Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Wet T-Shirt



Saturday 17th

Tesco's Guy phones.

"Happy birthday, you cow. Meet you at the funfair at 3.30?" he says.

"Ok," I squeak. "Are you SURE you want to go on the perilously high swing seat ride thing?"

"For sure. I'll be shitting myself, mind. But I'm not doing the ice skating unless you go on that - that was the deal, remember?"

"Bastard."

We meet by the perilously high swing seat ride thing. He hands me a card - it is addressed to 'You cow' - and smothers me in birthday hug.

Since we split up in July, on those rare occasions I've been in Cardiff we've been hanging out together pretty regularly, and nothing much has changed, apart from we don't do the naughty stuff anymore, except for that one time after a night on the Stella but that doesn't count because we were drunk.

I swear he's the only thing that's kept me sane this year.

We go on the perilously high swing seat ride thing. He pays, because it's my birthday.

As it ascends to 60m (that's 196.850394 feet, folks), I become literally frozen with fear.

"I'm too frightened to move," I inform Tesco's Guy. "I'm too frightened even to swear."

"Jesusfuckingchristthisishigh. It'sabitfuckinghigh," he says. "Did you see the Millennium Stadium yet?"

"I can only look straight ahead," I say. "I'm too frightened to move my eyeballs."

Gallantly, he puts a protective arm round me, but quickly withdraws it to resume clutching the safety rail.

"I am going to close my eyes," I announce. I close my eyes. And I find that being swung around at speed in a plastic bucket at vertiginous height is better that way.

"Ha ha, did you really close your - ohmygoddon'tfuckinglookdown, whatever you do don'tfuckinglookdown," says Tesco's Guy.

I open my eyes and look down.

I see my feet dangling 196.850394 feet above a spinning Winter Wonderland. There are tiny people on the ice rink. Black ants. My stomach lurches.

"I want to get off," I say. "Please may I get off now? Make it stop."

"Look at the horizon," says Tesco's Guy, ever the pragmatist. "See those interesting cloud formations?"

I look at the horizon. I see clouds. I see the cliffs at Penarth. I see England. I see some hills. I try to see Cardiff, but it is spinning too fast. I look down and see the dragon on the roof of City Hall a million miles below me, and the ice rink, and my dangling feet.

"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhh," I say.

"Force yourself to relax," suggests Tesco's Guy. "Mind over matter. It's only fear. I decided that I'm going to try and like this experience, and now it's not too bad."

I take a deep breath and concentrate, and eventually my shoulders descend from my ears. My feet, which had been locked in a rigid skywards position, also drop to a more normal angle. I tell myself in a breezy manner, 'well, this is ok', and try looking around.

My brain rejects this attempt at enjoyment.

I recommence staring grimly at the horizon.

"Take a photo," I instruct Tesco's Guy through gritted teeth.

"I can't let go," he says.

Back on beautiful terra firma, we have a well-deserved mulled wine, then go ice skating, which is about 300,000,000% more fun than being suspended 196.850394 feet in the air. Then he buys me dinner, because it's my birthday, and after that we go and see my favourite 80s band The Beat, who are playing in a venue five minutes' walk from my flat.

Except I haven't bothered to book tickets, because surely I am the only person in the world who has ever heard of The Beat, and also it's my birthday, so life HAS to go my way. We are greeted by a large notice saying 'Sold Out'.

We loiter outside for a while, but eventually admit defeat, and slink off disappointed to The Claude.

Sunday 18th

I text Tesco's Guy.

dude, the beat are playing in gloucester tonight. just sayin'...

He rings instantly.

"I Google-mapped it - it's only an hour away," I say, thanking the heavens for the 1990 Ford Escort Eclipse I just inherited (and when I say 'inherited' I mean I said to my sister, 'I'll have that thanks').

"Hmm," says Tesco's Guy. "Yeah, I think I'd be up for that."

I ring the box office.

"Sorry, love, there aren't any tickets left, they've all gone," a woman says.

Noooooo! Damn me and my surprisingly popular 80s band taste.

"I'll ring them and leave my number in case they get any returns," offers Tesco's Guy. He is such a sweetheart. But I fear the worst, and settle in for a lonely night on the couch, morosely clicking my way through The Beat offerings on YouTube.

At 8pm, my phone rings. "They've just called," says Tesco's Guy, "they've got two -"

I am already out the door.

We drive at somewhat illegal speed to Gloucester, and, after sprinting through the city centre trying to find the venue, arrive two bars into their first song.

I am in heaven. I worm my way as close to the front as I can get, and dance. Tesco's Guy stands beside me, nodding approvingly (he has never heard of The Beat, because he is a young person) and drinking cider.

I love The Beat. I love them so much. AND it's my birthday*. I can't believe we managed to skank a pair of tickets. I can't believe we got here in time. This is possibly the greatest night of my life. I am so happy right now I think I might burst.

"Who wants a free T-shirt?" enquires Rankin' Roger from the stage.

"Meeeeeeeeee," I shout, along with 300 other people. I add "It's my birthday," for clarification.

Roger takes his top off, revealing a very impressive torso for a man in his 50s. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Tesco's Guy suddenly become alert. Before I can react, he is in the middle of the sweating, heaving mass of bodies in the mosh pit, one hand clutching his pint, the other aloft.

It feels inevitable, what happens next. It is destiny. Before the T-shirt has even left Roger's grip, I know that Tesco's Guy is going to get it.

It sails through the air. Why is everything in slow motion? It is like that bit in The Untouchables. Outstretched hands grab for the T-shirt; there is a brief scuffle. Tesco's Guy's height and sheer determination win out.

Open mouthed, I watch as Tesco's Guy brings the T-shirt over to me. He is puffed up and beaming, like a cat that's caught a rat or a blackbird or a small antelope.

"There you go, you cow."

People around us applaud and dispense congratulatory pats to our shoulders. I gaze at Tesco's Guy, starry-eyed and dumbstruck.

"Aaaaaaaaaagh!" I say. It seems to sum the situation up perfectly. We embrace. Both of us are delirious with delight. He is delirious with delight AND cider. I'm smiling so hard my face hurts. I find it impossible not to jump up and down. We can't stop hugging. He is without doubt the world's best human. He is my hero. Rankin' Roger's T-shirt is unpleasantly wet, dripping with ska sweat, but I don't care. It drips on our shoes.

Tesco's Guy sniffs it.

"Smells all right," he shrugs.

Best. Birthday. Ever.





* Yes it is. "My birthday" has been known to last for over a week



Friday, 16 December 2011

Situation Untenable



Thirty three minutes to go until my birthday and I haven't even had a drink yet.


Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Dogma



From an old diary:

Sunday, March 27 2005

Talked to Dad about 'God' today.

Even though I am agnostic with athiest leanings, I was appalled by his declaration "God is a bastard".

My view is that this thing people call 'God' represents some part of themselves, so if you're calling God a bastard then you really don't like yourself much.

I told him I didn't agree with his statement. I said I didn't believe God was some external, judgmental, interventional, anthropomorphised thing. I said I believed the thing people call God is their take on what your brain gets up to and the life force and stuff, which means we are all simultaneously God and godless and each individual has total and final responsibility for their actions.

He seemed startled by this. "I don't like that idea," he said.

"Why?" I asked.

"Because you'd get all the custard pies," he said.

I didn't understand what he meant, so asked him to elaborate.

"Every time something went wrong, it'd all be your fault," he said. "I've spent most of my life doing things wrong and it isn't nice."

So much easier than fronting up and learning from your mistakes is to keep fucking up then blame it on someone who doesn't exist then hate them for it too.


Friday, 2 December 2011

My Life In Small Ads



Hi Jamie

Re: 'please help all household items needed'

I just saw your ad on gumtree about wanting free stuff because you were coming out of sheltered accommodation and wondered if you were still needing anything. I have a houseful of stuff here that I need to shift so give us a shout as I might be able to help. Don't be shy just send a list and I'll see what I can do.

Cheers

Weasel

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Matthew

I saw your feedourhomeless.co.uk ad on gumtree asking for unwanted hats, gloves, scarves and socks and wondered if I could help.

My dad died last month and I'm clearing out his house. He has a lot of old socks, hats, gloves, scarves, jumpers, shirts, vests, trousers, jackets, shoes, cotton hankerchiefs etc that aren't quite sparkly enough to be donated to charity but are in good enough condition that I'm loathe just to throw them away (I've already binned all the stuff with holes, stains, too much wear and tear etc).

Is this the kind of thing you're interested in? I would much rather Dad's stuff was put to good use rather than just chucked away so it'd be fantastic for me to know his things are going directly to people who need them.

I'm in Gillingham and would be happy to pop down to Canterbury if you'd like.

Very best wishes,

Weasel

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Dear Demelza House

My dad just died and I will be inundating your shop in Parkwood with donations over the course of the next few weeks - just wanted to check this will be ok. Do you take electrical goods?

Dad was a supporter of yours for many years.

Thank you

Weasel

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your gumtree ad is going live: "Free - Trim Track 9-in-1 home gym, direct from the 1980s, never used, headbands not included"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "Free - Do you love coat hangers? I have eleventy thousand coat hangers needing a new home"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "Free - Could anybody use a whole bunch of plastic trophies? I hate to just throw them away and Bretts don't recycle :( "

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi, please can you ring me about the trophies. I run a kid's sports club and would love to have these. I just peel off the name plaque and put on a new one - the kids are thrilled with them.

Cheers, Tony

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im interested in the home gym can collect today thx chloe

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Hi Matthew

Awesome, thank you. I'll drop the clothes down to you on Friday. I've now found a whole load of blankets and sleeping bags you might be able to use. I'm also including a couple of bags of dog treats in case any dogs turn up to your Christmas meal :o)

What you're doing is wonderful.

All the best

Weez

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your Freecycle ad has been posted: Old used candles

Your Freecycle ad has been posted: White 3-drawer chest of drawers

Your Freecycle ad has been posted: Children's slide

Your Freecycle ad has been posted: Cat transporter

Your Freecycle ad has been posted: Very scruffy wooden chest of drawers

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Roger

I saw your ad on Freecycle asking for large old suitcases.

I have five large/largish old cases you can have if you still need any. I also have three old-school suitcase trolleys, from the days when cases didn't have wheels - could you use these? If so they're yours at no extra charge ;o)

Cheers

Weez

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - double divan bed"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - headboard for double bed"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - G-Plan sideboard"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Jamie

We spoke on the phone last week. Please can you let me know if you still want the bed and the kitchen stuff? Like I said, I can't deliver the bed because it won't fit in my car but I'm happy to drop everything else round to you.

Weez

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi wld love the old candles as my wife reuses for Xmas deccies thanks Mick

I would be interested in the slide. We have our grandaughter a couple of days a week so it sounds ideal. Mary.

I'd love the wooden drawers! Thanks. Lorraine.

i will take the coat hangers off your hands! Mimi x

Hello. I was hoping u might consider me for the cat transporter please? I'd like it for my bunnies. Would it be suitable? Anna x

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Mark

I saw your ad on Freecycle asking for recyclable paper and card to raise money for your kids' karate club.

I can offer a one-off large bag of old greetings cards if that would help?

My dad died last month and I'm emptying his house - turns out he kept EVERYTHING, including every card he and my mum ever received. It's taking a while to go through them all but I'd be very glad if they could eventually be put to some good use.

If I'd have seen your ad before you could've had 30 years' worth of utility bills.

Cheers

Weez

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi again Mark

Thank you. It's actually been quite therapeutic. The one-off bag has now turned into two one-off bags. I'm going to Sittingbourne tomorrow to return an old 15kg gas bottle I found in the shed to the Calor Gas people so I can drop them off to you then.

Cheers

Weez

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Hi Anna

It's an all-wicker carry-box for small animals - we used to take our cats to the vet in it, which is why I mentioned cats, but I'm sure it'd take a bunny or two.

It stands about 36cm/14" high with a high arched lid and fastens with a stick through two loops across the front. There is excellent visibility into the cage so you and your animal can keep an eye on each other and tickles can be dispensed if necessary. It's very roomy.

The handle is fashioned out of old washing line rope - one of my dad's famous home repairs.

It probably dates from the 1970s but while it looks a little scruffy it's still nice and solid and has lots of life left in it yet.

Weez x

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Is your double bed still available? Could collect tomorrow. Heather

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Hi Weasel

It was very nice to have met you and had a chat, thanks again for the suitcases you really got us out of a hole, as I said I will try to pass them on once I've finished with them, long live freecycle! hope the house sorting goes with not too many problems.

Regards, Roger

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - Nesting tables & matching coffee table"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - Corner display cabinet"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - TV stand"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thanks Roger!

You too - I hope everything goes swimmingly with the move and the new job.

All the best, it was really nice to meet you.

Weez

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your Freecycle ad has been posted: Fibre optic UFO lamp

Your Freecycle ad has been posted: Music cassette tapes

Your Freecycle ad has been posted: Coloured outdoor Christmas lights

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Anna

I am SO sorry about this but right at the last minute I've realised I can't bear to part with the cat transporter... I'm clearing out my dad's house after he's died and I thought this was one of the things that was ok to go on Freecycle but it's obviously more loved than I realised.

Really really sorry to you and your bunnies. I've deleted the ad.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jamie

Please can you let me know if you still need the bed etc? Thanks.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hello do you still have the fibre optic UFO lamp? How big is it please? Julia

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Julia

It's about 12" high all told. It's a blue plastic base in the shape of a flying saucer, with multi-coloured fibre optic wires extending from the top.

The wires rotate and the base flashes different colours, just like a real flying saucer.

It's a bit dusty but otherwise it's in perfect working order, although it makes a sort of creaking sound as it rotates.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Julia

6pm tonight is fine.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jamie

Sorry to hassle but were you still needing the bed and the kitchen stuff? I know you keep saying you do but like I said on the phone time is of the essence for me now as I've got to get home to Cardiff soon.

Please could you let me know what you want to do? If you can't collect by Friday I'm going to have to dispose of them elsewhere, sorry.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - Stag wardrobe"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - Stag dressing table"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - Table lamp"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - Moulinex Multichef food processor"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - Computer desk"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "For sale - Executive computer chair"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hello I am interested in your Stag wardrobe and dressing table please can you phone me?

Hi I'd like the headboard can pick up Saturday Balbir

Hello I'm really interested in your nesting tables, when can I come and view? Thanks, Jools

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your gumtree ad is going live: "Free - Childrens' bikes: restoration project"

Your gumtree ad is going live: "Free - Children's pedal tractor: restoration project"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Your gumtree ad is going live
: "For sale - single divan bed, mattress and headboard"

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Alicia

I saw your Freecycle ad about needing household stuff. What did you need?

I have a load of stuff I'm trying to get rid of - a single bed, a double bed, plates, mugs, glasses, duvets, sheets & bedding, photo frames, cutlery & utensils, fake flowers, a teak-effect shelving unit for books (or whatever), a radio/CD player, mirrors, a small white microwave...

Weasel

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hello Weasel

Thankyou for replying!

Im only 16 and moved into supported accomodation just over 3 months ago. I was given a couple of bits of furniture, but plates, mugs, glasses, photo frames, cutlery & utensils, fake flowers, the teak-effect unit for books or whatever, a radio/CD player, and mirrors would be amazing! I can try and arrange to pick up the stuff but obviously i dont drive lol, hope to hear from you soon

Alicia x

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Alicia

Eeeek! I took all the fake flowers to the charity shop this afternoon!!! I totally forgot I'd mentioned them in your email, sorry.

The rest of the stuff is still here though you'll be glad to know. I'm happy to deliver - whereabouts are you?

Be warned - the teak-effect unit thing is something my dad built in the 80s to house a record player. So it's not the most stylish thing you ever saw. Ditto the mirrors. I'll bring them anyway so you can see what you think and I honestly won't mind if you say you don't want them.

Weez x

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi just wondering where you are located and weather you still have the childrens bikes as Ive been looking for a smaller restoration project and they seem perfect thanks. How much do you want for them? Could pickup on Sunday - Paul

hello do you still have the tractor? my little boy is two and loves tractors and this would be perfect. I can ask my dad to fix it up for him. Many thanks sarah

Would love cassettes and can collect if they still available? Matt

I'd be very interested in your single bed. Can you text me please to arrange pick up? Thanks, Sam

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Weez

Thankyou for the stuff, all of it is lovely its so kind of you! Your a lovely lady and should have lots of good karma coming you way :o) It was really nice to meet you thankyou so much again

Alicia xxx

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Hi Paul

If you're going to do the bikes up and make them lovely again, they're free with thanks! Anything saved from a trip to the tip is a bonus in my books.

The bikes are in Gillingham; it's fine to collect on Sunday.

Regards

Weez

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi just wondering about your white chest of drawers... absolutely just what i am looking for right now... I can pick up today if they are still available. Many many thanks, Caroline

Hi I'm Mark are the Christmas lights still available please can collect any time

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Sarah

If your little boy loves tractors then I'd love him to have this (it was mine - best Christmas present ever!) BUT it will take a fair bit of fixing.

The seat is very rusty, the whole thing's full of cobwebs and there are sharp edges where bits have broken off. It's been sitting neglected in a shed for years and years.

That said, a bit of creative TLC and I think there's a chance it could be as right as rain again.

I'm just wondering if your dad might want to come along and have a look at it to see if it's do-able before you take it? Or maybe he's one of those brilliant people who can fix anything - I don't know, I just don't want anyone to be disappointed.

Regards, Weez

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

hi weez, thanks for getting back to me. Mum and dad live in dorset so would be a bit of a trek for them. My dad has been very ill which has ment he's been pretty house bound so a resteration project for his grandson is just what he needs. He loves to fix things.

We live near canterbury so about 40 minutes from you. I have a friend in maidstone who might be able to pick it up for me.

I'll be in touch soon many thanks

sarah

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sarah if your friend can't get to me I'd be more than happy to drop it to her or to you.

My dad died last month which is why we've been clearing out the sheds. I've been stuck in his dusty old house sorting out his stuff for weeks (he had a LOT of stuff) so any chance for a drive out on a sunny day is fine by me. I dropped all his clothes off a while back to a bloke out past Canterbury who hands them on to homeless people so it's not too far for me to go.

Also I'd really like you to have the tractor now!

Cheers :o)

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Weez

I'm so sorry to hear that I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better.

Why don't we meet half way?

Alfie is only two and loves tractors, my dad despite being 67 is a big kid as well. He's been so low lately that this will make his day. He's just recovering from major surgery which no one expected him to come out of and to be honest has loss a bit of his confidence and is feeling like he's not good at anything so like I say he will love this. He always spent his time in the garden and now he's not allowed to even mow the grass.

Well let me know what you would like to do. I also have some bits which I'm going to take to the demelza charity shop if you want me to take anything for you just say and I'll do it.

Kind regards

sarah x

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Hi Mark

I have to go to Faversham tomorrow morning to drop off a toy tractor to a lovely lady from Canterbury (long story) so as I'll be passing through Sittingbourne on the way home I was hoping would it be ok to leave another huge bag of paper with you?

Cheers x

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Hi Jamie thanks for the email. Sorry but like I said I needed to shift as much as possible before last weekend so I've sold the bed now and given most of the other stuff away. There is another bed here you can have if you want - although it's not as nice as the first one - and some kitchen bits, but not much. When can you get here? It'd have to be before Thursday as I'm going home then.

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Is the computer desk/chair still available? I am buying my son a computer tomorrow so these would be perfect! Thank you, Rose

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

hi, Do you still have your gplan sideboard for sale? thanks, Andrew

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Ok Jamie. Hopefully see you some time tomorrow.