Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Here comes the Sun and I say...

...Really? Is that he best you can do?

I went to Waitrose  yesterday and glanced at the newspaper stand. The Sun's headline caught my eye: Maggie dead in bed at Ritz.
It's only my own words I make up.
As a factual statement, I guess you can't fault it, but I was under the impression that the Sun has bulging files of potential headlines, just waiting for the right news story. If that is true, is that really the best they could manage? Perhaps they were caught on the hop and simply weren't expecting it, but I'm not sure how that could be; Margaret Thatcher has been I'll and frail for some time. I don't think it was a state secret.

I was half expecting other papers to follow with:

 'Maggie not immortal after all,' say Sun. 'Who knew?'

I'm just saying, from the paper that brought us this, I was expecting more; I was expecting better:

Speaking of Margaret Thatcher, I remember the day she was elected, with the same kind of clarity my parents generation refer to when asking, 'Where were you when Kennedy died?' Born in 1971, I grew up in Thatcher's Britain. I was eight when she became prime minister and I was at a friend's house, playing with their Play-doh Fuzzy Pumper Barber Shop TM set (Google with care), when my dad arrived to take me home.

Just so you know, I didn't make up that, either.

'Margaret Thatcher's prime minister!' he declared, as he arrived in the kitchen/Play-doh salon.

'Oh no!' I replied. 'Not that awful woman!'

I clearly remember the brief silence that followed, and the stunned look on my dad's face. You can't blame him - I wasn't a precocious child and neither was I politically aware. I'd seen her on Newsround, explaining, in that way of hers (head tilted to one side, breathy voice that bore a slight hint of patronage) to some disgruntled school children, why they no longer had school milk. 

'What have you got against her?' asked Dad.

'She's got that awful voice! I can't stand the thought of having to listen to her go on and on!'

Privately, I also lamented the fact that the information I'd pencilled into my Brownie Pocket Book was now incorrect. Under, 'Who is the prime minister of the United Kingdom?' I'd carefully written, 'Jim Callaghan', and I'd had to ask people for the answer, too. All that effort and research, for him to be replaced by, 'that awful voice'.

I do vaguely remember the explanation of British politics that followed my outburst, but I'd pretty much gone back to sculpting the perfect bouffant from yellow Play-doh.

We are a play-doh likeness.

Monday, 18 March 2013

There's an App for that

I'm stuck at home at the moment, nursing (not in the American sense - not any more) two sick children, one sick husband and one sick me. Of course, you know what happens when you get stuck at home for days on end? Well, yes, you do go stir-crazy, but you also run out of groceries. About the middle of last week, our cupboard was looking about as bare as Old Mother Hubbard's. However, this being the modern age 'n'all, I wasn't too worried. I knew I could shop online. In fact, since the arrival of the Nexus 7 tablet, online shopping just got easier...or so I thought.
Fire up the Nexus, Fido!

Using the app for my favourite online retailer, the one that brings me James in a Courgette Van, I logged-in, booked my delivery slot and began my shopping. Mid-shop, I was abruptly logged-out and the tablet helpfully informed me that an automatic update was taking place. I was able to log back in again and complete my shopping...but not pay for it. In order to check out, I had to choose a new password, confirm my new password and then log back in again....which required me to choose a new password, confirm my new password.... ad blooming infinitum!

Dear reader, I do confess I did once type the password, 'o4duxsake,' or something very similar. Will I ever learn?

(Thanks to
Anyway, during the time this took, my delivery slot got passed to someone else. And then all the following day's slots became unavailable. And then I might have got a bit cross, because I was ill and had no groceries. And I might have dashed off a home-counties-style angry email.

The following day brought me no groceries, but an apologetic email. (By now I'd had a Lemsip and was feeling a little apologetic, myself.) Apparently there was a glitch in the app, which they were working on. Full of hope and paracetamol, I logged back in, only to find the Glitch still running amok, having stolen not just Christmas but any chance of me receiving bread and milk by the weekend.
 Wait, no...that's the Grinch

I then turned to the supermarket where you slap your back pocket to show you've made some savings. Ah, what a stress-free process that was!

Delivery time, however, brought it's own challenges, which I guess was at least something, because it didn't bring all my groceries. Now, tell me, if you were scouring the supermarket shelves for 'free-from fusili, 500g packet,' would you, dear reader, would you think, 'Well I guess this 1kg pack of wheat pasta will do'? Would you? Because if you would, you'd be about 1000 grammes of wheaten wrong! Like Rod Campbell in his quest for a pet, 'I sent it back.'

It's OK though, because I wasn't relying on the pasta. (And because even I, in the grip of fever and ague, can spot a first world problem. I may not have got all my groceries, but I did get a grip.)

I also took a phone call from the original online retailer. A very nice lady from customer services thanked me for my email. I felt bad about that, I must admit. She said that they were glad I'd alerted them to the glitch, gave me some tips for getting around it until it's fixed and asked me to report any further problems as that would be very helpful. So I'm officially helping them now. Except I'm not on a salary from them. Yeah, so that's probably just code for, 'We've got a live one here!' isn't it?

She asked me if there was anything else she could help me with. Rumour has it they have a delivery driver named Jesus. You get a text, giving you the name of your driver and the vegetable the van is named after. I long for a text saying, 'Your groceries will be delivered by Jesus in a Cabbage van,' truly I do. I would never delete it. So, when the customer services operative asked me what else she could do for me, I very nearly said, 'Yes, can you please arrange for Jesus to deliver my groceries?' but it occurred to me that I was probably on speaker phone, on account of the whole office having already sniggered at my email. So I didn't.

Good news, the glitch is fixed. Now, where's my pay check?

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The Lovely Bones

There is an expression doing the rounds at the moment, which keeps playing on my mind. This isn't unusual for me; I pick up on other people's expressions all the time, often adopting them for my own use. Other times I just let them run round and round my head, probably until something else comes along to take its place. Its quite a distraction, really.
I know how you feel, Kylie.
It's not just expressions either. Rhythm and tone also fall prey to my magpie tendencies. If I'm somewhere where the dominant accent is very different to my own, I have to make a conscious effort not to speak back in the same accent. Especially if the accent is Welsh. One episode of Stella  or Fireman Sam and I come over all Dilys Price. (Presh.)
I suppose he is quite appealing.

Still, the expression that is running round and round my head now is not Welsh, it's just a bit weird, or maybe it's only weird to someone with a with a visual mind and a slight tendency to see these things literally, and it literally makes me wince. And, yes, I do mean, 'literally'. It's, 'Ooh, I love the bones of him!' Or her, but it seems to be more often him. If you know what I'm saying.*

Of course, I know that's not what it means. I know it means you love someone so completely, you love them down to their very marrow. But it sounds weird. And why stop at the bones? Why not declare undying affection for his pancreas, or his spleen. 'Ooh, I love his organs!' Hmm...OK, maybe not. I can see how that would get misinterpreted.
You couldn't remain impartial about this one.
Anyway, if you were going to impress me with an outlandish declaration of love, it wouldn't be my bones you'd have to demonstrate great affection for, oh no. My bones are so-so - much like yours, I imagine. No, if you want to convince me that you're the one, it's my immune system you need to state a liking for, because that's the thing that'll cause you the most grief, believe you me.
*small print: I'm saying it seems to be overused by fluffy-talking women.