Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Help me please you lovely people!

Hey y'all

I have a favour to ask... Now apart from a bizarre advert for vacuum bags (WHY? Why not vodka or tampax??) I have never advertised on this here little blog. I have never asked for money, save the time I ran 5K - but I did suffer from a SERIOUS ankle injury and I had many asthma attacks as I hauled myself around that event, so I did deserve to ask for your help...and it was for a v good cause. I rarely have asked for anything - mind you I have moaned a fair few times, so that probably was asking for help... Anyway...

Now, I have a more personal question to ask. It sounds a tad wanky - to be honest, to ask you what posts of mine have been your favourite - and maybe why... But I genuinely need to know. I could trawl through the past 7 years and think 'Oh that one aint bad... maybe that one' but what do I know? Not much. Maybe nothing has tickled your fancy - but I know many of my buddies, work colleagues, family etc read this - 5,000 of you a month sometimes... so could you tell me in the comments section if any post stood out at all? I need it for a project I am working on... or trying to work on is a better description. I've added a few links below (just as suggestions - but maybe you have a specific blog post that you liked from many moons ago...) - even if you write 'that one where you cried' - at least that is something. If the comments box remains empty I shall start texting and emailing and harassing and no one wants that undignified behaviour do they?

So if you ever stopped by, if I ever made you laugh or shed a tear - let me know when? I'd be eternally grateful folks.


CM xxx

These are just suggestions - but feel free to tell me any one at all you liked. 

The first time I married Husband in secret: here

When blood isn't thicker than water : here

Looking at ex's to discover that they er... have changed a tad: Here 

A love letter to my son just before my daughter was born: here

Marriage - and how my sad story was on repeat... : here 

Unwanted house guest Kipper: here 

The one where I was tempted by the fruits of another : here

The one where I loved the VSB boys... : here 

No one puts baby in the corner : here

My travels: here 

Glasses : here 

Are you a wanker? here

Friday, 25 April 2014

Tight Lipped

In my life there are times when I wish I had spoken up and others when I wish I'd kept my big mouth firmly shut. The difficulty, of course, is working out WHEN to speak out and when to maintain a dignified silence. It is a fine line to tread - damned if you do - damned if you don't.  Speak out and you could be accused of meddling, of stirring up angst or creating more drama. Be silent and further down the track you when the truth has come to light your tight lipped stance is seen as making a stand - one way or the other. 'Why didn't you tell me?' is chanted in your face...

True story: Years ago I was working in a bar in New Zealand. The manager was the owner's sister - lets call her Jane, and her assistant an arrogant guy called Piers. They were flatmates as well as co-workers. Meanwhile my flatmate and best buddy (let's call her Lisa) had a whopping great crush on this idiot Piers. He was single, flirtatious and she thought a lot of fun. Just as I came down with the worst food poisoning you can have (campylobacter - nasty I can tell you - all down to my mate undercooking chicken - be warned!) my flatmates decided to throw a house party. As I quietly died in the corner, Jane scooped me up and took me to her place - looking after me as I lost a stone in 3 days. (Which would have been fab but I have never been so ill in my life). My flatmate Lisa, shagged Piers at this party and was over the moon. Now, he could be hers! Except he didn't. We couldn't understand why...

Until he confessed to me that he was in fact in a long standing relationship with lovely Jane. Poor Jane who had no idea what had gone on... He swore me to secrecy... (although he did eventually confess to Jane he had shagged Lisa, but said he had been so drunk he didn't realise what he was doing) so I had to lie to Jane's face - all through our friendship, knowing she was secretly dating her 'flatmate.' Meanwhile my best buddy was cut up over this twat - and wondered why he would shag her and then disappear. Eventually I had to tell her about Piers and Jane - just so the poor girl would stop shagging this muppet.

Months later we were due to leave NZ for sunny Oz and threw an almighty leaving bash. I (typically) drank far too much and confessed to Jane I knew all along that she was with Piers and that I was sorry I hadn't admitted this earlier. She was horrified. Frozen to the spot - she just couldn't believe I had betrayed her - letting her pretend she was single, over months and months. But what could I do? Piers had asked me to keep his confidence and I had. I expected her to understand, but she was furious - not with him sadly - but with me!  We patched up our friendship over long distance phone calls but it was never the same. Piers the twat came to London and made off with the takings from a bar he worked in - vile from start to finish. Jane and Lisa bonded over what a dick Piers was, so at least some good came of the mess.

So I learnt that keeping quiet didn't always work in your favour... Should I have spoken up earlier?

Years later one of my closest friends started dating a guy I immediately disliked. Naturally I kept this to myself. Then more and more of our mutual friends would ask, 'but CM, why is she dating HIM?' No one really liked him. They hoped she'd come to her senses. She married him. I never told her - I worried that if I had, she'd vanish from my life -particularly as this guy often tried to drive a wedge between me and her) and anyway, it wasn't about whether or not I liked him - it wasn't me having a relationship with him... But it bothered me. He wasn't good enough for her, spoke badly to her, didn't value her enough. They divorced years later and she rounded on me, 'why didn't you ever say?'

Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

So what do you do in those sticky situations: when a co-worker thinks all is well with their job and you've heard otherwise - that their card might be marked. They could go for another job elsewhere but aren't going to, after all, their job is secure, right? Do you tell? Or if your male buddy fancies a girl who you know is stringing him along - feeding her fragile ego with his devotion -  but she's kind of a friend too, so you can't criticise her to him, can you? Or if a friend is compromising her marriage by contemplating a fling with the world's biggest lothario - a borderline psycho who preys on vulnerable women - but she thinks she's the only one, do you speak out? Or if your friend's teenager confesses to you that she has started having sex - do you keep her confidence or do you tell the mother (your friend?). When to keep quiet, when to speak out.... It is a minefield.

This isn't about keeping a secret - for all my mouthiness, I have kept many many secrets. I'm actually pretty good at that. If someone trusts me enough to confide in me - something incredibly personal or valid to them - then it is not my place to ever repeat that. It aint my secret to tell. But what of all those times where you get caught up in the mire? When your silence effectively makes you in cahoots with the betrayer?

It is murky territory I can tell you... Whilst I believe that remaining silent is usually the only (safe) option - if the shoe was on the other foot - I would want to know. I always think that I could cope with anything - as long as I am not lied to. I value honesty and loyalty in my friendships above all. Be honest with me - no matter how hard, how brutal you have to be - I will respect you all the better for it. The best folk I know in life are the brave honest ones - the liars are easy to weed out.

I look back on those New Zealand days and my only regret is that I ever kept any kind of a confidence for the snake that was Piers. The fact he was stringing along 2 women - both brilliant - both my buddies, should have shown me his true colours. But he was charming and it seemed, vulnerable and I felt privileged that he chose to confide in me. The worst mistake you can make is to take pride in being confided in - as most of the time - that's just part of their game.

The moral of this tale? I don't have one. I'm still fudging my way through the swamp of secrets and lies and trying to raise my head above it all. But, if in doubt - speak out - is probably the way to go.

What say you?

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

The one where I got out some more....

Husband's job has meant that for almost 8 years I have stayed in. Well not EVERY night like a prisoner - but it hasn't been as easy for me to skip into London town and paint it red as it was in the pre-kids (golden) days. Now that he has changed jobs and walks through the door every evening at 5pm ish, I have taken advantage of the freedom and raced out the door at every given opportunity. It has been SWELL.

One big merry-go-round of nights out, birthday celebrations and then topped off with a blissful trip to Paris. It began a few weeks back - the week after my 'Grappa man' night out as it shall be known. (Though let's not bring that up again as Husband still frets over it and let sleeping dogs lie and all that...). I headed out on the Wed night to a gig with a good friend. Work obligations - and an early start the next day kept me from my usual drinking antics, so a few simple beers and much merriment enjoying Matt Berry's band in Islington, and I was on the train home.

That Friday I reached the epitome of being deeply uncool - and threw myself into a night of audience participation at 'Sing-a-long-a-Purple-Rain.' It was hilarious. The film itself is beyond woeful - 30 years on, and you see how dreadfully sexiest it is (Appollonia wearing not very much to sing Sex Shooter being the low point) and that 'the Kid' is basically a wife-bashing arrogant little prick who kisses like he is resuscitating someone. But... the songs. They are as fresh as when I heard Let's go Crazy on a tinny radio back in 1984. What shocked me, was the theatre was packed with folk who weren't BORN when Purple Rain first hit the flicks. There were jump cuts, it crackled and the dialogue was sphincter clenching stuff - but we were all on our feet waving our hands to Purple Rain at the end. If there is any way way to have more fun - I have yet to find it.

Saturday night and a different spectrum of culture. Having never been to the ballet - my good mate Sam bought us tickets to A Winter's Tale at the Royal Opera House. It was breath taking - from the magnificent Opera House and it's uber sexy bar (s) to the mesmerising ballet itself. Just beautiful. I am officially a convert. Opera you can take, but a ballet - ahhhh... just stunning. I wish I had a waist the size of those spritely nymphs. How they cavorted around a stage for as long as they did, without collapsing in a sweaty coma, I have no idea.

Monday, was my birthday and once again from high culture to low - all spectrums were covered. After heading out for family cake (usual bedlam with Sproglette covering Sproglet in orange juice, Husband being mortified and me desperately trying to clean the place up) I took the kids to see the latest Muppet Movie. Meh. Then to a fab literary salon at the Kings Cross hotel. Another uber sexy place - god I really must get out more - to see Lynne Barber talk about her latest book and David Nicholls read from his. I went with two buddies who had never met each other - and it was a blast. One friend bought me her book 'An Education' and she inscribed with Happy Birthday. I'm a fan of her interviews - not least because her late husband was my favourite lecturer at Uni.  Anyway, we sank red wine, envied David Nicholls ability to write awkward moments SO brilliantly as he read from his soon to be published book 'Us' and  lounged around the swanky interiors. All in all an ACE birthday. Then I raced home, whereupon I drank more red with my 21 year old babysitter and talked over her boy troubles. It made me momentarily grateful to have turned 41...

The sunny week ended with us all departing on the Eurostar to gay Pareee for a blissful few days. My friend's Dad has a french country house that we went to stay in, after a day strolling around Paris and taking my son up the Eiffel tower. Sproglette wasn't so jazzed on the whole Eiffel tower malarkey - instead loving a rather shiny dolphin balloon... Anyway, the house was beyond beautiful - all rustic open stone walls and wooden beams... filled with wine and cheese (obvs) and great chat. And a pinball machine. We all became insanely competitive at table tennis, supped champagne every night before dinner and talked until the week hours over manys a bottle of red and er... bourbon. It was heaven. And now I am home. Birthday done, nights out all done, Easter break all done. All is left is for me to keep munching on the kids' choc eggs...

Still, it was a good run while it lasted.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Was I in the wrong?

So husband isn't impressed with me at all.

It all started (and ended) innocently enough: I went to the Curzon Soho to see The Double with a good friend. We ate cake, drank coffee, mused on the talented actors in the bizarre and bleak film and then retired to Dean St. Townhouse for some red wine. It was a school night, and I know I know, school hols have started BUT still, Sundays aren't the day for a big night really. So, I headed home on the 11:34 train.

At the station I jumped in a cab and then this guy - smartly dressed, Michael Stipe-esque, asked if I was going near his street. As it would happen, that street is just around the corner from my house so I told him to jump on in. We chatted on the short journey home - he'd been at a gig, (Rufus Wainwright and therefore I assumed he was gay - as coupled with his jaunty cap and glasses, my gaydar was on alert) I warbled on about the movie I'd seen and he invited me into his house for a drink.

So, I went.

He was friendly, he knew I was married, he wasn't hitting on me or anything. It seemed like a fun thing to do. I rarely get to behave in a spontaneous fashion - I love meeting new people, why not? Now, I know, I know. It could have been an axe murderer. But here, in my little Hertfordshire town? In a house around the corner from me - literally is 3 houses behind mine?

So we chatted, he showed me around his new house - he moved in 3 weeks ago - I envied his shed and amazing claw bath - and we drank Grappa and listened to music. It was really pleasant and fun. I left when I realised it was nearly 2am.

My head is feeling far from clever today and it is amazing I can actually type... Anyway, I rang Husband and he asked why I'd got in so late. I explained my fun evening and he was FURIOUS. He hung up on me. Annoyed that I had been so stupid. He called me dumb.

But am I? I mean do we have to be suspicious of everyone we meet? Is there no sense of joy and unexpected meetings anymore? Do we have to be afraid of everything? Of everyone? Is it better to just avoid all unusual or random invitations - just in case it is something more sinister? Or should we listen to our gut?

I always go with my sixth sense about all situations and I have never put myself in any threatening or dangerous situations. Anything that feels odd - I am outta there. I mean, millionaires paid for my best friend and I to stay at the Shangri La hotel in Hong Kong for a week - and we'd just met them in a bar, our first night of travelling. I trusted, I had faith. They were gentlemen who just wanted to look out for us. I've met many people and had faith in them - which, maybe down to luck, or my good intuition - means I have been safe and never been harmed in my life. Thank god, touch wood and all.

But here I am, a woman of 40, a mother of two - accepting a drink from a stranger. Does that make me someone who has a lust for life, for adventure, for people, or a stupid blonde who puts herself in potentially dangerous situations? 

Friday, 4 April 2014

Why do you have to be a wanker?

That, people, is my question of the day.

I just don't understand folk - I don't. Why take the wanker path when you could be a nice person? When that little smidgeon of pleasantness could resonate with someone's life and make their day. Why go out of your way to be sarcastic, or cold, or rude, or off? Why not have some grace, some manners?

Here are the things that irritate the hell out of me - that could in a moment be rectified:

On the road, if I let you out, sit and wait in my car when in fact I had the right of way, but you were speeding on ahead, so I kindly waited, let you through - when it was my RIGHT to go forward and make YOU go back - all you have to do is wave your clammy hand to say thank you and I'll be fine. But you don't and I want to kill you.

When you're being served in a restaurant, or bar - does it make you feel big to pick on the waiter? To be rude and snappy when all they are trying to do is make your fecking champagne colder?? Why belittle them? To make yourself feel bigger? Are you short or something?

When I text you, or email you - isn't it polite to respond? Just an acknowledgment. Folk that like to play the whole 'no reply - ha! I have the power' game make me want to claw out their eyes. There is no game. It's called manners. Grow up.

At events where I know no one, wouldn't it be nice to say hello, make some small talk? No one likes kids' parties, having to be there just because your child can't yet wipe their arse, so why not have some chat, be friendly - you know, make it easier for everyone. In fact, kids' parties should come replete with liquor - then they'd be MUCH better.

Anyone, at all, who is in a position of power and bullies those beneath them - not physically, but with words (often things that remain unsaid in fact) and their manner - you should be ashamed of yourselves. Having been on the receiving end of this - a miserable director in 2003 - the worst experience of my life in fact - I know what it is like to feel hated, to be miserable, to stay awake at night fretting over the next encounter. Why can't we all just treat people how we'd like to be treated? Simple but true.

When my kid scoots off faster than Lewis Hamilton on a good day, don't come up to me and in a condescending manner announce that 'she was was very far away...' like I am some bad parent - especially if YOU have your kid on a leash. All this parent judging - feck that. Do what works for you and leave everyone else alone. Each to their own and all.

Buy a fucking a drink. When you spend the night at a table and gleefully accept drinks from the entire table - put your hand in your pocket and buy a goddamn drink you tightarse. Or else, sup water.

Most of the time, people who actively enjoy making others feel bad are wildly insecure. The most secure, talented folk I have met/worked with are nothing short of lovely - why? Because they have nothing to prove - they are happy in their skin. Get some therapy and stop taking your insecurities out on other people. It aint big or clever.

Be honest. Honesty is perhaps the most underrated of virtues. I appreciate honesty most than anything else. It takes guts - but aren't the people you value most in life those that you can be honest with? And can be honest with you?

Jealousy is bitterness swallowed up. It makes folk do funny things. So things didn't work out for you like you expected - big deal. Try something else, try another path. There is ZERO point in being jealous of others - who it DID work out for - and reacting to them in a detrimental way because of it. Their life has NO bearing on you at all. We're all guilty of the old green monster creeping up on our shoulders once in a while - and it can spur us on in a good way. Just don't make it your master. Green isn't a fetching shade.

Being pleasant costs nothing. People have made my day with their small acts of kindness: the man across the road who helped fix our wobbly loo seat; the nice guy at carphone warehouse who moved all my phone numbers across for me; the sweet boy who carried my xmas tree up the hill to my home; the person who bought me a coffee when I had forgotten my purse; the nursery that agreed to keep my daughter on 3 days a week for free; the man who I crashed my car into who didn't ask for money - but just asked me to donate to his just giving page; the boys on the train who made me a gin and tonic with ice and lemon. All small acts of kindness...

In reality, no one needs to be a wanker, so why be it?