What do you make of that, Doctor Freud?

So I had this dream recently. I think it’s what they call a ‘wish fulfillment’ dream. The sort where you express your deepest, darkest, most hidden and wicked desires. When I woke up, I felt a guilty exhileration, far stronger than any shame at breaking – for me – the ultimate taboo. I felt invigorated and contented – a new woman, in fact. Then reality came crashing back and I realised everything was as before.

This was the object of my night-time desire …

Yes, I dreamed I had a skip and I could chuck – well – whatever I wanted into it. It was intoxicating! In went the books I’m never going to read and papers and magazines, posters and bags. In went the bottles, jars, cans, plastic bags and spent batteries. Scratty potatoes, half empty bags of organic barley, sticky jars with unreadable labels, aged cans of worthy borlotti beans – gone. Ill advised sales-rack bargains, expensive shoes that don’t quite fit, jumpers that itch, sentimental bags of the children’s old baby clothes, anything a moth might fancy. Cosmetics bought in a fit of optimism and that I don’t get around to using – basically all of them, save about five must-haves.

I was free.

But, as I say, it was just a dream. In reality, my eco-worrier tendencies would never allow me such extravagent gestures. In my kitchen, worthy stacking boxes are endlessly and painstakingly filled with recyclables, the Oxfam shop gets the books and clothes in dribs and drabs (particularly drabs), the unpalateably healthy foods will probably stay put until weevils take a fancy to them, and the cosmetics will only leave the shelves when they start to smell funny.

That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. To tell you the truth, I don’t think I could bring myself to undertake such radical surgery, even without the eco-concerns. I love my stuff. I know I’m drowning in it, but I still love it. Chucking it all would be like having my arm chopped off without anaesthetic.

I think I’ll stick to biting my fingernails.


It’s all about me(me)

I’ve got a terrible backlog of memes. It’s not quite as painful as it sounds, but I’m getting constant twinges in the region of my conscience. The only remedy is to get on and do ’em … all four of ’em. You’ve been warned. Turn to another channel now if you don’t want to find out more about me than you ever hoped to know …

First, if I’m not much mistaken, came my good friend LawyerMama who, about 5 years ago – blog years, that is, which are similar to dog years (has anyone else noticed how fast time moves in the blogosphere?), so it was probably only about 3 or 4 months – asked me to list 6 strange things about myself. Bloody hell – where to start?

1) I haven’t been bowling very often, and part of the reason is that I have this awful fear that my thumb will get caught in the hole in the ball, and will either be pulled off or dislocated when I bowl it. I may have seen something of the kind on Tom and Jerry once and it’s stayed with me.

2) I can’t abide the sound of toast being buttered (some of you may know about this already, cos I fessed up to it once before – to much derision). As a consequence, I only ever make my toast on setting 2.5 on my toaster. My husband – incomprehensibly – thinks toast should be crunchy. What a weirdo! This means we have regular battles over the toaster setting. Grounds for divorce, I feel sure.

3) I started learning to play the cello while I was pregnant with the twins. After a while, I couldn’t really reach any more but my brilliant career was also thwarted by the fact that I have very short little fingers – no, I mean my little finger on both hands is/are short … oh you know what I mean. Anyway, I’d no doubt be brilliant if it weren’t for my little finger deficiency. They only come halfway up the middle joint on my ring finger. Now you’re looking at your fingers, aren’t you? Oh – the power!

4) I am very hardhearted and cry about once a year. I always cry at funerals, even if I barely knew the deceased and I also cry at that bit in The Railway Children near the end, when Jenny Agutter goes, ‘Daddy! It’s my Daddy!’. Oh blimey – I’m tearing up now. What’s wrong with me? Actually, I was hospitalised for quite a while when I was about 18 months and so didn’t see my parents much – maybe I have separation issues.

5) I’m wonky. The left-hand side of my body is unlucky and sustains far more injuries than the right. Broken wrist, sprained ankle (often), dislocated elbow (twice), knee injuries. And I’m astigmatic in my left eye only. Sadly, my warranty has expired or I’d return myself like a shot.

6) I’m a Freeman of the City of London.

7) I’ll give you one more – wake up, for goodness sake! – since it’s taken me so blasted long to get round to this … I have a Blue Peter Badge, plus a signed letter from Val, John, Pete and Biddy Baxter. (Yes, I’m that old.) I’m extremely proud of it!

Okay! The next meme was from the lovely AlphaDogMa, who lives in the frozen North yet has the warmest heart and one of the best senses of humour (sense of humours?) I’ve ever come across. My mission from her, which I have chosen to accept, is the following: Find the nearest book. Name the Author & title. Turn to page 123. Post sentences 6-8.

Rightie ho. Looking round. Must tidy this desk! Collins Robert French/English dictionary. I don’t think so. Who’s Who – ditto. I won’t do it from one of my own novels – that would be tacky. Luckily for you Cactus and Succulents doesn’t have enough pages. It’s Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll – the copy I had as a child with the Tenniel illustrations. It smells wonderfully of old book. (ADM, I know you’ll appreciate that). There are only 6 sentences on the page, so I’ll do 2-4, okay?

So you see, Miss, we’re doing our best, afore she comes, to-‘ At this moment, Five, who had been anxiously looking across the garden, called out ‘The Queen! The Queen!’ and the three gardeners instantly threw themselves flat upon their faces. There was a sound of many footsteps, and Alice looked round, eager to see the Queen.


My book has coloured illustrations, sadly I couldn’t find one to post here – one day, I’ll work out how to use that pesky scanner – and I remember spending hours and hours lying in the sunshine, reading it. Awwwwww. Thanks, Alpha, for sending me back to a lovely memory. I’m feeling all nostalgic. Think I’ll phone my mum and …. daddy … it’s my daddy! (sniff sniff)

 Sigh – I know I’ve got 2 more memes to do, but if I’m getting bored with myself, how must you be feeling? I’ll do them soon – promise!


Bacon rind. What’s not to love?

Except for the fact that it’s basically pigskin.

Nope, sorry. I’m thinking about that as hard as I possibly can, but it’s just not putting me off. And do you remember when it used to come with an inky blue tattoo? Or bristles? And when it used to sometimes have a little hard bony bit in it that could take you by surprise. Blimey – eating bacon was risky in those days. Even so I was undaunted.  

It’s just that bacon rind hits so many points. It’s salty, like peanuts. It’s chewy, like gum. It’s full of saturated fat, like … er … saturated fatty things.

It’s basically fatty, salty gum. Someone should market it. Never mind Juicy Fruit. How about Salty Rind?

Those days are long gone, of course. Now bacon comes hermetically sealed from Tesco (or elsewhere), and you’d hardly even know it had once roamed the plains on four little trotters. (Must quickly explain that I only ever buy free-range meat, so there’s no need to tell me about the miserable existence of the average pig)

Sometimes, it even comes with the rind removed.

Now, I’m sorry, but that’s just wrong.

It’s like only eating peeled fruit, surely. And we all know the vitamins are in the skin, don’t we? It’s as bad as wanting your crusts cut off. And eating crusts gives you curly hair, doesn’t it? (Doesn’t it? Wait til I next see my mother!)

And what do they do, pray, with the rind they steal from us? Apart from feeding it back to the piggies, or possibly to school children in the form of chicken nuggets. They make pork scratchings, that’s what. Pork scratchings – that most noble of British bar snacks. A bristle in every bite!

But the scarcity of NHS dentists will, no doubt, pose a serious threat to the pork scratching industry. Few of us can afford to pop a crown any more, and I’m seeing trouble ahead. There’ll be lay-offs, industrial action, riots, maybe.

I say, leave the rind on the bacon.

Why don’t they ask me?

In the beginning …

You can see, can’t you, why God started with light? It makes everything so much easier. Although, just to be pedantic (cos pedantic is my middle name, although just to be pedantic, it isn’t – it’s Clare.), there’s one thing I’m a bit confused by. If He didn’t create day and night until the fourth day, how do we know it actually was the fourth day. Presumeably, before that, it was just light all the time – a bit like Orkney in midsummer, but with less Peter Maxwell Davies. Easy to lose track of the days, I’d have thought. (In yer face, Creationists.)

Anyhoo. Light is very useful and thank God God started off with it before creating anything else. Otherwise He wouldn’t have been able to see what He was doing and everything might have come out all wrong. I mean, it’s only been two days since my bathroom light went, and already I’ve brushed my teeth with hair gel. Imagine if I were in charge of something important, like … I dunno … making a firmament in the midst of the waters and letting it divide the waters from the waters, for example.