Christ on a Bike!

Leaving work today I found this in my bike basket:


It’s not my birthday, it’s not in the handwriting of anyone I know and, as far as I could tell, my bike didn’t have any new scratches/parts missing to warrant an apology note. But my bike is quite cute, if you like beat-up-vintage. Maybe it was a fan note to my bike. A love letter from someone with a dull job and too much time on their hands. Which would have been a bit weird, but cute.


Instead it was this:



Okaaaay. Not cute; just weird.

Now, because my bike was the last on the rack, I don’t know if this was a serial drop (although that’s a handwritten card and not a cheap one either, so if someone’s seeking to convert the town’s cyclists that’s going to take some time and money. And I’m not sure Jesus lets you claim expenses, no matter how much you love Him). Or whether I was a targeted err target. In which case, does my bike cry out for religious conversion?


Or does Heaven just have some kick-arse cycle routes?

Although, in that case, why the Mini on the card? Is whoever also trying to convert us to the automotive? Is cycling one of the sins I should repent? I don’t remember Jesus mentioning cycling in the Bible.

Whatever. The one thing I should probably be converted to is driving to work!


Two Pieces?

Dear Mr Wonka

I’ve had a bar of your delicious Millionaire’s Shortbread chocolate sat on my dressing table since the weekend, ready to use as a prop for Boo’s World Book Day Veruca Salt costume. As it turns out, Boo didn’t need a World Book Day costume as her spoilsport school decided they didn’t need the kids to dress up (seemingly the only school in town to make such a dull-arse decision for all the Red Riding Hoods and Elsas walking to the other schools this morning). But anyway, that bar’s sat there since Saturday.

My God, it’s been a challenge not to eat it!

Whilst I was just looking at it though (wondering how to make a golden ticket at the 11th hour if necessary…ok, wondering if I could eat it and replace it if necessary) the following struck me as weird:


111 calories per 2 pieces.

Who on Earth on eats just two pieces of a chocolate bar?!

There are in fact TEN squares to a Wonka bar. Why the song and dance? (Well, apart from you are very good at singing and dancing – the West End show was enthralling!) Why not just admit that there’s a whopping great 555 calories in a Wonka bar?

Whose deluding themselves with the 2 pieces suggestion and the note on the back that the packet is resealable? We all know that once that wrapper’s open the bar’s as good as gone.

Apparently (according to the Mail Online – and we know how I feel about them!) your target market is ‘women in their 30s and 40s.’ We know better than to leave an open chocolate bar lying around. Eat it like a female Augustus Gloop or discover some other bastard’s eaten it.

Ah, bless ’em. The Daily Mail got their knickers in a twist over this too.

We’re also more likely to look at that little calorie indicator than your average child/male/still naturally skinny twenty-something. But we’re also not stupid.

So fess up that your chocolate’s the calorie-equivalent of a meal. Chances are we’ll just skip lunch and eat the chocolate anyway.



A Letter to My Soon-to-be-Ex Boss


Dear Soon-to-be-Ex-Boss

Thank you for dropping by the office today. Thank you for confirming why I’m glad to be leaving.

My head has been swirling for the past couple of weeks. Swirling because I love my job. I love the people, the properties, the brand. But I don’t appreciate being treated like a pawn, something to be moved around at will.


And I was meant to be the ‘lucky’ one. The one picked to stay, against people who have committed themselves to your company for years, compared with my months. And yet you let them go without consoltation. Are you crazy?

Maybe they weren’t flexible enough. Maybe you should have asked them. Maybe they told you the truth more than you’d like. Maybe you should have kept your own ego in check.


And the thing is, if you see your colleagues being unceremoniously dumped your trust wanes. How was I to know that I wouldn’t be next? I don’t like being vulnerable.

It didn’t help that you wouldn’t lay your cards on the table with regards to my job. One second you wanted me to work full-time. The next you just wanted me on a Saturday. Then it was ‘part-time that could be extended to full-time’ (with the implication that if i couldn’t meet your requirements then I’d be going the same way as the others, no matter how good I was at my job). ‘You’re a mushroom,’ my friend said, ‘You’re being kept in the dark.’ It turns out that I’m a bit scared of the dark.


Or maybe, actually, I’m more of an egg, as I’ve been poached. Someone has seen how hard I work, how good I am at my job. And they’ve offered me a job that suits me. It won’t have the same prestige – it’ll be residential lettings, more basic properties, no more swanky pads with boot rooms and annexes, limestone flooring and swimming pools. But I’ll get to work in a supportive team with hours that fit around the school run and a boss who won’t mess me around or be offended if I offer an opinion.

It’s a no-brainer really. But I didn’t want to let you down. More to the point I didn’t want to let the new staff down, leaving them short-staffed whilst they found their feet. Not that that bothered you. You went on holiday, refusing to answer emails whilst still sending out dictates that messed everyone around.

And still I dithered. I felt I’d got the hang of things and now I’m back to square one. I’m sad that I won’t get to learn more from your company.

Even though I watched the new staff get new computers and my own computer disappear along with my email signature, I dithered. Even though the newbies were given information that had never been passed to me, I dithered.

I dithered…until today. You came into the office and barely acknowledged me. Everyone else went for coffee, but not me. Had you talked to me, reassured me in your plans, maybe I would have stayed. I’m not bailing because the transition is difficult. I’m leaving because you’ve treated me as if I’m lower than the low.

I felt like a spare part today and I’m looking forward to tomorrow when I change desk within the building, to be with people who want me and who are ready to value me.

You didn’t value me, and so I’m off.

In the words of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman: ‘Big mistake. Big. Huge.’


Ultimately, it seems appropriate that on the day Scotland decided whether to stay or go, I came to my own resolute decision. And although there’s lots that I’ll miss – the people, the properties, the brand – I’m not sorry.

No longer yours,

Spot the Difference

The following is an email I’ve just sent to RMS International, who seemingly think it’s ok to diddle their customers by passing two things off as the same thing. As these customers are, by and large, children, this seems to me to be particularly bad form (even if most Loomz bands end up sucked up the Hoover having been scattered around the floor. But it’s the principle, hence the complaint.

Hi there,

Imagine the scenario: you’re buying party favours for your daughter’s birthday. You’re shopping with said daughter and a toddler in tow. You want 10 packets of Loomz bands (because what 7-year-old girl doesn’t love the elastic band craze at the moment?), preferably something that matches the Fairy theme. You go to The Entertainer, looking at the Loomz display, trying to stop your toddler from escaping out of the door, or your daughter from trying to get other things in the basket.

You spot packets of Glitter bands on a hook amongst the display. Perfect! You grab 10 packets from the hook and go to the till. You pay ¬£1 each for the packs. (You then drag the kids, whingeing around Sainsbury’s, but that’s by-the-by, but highlights that shopping isn’t necessarily a time for careful, contemplative purchasing.)

You then sort the party bags…and you realise that not all of the packets ARE the same. Despite being the same size and same packaging you discover that give of the packets contain ‘300 bands, 24 s-clips and hook’ whilst the other packets only contain ‘250 bands and 15 s-clips.’


How do you feel? Disproportionately diddled perhaps? A tad annoyed? I do. I know that it’s only a matter of pennies, but over those five packets I’ve lost out on 250 bands, 45 s-clips and 5 hooks. Moreover, I’ve unintentionally now been unfair to my daughter’s party guests.

I know it’s only a small matter, but when an international company is playing games of Spot the Difference with kids, well, that’s really not playing fair.

Kind regards


PS Just as a heads-up I will also be posting this letter on my blog,

Foot Note


Dear Feet

Sorry, but I think you and I need to have a word.

It has to be said that I rely on you to keep me grounded. Ok, you and gravity. And balance. You’re the holy trinity of keeping me upright. And, up until now you’ve done a pretty good job.

I’ll forgive you the time you went from underneath me whilst I carried my 21st birthday cake. It was snowy and slippery as Hell. (Is Hell slippery? Really, I wouldn’t have thought so: surely all that fire and brimstone would have seen to any icy conditions?)

Oh, and there was the time you saw fit to land me on my arse when I got my first pair of rollerskates…just as I had my photo taken. The ONE TIME whoever took the picture managed NOT to cut me out of the frame!

(For the benefit of my bloggy readers I honestly don’t know the location of the actual picture right now, but believe me, it’s etched onto my retinas with humiliation.)

You’d have thought I’d have leant my roller skating lesson in that moment, but obviously not.

But back to my point, minor slip-ups aside (sorry, I couldn’t not do it) you’ve done a pretty good job. I am naturally clumsy, but I don’t actually fall fully arse over tit all that often. Well done.

Except until recently, that is.

Since my flight down the neighbours’ stairs you’ve really not done such a brilliant job. I’m sure I managed to break my middle toe today after you decided that staying vertical whilst unexpectedly traversing a puddle of water in the utility room this morning.

Husband: I partly mopped it up.
Me: What?! Why not completely mop it up, then I’d have ten functioning, pain-free toes?!
Less mop-it, more muppet. Jeez.

So, it wasn’t entirely your fault, but you didn’t handle it well. Although in fairness, right foot, it’s you whose now suffering the most. But honestly, I’d have thought you’d have taken it as a lesson learned.

But just now, in the shower you definitely struggled. No one wants to have anything that may need medical assistance to happen in the shower. It’s when I really want you to be on it when it comes to maintaining the vertical.

I understand that the circumstances were harder than normal. I don’t know what’s in Nivea In-Shower Moisturiser, but if Hell is short on ice then this stuff will sort its grip-resistant needs. It’s not normal to climb in the shower and literally slide. But it was a tension-filled showering experience. I feel my trust in you has been knocked somewhat.

I’d like to be able to have faith in you, heart and sole. Please don’t let me (fall) down. In exchange I’ll paint your nails better and I’ll finally get round to buffing that hard skin off, I promise.

Keep standing.

GSM xx

Dear Saturday Night Out

Dear Saturday Night Out

Hello. You might remember me. You and I used to be on close terms in my late teens and early twenties, but to be honest it’s been a while. With two small kids who have to be babysat and a Husband whose pretty much rubbish at said ‘babysitting’ (is it technically ‘babysitting’ when it’s your own children?) I don’t get out much of an evening.

Which may be why I had such a rubbish time as things have changed – and when I say ‘things’ I really mean mostly ‘me’. But it’s so why I’m so completely disappointed that I had such a rubbish time. When I do go out I want it to be special.

Maybe I just wasn’t feeling it tonight. It used to be that I could spend the whole of Saturday getting ready for a night out. There’d be a new dress, hours spent on hair and make-up whilst watching Blind Date and drinking a few Diamond Whites before hitting the bars and clubs. I’d be part of a gang, we’d know other people when we were out. We’d stumble back and stay up til the small hours and chat about God-knows-what. It may have only been a small town, but we felt like we owned it.

Today it was an afternoon spent at my mother-in-law’s, a delayed bus and dash into town for a birthday present (work + small children + shop opening hours = last minute panic). Then back to cook for Husband and kids, but NOT myself as the smallest was mid-full-blown tantrum and had to be distracted into eating his cheesy mash.

Getting ready was with an audience of the children, the youngest distracted with my phone, me keeping one eye on him in case he got delete-button-happy with my photos (it’s been known) whilst shaving my legs, using Husband’s razor and hair conditioner as my own razor has gone missing (thanks to eldest daughter ‘borrowing’ mine). Meanwhile youngest daughter laughed hysterically along to Peppa Pig, whilst demanding things. ‘Mummy. Mummy. MUMMY.’ Still, I applied make-up for you. I put in contact lenses for you. Needless to say, I ended up running late.

By the time I’d been ripped off with my taxi fare, to be fair, I wasn’t really in the party spirit.

The Pimm’s had already been quaffed by the time I’d arrived. I would have loved a Pimm’s. Not being a regular drinker, I don’t have the skills to negotiate the most suitable drink for the situation and went for my default of gin and tonic. I can only drink so much gin before I lose the will to stay awake.

But never mind. It was my friend’s birthday. I could suck it up. It was pleasant, all of us sat together outside as dusk fell. It’s just a shame someone invited the gnats along to the party.

We were driven inside. Not a good move. When I go out I like to talk – I haven’t caught up with these people in months. There were no small children around for once. We could talk in full sentences. So I don’t want to be drowned out by a mobile disco. I accept that that puts me in the ‘old’ category, but I didn’t intend to have to spend the evening shouting to the person sat next to or nodding along to words I can’t hear just to be polite. My friends are witty people. I want to hear what they have to say, not the cheesy DJ with the mic.


I also don’t necessarily need to watch people ram their tongues down someone else’s throat, become vicariously involved in someone’s domestic argument or have hotpant under hang in my line of vision all night.

Plus I’ve become too used to my comfy shoes to be tripping my way to my friend’s house in heels once time has been called. Still, at least I avoided the extortionate cab fare home.

So I guess I don’t mind that we won’t be seeing each other again for a while. I’m actually quite happy with my pyjamas and an early night as my regular Saturday night routine.

I know it’s not you, it’s me. You’re just there, doing what you’ve always done and will always continue to do. The things I’ve come to want out of a night out have changed. Maybe I need to shake things up a bit. Start going to more mature venues with an emphasis on food rather than booze, ambience rather than tinnitus-inducing-tunes. Maybe, Saturday night out, I need to accept that you’re not for me any more.

And now I have Gloria Gaynor whirling in my head…which really proves that I’m too old.

At first I was afraid I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights
Thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
And so you’re back
from outer space
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I had known for just one second you’d be back to bother me
Go on now go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
‘Cause you’re not welcome anymore
Weren’t you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Do you think I’d crumble
Did you think I’d lay down and die?

Oh no not I. I will survive
Oh as long as I know how to love
I know I’ll stay alive
I’ve got all my life to live
I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive
I will survive! Hey, Hey!

Thanks for the good times, but I’m moving on.


The Ugly Bug Bawl

Dear Spiders et al

I think I’ve been pretty patient up til now, but I’ve had enough. I can’t take your constant presence in my life any more – particularly on these summer days, be they hot and humid or wet and muggy. It doesn’t really seem to matter whatever the weather, you’re always there. And enough is enough.

Could you please decide where you would like to be: inside or outside! I’m pretty sure that you’d prefer it outside. You’d have to take your chances with birds and other predators, but you wouldn’t risk death by vacuum, Nutella jar or being trodden on. (I’m looking at you in particular on that one, slugs – I accept that it must be worse for you to meet a sticky end, squished by a giant Python-esque foot, but it’s really never pleasant for me either and you do such a good job of surprising me with your presence it’s always too late.)


I would be pretty much happy to leave you to get on with catching and eating each other outside. As it is I’m wary of any sort of bush as there’s inevitably a web running across it with a damn great spider sat in the middle. Or a host of aphids trundling along stems and leaves. Or gnats swarming en masse ready for their pound of flesh.


I’m happy to stick to wide open spaces for my own personal space. I don’t need to shove my head into bushes and trees. A patch of grass, or even paving, that’s fine. Much as I don’t go swimming with sharks and have thus far found that they’ve completely left me alone, if I don’t intrude on your patch, I don’t expect you to intrude on mine. And as such, although I’m happy to sacrifice pretty much all foliage for your use I’d appreciate it if you could leave the plastic chairs and play equipment alone. If it’s man made then it should be considered out if bounds.

But mostly, for the love of God, please please leave the house to us. Apparently you’re never more than three feet away from a spider. No kidding! From the webs that hang from the coving, the shelf by the kitchen sink, from door frames, in the fireplace and under tables, you are literally everywhere.

I mean, thank you for getting rid of flies and all, but if they went into the garden then couldn’t you too? Instead of lurking under the skirting board and in the kitchen cupboards and crawling from bedding. I mean, seriously, what’s wrong with you? Creep up on us like that and you’re just asking to be crushed. Can that many of you really be suicidal

And we know you must be laughing at us as you make your way across the wall or ceiling towards us. Always TOWARDS us. You know we’re thinking ‘You’re going to fall. You’re going to fall RIGHT ON TOP OF ME! Right on top of me WHILST I SLEEP!!!‘ Even though we sort of know you’re not. Unless we’ve looked up ‘spider horror stories’ on Google. Then we’ll be 100% convinced you’re just waiting to fall into our open, slumbering mouths.

I was once told that you spiders have to stop walking as they make their way across the floor/wall/ceiling/bath tub because you can’t both walk and breathe at the same time. But I don’t buy it. More like you can’t walk and taunt us at the same time.

Does it feel like I’m picking on you, spiders? Believe me, I’m not. You silverfish, with your preference for kitchen skulking and your wriggling ways can go away too. And slugs, what is it with our house? On a wet night you’d think we were the epicentre for a zombie slug apocalypse – masses of you slowly zoning in on our house. Possibly they’re truly the undead souls of Slugfest 1997, in which a tub of salt and the drunken antics of my parents and the neighbours left our garden the scene of a slug massacre, I plead my innocence on that one, so please now leave us alone.


I honestly think you should take your cue, all of you, from bees and butterflies. They don’t want to be trapped inside a house. As soon as they’re in they’re gasping to get out again. That’s just as it should be. Although a heads up, you guys – and flies too – no matter how’s my times you bang into it you’re NEVER going to get through the invisible force field that is glass.

Oh, and although it’s too late now, I’d like to clarify that I was trying to help the flying beetle type thing out of the patio door rather than into the web of that spider. I’m really sorry. The spider must have thought it was its lucky day having home deliveries made for lunch, but I really didn’t mean it to be that way. If it’s any consolation your death looked quick, if not painless. That spider was onto you like a shot! But then again, if you’d just stuck to being outside I wouldn’t have tried to help you out.


I’m really not going to change my mind on this matter. No matter how many times I’m subjected to the over-excited shriekings of Jess on CBeebies, I won’t be swayed. ‘Feelers out. What’s about?’ Believe me, I really don’t want to know!


But what I just want to do is to be able to open a window and let some air in without the invitation extending to any and all bug life. In the words of Johnny in Dirty Dancing, ‘This is my space, this is your space.’ Now, GET OUT OF MY SPACE and stop putting spiders in the corner!!!

I’ll let you continue to have complete access to all campers however. There is nothing so hideous as waking in your sleeping bag to find yourself joined by all manner of six-legged life forms, but at the same, those who can’t be bothered to have paid for walls as part of their deal on holiday have really just brought it on themselves.

Bugs, you’re welcome. Now, do we have a deal? (Please say we have a deal!)

Kind regards
(at least for now – fail me on this and it will be WAR ON BUGS!)