Saturday, 25 December 2010

Merry Christmas



...to all you beautiful people, from me and Downstairs Monkey.


Tuesday, 21 December 2010

How To Write Off A Tuesday



I am popping to Cardiff, says the former blogger formerly known as the Blogger Formerly Known As Bulldog. Why don't we meet for a drink? I promise not to be a mad axe murderer or anything.

Okay, I reply, I am sure I could force down a swift half with you, internet person, because I am that sort of a girl: urbane, sophisticated, charming, witty, adventurous etc, with an alluring air of mystery.

We meet in The Claude, the spiritual home of all true Cardiffians, on a cold Monday night.

There is talk. The former blogger formerly known as the Blogger Formerly Known As Bulldog is splendid company, and the beer starts to flow.

There is beer. A lot of beer. And then some more. I could say too much beer, but that sounds like a judgment. Eventually, unfortunately, for one of us, the beer starts to flow the wrong way.

There is a lavatory cubicle. It has been a long time since the Weasel examined the inside of a toilet bowl from such close quarters. It is a safe place, and comforting, when the floor is moving about so rudely. I drape myself over its forgiving rim and settle in for the long haul.

There is a former blogger formerly known as the Blogger Formerly Known As Bulldog, waiting patiently when I finally brave the walk back to our table. I have quite possibly been gone hours.

Because he is a gentleman, the former blogger formerly known as the Blogger Formerly Known As Bulldog waves away my vomit-tinged apologies.

He helps me on with my coat, guides me home, deposits me at my front door, and disappears into the night.

Inside, I am sick on my knee, then pass out until Tuesday lunchtime.

That former blogger formerly known as the Blogger Formerly Known As Bulldog, he is a fine fellow, and my only regret is I wish I'd spent more time with him and less with the toilet.

But like I said, I am urbane, sophisticated, charming, witty, adventurous etc, with an alluring air of mystery, and sometimes these things happen.



Friday, 17 December 2010

Cake



It is two minutes past midnight; technically, still Thursday because new days don't start until you've gone to bed and slept and got up again.

I am dozing on my couch. I washed down my dinner with two thirds of a bottle of wine and an awful lot of sour cream & onion Pringles and some chocolate, and am feeling a little green around the gills.

There is a knock on my door.

A loud knock. A demanding knock.

I open the door.

There is Marvin, with a huge chocolate cake.

"Happy birthday, dear lady," he says.

"It's still Thursday, you fool," I say.

"Look at your clock," he says. "I think you will find it says Friday 17 December. Happy birthday, old woman. You must eat some cake."


Sunday, 12 December 2010

Embrace Your Postcode



I started a new job.

I am now a full time casual Christmas mail sorter, for three whole weeks.

Full time casual Christmas mail sorting involves standing for 8 hours a day squinting at badly-addressed envelopes while your trapezius muscles scream in agony.

Full time casual Christmas mail sorting also involves going home covered in glitter.

Full time casual Christmas mail sorting in Wales involves all these things AND being surrounded by men with rich, silken voices singing along to the radio all day.

I love my job. I love my job almost exactly the same amount as I hate working in offices. Except I love it more. I get to wear a hi-viz jacket and everything. Yes.

However it is not all sweetness and light.

My job would be easier if people who send Christmas cards knew that 'C1Z ?RQ?' is not a real postcode.

Or that us full time casual Christmas mail sorters need a few more clues than 'Mrs Jones, Church Rd, Glamorgan' to speed those festive greetings on their way.

My job would also be easier if I had more than a cursory geographical knowledge of the land of your fathers.

But then again I am doing better than all those people who address their cards to '...Cardiff, Wales, England'.

There is nothing finer than working through a tray of mail that is not only correctly addressed, including a flawless postcode (rather than one that, say, is a complete guess, or one that became obsolete six or seven years ago), but is also easy to handle.

You know: A5 size or thereabouts; rectangular.

Sadly, this hasn't happened yet.

Can I just put it out there that if you are tempted to post triangular Christmas cards, or circular Christmas cards, or rhomboid Christmas cards, or those tiny little Christmas cards - the miniscule, really ickle weeny cutie-wootie ones that are barely bigger than the stamp - then don't. JUST FUCKING DON'T.

If you are one of those people who think these cards are a great idea, you are guilty of pissing off 176,000 British postal workers, and you wouldn't want that on your conscience at Christmas, would you?


Thursday, 9 December 2010

So Much Younger Than Today



I'd gone back to bed...

There's always this 20 minute gap between having breakfast, and having a quick wash and dragging on your school uniform before you've got to leave, you see. With the parents safely downstairs, it's impossible not to sneak into their bedroom and snuggle down for a crafty nap on Mum's side of the bed - the warmest, comfiest place in the world, oh yes - and snooze off some of that porridge you've just had.

Much better than having a shower and that. Or finishing your homework - time for that before assembly.

Lovely. God I love this stolen nap time. If you lie really still you can achieve perfect comfort.

One ear on the stairs, though; don't want to cop it.

Sigh. I hope one day I turn into a cat. Perhaps if I wish really hard it might happen. Perhaps I already am a cat. Perhaps -

Oh shit - someone's coming.

Hang on, that's not Dad. Footsteps too soft. But Mum never comes upstairs, not until after me and Dad have gone. What the..? Why is she..?

Fucking hell - should've moved, I'm in trouble now, door's opening, she's coming in.

But she's not saying anything. Just standing there. How did she know I was in here? Why isn't she telling me off? What's the matter? She looks like she's seen a ghost.

"John Lennon's been shot," she says blankly.

There is a pause. We stare at each other. This is bad news. The Beatles have been part of my life forever, since like before I was a foetus. I love them, I really love them. Especially John. I hope he's okay.

"Is he all right?" I ask.

Her lip curls into an incredulous sneer.

"No," she says like she's addressing a total spong who's asked the stupidest question in the world. "He's dead."

"Oh," I say.

Another pause.

She turns and goes back downstairs.

My dad drives me to school. I can't speak.


Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A Question



You know when it's cold, like, and you're outside, and you breathe and you can see your huff?

Well... what happens if you fart?

Just asking.


Monday, 6 December 2010

It Was Eagerness



Tesco's Guy texted me Saturday morning: Hey, you able to make the journey today? xx

I was. In fact I was already freezing my arse off at Victoria Coach Station waiting for my connection to Cardiff.

Well if you want warming up later, I'm here for you :o)

I walked through my front door at 6pm. I was exhausted, nerves jangling from the four weeks I'd just had, all those sleepless nights worrying about Dad, the flat-out days; and all I'd eaten since Friday night was three chelsea buns and a banana.

Common sense dictated I should unpack, have a shower, eat a square meal, then get some sleep.

But Weasels have never been much good at common sense.

Two hours later Tesco's Guy arrived at my door; two hours ten minutes later we were in bed.

There's nothing quite like an enthusiastic young man to take your mind off your woes.


Sunday, 5 December 2010

Teflon Head



It took me a week or so to realise there was something going on with Dad; something beyond, and distinct from, his usual idiocy.

A week or so of watching him get confused each time he took his medicines, unable to work his way through an eight-item pill list without getting muddled. A week or so of saying "No, Dad, you need to put the soluble aspirin in a glass of water" because he'd put it in with the rest of his pills again. A week or so of not quite believing he hadn't yet got the hang of his Seretide inhaler. A week or so of repetition. "Like this, Dad. You did it yesterday, remember?"

A week or so of him wondering what day it was, and forgetting he could check by glancing at that day's newspaper. A week or so of wondering why I was making him put his coat on - where were we going again? - when I'd told him just a few minutes before, and many times before that. A week or so of guiding him through the sheet of simple physiotherapy exercises for his broken wrist, because with each new day, he had no idea how to do them.

A week or so of thinking, this is bad; very bad.

I went to see his doctor.

"Your father is in a very poor physical state, medically speaking," the doctor said. "It is only sheer determination to keep going that has kept him hanging on this year. With all these problems he's had, he is not strong. Dementia can be triggered by stresses of this kind."

There it was - the ugly great D word. The calamity.


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

All Going Well In Kent



...apart from some minor dismay at the weather.

Will Downstairs Monkey and I be able to get a bus back to Cardiff on Saturday?

We'd bloody better.