Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Kath and Kim and Me

I have a confession to make. I love Kath & Kim.

Now I know I am not the only one who can randomly muster up phrases along the lines of "Look at moi-ye, look at moi-ye, look at moi-ye ploi-se" and fall about laughing, so I am launching a meme of sorts here. It purports to go along these lines:

Name your favourite comedy series, past or present, on TV and state five reasons why it should be enshrined for posterity (and possibly not re-hashed in the US for an American audience, of which - unbelieveably - K&K has also been a victim) so our kids can benefit from its humour in years to come.

To kick things off I give you my five reasons for loving Kath & Kim.
  1. Anyone who can keep a straight face - actor or not - whilst saying the phrase, "Mum. I don't want to be rich, I want to be effluent!" deserves a medal in my book (episode 1, series 1, in case you were wondering)
  2. Kath's hair - ever wonder where my inspiration came from?
  3. Kim's baby's name: Epponnee-Raelene Kathleen Darlene Charlene.
  4. This exchange:
      Kim: Here's your statue, Mum.
      Kath: Oh, what for the love of God is that?
      Kim: It's the statue you wanted.
      Kath: What? No it's not, Kim.
      Kim: Yes it is, it's a statue of little baby cheeses.
      Kath: Little baby cheeses? Oh little baby Jesus, Kim, Jesus.
      Kath: Oh, Jesus.

    5.    I actually know people like this. And they are (almost) related to me.

So, who to pass the baton to? Let's see... Oh. I know.
How about Steve, Vix and Heather for starters?

And I don't mind if you love K&K as much as I do. In fact, the more the merrier.
But if your choice is different then the reasons better be bloody good ones!

Monday, 27 September 2010

An interlude before the next "What the eye sees" post

Whilst I wait for A Modern Military Mother to sort herself out and get her backside up to London for our much-postponed joint ‘What the eye sees’ tour de force around the London transport system, I thought I would offer a temporary alternative.

Temporary as this does in no way replace the original 'commuter delights' version. However, despite being (again) in between contracts, my trusty mobile has not stopped snapping.

So I give you the I-liked-the-period-wallpaper-so-much-I-made-a-pair-of-trousers-to-match.

2010-09-07 001
It was a gorgeous feature in this Georgian house
we are looking to buy dah-ling

Perfect for blending in to the background at those tedious parties where you do not know anyone. Or rather, where no one will chat to you because you look like you have a bad case of Osbourne and Little-itus.

It would seem this affliction is not limited to the outdoors either. I spotted another complete version (as in jacket and matching trousers) in the supermarket aisle.

2010-08-05 001
Hmmm... what to use for drip-dry ensembles?
Fabulous. A bit passé, but hey. It is still the recession after all.

Next. Why Ugg boots are a bad idea. Anywhere, any time, any place. But especially on tube platforms.

2010-09-08 005
Comfy, schmumfy.

Sorry love. Really does you no favours.

And then there is this. Apologies about the photo. Random man was in a hurry to get off and messed up the perfect shot.

2010-09-08 003

So I had to make do with another shot through the carriage window. Have you guessed what this woman is carrying yet?

2010-09-08 004
I like my creature comforts. Even when slumming it.

A pillow. Yup. A full size pillow complete with Oxford-style pillow case. And a ginormous back pack.
So a question here: if you are going trekking round the world, and carrying all of your worldly goods and possession on your back, and doing things on the cheap and roughing it where necessary, why in heaven above are you taking your pillow with you? Have you not thought of either a) getting an inflatable one, or b) sleeping without?

I might be missing the point – in fact I probably am – but hauling my bleedin’ pillow round the world with me sounds, well, pretty stupid really. Unless it is to win a bet, like Tony Hawks lugging a fridge round Ireland.

Anyway. I also spotted this beauty:

I am wearing a mis-feat of engineering

What the bejeezus are you wearing on your feet woman? Miniature bats? Ear muffs? Cast-off squirrels?

Oh, and this. The classic 1661. A double dose what's more.


Don't believe me? I sprinted ahead of them to get proof. Faces so frozen by botox that even if I scared them with my antics, it certainly did not show.
Ze bride ov Wildenstein haz nussink on me, ja?

But by far the one that has amused me most was this:

Oh! Is that our bus Hilda?

This woman casually stepped out of a shop on the main street. With just one shoe. Unflustered, not bothered, seemingly at ease with her new-found foot-freedom. Most bizarre.

But finally, just to show that I am still at large on public transport - and will be again soon on a daily basis, you have been warned - here is a taster for you of things to come.

I give you the 'any-hair-colour-so-long-as-it-matches-my-top' candidate of the week:
Grace Jones eat your heart out
Right. Back to the grindstone then. Contacts to chase, paperwork to sign...

Disclaimer: these posts are not meant to offend, they are totally tongue-in-cheek. If you have been captured on film, congratulations, you caught my attention. If this offends you I am truly sorry. A simple email with proof of identity will see you removed tout suite. Just like that.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Once was not enough. It would seem twice is neither.

I have been called many things in my life. The Pied Piper is not one of them. Or it wasn't, until Sunday.

The immortal words, "And here comes number... oh, it's... it's... it's the Pied Piper!" as I approached the finish line of the West Wight Triathlon were not what I was expecting to hear.

Even though I did have an entourage of eleven* (yes, eleven) children following me for the last fifty metres or so.

This was Mr Man's point of view.

Help - I am surrounded by small people
I am the taller individual in the photo.

Anyway, it caused much amusement for the masses and I aim to please, so I guess task accomplished from that angle.

(* the children were three of mine, three of the Wine Writer's, BB's twins, and Lady P's trio - all there as part of the junior cheerleading brigade, totally unsponsored I hasten to add)

The venue was the Isle of Wight. The event the West Wight Triathlon. The line-up included the usual trio of yours truly, BB and the Wine Writer. Of course, we had all trained to a certain extent. There is only so much you can fit in around work and school holidays. Some of us even tested the (running) waters a couple of weeks earlier. And in true style I managed to be shown up soundly beaten get my arse whipped yet again by my erstwhile companions.

Think I am kidding? The results speak for themselves (I would just insert the excel table here but that kind of technology eludes me and Blogger is uncooperative, so we are at a stand-off at present):

And in case you were wondering about the category issue, SF is 'senior female' - basically anyone over 21 (some man's idea of an easy joke I think) - and VF is 'veteran female' or 'very fragile' or even 'vot (the) f*ck (are you doing this for)'. Your choice.
I have just a few points to make with regard to my *ahem* performance.

1. I was not 100% in the 12 hours leading up to the event - definitely BB's fault as we drove the cycle route the evening before (after we managed to get lost in Freshwater, pop. 5,360, with a single main street that forms a loop via a one-way system, for about half an hour with me navigating - just as well I was not responsible for laying out the course itself) and her comments about the numerous hills and (rather steep) inclines put the heebie-jeebies into me, which therefore meant that: 

2. I did the race on an empty stomach whilst worrying about the Wine Writer and BB 'catching' me as their start times were after mine - nothing like raw energy incentive panic to keep you going

3. I managed to stay on my bike although the challenge was not cleat-in shoes - something BB and I occasionally have issues with, as in 'get-your-foot-out-before-you-stop' - but a howling westerly that even the Wine Writer said (I quote) nearly "gusted me off the road" (I could imagine the headlines as well in the local gazette, "Wannabe triathlete adds aerobatics to event for greater visual effect")

4. I remembered to put my goggles over my eyes before setting off in the swim this time round, and thus avoided serious sense of humour failure, but still managed to waste time faffing with my watch at the start of the run, the end result being that I wiped out my elasped time and had no idea therefore of how I was faring.
Proof of goggle success:

I'll just get in here, shall I? You know, yellow is not really my colour...

 And of stop-watch failure.

So I just press this button here...
And I am still pressing it, and... oh bugger

But we finished, all of us, to our great relief. And then proceeded - as you do - to invade a local pub. A total of nine adults and eleven children.

The locals are still recovering from the shock.

BB: I think we should do an Olympic distance next time
LCM (through rictus grin): What the f*$&@%*$ are you on about?

And wouldn't you know it? All three of us are now thinking about what to enter next.

Suckers for punishment? Never!

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Com'on! Woo hoo! It's a celebration!

There is only one thing that springs to mind when the phrase 'a celebration' is mentioned.


What better way to enjoy a happy occasion than have this 1980s classic playing out loud? Guaranteed to get any party going. Or at least any party I am invited to. Even though I might be the only loon on the dance floor.

And yes I know Her Maj said to post a photo for this week's theme. But this is in line with my most recent celebration, so I think that deserves a pass.

And now if you'll excuse me, I am just off to shake my booty...

Friday, 10 September 2010

Twenty years a Londoner

It's a somewhat scary thought. On September 14th it will be twenty years since I arrived in London.

T W E N T Y. That is almost half my lifetime. Which of course makes matters very confusing when people ask me my age and I tell them I am only thirty-two. They should know better than to make such enquiries. Tsk.

Anyway, it has had me thinking. Or pondering a few thoughts before the zzzzeds hit me at night time and I head off into the land of nod. Which means not many musings really as I find that the longer I live here, the more impervious I am to noises that otherwise might have kept me awake in my youth in years gone by recently. You know what I mean: sirens, horns, planes...

I digress. Here is my list - of sorts - of things I have learnt over the past two decades of living in the capital city.

1. Do not talk to anyone on public transport. Take photos, by all means, but do not under any circumstances talk to anyone. Contravening this rule means that you will either find yourself isolated as the token nutter on the tube/train/bus, or spoken to at length by the random tourist who has cottoned on to you being the friendly local who will give directions to Buck Palace and must know the Queen in person of course. (On this point actually I wish I had a pound for every time I have been accosted for directions in London. I must have a sign on my forehead no washing will do away with).

2. If you work in the City and are female, wear black. You might be having the time of your life, earning gazillions, own a flat in St Tropez and zip off to Val D'Isére for you winter frolics, but do not pretend that standing out and wearing colours is a good thing. Use the colour blindness excuse. And if someone (ie LCM) offers you sympathy for your loss, stare incomprehensively and state that you "like black". Yup. So do funeral directors.

3. Always have a back-up comment about the weather. Actually, this applies to Britain in general, but never mind, artistic license and all that... Be prepared to state that it was hotter/colder/wetter/windier/sunnier (delete as appropriate) in the year 1996/97/98/99 (change as necessary, details are not important) but whatever you do, never say, "That Michael Fish bloke was actually very good," unless you want some ex-yuppie who had his new Porsche squashed by a felled tree at the time of the great storms to burst in to tears at the memory.

4. Have an opinion about the Mayor. It doesn't matter what this might be, no one really cares as long as they are prepared to slap TfL (that's Transport for London) round the head every time they go on strike and your commute takes 2.5 hours instead of the usual 40 minutes.

5. Learn to refer to anything beyond St John's Wood as 'Up North'. They would not write 'North' with a big arrow pointing in the direction unless the government wanted you to think it was somewhere else. Crafty bit of signage that. Have always wanted to change it and replace with 'This Way' to see if Londoners got confused and thought they were on the one-way system round the City instead.

6. Join a club to make real, lasting, fabulous friends. In my case it was a rowing club, I spotted OH shortly after and the rest is history.

7. Do not try to drive a car in the city. Now in theory this works well provided your requirement to travel is not hindered by point 4 above. If you do insist on driving a vehicle around London, then make sure it is a) a two-wheeled version, b) road-worthy, c) able to dodge opening doors/crossing pedestrians/black cabs efficiently, and d) has a very large horn to announce your presence. In absence of all this, walk.

8. Laugh when you recall that twenty years ago you could only buy iceberg lettuce, green peppers, white loaf bread and Le Piat D'Or wine to cook up a storm. Cry when you think that dozens of cooking shows, food books and 'slebs chefs later, the average Londoner still opts for an M&S ready meal instead of putting together the real thing.

9. Do not get competitive with other parents about schooling for your children unless you are planning to leave the country. Appear nonchalant at all times and do any delving into Ofsted reports, listings and exam results in private. When asked, "Where will Tarquinus be going to secondary school?", say something akin to "Oh we haven't decided yet," and rapidly change the subject. The weather is always a good option, see point 3 above.

10. Stop thinking like a foreigner and saying, "Where I come from..." or "In such-and-such country... " and learn by example. Thus, when your neighbour on the tube picks their nose, farts, rattles their paper in your face or sticks their armpit too close for comfort, do the same. It works wonders for your confidence and you feel like a true local.

Ahhh... but it's good to call it home properly now.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

The Gallery - week 26. Back with a splash (again).

A new theme from Her Maj - although at least she freely admits it was someone else's idea. That'll be bonus brownie points m'lady.

Back to School. Or rather, in my case, the day before the return to reality.

The children so pensive, so immaculately behaved, as perfect as angels get...

The boys

The girls
The mothers slightly less so.

Oh well, you can't have everything.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Pushing the limit

Another weekend, another race.
Another bribe, of sorts, to BB so she would also partake in the experience.

Of course, considering she whipped my arse yet again, I am now seriously thinking about asking for my money back. Although that might be counterproductive as then I really would have noone to compete against train with.

Anyway - whinging will get you nowhere aside from the naughty step. So I will just weigh her down with rocks next time. That should do it (no idea how I will put this plan into action yet, advice welcome...).

Yesterday saw a number of women - some 12,000 plus to be precise - take part in the Adidas 5k in Hyde Park. To my delight Vegemitevix and Nova were there too, more about that later.

Considering I don't 'do' crowds, I thought my tolerance was good.

Has anyone seen my dog? Small, inconspicuous...
Although maybe my enthusiasm to down a power shot half an hour before the starting gun in order to beat BB's target - which she so kindly set for both of us, never asked me, mind you - was not such a wise idea.

I looked at the bottle afterwards. "Equivalent to one strong cup of coffee," it said. I had already had one of those, a real one, not more than an hour earlier. Hmmmm.

"Did you take the Energy Elixir I gave you?" BB asked me.

"Ummm, yes, that too," I admitted, now somewhat sheepishly.
I am reading the back of the Elixir box now.
It states (I quote) 'Just one tube daily, that's all it takes.'

Okay, so that is why I had palpitations all the way round the course, shallow breathing and a heart rate of 184.

Hey, you live and learn. At least I also lived to tell the tale. And finished.

So, BB says "We are going to do this in under 25 minutes."
Is she crazy? Best I usually do for 5k is 27 minutes, and that's pushing it.

Never mind. We wangle our way into the start-up zone, the 'sub-25s'. Not more than three metres in front of us are the world champions, rearing to go. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Or pee in my pants.

I turn to BB and say, "This is a joke, right?" and then the horn goes and we're off and it's all a blur and a mass of arms, bodies, legs and BB pulls ahead in the fourth kilometre and I somehow manage to sprint the last five hundred metres to finish.

Time? 25.01.

Okay, so BB's was 24.32, but she didn't 'experiment' with power shots, so I guess I win for surviving.

Note how LCM has managed to raise herself from the prostrate position
and is clinging on to BB for dear life

And then there was the goodie bag.

What would they have put in a 'men's only race' goodie bag, eh? Beer tokens?
I love how we all conform to the Vanish lady stereotype and apparently need to do the washing at any opportunity. Tsk.

But best of all was having a meet-up and laugh with my lovely blogger friends afterwards.

Well done ladies. You done us all proud.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Tribal Wives - the holiday version

I love a challenge. Especially one that comes at just the right time and with the appropriate requirements.

Thank you Very Bored in Catalunya for thinking of me. And demanding photos. Of course, not having been on the usual commuter trail of late, but rather swanning around the Costa de la Luz in Southern Spain with the cherubs and OH, Lady P and her tribe (including her husband, the incredibly laid back- and sometimes non-communicative - MC), I had a plethora of - ahem - interesting subjects to photograph.

It would seem that there is also a running theme with this Tribal Wives' stuff, in what has now become a meme of sorts. Of course, it is always someone's fault, so the blame lies squarely with Notes in Lapland and Vegemitevix. Bad girls.

I have therefore transformed this meme further and not only added photos - as requested, don't ever say I don't listen to your demands, okay - but also morphed it into a 'Home and Away' version. Home for the Spanish, and away with the tourists, in more ways than one. Faux pas at every snap of my trusted mobile. Bwah ha ha ha ha.

Right. Ready for the show? Here we go.

Tribal Wife – holiday version 1: when plastic surgery is all just that, a burden on your plastic.

OMG - how much?

You know when you think "Oooh, I quite fancy that nip and tuck, having these wobbly bits sucked out, those wrinkles filled in, those frown lines banished, etc etc etc..." Well, think again. This is what it feels like when you get the bill. Honestly, migraine? You ain't felt nothing yet. And yes, I know it's a poster. Next!

Tribal Wife – holiday version 2: where more is not less, or anything else for that matter.

What do you mean did I eat the last chorizo sausage?

If size is not an issue, just ensure you holiday with an entourage of similar proportions so no-one can guess who ate all the pies. (Here's a clue, it was the bloke in the navy swimmers).
Worth adding here that in the four hours this lot were stationed by us the only ones who moved were the young girl and her brother who were swimming. And returning regularly for replenishment. Un-be-lieve-a-ble.
(p.s. and this photo has not been stretched, just in case you thought I was being unkind unfair biased anorexic)

Tribal Wife – holiday version 3: sun cream has a purpose. 

Toasted peaches

It helps to remember to apply sun protection to your *cough* more delicate parts. Oh, hang on, that was me.

Tribal Wife – holiday version 4: wear appropriate attire at all times. Please.

Word of caution: G-strings should only be worn by women with figures akin to perfection. Elle 'The Body' MacPherson being a good example, or gorgeous Brazilian beach babes. Under no other circumstances should they adorn (for want of a better word) the female bottom. But if you insist on wearing this garment to display you ample and dimpled derrière to all and sundry on the beach, then please please please refrain from bending over right in my line of vision. I was not the only person gagging. Even the blokes (read OH and MC) were put off their beer. And THAT speaks volumes.

Tan those buns in private

Tribal Wife – holiday version 5: ditto.

But it looked so good in Grazia

As per version 4 above, possibly easier on the eye, but even the gold lamé version does not quite justify the overtly displayed tanned buttocks – although I am glad to see she did not make the same fatal omission error as reported in version 3.
Am sure your man will still worship you wrapped in full Spanx, dah-ling.

Tribal Wife – holiday version 6: distract attention from your worst feature.

Don't worry, I have signed her up for speed dating

If you want to detract attention from your ugly sister, wear funky 'lace escapology sandal' footwear. Works every time. Especially if she insists on donning that bright pink vest she is so keen on lately.

Tribal Wife – holiday version 7: being a fashion victim does not always pay dividends.

New? No, just something I rustled up, you know

There's trendy and there's trendy. Wearing your auntie's 1970s curtains as an outfit is not one of them.

Tribal Wife – holiday version 8: are your mates having a laugh at your expense?

One question: what kind of friends let a girl walk down the street with her skirt tucked in to her knickers? 

Bit breezy this eveing?

Tribal Wife – holiday version 9: if you are going to clash, at least do it with panache.

Cannot agree on what to wear out? Have different views on colour coordination? I give you the 'do' and the 'don't' versions. Your choice which one fits what bill.

Tribal Wife – holiday version 10: if nipples and kneecaps are too close for comfort, admire the view.

Oh pur-lease. Not that!

This. Gorgeous.

And because I am such a generous person, I am going to pass this thing on to Emma, if for no other reason than she lives in Baltimore, Maryland and I am intrigued as to the ways of the Tribal Wives over yonder. 

(Actually I lie. I had to consult an atlas to find out where the bugger it is.)

Oi, Ms Kaufmann - catch!

Disclaimer: these posts are not meant to offend, they are totally tongue-in-cheek. If you have been captured on film, congratulations, you caught my attention. If this offends you I am truly sorry. A simple email with proof of identity will see you removed tout suite. Just like that.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Week 25 of the Gallery

Her Maj's theme this time round is one day in August. More specifically, Sunday, August 29th.
The Royal decree was to take a photo, of anything, regardless of subject, but to ensure it was on the day itself.

Even better, she said (I quote) "And you don't even need to use your camera: take it on your phone while you're out and about."

Aaaahhhh. Woman after my own heart. She knows me too well by now.

So, I could have posted a delectable selection of holiday-inspired items snapped on the day itself, like this:

Widget's amazing boogie board balancing act

Or this:

Sunday's lunch location

Or this:

Sunday lunch - view from beach restaurant

But ultimately, this one sums the day up perfectly:

Job done.

Yadda yadda yadda...