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Tuesday, November 30, 2004


S'cuse me, while I kiss this guy! 

I love misheard lyrics. I didn't link the site because it has annoying pop-ups on it. The best misheard lyrics come from kids. You've heard the classic kid's Christmas Carol interpretations I'm sure. My cousin came up with something original when she was young:

While shephards watched their frogs by night...

We had a laugh at the time, but Tara's was way funnier. She has been learning "Away in a manger" at school. She sung the first verse perfectly, then clapped her little hands to her cheeks, looked horrified, and said, "Oh no! The cats!"

I was a little confused at this point.

Me: Cats?

Tara: In the song. They're waking the baby up!

Me: Are you sure, honey?

Tara: Yes. My teachers told me.

Me: Sing the next part.

Tara: The cats are mieowing, the baby awakes. But little old Jesus, no crying he makes.

Me: Would you excuse me, sweetheart? I just need to run to the bathroom and...

Bwuhahahaha!!!!!

Tara: Mommy?

Me: Let's go over it again. "The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes..."


What are your favourite misheard lyrics?



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Thursday, November 25, 2004


I'm Thankful For...Thanksgiving. 

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

As you know, we don't celebrate it, so it's fish 'n' chips, tea and crumpets as usual for us. But Thanksgiving traditions helped me out last year.

The school Christmas Concert theme was, "Christmas Around The World". Each class would represent a country and do a turn, which could include poems, songs, plays etc...Here's the gist of the conversation I had with Sue, a senior colleague:

Sue: Which country are you going to do?

Me: America.

Sue: You can't do that! It's not multicultural enough.

Me: America isn't multicultural? I thought you went to New York last year.

Sue: You know what I mean. They don't celebrate Christmas differently to us. Nobody's doing China...

Me: Because they don't celebrate Christmas in China!

Sue: You could dress up six or seven kids as a Chinese Dragon and have them go through the aisles.

Me: Doing what? Pulling a sleigh?

Sue: Why don't you do France?

Me: Absolutely not.

Sue: We've got a huge French flag somewhere and..

Me: Absolutely not.

Sue: So what are your kids going to tell us about Christmas in America then?

Me: Umm...cranberries. Native to America, and...the amarylis. And...traditionally, an English Christmas dinner was roast goose. Wer've adopted the American custom.

Sue: And I suppose you'll get them to say, "Happy Holiday!" in an American accent.

Me: Great! They'll love that.(All English kids use American accents in their imaginary games)

Sue: How are they going to dress? Are we allowed to even mention Cowboys and Indians?

Me: It wouldn't surprise me if that was illegal, actually. I'll get them to bring in red, white and blue clothes. And blue jeans.

Sue: That's what my class usually wear instead of uniform. This could work. You need something really different, though.

Me: I know! Thanksgiving! That's something we don't do!

Sue: Oh, alright. America it is.


Needless to say, our piece was the best in the school. We wasted hours making ticker tape, and sung Christmas songs from old Hollywood musicals. I choreographed the campest dance routine to "Winter Wonderland" I'd ever seen. Heh. You can get seven year olds to do anything. They loved it. Happy days indeed.



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Monday, November 22, 2004


If they weren't so scary, it'd be funny. 

Picture the scene. Seven p.m. Alex is due home in an hour. Casserole bubbling away in the oven. Child fed, bathed and ready for bed. We're chilling out watching T.V and the Knock Of Doom comes.

It's zero degrees out, and there stand The Munchkins in T-shirts. They're sober! They'd been to "visit" her daughter, who is seventeen, apparently looks just like me, and has been living with her paternal grandmother:

"We're very worried about her. She's got problems. Every time we went near her, she ran away!"

Poor kid. I feel her pain.





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Saturday, November 20, 2004


Spiderman Is Coming To Town 

My parents took Tara into the town centre to watch the "Santa" parade. The last thing I expected on her return was for her to come bounding through the door yelling, "I saw Spiderman!"

Okay, I suppose he'd make a great sidekick for Santa, especially when he can't easily get the sleigh parked, but I digress.

For some reason, Spiderman abseiled down the highest building in town, which is a 20 storey block of, ahem, social housing. The people that are existing there make the Munchkins look classy.

When I heard about the stunt I couldn't stop laughing imagining all the crackheads, stoners and drunks looking out of their windows and seeing Spiderman go past. And they would, too. These people don't do curtains.

Whoever thought of that is a genius!


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Wednesday, November 17, 2004


Look! No hands! 

I learnt something new today:

(From the Driving Theory Test Booklet)

A disabled person with no arms

a) Would not be allowed to take a driving test
b) May take and pass a driving test
c) Could not meet the requirements of a driving test
d) Must always have an accompanying driver.


The correct answer is b) provided the car is adapted specially.

I think it's great that differently-abled people aren't being discriminated against in this respect.

Personally speaking, should I be unfortunate to be missing two limbs, I'd be kind of protective about others, and would not be on the roads, particularly given the fact that a lot of drivers appear to be missing a brain.

(Yeah, I've finally decided to learn to drive, and Alex is teaching me. There'll be regular updates as our healthy relationship disintegrates into bitter acrimony, and we bring the lawyers in.)


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Tuesday, November 16, 2004


Oh, no. Not that song again. 

Yes, the cream of Britain's pop acts, and The Sugababes have gathered to re-record "Do They Know It's Christmas?"

I just heard it on the news, and it's crap. Twenty years on, and it's worse than the original.

I can't find a link, but, according to The Scum Sun, there was a row about who should sing Bono's line:

"Well tonight, thank God it's them, instead of you"

Apparently that bloke from The Darkness recorded it, and sung it so well that Bono's "people" weren't happy. The new recording now features Bono. And I can tell you, if the guy wanted to kill his career, he couldn't have done a better job. His voice is so much weaker than it was twenty years ago. Well, of course, that's to be expected, but the fact that he sung the line is highlighting this.

Celebs and their egos...

Oh, and it seems Madonna "was involved", although she doesn't appear in any of the publicity photos.

Celebs and their egos.

Get over yourselves, it's for Charity.



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Saturday, November 13, 2004


Who's gonna drive you home, tonight? 

To get a driving license here, you need to pass a theory test, and then your practical test within a year. I was looking up some sample tests on-line, and had to laugh at how silly some of the questions were. Take this one:

You are about to drive home. You cannot find the glasses you need to wear. You should:
A. drive home slowly, keeping to quiet roads.
B. borrow a friend's glasses and use those.
C. drive home at night, so that the lights will help you.
D. find a way of getting home without driving.

It's "B", right?

To take the full test, click here.




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Friday, November 12, 2004


'Twas the Devil's Brew... 

About once every few months, something happens which means I can't be bothered to prepare lunch, so Tara gets fast food. Our local chip shop does a "small" portion of chips, (of which I usually throw half away, once I've oven baked them to get rid of most of the oil), and a sausage. Included in the price is a "soft" drink. The drinks in question are so far removed from my idea of what is appropriate to give someone you love, that I usually decline them.

Usually, lunch is a meat and/or cheese sandwich, raw veggies, yoghurt, fruit and milk. We had a tough day yesterday, and Tara missed dinner, so it was decided that a lunch of salt, fat and sugar would be acceptable.

Alex took her out to fetch the offending foodstuff, and she returned saying, "Guess what, Mummy? I've got a fizzy drink!"

"You have?", I said, knowing full well that Alex had only let her have this because she would be staying with my sister, and we wouldn't have to deal with the effect of chemicals on small child.

"Yes! It is a Drink of Evil!", she replied.

Luckily, she's so used to not having soda, she insisted that I dilute it, as I dilute her juice.

I used the rest of it to clear the sink of limescale and to dissolve food particles. Scarily, it was very effective.



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I Don't Heart London 

Yesterday we took Tara to her routine check-up at the specialist. No big deal. All her "team" were there, plus the usual students. They took some blood. She was great. We left the hospital at 3:20 and got onto the main road out of central London by 3:25. And when I say "central", I don't mean the touristy bit. This was Whitechapel in the East End. It's one of the oldest hospitals in London. It's so Victorian and grim on the outside, with all the latest on the inside. It's just round the corner from The Blind Beggar pub, where the Kray twins shot that guy. I hadn't realised that until we took a wrong turn leaving the car park.

Two hours later, we'd moved maybe 100 yards. The Commercial road is only two lanes wide. As in, one lane in each direction. With one lane only for buses, to encourage people not to drive in the City. There are so many buildings of historical importance in central London, that the main road just cannot be made bigger. To make matters worse, we were stuck behind a lorry, so we couldn't even see ahead. It's not usually that bad, but there was an accident on the outskirts of the City, where there are more lanes, which meant that three out of the four were closed.

We had no food or water, and a bored four-year old in the back.

You bet I prayed.

Thankfully, she went to sleep, thus freeing me from the worry of a toilet situation arising. An hour later I was worrying about the adults in the car. We had yet to pass these buildings , and, oh yes, most of the people who work there wanted to get on the road out of London too.

By nine, I was a wreck. Tara was a wreck. Alex got us home without once losing his temper, and keeping up the humour the whole time. He even made a joke of the fact that every time I said, "Yay! We're moving!", the traffic immediately ground to a standstill. He did make a few vehement comments about the motorcylists that were weaving all around us.(At one point, we were surrounded by eight of them. It was quite scary. Like a scene in a kidnap movie.)

I don't know how it is in the U.S. London, obviously, is an organic, rather than a "planned" city. That's why we have the problems. Most of our towns just "grew". That's why hardly any of us drive automatic cars. Very few places have grid systems, and there are twists and turns no matter where you are going, so it makes sense I suppose. The trouble is, it's harder to drive a stick-shift. In a way, maybe that's good, because most people are eighteen before they pass their driving test.

What do you think? Did you ever find a 40 minute journey taking over five hours? Do you mostly drive automatics? Our national speed limit on the motorways is 70mph and you can still find yourself in gridlock if there's been a lane closure. Just interested.


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Thursday, November 11, 2004


The Eleventh Hour 

Thank You.

This year, I was able to personally thank seven of the men who bravely fought to ensure my freedom, and that of future generations.

I'm proud, and honoured.


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Sunday, November 07, 2004


Getting Some Perspective 

The school is doing Operation Christmas Child this year. I remember it from when I was a staff member. Having to go through all the boxes and remove all the toy guns, swords and soldiers people had packed for kids in Eastern Europe who knew what they all did in real life. Having said that though, it'll be hard for me to do my "boy" box without all that stuff.

The "girl" box was easy. In fact, it's more like "girl boxes". I was thinking about what it must be like to be so poor that you don't have toys. For women and little girls, this also means having nothing pretty. When I was little, something pretty gave me pleasure for months. There's so much of this stuff around for girls these days that I've been able to pack two shoeboxes with stuff Tara's hardly used, and won't miss. Here's what I collected:

Sparkly hair accessories as yet unused.
Holographic silver drawing pad.
Glitter glue.
Assorted butterfly, star, bow, snowflake shaped sequins.
Gel pens.
The sequinned purse the Munchkins gave her.
A toy purse with one of each of our coins in.
A lot of Barbie/Princess jewelry. Rings, necklaces, tiara etc..
Small pink soft toy.
Eraser-topped pencils and pink sharpener.
Pink sticky tape machine.
Hard candy.
Unopened Disney Princess Panini stickers.
Fairy picture book.
New packet of coloured chalk.
Heart-shaped sunglasses.
Harmonica which had been in a party bag she'd been given. (I'd been reserving it for the eventuality that I had guests I wanted to get rid of)

I was able to add several shimmery cosmetics that I'd kept, but never opened. I'm not sure if you can send perfume, but I've got tons of little free samples from Chanel and Yves St Laurent.

Then we went to shop for the practical items. But I was damned if I wasn't going to buy anything that wasn't pretty:

Gloves/Hat/Scarf. Warm. Soft. Pink with silver. Same as I bought Tara.
Toothbrush: Glittery.
Toothpaste: Bubblegum-flavoured.
Comb and brush set.
"Christmas" hair accessories.
Soap: Actually better than the brand I usually buy. We only use soap so Tara can practice washing her hands with it, as they don't have handwash lotion at school. Well if you're going to be using soap instead of ph-balanced stuff, on your body and probably your hair, you'd want the decent stuff right?
Washcloth: Rose-coloured.

And there I was. Feeling pretty good.

Because I had so many things easily available in my house, or that could be bought for a few pounds, that would give an impoverished child pleasure. Each and every item.

And it was fun to go around collecting all the loot.

I've always been one for counting my blessings: Our house is too small, but we got walls, a roof, hot and cold running water, heating, plenty of food in the larder, and a hell of a lot of love.

Our house is too small, because it can't easily contain two computers, a fantastic printer and a 3-in-one scanner/printer/photocopier, two digital cameras, the number of winter coats and shoes we own, the several hundred books Tara has, the thousands Alex and I own, ditto D.V.D's, the five changes of bedclothes, the four changes of curtains, the bulk-buys of toiletries, cleaning products and canned food that we don't have closet space for.

Never again will I complain about not having space for an American double-door fridge.

Please check out the website and support this if you can.

Thank You.







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Thursday, November 04, 2004


Alliance Assignment: A Filthy Lie 

After the harrowing trauma of last week, I wasn't particularly pleased to have Evil Glenn knocking on my door and running away for the fifth time that night. I flung open the door and confronted him:

Sally: Evil Glenn! As you can see, I'm not homeless, and you know I won't invite you in, so would you please, just sod off!

Evil Glenn: Actually, I'm here to deliver a message.

Sally: So why all the running away?

Evil Glenn: Sorry. Force of hab...Here puppypuppypupp...OW! That hurt!

Sally: And leave my daughter alone, or I'll throw another clove of garlic at you! So what's the message?

Evil Glenn: Oh, it's from Harvey.

Sally: Impossible. He's on vacation with Beloved Wife. Jamaica.

Evil Glenn: Indeed not! I believe she took him with her of her own accord.

Sally: [groan] So how'd you get the message?

Evil Glenn: I was just there. Lots of unfortunates over there, what with the hurricanes and all.

Sally: You're sick, Reynolds, taking advantage of the innocent victims of Natural Disasters!

Evil Glenn: What do you mean, "Natural"? My Master and I spent weeks planning those! So. I ran into Harv at the beach. It was a bit difficult to recognise him without the beard of course but...

Sally: He shaved his beard?

Evil Glenn: Why not? He's on holiday!

Sally: And what was he doing at this beach?

Evil Glenn: The usual stuff people do when they're away from the grind of their daily lives...

Sally: Gah! Don't tell me!

Evil Glenn: In Harvey's case, he was watching the screeching happy little children fighting playing on the sand, longing for several of his own...six, at least.

Sally: I can't believe it!

Evil Glenn: ...too distracted by this vision to notice the toned, tanned babes parading around in next to nothing, boobies barely covered...

Sally: Not Harvey! Not ever!

Evil Glenn: Like I said, he's on vacation. All that letching and getting into the Tabloids is just work stuff.

Sally: Really?

Evil Glenn: Yeah. He didn't so much at glance at the dollar bill he tipped me with.

Sally: He tipped you?

Evil Glenn: Sure he did. We even bonded over a Pit-Bull Colada or two. They sure pack a punch! Especially when they're made from the local, um...Whatever. If Frank J had been there, we could've used up all that energy punching him! Harvey's a lot more fun on vacation, you know. He even won a Robot-Dancing competition.

Sally: Rubbish! So what's the supposed "message" he gave you?

Evil Glenn: Oh. It was about this week's Assignment. He said, just because he's away, it doesn't mean you can get away with not doing it.

Sally: But it was a particularly fiendishly difficult one this week and...

Evil Glenn: And?

Sally: Well...I'd much rather tell Filthy Lies about Harvey's vacation, if you must know.

Evil Glenn: I knew I could talk you into that! Muwhahahaha! I'll be off now.

Sally: Oh, you...

Evil Glenn: Messenger!


And he sped off on his moped.


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Wednesday, November 03, 2004


This week I will be Mostly Eating... 

Mashed Potato with butter and raisins.

Seriously. And I'm not even pregnant!

This came about when I was cooking with Tara earlier. Mashed potato "face" with sausages and sweetcorn for "hair", green peppers for "eyebrows", red pepper "mouth" and carrot "nose". She suggested the raisins for eyes, and I made the usual noises...

What a good idea, honey. Raisins are circular, like eyes, and healthy too!

...whilst inwardly resisting the urge to puke. Honestly, the nausea-inducing, stomach-churning food combinations kids come up with...

But I tried it, and it tasted great!

And no, I'm not pregnant.

I've always eaten odd things, like toasted bacon sandwiches with strawberry jam. Alex despairs of me sometimes. He won't like this new development either!

Which weird recipe will you not be entering in The Carnival?


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Monday, November 01, 2004


Colour me Guilty 

Yesterday I learned that there is something more gut-wrenching than seeing your child injured. It's when your own stupidity is the cause of it.

Sunday night. Usual back-to-school stuff. Including nail-clipping. Except in my case, she moved, and I managed to clip the end of her little finger instead. She screamed. A river of blood ensued, and, well. I just felt like the most worthless individual on the planet. Why hadn't I made sure I had more light? Why had I used clippers? Why hadn't I hunted down the blunt baby scissors? I was a wreck.

Luckily, I had Alex on hand. He went out after a long work day for more bandages. He helped me chop up her tablet,(I had no idea it was easier to crush it beneath the knife first. He must have been a dealer in a previous life! And I say previous, because he saw a lot of his friends f**k up with all that, and wouldn't touch it), and generally calmed me down. The man is a star! He even wrote this to cheer me up.

She started to get sleepy, then all I could do was call people to tell them how guilty I felt, while we waited for the meds to kick in. Boudicca was a recipient of a particularly wildly written e-mail because...because I just hated myself. There was the possibility that we'd have to spend the night in London with the little one hooked up to an I.V to stop the bleeding. And it was all my fault! Thankfully, it stopped an hour later.

But I still feel like shit. She's forgotten it. I'll be having nightmares about the look on her face till the day I die.

Have you ever inadvertantly hurt someone you loved?


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