Luxury pie

Tell us about the one luxury item you wish you could afford: 

I do not want a big house – Too much unnecessary housework and too many spare rooms in which to lose stuff. I have a two bedroom flat and I still can’t find the driving licence that I lost in 2008.

I do not want a fancy pants car – No one will ever let me out at junctions because they will assume that the car is being driven by a tosser. I know it because I do it. Battered old Ford Fiesta with a wing mirror held on with duct tape, a bonnet two shades lighter than the rest of the car and a “Glastonbury 1994” sticker in the back window: here’s a lovely big space for you to pull into…Mercedes, BMW, Porsche or any four by four: here’s the bonnet of my car, 3mm away from the bumper of the car in front. Don’t even bother trying to make eye contact, I wouldn’t look in your direction if Matthew McConaughey was in your passenger seat, shirtless with an apple pie in one hand and a spoon in the other uttering the phrase “Ah’m needin some help with this here pah, y’all”.  Alright. That’s definitely a lie. Screw the space Mr Fancy Pants Car Driver, you’re welcome to it. Come to Momma, Matthew.

I do not want a horse – Is a horse a luxury item? Don’t you have to pay quite a lot of VAT on luxury goods? Yes, I’ve just carried out some dubious wiki-research and I would have to pay VAT on my luxurious horse. Unless it was a “live animal for human consumption”, in which case, it would be exempt. I do not want an expensive horse who is alive and nor do I want a slightly cheaper pile of horse burgers. 12 months ago I might have been able to do something with them, but now, not so much.

I do not want an expensive handbag – Question: Will things I put into it disappear into the handbag black hole of doom, never to be retrieved when you actually need them? Answer: Absolutely. Example: “Does anyone have a pen?” “I do. It’s in my handbag. My lovely, expensive, luxurious, handbag. Hang on, I saw it a moment ago. Just a tick, it’s here somewhere [sounds of rummaging]. I think it’s fallen to the bottom. Oh, wait a moment, it can’t have gone far [sounds of rummaging and exasperated tutting].  I didn’t realise that I had gum. What’s this? Here we are. Oh no, that’s the one that doesn’t work.”  The handbag black hole of doom also works in reverse; [In middle of crowded supermarket, after being within reach of my handbag for approximately one second]: “Auntie Jelly, what’s this?” [Proudly holds aloft tampon for entire supermarket to behold].

So, in conclusion, the luxury item I wish I could afford is Matthew McConaghey. And a pie. And don’t y’all go worrying about a spoon, I think I’ll manage.




No time for playtime

“Time is a game played beautifully by children” – Heraclitus


Everything is just different when you’re a child. Time is endless. You have so much of it available to you that you run out of things to do and end up announcing on a regular basis, to anyone who will listen to you, how ‘bored’ you are.

I would love to be bored more often. Okay, that didn’t come out quite right. I am regularly bored by things like housework, the Data Protection Act, slow moving traffic on the A27 or anything that involves statistical analysis using Excel. What I actually mean is that I would like to have a bit more time on my hands so that I can be bored of my own volition. Take this blog entry for example. I wrote it in my head on Sunday in response to a daily prompt but frustratingly, it’s taken four days to convert it from thought to word.

Some of the delay was due to the fact that my mobile phone battery only lasts for about 43 and a half minutes if you actually want to use any of the phone functions. So, despite the fact that I have spent hours on trains for the past few days and could be using the time to write my blog using my phone, the only thing my phone has actually been good for, is making phone calls. Pricisely what I don’t want to do on a packed commuter train.

I remember everything being just a little bit more fun when I was a child. When my niece was old enough to be taken to the park, I got very excited about the idea of having the legitimate excuse of a small child to take into the play area.

It was oddly disappointing. The play equipment in the park is surprisingly challenging to use as a relatively unfit grown up.

Firstly, the swings. The swings were my favourite when I was a child. Flying through the air like a trapeze artist; okay a trapeze artist who just sits down on their trapeze, holding on firmly with both hands and slowing down if it swings too high, but a trapeze artist nevertheless. Feeling free, without a care in the world.

As an adult, there is no responsible grown up available to push you on the swings so you have to get your body moving yourself and it’s no mean feat to get 9 stone* shifting.

*I may possibly weigh a bit more if I’ve had a big meal. Or if I actually include my arms, legs and bottom in this figure. 

Swinging is no longer free and easy. It’s an unexpected workout for the stomach with the added disadvantage of providing ones outer thighs with an embossed swing chain pattern caused by squeezing onto a seat designed for a seven year old.

The seesaw is equally challenging, particularly when your counterweight is a two year old weighing only slightly more than a bag of feathers. It takes every muscle in your thighs, which already have restricted blood supply owing to the swing chain indentation, to balance the seesaw and prevent the child hurtling towards the sky like a rogue cork from a bottle of fizzy wine. I don’t want to have to face my sister and tell her that I broke one of her children by accidently firing them from my seesaw catapult into a rapid moving roundabout.

The slide is next. What can possibly go wrong on a slide? Nothing. Well, nothing until you start moving and realise that the heavier you are, the faster you’ll go. The faster you go, the more difficult it is to stop and stopping will likely involve careering off the end of the slide and landing unceremoniously on your bottom on the ground just in front of the end of the slide. Even if the park was empty when you were at the top of the slide, by the time you have reached the end, half a dozen grubby looking teenagers will have appeared seemingly out of nowhere, in order to laugh at you.

The worst experience I had in a play park was on a day when I was looking after my niece. The park near her house has little wooden toadstool shaped things stuck in the ground for the children to balance on. We were standing on a toadstool each when my niece jumped down off of hers, came over to me and gave me a shove to try and topple me from my toadstool tower. I pretended to wobble and fall off. She laughed, got back on her toadstool and said “my turn”, so I went over to her and gave her a gentle little push

What I stupidly did not consider was that she was three years old and therefore she wasn’t tensing herself against me. She wasn’t expecting that I would actually push her. But I did.

She fell off.  Then some teenagers appeared, just as my niece started to cry. As if it couldn’t get any worse, in between her heartbreaking sobs, you could hear this:

“Auntie…. Jelly…. Pushed…. Me….. Over…..”

I may as well have catapulted her into that roundabout.


No muse is good news


I haven’t had time to write for a while because the irritating realities of life have been getting in the way; employment, household chores, battles with my ex-husband, the usual. I mean figurative battles through polite conversations and emails with my solicitor, not actual combat. I’m not She-Ra, princess of power.

For anyone who was not a seven year old girl in 1985, She-Ra is He-Man’s twin sister. She had her very own television series aimed at girls which was fabulous and entertaining and *whispers* cancelled after one season.

Every day I intend to write and every day something dull gets in the way and stops me, but today I am determined to put pen to paper, well, fingers to keyboard at least.

I went to a party last weekend, which I should point out was absolutely not “something dull getting in the way” of my writing. It was great fun with lovely people, even taking into account the fact that I drove and had to drive home with a tipsy Brad passed out snoring on the back seat. As he’s nearly 6ft and my car is 5ft 3in wide, he did have to contort him himself ‘man origami’ style into a folded up version of himself in order to fall asleep, but annoyingly he managed it.

At the party I was telling my friends about my new lodger, having given washer woman Wanda the boot a few weeks ago. Someone made a comment about the fact that giving my previous lodger the heave-ho, seemed to have coincided with my blog writing dry spell and that perhaps she had been my muse. This has played on my mind all week and I desperately need to write something in order to prove that my ex-lodger was not Samson’s hair in tenant form.

Because I’m feeling under considerable pressure to come up with the goods, admittedly it’s pressure that I’ve put on myself but nevertheless, it’s still pressure, I have looked again to the daily prompt for inspiration. Today’s topic is “Community Service: Your entire community — however you define that; your hometown, your neighbourhood, your family, your colleagues — is guaranteed to read your blog tomorrow. Write the post you’d like them all to see.”

The post I should write is about helping your neighbours, forgiving people and being kind to each other and other fluffy and unrealistic goals. I’m not going to write about this because everyone knows what they should be doing. It’s not achievable. It would be like telling my cat not to catch an insect aperitif before her dinner, crunching loudly as she devours it. She’s a cat, that’s what they do.

I think it’s better to highlight something positive instead, if only to get the image of my cat chomping on a cricket out of your head.

I feel slightly uncomfortable with the term “community”. When you live in a City with 273,399 other people, it’s hard to feel like you are part of a traditional community. However, many of the other 273,399 people living in Brighton who aren’t me, are quirky and vibrant and ever so slightly odd and that’s what makes me smile about them.

After work this evening, I popped to the supermarket around the corner from where I live and there was a man walking along the road towards me eating one of those individual tiramisu pots with a plastic spoon. He had the cardboard container and the second tiramisu pot clasped tightly in one hand and a look of profound concentration on his face, possibly because of the challenge of walking and eating with a spoon at the same time. Surely it’s got to be a bit like patting your head and rubbing your belly? I struggle to eat anything out of a pot without spilling it down me, eating as well as walking is quite literally a step too far. The first thing that struck me was to think ‘wow, he must really need pudding’. The second thing that occurred to me was the fact that it was peculiar that I didn’t find it strange that tiramisu man was walking along the road in the middle of the evening eating a tasty, sponge fingery, Italian desert and no one else seemed to notice or care either.

In my community, pretty much anything goes. I once went to a fancy dress party dressed as Cleopatra with flowing robes, over the top make up, a wig and a decorative hair piece. I was driving to the party which was in Horsham and I picked up a couple of fancy dressed friends en route when suddenly my petrol light flashed on. I knew I couldn’t make it all the way to Horsham, so had to stop at the garage and fill up, in full pharaoh finery, at 7pm on a Saturday night. What I remember most about this is that no-one said a word to me, no one laughed, no-one raised an eyebrow, no-one questioned me. On another occasion a group of us dressed as Mother Christmas, Hawaiian Barbie and Pocahontas stopped at Sainsbury’s to buy alcohol and again, not an eyelid was batted. In Brighton we have a naked bike ride, a museum filled with more than half a million stuffed dead animals and an annual chocolate festival just as a starter for ten; Cleopatra filling her fiesta up at a Shell Garage and Pocahontas buying vodka is decidedly unremarkable.(For the record, I was unaware of the existence of this chocolate festival until today when I researched it and now I’m bloody furious. How do I not know about this marvellous event? Do they also have a beautiful shoe festival and a great big cake festival that they have been hiding from me?)


Every cake has a silver lining


In order to attempt for this blog to not just be a place for me to talk about the joy of cake or to get cross about random things. I have signed up to receive a daily prompt; a subject or topic to blog about.  I haven’t tried it until today but I really wanted to write and I was struggling for inspiration so thought I’d attempt the prompt. Today’s title is “No Fair”

It would be tempting to start by saying that today was not fair because of the lack of cake. However, that would be a complete lie because I accidentally fell into the Bakery earlier and bought a cake.

When I say accidentally, I mean completely deliberately and with the absolute intention of buying some cheese straws. And when I say fell, I mean walked in confidently and with purpose whilst simultaneously barging an old lady out of the way in a pastry panic because I mistakenly believed that she was intending to buy up the last of the cheese straws, leaving me with a soggy looking Cornish pasty.

As I was paying for my cheese straws, I caught sight of a solitary iced bun out of the corner of my eye, threw caution to the wind and bought that too. I do love an iced bun. I have an American friend who just does not get them. I can picture her now screwing up her face in that ‘you English people are just odd’ way that she does, exclaiming “I don’t understand, it’s just bread with some icing on top”.

As far as I am concerned, a day that contains cake of any description, even if it is just bread with a bit of icing on top, is always going to be a better day than one without cake.

This cake anecdote sort of sums me up. I am a looking on the bright side sort of a girl and I try to not feel sorry for myself or think that life is unfair. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always manage it. If I ever buy a lottery ticket it is always not fair when I have not won the jackpot because I absolutely deserve it. That said, if I did win, chances are I would buy an awful lot of cake and would have to buy bigger and bigger trousers to accommodate my jumbo jam doughnut shaped bottom so maybe it’s better that the money goes to someone else.  Other things that are a teeny weeny bit unfair are the fact that I have not yet appeared on Strictly Come Dancing. Yes, I know I’m not a celebrity but I’d be really, really, really excited to do it which will more than make up for my lack of fame. It is also not fair that I do not like celery as much as I like cake because that would make dieting a whole lot less of a challenge.

So there we have it, the daily prompt has helped me to expand my horizons, to write about new ideas and different subjects.

I am not a one cake trick pony.