Well, not toxic, exactly... maybe just a little bit rank. But in a nice way. With a garnish.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

holding it in

We are in a twee café in Dublin!

We have been up since 4 o'clock and so it is roughly tea-time to my body, although it says it is only 10am on the clock on the wall. This is what happens when you fly budget airlines; the flight only takes 40 minutes but you have jet-lag for a fortnight.

We both wearily squint at the menus and then thrust monopoly-money at the woman on the till, hoping that she has been especially trained to deal with Non-Sterling.

Dublin is a strange place. I saw some respectable-looking women walking from the toilets with black cross-shaped marks on their foreheads! You would think they would have checked for dirty marks in the mirrors while topping up their pink lippy and straightening their American Tans.

Maybe it is some kind of Irish ritual, a bit like tattooing a tear on your face in prison, if you have murdered someone. But for ladies. To say that you've been to the toilet.

I hope that they don't force me to have a black cross on my forehead when I need to go.

I tuck in to my Irish breakfast / tea.

Imp points out some more black crosses. It's strange that everyone doesn't have one, as you would imagine that at some point in the day everyone would need to empty their bladder - even the men.

I think about this for a long time. There are a lot of respectable-looking women without crosses.

Perhaps not having a cross is a sign of being a scary hard-knock in Ireland. Like being a skin-head, but in a pleated skirt.


We are on a bus tour!

Imp is brilliant at spotting Black-Cross People!
I am rubbish at it because my short-term memory is not even long enough for any imagery to fully travel along my optical nerves, due to the jet-lag.

I whisper to Imp that I am relieved that I wasn't accosted by a large lady in a twin-set with a black marker pen, when I went for a wee.

“Actually, I think it's because it's Ash Wednesday”, she points out, graciously.

“Oh!” I remark.

“And there's quite a lot of Catholics in Ireland”, she adds, mildly.

“Oh!” I repeat.

(I hope I said "Oh!" in a way that suggests that I was only joking about the paramilitary wing of the Black-Cross WI lurking in the ladies toilet, downstairs in the twee café)

The bus lurches on.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

world record

I have a degree, several A levels and more GCSEs than you can shake a stick at.

(Admittedly, I have never seen a GCSE and, if I did, I would be sure to sternly shake a stick at it simply to disprove my own statement. However, until then, my stick remains unshaken)

Oh, I've also got a fork lift truck licence, if anyone needs any fork lift trucks driving.
Clearly this marks me out as a (scientifically-proven) very talented and able individual.

I digress.

This morning I achieved a new, world record! Without the help of my incredible intellect or even my stick-shaking abilities!
I must remember to ring the Guinness Book of Records to let them know. I'm sure they will be most excited.

Between the hours of 6:00am and 10:00am, I did a poo in Ireland, England and Wales. Therefore I pood successfully in 3 different countries in the space of 4 hours, averaging at 2 hours between each poo.

I thank you.

Friday, February 09, 2007


Imp has hurt her wrist!

She did it last Wednesday while playing squash.
One minute she was doing athletic Lara Croft-dives and the next, she was making pathetic two-handed shots that barely made it to the back wall.
This is where her similarity to Lara Croft ends, as Lara would never become injured, or at least, nothing that involved a lack of performance.

I refrain from mentioning my thoughts on Lara, in case I get a telling off.

Luckily I am a qualified First-Aider and even have an out-of-date defibrillator certificate. I always knew it would come in handy some day.

Doing my best Mark-Green-From-ER impression, I noisily wriggle her wrist around a bit for her and, having successfully brought about a few creaks and responding yelps, diagnose a sprain.
I then instruct her to ignore the pain, before beating her hands-down at the next game.


We are back on court.

Imp has had a week to recover and now she has masses of white strapping, grandly binding every moving part of her arm, from her elbow down! I marvel that she is even able to hold the racket and generously carry her water bottle to the court for her.
After all, I love her very much.

However, I am not one to allow someone to win, simply because they are injured. This would be a waste of my £5.20.
(I will, on the other hand, allow her to win a couple of points in each game, to save face.)

The ball is warm and we are ready to go.
I crouch down, keeping Imp in my peripheral vision and waiting for her serve with her ridiculous, huge duveted limb.

She serves, her arm poking out awkwardly like a big bandaged monstrosity and, grinning, I send the ball whizzing back past her head. Winner! Judging by the way she is moving, I think her strapping must be causing a certain amount of extra drag.
Now I'm no scientist, but I know that keeping a roof-rack on your car produces extra aerodynamic resistance and as a result, uses up approximately 5% more petrol. I would imagine that Imp's arm must be having the same effect - slowing her down by about the same amount, to say nothing of the extra weight.

Fantastic! It's a dead cert, I think to myself and, return to the small matter of being a complete bastard.


Imp wins. 2-0.

I do my best false smile and on the way back to the changing room I tell her that I wasn't really trying.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


The walls of my flat have become thinner!

I lie in bed, trying to ignore the conversation next door. It's like Chinese Water Torture, but much later.
I can't hear every detail but I know that The Girl is going to the kitchen to get everyone another drink and Bloke 1 keeps laughing at whatever witty thing Bloke 2 is mumbling about.

This is a puzzle to me. I've been here for more than 2 years* and I've never heard anything through the walls before. How can this be? I muse over this for a while, hoping that it will make me so tired that I will become unconscious through the effort of thinking.
This happens to me quite a lot in places, like at traffic lights, or while watching Casualty at Imp's house, but it never seems to work in bed.

*In this flat, not in bed trying to get to sleep.

There was a time that I would have considered this a reasonable time to be up talking. And that was even before they invented Red Bull. But now I am a person of stature in society (ie, I have a red triangle in the boot of my car for emergencies and a Mini ISA**) and need my sleep. I harumph indignantly and carry on Not Listening To Next Door.

**In the Building Society, not the boot of my car.

The Girl's back from the kitchen. I know this because she's just sneezed.

I hate her.
How dare she sneeze! And the blokes, how dare they talk, in their own home. Bastards.

I bury my head under my duvet but, for some reason the laws of science gang up on me and it seems to amplify everything even more. I must be the unluckiest person in the world! I groan as Bloke 2 slurps his can and The Girl sips her Lambrini. I can practically hear the bubbles pinging on the glass.

I check my clock. Squintily. 2:00am.

I've decided. The only possible course of action is to drink whiskey. This is scientifically proven to deaden your hearing and aid sleep.

I drink whiskey. Medicinally.

It doesn't work.

I drink more whiskey. Not-so-medicinally.

I check my clock. 2:45am.
I've got to be up for work in 4 1/4 hours time! Aaaarrrgh! Bastard bloody students, talking and having a nice time and being next door to me and my inexplicably thin walls.

I'm not a grumpy person as a matter of course, or at least, I'm not grumpy when I'm in a good mood. But now I'm in a bad mood. Because it's the middle of the night and I'm not even tired anymore and Bloke 1 is still chuckling, which is beginning to get right on my ***s.

Moodily I shuffle with my duvet and a pillow and make myself as comfortable as possible on the living room floor and, miserably I lie in the dark and devise ways to murder the next-door neighbours...