Monday, 31 October 2011

Trick or Treating. It's Basically a Protection Racket

Happy bloody Halloween.

Well here I am, cowering in kitchen at the back of the house - with all the lights turned off at the front - in a feeble attempt to deter all those pesky trick-or-treating kids.

You know what's like. You are sitting there, minding your own business, trying to stop the dog honking by spraying him with Fabreze, when the door knocker sounds. You tentatively open it, only to find a gang of belligerent teenagers staring at you blankly.

"Trick or treat," one of them drawls from under his baseball cap, before resuming slow gum mastication.

I have learnt from bitter experience that in circumstances such as these, you should never say 'trick', because it invariably involves dog shit or a molotov cocktail.

"Treat?" I stammered nervously, proffering them a bag full of sweets.

"Don't do sweets," says the drawly one, "only cash or major credit cards," he said.

Blimey, trick-or-treating had certainly changed from when I was a kid.

I delved into my purse which was on the table next to the front door, and pulled out 50p.

"Here you go," I said hesitantly handing the wonga over.

Drawly one shook his head, and wordlessly pointed to his acne-ridden friend. I turned to face acne boy, and upon closer inspection, noticed that he was holding up a laminated sign saying 'Minimum Spend £5.00'.

Sacre-bloody-bleu. It was bordering on a Halloween protection racket. I begrudingly handed over a fiver, and slammed the door shut, muttering 'gits' under my breath.

Then it slowly dawned on me ........... "IZZY," I shouted.

Izzy emerged from her bedroom where she had been doing a slighty disturbing, thrusting-type dance to a Lady Gaga track; "yep?" she asked.

"How do you fancy doing a bit of trick or treating?" I queried. Oh yeh, where there's money, there's me.

"Yehhhh!" Izzy shouted happily.

Double whammy. Kid enjoys herself ..... and you earn money to boot. Kerrrrrrchinggggggg.

So you will be pleased to hear that I managed to cobble together a witches outfit after an emergency shopping trip to Asda, and the pictures below are the fruits of my (and Steve's) labour. I did the outfit and Steve did the make-up.  

Pic.No.1 This is Izzy's 'give me your cash' look. I taught her that

Pic.No.2 Izzy insisted on this picture being taken ....................

Pic.No.3 And this one ......................

Pic.No.4 And this one ..... perhaps unsurprisingly, given the precedents

After being turned into a witch, Izzy then headed out with her best friend (and friend's mother) to do some trick-or-treating.

And whilst she is away, I continue to cower in the kitchen, with the lights off at the front of the house, awaiting her return ...... and dreaming about the size of the swag bag - maybe we could use the proceeds to buy a new gadget?

So dahlink, what have you been up to this Halloween?

Update: Izzy returned with no hard cash whatsoever. Her prized possessions were a pack of Cotton Candy Bubble Gum, and a Kinder Egg. [note to self: need to work on negotiation skills and priorities].

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A Day Trip to Brighton - Part 2

Crikey, I have been a bit slow at updating my blog of late.

Apologies about that - or - as an ex-colleague of mine used to say; "I haven't had time to fart." I remember him well. He was called Fat Phil and we worked for the same aerospace company. He operated one of the machines on the shopfloor, and he could multi-task by simultaneously shouting 'DO YOU WANT MY BABIES?' at all the girls who passed by. Awww, he was a wag.

Anyway, I digress ....... I am here to finish the post about my visit to Brighton. In my last post, I showed you some of the town including the amazing Royal Pavilion. But in today's post we (Izzy, Steve and I) are heading for Brighton's seafront dahlink. And because I am kinder than Ghandi (but I've got more hair), I have got some pictures for you.

Pic.No.14 The Promenade at Brighton - It is made up of mainly Regency houses (built in the early 1800s). That is Izzy and Steve on the left

Now here's a story: A few years ago when I was walking down that exact same stretch of Brighton pavement, I witnessed a HUGE dumper truck crashing into a woman's car. I ran over to the crash scene and found the woman trapped inside her vehicle and the driver of the truck screaming like a girl's blouse. What a palaver. 

I had to calm down the truck man, and call the ambulance and police, whilst keeping the woman awake until the paramedics arrived. I was like Dr Meredith Grey except a bit fatter and with brown hair. Bizarrely the most annoying thing about the whole situation, was the crowds of people who came right over to stare at the poor woman. I had to keep shouting "piss off," at them, whilst Steve and Izzy stood blithely by, enthusiastically licking some emergency ice-creams they had procured to pass the time whilst they were waiting for me.

The story ended well. Izzy didn't spill ice-cream on her coat, and the Paramedics said that the woman had a fair chance of survival. Marvellous. So back to Brighton's seafront ......... 

Pic.No.15 A view of the beach from the Promenade. There are lots of little beach-huts selling crafts and other arty shit

Pic.No.16 Out to sea, you can see the wreck of the old 'West Pier'. It was condemned as unsafe in 1975. Then whilst it was lying dormant, it suffered an arson attack in 2003 which left it stranded at sea (the walkway to the mainland collapsed) ......  a skeleton of it's former self. I wish I was

Pic.No.17 But the other pier, imaginatively named 'Brighton Pier', is thriving ...... as you can see in this picture .............. actually, you can only see the end of the pier. But the sky looks cool

Pic.No.18 Marvellous. That's a far better picture of the pier. From afar it seemed to contain many amusements. So we decided to head in that general direction .......... because I am a sucker for funfairs and stuff

Pic.No.19 I stopped off on the way to take a pictue of this wrecked boat on the beach. See that boat? That's your best boat that is. You've spent years renovating that boat ........

Pic.No.20 ...... And this picture of a random piece of machinery that I found on the beach. I think it is some kind of winch, but I am not sure. Any engineers out there who can enlighten me?

Pic.No.21 Just before we got to the pier, Izzy found a giant 'Bungee Trampoline'

In the blink of an eye, she dropped to her knees (in front of a crowd of strangers) and implored, "Mama, please may I go on the trampoline? I promise I will be good forever, and never again spit a brussel sprout onto Naughty George's head." So vocal and heartfelt was her plea, that I half expected the crowd of strangers to burst into spontaneous applause. They didn't. But they were all looking at me in silence ...... waiting for an answer.

"Ok, go on then," I said digging out my purse, as the strangers all grinned, nodded and smiled in appreciation of my decision. Bloody £8.00 for ten minutes that trampoline thing cost. At least they taught Izzy to do somersaults.

Pic.No.22 After being virtually mugged at the trampoline, we made our way through the entrance to Brighton Pier

Pic.No.23 There was an amusement arcade, so we taught Izzy how to do some low-key gambling on the 'push a penny' machine (or 'penny falls' as it is often called). I had it sussed though - it quickly became apparent that like all gambling machines, you always walk away with less than you put in

Pic.No.24 After the amusement arcade, we had time for a quick couple of goes on the fairground rides ..... including this log flume. Here Izzy and Steve are heading for a soaking ...................

Pic.No.25 And ................ Whoosh .............. they properly cop a wave in the face

Pic.No.26 But they came out of it laughing their heads off. Ha ha bonk

Pic.No.27 And finally, this is a picture of Brighton's seafront from the pier. It doesn't actually look that good because of the poor weather, but it is normally pretty scenic

So there you have it dahlink ..... my trip to Brighton. What a fantabulous place!

What have you been up to this week then?

P.S. I am really sorry if I haven't stopped by your blog recently, I have been a bit swamped ;-)

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A trip to one of my favourite places - Brighton. Part 1

Last weekend, it was my turn to look after Izzy and I was just wondering what random stuff we could do (I like doing random stuff with Izzy - it stops her getting complacent), when the telephone rang.

Ring, ring ...... ring ring ........ ring ring .......

"What?" I answered (after extricating the handset from a Barbie camper van, where it was sitting on a seat with a seatbelt on). 

"It's me, Steve," said the voice at the other end, "I just wondered if you and Izzy fancied a trip down to Brighton tomorrow?"

I gasped. "Damn right I do," I replied, "when are you picking us up?"

"About 10am?" Steve asked.

"Deal," I replied, hanging up the the phone.

For those of you who don't hail from the UK, let me tell you about Brighton. It is a seaside city located on the south coast, and it is one of my favourite places in the whole of England. In fact, if it wasn't such a rubbish location for my business, I would be living there. 

"So what is it so bloody good about it?" I hear you cry.

Ummmm, how to explain? ......... well it is bohemian, eclectic, relaxed, vibrant, cultured, and the cherry on the cake is that it is by the sea. Oh, and it happens to be the UK's gay / LGBT capital (one in three inhabitants), which probably goes a long way to explaining why it's like it is. There is only one other place that I have visited that has a similar ambience, and that is San Francisco.

I digress ..... back to our day out in Brighton.

Steve was 30 minutes late picking-up Izzy and I. It was because he had been out on the beer the night before.

He stumbled through the back door, with red eyes, complaining that the inside of his mouth was like Ghandi's flip-flop.

"Stop your whining you big girl's blouse," I said to him because I am sympathetic like Mussolini, "Let's get in the car and go."

Pic.No.1 This is the route that we took from Oxford to Brighton (dark blue line)

We were soon on the road. And because I am kind like that nun bird in the Sound of Music (except I have better dress sense), I have got some pictures to show you.

Pic.No.2 Whilst we were driving round the M25 on our way to Brighton, we saw this car covered in fur. It had a sign in the back window saying 'The Mutz Nutz'. Imagine my surprise, when I noticed that the driver was a middle-aged, respectable-looking lady who could have been a librarian. I am guessing her car 'makeover' was an unwelcome surprise from her sons

Pic.No.3 We finally got to Brighton, parked the car and headed towards the city centre. Here you can see Izzy with her scooter and Steve with his 'man-bag'

Pic.No.4 This was our first view of Brighton - It's Brighton Pier

But we didn't get as far as the pier before Steve announced he was hungry. I was glad that he did that, because I was too, and then Izzy annouced that she was starving.

I corrected her; "if you were starving you would have Beri-Beri or Rickets, and not only that, you would have flies swarming around your eyes. I think you meant to say that you were hungry," I said.

She responded by looking at me blankly and asking, "Does that mean I can't have chicken nuggets?"

Sacre bleu. Kids today don't know they are born. I would have been content eating coal when I was her age. 

Anyway, back to the photographs .................

Pic.No.4 When you are by the seaside, the cuisine-of-choice has to be Fish and Chips. So we ended up in a cafe called 'Harry Ramsdens', which is kind of famous in the UK. For its fish and old people (the ones who think that tinned salmon and powdered eggs are posh)

Pic.No.5. Everybody look at me! Here I am in Harry Ramsdens, anticipating my fish and chips. And they were particularly good actually

Pic.No.6 After lunch we decided to visit the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. It's a palace that was built for King George IV between 1787 and 1823

Pic.No.7. This is the entrance to the Royal Pavilion, if you want to see the picture come to life, watch the video below ........

Vid.No.1. Ooh, look ...... because I am kind like Ghandi (but with more hair), I have recorded a video for you too

Pic.No.8 The Palace is renowned for it's exotic oriental appearance - right in the centre of Brighton. In case you are interested, It was built in the "Indo-Saracenic style prevalent in India for most of the 19th century, and houses the most extravagant chinoiserie interiors ever executed in the British Isles". I am not sure what that last sentence meant, but it sounded good

Pic.No.9 A view of the palace from the gardens. It is very weird to find a building of this type in the UK

Pic.No.10 After visiting the Royal Pavilion, we took a trip down "The Lanes". This is another reason why Brighton is really cool - The Lanes are a myriad of tiny corridors running through the city with shops on either side. There is no way you could drive down there - you can only walk

Pic.No.11. Steve and Izzy walking through 'The Lanes' in Brighton

Pic.No.12. And then we emerged from The Lanes, back into Brighton life ...... which has a huge 'cafe culture'. So we stopped briefly and quaffed a couple of Cappucinos

Pic.No.13. And then, ambling through the town, we saw this Lamborghini parked outside a shop. I wanted to leave a note on the windscreen with my telephone number on, but Steve said I was a saddo and pointed out that the driver might be a girl anyway. Not that it would necessarily prove a stumbling block in Brighton

And so, after a morning wondering through Brighton town, we decided to head for the seafront to spend the afternoon doing seasidey things. But you are going to have to wait for 'Part 2' of my Brighton post to read about that. 

I decided to split it into two posts because it would be too bloody long. 

So what have you been up to this weekend my dahlink? Gotta dash, Naughty George is wretching over the rug in the kitchen.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

My cellar slowly reveals it's secrets ......

It's carnage round at my house.

As you may remember, a while back I moved house from London to Oxford. But what I omitted to mention was that my London house had an attic FULL of shit dating back years. And because moving house is pretty full-on anyway, I couldn't be bothered sorting it out. So I carted it all up to Oxford and bunged it in the cellar of my new house to sort out later.

And 'later' has been the last week, after I realised I couldn't get down the cellar steps anymore.

Yep, day by day, I have been systematically dragging the shit out of the cellar and dealing with it, i.e., selling it on Fleabay Ebay. [Note: if you are a nosey git, you can see what I am flogging here: Annie's Ebay account].

But it is bloody hard work because everything needs washing, photographing and then uploading onto Ebay. So I decided to stagger it over a number of weeks, hence my house is in a state of carnage - there are literally hundreds of items in various stages of the process.

And because I am kinder than Mother Theresa (but without a following of nuns), I have got some pictures for you.

Pic.No.1 The stairs leading down to my cellar. My house was built in 1546 and apparently the cellar is older than that by a couple of hundred years

Pic.No.2 Just look at the piles of crap stored in my cellar (and I had already cleared out SIX bags of old clothes at the time this picture was taken)

Pic.No.3 Random crap was piled on every surface ........ and there were things that I had forgotten I even owned ....

Pic.No.4. Like this old manual typewriter .......

Pic.No.5 .................... and a pair of pretty blue bowls

Pic.No.6 An oil lamp and old clay pipe

Pic.No.7 A vintage Guinness ashtray 

So wish me luck dahlink - it is going to take ages sorting this bally lot out. Total nightmare, and I might need smelling salts at some point.

Oh, I forgot to ask - how was your weekend by the way?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

20 Worst Cosmetic Surgery Disasters

I am not sure if you remember, but a while ago I wrote some posts about taxidermy gone wrong. Man alive, writing that was such fun, I even guffawed aloud to myself (how weird is that? I hope the neighbours didn't hear).

Anyway, today I was taking Naughty George on his daily drag through a posh Oxfordshire village, when a Bentley pulled up nearby. An old bloke got out one side, and a bleached-blonde woman got out the other.

Initially, I didn't think anything of it (actually, that was a lie, I really thought 'who's the Sugar Daddy?'), until I caught a glimpse of the woman's face. It was all tight like she was continually surprised, and her lips were enormous. You know when Jack Nicholson played the Joker? It was like that, except a surprised Joker.

I recoiled slightly. Woah, that was bad cosmetic surgery. I tried to diffuse my horror by uttering a cheery 'hello', but it didn't work. She had spotted Naughty George pissing on the wheel of the Bentley, and now he was woofing vacuously in their general direction. The bloody bastard.

She pouted at me (not that I think she had a choice), and looked me up and down, before striding off to help her husband with his zimmer frame.

But then it dawned on me - extreme plastic surgery is like taxidermying (is that the correct verb?) yourself in small steps whilst you are still alive.

So I got home and decided to do some research into 'plastic surgery gone wrong'.

And sacre bleu! Just look at the state of this lot ............

NUMBER 1.  Melanie Griffiths (before and after). It's such a shame. Since cosmetic surgery, she tends to gurn a lot. Nice teeth for gurning though.

NUMBER 2. Nicole Kidman. It looks like her face is covered in Cling-Film

 NUMBER 3. Blimey, this woman has got a dent in one of her bazukas

NUMBER 4. Donatella Versace after extensive plastic surgery. Oops, that didn't go well then. She looks like a negative in that right hand picture

NUMBER 5.  Joan Rivers. Blimey, her nose and eyes are a totally different shape

NUMBER 6. David Gest. Woah, you made me jump man

NUMBER 7. Farrah Fawcet. It all ended up a bit wonky and lumpy. And you can see her nipple through her jacket

NUMBER 8. JEEZ! Rupert Everet? This is most decidedly NOT impressive

NUMBER 9. Unkown person. She's not gonna need airbags in the event of a car crash. But just hope that she comes to the rescue if you ever get in trouble at sea

NUMBER 10. Joan Van Ark from Knots Landing. That's Zombi-chic that is

NUMBER 11. Mickey Rourke. Blimey, he has been left a bit lop-sided

NUMBER 12. Pete Burns. Actually I don't think he looks too gross. I just get the feeling that he doesn't know 'who' he is. He isn't transsexual - gender dismorphia maybe? Even so, his lips are WAY to big

NUMBER 13. Maria Geronazzo (Hungarian celebrity). Bloody hell, she PAID for that. What is the obsession with having lips that look like two mattresses stapled to your face?

NUMBER 14. Dennis Avner. This chap has undergone extensive tattooing and cosmetic surgery so that he could look like a tiger. He even had his teeth filed and shaped to resemble one. RAR! What a nutbag

NUMBER 15. Jackie Stallone has now got a face that looks like a wellington boot that has been set on fire and put out with a spade

NUMBER 16.  This is a girl (yep). And she is only 40. Michaela Romanini is an Italian socialite who became famous after her many surgeries. She looks like a cross between a man in drag and a muppet

NUMBER 17.  Amanda Lepore. Amanda was a famous New York transsexual (bloody hell she was fit!), but then she went a tad overboard with the cosmetic surgery. And for some reason it made her boobs uneven

NUMBER 18. Poor old MJ. His nose was falling off. And he was such a handsome chap when he was younger

NUMBER 19. The Bride of Wildenstein. Allegedly, Jocelyn Wildenstein has spent around $4,000,000.00 on cosmetic surgery after her husband left her for a younger woman. Not the wisest investment I have seen. She looks like someone spotted a mosquito on her face and swatted it with a cricket bat

NUMBER 20. This is Hang Mioku, a 48 year-old woman from South Korea. She became so addicted to plastic surgery that she was left unrecognisable after her obsession led her to repeatedly inject cooking oil into her face. She was featured on Korean TV and viewers sent in enough donations to enable her to have surgery to reduce the size of her face. During the first procedure surgeons removed 60g of foreign substance from Hang's face and 200g from her neck. Her face is still scarred and disfigured (bottom picture). She now says she wishes she could get her original face back.

I have to say that virtually nothing shocks me, but after seeing that lot, I was left feeling slightly incredulous.

So dahlink what do you think about these people? (you have two choices but you can add more):

1. Stupid and not worthy of attention

2. Suffering some kind of dismorphic psycological illness

So, do you have any more plastic surgery disasters that you would like me to include? Please send me pictures and I will publish them and include a link to your blog. Mwahhhhhh ..... Just off to my botox appointment ;-)

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