A recent tantrum thrown by my friend Harry’s 3 year old daughter Justice, after being woken up from a nap.
Justice: (standing in the doorway, huffing, puffing and and squinting while clenching her fists) “I want a hug!!!”
Harry: (extending his arms) “well come here then”.
J: “No, you come here”
H: “Ok then” (moving off the sofa towards her)
J: “I DON’T WANT ONE NOW!”
H: (Shrugging) “Fine”
30 second pause.
J: “I want a hug!!!” (extending her arms)
H: (Sighing) “Well...come HERE then”.
J: (Stamping her foot) “No, you come here!!!”
H: “You know where I am”
Justice stomps off into the front room, wailing the entire time. Harry looks at me and raises his eyes to heaven, shaking his head. We watch the TV for a few minutes, Sky Sports 3 interrupted by a background of grizzling and the occasional “I wanna hug”, drifting in from the next room.
H: “STOP MAKING ALL THAT NOISE!”
A pause, then the wailing goes up 2 decibels
30 seconds later.
H: “I SAID BE QUIET!!!”
Noises change to intermittent gulps of frustrated bad temper as if she’s trying to stifle it but not quite succeeding.
Harry glares at me then goes into the front room and I hear:
F: “What’s all this ridiculous noise?”
J: “GO AWAY!!!”
F: “Sit THERE, sit there and be quiet”.
Blubbing continues for about another 5 minutes then I decide to try and appease the unhappy camper.
“What’s wrong sweetheart”.
J: (Not looking at me and continuing to sniffle while sitting on the swivel chair at the computer desk) “I want my daddy”.
“He’s in the next room, come and see him” (extending my hand)
J: (After she pauses to mull this one over and knowing full well that Diane is not in the house) “I want my mummy”.
Ahhhhh...gotta love kids.
Being unemployed in the UK is a strange affair. Despite the bureaucracy it is surprisingly comfortable and doesn’t really incite anyone to get off their arse and find a job. Last Monday I signed on for Job Seeker’s Allowance for the first time and then made my way to Specsavers who booked me a n eye test (free coz I’m on JSA). They then gave me voucher to use towards my new spectacles ( £125 reduced to £40 coz I’m on JSA). After choosing a pair of designer frames I made my way to the doctor’s where I was given a prescription for some painkillers (free coz I’m on JSA).
Next week I will sign on again and be given £174.32 (£64.30 per week). This with the prescription (£7.20), specs (saving of £85) and eye test (£21) means I will have made a total of £287.52 which is £22.11 per day for NOT working.
Tuesday and after posting my last Blog entry an ex girlfriend got in touch saying that she wanted me to drop her off the Facebook Blog mailing list because "it's quite funny that you often remark your desire not to hear about my boyfriends when I have to read about your detailed and disgusting stories in bed”.
I pointed out that not only does the FB group have a content warning, BUT there’s one on the actual Blog that you are unable to get past without consenting to the fact that you may encounter some filth. Further she could have quite easily dropped herself from the group and finally as she’s been reading it for some time it’s not like I’ve started writing prurient nastiness after months of regaling my readers with tales of ginger beer, picking daisies and going to Mass at St Cecilia’s Church every Sunday to sing “Michael Row the Boat Ashore”.
Wednesday and a friend asked me along to a live radio recording of a comedy show for the BBC. She apparently applied for tickets for ‘Strictly, Cum Dancing’ and while she didn’t get any they then started sending her e-tickets for other gigs. We got to the studio near Oxford Circus and the security was as tight as Heathrow airport’s. X-ray machine for bags and a walk through metal detector. My belt and shoes were scanned and they even waved that hand held wand thing over me. Turned out this was more to check for recording devices than guns. The show was called ‘Child’s Play’, a sitcom set in a children’s nursery. I never realised they had THAT many people in for these things as there was about 200 of us in a medium sized theatre, with me and my pal up on the balcony. Actors sat on chairs and only used props as necessary, including a retro 1971 Space Hopper. The 8 year old girl playing the parts of ALL the female nursery kids had the wonderful line “I’ve just pooed in my hand” while I had to giggle at the line “is that a real beard?” said to a character playing a Jewish Rabbi.
This episode apparently airs on September 29th at 11pm on Radio 4 if anyone fancies a chortle.
Friday and the money came through to finance my book. Me and a pal in Crete had had a sit down about him giving me £5000 to finance publication with a promise from him that if it doesn’t sell he will write off the investment but when it DOES (notice the positive words I use?) he wants 25% of the profits. Very reasonable so we shook hands on our gentleman’s agreement and I contacted the self publisher to tell them I’d found funding. Contracts were sent off this morning and I set up a website (http://www.stabproofscarecrows.co.uk/). Hopefully it won’t take the 2 to 3 months the publisher quoted but time will tell.
A friend of mine that I went to school and also college with was leaving scathing comments on some of my Facebook photos last Friday when I decided to give her a ring. We’d stayed in email and occasional phone contact for about a year but haven’t seen each other for about 19 years. She has a bitingly wicked sense of humour and speaks her mind, qualities I admire in a bird. She was at work when I called and about two minutes into the conversation I heard her explaining to what was presumably her boss that she was taking a personal call. She then told me that she’d have to go and emailed 10 minutes later to say that “toss pot cunt face” had just bawled her out for talking to me on his time.
We had a chat on the phone later that evening where she told me that he has given her 6 weeks notice (apparently not connected to her vile abuse of company time) but he was still being a knob end with regard to such things as lunch breaks (she lives 70 miles from London so is sometimes late, in which case he tells he she can’t go to lunch at all) and criticising her in front of everyone. I was initially well fucked off to hear this but my faith in her fiery, Red Sonja-esque character was restored somewhat when she said she had stormed into his office and banged her fist on his desk, shouting “THIS IS FUCKING RIDICULOUS!!!”
She also told me that in the 6 months she’s worked there she has only taken 2 full lunch breaks and despite being complimented by customers on her professionalism and hard work her unchivalrous cock of a boss has said to her face “you have done neither a good nor a bad job”.
I asked her if her loyalty to the company and her festering cunt of a guvnor was due to a similar work ethic that my mother tried to instill in me. I was told once I reached an age where a Job didn’t just mean a paper round that you should take a Job, any Job and do it. It didn’t matter how bad the pay was, how badly you were treated and how appalling the Job, if you were offered a Job, ANY Job then you should take it because you would be lower than a beast in the field if you deliberately remained unemployed when you could work.
This ethic was entirely well placed and righteous in the 1950s and 60s when “job for life” meant your loyalty and hard work would guarantee you a long and fruitful tenure in your chosen career. By the time the 70s rolled around and we were on 3 day weeks, huge unemployment and social unrest it was entirely out of kilter with greedy little fuckers who would pay people a pittance for hard work and made them feel guilty if they complained by reminding them that their were dozens of other people who would looove the J.O.B.
In 1987 and Sid Little....sorry, John Major when he was Employment Secretary abolished the minimum wage and it was a free for all with rich, powerful people paying cleaners in London £1 per hour and students having to whore themselves around Soho to pay their fees. Pub landlords would tell new bar staff just how lucky they were to be on £2.50 per hour when the pub down the road only paid £2.25 and the guilt card was still applied by people in jobs they liked, that paid well, who would make those unwilling to be made fools of, feel guilty for refusing to take slave wages.
My friend mulled on this and then said that maybe this was the case. I said that sometimes you need to just let go of the trapeze and hope there’s another one below you to grab on to.
She then came out with the earth shattering line “you’ve said you don’t like teaching any more Lance. Why don’t you let go of the trapeze. Being on the dole is a trapeze in itself. Why don’t you do what YOU really want?”
In life we have blindspots and this was certainly one of mine. I was able to see other people’s golden paths but not my own. I was prepared to go back into ESOL teaching without analysing my own motives or trying to find something I actually wanted to do instead.
Coming home on the train last week and the stop before mine about four People With Special Needs got on. I’m all for care in the community but these guys clearly needed supervision. They got on very noisily with the woman screeching loudly “DAISY, DAISY GIVE ME YOUR ANSWER DO!!!” and one of the three guys trying to stare me out while going “Hoowa!” very loudly every 30 seconds and slapping his thigh. The bloke nearest the window (who had his shirt tucked into his underpants) then started head butting the glass and saying “think that’s strong enough to resist a crash”.
I ignored them and then the woman got out her mobile and in a passing impersonation of Trigger Happy TV began yelling “HELLO!? YES! IT’S ME, YES WE’VE BEEN SHOPPING, I BOUGHT SOME KNICKERS! REALLY NICE ONES! MAKE SURE RICHARD DOESN’T SEE THEM, FILTHY SWINE!!”
I was so glad I’d taken my i-Pod.
Weekend came and it was time to feed the snake.
My mate has a 3 metre long Boa Constrictor called Esmerelda who is in a cage for 27 out of every 28 days until she gets her whole, dead, boiled rat to scoff.
Her cage is a large glass and formica cabinet in the lounge, stuffed full of shredded paper which she burrows into 95% of the time.
Not having done or even seen the feeding of a snake before I offered to do it and it was, from the get go, fairly gross.
First of all the albino rat (£2.20 from the local exotic pet shop) is dropped in a mop bucket and a kettle of boiling water poured over it. An hour later another kettle of bubbling H2O is added to the first and 60 minutes after that the soggy, hot rodent is pulled out by its tail and thrown to the hungry serpent.
At least that’s the theory.
Snakes clearly have a good sense of smell because Esme’ began doing the Fireman’s Ladder as soon as I came in the room, even though she was behind her Hannibal Lecter glass screen. No matter what side I stood at she would sway hypnotically towards it. After 15 minutes of swearing I managed to distract her long enough to pull open the door, lob the rat in and slam the cage shut.
True to form she then sat on it for about 2 hours, sniffing it and nuzzling it before finally trying to swallow it. Unfortunately for her she was trying to engulf the arse end which meant she couldn’t get it down due to the tail being in her way like a tampon string to a sex starved oil rig worker.
It then became highly unsettling and made me realise just how powerful snakes’ jaws actually are when the guts came out the rat’s bum hole. She had bitten it so hard in her fruitless attempts to take it from behind that she had crushed the pelvis. That along with the boiling meant the squishy rat was now defectating its own internal organs. The smell was something else and it was a great relief when I returned half an hour later to find she’ finally stuck the rat’s head down her throat and I sat there in repulsed fascination as she slowly stuffed it down her alimentary canal.
Next day and we had to clean her cage out.
This meant extracting her, pulling all the shedded skin out plus the shredded paper that she’d shat on for the last month, cleaning the surfaces with Clit Bang- Grease Guzzler Extra Strength Spray and stuffing more confetti in before shoving her back in her abode. My mate always waits until she’s been fed as it means she is sluggish due to having a full stomach and with great ceremony we opened the cage door, for Esme’ to simply lay there looking bored and make no attempt to escape.
Grabbing her by the neck and body (with plastic bags on his hands for grip) my pal pulled her clear and then handed her to me. After placing her in the bath tub and counting to three I let her go, turned off the light and bolted backwards out the door, slamming it behind me.
Half an hour later and he told me to check on how she was doing, warning that she might have changed positions so the best thing to do would be to open the door, quickly turn the light on and off to clock her position and then go back in a minute later and grab her. I fully expected to open the door to find her reared up to her full height, glaring at me while hissing madly before biting my nose.
Turns out she was still in the tub with her face in the plug hole lapping at the water.
Went to get her out 10 minutes later and was warned to do it “from behind so she can’t see you” and after donning leather gloves (more to prevent my sweat than Esmerelda’s) I grabbed her and shuddered as she completely tensed up and then transported her rigid curls back into her cell.
I posted a couple of videos of this performance on Facebook and had two separate people screeching that it was cruel to keep a snake in a cage 99% of the time and one even stated that “Maybe it's a female thing: we just care more and feel more for other creatures”. What’s prudent to note is that Esme’ was going to be abandoned before my mate took her in, so it was either the cage or becoming a pair of shoes.