Monthly Archives: October 2011

Without a Leg to Stand On

Tingirl has been a pupil of the Gaiety School of Acting for many years now. She genuinely is a terrific actress, and mentioned recently that she would love to study drama at university, and even dreams, though she knows it’s unlikely, of going to RADA.

I mention this now purely because of a conversation Mrs Tin and I have just had. The topic came up and I said “if she got accepted into RADA I’d sell a leg to help pay her fees”.

I meant to say “kidney”. I even had a picture of a kidney in my head. I have no idea why I said “leg”.

I think Mrs Tin is a bit worried now about my exam on Friday. It’s not encouraging when an Occupational First-Aid candidate seems to believe that you can sell a leg.

Heads Up

My posts for the next three days will be short and sweet (rather like their author) as I have to study for the exam I face on Friday afternoon in the First Aid Course I am taking at work.

Among the things that I have learned during the course is a list of situations when it is pointless to carry out CPR. One of these (and it actually had this printed on the PowerPoint screen) is “decapitation”.

You learn something new every day.

The Girl Who Dreamed

Sidey’s Weekend Theme is “disappointment”….


She opened the little front gate with one foot, struggled up the pathway with the trim privet hedge on either side and reached the front door of the small terraced house which contained her tiny flat. She tried to get her keys from her pocket while still holding her shopping. The keys fell and when she leaned forward to pick them up she banged her forehead against the door. She swore, juggled shopping and keys and finally got the door open.

She looked at her face in the hallway mirror. There was a tiny cut on her forehead. She dabbed at it with a grubby tissue from her coat pocket, then looked down. An already bad day suddenly got a whole lot worse.

On the floor of the hallway was a large envelope addressed to her. In her own handwriting.

Another publisher, another manuscript, another disappointment.

She cursed silently. She was getting good at curses.

All her life she had dreamed of being a writer. She had tried every genre, all to no avail. Her effort at a Victorian romance had been rejected as too full of anachronisms, such as, for example, the fact that the heroine drove a Ford Anglia. Her venture into poetry was deemed to too shallow (one haiku read “Girls will all agree/the closest thing to heaven /is shopping for shoes“). Her attempt at a bodice-ripper had suffered because of the fact that she wasn’t really sure what a bodice was.

This had been her final try. Told to write about what she knew, she had written about a girl who was told to write about what she knew. Now that too had been rejected. It was time to give up.

She sighed, wiped away a tear, opened the door of number four and let herself into her writer’s garret. She’d have to stop calling it that now – she’d have to start referring to it as her crappy flat.

She pottered about the kitchenette, made herself beans on toast and sat at the table staring into space.

After a while she felt a bit better about herself. Ok, she would never be a published writer, but she was still a writer. She could write for her own amusement. She could keep a diary. She might even start a blog, although she had always sworn she would never sink so low.

She took out a pencil and got a piece of paper. She rubbed her forehead, making the small cut start to bleed again, and began to write.

“Mr and Mrs Doorley Disney Dursley of number three five four Privet Drive….”

Unacquired Taste

On a lazy Sunday evening, why not pick a lazy WordPress topic:

“Name a food you used to like – what changed?”

There was a time was I used to like Heinz Baby Food. The particular product shown here is Heinz Chicken & Vegetable Paella, which just shows how up themselves modern babies have become. I am pretty sure that the word “paella” did not even exist in 1958/59, which was when I would first have started my love affair with Heinz baby products. I was most probably fed on Heinz Boiled Bacon & Cabbage, or perhaps Heinz Mashed Potato and Leftovers.

My preferred method of eating it was by spoon, preferable proffered to me by my mum. I would suck a tiny amount off the very edge of the spoon and then by moving my lips rapidly in a kissing motion I would manage to paint this over the area between my mouth and my chin. Clever use of a clenched baby fist would often then spread this onto the rest of my face and into my hair.

Attempts to persuade me that the spoon was in fact an airplane carrying the food on a flight path that began behind my mum’s head might occasionally persuade me to open my mouth (possibly in amazement at the sheer ludicrousness of the idea) wide enough for a whole spoonful to be inserted. This would promptly be dribbled out onto my bib. Suggestions that we have “one spoon for Tinmum, one for Tinman” (the original “shared lunch”) generally ended up with my mother eating the entire jar.

How I didn’t starve is a mystery. Perhaps I absorbed the food through the pores on my face.

And what changed? Well, the discovery of Rice Krispies, toast and marmalade, Tate & Lyle Golden Syrup, jam sandwiches, sugar sandwiches (buttered white bread with sugar poured onto it, possibly the most unhealthy food ever created), chocolate, strawberries, Battenburg cake, bananas, honey, Sugar Puffs, Jacob’s Mikado biscuits (if you’re not Irish that’ll mean nothing to you) and the 99 ice-cream cone.

And as I got older, I suppose, stuff like chicken & vegetable paella.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Comfort

I took photos for this challenge earlier in the week, and yesterday I wrote the libretto, if you like, that was to go with them. The whole thing was quite convoluted, the pictures included one of a building, one of a Guinness bar-tap and one of a bottle of Lucozade, and on the whole I had decided to re-write the whole thing before I posted it.

Then I had one of the worst days of derealisation that I’ve had since the whole thing began. I got really down about it, so when I got home I just scrapped the load of rubbish I’d written and went to bed early.

So I had reckoned that I wouldn’t have a “Comfort” entry in my portfolio when I go for Photographer of the Year, but fate and my own stupidity have provided me with one.

I woke this morning with a pain down the right-hand side of my neck. It got more and more sore as the morning went on, we had run out of the gel that you can rub in, the nearest pharmacy is just slightly too far away to walk to when you’ve a pain in your neck and are feeling sorry for yourself, and Mrs Tin had gone out with the car.

I had to find a way to provide some comfort. So I got a dry, clean facecloth, folded it in four, put it into a cereal bowl (I really have no idea why I did that part) and, as I’m sure you all would have done in similar circumstances, I microwaved it.

This was the result:

I hid the evidence of the burnt smell by opening the kitchen window and hid the evidence of the toasted facecloth by sticking it in the pocket of my hoodie, where it remains as I type.

The good news is that its heat did a wonderful job of giving me comfort from the pain in my neck.

The bad news is that at some stage I will have to tell Mrs Tin what her Pain in the Neck has done this time.

Even Nasals Will Fall

There is an advert currently on TV for a deodorant called Lynx Excite. It features a number of angels tumbling to earth, then making their way zombie-like towards a man who has just sprayed himself with Lynx. As they surround him the most beautiful and sultry of them rips off her halo and smashes it on the ground and the rest of them follow suit, clearly willing to forsake all the joys of heaven and abandon themselves to this very essence of essence. The tagline of the ad is “Even Angels Will Fall”.

The Angel Gabriel is not among those who fall in the ad, nor indeed is Lucifer (surely the very definition of a fallen angel) as this would not attract the demographic that Lynx are aiming at. They are aiming at adolescent males desperate to get off with girls and willing to believe that a sharp-smelling deodorant is all that they need to enter a world of nookie bliss. Unfortunately the word “sharp-smelling” above was not used lightly, which renders this unlikely.

I was not sure if my readers would be familiar with the product that I am talking about, but Googling extensive research tells me that it is marketed in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia and China (a big hello to my Chinese readers, by the way), while it is known as Axe in other countries. I hope therefore that most of you know of the astonishingly acrid product of which I speak.

The Lynx Excite scent is created by peeling an onion, caramelising horse-manure, grinding a packet of pepper-and-garlic flavoured crisps, roasting a stoat over an open fire and then liquidising the whole lot in a blender. To this is added wasp-repellent, shark-repellent and Marmite and the whole lot is pumped into a canister slightly too small for it.

When used the contents shoot out in a jet so fast that, if you were to light it as a merry jape, you would be propelled backwards through a wall, leaving a cartoon-like starfish-shaped hole. The scent then surrounds the user in an almost visible haze, leaving a comet-trail of pungent aroma behind him which has an afterlife of days.

The Excite is just the latest of a long line of Lynx deodorants. There was Lynx Sandal, in which the onion was replaced by a footballer’s sock; Lynx Marine, in which the crisps were replaced by a week-old flounder; and Lynx Africa, in which the stoat was replaced by a lynx.

One cold evening I had the task of driving Tinson2 and two of his friends to a disco in Ashford, a town about ten miles away. Being trapped in a car with three different strains of Lynx could be described as an eye-opening experience, except that that it exactly what it wasn’t.

I thankfully have never been tear-gassed, but I think that I know now what it feels like.

You Can’t Have One

WordPress asked (ages ago, but who cares, I’m on holiday): Which is more important: electricity or the internet?

Man comes home and sits down at his computer.

“Sorry, dear, the internet is down,” says his wife.

“Shite,” says the man, and watches TV for the evening.

Man comes home next day and sits at his computer.

“Sorry, dear, the electricity is off,” says his wife.

“Shite. Is the internet running?” asks the man.

“Er, well, possibly,” says his wife, a little doubtfully.

“Good,” says the man. He turns on his computer, which doesn’t come on, so he goes to the TV, which doesn’t come on either.

Does that answer the question?

Trying Times

They say that one of the telltale signs of age is how all the policemen seem to be getting younger. I can top that.

One of the real telltale signs of age is when your son gets called for jury duty.

A interesting official-looking letter arrived for Tinson1 yesterday while he was at college, and by sliding around the window on the front of the envelope we were able to determine that he had received such a summons. This ensured that we were all gathered around to watch his dumbfounded reaction when he opened it.

It’s only in the Circuit Court so he won’t be doing a murder trial or anything, but on December 7th some person accused of of theft/affray/knocking off a policeman’s hat/failing to indicate when leaving a roundabout (ok, the last one is not actually a crime, but it should be) will have his fate partly decided by a young man who less than a decade ago needed velcro to keep his shoes on.

On the bright side for the defendant, as some of you will remember Tinson1 was baton-charged by the police during a student march last year, so unless said defendant actually says “ok yes, I did it” there’s a fair chance that Tinson1 will vote to acquit him.

First Among Equals

Instead of a weekend theme this week Sidey set us a challenge to create a unique award specifically for one blogger. Since it’s hard to single out one of my blogmates I’ve decided to go back to the original. If the definition of a blog is a diary kept on a computer then my award for World’s First Blogger goes to Captain James T. Kirk….


Captain’s Blog, Star Date 0811.91: Spock performs a mind-meld on me so that he can read suppressed memories of an encounter I had with the Romulans. Since this works both ways I have learned that he likes to wear women’s underwear and sing along to Barbra Streisand records.

Captain’s Blog, Star Date 1010.11: Considering how much empty uninhabited space there must be in space how the hell do we meet some alien life-force trying to kill us every twenty minutes?

Captain’s Blog, Star Date 1307.85: WordPress asks what is my middle name and do I like it. My middle name is Tiberius, what do you think?

Captain’s Blog, Star Date 1312.57: Since I have never seen anything resembling a clock anywhere on the Enterprise, I am basically making these Star Dates up as I go along.

Captain’s Blog, Star Date 1313.13: We are attacked by the Superstitians, a race consisting entirely of rabbit’s feet. We defeat them by putting up a ladder on the hull of the Enterprise, which they are afraid to walk under.

Captain’s Blog, Star Date 1909.33: Scotty tells us that his computer reports that the warp drive is overheating. I haven’t the heart to tell him that we got pissed off listening to him ages ago, and that his computer is not in fact connected to anything.

Captain’s Blog, Star Date 2303.78: I manipulate the Transporter Pad so that Lt Uhura’s clothes are beamed to her quarters while she is beamed to mine. This is an attempt to boldly go where no man has gone before since, although she is incredibly beautiful and has legs the length of the Milky Way, no-one has even seen her with a bloke.

Captain’s Blog Supplemental: Lt Uhura proved that she is indeed fluent in 32 inter-galactic languages, including Klingon, Cardassian and Mysterious-Ball-Of-Energy by telling me to get stuffed in all 32 of them. She phasered me so hard (unfortunately that’s not a euphemism) that Bones had to fix two of my teeth (or perhaps Teeth had to fix two of my bones, I still haven’t fully come round).

Captain’s Blog, Star Date 2304.95: A red-letter day! Spock, Bones, myself and a crew member no-one’s ever seen before beam down to a planet and the crew member survives!

Captain’s Blog, Star Date 3011.96: Our five-year mission is over, but Starfleet inform us that we can’t return to earth since the design of the Enterprise means that we would topple over upon landing.

Health Warning

How to know that you’ve become obsessed with blogging:

When it’s a Saturday afternoon and you are standing in your sitting room with your mobile phone in one hand and a succession of Mr Men books in the other, taking pictures of pages from one after the other just to add a bit of colour to a post you have written.

Oh, and as a bonus warning:

How to know it’s time to weed out your bookshelves:

When you still have 32 of the 41 Mr Men books (33 if you count the fact that for some reason you have two copies of Mr Strong) even though they were bought when your eldest was a toddler and your youngest child is now almost fifteen.

Oh, and as a bonus bonus warning:

How do know that you need to get out more:

When you find yourself wondering if you could find the nine missing books if you had a quick look around the bookshelves in each of the children’s bedrooms.

It’s too late for me, but save yourselves.