Blotted Copy Books, and Caterpillar Coats

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The 70’s is currently enjoying a revival on TV thanks to memoir sitcoms Cradle to Grave and The Kennedys.

Cradle to Grave is part written by comedian Danny Baker and is based on his own adolescence in 1970’s London. With exploding toilets and loads of ‘farkin ‘ells’, it’s hilariously funny.

The Kennedys is written by actress, writer and TV presenter Emma Kennedy and is based on her memoirs The Tent, The Bucket and Me. Narrated from 10 year old Emma’s perspective, it resonates with me the most because I too was a child in the 70’s.

The show provides a nostalgic look back at the time when Darth Vader was a scary man (but nowhere near as scary as Jimmy Savile turned out to be) and schoolgirls lives were temporarily ruined by Donny Osmond’s forthcoming nuptials.

Both shows feature cars of the decade and it brought back memories of Dad’s Hillman Hunter.

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Dad and Me in his Hillman Hunter

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Dad putting the car away in the garage while I showed Mum what I’d been doing at school all day.

Another form of transport (for kids) was the Space Hopper. I had a go on my friend’s but wasn’t much for it as the bouncing made my head ache. I preferred to spin around until I fell over on the carpet and entertainment doesn’t come much better than that!

Not forgetting the hours of fun to be had from making go carts out of an old prams and bits of wood. We were recycling way before it was fashionable!

It’s Emma’s schooldays which have evoked memories long forgotten…

~ Inky Fingers ~

I remember inky fingers, blotting paper and my brother’s leaky fountain pens which resulted in Mum having to scrub his clothes. No magical Vanish in those days – just milk, vinegar and elbow grease!

Blotting paper reminds me of one of Mum’s favourite sayings..

You’ve really blotted your copy book this time, Madam!

I never actually understood the meaning of it but could tell I was in trouble from the way her eyes narrowed as she said it just before she ordered me up to my room to ‘think about what I’d done’.

~ Technology ~

Technology at school was watching a film via a projector which invariably involved disruptions while the teacher faffed about changing the reels. The films were usually about as entertaining as tonsillitis but they gave us the opportunity to eat sweets without risk of confiscation.

~ The School Toilets ~

The school toilets (more commonly known as bogs) were damp and drippy and there was always a cubicle with an out of order notice pinned to the door.

Hygiene was soap that smelled like antiseptic (because it was) and Izal toilet roll or ‘caretakers revenge’ as I like to call it. Wiping your arse with Izal was like trying to wipe yourself with a crisp packet, not that I’ve tried but it’s the best analogy I can come up with.

~ Thatcher, Thatcher Milk Snatcher ~

Dad considered Margaret Thatcher a cow of epic proportions..

~ Healthy Eating ~

On the way home from school, my brother would take me into the sweet shop where he’d give me a few pennies for some sweets and in those days you got a lot of sweets for your money. I remember the shop being crammed to the rafters with huge bottles containing Flying Saucers, Fizzy Cola Bottles, Sweet Tobacco, Black Jacks, Space Dust, Wham Bars, Drumsticks and Space Dust. I loved them all and it’s highly likely that the sugar in this lot contributed to me having ‘blotted my copy book’ on several occasions!

~ School Fashion ~

Fashion?

*guffaws*

The 70’s was the decade that good taste missed!

The sight of Emma Kennedy and her friend with their school satchels jogged my memory of having one as a child. Things were made to last in those days and were generally worn out before being replaced. Very different from today’s throwaway society where things are changed on a whim. My satchel lasted me for years because the sodding thing was indestructible!

Mum bought my coats a size too big so that I could ‘grow into them’. She bought me one in the sales once and it’s fair to say that it was going cheap because nobody in their right mind would want to be seen dead in it. It was phlegm green, padded and made me look like a caterpillar. I put up with the piss-taking for a few weeks then it ‘mysteriously’ ripped beyond repair. *shifty face*

I also had a pair of these..

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Mum liked to get her money’s worth when it came to shoes and demanded to see actual holes before she’d fork out for a new pair. Unlike clothes, she had to buy shoes that actually fitted so my growing spurts totally pissed her off. However, being a mother myself and having spent a small fortune on children’s shoes, I now feel her pain.

~ Miss D ~

My teacher in 1978. Goddess. Looked like Deirdre off Coronation Street.  A wonderful lady who actually liked kids which made a welcome change from my previous teacher who was straight out of a Stephen King novel.

The 70’s has been tainted with the recent revelations that some of it’s biggest icons were in fact depraved monsters but Cradle to Grave and The Kennedys have injected some warmth and humour back into the era to remind us that, disagreeable decor aside, it wasn’t too bad really.

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Image Credit Star Wars J D Hancock

Image Credit Clarks Shoes Alansplodge

Some Mother’s Do Ave Em

Mother’s Day is a comin..

It’s the day where grown children dust off their old dears and take em to a garden centre. Or the pub.

As a society, we pay homage to our mother’s – acknowledging their sacrifices of body and mind.

Body because the average mother’s stomach looks like a deployed airbag once it’s housed a couple of babies. The bigger the baby, the bigger aftermath. Trust me, I know!

She will declare that she loves her stretch marks because they remind her how lucky she is to have been blessed with children. She wears these battle scars with pride.

But occasionally after having consumed the best part of a box of Shiraz, she can be found slumped over an old photo of her teenage self sporting a crop top and single chin .

She jabs at the picture with a Wotsit and slurs, ‘Thash uhsed to be me!’

And mind because all mothers succumb to insanity at some point.

Like millions of mothers, I’ve woken up on Mother’s Day to cards being thrust in my face, alongside cremated toast, anaemic looking tea and flowers that look suspiciously like next doors tulips.

Cards such as this one where I’m depicted as a svelte looking Princess and for some reason – blonde.

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For a while I was on a pedestal. This would change.

They mutated into teenagers – that’s why it changed.

I was turfed off my pedestal to make way for Nintendo, Cricket and South Park.

One memorable Mothers Day, K kicked open the bedroom door and presented me with his card and a mug of tea. He was older by this time and the tea had evolved into something actually resembling tea.

I noted that there was nothing from my oldest child.

My ovaries died a bit.

21 hours of utter agony giving birth to him – complete with enema, intermittent vomiting, a seriously pissed off midwife who was bearing the brunt of a staff shortage, three stitches, having to walk like John Wayne for the next two weeks and the MOTHER of all haemorrhoids which to this day still gives me gyp…

Miffed doesn’t begin to cut it.

My stretch marks flamed bright red (like Harry Potter’s scar when Lord Volderface was close by) and my Farmer Gile started itching like a bugga – always does when I’m stressed.

Nostrils flared, I flounced downstairs in my dressing gown and fluffy slippers to unleash Mothergeddon on my first born.

I plotted my revenge.

I would refuse to wash his cricket kit. Let him wash his own sodding jock strap. Ha!

And never again would I drive him around to deliver his papers because he was late and in danger of a docking of pay.

Then I heard the front door open and close.

A few minutes later, he walked in.

He placed an envelope on the mantelpiece.

He looked shifty.

He looked very shifty.

One solitary word on the envelope.

Mother

I opened it to find an untitled card with a old fashioned lady on the front.

I looked inside and this, dear reader, is what I saw.

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His dad was walking past. He glanced at it and said, ‘You’re dead, son’.

It was half way through Mother’s Day and the Co-op had sold out of cards – so he’d improvised. Bless ‘im.

Once my eye stopped twitching –  I saw the funny side.

All I ever wanted to be was a mother and if I leave this world having accomplished only that, I’ll die happy. An extra bonus is that I am fortunate enough to have some awesome step-daughters. I get to buy girlie things and have chats about hair and stuff. I enjoy that. It makes a change from boys stuff.

Speaking of which…

These are my boys – my greatest achievement.

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 Some Mother’s really do ave em!

To Mother’s everywhere – I salute thee.

Enjoy your day. x

Mother’s hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever. ~ Unknown

If I Were

Saw this on Starring Stella  It seemed like fun so I thought I’d join in.

A month ~  I’d be July.
A country ~ I’d be Wales  – tidy.
A time of day ~ I’d be 8.50 am. School drop off time.
A sea animal ~ I’d be a hermit crab
A direction ~ I’d be North because Northerners are ‘ard.
A liquid ~ I’d be gin
A gemstone ~ I’d be ruby – like my eyes after too many gin’s.
A tree ~ I’d be a Christmas tree.
A game ~ I’d be Scrabble – 14 points.
A famous painting ~ I’d be The Lady of Shalott
A flower ~ I’d be a daisy
A kind of weather ~ Being menopausal, I’d be unsettled.
A musical instrument ~ I’d be a harp – pluck yeah!
A piece of furniture ~ I’d be a rocking chair
A colour ~ I’d be green
A means of transportation ~ I’d be a mobility scooter
An emotion ~ I’d be worry
A fruit ~ I’d be a lemon
A sound ~ I’d be laughter
A vehicle ~ I’d be a 1980’s Ford Escort wiv furry dice & as many K-Tel compilation tapes as can be crammed in the glove compartment.
A place ~ I’d be a lagoon
A taste ~ I’d be tomato sauce
A scent ~ I’d be bleach
An animal ~ I’d be a seagull and do a chip dive on Blackpool Prom, opposite Harry Ramsden’s.
A random object ~ I’d be a TV remote and annoy people by going missing down the back of the sofa.
A body part ~ I’d be nostrils
A song ~ I’d be ‘The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum’. The obvious choice.
An item of clothing ~ I’d be flip flops

If you fancy a bash, link up yours on City Girl Gone Coastal

Confessions of a Cleaner

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Once upon a time I was a domestic engineer, in other words I was a cleaner!

Cleaning wasn’t the most glamorous job I’d envisioned having, but it paid some bills and put food on the table. I joined a company and they gave me the job of cleaning a warehouse, (mainly offices and bogs), by myself! So, er, go me!

Apologies if you don’t like the word ‘bog’ but in this case it’s apt. Particularly for the Gents!

I was issued with a tabard, (a most unsexy uniform worn by workers in the catering, cleaning and healthcare industries, in case you didn’t know), pleas for a protective suit and face mask went unheeded, though my supervisor did grant me extra air fresheners and rubber gloves.

The worst part of cleaning is the toilets. It’s a SHIT job, literally!

I had a big sign made up so the Neanderthals would know when the toilets were out of bounds because I, the FEMALE cleaner, was in there cleaning…obvs! Mostly they obeyed the sign which allowed me time to do my thing with the mop and VAT of disinfectant.

But it was in this latrine most foul that my eyes were opened to the depravity of the male species.

Being a sister, wife and mother meant that I had loads of experience with unidentifiable organic life-forms and general man-pong but this was in a different league altogether. We’re talking Biohazard level 3!

Arming myself with two cans of Pine Fresh, (one in each hand), I’d walk up to the Gent’s door, kick it open with a swift boot from my size 4 slip-on and call out..

“YOOOO-HOOOOO, ANYBODY IN HERE”?

Occasionally someone would fart, (man-code for yes), so I’d hover outside wafting a duster about until they exited the room. Then I’d slap the “DO NOT ENTER, CLEANING IN PROGRESS” sign on the door and wade in blasting both cans of air freshener simultaneously, a bit like Lara Croft (if Lara Croft was like Nora Batty)

This ritual was necessary for me to be able to work in that room without falling into a stench induced coma. For those of you who have never cleaned professionally, (specifically toilets), but who do have teenage sons..well, you know that smell when you walk into their bedroom first thing in the morning and you nearly die from the fumes? Well multiply it by, ooh erm, a million and you might get the idea.

Monday was the worst day to clean the Gents because they’d all been on the lash the night before with maybe a curry or a dodgy kebab on the way back from the pub….OK, I’ll leave it there! The graphics are burned into my memory but I’ll spare you!

Removing The Sun, (open at page 3), or the Daily Sport, (open at any page), from at least one of the cubicles was a daily occurrence. There were normally copius amounts of bog roll strewn on the floor, chocolate wrappers and half-eaten pies. Yes PIES!!!

Who the hell eats a PIE on the toilet???

BARF-A-RAMA!!!

On one occasion I prodded open a cubical door with my mop and saw a vending machine cup on the floor and next to it was a page 3 lady with large breasticles pouting at me.

WARNING!! IT GETS EWWWWWY!!

On closer inspection, the cup was a third full of some transparent liquid and what looked to be a PUBE, floating in it. I’ve seen some sinister looking stuff drop out of the vending machine but never that!

By now you have probably exceeded the maximum on your Vom-o-meter and I apologise but I exceeded mine on day one of the job.

Mums, if you have little boys at home, take a good long look at their innocent little faces. Hold them close to your bosom and savour the moment because in a few years, they too will turn into creatures capable of such foul deeds. I’m warning you, as is my duty.

Then there was the time when the door burst open and in strutted a young man who proceeded to whip Mr Winky-Dinky-Do out into the urinals.

The sign was clearly on the door and I was standing in the middle of the room… I’m small but I’m not a Borrower!

Standing there leaning on my mop, I said, “Oi, didn’t you see the sign on the door?”

He winked at me, (with the eye on his face), and said “Yeeeah, I don’t mind if you don’t, I’m bustin!”

I think I’d been flashed…

Didn’t quite know what to do with that so I Iaughed at him, which was possibly not the reaction he was after!

Nope, this kind of cleaning isn’t for the faint-hearted. You need a certain kind of attitude (or the ability to develop one) and it helps enormously if you have no sense of smell.

My claim to fame is that I came across some graffiti one day that said “I’d sh*g the cleaner”! It’s not everybody who can claim fame on the loo wall. Well classy!

Of course they could have been referring to the previous cleaner who was about 60. And male.

Who knows?

If you see a miserable cleaner, you now know the reason why. Pity them because they’ve seen some bad stuff, you know? If you see a smiling cleaner, they’ll most likely be high on a concoction of tranqs and disinfectant!

“Golly, I just love cleaning toilets”. Said no cleaning lady ever.

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This post is dedicated to Sheerie, as promised. xXx