Saturday, 30 July 2011

And With These Cakes I Blind You....

So I'm back in the den of the Fig Rolls stealing, 'you wear pretty clothes, for a big girl', Line Dance stomping ancients. And their wrath.

Yes, back in their hallowed village hall to try and prepare people for pushing something the size of a bowling ball out of their bodies (or even better watching it) and then being kept awake by aforementioned bowling ball for the next 6 weeks, 6 months, 6 years or until you crawl out of the other side feeling like you've spent a sizeable chunk of your life somewhere in the jungle being hunted by the Viet Cong whilst listening to CBeebies on a psychotic head loop.


Anyway I arrived on Tuesday night somewhat flustered because I've mis-located (i.e. totally lost) all the plugs that go in my balls. And you can't keep your balls up if you haven't got anything to keep the air in them. No matter how hard you pump, at the end of the day your sitting on a pile of baggy rubber. And no one wants to be sitting on that.

As I contemplated my sad limp balls, the hall caretaker appeared. He wears a cowboy hat and has a roll up permanently attached to his lower lip. I have a feeling he models himself on Clint Eastwood and the village hall is his 'Wild West'. He needs to defend it against reprobates like me who upset the line dancers and don't put the chairs back in the exact same spot they moved them from.

You think I exaggerate?

Take a look at this. Item one of 6 laminated photographic 'cheat sheets' that aim to ensure that each chair leg is relocated to the exact same spot of grotty carpet from which it came:

Fail this task at your peril.

However, for once, it wasn't chair leg dis-location that I had failed at.


Caretaker: I need a word (lowers peak of hat and inhales on rollie in what a body language expert would call an 'assertive' manner).

Me: Oh, right yes?

Caretaker: The dishwasher .

Me: Yes?

Caretaker: It has instructions. Laminated. Stuck to the front of it.

Me: Yes?

Caretaker: Follow them.

Me: Why? To find peace, enlightenment and the secret of the afterlife ?(no I didn't really say that - I just mumbled 'I do' and stared at the floor knowing that full well that when I last used the dishwasher A MONTH AGO I hadn't quite waited the full 15 minutes for it to 'warm up' before pressing the big red GO button).

Caretaker: SOMEONE used it without putting the drain plug back in the hole. The system was entirely drained. ENTIRELY. £15 of cleaning straight down the drain.

Me: Oh.

Caretaker: The drain plug is a long PLUG. It is clearly pictured and labeled on the instructions. Failing to follow those instructions has cost £15.

Me: Oh. I seem to having troubles with my plugs tonight.....

Caretaker: I will let it go. This time. But only this time.

Me: Oh.

And with that he walked into the sunset casting a long shadow, kicking up dust from baked soil and leaving a trail of tobacco smoke and air of threat.

10 minutes into my class all the fire alarms went off. And then the intruder alarms. I ended up demonstrating a baby's journey through the pelvis in the middle of a playing field with the local youths looking on and the alarms serenading me from the mid-distance.

I felt a shiver of bad Karma. The ancients were surely sending me vibes from their world of raffles for Club biscuits and multi-packs of fig rolls. I had deprived them of an entire gallon of dishwashing fluid. It was the modern equivalent of opening King Tut's tomb. A curse was freed.

Sometime later, when all the clients had left, I went into the kitchen to make sure no mugs were left on the draining board or tea towels left unfolded. It was then I noticed a sign. THE sign.

A prophecy was written.

'Cake for the over 50's Pop In Centre. Do not touch or you will be blind'.

Dear god. They clearly had darker spirits than even I had ever imagined on their side.

As potential 'blinding' activities go, stealing a Sarah Lee Frozen Gateaux wasn't up there on my list of 'possibles' but clearly I was wrong.

I guess if you touch their tea bags you get stoned and nicking the sugar results in the pox?

On closer inspection it said 'billed' not blind....but all the same - I'm not taking any chances.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

The Voices

Not long ago I was standing out the back of Badger Girl's shop, which happens to be a rather beautiful church yard (if you can see past the over flowing bins, people hanging around waiting for their methadone scrips and rats as big as, err, badgers) while she smoked a roll up (I'm painting a none too beautiful picture here but bear with me) and the sun was beating down, the sky was blue and I just felt this deep sense of inner peace. It was a wonderful feeling. A sea of calm amidst a raging storm of emotions. I took it to be a sign. Perhaps only of the powers of passive nicotine inhalation but a good sign all the same.

Anyhow - feeling rather jolly about it - I told my mum.

'Ohh' she said 'that's interesting'.

'Yes!' I said enthusiastically 'I think it's a sign that I'm at peace with myself'.

'Ohh well perhaps but maybe it was the Lord. You know 'speaking' to you!'.

Stunned silence.


'Well you were in a church yard. It could have been a sign. You know from The Lord'.

'Mum, have you been on the Jacobs Creek already?'.

'Well stranger things have happened'.

'Mum I think me finding God amidst the bins out the back of a Rave shop would probably be just about the strangest thing EVER to have happened. Even too strange for me. OK?'.

And I left wondering just what was going on in my mum's head. I mean don't get me wrong -she loves the Harvest Festival as much as the next person and like a good old rendition of Lord of the Dance but she's never been one to believe in dramatic convertions. Or miracles.

Two weeks later I was back in the same church yard.

As I walked through the sunshine dappling the ancient path I heard a noise.

It started as a low moan and then started to rise.

Glancing around me I saw no one.

The moaning built in tempo and took on a sort of beautiful resonance.

Om ah ah om. Om ah ah om. Aaaa haaaa. Ommmmm. Ommmm......

Ok there was no denying this. I really could hear some kind of voice and it sounded sort of heavenly.

I shudder of alarm ran through me.

My mum's words rang in my head.... 'The Lord is speaking to you'.....

I mean even during the worst of times I never actually heard full on mysterious voices or felt like I was ascending to heaven or being 'touched'. And now this?


Panic began to rise within me as logical explanations fell away.

No one else seemed to be able to hear the noise and it was clearly very local to me.

So local that it seemed to be coming from the bum pocket of my jeans.....

Pulling my phone out of my pocket I realised that my butt cheek had activated the You Tube button on the screen and replayed the last video I watched..... Some Tibetan chanting I'd downloaded to see if lying on the bed listening to it would help transform me into a tranquil being (I'll let you judge as to whether it worked....).

So it wasn't God reaching out to me at all. I was just talking out of my arse....

I'm just relieved I didn't actually go for help and arrive at A&E asking for help. There are things you really don't need on your medical records and the belief you are being haunted by Buddhist mantras is one of them.