Thursday, 26 July 2018

Palm Trees, Pampas Grass and the collective skive.......

For those of you not currently situated in England's 'green and pleasant Land', you may be unaware that it's not very green. Or pleasant.

It's brown and sticky and hot and a bit gooey.........and it ain't no chocolate brownie.

We just aren't built for it, are we? As a nation, we are continually on the scout for a skive. Beast from the East? Too cold to be in the office and the tarmac on the driveway was just too lethal to get to work. Threat of two flakes of snow? Cancel the trains, close the schools and work from home for a week.

At school, somebody always had a thermometer in the winter terms to see if it was 'too cold' to be at school. If the teacher was more than 5 minutes late to a lesson, we all edged towards the door citing the 'rule' that after 5 minutes, the lesson was null and void. Train strikes see the entire Square Mile empty itself at 3pm and we have recently been known to be able to cash in on the phrase 'threat of localised flooding' to justify a sneaky skive. We all secretly hold out for the phrase 'only essential travel is advised'. Work, it transpires, is never essential although there's always that bloody nurse who walks twenty miles in the snow just to get to her shift and we all clap at her sacrifice during the news feature whilst secretly slagging her off for making us feel bad.

But what to do about the heat? Newspapers are quick to remind us that this might actually be the one situation that we can't fabricate a skive. Headlines scream out dire warnings of death and socio-economic collapse due to ice-cube shortages but they are quick to reiterate that there is 'no such thing' as a maximum working temperature. We're all a bit pissed off about it if we're honest. Collectively, we want to give that kid with the thermometer in their school bag a quick ring.

This unexpected Heatwave was initially welcomed but it has now evolved into that mate. You know, the one who you love dearly and who you're always pleased to see but who, after six hours in their company on a pretty massive Saturday night, becomes the most annoying dickhead on the face of the earth, starts a fight in the kebab shop and throws up in a taxi. When you dump them unceremoniously on their sofa, having hauled their drunken carcass home, you swear that it needs to be a long time before you see them again.

In all honesty, as a person of the ginger persuasion, I'd have waved this particular tropical event off at the Weatherspoons after pint #1 if I had a choice. I'd have abandoned them well before we got to the nightclub.

However, as I sit and sweat and wonder how long it will take the reservoir accumulating in my under-wiring to fill my sandals, I realise that I need to find the positives, lest I become even more of a Les Dawson caricature than I already am when anyone mentions the weather.

Reasons to be positive:

1) My palm tree.

We bought a fixer-upper nearly three years ago and we are now at the end of the world's longest and must unlucky building renovations (oh, don't worry, I'll bore you all with those little golden nuggets at some point). The house came with a gigantic palm tree out the front, which we have kept.

My husband initially confused the Palm Tree with Pampas Grass and worried for several nights that we were now occupying Swingers' Central. It was hilarious to watch him squirm but his relief turned into disdain and he threatens my palm tree with destruction regularly. I love it though. It looks ironic in the Winter, overdressed in the Spring, bold and cocky in the Autumn and then in hot weather, it is a massive botanical G. It owns the street, confident, gorgeous bastard that it is. Blue skies mean that when I look out of the landing window, if I squint, I could be in Ibiza......well, Ibiza Close, Surrey at least......

2) The lighting.

Because of the need to keep every window and frikking aperture in the building open to maximise the airflow, the house must be plunged into darkness at nightfall lest the local wildlife mount their multi-specied attack on the house and our delicate flesh. Moths like bi-planes. Mosquitoes who can drink pints of my precious RhNegative. Flies of indeterminate origin with buzzes like jet engines. Bats (we've all seen Derry.....those feckers are sneaky).

So as a result, we spend the hours from 9.30pm until midnight in absolute, Blitz-esque darkness. The TV is the only light we have which makes navigating the loo interesting.

The upside? Glowing TV light is pretty flattering. Him and me, we look almost presentable until somebody flicks that switch.

3) The lethargy.

The youngest child tires. He actually slows. He is eight and a force of nature the like of which people rarely encounter. This heat has acted like a slo-mo button. Absolute result.

4) The clothing

The usual game-play of summer is thus. Rain, drizzle, moaning, dampness, singular hot day arrives and EVERYONE TAKES THEIR CLOTHES OFF. On those rare sunny days, our eyeballs are assaulted by the entire ill-advised sartorial choices of our myriad-shaped fellow Countrymen ranging from 'Sweet Jesus did you not have a mirror?' to 'Well, I feel like I should have bought you dinner before I was permitted to see that'.

People go mad. Actually mad. They panic dress for the sunshine in a manner that can only really be carried off by those young and healthily-shaped enough to for the floaty summer clothes to actually float. For the rest of us, the bastards never exactly 'float' do they? They ripple pathetically before adhering themselves to sweaty skin and bunching up in a manner that often makes you look like you are entering some sort of Bavarian goat herding contest. I always aspire to waft in some sort of floaty, hippy playsuit. Instead, I just huff and throw on the leggings and paint-splattered Primark T-Shirt with the sandals that make me look like I strapped tires to my feet. Looking guuuud.

Anyway, my own vestiarial horror shows aside, this prolonged heat has allowed everyone to calm the chuff down. I am no longer terrified to walk into the shopping centre, lest I see something that might give me burnt retinas. People don't panic-strip this year because they know that they will get to wear their summer clothes again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day, and the next day..........

5) The sitting.

People aren't moving much at the moment but God love 'em, they're reading. Some of them are even reading my book which demonstrates both bravery and fortitude as the mercury continues to rise.

It's now on Amazon for any other 'sitters' who want to occupy themselves as they await the return to our much missed and often denigrated drizzle and gloom

www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Punked-Nia-Lucas-ebook/dp/B07FRWWFHC/ref=la_B07FS69GX3_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1532627357&sr=1-1

Mind you, I'd kill for a bit of drizzle right now.......*gets in car and heads to see family in Wales*......


Oh yes, I almost forgot. Twitter got me. I dumped Instagram and like a sneaky little bastard, Twitter snuck in and pinched my arse, making me giddy........follow me here at: 

https://twitter.com/BooksNia.

If I Tweet, does that make me a Twat? What is the correct term?

Well, if I'm a twat, then I'm a sweaty, ginger twat with a bloody massive Palm Tree. Night all x

Image may contain: tree, sky, plant, outdoor and nature

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Everything changes in an Insta....nt........

Hi.

I can't do it.

I won't do it.

How in the name of Merciful Jesus do you 'Insta' anything?! Instagram can do one. It can suck something and then let the door hit it on the arse as it heads out quite frankly. I can't make it work (*stamps feet and kicks that crappy garden gnome that has been begging for a slap for ages*)

In general, my patience levels hover midway between 'toddler with the Christmas wrapping' and 'London cabbie at a Box Junction' and fecking Instagram has chipped away at what was left after a day wrangling four kids under nine, around a farm.

And breathe.....*adopts slightly unhinged smile and starts again*

Hello, you lovely, patient (and brave) souls.

This is my much neglected Blog which I am now reviving and re-branding to replace (f**king) Instagram in my Social Media 'presence'. If I'm honest, I never thought I'd need to invest energy in a 'presence' because when you have astonishingly hued hair with a follicular design that sits somewhere between Hagrid and Carrot Top, you'd be forgiven for assuming that less presence would be advisable.

But you see, I have just published my first book on Amazon and in this modern, terrifyingly linked-up, all-encompassing age, I must wade my way through the soup of Social Media to try to make my little literary pebble glow and attract attention.

If you have time to spare and indeed some sort of sadistic streak, you might want to wade through the (very elderly) past posts on the this blog. These were my toddler training wheels, so to speak. I practiced writing for an audience and tested out different styles several years ago. A lot of it is terrible but I'm quite attached to it to I've kept it.

As the title of this blog suggests, I write because I love it and because there genuinely is a very real danger that if I didn't write, I would have to take up knitting or some other craft that would result in horrendous gift-giving and some sort of intervention  by my loved ones further down the line. I sleep very little so I write. And I full on, proper love it.

'Love Punked' is not my first book. I have written four other books which I am editing and trying to polish but 'Love Punked' got to the finish line first and I am very proud of it.

Reviews for Love Punked by Nia Lucas

"I'm on chapter 4 and I'm loving this, I've had tears in my eyes a few times because the main character is just so relatable"


"Enjoying it so much that three hours later I'm already on ch. 13 😂 I'm not wanting to put it down but it's 2:30 am here and I got to get some sleep"💤

"Funny, witty, poignant"

"Ended up reading this all in one evening as didn't want to put it down till I knew how it all panned out. I especially enjoyed the main character's blinding retorts to the people who get her back up - made me chuckle greatly! Here's hoping for more books from Nia Lucas soon!"


The blurb for Love Punked

"When her life is irrevocably altered by a post-Rave tryst on her mother's floral patio recliner, Erin Roberts’ long-standing relationship with Humiliation takes her down a path that's not so much 'less well trodden', more 'perilous descent down sheer cliffs'.

Armed with a fierce devotion to her best friend and the unrequited love for the boy she might have accidentally married at age seven, when Erin falls pregnant at sixteen, life veers off at a most unexpected tangent.

Her journey to adulthood is far from ordinary as Erin learns that protecting the hearts of those most precious to you isn't balm enough when your Love Punked heart is as sore as your freshly tattooed arse.

Whilst raising football prodigies and trying not to get stuck in lifts with Social Work clients who hate her, Erin discovers that sometimes you have to circumnavigate the globe to find the very thing that was there all along"

You can buy 'Loved Punked' by Nia Lucas on Amazon now, just follow this link.....

www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Punked-Nia-Lucas-ebook/dp/B07FRWWFHC/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1532549538&sr=1-1&keywords=love+punked


I also have a Facebook Page- just look up Nia Lucas Books.

If you like what you read, please share with your mates in whatever forum you can bear.......

So this is going to be my blog, my chance to write little snippets of lunacy to hopefully entertain and engage the poor souls daft enough to give me space in their inboxes.

And as a two finger salute to Instagram, here is a picture from my trip to the farm today which pretty much sums up how a ginger person of my alarming proportions feels during this heatwave......and how I feel about Instagram.......









Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Older yet porkier, perkier and yet past it.

*Whispers into Blogs-ville*......."Is anyone there?".

*Knocks door*...............

*Whispers again*........."It's been a while but I'm back"

*Knocks door again*.........................

*Kicks door and stops whispering*......."Oh fuck it, where's the bloody Quality Street?"


December 2016. After a visit to the GP today for something entirely innocuous and random, it turns out that I have a BMI that takes me off the nurses chart, across the wall and into the potted plant on her window sill. It's a fine line between shame and pride. Turns out that the line is defined by a dehydrated Peace Lily in a cheap plastic pot.

According the the NHS, I need to lose 90lbs to achieve even the 'top end' of a healthy BMI for somebody of my vertically challenged proportions. My son weighed pretty much 10lbs at birth meaning I need to lose the equivalent of 9 newborn sons. I've been trying to lose the one of him that I've got for nearly 7 years but people keep bringing him back. To lose 9 of him seems well, hopeful.

However I do lose things with alarming regularity so perhaps I am looking at this challenge from the wrong angle. On a trip Drayton Manor Park and Zoo in 2002, I memorably lost 5 teenagers in a day out which went down in risk assessment legend (it involved the inappropriate molestation of a small monkey by one of my charges..........they didn't have a category for that in the Council's Risk Assessment pro-forma).

I lose my phone on a daily basis, my keys, my mind. I have, to my colleagues continued frustration, an incredible knack of putting down important documents and never finding them again. My sartorial choices (this weeks highlight was the Robin print dress from Matalan paired with the knitted Rudolf leggings from Primark) continue to lose my husbands dwindling respect for me. The will to live ekes from me on an hourly basis as I battle the will of truculent teenagers and a Benefits and Housing system that is designed to do neither thing they purport to achieve- to Benefit or House. I am ace at losing shit.

However, the loss of an equivalent of 9 burly newborns seems a bit of a stretch, even for me but lose it I must. I must do this because I am in very real danger of requiring some sort of winching device to remove me from armchairs, theatre seats or indeed particularly small toilet cubicles. I am fed up on having one arse-cheek perma-perched on the bloody tampon bin whilst having a wee in the shopping centre. I am fed up of having a belly that looks like a mudslide from the front and Gerard Depardieu's nose in  profile from the side. I am fed up of misjudging the room I have to 'squeeze through' small spaces and dismantling entire display gondolas in the process. I am fed up of having boobs so gargantuan that even a 'specialist' website would politely decline.

I am fed up of worrying that one day I might just go 'bang'.

I put my thumbs through my most resilient pair of tummy control knickers the other day. Knickers that have, quite literally, seen me through thick and thin (thick and thicker mainly but there were some thinner periods.....). It was as if they had made the decision, after years of patient restraint and the bending of laws of physics, to just give up. To jack it in. They felt there was no point continuing- their working conditions were only likely to continue on the downward trajectory, years in the making. This was a vestiarial suicide which I chose to ignore until portions of flesh, like sausage-meat filling the sausage skin, started to bulge and escape. I looked like one of those Play-Doh hairdresser heads, only with flesh emerging from shredded knickers. Can't recommend it.

I will do better. I will be better. I will crack on and make some changes.

*Looks wistfully at the Quality Street*.....tomorrow yeah?


Tuesday, 9 April 2013

It's not what you say but the way you say it.....

When you have an accent that makes you sound like a cross between Nanny from Count Duckula ("Oooooooh Ducky-poos") and Stella ("alright presh") with the additional bonus of an increasingly noticeable West Laaaaaaaandan twang, there are some avenues of employment which start to become inaccessible. Sex chat line host ("awight big boy, there's lovely, you got a gurt big un, ya get me".......the horror, can you imagine........)................news presenter ("it's been a well lush day for the economy my lovers, innit boom ting")................translator at the UN ("I ant got a clue what he's saying presh but he is all up in your grill, brrap brrap")..........I could go on but I won't.....not least of all because my knowledge of street slang has been severely depleted by 2 years away from social work......Now don't get me wrong, I haven't yet reached Nadine Coyle levels of incomprehensibility BUT I am one small regional move away from aural Armageddon..........

My accent has resulted in a complete inability to 'fly under the radar'. I have genuinely had the experience of a Halifax call centre employee remembering me from previous calls by virtue of my accent alone- just think about how many people a week they speak to............jesus...........It has also rendered the subjects of my wrath immobile with laughter as my voice gets higher in tone and more Welsh the more angry I become.....I eventually sound like Alvin the Chipmunk after a spell living in the valleys..........it is neither awe inspiring nor likely to instill terror........it was only during my pregnancies when I had a good 5 stone advantage over ANYONE who I met, that I was taken seriously when riled and even then, they smirked at me from a safe distance.......

When you combine the auditory assault with the er, visual spectacular that is me it is QUITE the first impression....this concerns me.........in the not too distant future, I will be returning to the big bad outside world after a period of fairly cloistered existence as a childminder. I will have to undergo my first job interviews for the best part of 8 years......I will be required to look and sound intelligent......hmmmmmmm. The world has changed and I am not sure it's ready to take me back just yet. The problem that I have is that I love being a  social worker and I particularly love working with teenagers.....they are however not a demographic known to a) hold back on their opinions and b) be mindful of the fragile egos of portly middle aged ginger ladies who have spent the last 2 years wiping bums................I am not so much 'street' as 'bridle path' at this point in my life and it is additionally unfortunate that the jobs I intend to pursue involve working with gangs.............oh they are going to frikkin embrace me...........as if their lives aren't tough enough.......

There is one factor though whose influence I have come to depend on to some degree.........we'll call it the 'Dangerous Minds' factor. In that 1990's film, a svelte and groomed Michelle  Pffiefer gains the trust and respect of her hardened, disenfranchised students. That film stank like 5 day old fish but wasn't just the awful script or the dire acting that didn't ring true in that movie- Michelle looked too good to be trusted by challenging teenagers.......honest.....look at the photos of the real life LouAnne Johnson who the film is based on- crazy hair, carrying a few pounds.......she looks 'right'. Teenage girls will be absolutely FOUL to any authority figure that they perceive as being thinner/prettier than they are and no amount of dedication and hard work will bring the little cowbags round to liking you. I base this sweeping generalization on my personal experiences.....I have gorgeous, kind, caring, slim, fashionable colleagues who have been treated HORRENDOUSLY by their teenage social work clients, clients who focus much of their verbal abuse on seemingly jealous rantings towards these lovely girls..........I just got called a 'ginger c**t' which made a point but allowed us to swiftly move on to the main aim of the session (whatever it was). There is only so much mileage in the ginger/fat/Matalan abuse...........jealousy however will fuel real nastiness.........

I remember vividly the moment in which I discovered that in my cuddly physical blandness I had a useful weapon.......At the age of 22, I was the allocated worker for a strikingly good looking lad of 14 who looked 17. He was very withdrawn and hostile towards social workers and our working relationship was not going particularly well. I took him to an open day at the local college where we met the tutors. He was silent and skulking a good 10 feet behind me as we walked along. My heart was sinking, this was going to be a frikkin car crash of a morning. However, when a kindly receptionist greeted us and asked " Would you and mum like to come and look round", my lad merely smirked and said "yep, come on mum". I followed gasping with indignation but unable to correct her due to bloody client confidentiality.......gggrrrrrrr.......I reiterate that I was 22 and that he looked 17..........at that moment, things changed. I think I became less threatening, a bit of a Les Dawson character BUT thankfully, one that he would now chat with. Three years later, aged 25, I took him to get his Year 11 Prom tux. He now looked 20........the shop worker greeted us, showed him some tuxes and asked which one 'mum' preferred...........aces........my lad smiled, put an arm over my shoulder and said 'Come on mum'.......I nearly cried but this time it was with pride..........

THIS, and this alone, is all that I bring to the street gang table........cuddliness and a crazy accent.......Theresa May needs to rethink the current Gang Strategy as I feel that I have hit on something........a whole swarm of chubby mummies covertly dropped into Tottenham, Tower Hamlets and Peckham armed only with some handbag soiled haribo, inoffensive mid-high street wardrobes and an accent that can stop traffic and I think we might see some real change............or maybe just a sudden spike in the murder rate........hmmmmm..........








Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Burkinis, beaches and back on the blog

It's been a while you lovely bunch and it's Easter which is always a dangerous time of year, given its combination of renewal, rebirth, freshness and enough calories to shame Elvis. In other news, my children are still too young to keep an accurate record of their gifted eggs which is frankly their own foolish oversight. I'm a year older and more haggard since my last blog.........I now dye my hair (ginger....seriously, it's like a sort of self flagellation with a L'Oreal bottle)...............I haven't been to the gym for 10 weeks..........something odd is going on with the skin round my eyes. Not necessarily wrinkled but definitely a little rippled and glancing at my reflection in shop windows has become a little bit like shame roulette

There is a moment in everyone's life when you realise that a certain threshold has been crossed. My friends  20 minutes ago, I crossed that threshold. I googled 'burkini'. This little action has sent me on a 20 minute journey to places I NEVER knew existed.........I have encountered the hardline Christian 'Modesty Movement' who (ironically) produce exactly the same style swimwear for ladies as their Muslim comrades but with more emphasis on gingham and a few more frills. The orthodox Jewish ladies are at the top of the trend tree with their sleek almost surfer-like modesty swimwear........ I can't help but feel that the conflicts in the Middle East could actually be resolved through swimwear......humanity's 'sameness' exemplified by a woman from each of the three religions wearing their identical modesty-wear with some sort of slogan:

 "Religion doesn't matter when you're fat and have a beach holiday booked. Put down the guns and love each other- flab before faith'.

 I'll admit that it needs a bit of work but I'd like to think I'm on to something......

Anyway, I digress. As my finger hovered over the 'buy now' button on a particularly flowery number with detachable bonnet, I realised that a line had been crossed. The shock drove me to an Easter egg (one of the smaller ones that TOTALLY arrived under the kids radar- they'll never miss it.......) and to my blog. It has been a LOOOOOOOONG time since I bored everyone. Some hardy souls claim to miss this blog- I both love them and worry about them equally.........the ramblings of a loon.

I have no idea how much I weigh at this point- pondering it too much will drive me to another egg. The truth of the situation is that things are 'snug' and my son spent a 'hilarious' 10 minutes today playing a game of 'boob or tum'........it went like this

"Mummy (points at largest roll), is this your tummy"
"Yes"
"Is THIS your tummy (points at secondary roll which sits above my leggings)?"
"Yes"
"What's this (points at the roll that sits below the largest roll)?"
"Still tummy"
"Nooooooo"
"Sadly yes"
"You got LOTS of tummies Mummy. How many boobs you got?"
"Two"
"No mummy, you got lots of boobs too. 1, 2, 3 (the multiboob caused by ill-fitting bra), 4 (ditto), 5 (he's now counting the secondary tummy roll), 6 (ditto)".
"Mummy, you got lots and lots of boobs and tummies. Youz funny lady. Ha ha ha ha"
*silent despair and brief contemplation of child abandonment*

I'd like to point the finger of blame at Vermont......because I ate the entire thing whilst on holiday there last month.......then I washed it down with a week of Canadian goodies............I'm guessing that it's very probable that by the time I got back, my weight didn't start with a "1" in the stones section............I would also like to add that the GREATEST THING ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH is the Dessert Table tradition at Canadian weddings. Here in the UK, we might get a few chicken legs and a sad looking pork pie at about 10pm at an average wedding. Not in Canada, God bless 'em. We get the buffet BUT THEN later, an ENTIRE TABLE of cakes, desserts, sweets, candy *dribbles at the memory* is brought out. They provide 'takeaway' boxes if you need more storage space (I had removed my tummy control undergarments at this point due to them being taken beyond the point of usefulness- I had no idea that lycra could creak........... storage was therefore not an issue for me.........I had room for growth). It was a more joyous moment for me than any other in recent memory (wedding day and birth of children pale into insignificance when present with unlimited desserts.......). I frikkin love Canada.

Anyway, I have a modesty birkini in periwinkle blue, with matching bonnet in my shopping basket which requires my attention. I wonder if they do it in purple too.......



Monday, 3 September 2012

Purple, straight and swollen........and not in a '50 Shades of Grey' way......

 The wedding of the year, has now happened. The holiday in Canada which preceded it was wonderful and my gorgeous brother-in-law and new sister-in-law put on truly fantastic wedding bash. After all my hard work getting trim and wedding-ready this year, do you think I could behave myself in the 2 weeks of holiday leading up to the big day? No, no I could not.

In America, I ate like I was due to have my teeth removed the next day. In Canada, I packed away more food than your average Mountie and washed it down with enough Diet Coke to actually inflate myself. Yup, properly inflate myself. My stomach became so inflated and bloated that genuinely, I looked 9 months pregnant. I'm not even kidding. The holiday snaps don't lie. My least scary tummy control knickers, packed 'just in case' could not contain the damage I had inflicted upon myself..........complete and total frikkin moron. Who spends 8 months losing over 2 stone only to put (I expect) 50% of it back on in the fortnight before the event that you started slimming for.........Me. I do. Moron.

I managed to further enhance my appearance with a dye-job on my hair that actually turned it orange.  I have a wonderful holiday photo on my camera of my husband and 2 kids unexpectedly posing with what appears on first glance to be the character "C.U Jimmy" from the 1980's Russ Abbott TV show at a cute Vermont farm.................look him up. Pump him full of air. Stick him in a purple frock. That was me at the wedding. That was also me at the farm (without the dress). That particular photo is not going in the album.

An incredibly brave friend of the bride straightened by hair prior to the wedding- I have never seen my hair so straight- seriously it was immaculate. I have BIG hair and had always assumed that a combination of this and my hamster cheeks gave the illusion of a big head. Surely, despite my mother's assertions the the contrary on EVERY one of my birthdays that I have the world's largest head, I thought that she was jesting. She is not. The optical illusion created by giant boobs results in my head looking smaller than it is.......poker straight hair made me realise that my head is truly huge......and the real kicker? It turns out that the weight of the giant boobs and the massive noggin makes me hunch my shoulders, again evidenced in every photo of me this holiday. I was a visual asset at the wedding- bloated, giant head, orange hair, hunchbacked, freaky sized boobs and due to the 35 degree heat, bright red................my husband is a lucky, lucky man...........

When I reflect upon my behaviour, not just in these recent weeks but in the broad general principle, I am forced to acknowledge the possibility that I may actually be a disgrace. It is not a state of being that I am unfamiliar with. Previous occasions that I have been labeled a disgrace include the following:

1) At age 14 on a geography field trip in Devon, I met a lad from another school. A late night patrol of the grounds by his large scary teacher discovered us snogging in the bushes at the end of the drive. We were both labelled a disgrace and sent back to the hostel. It was a shared disgrace but a disgrace nonetheless.

2) During some very difficult and complex Care Proceedings in the High Court for which I was the social worker on the case, a family member, who was dressed entirely in transparent lycra as if planning a night on the razzle and who had just admitted to the court that she had abused children in a horrifying manner, marched up to me in front of a large crowd and screamed at me "You are a f**king disgrace, a f**king disgrace". I was unsure which way to take this assertion....................perhaps she was referring to my wardrobe and the fact that she felt I clearly hadn't made the level of effort that she herself had gone to in the clothing department as the stripper heels gave her ensemble the classy touch. Or maybe, she'd had a premonition that in 7 years time, I would be eating my own body weight in maple pancakes prior to a large family event and wanted to warn me.......who knows? Unsurprisingly perhaps, we won the case.........I still ate the friggin pancakes........

3) Aged 2 at my brother's christening. A little peeved at the level of attention he was receiving, I ran up to the altar, turned on congregation and flashed my knickers from the front of the church..........a technique that has served me well in adult life..........my first encounter with the word 'disgrace', this time uttered by my mother. The first time she'd used it in reference to me.

I am certain, with every neuron in my body, that it won't be the last time that accusation is levied my way.

I'm not even sorry.


Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Greying, gagging and garlic

I am there, at that point in your life that you never anticipated would happen to you. There. For me it happened at 10.45am on Saturday 30th June. In Debenhams. Auspicious.

I was trying on dresses for the WEDDING OF THE YEAR. A pretty one fitted. A size 16, from Coast (I am choosing to believe that Coast does NOT employ vanity sizing and thus the voice in my head has already decreed it a 14 and so you can see how I've got into this physical mess). I came out of the changing room and got an approving nod from my husband- it might have been an involuntary tick or a spasm but I have to take compliments where I can. The 6 year old sales assistant beamed (she smelt a sale) and then uttered the words, "It makes you look really young"

There. That was it. The transition into new territory.

Old bat-ishness. 

In her little teenage world, she clearly believed that this was the validation I had been searching for, the answer to my elderly prayers, the pinnacle of my middle aged aspirations. It is not. I had been hoping for 'slim' or 'bang on trend' or even a cheeky 'classy'.

 I had not actually felt the absence of any youth in my appearance and thus had absolutely no idea that my clothing choices now need to combat YET ANOTHER flaw. It would seem that I now need clothes which can now slim, lengthen AND de-old bat me.........jeeeeesus. My eye twitched and my jaw clenched. The toddler sales-assistant scuttled off.

I got the phone out of my bag and rang my friend the hairdresser. Immediate action required. The result? I am now in possession of dyed hair for the first time in my (ginger) life. The grey is gone. The sad news however is that the titian glow I was hoping for is actually more thermonuclear ginge than I had anticipated........my clothing choices are now further inhibited by the need to detract from my hair colour in addition to slimming and de-old batting.......aces. Looking guuuuuuuuuud.

Sooooooo, changing room humiliation aside, I now own some new outfits, including (drum roll please) a pair of SIZE 14 TROUSERS!!!! Yep, size 14. Word.

It has been an interesting week however on a more fundamental, biological level. I have been back to my very lovely nutritionist and some interesting developments have er, developed. Because I take antibiotics every day (for rubbish skin immunity) and have done for years, a lot of good bacteria is being killed off within my poor, elderly carcass. Consequently, I am missing some crucial bacteria and my digestion is a mess. The solution? Kill off the little feckers by starving them of sugar. And yeasts. And vinegars. I am also highly likely to be wheat intolerant. I am also a bit wobbly on dairy, according to the results.........In one swift sweep I am one of THOSE people.....I have dietary requirements.......I can no longer hit 'all you can eat' buffets with the recklessness of the Jackass crew......I am reading food labels........I am boring myself. I know many people who claim to be 'allergic' to things.....I am one of them. Forgive me father for I have sinned.....

1) At Uni I claimed I was allergic to garlic. This is not the case. The truth is that the halls of residence cooks, in their own private crusade for virtue and abstinence, would serve up garlic pasta every Wednesday night......"Roxy" night.....pulling night. In order to avoid smelling like the bride of Dracula, I told them that I was allergic to garlic. The kind old dears duly provided me with a less man-repelling alternative........it made little difference to my pulling ability. The sad truth was that as every lad in halls HAD eaten the garlic pasta, I got a second hand dose........delightful.

2) Alcohol. At the age of 14, I was introduced to 20/20 by my boyfriend and his older mates. Two swigs and I fell off the park bench and the rest of that week is a blur. A few weeks later, I met Hoopers Hooch. Two swigs later and I was thrown out of a pub. "Two Dogs" followed.........my boyfriend had to carry me unconscious through a park in Cirencester after a mouthful.  This pattern continued. I also saw no improvement in the taste of alcohol- regardless of what it's mixed with, it tastes like Tip-Ex and vomit and how people can drink it in pints is BEYOND me. I would be drunk for DAYS after only a mouthful or two. This seemed a bit odd. At the tender age of 15, after some unfortunate incidents. I swore off the booze and have been TeeTotal since then. Even as an adult, a decent quality brandy butter at Christmas can result in my having to be put to bed and we won't mention the unfortunate 'liquor chocolates won in the Christmas raffle' debacle of '95 but that wasn't pretty. Lightweight does not even BEGIN to cover it. Tee-total was the only way forward and has been so to date. Years ago, I mentioned this in passing to a doctor during a conversation about the hyperactivity I'd experienced after a packet of Skittles (not so much 'taste the rainbow' as 'high enough to reach the rainbow'). They thought that perhaps I am missing an enzyme that breaks down alcohol and some other sugars- apparently it's common in Asian men which is a commonality I had not anticipated. Never been tested, never had it confirmed but I will merrily tell people that I am allergic to alcohol. Rumbled. Well, it's more exciting that recanting the bloody Two Dogs stories isn't it?!

SO when people tell me that they are 'allergic' to things (other than peanuts- that shit is scary), I raise an eyebrow and mentally say 'Garlic pasta'. The truth is that for 90% of them, the reality is that whatever they are 'allergic' to actually just gives them wind, a slightly sick feeling or the trots.......c'mon folks, fess up......this is not an allergy, this is 'intolerance'. If I ever claim that I am allergic to anything, slap me. Let us allow those poor, poor buggers with PROPER allergies or Coeliac Disease to claim that title as their own (frankly, they are more than entitled to). For the rest of us, it's a quick trip to the loo and a bit of a bloat.

In amongst this digestive gloom and humiliation however have been some distractions. The Costume Ball that I started off wanting to 'slim down' for at the start of this journey in January, took place on Saturday. It was fantastic- a fab night dressed as Cinderella with lovely mates. A size 14/16 costume. Two days without the kids was even better- little horrors were delivered to their grandparents on Friday afternoon and not collected until Sunday lunchtime. I barely stopped the engine to drop them off. I didn't even stop for a wee or a drink before heading back. The kids hadn't got their shoes off before I left. The bonnet was still warm...........there may have been some wheelspin as I shot off. IT. WAS. BRILLIANT .

My son has also well and truly entered the 'Terrible Twos' this week, to compound it all. Every parent should be deprecating about their offspring to avoid unnecessarily high self esteem in future life but generally, kind friends and relatives will undo this parental mental abuse by reassuring you that your kids are a delight, that  they're marvelous and gorgeous. You know however that your child is the spawn of Satan when workers at the Sure Start centre (kindly souls who work with behavioural problems and families under strain every day) look on slack-jawed as your delightful offspring rampages around the playgroup in a full-blown paddy resulting in 20 minutes of aural torture and eventual eviction. "Crikey, he's got a face on" is all they could splutter as as I dragged him, his scooter and the 3 other kids shame-faced out of the door..........my face matched my new hair..........

For me, this week has been about learning that you are never the person that you think you are. I started the week believing myself to be an overweight, slightly greying but nonetheless sprightly 33 year old who could (and did) eat whatever they wanted whilst squeezing their arse into size 14 trousers. I have ended the week as a neurotic old bat with food label obsessions and a hair colour that can be seen from space. This whole physical reinvention thing is going marvelously well.

 Pass me the Hoopers Hooch.