Sunday, February 28, 2010

Wibbly Wobbly Lane

For some time I've been intrigued by a road sign just outside Hitchin on the road to Luton. It tells you that the road is Carter's Lane formerly known as Wibbly Wobbly Lane. Why it isn't still known as Wibbly Wobbly Lane I'm not sure but I was sure that I wanted to go down it.

So on Saturday, with Patrick for company, for who knew what wobbly terrors might greet us, I drove down Wibbly Wobbly Lane. Quite what I was hoping for I'm not sure. Wibbly Wobbly people perhaps wibbling and wobbling down the road to the sound of Rolf Harris on the wobble board.? Perhaps a wibbly wobbly driving experience where I negotiated bend after bend?

The truth is more prosaic. Wibbly Wobbly Lane is a bit wibbly wobbly but not excessively so. I've been down many a wibblier wobblier lane. However it is a fantastic name and I don't really mind that it doesn't quite live up to it. If that's wibbly wobbly for the good people of Hitchin, that's good enough for me.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Yes we'll have no bananas!

Bananas are the comedy turn of the fruit and veg world. They wear pyjamas and come down the stairs, people slip on them in an 'hilarious' fashion and of course they look a bit like willies. Bananas are nice, bananas are friendly, bananas are a bit naughty.

However an event of iconoclastic proportions has occurred which has changed my view of bananas for ever. A friend told me this week that she parted her bunch (of bananas you perves!!!!!) and discovered a big cocoon of spiders web. Worst still an empty cocoon. Where had its spidery inhabitant gone? She spent the next few days checking her bed, shoes, baby's cot etc, worried sick that a massive tarantula was at loose in her house.

Sense tells me (and a certain J - which amounts to the same thing really) that they ship the bananas from a long distance and that any nasties are likely to die en route. Also bananas are gassed to preserve them, which will also kill any horrid passengers. Yet who is to say there aren't some of our eight legged friends who get off on the gas, who literally get stronger and wilder like arachnids on steroids or go crazy and hallucinate like creepy crawlies on ketamine.

With this awful thought in mind, I approached my own bananas with trepidation. When you think about it, the idea of a banana coming down the stairs with pyjamas on is quite scary. Imagine them all yellow and bent over, and potentially harbouring a huge tarantula, coming down your stairs wearing stripey nightware. The horror, the horror! Yes, I'll have no bananas!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pass me a canape Mr Eno

Last night I went to a party with Brian Eno. That's my story and I'm sticking to it, whatever a certain Mr G might have to say. To begin at the beginning, I was invited to a party and the invitation did come from Brian Eno. I would like to pretend that Mr Eno personally asked me to come but the truth is a friend was compiling the guest list and thought S and I might just like to pop along.

Whoever invited us, the invitation did say that Brian Eno requested our company. That's good enough for me. We turned up at the venue and were first treated to Brian (or Bri as I like to call him) being interviewed by Polly Toynbee about his curatorship of the Brighton Festival. All very interesting and there was time enough to brush up against his Roxy Music-ness.

But no, for when we all piled outside for the wine and canapes it became clear that there was, literally, a two tier system. Eno and all the great and the good were installed on a mezzanine floor above us while the rest of us mingled around on the lower floor, as befitted our lowlier status. No matter, for there was free wine aplenty, a good buzz and even a flashmob. At first the wine made me wonder if I'd have the guts to inveigle myself on to the mezzanine floor but after a few more glasses, I found I didn't care that much. I was having a good time, Brian or no Brian.

Cut to this morning and S and I did a quick embarrassment audit to ensure we hadn't said anything awful to anyone, been sick anywhere or danced inappropriately. Having reassured ourselves that we had not, we decided that if Eno had met us he'd have liked us very much indeed. We were still at his party though.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Taking the pledge - again!

I am an addict! Yep, I have fallen off the wagon yet again. Not Class A drugs, cannabis, alcohol or cigaretttes. My vice is the silver ones, Diet Coke. They sit on the shelves looking benign and even 'good for you' but let me tell you, they are the devil's own water.

Why I can so quickly be addicted to it I know not. I don't like the taste of it that much and when I'm not drinking it, I wonder what I saw in it in the first place. But once I'm in its thrall, the little silver bastards speak to me from the chilled cabinets like caffeine filled sirens.

This has to be the week I give up. I was doing really well and had managed a number of months without them. Then a few weeks ago I had to sit around in a mind-numbingly dull place with a colleague waiting for people to whom we could sell the services of our organisation. No one turned up and the two of us chatted, twiddled our thumbs and went next door to the newsagents for crappy magazines. Then my colleague decided to 'treat' me to a drink and I heard the siren call of Diet Coke yet again. I should have known that whatever chemical kick they deliver would bring my resolve crashing to the ground again.

The worst thing is that I start to believe that I actually won't be able to cope if I don't drink the shitty stuff, that somehow it is 'helping' me to cope with life's struggles and challenges. The truth is it does quite the opposite. What's good about your nerves in tatters, fractured sleep and a horrid sense of forboding. Yes folks, that's how wonderful Diet Coke is.

So tomorrow I am going to take some paracetemol with me, for my headache is likely to be gargantuan, and I'm giving up again. I hope!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

'Only connect'....actually don't

At the risk of sounding a bit deep, or worse flaky, been thinking a lot about juxtapositions over the last few days. I'm listening to Devendra Banhart Radio on Last FM which starts off with an artist you like (in this case, er, Devendra Banhart) and then moves on to tracks it thinks are related or you will like. This results in some very peculiar juxtapositions of music, some wonderful discoveries and some awful crap. I give you Radiohead Radio which started off with a sublime Radiohead track and through some circumlocuitous route ended up with Coldplay. Nooooooooo!

Juxtapositions were on my mind too as I walked through our local subway. There was evidence of alcohol consumption and drug taking under there and bizarrely someone with a serious Bakewell tart habit. Then earlier in the week there was the unfortunate juxtaposition of a wedding dress stall at the local shopping centre and a stall giving advice on chlamydia!

Finally in my week of peculiar combinations there was the photo of the band which we are using to promote a couple of forthcoming gigs. There we are trying our hardest to look moody (and by gad it's hard to look moody when you look like us) and behind us is a high chair and a microwave. Rock n roll!

Perhaps these combinations of the banal and quotidian and the edgy are a good thing. After all we wouldn't know other things were dangerous, original or pleasant if there weren't things that aren't.

I seem to remember that making spurious connections between things is a sign of madness. Oh well, pass us a Bakewell tart, I might as well enjoy myself.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

To pea or not to pea - wet is the question (sorry!)

If you'd asked me what peawet was a week ago, I'd have guessed a peewit that wets the bed or maybe a special kind of hard rain that feels like peas hitting you. However, peawet is neither of these highly plausible explanations. I have it on authority that peawet is a special gastronomic delight from the fish and chip shops of Wigan. It is the watery bit around mushy peas and apparently was given away for people to have with their chips or if you were really broke scraps.

Now mushy peas are nice but they are pretty watery in themselves so peawet must be particularly watery. Despite this there are several Facebook pages where Wiganites and the Wigan diaspora get all misty eyed about the stuff.

I am glad though that peawet isn't what happens when your pelvic floor goes and you cough too hard. I am looking forward to the opportunity of using this new word in a game of Scrabble and being very smug when I'm challenged.

Monday, February 15, 2010

'Why do badgers avoid me?' and other wildlife conundrums

It's no good, badgers don't like me. I like them, I really do, but they don't like me. I base this on the fact that I only ever see dead badgers despite living close to one of the biggest badger sets in my area. Other people see them gambolling with black and white glee in their gardens but not me. I see they've been in my garden from the way they dig up the ground but I never see an actual badger, well at least not a live one. I've seen many a dead badger on the side of the road but try as I might I've never seen one that hasn't been flat packed.

Last weekend I was in Dorset driving in the dark down a country lane where you are almost guaranteed to see a badger or even badgers. Did I see one? No, of course not. I'd swear badgers let one another know I'm coming and send special badger instructions to hide. The next day I was driving along the same roads in the daylight and there was a dead one on the side of the road. My cynical side wonders whether it was actually a live one playing dead simply to taunt me.

It's always been the same with dolphins. Whenever I venture into dolphin territory, dolphins have only a moment ago been seen jumping the waves and putting on a display for anyone lucky enough to be there. But not for me!

So c'mon badgers, c'mon dolphins. Give a girl a break. I want to see you soon. No badgers in the sea and dolphins in the woods though. That would just be weird.

No need to be needy if you're tweedy

As part of my ongoing effort to be a bit more 'country', I went to my first Point to Point yesterday. I had no idea what one was but fortunately Wikipedia and my friend Violet were very helpful. Armed with a little information, I wondered what I should wear. J gently dissuaded me from wearing anything too lairy (i.e: my usual clothes) and when I reached the event I saw why. It was a veritable sea of green tweed, a total tweederama.

There was a real 'anything as long as it's tweed' vibe going on. Everywhere were stalls selling various types of tweed based clothing, from gorgeous, horribly expensive, tailored coats to fashion chimera in the shape of hoodies with tweed bits on (I thought David Cameron might like one of these when looking for a hoody to hug), tweed skirts and trousers and even tweed Y fronts (OK, I made the last one up but I bet you can get them). By the time I got home, tweed patterns had seared themselves on to my retina.

With all this tweed based entertainment around me, I almost forgot about the horses , some of whom were also wearing tweed as it happens. As they were walked around the paddock I was seized with a feeling of inadequacy as one who doesn't know a fetlock from a flank or a gaskin from a pastern. There was much umming and ahhing and taking in of 'form 'around me but not being up to the job, I decided to go for a name I liked. This proved to be a good idea as my horse came in third on an each way bet meaning I broke even , although sadly I didn't win enough money to clothe myself entirely in tweed.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Giving way to history

Today saw me going not once but twice round Britain's oldest roundabout, albeit in different directions, in Letchworth Garden City. It looked like a pretty ordinary roundabout but according to the sign it dates from 1909 making it 101 years old.

What on earth did they need roundabouts for in 1909? Surely there were only two cars and lots of horses around in those days. It's hard to imagine horse congestion. I'm sure it happened in London but in Letchworth? Doesn't seem likely. Just as well really as according to Wikipedia, traffic could travel around it in either direction, the rules of roundabout use we recognise today not coming until the 1920s.

I can only assume it was a result of Quakerish zeal for order and discipline. The whole town has that considered, orderly feel as befits the first garden city and an early exemplar of town planning.

Can't say my heritage trip around the roundabout was that exciting. However I did find out it's called Sollershot Circus - now that is interesting.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Missionary Zeal

For me one of the joys of a visit to Toni and Guy to get one's roots done is the chance to read the latest issue of Cosmopolitan. It is always an edifying experience, helping me to become conversant with current sexual mores, physically challenging sexual positions, the latest theory on where my G-Spot might lurk and how to send a man wild with desire simply by whispering the words 'my knickers are in my pocket' in his shell-like.

Interesting as Cosmo is, and keen as I am to read it at the hairdressers, I can't help thinking that they make a lot of it up. Surely there are only so many positions one can adopt in the pursuit of fulfilling intimate congress for a start. The more of it you read, and I've read a lot of it, the more you notice that they repeat themselves, often just slightly changing the content to make it sound like some amazing new sexual technique that we all must learn. For instance one month spreading chocolate over your lover and licking it off slowly might be the most amazingly sensual thing to do and the following month it'll be ice-cream or if it's a healthy eating issue some low fat creme fraiche.

I think it's time for a complete overhaul and would like to offer Cosmo my services. I propose a sex column entitled ''Jenny's Practical Tips for Successful Procreation Within the Bounds of Decency'. I'd dispense sensible advice based on sound principles of hygiene and propriety. There'd be none of this silly nonsense about starfish and not wearing any knickers. Instead I'd have 'Winceyette Nightie of the Month' and 'Missionary Zeal: an illustrated guide to sensible intercourse without recourse to gimmicks, expensive or unecessary equipment or food'. Now that's a magazine I'd want to read in the hairdressers.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Middle aged? Not me (well a bit)

I am officially more middle aged on Friday than I am the moment. I know 45 is middle aged, I acknowledge and accept it, gracefully even, but I'm not giving in completely yet. Recently I stopped to get some petrol at a station just outside Yeovil (the town in the heart of the country with the mind of a city incidentally) and advertised on the pump was my nemesis. For £4.00 one could purchase a cosy blanket with armholes and, wait for it, pockets for your remote controls. Note remote controls plural. To me it felt like nothing less than a fleecy shroud. Wearing that would be giving up, saying yes I am officially ancient, pass me the big slipper, the Emmerdale box set and a packet of Werther's Originals.

Nor am I ready to dress like a middle aged person. Of course I can't dress like a 16 year old - that would be embarrassing - but I say nay to Juicy Couture Lite velour tracksuits and pah to sensible blouses. I want to grow old with just a modicum of style and cause my children just a little character building shame.

Today I was thinking about my hair, as I often do. Should I dispense with my trademark blonde bob which feels really me and go for a middle aged lady's hairdo with tasteful golden highlights? Part of me thinks there will be a time when I should give it all up but it isn't today. So I say nuts to being 45 - I'm off out with my super blonde hair, pink shoes and lairy tights. If you want to stop me, you'll have to arrest me first!