Friday 25 January 2008

Bad Hair Day

A while ago I complained that Bert never notices when I've had my hair done. Today he noticed straight away. And here's why:

Yes, I'm a ginger nut!

Over the past few months I've let my hair revert to its natural grey (to match my mood) and today I decided that I should brighten it up (to match my new mood). Why today in particular? Well, tonight I have a 'big night out', and I didn't want to feel self-conscious about my 'old lady' hair. And I guess I won't be feeling self-conscious about that.

The shade is called 'Sandy'. But whereas the model's hair on the box looks kind of 'golden-beach-sandy', mine appears to be more 'brick-sandy'. It is supposed to wash out in 6 - 8 washes but having spent all day washing my hair, clearly those washes have to be spread out on different days.

I frequently embarrass my daughters, but I don't think I've ever made their mouths fall open before.

Good job it's Burns Night tonight. I can always pretend I was too cheap to buy one of these.

Sunday 20 January 2008

Bad Carma

I'm so lucky.

To have Bert, that is.

He has such concern for my health and wellbeing he is making it impossible for me to take the easy option. You know how we all moan about how much thinner / fitter / better off we were before we were foolish enough to acquire a car? And, notwithstanding this, how impossible it is not to jump in the car every time you need to pop out for the least thing?

Here's my car. It has been without rear wheels over 4 months.

If you don't believe me, just look at that rust.

And there are some interesting new life forms. (Actually, to be honest the moss was there before. Bert doesn't believe in paying for car washes, and apparently they ruin the paintwork which means that the car won't necessarily look its best).

"Ah yes," you say, "But you still have Bert's car to get around in." Well, that was certainly true. With Bert's broken elbow I've been able to use his car so long as I drive him wherever he needs to go. Oh what fun. Bert is such a backseat driver. For example, when the traffic lights change to 'go', he cries "You're going! You're going! You're going!". Apparently I accelerate too quickly when driving off (even when Bert's not shouting instructions), and on the other hand I rev too low when driving along. Generally I pride myself on my parking (once I parked in a spot so tight that I literally couldn't get out of any door of the car and had to drive off again). But with Bert it's "Left hand down, turn, turn! Now right hand down, turn, turn!" His constant instructions are all delivered in the same frantic way. You can imagine what that does for the quality of my driving and parking, and how smug Bert feels once he's proved his point by reducing me to a nervous wreck.

But I digress.

Luckily Bert, though not fully recovered, is able to drive again. Just so long as it isn't raining. See the wipers on Bert's car? They've been stuck in that position for, ooh, over a week now. (Non-Brits: the weather here in the UK has been awful. Rain, wind, hail.)

Don't worry. Bert's told his mechanic about it.

Thursday 17 January 2008

Better late than never

Bert's Belated New Year Resolutions:

  • I will be much nicer to my wife and show affection in a frequent, spontaneous and unprompted manner. Furthermore, I will be prepared to do this in front of family, friends and other associates.

  • I will stop haranguing my wife with my worries about the kids' schoolwork and (lack of) fitness, and I will refrain from making her always be the 'bad cop' by issuing my dictats as if they were hers.

  • I will stop haranguing my wife with worries about my broken elbow and any other miscellaneous health issues that arise from time to time. I will also try not to assume that these are more interesting or more serious than her own ailments, of which I understand there are quite a few. I cannot recall what they are exactly, as I have clearly paid insufficient attention.

  • I will stop haranguing my wife with my rants about all manner of things such as wheelie bins, cars parked on pavements, Dixons, Natwest Customer Service, stiletto heels on my newly laid floor, cats scratching my furniture, my wife's family causing excessive 'wear and tear' to said floor and furniture, and so on and so forth. Or at least I will endeavour to make them mini-rants, and perhaps confine them to one per day.

  • I will stop spending money willy-nilly on myself whilst querying every item of my wife's (generally modest) expenditure. With regard to said expenditure, I will remove my new turbo trainer from our newly set up dining room to the garage. I will stop referring to it as unobtrusive, and accept that it wasn't part of the original decorative scheme.

  • I will fix our Internet connection so that other members of the family can have as much access to it as I have.

  • I will finally arrange for my wife's car to be fixed now that it has been on blocks for 4 months.

  • I will personally 'valet' her car now that it is covered internally with mould, having been on blocks for 4 months.

  • I will stop insisting that we use the mechanic that I went to school with, and I will accept that reliability is as important as a cheap deal.

  • I will be more supportive to my wife's new situation vis-à-vis taking voluntary redundancy from her job, and I will appreciate that the difficulties she experienced over the past year were very stressful. I will remember to praise her abilities to cope, and I will stop making unhelpful remarks like the one I made the other day to our accountant when I asked, "Did you hear that she's been given the boot?"

That is the first time I have had to make anything up on this blog! I asked Bert what his resolutions would really be, were he to make any. He came up with:

  • get back on the bike [top of the list]

  • dig the garden

Oh yeah - I forgot the garden!

Wednesday 9 January 2008

Easy as Riding a Bike

Another word-for-word document from Bert. This time it's an email he sent to a friend. Bert should really write this blog himself to save me 'telling tales', but naturally he is far too busy doing Important Things.

To jack-knife a bike simply follow the instructions below:

1. Get out of the saddle and apply power to the legs
2. When at maximum output call on God to throw the chain off the top ring without it landing on the bottom ring
3. The right side of your body will dip dramatically as resistance goes from high to zero
4. When the steering turns with your body, compensate by turning the other way
5. Repeat this a few times over correcting as you go
6. Once the front wheel is at 90 degrees to the bike launch yourself over it
7. Remember to outstretch the arm you wish to break and try to ensure that the helmet hits before the face as this can hurt quite a lot
8. When all of the stationary vehicle drivers have composed themselves from their hysterical laughter and given up saying things like "it serves you right" one of them, normally an old person will stroll over to assist
9. Remember to tell them to keep their fu**ing hands off your broken arm as this hurts more than breaking it in the first instance
10. Get yourself to your feet and remember to fall straight back down again
11. Repeat 9 as by this time laughter has set back in and they have forgotten what has been said
12. Finally tell everyone to piss off as you are quite capable of managing on your own
13. Post accident management requires complaining in a rather long letter to the NHS for employing a bunch of tossers who seem it better to arrive at a prognosis by looking at x-rays taken 6 months earlier, but that's OK because they will respond by saying that the person who look at your x-rays was not a consultant of sufficient standing to make a correct prognosis in any case

I trust at this point you are not also in a state of hilarity....and if you are.....remember I am at home and you are at work.

Friday 4 January 2008

Ducking and Driving

I warn you: this tale is definitely not for the squeamish.

One of our cats came in with a live bird the other day. Bert managed to get the bird away from the cat, but with only one hand was unable to catch it (the bird) and required some assistance. Being at his beck and call is nothing particularly new to me, as Bert has always regarded me as his PA/gopher. However, since he got his broken elbow [current diagnosis] he has hit new heights (depths?) of 'requiring-assistanceness'.

So, there we were, chasing a bird under and around a large christmas tree, using tea towels to direct it and then trap it. We soon realised that it was badly injured on one wing and Bert decided to put it out of its misery. Being temporarily one-handed, he required me to hold it while he did the deed. Feeling sickened by the task, I didn't manage to hold it firmly enough for him to break its neck so he then used his foot to hold it still while he twisted. "Do you think it is dead yet?" he asked. "Well, you've actually pulled it's head off, so I would think so," I replied.


But do you know, this is only one of many such tales of putting things out of their misery on Bert's part. We have a very similar story about a rabbit that we found dying on the Downs. And then there's the bonfire we lit to dispose of the dead fox we found in the garden (Bert's idea: we had a battle of wills over a few days but finally the stench and the thought of me having to dispose of it in some other way made me give in). But the classic story is that of The Duck and the Rubber Torch. (Do I actually have to say any more? Oh, ok then.)

Once upon a time long, long ago, Bert was driving to work along the coast road in his nice brown Chrysler Alpine. It was a busy-worky time of the morning with blue sky and floaty clouds and lots and lots of cars. All of a sudden, the driver of the car in front of Bert slammed his brakes on. The driver sat in his stationary car for quite a while for no obvious reason, but just as Bert was wondering what the f*ck was going on, the car moved on. Just as Bert was about to follow suit, he realised why the first car had stopped.

There was a duck flapping about in the road in a not-very-well sort of way.

Bert got out of his car to inspect more closely, and as he turned the duck over, a huge jet of blood sprayed up. Realising that the duck was soon to be a 'goner', Bert decided it was kinder to put it out of its misery rather than leave it to die in a slow, thrashy-but-lingering kind of way. He thought for a minute. How was he going to do it? The spurting blood meant that he didn't particularly want to handle the duck. He went to his car and looked in the boot. What luck - an old t-shirt. That'll do to wrap the duck up. And ... foot pump? No. Old pair of shoes? No. Large rubber torch? It would have to do.

Bert returned to the flapping duck. Meanwhile all the cars that had been forced to stop behind him were tooting their horns and waving fists out of windows (well, you can just imagine). Bert wrapped the t-shirt around the duck's head and struck it a few times with the rubber torch. He took a peep. Blood spurt. Flap flap. Wrap. Bludgeon. Peep. Spurt. Repeat.

Finally, another peep ascertained that there were no further spurts of blood or indeed any other signs of enduring duck life. Peep from Bert, no peep from the duck.

Bert considered his rubber torch. It would never shine again.

In order to maintain historical accuracy for this tale, I just asked Bert to remind me what he had done with the duck in the end. "Skip." "You threw it in a skip?" " I placed it in a skip."

And so back to the bird that the cat caught. Bert decided to put it out of its misery because it had an injured wing. Wing? Arm? What's the difference?

Can someone put me out of my misery?

Tuesday 1 January 2008

A snippet

New Year's Eve: a group of us (at a party) were talking about my blog but not everyone had heard of it. Then I overheard this snippet:

S: "What's it called?"
K: "Living with Bert."
S: "Who's Bert?"
K: "Knobhead over there."

My job is done.