. I don't think anything else can go wrong, but just in case I hear a creepy noise, I've got the police station right behind my flat. I take no chances.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Hello all! I am interviewing Geoff Hoon at 1:30 today at Downing Street.

I will be asking him questions about his role as City Minister and Chief Whip, what Labour's plans for London are (business, Finance, Crossrail) etc.

If you have any questions (sensible ones) please post them here and I will ask them for you!!