Friday, February 24, 2012

Shopping Lists!

I have a cold and feeling very sorry for myself and so I am taking the easy way out with an article published in a magazine published locally. My second pay cheque for writing -how very satisfying!


...SHOWER WAITROSE TROLLEYS LIKE CONFETTI because once their job is done, they are simply discarded like a pole dancer whose bum has dropped (that's certainly what forced my change of career)
The small trolleys have those special little bits of levered metal that have been modeled on Arkwright’s till. They grab onto your list for you in case it lingers too long beside the frozen peas and you have to retrace your steps before dragging it back by its dog-eared corner. The lever thwacks it into place and there's no escaping, which is probably why folk leave it there. We are all G-G-G-Granvilles, terrified of losing a finger.
Since our Goodly Editor mentioned his delight and preoccupation with shopping lists, I have collected around 60 from Waitrose trolleys. I feel as though I know you all, in an abstract sort of a way. I have taken little pieces of you home dear Shoppers of the East Midlands.    
As I speak, I do not now, nor have I ever owned a shopping list that I once saw attached to a shopper. I made it a rule never to liberate a list from a trolley that was still warm. I don't want you to worry on that score. I understand your concern. It would be as though I had rifled through your knicker drawer, and one has one's dignity.  I can of course, gleam a little knowledge about you from the handwriting; a little shaky here, a tad spikey there, artistically floral on the odd occasion and with doodles that signify you have far too much time on your hands.  I can take an educated guess what you are planning for dinner (amongst other things, you rascals!) and I am pretty certain that if called upon, I could give the police a brief description of you, if not a rough sketch.
I know who had just opened their gas bill while there was at least one ill child in the house  "Calpol, ibuprofen, cloths and bleach, Antibacterial spray - kills 99% of germs!" , all written on the back of a British Gas envelope.
I know that Debbie* had just ordered a sachel and top from Boden and was planning a trip to Aberdeen. I also have her e-mail details because she wrote the whole week's menu on the back of a print out. Shame on you Debbie!! Did he remember to put that note by the bins when he went out? I will resist the urge to e-mail him and ask.
A lady who likes ready meals and olives has a hospital appointment.
I love this next one, it's hoping for the best and planning for the worst "Eggs, raisins, red wine, linguine, Man Tissues! Resolve and Nurofen"
Aptly, a senior citizen who likes fruit, TV magazines and The Woman's Weekly - has written her list on the back of a web page entitled:
50 Tips for Grocery Shopping - Zen Habits -breathe which would suggest that rifling through the Reduced section is not approached by everyone as though they were a child at a Lucky Dip!
A man who likes adventurous sandwiches has been on a Rutland Care Activity Weekend.
 I know when you are tired and hormonal and sensibly opting for a vegetarian meal of chocolate, wine and crisps. I know when the family is coming round for dinner and when Heston Blumanthal has seeped far too far into your psyche.
I know when you have been in a hurry or have been meticulously planning or need to keep to a budget "Beans, spaghetti hoops, beer"
I strongly suspect the person with the expensive paper to be a spy for beneath his bold prompts for Italian coffee and kosher salty snacks, something caught my eye. I have no need of varifocals as I am not yet old enough, so I removed my 4 pairs of glasses and peered at the faint scribbles beneath the fountain-penned list, noticing as I did so, that pencil marks are barely visible on grey paper.... In no particular order they read
Red Grapes                   by wood slice                   crown                   supportive shield
                              verbal conf                   tweaked                 4pm or before   !!!!
If he isn't a spy then he's certainly up to no good. Tweaked and supportive shield should never appear on the same page in a God-Fearing house!
All and all, between choices of paper,  handwriting, your plans, appointments and eating habits - I reckon I could just about work out where you live!
*Debbie’s name has been changed to protect the innocent. She’s actually Karen.

By Lesley Gibson

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Deux Points! Or here are the results from The Hoochter Chucter Jury!

Guid Eevnin!

I hope yis have aw hid yer tea and are richt tae hae a gaw at answering ma 'Blog Buddies' questyins.

(Ahem) Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. On this fine late winter evening, may I take the opportunity of welcoming you to the home of Pam and hope that you are feeling prepared for the Blog Buddies questionnaire ahead.

Aye, she's richt an aw!
Yes, that's right.

A wis fair scunnert hinkin o sumday to gie thon award tae
I found the decision of whom to pass the award onto, extremely difficult

So'am gonnae gie yes aw a go.
And so, I have awarded it to each and every one of you

Cannae wait fr'a yer heid scratchins
I simply cannot wait to hear your many and varied answers

Mebbes ye'd like to waash yer coupon afore starting tae gie yersel' a fricht.
Perhaps now might be an opportune time to freshen up in preparation.

Are ye fur the aff?

1. If you could be any type of chip you liked, what would it be and why?

2. Angelos Epithemiou... who suspects there's a  handsome man under there?

3. What would be the title of the hit song from the musical about your life?

4. How old are you and (b) How old would you like to be?

5. Who is our greatest National Treasure?

6. What was your most embarrassing wardrobe malfunction?

7. What would be your superhero name be? Why?

8. What do you think has caused my eye infection?

Richt. am aff fur a few bevvies doon the Hoochter Chook til aw the rest o yis let yer mooth gie yer arse a chance.

And that's the end of the scoring from the Hoochter Choochter Jury.  You can now participate at home by inserting your own answers in the comments box to any or all of those questions and we'll be back shortly with a summary of the main results.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Big Bananas

It's all sex in the Post Office!

I saw a naked young man whilst I was postie-ing today, and yes, he was worth it. ( similar but not identical to this rock star)

Also, my work mate (let's call him Bob) was eating a colossal straight banana next to my trolley.

It was like watching gay porn.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Blog Buddies Questionnaire from Sarah Mac

Last week(or the week before) I was extremely honoured to receive not 1 but 2 awards from Sarah Mac at People Don't Eat Enough Fudge. Blog Buddies was the first and she set me a number of questions. Here are   the results from Hoochter Chucterland:

1. Foods I didn't try till I was really quite old :
    Asparagus, celeriac and artichoke are all favourites now that were considered to be unnecessary veg with ideas above their station when I was growing up.

2.The trait I most admire in a person?
  Well, there are a lot of contenders for this but I think overall, happy-go-lucky-ness, is what I most admire, because resilience and a positive outlook comes with the territory. My daughter has it in bucket loads and she has difficulties to overcome that never phase her. In fact, she has naturally turned them into benefits. Every day I think I learn more from her than she does from me.

3. Marmite, I don't! It's the one thing we disagree on Sarah. Just the thought, makes me stick my tongue out and try to scrape it off.

4.Seagulls and the smell of dolls take me back to my childhood. That peculiar, plasticy newness reminds me of Christmas when I was 4 and of my beautiful new doll, Daisy. She is still in my parents' attic. Her eyelids closed but that was about it on the malleability side. She was rigid everywhere and seemed to have an awful lot of hair for a baby. She looked as though had a pensioner's Wednesday Special shampoo and set.
 They keep asking me to take it away because they can't bear to throw her out but I don't need to keep her, that smell ensures she's with me always. I think they're worried that if they do it, she'll find her way home and strangle them in their beds.  I was going to insert a pic of a scary doll here but I made the mistake of Googling the term and I defy you to do the same and sleep soundly in your beds. I shall be leaving my light on I can tell you.

5. Not old junk but treasures, definitely. My house is filled with with them. I like my 'things' to have a history of life. This is why I could never live in a new house. I briefly had a business selling vintage clothes too and 2 display cabinets, 1 filled with shoes and vintage handbags and gloves, and the other with old jewellery and more handbags.

6. Coffee or tea first thing? Well, I have cut out caffeine but still like decaffeinated coffee first thing then it's roobois or herbal tea all day.

7.Being a fledgling Buddhist, karma is a difficult one for me. I really hate the idea of it since sometimes ,I like to think that shit happens and it's no-one's fault. But, I do really believe in cause and effect and when I look back at my life, I have always believed strongly in karma, I just didn't call it that. Pride comes before a fall, that sort of thing. I think you can change your karma and your fate by changing the path that you are on. This is a big question, so maybe we can talk this over on the beach with that scone Ms Mac!

8.Would I read someone else's thoughts? No cos no good ever came from listening at doors and you need context too. But, if I was forced to,perhaps the Dalai Lama because then I would be able to hear silence and feel all the peace that there is in there. Gawd knows my head is stuffed with constant whittling, it's exhausting!

9.Well, there are far too many inappropriate things to mention but the most humiliating would have to be when I was drunk and caught on camera at a 40th birthday party trying to entice my (male, unhappily married) friend into an affair. One of us was always trying to entice the other when my marriage broke up. A 30 year friendship would be down the tubes if we were ever to mutually entice! The most awful bit was that the bloke whose 40th it was sat down with his wife and kids to watch his birthday video and was horrified to see the whole thing play before his eyes like an episode of Hollyoaks. I need just to say at this point that I no longer drink, nor even entice single men, never mind married ones and do not think it is acceptable behaviour. I had been going through a shitty time and it made me behave shittily.

10. Not really a biscuit eater if truth be told which makes the size of my arse even more inexplicable.

11. I love kisses and hugs but only when I am in the mood. Sometimes I have my invisible shield up and people have battered themselves to death upon it.

Later this week, the rules of Blog Buddies and my nominated tagged person..............

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Shadow Elf

 I knew that the unthinkable was going to happen as I slept.  I fought against it with maternal certainty but in the end all I managed to do was to delay it a little. I was panic stricken, terrified; helpless. 
My Elf was gone.

 Even within the dream,I would traumatise myself with the memory, over and over again; knowing that the moment that I stopped, the betrayal would be unforgivable. I would be leaving my child alone in that moment and for every moment thereafter.  Worse, I would have to accept that I hadn't managed to freeze time at the point of separation in order to keep her safe until she found her way back home. I would have to know, truly know that she was away from everyone she loved; unprotected against whatever/whoever had taken her away.
 How could I forgive myself? How could I bear that knowledge?  I didn't even want to try. I wanted to feel all the horror that there was in that moment, because it meant not leaving her alone with her horror now.Any memories of our life before were smothered by the agony of loss.

Last night as I drove home, in the glare of the headlights on the A14 and in the rain, a 7 foot shadow ambled across my path. I saw it quite clearly for it had a definite outline and an unmistakably mischievous gait.  In the hazy, rain-sodden darkness, it seemed to me that it saw me, knew me.
 It cannot be coincidence that I saw an Elf, have an Elf and dreamed I lost my Elf to the darkness.

When have you known unhappiness, the child lingers there, waiting to be consoled always.

Shadow Elf  is my entry for Yearning for Wonderland's Faerie Ring Contest. 

Visit the link above if you want to join in. For another of my competition entries this week, see

Thursday, February 9, 2012


‘Look what you’ve done now, you little shit!', the incandescent roaring of her mother terrified her  but she stood her ground as the large, stuffed turtle was thrown at her with all the strength that accompanies fury. The girl rocked back and forth, clutching the rescued animal to her chest, its warm velvety face looking up at her; desperately seeking reassurance.
After searching for the toy, she’d asked her father if he knew where Chuckles was and so after short, fat, muffled words in the kitchen, he’d sent his wife to retrieve it from the dustbin where she’d thrown it in spite, and then he’d left for work without regret.
 In the space between mother and daughter, a noise began to leak from between the gritted teeth of the child- hissing slowly at first but building and quickening as the force of that noise levered open her jaw in a long, low, feral wail. Her pain insisted on being heard before the twin lights of defiance and hatred found their way to the gallery of her eyes and  prompted her mother to leave, making sure that she’d locked the door behind her.

Part Of The 5 sentence fiction blog hop


‘Look what you’ve done now you little shit! ‘, the incandescent roaring of her mother terrified her  but she stood her ground as the large, stuffed turtle was thrown at her with all the strength that accompanies fury. The girl rocked back and forth, clutching the rescued animal to her chest, its warm velvety face looking up at her; desperately seeking reassurance.
After searching for the toy for hours, she’d asked her father if he knew where Chuckles was and so after short, fat, muffled words in the kitchen, he’d sent his wife to retrieve it from the dustbin where she’d thrown it in spite, and then he’d left for work without regret.
 In the space between mother and daughter, a noise began to leak from between the gritted teeth of the child- hissing slowly at first but building and quickening as the force of that noise levered open her jaw in a long, low, feral wail. Her pain insisted on being heard before the twin lights of defiance and hatred found their way to the gallery of her eyes and  prompted her mother to leave, making sure that she’d locked the door behind her.

My new alcohol -again

Forgive me, but I am reposting this because of a comment/story I left on someone else's blog.It's made me a little thoughtful and when I read it, I see how much has changed for me in the 2 months since I wrote it.


I have gone up 3 dress sizes since having a break from my career, and I have been teetotal for the past 6.5 months.
This is only significant because, when I struggled with my weight before being teetotal, it was usually remedied by cutting out alcohol. 
I have been struggling with this anomaly (or is it a paradox?) as my arse got increasingly bigger.
I also love being outdoors and paradoxically (definitely the right word this time)  have spent less time outdoors than ever before now that I have the time to do it, and I soooo miss it! I do not enjoy wasting my days by watching TV. But that is exactly how I spend too much of my time.
About a month or so ago, I realised that TV was my new alcohol - it has a much stronger grip on me than I have on it. It is all about NOT being in the here and now of life, it is something that takes me away from my reality. This also puzzles me as I am happy with my home, my friends, my family. A friend of mine tells me she thinks it's an escape from an otherwise busy life, sole responsibility for 3 children takes a lot of juggling and organising and so, she maintains that I use it as a way to switch off. I don't feel that's correct. Maybe it explains sitting down after tea but not switching it on the moment they have gone to school. Nope there is something else going on.
I went out tonight and got into conversation with someone who has a similar profession to me. She's an art therapist who is reassessing the job she loves. I love my job, I just can't do it at the moment. I am burnt out.
I had an interview to be a postie this week (will let you know when I hear about it, it will be 4 weeks apparently)  It will pay about a quarter of the wage I am used to but my dream job has always been to be a postie and the interview only fired my enthusiasm even further. I can think of nothing nicer than walking all day, watching the seasons change, being a pivotal part of the community and having little stressMy friend the therapist has also enquired about being a postie. She has sold her house because she fancied renting for a while, and has found it incredibly liberating. She does not have to constantly repair and improve this house. She can simply relax in it and she has found she has freed up a lot of her time.
I found myself telling her about the TV situation and she said that made sense to her because she stopped smoking 9 years ago, and food took the place of cigarettes 
Now, my new friend told me, she always knows when she is stressed because she finds herself frantically looking for food the moment she finishes work -turns her car upside down. Knowing this, she started an exercise regime but feels that it will easily become an addiction. I replied that twice in my life exercise became an addiction and developed alongside a borderline eating disorder. It then dawned on both of us, that we have addictive personalities. I am lucky in that I never step so far over the edge that I can't get back. So, the food and the TV are not only the new alcohol, but they are new addictions taking over from the previous ones. So, so soooooooooo. What are the addictions replacing? Can I get to the bottom of that? What do I constantly need that I do not have/get? How can I sort that one out?
Answers on a postcard please. Otherwise, what's your addiction?


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pam's Prizewinning Surprises

Have I told you recently that I am the recipient of Blog Buddies? Sarah Mac, my champion passed it on to me and there are a few criteria. The first is to post 10 things that people don't know about you and so, here is Part 1 of the Blog Buddies challenge.
Ten surprising things about Pam
1.     I can juggle. I juggle really quite well with 3 balls (titter ye not, missus).
Well actually, I can manage 3 of anything really quite well with all the usual tricks and flicks. I used to travel within Spain quite a lot and it was my busking thing for food money. It also helped me to make friends J I can juggle in an inconsistent manner with clubs and have a variety of other circus skills under my belt –low level stilts, that sort of thing. I never mastered the unicycle though.

2.     Last year I sung backing vocals in an imploding reggae band, brief but fun. I am determined to get back into a band this year. I am such a music lover that I cannot settle on a genre. Maybe an opportunity will present itself and make up my mind for me. I used to sing a lot when I was younger. During the unhappy years, I did forget that I knew how to play guitar and that I had been a writer of songs. The moment I remembered, I bought Gloria (I expect this will all become clearer in a post one day)my beautiful black, sleek and curvy guitar.

3.     I touched Michael Franti of Spearhead once. Truly I did. It was at the best gig ever on the Indoor Stage at Leicester Summer Sundae. He is so charismatic! Hear his protest music with fantastic beats, here.  Two years ago I went on my first ever (and sadly my only) trip to San Francisco and was invited to a party where I was introduced to the wife of the ex-bassist of Spearhead. !!!!!!!!!! I mean !!!!!!!!! It truly is a tiny world. I reckon if I try hard enough, I could find someone who’d let me roll a fag for Johnny Depp.

4.     Me and my mate Dave have had a ‘will we, won’t we?’ thing going for nearly 30 years.  We haven’t.

5.     I used to run a ‘hand-painted T-shirt’ business in my early 20’s with a grant from The Prince’s Trust. I earned enough money for my first ever inter-railing experience! I t was very time consuming though, hand-painting T-shirts. Strangely, I was never so successful on paper!

6.     I was on Australia TV once. Yes, I had had a crash in a car I was hitching from Adelaide to Sydney in –well 2 car crashes actually- and the lad-who-was-driving’s mum felt so guilty that she took me in and she had a daughter who phoned into a Saturday morning TV music show and got tickets and took me! John Oates was on and I was absolutely in love with him at the time cos I thought he looked like Charles II, who I had a historical crush on after reading stuff like ‘Forever Amber’. I asked him to sign my T-shirt and was so nervous that I got a nerve trapped in my leg and shook like a dog dry humping the hoover. He laughed and cuddled me and instead of cuddling back, I wasted the moment worrying about whether or not I had B.O.

7.     I am useless with pets, and too ashamed and depressed to explain that one.

8.     One of my all-time favourite memories is of a caravan weekend in Aviemore with my mates. One was on top of the caravan singing, Joolz and Ian were shaking the caravan next door as they were new lovers(who could have known that their 25th wedding anniversary would only be a breath away) and a pitiful voice replied to the question ‘Where’s Moose?’ with ‘I’m in the brambles and I’m not coming oot!'

9.     I used to be the town English teacher to a small Extremaduran town. The town mayor took me everywhere like a trophy as I was the first foreigner ever to go there. Since he was political, this is how I met Felipe Gonzalez who was a bit gorg-uss in his day and because I was young and stupid, that’s what I took from the moment.

10.                         When there was a fire on the Carcassonne /Figueres train, I was offered a lift by a couple who also offered a lift to a man who took us to his farmhouse and showed us his bread oven, but more importantly, his paintings, because he had been a student of Picasso! I must look out the postcard he gave me of one of his paintings –he might be famous! Will keep you posted! For my part, I have  a Blue Peter badge for a postcard competition. My entry depicted myself and my brother playing on the beach. I could see it from my bedroom window so had a no fair
advantage. If you flash your badge now, does it still get you in places for free?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

A man who picks a cat up by the tail...

"... A man who picks a cat up by the tail,  gains knowledge he can get no other way."
 Garrison Keillor on  A Prairie Home Companion

The wisdom of this is irrefutable.What especially makes me laugh, is the slow burn before the truth of this reaches your brain. It sneaks up on it from behind. It's so clever, that I really can't think of anything else that would have the same impact.

A man who eats artichokes, farts all day. Doesn't really have the same ring.

Garrison has been ingenious as he has presented the cat scenario as though it were a proverb of an Eastern Religion. This not only adds weight to the ridiculous sincerity of it but creates a backdrop of calm, against which we may imagine the cat teaching the man his lesson. I have a cartoon cat in my mind. Possibly Hobbes. Now, THERE is the master of comic philosophy. 

In having to deal with people who may or may not be childish big fat bullies that are irrevocably tied to your family through no fault of your own after accidentally  having 3 children to them*, it is best to practise tolerance and understanding and so I have been attempting to makes sense of things the Garrsion Keillor way. F'r instance:

You cannot blame a tiger for chewing your fucking head off.  He is after all, a bit of a bastard 

If a lion looks like it is going to bite you, shove a donut in   

You must have some experiential words of wisdom for me. Make me smile while I increase my wisdom.

* All characters in this blog are fictitious. Any resemblance that there may be between the protagonists of this post and any bastards , alive or dead, are thinly veiled.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Things a Postman says

 Don't you mean Postwoman

No, actually! I always wanted to be a postman; it's traditional and as you can plainly see, I have the trousers for it.

Before I start, you will see that I am the very proud owner of the new Kindred Spirit award. The Lovely Sarah Mac awarded it to me, and she is one of the reasons that I continue to blog. When I began, I knew I wanted an outlet for myself but didn't realise I'd be opening the door to friends. It has been a surprise, delight and support to me. She is definitely a kindred spirit and in her fantastic blog, I sometimes feel she is my West Country doppleganger. However, since she is tall and willowy, more like a negative of my much shorter, rounder self.

I look forward to welcoming any new friends to PP and to finding more kindred spirits x

So, things a Postman says:

  •  Knock! Knock! Knock!   Good afternoon Sir, can I have your mail back, it's for next door
  • Ratatatat!  Hello Sir, can I give you this? (hands over awkward package and clocks the customer looking expectantly at the pile of mail in my  his/her hand)    Yes, you may have more mail Sir, but I actually start at the other end of the street and , well your parcel was getting on my nerves  Customer(gamely):  See you soon then.                                                                                                                           
  • May I say Sir, that is the most splendiferous moustache!
  • Roll up the magazine and the minute the dog grabs it, pull it straight back out through the letterbox quick! It won't do that again  - but it wasn't me who told you.
  • Knock! Knock! Knock!    I am very sorry to ask you this Madam, but can you take me to 49a please. I've looked and looked.
  • Sign here, Sir. Print on the top then sign on the bottom.     Do you have a pen? 
  •   Knock Knock !  Sorry Sir, Just returning your pen.
  •  It's not so bad as long as you're working
  • Yes thanks, it is cold enough for me
  • It's OK if you keep moving
  • Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I hope that's a dog's toy!
  • Yes your post is a bit damp but if you would care to look at me for a moment then I think we can put this into perspective.
  • Hahahaha! No Sir, I can't take that to Basingstoke.
  • That frikkin dog from number 50 nearly had my hand off through the letterbox this morning!
  • There is blood all over the mail for my route this morning. Who would be so unprofessional?  What if they had something? Why didn't they get a plaster? After bleeding on the first 20, you'd think they'd have sought help, unbeliev......     .........Boss, where's the first aid box? I've cut my finger!
  • Haha! No, I didn't manage to take your mail to Basingstoke.
  • You can leave your handbag in the depot no worries. No one will touch it.  Best take your uniform home though.... ........
  • Either number 52 has bought an identically vicious dog, or the one from number 50 has dug a tunnel!
  • Ha..Basingstoke was lovely, Thanks.
  • Isn't that your telephone ringing? My Mum's fine, Thanks for asking? Erm, telephone.. No Dad isn't too well. Tel... No my Mum isn't Jackie. Answer your frikking phone!
  • Member of Public:   That's not a local accent is it?
                            Me:         No, I'm from Hoochter Chuchter*  in Fife
                            MofP:     Oh, I know Hoochter Chucter!              
                                             silence      pin drop        very quiet       bit more silence        nothing

       Me:      Horrible isn't it?
       MofP:  Didn't like to say.

And finally, an anecdote.
 During the course of my day, I come into contact, either hither or thither with young men. One in particular blushes profusely every time he sees me and finds it difficult to keep eye contact.
 I was just congratulating myself on 'life left in the old dog yet' syndrome when, in a rare moment of self awareness, I realised that the poor young man is mortified because a middle-aged tubby woman from Hoochter Chuchter looks at him with the clear desire to eat him with a spoon.

* Names have been changed to protect the innocent (and me from being stabbed)