Death by old lady

I nipped in to Sainsbury in Witney this afternoon, to do a little food shopping:

  • Pringles (prawn cocktail)
  • Cereal
  • Baking potatoes
  • Tinned potatoes
  • Vegetables
  • Chocolate
  • Baked beans
  • Bread
  • etc…

That was one basket – which was just as well, because that’s what I was carrying the shopping in!

Almost all of the checkout queues were long, but the line at the ‘Baskets Only’ register was only three people deep.

I took my place in the line.

The old lady who came in to the line behind me hit me with her shopping trolley.

I glared at her, checked the sign hanging above the cash register that said ‘Baskets Only’, glared at her again and took a half-pace forward.

She moved forward a half pace and hit me with her trolley again.

I said ‘What the fucking hell do you think you’re playing at, you stupid old cow? And can’t you read?’

I couldn’t move any further forward, I moved slightly sideways instead.

She pushed the trolley forward and would have hit me with it again but I put my hand on it and pushed it back at her.

She backed off.

While she was giving me the cold and frosty eyes, I pointedly looked at the ‘Baskets Only’ sign, then looked down at her chosen weapon.

It was lost on her.

After a few minutes I moved forward, put my basket on the ledge and began unpacking what was in it, moving the shopping on to the conveyor belt.

And she hit me with her trolley again.

I picked up the tin of potatoes, half-turned and hurled them straight at her head. She fell to the floor with a dull ‘thud’, sounding just like a large melon hitting the tiles.

Fortunately I was able to move forwards again, and wait for my shopping as it was scanned.

I packed the shopping and paid for it.

R – e – a – l – l – y – r – e – a – l – l – y – s – l – o – w – l – y.

She was giving me the frosty glare.

I actually laughed at her.

But that’s relatively harmless, right?

Shopping (trolley) karma

Is karma – because it is a circular thing, right? – subject to pressures being exerted on it?

Is it like shopping trolleys at Morrison or Tesco (insert name of other supermarket here), sometimes operates on an even keel, gets where it was intending in a smooth, flowing, effortless way leaving it – and the karmic user – glowing with pride at the ease of the journey?

And does it sometimes wibble and wobble its way erratically – sometimes down the chosen path, sometimes straying beyond those boundaries – until it eventually reaches the objective, leaving it – and the karmic user, again – flushed with the effort, sweating and exhausted with the exertion that the journey took?


So to the guy who pushed in front of me at the check-out in Tesco this morning with his shopping trolley FULL of food – enough food to feed an average family of two adults and two point four children for twenty-three months! – while all I had was a sandwich and a pot of melon, I would like to say something.

Ha ha!

Or, to put it another way, you have been the victim of a karmic cycle my friend.

Did you notice that when you obstructed me with your heavily laden shopping trolley that there was a shiver in the spiritual world?

Did you get the vibration that you were going to be repaid for shutting me out when I should have been first?

Did you feel cheated when the cashier that called you forward was the trainee, having her first day on the till and under the supervision of a more experienced member of staff?

Did you notice that the person who called me forward was Ms Extremely Efficient who had my two (count them big boy!) items scanned, payment accepted and change proffered in record time?

Do you even care that right now you are still standing at the checkout in Tesco while the trainee is painstakingly scanning each of your 47 billion items while I have had time to collect a Latté, walk back to my office, sit at my desk and type this post out?

The fates are laughing at you my friend.

You forgot the golden rule.

Be Excellent To Each Other.

Oh yes.


Running away Sunday

We woke up early, fell asleep, woke up later and I delivered tea in bed and decided (with little resistance) that we should take advantage of the blue sky, lack of clouds and falling-from-above water and head for Worcester.

Getting bathroomed and dressed first, obv.

The multi-storey in the centre of the city looked almost deserted by normal weekend standards, the same couldn’t be said for the centre – it wasn’t packed but there were more than enough folk around for this simple country bumpkin.

We headed smartly for Cafe Rouge – they change from breakfast to lunch menu at 12.00, a deadline that we made, but only just!

Sipping hot chocolate whilst waiting for my Crepe Champignon (they do the best ever!) we gazed at the folk.

There was one guy in there with a huge bushy beard that resembled an out-of-control privet hedge. When he lowered his coffee cup we could see that his drink left a line of froth on his draggly moustache. Way unattractive, dude! But here’s a thing. He’d know about it right? I mean, a bushy draggly beard/moustache combo like that, it didn’t just occur overnight would it? So have a little personal hygiene dude. We don’t want to see your food and/or liquid remains. Thanks.

The Lovely S told me off for giving a noisy child the Vulcan Death Glare and I felt admonished. But only very slightly. 🙂

We chatted about nothing much and after a while I dived in to the complimentary copy of The Independent on Sunday.

I’m ashamed to admit that we were in, ordered, eaten, paid and out again in less than 40 minutes – it seems indecently hasty in retrospect.

Then we shopped.

Aren’t Christmas Vouchers the best thing ever?

Today I scored in HMV Abbey Road (The Beatles), Soup (best of Housemartins and Beautiful South) and S scored White Chalk (PJ Harvey). While we were there we also scored an interesting piece of information about a band called Vampire Weekend who have an album coming out tomorrow. HMV were playing the album (as well as some real dross) and it sounded really interesting. Stuff for the future maybe? Watch, listen, wait and see.

Over the road in M&S I acquired a belt. No, not around the ears. The kind that loops through your trousers…

Although we did have a bit of a moment while we were queuing to pay for said item. The Lovely S pointed out that M&S had a Spiderman costume for sale. I asked if I should buy it. Then, I said, I could put it on this evening and jump in through the bedroom door – while she was in bed, natch – in my lovely new Spiderman costume.

The woman in front of us thought this was amusing and asked for photographs. We should have taken her contact details because then I could tell her… it isn’t happening. Not tonight. Not ever.

Then to Costa for more hot chocolate, reading and people watching.

In a way I’m a little disappointed with Worcester today. Not Chavless exactly, but they weren’t in full flood as they usually are.

Then back home for a change (me) then to the yard for big-orange-thing-sitting-on (aka taking Vin for a hack, while The Lovely S drove on in to Detroitwich to do wonderful things with books.

Vin was Full of Beans, A Right Handful and A Barrel of Laughs. The use of caps is to highlight just how manic and stupid he was. We were trotting around one field when he did a massive starfish/spook and telegraphed to me “What the fuck is that?”.

“It’s a tree Vin.”

“Really? Oh, OK. If you say so.”

He really is a complete dickhead sometimes. 🙂

Back at the yard the rest of the horses were coming in for the evening. Trish and I had a long chat about competitions, competition centres, trainers and stuff; it’s useful to have her perspective, I value her experience and her views.

Then The Lovely S arrived and we headed for home (via McD’s where a pair of apple pies and sundaes came in to our possession).

The contraband eaten, an episode of 24 watched and the new albums iPodded, we sit here feeling as though we might need a snack but not a meal while the sounds of new music fill the lounge only just covering Milly the Basset Hound Next Door’s almost continual howling.

It has been a running away Sunday. I should have been digging deep into OU stuff but frankly it’s been such a non-stop fortnight in my world that I needed the time off. And I feel as though my batteries have had a recharge.

It’s another 05.15 alarm tomorrow, the cycle starts all over again.

Except for next weekend. That will be different.


Why oh why oh why oh why?

Why is buying toilet paper so traumatic?

The local supermarket has an entire aisle dedicated to bottom-wiping materiel.

So why is it nigh on impossible to get the right product – and thereafter be consistent with our future purchases?

There’s the ‘wafer thin’ product in various colours. It’s cheap, cheerful and if you happen to have fingers, dangerous product. No matter how many times one does the foldage, Mr Finger-Pokey plays a game of bottom-related Russian Roulette that’s too ‘eeeew‘ to mention!

There’s the contoured type product – also available in various colours. It’s slightly pricier, has an air of middle-class seriousness about it and is, frankly, a little too thick, just a touch too inflexible to get in there and get to ever corner of that very important little place.

There are the ‘foreign’ brands. And we don’t trust Johnny Foreigner and his fancy bottom-cleansing products do we? No matter how competitively priced. And no matter how suitable they are!

Well actually we do.

This time we’ve gone for a French-flavoured bum cleanser (backed by a family-sized packet of wet wipes, natch) which is soft, strong, very very long (like the Andrex dog. I always thought that was weird. Having a dog that was soft, strong and very very long) but, unlike the Andrex thing, isn’t covered in dog hair and is the right combination of firm yet flexible and isn’t dangerously near the fingertip limit.

Is life supposed to be this complicated, or is it just me?


That’ll be me then.



Weird place or what?

A quick belt around the 1975-ish shopping centre yielded absolutely nowt for me so tomorrow I’ll be getting my hair cut in Worcester instead.

Ah… Life in the fast lane.



Bad Attitude

A selfish day.

I spent the morning at the yard.

This may have involved spending time drinking hot chocolate and gossiping with Sue, Trish, Caroline, Karen, Cheryl, Laura and Christine.

Then I started the lorry. Except I didn’t. It didn’t want to know, so I attached the booster power pack and it changed its mind and roared in to life. Hmm… I’m going to have to keep an eye on that.

Then I schooled Vin who, all things considered, settled down after 20 minutes and started producing some nice work.

I say – all things considered – because there was:

  • Shooting in the wood behind the yard with beaters beating and callers umm calling. And dogs barking
  • Work going on in the yard where a new barn is being built – two large JCBs chuntering around the place and associated workers erm working
  • Karen Laura and Christine readying the lorry, preparing to go out, loading two horses and then erm going out

So all things considered, that Vinnie chose to give me his attention and concentration was pretty damn good really.

Then I nipped in to Worcester to do a little Christmas shopping. Except it was horrid. I left.

I felt in need of a morale-boosting treat so I stopped at a roadside café for a mug of tea and two double fried egg sandwiches.

Then I found my way to a really obscure tack shop where I looked for and bought the only thing I need for my equestrian/equine wardrobe – a tail guard. Except…

While I was there I found a brilliant brilliant pair of Caldene jodhpurs on special. I don’t need to ask if my bum looks big in them. It doesn’t. But something else does.

Then back to the yard where I drank more hot chocolate and cleaned tack. I’ve got lots more tack to clean. I also have to clean Beech’s saddle and bridle and break them down for storage. Just need a little time.

Went home and internetted. And chilled.

This evening I’ve prepared Quorn spag bol then cooked, eaten, washed up, watched X-Factor and Have I Got a Bit More News For You.

I feel as though I’ve been entirely selfish today.

But I’ve also found a little time to dip in to the world news and media and found:
This intelligent, entertaining, informative and well-written article by Toby Harnden about Clinton v Obama. But bloody hell people, it’s in the effing bloody Daily Telegraph ffs!
A lot of words about the Bali Climate Conference. The most staggering fact about this circus is this simple yet largely unreported fact: The number of people who have flown in to Bali to either take part in or observe this environmental conference is… 10,000. Go figure my friends, go figure.

Does any of this make you think the way it’s making me think?

My brain hurts.


Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through

That TV advertisement is right, dammit! I do need to remove stubborn stains and I am worried about damaging the colour. But lo my friends! There is a product that I simply need to dip my stubbornly-stained clothing into and behold… the stain is gone! This must be magic. Or sorcery. Anyway, back in the real world…

Earlier I managed to spill my craftsman-like constructed cup of tea all over the kitchen worksurface.

No significant damage was done, but so great was the crisis that once the damage was repaired Die Hard 4.0 and a significant quantity of ice cream followed.


I haven’t ridden this weekend – the weather’s been awful – but I have finished the very last task at the yard of clearing up Beech’s things. Much poignancy.

I’ve also emailed Jo (new trainer) to postpone our next session – I haven’t had time to put her ideas in to practice from the last time yet.

Vinnie looks good, I wish I was giving him the quality of work that he deserves.

Gary’s repaired the power steering feed pipe on the lorry (yay!), but we don’t have anything booked in the competition schedule – though I’ve just noticed there’s some dressage on Sunday 16th December down at Huntley in Gloucestershire.

And here’s a thing… those Southern Comfort television commercials. Haven’t the advertising agency realised the awful truth yet, that they’re being handicapped by the fact that the product tastes like sickly cat wee?

We had breakfast at Little Chef this morning (yeah, rock’n’roll!), a token of apology from me to The Lovely S for behaving like a complete and utter twot yesterday.

After breakfast a trip to the yard where I cleared stuff up, as previously mentioned.

Then shopping in Kidderminster (woo!) where I scored a rather nice two-piece pinstripe from Next. It’s a smart suit and the cut on the trousers emphasises things very well.

Then home via Blockbusters where Die Hard 4.0, a tub of ice cream and a large packet of chocolatey things invited themselves in to my possession.

And now it’s the hysterically delicious Sandra Bullock in Miss Congeniality. Interspersed with fcuking irritating fcuking adverts.

We were going to the cinema today but the reviews that The Golden Compass has been getting are absolutely awful, so we passed.

Christmas looms.

The place I’m working closes down for the Christmas/New Year period.

Christmas Day sees the annual fried breakfast and Buck’s Fizz at the yard – even those on full livery have to do their horses AM and PM to give Sue at least one day in the year off.

Christmas Day evening and Boxing Day will see a visit to the outlaws; time will be spent in the company of Damien, the child who bears the number of The Beast.

A post-Christmas trip to Spain to visit Daughter is becoming a possibility, there’s lots of arranging to be done to make it so, but the chance of a few days in her company exists.

I have two books that shall be reviewed over Christmas and have made the conscious decision that OU submissions may well be late while I settle many tasks down at work.

And The Lovely S has decided that when the last episode of Buffy has been viewed we should perhaps move on to 24. Whilst I see merit in the suggestion I can’t help wondering where Angel fits in to the plan.

There doesn’t seem to be any less going on in my life but it does look as though I’m managing things more efficiently.


The definition of purgatory is…


In Worcester.

On a Saturday.

On a wet Saturday.

When every chav in the county under the age of 16 is also there.

With his/her kids (really!).

Mission accomplished in part though: stuff needed was bought.

But what an awful place the centre of Worcester can be.


Gone shopping, slowly

It’s Friday evening so naturally I’m shopping at Morrisons, Bromsgrove.

Wild party animal that I am.

I’ve stopped off to have fun do the shopping on the way to pick up The Lovely S from work; she doesn’t finish until 20.15.

My boundaries of disbelief are under threat from a couple of directions.

Firstly, Morrisons management.

They’re twisted.

The store has two aisles near the exit that are designated as ‘express’ check-outs.

But they’re the two slowest aisles in the store.

The tills are designated as ‘Hand Baskets Only’ – and that’s great because by and large that’s the way it works.

But they’re still the two slowest aisles in the store.


Because the management (did I mention that they’re twisted?) put the slowest members of staff on the stores payroll on these tills.


Twenty six minutes to process the contents of four shopping baskets.

I kid you not.

Twenty six minutes!


But this evening I didn’t mind.

Oh no.

I didn’t mind because (and this is the second reason my boundaries of disbelief have been tested this evening)…

I was in front of a group of…

SuperChavs! (innit).

Look, what I’m about to say isn’t sexist, I’m just stating what I saw.

Five Chavettes – actually, SuperChavette – queuing behind me.

13 years old.

Lamb dressed as mutton; floating on a cloud of whatever cheap, nasty, tacky perfume they could spray on for free at the Boots Tester counter.

Garishly coloured, spangly tops; black. skin-tight slacks, open-toed sandals-with-heels.

Accents I can only describe as ‘Brummie-Lite’.

(‘Wotcha do a’school to die Shaz?’ that kind of thing)

Fake tannery underneath layers of makeup applied by builders’ trowel or powder-puffs the size of a bathroom sponge.

Hair styles that must have taken hours to gain the appearance of being so sculpted.

Each of these SuperChavettes carries a bottle of Lambrusco or similar whilst muttering almost silently how unworried they are about getting ID’d.

Guess what?

They got ID’d.

‘I’ve left it in moy car.’ Said the Senior SuperChavette.

‘That’s fine,’ said the checkout supervisor who had spotted the girls from a distance and intervened across the top of the store’s Slowest Checkout Operator.

‘I’ll wait here while you go out to the car park and get it.’

Unfortunately I couldn’t hear precisely what happened next because I had to finish packing my seven items of shopping and leave – I was beginning to look like either a sinister stalker or an escapee from the community mental health team.

But as I was driving out of the car park I did see all of the SuperChavettes leaving the store.

Sans bottles of wine.

Friday evening in Bromsgrove, ah we really know how to rock the world.

I’m an addict and I have sinned

Bloody bookshops.

Shouldn’t be allowed!

I now have a copy of Dick Francis’ latest paperback ‘Under Orders’ and Billy Bragg’s exploration of ‘Britishness’, ‘The Progressive Patriot’.

Like, I have time for such fripperies as reading?

I mean.

I’m getting a bit freaked out by the lack of spare time in my life as it is.

And I’ve gone out and bought two books – two books!?

Whatz goin’ on?

Sorry about that bit of Chav-speak there.

The Lovely S works in a library ferchrisake.

And if that’s not enough we have a spare room that resembles a, well, a library.

I know she loves books, just as I do, but I’m supposed to be able to pull back and say ‘Oi Mr Bookseller, no! I don’t have the time for your tree-grown version of crack cocaine. Leave it!’

But no, not me.

I said: ‘Oooh, buy one get one half price? That’ll do nicely.’

What a twonk.


Saw a copy of my book in Waterstones the other day.

At least it wasn’t in the remaindered bin.