If you don't know what 'Take a Break' is, it is a weekly women's magazine (although quite a few older chaps seem to write in too) of the very non-glossy sort, mainly read by ladies called things like 'Barbara' or 'Joyce' who seem to all live in Grimsby, Rotherham or Weston-Super-Mare and have sold the story of their misfortune for circa £300 and had it published in the mag.
The stories tend to be one of a number of staples.
There is always a story about 'love deceived' (often a tale about some poor unfortunate who really did believe that 17 year old 'stud-like Miguel' was after their 78 year old portly frame and just could not believe it when he disappeared with the £70,000 they lent him so he could get his hair cut....).
There is a story (or 4) with a moral lesson to learned ('I glanced at an on-line Bingo ad and the next thing I knew I'd pawned my entire home and was working as a call girl to fund my habit').
There is a story involving a pregnancy ('I was told I'd never get pregnant, my dog died, 2 days later I was pregnant, I saw the image of my dead dog on the ultrasound scan, I named my baby Mitzi after the dog and Mitzi loves to sleep in the dog's old basket.....).
There is a story about a birth ('I reached into the deep freeze in Kwiksave and my baby shot out! We called him Nugget').
There is a story about a death (always a tragic tale about a child or young mum getting very ill and dying - I skip this bit).
You get the gist.
So why do I buy it?
Well sometimes I fancy a mag and I point blank refuse to fork out £3.50 on a great big glossy thing which is 40% adverts and aimed at women who appear to inhabit another universe (one with career ladders and dates and time to shape their bikini line). OK the women in Take a Break also appear to (mainly) inhabit another universe but at least I'm only charged 78p for the privilege. I'm not really into 'celebrities' so I that rules out Heat! and the like (and those mags give me flashbacks of my time living in the mental unit) and that doesn't leave much else in the 'light reading' category apart from Take a Break.
And besides - however nuts my life is - the lives of those in Take a Break are considerably more nuts. They are like 'extreme-nuts' (oh god - I shouldn't have typed that - how long before people are finding this site via Googling 'extreme nuts'? We've already had someone visit via 'KY Jelly Fun'.....).
The most nuts bit of Take a Break is the bit called 'The Brainwaves Roadshow'.
This is a page where various 'geniuses' (i.e. nutters) write in with amazing 'brainwave' ideas which will transform your life...... They get £30 if the tip gets published and SIXTY QUID if they include a photo. You can imagine this prompts some rather spurious 'brainwaves'.
I've never read this page and not laughed long and hard.
Here are 3 examples from this week's mag:
Julie from Rotherham wants to tell us all about her amazing 'brainwave'.
'I was fed up of losing my flip-flops around the house but couldn't find a small enough shoe tidy for them. I took an old cardboard bottle carrier (on closer inspection this is the cardboard wine holder you get in Asda when you buy 6 bottles - Julie clearly likes a bit of Blue Nun) and painted it with left over emulsion. It looks pretty and my shoes are always together!'.
The accompanying pic is captioned 'Toes company!'.
And I'll tell you now Julie - it does not look pretty. It looks like a cardboard box from Asda painted a dodgy shade of silver with several pairs of flip flops shoved in the top. It looks demented. Words fail me. Why not just put your flip flops in a box? ANY box?
On to Kim from Harlow:
'When you are being photographed, flatten your tongue against the roof of your mouth to minimise a double chin'.
Sadly there is no photo of Kim so we can assess her tip and her double chin but I've tried it and it makes feck all difference unless I force my tongue upwards with great effort and affect a kind of insane grimace complete with bulging eyes. My chin may be lessened but I look like a frog.
Finally we have David from Stourport-on-Severn. David really is VERY creative:
'I wanted new garden furniture but could find nothing I liked in the shops (judging from what you go on to create David - I'm not surprised). I painted my old table and chairs and covered them in bubble wrap (what?), then put a shower curtain over the top (A SHOWER CURTAIN!), held it in place with drawing pins and tape (wow, now that's what I call craftsmanship...). As well as being stylish (!!!) my seats are so much softer (do you not mean 'so much more crinkly and sweaty to sit on?)'.
David - please - if you are not deliberately taking the piss then you need to seek medical help. I wish I could describe the accompanying photograph of David's patio furniture, but there are no words. And what about the popping when someone sits down? Bubble wrap tends to do that when you apply pressure.
'Oh Joyce, DO sit down while I fetch your tea...... BANG...Joyce? Joyce? Oh my word - it's her Angina.....'.
This edition also feature someone who uses pipe lagging to protect her baby's legs and a man who makes bird boxes out of tea caddies.
I feel so much saner now.
Take a Break = Therapy.