Posted in humour, lifestyle, women

What All Parents Need To Know When Shopping This Christmas – Proxy Alcohol Sales

Ever heard of proxy alcohol sales? Neither had I until I wasn’t allowed to buy beer when accompanied by my 21 year old son who didn’t have his ID on him. Needless to say I was indignant and my dander was well and truly up. It was the first time I broadcast my own age (51) so loudly and proudly in a public place – a supermarket chain. I thought it ridiculous, I was incredulous. They would not let me buy alcohol because he might drink some of it. They clearly did not know my inability to share nicely.

I should add that this shop is one I frequent on a daily basis, my son also buys his own booze there as well. One lady went to get the manager and the security guard hung around in a way that suggested he thought I might grab the beer and run; again another wrong assumption, this time about my physical prowess. Two checkout staff told the manager that they know us and have seen my son’s ID on many occasion (not too many I hope). The manager said that he had not. I asked if I left now and came back on my own would I be served, I was told that was a grey area. Hmmm, very grey, now they know I have a ‘child’ and I buy beer how long would I be banned from buying alcohol for?

Watching my son’s face go from white to pink to red I resigned myself to the fact I was fighting a losing battle and we left. Once outside we had the ingenious idea of going home and getting his ID, after all we only lived a five minute walk away. I’m not sure why nobody thought of that in the first place. I tantrumed my way home, at the same time seeking reassurance that I hadn’t been too rude or unfriendly about it all. We returned to the shop within approximately fifteen minutes and made our way back to the kiosk where we had originally not been served. The security guard, the woman who first asked for the ID and another assistant were there. I announced that we now had the ID and would like to proceed with the purchase. I was told by the assistant (not the original one) that he would have served me. He served me. And, not one of them asked to SEE the ID!

I felt a letter brewing in the recesses of my mind, worthy of the Facebook page, ‘Angry People In Local Newspapers’; that was until I did my research on the subject of proxy alcohol sales. And here is what you need to know when out shopping, especially this festive season, where a few more of your favourite tipples might find there way into your trolley:

  • EVERY supermarket has the right to refuse the sale of alcohol if you have your/any children with you.
  • If you are taking over 18’s with you ensure they have their ID with them.
  • Under 18’s is where the area gets really grey. You will probably be fine with babies and toddlers, but I strongly recommend you do not let them hold your wine for you. Pretending to swig from the bottle would probably not work in your favour either.
  • If you have children that LOOK around nine years plus prepare not to leave with any booze.
  • Do not interact with any young people loitering outside the shop if you are going in to buy booze. Security and staff are primed to watch out for this ‘sociable’ behaviour and assume you have agreed to buy it for them.

 

Happy shopping and a very Merry Christmas to one and all (apart from one person, or maybe a couple of peeps, OK three or four)

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Posted in humour, women, Women's Health

My First Mammogram – Fear Not Ladies

If they were giving out prizes for the most inappropriately dressed person at a mammogram appointment I’d win hands down. I did give my clothing some thought in the morning, quite a lot of thought actually, just reached the wrong conclusions. I only ever wear dresses, or tunics with leggings, the thought of stripping to the waist and standing in my leggings was a frightful image. I don’t wear skirts either, I had donated all my skirts to the charity shop when I moved house, the lack of hanging space precluded me from keeping them just so that I could admire their beauty from time to time. They’re bound to put me in a gown I decided, and wore a dress.

On arriving at the hospital car park, where the van awaited my arrival (Yeah I know, a Van in a car park. If my appointment letter hadn’t included my NHS number I might have thought it all a little bit fishy) I spotted the fire escape style stairs leading up to the entrance. Today I was wearing my 3 inch heeled ankle boots that I wear very little as I can only manage the short walk from the house to the car and from the car to the pub. If I wasn’t nervous enough the thought of ascending those stairs could quite possibly have made me let out a little bit of wee (if I hadn’t already been to the loo twenty times before I left home). I hobbled up the stairs, I felt like I was boarding a plane, waved back at my lift and said all that was missing was a pair of oversized Jackie Onassis style sunglasses.

On entering I was greeted by one smiley face, the receptionist, and three terrified looking faces. Apparently we all were first timers. I was asked to go into a cubicle and remove my bra and replace my top.

“Oh, I can’t do that, I’m wearing a dress made of very thin material and no-one wants to see the outline of my boobs hanging down to my knees”, I responded.

Everyone laughed (nervously/hysterically/politely?) I worked out that I could do that if I just popped my jacket on after to protect my modesty.  By the time I wrestled my large padded bra into my tiny, but very pretty, handbag there was only one lady waiting to go in. We had a natter, both first timers, check, both nervous, check, both women who have to endure all this horrid poking about at various points in our lives, check. The other lady went in and I was left alone adjusting my jacket to cover my scared boobs, the jacket wouldn’t meet without a bra on, not a good look. Two other ladies entered and before you could say Bob’s Your Uncle ‘my’ lady came out. We all eagerly searched her face for clues, asked her how it was….no reply…. I then said, “Isn’t this the point you’re supposed to let us know it’s not really that bad?”. Nothing. Nadda. Nowt.

I will now quote, word for word, what I said on entering the room:

“It says outside to mention if you have any shoulder problems. I have shoulder problems”. I was asked to do a little pose that meant all was good and we could go ahead.

“Right, er, OK then. Er, look. Er. I haven’t shaved under my arms. I did think about it, but, you know, it’s Autumn and I quite like the extra warmth under there. And. Oh God. I’m wearing tights and no knickers! This dress is quite thin and I didn’t want any visible panty lines clutching at rolls of fat. I know, I really didn’t think this whole appointment through”.

When the mammographer stopped laughing  I removed my dress and had to stand there in 3 inch high ankle boots, tights with no knickers and nothing else. I share this embarrassment with you as you need to know, that no matter how ridiculous you might feel you’ll never, ever feel as ridiculous as I did. There were four images taken. When the machine came down for the first one I thought that my boobs would be squished so hard that my nipples would explode like over ripe zits. But no, it wasn’t like that at all. When the first image had been taken I asked if that was it. A few yoga poses later and it was all over. Nothing like I expected, hardly any discomfort and certainly no pain. I joyously shared this information with the other ladies outside, their faces softened and smiles filled the room (as well as lots of laughter, because I told a good tale). I left feeling I should be employed by the NHS as a warm up artist.

Ladies, don’t let the fear of the unknown, or concerns about what feel like embarrassing and intrusive procedures ever stop you from having the checks that could potentially save your lives. They say that to overcome nerves in an interview you should picture the interviewer/s naked…when you attend your first mammogram remember my story, and how I made a complete tit (no pun intended) of myself.

 

Posted in comedy, Dating & Relationships, humour, women

I Love Big Knickers because…

I Love Big Knickers Because….

Oh come on, who doesn’t? I love them because they are comfortable. The ones you can pull all the way up to your boobs. No, not the incredibly uncomfortable spandex ones that just push the fat up underneath your armpits so you have an extra pair of boobs. The nice, soft, cotton ones that don’t roll down beneath your tummy apron; that constant reminder that you were probably the last person to have an operation before they invented keyhole surgery.

Visible panty line is a thing of the past when you’ve got your big knickers on, no tight hems highlighting all your lumps and bumps, digging in half way through your love handles accentuating your Michelin man physique. No silly triangles riding up your front and back bottom all day, flossing your lady’s chamber with every step you take. I lose concentration quite easily at my age, if I’m not in my biggest knickers I will be adjusting them every five minutes whatever company I’m in.

My favourite days of the week are the ones just after I’ve done my laundry. I don’t have a whole week’s worth of the best big knickers, just four pairs, four days of bliss. I’ll approach that clothes airer with a spring in my step as I take the biggest pair and smile, safe in the knowledge everything will be in the right place that day.

My only real disappointment with my big knickers is that they started life as white knickers. I’m too lazy to separate my whites and coloureds, well I don’t really have many white clothes. So I have big grey knickers. Totes embarrassing on the two occasions I found myself in A&E and had to strip off; coupled with the fact I was also wearing my white/grey bra!

I’ve heard women saying that they feel sexy if they’re wearing lacy, ill fitting, pants and matching bra. I wouldn’t feel sexy on a date if I was constantly shuffling from one bum cheek to another, trying to free the G String from its strangle hold on my trapped pubes. Far from it.  I certainly wouldn’t feel sexy undressing to reveal my tummy apron in its black lace hammock, or my boobs spilling out over the top of my push up bra (picture melons housed in two eye patches sewn together, on second thoughts…don’t!)

OK, being honest here… in my younger days, before babies, the menopause, an under-active thyroid and a penchant for beer and cheese… I did browse, and purchase, some delicate little frillies. They were reserved for the bedroom though, so I didn’t need to suffer the torment of having to dress to suit my underwear. But, one of the MANY things I love about being fifty is not giving a damn (or pretending not to give a damn). Forget learning to feel comfortable in your own skin, I want, and do, feel comfortable in my clothes, especially my big knickers!

Posted in Dating & Relationships, humour, women

Sex & The Hormone Gremlins – Would You Really Rather Have A Cup Of Tea?

I remember as  a kid telling my mum I’d never stop reading The Beano.

“I always said that when I was your age”, she replied, “but you will”.

Of course she was right. Soon Jackie had replaced Bunty and your reading matter becomes a journey into middle age. You have a  dalliance with Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, where you learn that ‘little black dress’ will be a permanent feature in your wardrobe until the day you die; and then on to the slippery slope of Take A Break & Woman’s Own. I’m not sure at what age you settle on People’s Friend and Reader’s Digest as I’m not quite there yet.

It’s the same with sex. You hear and read about women of a certain age expressing, “I’d rather have a cup of tea”. And you laugh. Looking coquettishly up at your partner you say, “That will never happen to me”. But it does. Those evil little hormones don’t only take over your body, they also take over your mind and libido.

Intimate relations follow a similar path to changing your comics. Your sexual Beano phase, the one you think you will never give up, is when you are young and horny. Ripping each others clothes off at every opportunity, spending so much time in bed (or anywhere no-one is watching) you consider giving up work, living in a campervan, freeing yourself from all adult responsibility, just so you can satisfy this massive surge of sex hormones that are screaming, “Do it! Do it!”, at you.

Your Jackie phase, the one where you have started to reluctantly give up on your Beano, becomes the reality check. OK, you do have to get up for work in the morning. You will lose your job if you pull another sickie. It is ok to have an early night and just cuddle. You have to convince yourself of this as there is always that niggling feeling at the back of your mind where you wonder if you’re having enough sex, and the same amount of sex as other people. So you graduate to the  Marie Claire & Cosmopolitan phase. This is when you ask yourself:

Does he love me enough?

Can I still turn my man on?

Am I an oddity just because sometimes I do really need to eat?

There is an interim phase of Practical Parenting & Bringing Up Baby. This is the ‘Sex, what sex?’ phase of your life. Feel free to leave a comment if you have experience of this phase, as a single parent I wouldn’t even dare to make something up to fill this paragraph.

The Take A Break & Woman’s Own phase seem to span the biggest portion of a woman’s life. Let’s fast forward to being 50+. By this time there are no rules. It’s every woman and man for themselves. The rule book, along with the matching undies and razor, has long since been discarded. I am Wo Man, hear me roar! And roar I will. You have finally reached a point in your life when you know what you want, but you don’t want it anymore. The hormone gremlins are casting their final spell on you (see A Day In The Life Of Mr And Mrs Flush – Surviving The Men-O-Pause) According to The Office Of National Statistics, in 2013 the number of divorces was highest amongst women and men aged between 40-44. Just Saying.

Somewhere along the line we left the roll over and fart joy of sex behind us and opted out altogether. Maybe it’s not the hormones after all, maybe it’s the men. We’re not the only ones that start sporting Amazonian style armpits and pubes. Things creep in slowly. One day you ask yourself, “when did he stop cleaning his teeth before bed?”

We laugh at the sitcoms when, during intercourse, couples start discussing the shopping list, or on staring vacantly up at the ceiling remember it really does need painting. We laugh because we recognise this scenario. Momentarily we consider spicing up our love lives, planning romantic evenings that’ll get the old juices flowing again. But then that hormone gremlin says, “Nah! Can’t be bothered. I really would rather have a cup of tea”.

Posted in Dating & Relationships, humour, women

The Cat Man & The Mummy’s Boy – Some Men To Avoid

On Saturday I was thrilled to be invited onto a radio station to answer some questions about blind dates; this was as the result of a piece I had published in The Huffington Post. At the age of 50 I feel plenty qualified to talk about dating & relationships. I don’t have any qualifications, just experience. Mostly because I am 50 and live alone. I have come close a few times to getting a cat, but I wouldn’t be able to live with the stereotype. I don’t ever want to be the cat lady spinster who smells of piss, to be honest I never really want to smell of piss.

There are some men to avoid, actually probably a lot of men to avoid. Let’s start with the ones that ‘still’ live at home. Clearly I’m emphasising the word, ‘still’, as there are men who have to move back home after a relationship break up, or may be carers, or have basically had some life event that has forced them into that position. I’m talking about men over 25 who have never left home. Dates with these guys start off OK until you go for dinner with his folks. It goes something like this:

Mum answers the door in her pinny, flour in her hair and smells of roses. Where is that lovely man of yours that you are getting so serious about you agreed to this dinner? Turns out he’s lying on the sofa watching telly. “Another beer dear?” His mum asks as you follow her into the front room. If this happens to you it is the precise moment that you suddenly remember your dog is dying and you only popped in to let them know you will have to take a rain check. If you don’t you will spend the rest of the evening being asked if you cook, sew, iron, bake….while mummy waits on him hand and foot.

The next one to avoid is the man who lives on his own with a cat or cats. The father of my child was this one. I had just been diagnosed with a rare and incurable form of skin cancer (it still hasn’t finished me off yet) and he was kind and attentive. If I hadn’t been so vulnerable I wouldn’t have overlooked the cat, his red velour sweater (which I kept hiding at the bottom of his ironing basket) and his single minded determination to let his body odour flow freely rather than use deodorant. And yet he used to leave the room to fart? I haven’t even got round to the cat yet.

The Cat. The cat called Sarah. I thought it was an odd name for a cat, guessed it might be an ex girlfriend’s name or something, never asked. This cat didn’t seem to like my company very much, I was an interloper. She  was a very sneaky cat, she only scratched me when he wasn’t looking. And she gave me a look, you know, the ‘I’ll get rid of you in the end’ kind of look. Trust me, that was a joint effort and not solely down to the cat. He let her lick the dinner plates clean. When he came in from work he walked past me, straight out to the back door, and sat on the step stroking her. One morning I packed up my things, left him a note and headed off into the sunset. Actually, I phoned him at work, told him I’d left him a note, but didn’t want him to get home and think he’d been burgled.

A week later I discovered I was pregnant. The best thing he gave me in life was my son. I’m glad I left when I did, if I hadn’t I would never have had the courage to leave and do it on my own; and he was not the man to bring up my child with. A story never to be shared out of respect for my son and his father. He won’t mind the other stuff I’ve written. I almost forgot to include the bit about what happened on our first date.

On our first date cat man called for me at home. He walked past me, straight through my flat, and out into the garden. Maybe he thought I had a cat out there. I got into his car which was so old it didn’t have seatbelts, but was by no means classic or vintage (I insisted he upgraded when the time came for him to be transporting my most precious cargo around). We went for a drink in a lovely bar that had plastic garden type furniture. I wasn’t even halfway through my first drink when those lovely plastic chair legs gave way and I ended up on my back with my legs in the air struggling like an upside down tortoise. I was wearing a fairly short skirt as well at the time. And cat man? Cat man looked away, he was embarrassed! So he just remained catatonic while others looked on clearly thinking I was drunk as I managed to roll onto my side, get myself out of the chair and up on my feet.

All these things ladies are warning lights. I’m not sure why we insist on forging ahead through those red lights when we are young. It was something I stopped doing later in life, because when I learned love and respect for myself, nothing but the same in return would do.

Posted in comedy, Dating & Relationships, humour, women

How I Met My Husband – Whilst I Was On A Blind Date With Another Man

How I met my, now, ex-husband.

Having been on my own with my son for about 9 years I decided I’d give online dating a go. In those days, 2006, it wasn’t like Tinder, find a match and head out the door. Some men were happy to exchange multiple emails, followed up by lengthy phone calls until I decided I had sorted the wheat from the chaff. Some men weren’t, thought I was wasting their valuable dating time, but that helped me pop them onto the ‘wouldn’t touch with a barge pole’ pile.

I met my first date in a public place, in an area I felt happy there were enough people and escape routes should that become necessary. He turned up just putting out a fag, looking scruffier than his profile pic with earrings that there had been no mention of in our lengthy communications. Surprise surprise we dated for about 3 months. Never judge a book by its cover. I overlooked the fact he was in tens of thousands of pounds of debt (although that did strike him from the potential husband list) and that he had a tattoo of his daughter on his left breast. Most disconcerting. It was only when he stayed one weekend and couldn’t leave as he had been struck down with a serious case of man flu that I finally gave him the elbow. This was the result of finding out that he couldn’t go a few (extra) days without his weed!

The second fellow I had a few reservations about, but as I seemed to be hilariously funny in his eyes I couldn’t resist an evening of being that person. I met him in the same place as the last chap ( I wonder if the bouncers of the pub thought I was a lady of the night). I couldn’t have picked a busier environment to meet him as I’d forgotten it was a match day and Highbury was buzzing. I had an ace up my sleeve though, there was a pub that had a small garden/patio to the rear that no-one else seemed to know about.

We had just settled ourselves in the deserted garden when three chaps in football shirts piled in.  To be honest they looked a little old to be wearing football shirts, but as I said don’t judge a book by its cover (well, only in your head, never out loud). One of them was very drunk and they couldn’t have sat any nearer if they tried. Needless to say they joined in the conversation with us and somehow discovered we were on a blind, internet, date ( I say ‘somehow’, that’ll be me and my big mouth). So a jolly evening was had by all, some more than others.

I’m not sure, but I think when I stood up to leave is when it all went horribly wrong (ok, I am very sure).

  1. It is only when you stand up you realise you have been drinking like a football fan on a Saturday night
  2. It isn’t terribly ladylike to down your date’s leftover pint, even if you do try and suggest it’s wasteful and you’re helping the environment (How? I have no idea)
  3. If a man gives you his business card and says, “call me if it doesn’t work out”, when you’re on a date with someone else; DO NOT take it, put it in your bag and laugh all the way to the next pub.

You guessed it, I am guilty of all of the above. When we got outside the pub I could tell my date was none too pleased about what had just happened. The clue was when he said, “do you want me to go back in and have a word?”. I declined and hurried him along to the pub next to the tube station for one last drink (this is the point that if I went out more often I would know it was time to stop). We sat down before ordering drinks and I vaguely remember him almost right up in my face, I also vaguely remember that I may have been letting out a little spit when I was talking back to him. He went to the bar to get the drinks and that was the last I saw of him. I tried calling his mobile and it went straight to voicemail. The time eventually came when I realised he’d done a bunk. I went outside the pub and called the guy who’d given me his card to see if they were still about, he seemed nice, gentle and kind. He was on the train on his way home but we made a date for another time.

And that is how I met my (ex) husband.

Posted in comedy, humour, women

Making Sunday A Fun Day – When You’re Billy No Mates

I found myself at a bit of a loose end on Sunday; I thought I should do something completely different (usually Sunday afternoon is spent in the pub). I would learn how to survive a Sunday on my own, not just survive but enjoy, without the pub. I pulled on my skin tight jeans, threw on my white blouse and scrunched my hair up into a messy bun (in my dreams, that’s the stuff Jilly Cooper is made of. Two hours of face painting and a comb over before I’m ready to pull on my high waisted jeans and a top long enough to hide my muffin top).

I walked with a jaunty step (still in chick lit mode) feeling determined and liberated. I planned  to pick up the Sunday papers and take myself for brunch. I had it set in my head which paper I would buy, but it appears the early bird catches the worm on Sunday mornings, how was I to know, I’d never taken flight before 2pm.  I was in a  bit of a quandary as I couldn’t possibly give money to the papers that fund hate. I didn’t want the local paper, if I read that I may well never feel safe enough to leave the house again. I chose one that I wasn’t sure if it did or didn’t fund hate. Had a fair idea it didn’t.

Feeling terribly cosmopolitan I pootled along to the cafe, newspaper at the ready. My cosmopolitan, liberated, jaunty mood subsided slightly as all the windows were steamed up. I panicked in case I walked in and there wasn’t a spare table, everyone would be looking at me. I would be awkward and clumsy and no longer the woman I had dreamed of being. I had no idea how important it was to be able to see through windows before entering a premises.

Good fortune shone down on me and I settled myself into a corner table with my back to the wall.  I always sit with my back to the wall if I can. Last Saturday I gave up my ‘back to the wall’ seat so a man who wanted to watch the rugby more than I did could have a better view. I discovered I had the right idea all along, people insist on touching your hair and stuff when you allow yourself to sit within arm’s reach of passers by. As another aside I did say to aforementioned man, “What the hell are you doing on your phone when I gave up my seat so you could get a better view!”.

I digress. I took out the magazine supplement, I thought that was the safest bet as it would be awfully inconvenient to gather up a sprawled out broadsheet when my decaf tea and veggie all day breakfast arrived. I observed the other patrons and made some notes. I was surrounded by young families and couples. I convinced myself that that didn’t make me jealous or lonely as:

  1. You could stay at home eating breakfast and staring at your phones.
  2. I’m an independent woman of age, happy with my own company.
  3. I don’t have to sit trying to make conversation until the food arrives.

Going out for brunch seems to be a ‘thing’ these days. I get embarrassed if I say I’ve been out for brunch. When I say ‘breakfast’ they look at the time and correct me, “don’t you mean brunch?” What is this fascination with joining two words to make a whole other new word. Brexit. Guesstimate. Brangelina. Chillax. The only good thing about it is the word that describes that process. Portmanteau, beautiful word. I was only there for Breakfast Lunch because I didn’t have any food in the fridge and I was too hungry to go shopping and then go home and prepare it.

I’m lucky really, despite my idiosyncrasies*, that I do have the confidence to walk into a bar or cafe on my own. A good job really, if I didn’t I could spend days never seeing or talking to another human being. The moral of my story, if there is one; don’t get stuck in a rut. Even if you do the same thing everyday, try and do it differently. You’d be surprised how something as simple as having a pot of tea instead of a  teabag in the mug can lift your spirits. Carpe Diem!

*a fairly nice way to describe someone who is frankly a bit odd with a bucketful of anxieties.

 

Posted in humour, women

Carry On Caravanning – The Highs And Lows Of Being Off Grid

February has arrived. It’s that month when you start to feel that  Christmas is really behind us now. Time to start thinking about the summer and where to go on holiday. Fed up of the short, cold, days we dream of the sun on our face and sand between our toes…..

A few years ago I decided to buy a caravan, a static caravan in a field, off grid, back to basics, at one with nature. This was going to be all our holidays from now on, weekends, bank holidays, you name it we would be there. The first night we slept there I was awake all night.

“Oh My God! We are in a caravan at the bottom of a field in the middle of nowhere!”

“Oh My God, what if one of us needs an ambulance in the night, it’s so dark out there, they’ll never find us!!!” (If you’ve read my other posts this whole needing the police, or an ambulance, during the night is a recurring theme).

I got out of bed to check my purse for the piece of paper with the address of where we were, and placed it next to my mobile phone. Suddenly the thought of that dark, star filled sky lost all of its romantic appeal. My imagination went into overdrive as I pictured masked invaders smashing through the door. Wouldn’t be hard, that flimsy coffin I was suffocating in was a pushover!

“What time does it get light?” I blubbered.

The next morning I sat outside in the sunshine, fag in one hand, tea in the other, my chin down to my feet. I finally plucked up the courage to say that I couldn’t possibly EVER sleep in that caravan again. Needless to say, after spending two grand on that hellhole, my pleas fell on very deaf ears as Mr Happy positioned himself, eyes closed and face up towards the sun,  the corner of his mouth twitching slightly as he became heady with pleasure.

A few alcohol induced comas helped me through the nights on that first trip as we got stuck in to ‘rebuilding’ the interior. I might add at this point Mr Happy did advise me against buying the caravan. I have tried to curb my impulses since. Once we had everything looking just the way I had imagined, transforming a 1980’s static into a vintage delight (as long as you were only looking at the inside) I started to feel more comfortable. We bought a solar panel that charged two batteries and a 12 volt television. I was a green wellied water collector that didn’t brave the shower block until the smell got so bad Mr Happy had to start spraying me with Mr Sheen. As dusk swept across the field we would watch the bats do their evening dance around our heads and we felt we could live like that forever. Yes, I did at times suggest it would be the greatest way to live (curbed that impulse).

I became so ‘relaxed’ about it all that one Friday I decided to drive down to the caravan ahead of Mr Happy. I would fetch the water in, open the curtains and windows and prepare for his evening arrival. I felt amazing, so grown up and independent (I HATE driving with a passion – see travelling with anxiety). I drove my car across the field down to the caravan to avoid running the gauntlet of rabid dogs, and would move it when I had a dog handling expert at my side later on (weren’t supposed to have cars at the vans).

Once the curtains were drawn I spied a man I hadn’t seen before staring across at me.

“Oh Shit. I’m in a caravan all alone at the bottom of a field with no one around to hear my screams!”

“Shit, shit, shit!”

I jumped in the car, left it in the car park and started walking to the nearest village. I didn’t drive, as like I said, I hate driving and I’d done my bit for the day. I was wearing new sandals. Oh my poor feet. I jumped (more jumping, mainly out of my skin) on a bus and headed into Rye. Once I’d exhausted the shops I went on a pub crawl, intermittently phoning Mr Happy to explain my dilemma and beg him to arrive soon. I ended up back in the village, and headed inside the pub to wait for him. During the 3 hours I waited for him I was sexually harassed by the local drunk who wanted to take me back to his caravan for a bit of How’s Your Father. After he had smoked his fifth joint I had no concerns about being able to fight him off.

This is merely a snapshot of an adventure that spanned two years. Yes, I endured it for two years. The highs outweighed the lows and I learned a lot about myself. All bad. Look out for Carry On Camping – Didn’t I Learn Anything From Caravanning!?

Posted in Dating & Relationships, women

When Valentine’s Day Doesn’t Get Your Heart Racing

Hand in hand St Valentine and Cupid (great image) contribute to this multi-million pound industry without even signing off on it. The names of a Saint and a God used to line the pockets of the fat cats, would they approve do you think?

At a time of year when we’re still vacuuming up the pine needles; the next onslaught of commercialised, materialistic, ‘invented’ celebration rears its ugly head. St. Valentine’s Day. Another 24 hours for the singletons to feel like social outcasts; or for those who choose to be on their own to keep justifying why they aren’t ‘looking’ for Mr/Mrs Right just now, if ever.

Again the shops are adorned with the trappings of expectation; as well as luring some in they serve as a reminder to others that an evening of ‘aloneness’ looms. For some this involves eating ice-cream straight from the tub; polishing off the last of the Baileys; weeping over Pride & Prejudice and dreaming of meeting our own Mr Darcy. Memories of my past. Nowadays I’d probably be joining an online chat for singles who laugh in the face of Valentine’s day (whilst eating ice-cream and drinking Baileys).

For others St Valentine’s Day is filled with the excitement of a possible proposal of marriage. I got engaged on Valentine’s Day when I was 23. Well, we chose to announce it on that Day having decided earlier to commit to each other; my boyfriend wanted to move back to London. Ok, I decided we had to be engaged if I was going to move away with him as I never wanted to move to London. Very romantic. It was an amazing day though, a dozen red roses (maybe it was 2, I don’t remember, I’m 50 now) sent to my place of work, balloons filled my car, so much fuss and attention bestowed on me. Lots of oooo’s and ahhhh’s as I showed off my £130 Ratners engagement ring.

There was a time when I bought into it all. When love was measured by the size of the card and flowers. I cried as girls at school clutched their wads of cards and spat the numbers at you asking “How many did you get?” In that mean, schoolgirl kind of way. And there was always one girl that you just knew had written cards to herself. I never stooped so low.

But now I am older, wiser, and a parent. I’m older and a parent anyway.  I’m not bitter or resentful, I do have a boyfriend (the engagement at 23 never got as far as a wedding) who will buy me a card, and something really obscure that after a couple of drinks I will question him over (one year it was Scratch Art?!!). I don’t mind if he doesn’t, probably would rather he didn’t. An article, posted 13th February 2015, in Psychology Today stresses the importance of ‘all year round’ love; as the expectations, comparisons and magnifications actually contribute to couples breaking up in the weeks before and after Valentine’s day. Expecting great romantic gestures; comparing what others have done, especially on Social Media; and the magnification of flaws in your existing relationship.

If you are in a relationship and all, or some, of the above apply to you here is how you can avoid the pitfalls:

  • Don’t let one silly day of the year put your relationship under a magnifying glass. Work on it as much as you can all year round.
  • Read the article in Psychology Today for some tips on reigniting the passion you once felt for each other.
  • Be realistic. Life gets in the way of love sometimes. It can’t be hearts and flowers every day.
  • Don’t believe everything you see and read on Social Media.

If you are single and Valentine’s Day makes you feel lonely; it doesn’t matter which day of the year you fall in love or go on a date. You are not a social outcast, you just haven’t found anyone good enough for you yet. Learn to love yourself first and the rest will come to you.

Happy Every Day, For The Rest Of Your Life

Posted in comedy, women

If Google Translate Took Over Your Online Profile – Dating Over The Age Of 50

Disclaimer

I am writing this for a friend; Any Resemblance to Actual Persons, Living or Dead, is Purely Coincidental

A friend of mine who has recently found herself single after 15 years of marriage is ready to take the next step

For the sake of argument let’s call her, anything other than her real name, Liz. Liz is 51 and filled with a truck load of insecurity; this is what her profile would look like if she was brave enough to be honest. After all, they all find out in the end.

 

You?

I am a recently separated 51 year old mum of 6, almost grown up, children. Yes, I know, I clearly started young; if you really want to know I’ll be a bloody grandma next month.

Physical Characteristics

I have bloodshot green eyes, wiry bleached blonde hair, a saggy tummy and boobs down to my knees, I did a lot of breastfeeding. I’m 5ft 8 inches tall but shrinking a bit now, mainly due to curvature of the spine that in the wrong clothes makes me look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. My wiry hair is starting to come out in handfuls due to my underactive thyroid, but if I do a Trumpian comb over you’d hardly notice.

Greatest Achievements

Getting through the day without having a number 1 or number 2 accident. This is  due to my irritable bowel, and inability to sneeze without letting out a little wee as no-one actually explained what pelvic floor exercises really are. Lying on the floor and raising my legs didn’t cut the mustard. I do have tablets to hold off on the number 2’s but I don’t always remember to take them. I would consider remembering to take my tablets quite an achievement as well, the memory is going a little, I know, too young!

Biggest Fears

See Above

Lifestyle

Since my separation, after the initial shock and clothes shredding spree, I have learned to live my life alone. I threw all the razors in the bin, I am a liberated European woman with more hair under my arms and legs than anywhere else on my body. And I mean anywhere. I enjoy going to bed early and not having to put up with my beer bellied, unshaven, whisky breathed hubby pawing me. I’m peri-menopausal so not really interested in a physical relationship right now. Not to mention the enormous amount of effort it takes to clench my buttocks (just in case) and fake an orgasm; my COPD can be exacerbated by that kind of fast breathing. I have two different types of inhaler for that, but it’s just not worth the risk, you know.

Career and Financial Solvency

Thanks to my ‘children’ not being ‘children’ I’m not entitled to any maintenance. My lovely little job I did for pin money has now become my main source of income. I am really poor so DSS need not apply.

Looking For?

I’m looking for a man between 35 and 45 with a busy career that keeps him away from home for long periods of time. Tall, dark and handsome, big heart and even bigger wallet. Someone I can flirt with over the phone and on messenger but not have to see too often, The odd meal out, but home to our own abodes. Generous to a fault. Someone who wants to make sure I live comfortably but wants nothing in return.

Whoever said that 50 is the new 40 was having a laugh

Any Takers?