Saturday, 18 July 2009

Targeted by psychopaths

I may have mentioned before how much I love the Internet. Maybe several times, who knows? There's a wonderful birthdayish feel about ordering things, paying for them, forgetting about them, and then a week or two later getting lots of presents in the post. However. I seem to have become the target, recently, for any and every pointless "homeware" catalogue the postie can shove through our letterbox. I wouldn't dream of suggesting that my address has been pimped out by somebody I actually subscribe to (Lakeland, I still love you!! Call me!!), so can only assume it was a one-night-stand (i.e. something I bought for Christmas from some company I'll never use again) who has stitched me up like this. I religiously tick every box that says "I do NOT wish to be contacted with exciting offers by your carefully-chosen partner companies thank you very much, now or ever", but there's obviously some loophole even the pathologically cautious like me have missed.
My most recent unsolicited arrival was the catalogue for Really Linda Barker, which seems to specialise in cast-iron rabbits and "wall art". As I flicked idly through it I realised that far from being an advertisement for Ms Barker's range of metalwork chinoiserie (well, it's all made in China), it's actually one gigantic cry for help. In her own words : "Looking back through my previous collections, I've noticed I have a growing obsession with hooks, and for some reason, chickens". Which, to the trained eye, says "STOP ME BEFORE I KILL AGAIN". It's a short and fatally easy step from an obsession with hooks and chickens to ending up like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, experimenting with livestock and wearing a waistcoat of badly-cured human skin. And why restrict this worry to the otherwise wholesome-looking Linda Barker? God knows what festers in the mind of Johnnie Boden. Why does he so keenly want to share his views on feather-stitch and patent leather with you? WHY????? Is he making himself a girl-suit like Buffalo Bill in Silence Of The Lambs???
Best not to ask really.

"Oh look, there's a daisy-chain of human hands in the rigging!"

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Dies Irae

I have no intention of moaning about the weather; I think it's a regrettable part of the British psyche that we are inclined to moan about whatever weather we have and yearn for what we don't. Rain is rubbish, and I think I speak for everyone when I say this (apart from ducks and gardeners - and in the latter case, hurrah! Enjoy your garden! And the fact that there hasn't yet been a hosepipe ban! In the former case, migrate already!).
I will, however, just offer you an instance under which rain and/or typically British low summer temperatures might be preferable.
Imagine you are on a journey; it is a short journey (average under one and a half hours). Between two major English cities - let's say London and Oxford. On a coach company who will remain nameless, but let's call them BUM RUBBISH CRAP BUM BUM POO Limited.
Many different choices would have been made in my life had I been in possession of all the facts before making a decision.
For example, had I been in possession of the fact (as the coach company were) that a large part of the M40 was closed off due to a lorry bursting into flames.

(Not actually this lorry. Looks dramatic though, doesn't it? It had bloody better, is all I can say.)

Or the fact that this meant that ALL traffic between the two hypothetical cities was diverted down what amounts to, frankly, a cart-track (or, as it is officially known, the A40). A very scenic and pretty road, but there's a reason it isn't the main artery between the two cities.
Or that, due to the day in question being Oxford University Open Day, every form of transport between EVERYWHERE IN BRITAIN and Oxford would be heaving with excitable teenagers absolutely bursting to get to Oxford and do their big Mary Tyler Moore twirl in the street, throw hat in the air, yes YES I'm going to take this city and make it my own... Oh you know.
In a nutshell, I ended up jammed up against a coach window while Saffy or Ottoline or Tash or whatever (pick one) spent the journey shrieking on her mobile phone, No but she's like sooo not like capable of y'know like expanding on the question, I mean I like said to her but like did Darcy and Elizabeth like DO IT and she just went like quiet and she like just can't think outside the like text as the coach crawls (or, at times, just sits) down a succession of very pretty country lanes, somewhere in the middle of a huge trail of traffic doing the same thing.
I checked - at one point we took an hour to go 4 miles. I was on the verge of getting off, walking a couple of miles up the queue, and seeing if there was another coach further up. As the engine idled, so did the aircon. Saffy/Ottoline/Tash started to do that aggrieved heavy sigh thing which teenagers the world over don't seem to realise doesn't actually make things happen any faster.
Oh all right, I'll cut a long story short. We finally got to London, by which time I had the desire to kiss the tarmac, smoke five cigarettes at once, and hurl forcibly into the nearest bin the Iris Murdoch I had read twice on the journey.

On the plus side, my increasingly unhinged and rambling texts had alerted Mr Fishwife to my impending meltdown, so he had the wine ready.
I won't complain again. This is beautiful weather. Not for travellers in coaches who might have taken the train home had they been apprised of the true nature of things by the BUM RUBBISH CRAP BUM BUM POO Ltd coach company, but you know. Mustn't grumble.