House at Pooh Corner

House at Pooh Corner
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Thursday, 29 August 2013

Courage, dear sweaty friends! (a rallying cry)

September =  high humidity.  In Dubai.

This will be my 9th September & frankly, familiarity is definitely breeding contempt.

As the years pass, the contempt rages out of control.  It mounts, it builds.  A forest fire of red-faced, ill-tempered sweatiness.

I hate you, September.  You and your 85% humid conditions.

Perhaps the answer is to spend September lying flat on One's stomach, on the tiles.  The dogs have got the right idea. School run & going outside, be damned, say I.

I wish.

Well........... unless anyone has a better idea, join me on the (9th) Annual Perspiration-athon, which is September in Dubai.

Standard Sweat Schedule (SSS)

status: Sweaty

status: for 1st 5 mins, too hot to be sweaty. The sweat rivers accrued from House to Car evaporate off you, thanks to the oven hot temps inside that tin box.  You are, for now, dry as a bone.

Key in ignition - instant facial desiccation by initial blast of hot dry air, direct from the centre of the earth, as you whack the AC up to MAX.

Steering - there may be some variation on this but anything up to the 1st 6 kms of your journey will be steered by your fingertips.

As the white hot heat of your steering wheel eases, now you are freezing from the sweat-sodden clothes sticking to you in the chilly interior of your car.

status: Immediately Sweaty, again.

And, now, your glasses (sun or seeing) have fogged over the millisecond as you opened the door.

You will now drop your phone, iPod, keys, everything, as you can see nothing.

TOP TIP: just take the glasses off & squint, the fog never clears as fast as you think it might.

Squinting as you dash indoors is not going to make much difference to those crows' feet, sweetie.

After all, you already have Face of a Mummy (see earlier facial desiccation) so, what the hell, in for a penny.

status - here you reach a comfortable equilibrium thanks to the earth-destroying AC that is, ironically, keeping you alive.
(we can talk about the panic that a malfunctioning AC causes later.  People come together to help in a similar vein to Blitz-time London.  But we haven't got any good songs.  We should get some good 'Together We Stand When Your AC Fails' songs)

Not a patch (sorry) on the clammy heights
One's pits are capable of reaching

But, my Glowing Brothers & Sisters, screw your deodorant to its sticking place & take heart, for together, we head into the final push of the Dubai Summer.

Ahead lies the idyllic season known as ........*cue: choirs of cherubim & seraphim* ............. Winter in Dubai.
(apart from the windmill & acres of green meadow)

The jolly months of blue jeans & blue skies (if I was going to be a complete bitch about it I MIGHT moan about there not being enough clouds. I do love a fluffy white cloud.), sunshine and glorious temperatures hovering around the 20 - 28 degrees C mark.

26 degs Celsius, now there is a magic number.

When the mercury drops to 26, it is .............. Boot Time!!!!

Yaaaaaaaaaaay, permission to bust out the Uggs/Emus/or whatever floats your booty boat & get All. Over. The Boots Time.

Last winter I was booted from November till early May.  True story.

I'm keeping my eye on you, September. Your days are numbered.

Don't let me down, Winter.

Bring on the boots.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Happiness Vampires

You knew didn't you?

You knew as soon as you thought about it, those 2 words, what I was talking about.

And, that person/people appeared to you (in your head, I mean).

Those Joy'sferatus.

Having discussed it with a few of my Non-Vampyric Friends, I know that I am not the only person who have made these sorts of acquaintances or has found themselves in this kind of 'friendship'.

Friendship, proper friendship, is about sharing.  
Sharing Experiences ie DOING things together.
Sharing Laughs, 
Sharing Thoughts, 

But it isn't all about the giggles, there are crappy times, crappy experiences.
We should share them too.

If you aren't prepared to share the shit then, let's not kid ourselves & call it a Friendship.

But, & here's the thing that is getting my, proverbial, goat, I think we all have come across someone who seems to only be interested in sharing their junk & has no interest in yours.

To them, your role is to make them feel better.  And, by the way, they won't even know they are doing it.

The Research - based on a lifetime's work.

In my studies, the Happiness Vampire can take 3 forms.

A) When they only want to talk about themselves. For hours. 
Sometimes it is all about how well they are doing with something OR, conversely, how worried they are about how well they are doing with whatever & your role is to blow smoke up their arse.  

This is a phrase that I hope, Sweet Reader, you understand is purely metaphorical.  This is obvious. No really it is.
B) When they only, ONLY, want to moan & bitch about how bad their life is. How hideous everyone is around them.  How everyone is out to get them. That sort of thing.  The proportion of Upbeat vs Miserable Arse ratio hovers around 10:90. All the time.

C) When they appear to be a really good caring friend & then, it turns out that they were only using you for something & then now you are no longer of use to them (for whatever arbitrary reason) you are ditched.  At best, ignored. At worst, bizarrely turned into The Enemy (see B)

Perhaps I have been unlucky but I suspect we've ALLLLL met one, some or all the above.

They don't even have be a Friend (with a capital 'F'), even acquaintances can bring you down with the moan, moan, moan or the insinuation that they are about to have a fight with the next person who they feel deserves it.


Definition: a Good Friend

When the bad times come, 'cos they do come, 'cos this is Life and, more's the pity not a hilarious rom-com - THEN is precisely when you need your mates to wrap you up in cotton wool, indulge you, stroke-y head, pat-y-hand, eat-y choccies together, get the kettle on, get wildly drunk etc etc.

The aim of a Good Friend, to which I think we would all like to strive, is to help.  If you happen to be in an OK place & someone you care about isn't, you must step in.

And you do it gladly.  Not because you have to but, because you really really want to.

Be there. Share. Care.


The Solution

BUT, when the There, Share & Care is a one-way street.  Then, that is bullshit and, if that is the case I will be charging a fee for all the listening, the joy-draining and the smoke thing.

I should also say that I find the permanently chirpy & happy, equally creepy & alarming. 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

A letter to Insomnia

Dear Insomnia,

Think you're funny, do you?

An hour & a half ago, my head was lolling & my eyes slow blinking - not sexy slow blinks, more the going, going ............ gone ones.


I'm calling time on the day.  My bed sings to me.  It is the Siren.  I am a Sailor. There are no rocks. (or are there?).

Shuffle round the house, shutting it down for the night.
Easy does it.
Noooooo sudden movements.
No jarring, rejuvenating thoughts.
Nice slooooooow theta brain waves only, please.

Get into bed.  Hi, Bed.  *snuggles down*
Hey, duvet. Helloooooo, pillows.
OK, team, we are in for a great night.

*Lights out*

Then ..............

I wonder if I need to tell The Kid where babies come from?
Should I have a mole map?

It continues .....

If I die, where should my ashes be scattered?
That arm I am lying on feels weird, where should I put it? Under the pillow? Do I lie on it? What DO I do with that arm?
My eyeballs feel weird too. What do my eyeballs do when I close my eyes.
Am I hungry?

And continues ......

What was that noise?
Maybe I should read?
Or listen to a podcast.
The bloody dog is taking up too much space.
If I go to sleep right now, I can still get 5 & half hours of sleep.
How will I tell the Kid where babies come from?
Is The Trousers still breathing?

You get the idea.

The thoughts, they start bouncing around in the dark.

And what is the quantum end result of my bonkers nocturnal nuttinesses bouncing off each other?  Sleep Acquisition in deficit, that's what.*

*SUBTITLES: no sleeping for Roo

I recently read Caitlin Moran referring to the Screaming Monkeys in her head.  "six million chattering monkeys of evil, screeching out each worry ever invented."

At night it seems my thoughts start jostling, squealing, scrummaging, like new born puppies, *wheeeeek, wheeeeeeeeeek* feet in ears, clawing blindly over each other to get to the front, some even heading off on a complete tangent & ending up sucking on the end of Mum's tail.

Screaming Monkeys are cooler. And scarier. I just get chaotic, noisy, wiggling pre-cute puppies.  I don't have cool insomnia.

By the way, sorry for bringing up the arm thing, I hope it doesn't keep you awake tonight.

If it does though, drop me a line. I'll take any suggestions as to what the hell to do with it

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Let sleeping dogs lie.

You are joking, aren't you?

Me?! Upsetting the DreamyBobos of the 2 x 4-legged buffoons with whom I share a sleeping space? Not a chance, son.

Incidentally, The Human Buffoon has no idea of my nightly nocturnal dramas.

OMG, Ollie, if you stretch one more time, that will be me, on the floor.
The Canine Starfish is an
inconsiderate bedfellow

Bloody dog, forget starving your mogwai after midnight, he morphs into a starfish when the lights go out.  A starfish that gains territory throughout the sleeping hours, whilst utterly unconscious.  I should probably notify some military authority.  They will probably want to perform some 'tests'.

Everyone else, Ollie, in this bed is abiding by the standard, longitudinal axis of the sleeping platform.  This equatorial positioning is, can I say, unhelpful.

2 nights ago, between the pair of them, StripyLongNose (Ollie, the Lurcher/Wannabe Greyhound) & CowDog (CowBitch, strictly speaking but it seems excessively aggressive to go with that, 65kg Great Dane) united in a tag team in order to best ensure I had no more than a series of 20 minute snoozettes throughout the night.

Oh, and they are good.

PHASE ONE - The Dreams

Things kick off with high-speed rabbit chases.  Dreams of high-speed rabbit chases. I do not believe either have ever seen a Little Rabbit FooFoo.


Really? Y'think?
She sleeps.
Nothing is going to stop that

What this means in actuality is The One on Bed yips & whines, whilst the tempo of the chase is marked by kicking & scrabbling with all the feet & legs.  And, when he stops ....

... She picks up the scent. How is that even possible? You ain't gittin'away from me, you pesky wabbit.

Now, She IS on the floor in her own bed.  Yaaaaaay Us, for standing firm on the No, You Are 65kg, You Are Not Getting in the Bed front, BUT it is one (actually 2, secondhand ones) of those nylon canvas FatBoy dog beds.  
I did say her feet were big

The manufacturers & designers, in fairness, couldn't have been expected to know this, or made provisions but ..... gigantic dog claws on that stuff, mid-rodent hunt makes a chuffing racket.

Also, She is no yipper.  So, what I am now trying to muffle out with my pillow are the scratching, clawing toenails AND the low rumbles, that build in crescendo to a series of deep, deep OOOOOOFs.


Once The Great Chase of Every Flippin' Night is done, we then have the patrolling of the perimeter of the room and the bed-checks.  She, the Big One, needs to be sure I have not a) absconded nor b) been kidnapped.

What we are talking about here are shuffling feet (plus those big ol' toe nails) tippy-tapping round the room followed by big black (status: wet) nose plus short whiskers (status: spiky) with a side-order of jowls (status: jowly) being dragged across my face.

Frequency of Nightly Bed Checks: minimum 2

*Mmmmmmmpfffffff* "Ohhhhhhh, ewwww. Beeeeeeeeeee, back to bed.

At some point, She is satisfied all is well & settles down for the rest of the night.

BONUS ROUND - Ollie has nightmares

StripyLongNose, on occasion, I believe, suffers from nightmares.  Strange dark nightmares.  And when they strike, it is a matter of extreme priority that he gets AS CLOSE TO ME as doggily possible.

He stands up suddenly, makes a beeline for the pillow area of the bed & rakes at the top of the duvet, pulling it back until one of us lifts it up and disappears straight under covers and curls up into a tight ball.

Cue: Deeeeeeeeep doggy *siiiiiiiiiiiiiiighhhhhhh* (if you have a dog, you will know the sound)

The tight worried ball gradually relaxes, unfurls if you like, until ................... there is a bloody starfish (with scratchy toenails) UNDER the duvet now.

This is all getting abit silly now, isn't it?

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Holiday (Summer) 2013 - Ride that wave

(This is an old post. The Moment was had about 3 weeks ago.)

I think I may have just had a Moment of Perfect Bliss.

In a Swansea conservatory, with this book, is where it happened.

The book choice was inspired by Dad. Possibly the first book I recall him talking about it, I must ask him if it is coincidence that he shares a name with the author AND a nickname of one of the Men.

FINALLY I have got round to it & by pg.7, I am utterly in love.

Seagulls are squawking, in the distance and nearby, the garden birds are cheepy-cheepy, tweet-tweet, tweeting.

Bouncing off the windows, in an unconcerned, half-hearted manner is a woolly, chubby-bottomed bumble bee.  I don't think he really wants to leave.  Perhaps Bumblebee doesn't want to spoil The Moment either.

In the kitchen, Classic FM is on.  For dog, but I like too.  Maybe Bee does too.

Sky is the perfect combo of cornflower blue with fat happy fluffy cloud-sheep, just milling around.  They are in no hurry.

At my elbow is a cup of tea, Lady Grey, as you ask, (I have gone Full Pompous now, haven't I?  You would think so but, any minute now it is going to get worse) .......... in one of my birthday presents.  A Portmeirion (Botanic Garden) mug.

For this Moment, all feels calm. All feels well, and I, for one, am more than happy to ride the crest of this wave of serenity, for as long I can Hang Ten.

And this book, oh, THIS BOOK.......

There go the seagulls again.  Damn, I love a seagull.

[This will be the last post from our time in the UK.  Holiday comes to an end tomorrow and we head back to The Pit, to regular life.]

Friday, 2 August 2013

Holiday (Summer) 2013 - Juggling with nitroglycerin

It's, oh, so quiet .........
Everyone is in bed.  House is settling down for the night.
There's that silence.

Ringing in my ears (THAT'S how quiet it is).  Little whistles in my nose (not sure what that is about). Gurgles from my stomach.

The occasional car whishhhhhhs by outside.  That lovely whishy sound cars make, when it isn't raining anymore but the road is still wet.


Ahhhhhhhhhhh .................................. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

And then,

The Drunk People get out of their cab.  And they are Rowing.

Oooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo, brilliant! Curtains twitch (mine).

Lights (also mine) stay off.  I'm no Curtain-twitchy, Spying on Rows on the Street newbie, you know.

Trousers, in bed, "What ARE you doing?"

Oh, SHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH......................................................

Trousers shrugs, back to iPlayer, relieved he isn't Rob.

She does sound a bitch, mate, but I don't fancy telling her and, neither should you.

"Rob! Roooooobbbbbbbbbbbbb!!!!! ............"

Rob, love, do like she says and stop walkin' away from 'er, would'you? (This is the REAL Gavin & Stacy & it is happening right outside the window.)
And, Rob, honestly, say something.

Guys, in order to prevent yourself from getting stabbed, in these scenarios, you have GOT to say something. Clamming up is a dangerous strategy, mid-row, with a woman.

Clam up = high stab risk.  Like juggling with nitroglycerin.

From the outside, in the Public Row Situation, we (WomanKind) do not come out well.
We circle, we stamp, we storm off.  There is the arm-waving and there is the And Another Thing thing.
Oh, and something happens to our volume control.
Seems we then, are limited solely to Deafening Shrew (default setting, on most models of the species) or the Menacing Hiss (the recommended upgrade)

But, Men of The World, at least we are trying to work things out.

No, we ARE.  Really we are.
It doesn't sound like it but we are mystical that way, it's why you liked us in the first place (maybe) & the onus is on you to be able to read between the lines.

Listen up, Young Fellow M'Lad, those of you subscribing to the Go Silent & It Might Go Away school of thought are i) sadly mistaken & ii) going to get everything you deserve.

And meanwhile, back to The Street Outside:
Who knows what this is about.
Perhaps there was a difference of opinion with another male of the species re pint spillage. 
Possibly Rob went to meet her workmates for the first time and didn't actually speak to anyone.
MAYBE Rob's ex was also in the pub & She, of current Shrew status, felt that he was looking over too much.

Who knows.

 ...............I wish I knew.

And, dammit, they are moving further away and I can't quite hear anymore.


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