All posts by wirepeach

The People Of The Boulevard (Or, Back in July)

You’re never going to believe this, it’s the funniest thing, but I’ve been away conducting anthropological research into a tiny wee ancient culture I found one day while walking in the San Fernando Valley.  Nobody walks there which is why I’m the first from the outside world to ever make contact with them.  For the past 4000 years they have inhabited the area, unbeknownst to the so-called “modern” people living all around them.  The name of their tribe is Robert and they are a proud and warlike people.  Devastatingly, however, there are only 3 members of Robert left, trying to eke out their existance in a copse on the centre-island at the corner of Burbank and Cahuenga.  They are a fascinating people with a vibrant culture and have adapted amazingly well to the development of the past 70 years, developing leathery smog-resistant lungs and a strange screaming language to overcome the noise of incessant traffic.  This is the language I am now trying to learn in the hopes of communicating their story to the outside world.  It’s not a very inflected language but I am having trouble mastering their gerunds and parts of their participles.  Theirs is an oral tradition, which means of course they can’t get into heaven or some parts of the South, but, once I had screamed to them about how that sort of thing can really cut off the funding for research into their ways and how that would mean no more Bacardi Breezers and pictures of a young Woody Allen – whom they worship as a prophet – they stopped their deviancy and started screaming their story to me. 

I’m only back now to collect some clean underwear and to explain to the children that I still love them and “abandon” is really too strong a word.  My work will end in or around the second week of July when, unfortunately, I predict all three remaining members of Robert will be dead.  They are old tremendously old for one thing and, for another, the centre-island is due to be demolished in late June to make way for a billboard publicising Bob Hope regional airport.  The shock is sure to kill them.  This would be, narratively speaking, very neat as my research funding runs out about then too and I shall have to leave my luxury suite at Sherman Oaks Hyatt for the (bloody) real world once again.  Also, the irony of the hopeless, hapless Roberts being wiped out by a Bob called Hope will lend a poignancy to their story that’s sure to translate well into book-sales and movie-options.

I’ll be back to visit all your lovely blogs then, then, and, then, possibly, also begging you for money to support the lifestyle to which I’ve grown accustomed on my State of California research expense account.  So, til then, “SKUGGILSCREAMYWAILWAIL!”  (That means “Your (pl) continued good health and fortune,” in Robertese.)

What’s The Crack?

Jesus wept, Jesus wept;

He never laughed, just cried.

In all the Gospels, tell me once

Did he see the funny side?


Poor, lied-to, broken, holy man,

Who suffered for our sins,

If you believe, or not, by God,

He paid for all our grins.


Then don’t we owe it back to him

That we should crack our face,

With heavenward heads and howls of mirth

At our sweet, cracked, human race?


It is true that, though he weeps several times, Jesus never once laughs in the Gospels.  The only record of God laughing in the Old Testament is when he is deriding mankind’s weaknesses or laughing at us as he punishes us.  He relishes our pain.  If anyone can offer me another interpretation of that I am willing to hear it, I really am, because that is chilling whether you are a believer or not.  I don’t believe in God, who seems to me indifferent at best – and that’s using all my human charity – but I do believe in powerful stories and that they can be, in mysterious ways, truer than the “Truth.”  I think I believe in an extraordinary man called Jesus who had some sort of a handle on some sort of truth, and that’s the best I can do. 

Brought to you by a pain in-the-arse-day in bed with some virus that is making my neck feel like a knotty sapling.  Gah!

Tales From The Ward

This tale was told me once by the reincarnation of Errol Flynn in a ward in which I was not a patient.

Errol: Don’t slouch, Problem, Boadicea would never have slouched.

Me: Look, I don’t think I’m Boudica, OK?  And don’t use the language of the Oppressor.  She’s Boudica, got it?  Not that sissy Romanized appellate.  Besides, that whole warrior queen thing was only for a day, like – not even a whole day.  As soon as I had impaled Nurse Seezer on the drip stand with the blood-curdling yell of freedon for the Iceni, I came right to!  I was able to calmly assess the difference between right and wrong and, as the filthy Roman, Nurse Seezer melodically bubbled blood from her windpipe, I also had the capacity to realize that maybe this was one of these non-right times.  I calmed right down after that and thus it was with noble resignation and a defiant chin that I raised my vein for the swimmy swimmy shot I knew must come.  History is against me and my tribe, after all.  I know my part.

Errol:  Anyway, you couldn’t be Boudica, your breasts aren’t big enough.  Her’s were mighty and pointy*, almost like Madonna’s.

Me: Sputter!  That’s an inappropriately personal remark, Errol! Another of these and I’m telling the doc. and
that’ll set back your release another week at least.  Anyway, you call that scrappy little line of polarized iron filings a Flynnian moustache?  It looks like your top lip is perforated for easy detachment or something.  Like a teabag.  How come you’re back in here anyway, Errol?

Errol (eyes narrowing in recollection) : It was a snowy day just after Christmas and I had nowhere I had to be. Inside its sheath, my bendy fencing sword shivered, imploring me to use him in the cause of Justice.  I walked and walked and then I took to lurking.  Outside a large house on the hill, I lurked in the shadows, buckles clanking against my epee, swashes moist with anticipation.  I twirled my moustache as I lowered the brim of my black Spanish hat over my keen eyes and sneered as I surveyed the pleasant scene inside the room.  What I saw enraged me.  Men in new Pringle sweaters were standing pleasantly with their also pleasant wives, all dressed in the bright colours of the season. But I knew the cost of all that smart-casual.  High in the hills of Pakistan, thousands of cashmere goats were shivering their way through a brutal winter just so richos like this could stand around and laugh as they spilt sherry on their stolen fleeces, dyed and criminally knitted out of all recognition.

Me:  That’s terrible, Errol!  I know your fondness for the goat. I bet your blood was boiling!  What happened

Errol:  There was a blur, and that blur was me as I flew through the air at the patio windows expecting to crash through in a glorious hail of glass and wood trim.

Me:  Cool!

Errol:  Wait Problem, wait.  I’m not finished. Although, yes, I was very cool indeed, the upper-middle class bastards had only gone and gotten reinforced non-scratch perspex for their windows, hadn’t they?  Picking myself up off the patio bricks I heard the crunch of my elbow, and the bitter tinkle of silver plate and laughter continuing uninterrupted from inside, made me taste bitter gall and shattered mercury amalgam in my mouth.

Me:  Bloody window fixtures to fit your lifestyle!

Errol:  Then I saw all too clearly what I must do. Clutching my useless elbow and whimpering manfully, I mounted the slippery roof of the house, via their wheelie-bins.  Scaling the slippery roof to the chimney, the orchestra, my orchestra, started up, urging me on and on with Excitement Music.  In non-jarring backing-tracks I could hear the far off plaintive bleating of the cold and terrified goats. Jeeringly unconcerned about soot on my clothing because heroes don’t worry about things like that and besides i was all in black anyway, I didn’t hesitate as I leapt down the chimney in a single panther-like bound.

Me:  You sure are brave Errol.  People might criticize your hammy acting and your questionable personal life, but nobody could say you’re not one brave s.o.b.

Errol:  Well the cashmere-sweatered party were sure surprised to see me land in their fireplace, I can tell you.  Many of them said some of the more polite swear words like “Damn!” or “What the hell…?”  It was only the vicar who screamed “Holy fucking shite!” over and over, before sucking his thumb and pressing his head to the hostess’s bosom for maternal comfort and some light stroking.

Who are you?  What do you mean by leaping down our chimney like this?” said a man with a crap moustache, which rather pathetically affected that of Tom Selleck, I thought. Well, as you know, Problem, I am a hero of few words.  I prefer to let my actions speak.  Therefore I trusted my audience to know that when I slashed furiously and Zorro-like at their sweaters I did not mean to hurt them!  I was just making a timely political point about goat-cruelty.  In my passion I might have blurted out “How could you, you beasts?” a few times, it’s true; and yes, I expect a few tears did fall down my sooty cheeks.  All the work I’ve been doing with the doctor, has left me no longer afraid to express my emotions. I know now that crying doesn’t make me less of a man.

Me: Errol…I don’t know what to say…

Errol: Suddenly I noticed the orchestra music had stopped.  Why? I looked up from the floor where I was now lying curled-up; hugging my knees and a fragment of slashed jumper; softly yodelling the high, lonely Song Of The Goatherd.  I wondered who all these people were and why were they staring at me?  Confusion, cursed, poisoning confusion rushed my senses and it was at that point that the cowardly vicar hit me from behind with the candlestick.

Who knows how long I was out. As I came to, a small child dressed all in white was crouched beside me looking at me.  “I guess I messed up the party pretty bad, didn’t I, little girl?”  “Yes.” she said softly. “Yes you did“.  “I expect you think I’m a bad man, don’t you?” I said. “Well, you did eat the head off my teddy-bear,”  she said.  “That was a mistake, little girl,” I said shaking my head sadly.  “That was a terrible mistake.  but I am Errol Flynn, Hero, and I always admit my mistakes.  Remember this night always, child.  Remember the dark stranger with the fantastic moustache who taught you always to admit when you’ve done wrong.

And then the ambulance and police and the firemen arrived to put out the fire I’d set under the arrangement of snow-globes.

Me:  You know, Errol.  You’re not so bad.  I bet that little girl won’t forget the lessons of that night. Oh wouldn’t be great if every breed of sheep and goat bred not for their personalities, but only for their fleeces and cruel men’s gain, had a champion like you?  A true legend on their side?

Errol:  Well to be fair, Robin Hood over there by Calligula, has Angoras covered but you’re right. Wrongs need to be righted and we each need to pick our wrongs-that-need-to-be-righted carefully and according to our own passions. We can’t go at it all half-assed and 50p-in-the-collecting-tin about it.  The world’s a crazy place after all.

And with that, Errol lapsed back into his habitual silence, twirled his moustache and sucked his big toe thoughtfully.

*Contemporary accounts prove that Boudica’s breasts were only apocryphally pointy.  The popular but mistaken belief resulted from the mosaicist-of-record at the time only having triangular tiles left when he came to do her boobs, which, because he’d been away from his wife on campaign for the previous three years, he’d left ’til last to tesselate.


Some days in the wild Western Isles are days when the only thing to do is curl up tightly and twitch.  If you should come a-knocking on Lewis’s front door on such a day, and nobody answers, it’s because we’re all at home, curled up tightly and twitching.  Check the sky.  It will probably have clouds that look like God has just revoltingly added extra milk to his already o’er-milky tea.  Check your expensive mainland shoes.  They will probably be partially submerged in puddle and doom. There will be no movement behind our curtains, and there will be no light in any window.  Traditionally, we twitch in the dark.  You should turn around immediately and return some other day.

The Biological Week In Review

Sensitive persons might want to look away.

The Biological Week In Review.

Look, I know it’s only Thursday, and it’s a bit early for a biological recounting of the week, but, I’m hoping tomorrow’s going to be a bit more theoretical.

  • 1 tooth  – lost
  • 6 nostrils – plugged
  • 20 fingernails – cut
  • 30 toenails trimmed
  • the contents of one human stomach – heaved
  • the contents of one feline stomach – heaved x 3
  • one eye held up close to the light – peered at
  • one eyelash – removed
  • one finger – squashed
  • many screams – scrummed
  • 32 ablutions – performed
  • 3 foreheads fevered
  • one cervix cotton-budded
  • one growing leg – nocturnally pained
  • one mole – fretted over
  • one – paw stood on
  • much excrement – scooped
  • 18 feelings – hurt
  • little sleep -had.


*News flash! My pal Eolai has put a cool painting of his up for auction on ebay.  Shipping is free worldwide and 100% of the proceeds will go to  St. Patrick’s Hospital And Marymount Hospice and Rape Crisis Network Ireland. Go see! I’ve bought a few of Eolai’s paintings and I love them.  He’s a wonderful artist whose work is vibrant yet controlled; he makes Ireland look like it’s thrumming. *

Send Grade-A Pity! Save A Housewife Today!

For Lent this year I’ve been thinking of giving up leaning.  I’m also giving up having a filthy, horrible cur of a cold but I haven’t made a very good start at it.

“Half the town is down with it!” so they say. The other half, smugly, isn’t.  The problem children and I are in the woebegotten half of town, on the wrong sides of the tracks of pestilence.  The girls got it a week ahead of me and are getting over it now, but my head still leaks, a jaggedy bit of serrated virus is trying to saw my uvula off, and some sort of an iron giant appears to have his boot on my chest. I don’t like any of that stuff.

All I can do is lie around groaning, pasty and noodle-limp, in a foetal position, like an overcooked macaroni elbow.  Please send your best pity immediately.  And grapes.  I probably should be eating grapes or something.  They’re a good fruit in a tragedy.

Anyway, I’ll be waiting wanly but bravely by the casement window, sneezing softly, my hands, now lying limply in my lap, now, fluttering delicately to the lace at my throat; waiting, waiting for all the lovely, lovely pity you’re going to send me in trendy stationary the colours of jewels.

I feel my voice fading now…I grow weak again…it is all I can do to whine and moan…farewell…farewell…achoo…farewell…

Going To The Zoo

The chidders are on vacation for a week so we are going down to San Diego for a few days, to the zoo and Sea World and stuff like that.

Yesterday, I told the girls that,  if they weren’t on their best not-running-away behaviour in the zoo park, we would feed them to the hippos. I said this in a loving way – there was really no need for the authorities to have become involved. The tear-gas was just uncalled for, and I told them last time that I need hypo-allergenic handcuffs, otherwise I come out in a terrible rash, forcing me to sue them again, which I hate having to do.  One is forced to ask the question: is having a Child Protection Agency really the best use of our tax dollars?

Anyway, this morning I had a conversation with ProblemChild 2 about what clothes to pack.

Me: Have you chosen some t-shirts to take with us?

PC2: I want to take the blue iceberg one.

Me: But you just put that out for washing last night.   Why don’t you take your green one?

PC2: No, mummy! I’ll look like lettuce and it might make an animal try to eat me.

Me: (laughs) Ah, sweetie-pie, just stay close to us and you’ll be fine.  There’s nothing going to eat you, I promise.  The animals can’t get out.

PC2 (Looks at me, clearly uncertain.)

Me:  We were only kidding about the hippos, you know.

PC2 (Looks at me as if she’s never been entirely sure about me)

Friends, I am now experiencing a rare moment of self-doubt.  Does such a look signify a maternal failure? Or should I continue with my current parental theory of Keeping Them On Their Toes?

The Lamentable Tale Of Wrigley Bland

CAVEAT LECTOR:  If you are offended by mild to moderate rude lewdness and/or The Bishop of Bath, please abandon your reading of this post.

Wrigley Bland lived a short but interesting life that is worth chronicling becasue his was a cautionary tale, but one only to be told in whispered hushes around the fireside on windy nights.  You have to whisper in case your mammy hears you and boxes your deserving ears, because, you see, Wrigley Bland was a Very Rude Man.

This was a man who was so rude he was born on the 6th of September, 1969, a date that made even God blush when an embarrassed Gabriel explained to Him. From the start, Wrigley Bland was a … a fiddler of things.  As he grew, this only got worse, or better, depending on whether or not you were Wrigley. At 6 he was expelled from Primary School for doing a potato print in the shape of something very rude indeed.

At 13, pimpley and portly, he was expelled from Seconday school for a series of rather thoughtfully composed photos he had taken, over several months, of his thick-ankled headmistress and the Sean Beany school janitor as they conducted their regular nude Tuesday afternoon meetings about corridor maintenance.

School officials agreed that the photos were really technically very good, especially when one considered the
difficult conditions under which they were taken: standing on a dustbin, with a long angle lens trained through a frayed patch in the closed office blinds, leading to all sorts of problems with exposure and lighting.  For this reason they recommended Wrigley Bland be sent, not to Borstal, but to a School For Gifted Young Perverts, for rehabilitation through the arts.  Besides, quite apart from the photos, and the repeated incidents in the gym and the canteen and the physics lab and the sports field and the toilets and the library and underneath the stage, he was thought to be “really a very nice boy” whom everybody wanted to see do well in life.

Most of these schools for young perverts are located around Aberdeen, for obvious reasons, and so  Wrigley found himself packed off on the train with a note from his mother pinned on to his duffel coat, the contents of which included the words “jubilee teaspoons”, “salmon en croute,” “The Complete Works of A.A. Milne”, “never, ever ever” and “if you’re smart.”

Wrigley found boarding school-life difficult.  Regular counseling sessions taught him he was a bad and wicked boy, and, while he never really believed that, it did leave its mark on him.  From thereon in, he would assume a far more furtive role in his mild-to-moderate rude activities, operating only at night, and using a system of rotating wellie-boots to confuse the police about the footprints they found in area flower-beds.  Most of all, what the School for Gifted Young Perverts gave him was a very thorough schooling in Sneakiness and a child he would never know of, with Mrs. McCuish the 5th Form Pervert Counselor.

After school, there was university and a degree in Divinity, where it was much easier to pass off his obsession with sex as the mere exuberance of a youthful young priest.  This was the happiest time in young Bland’s life, despite having to deal with all the God stuff which he just didn’t buy at all. Surrounded by the similarly giggly, he could drink all the Bristol Sherry he wanted, and enjoy long relaxing evenings of saying words like “thigh” and “autoerotic-asphyxiation” with his friends, after a tense day of bible study.

Wrigley Bland, met his death, one early grey morning in his 4th year of uni. It was one of these stupid accidents, these things that make you scratch your head and hold your loved ones close as you contemplate the randomness of Fate, as cold violent and unfathomable as the universe.

Wrigley was out on his bicycle getting some early morning perving in.  He had stolen three substantial pairs of knickers, a bra with daisies on, and some sort of spiked rubber harness from the washing-line in the garden of a well-known upper-level Tory who has paid me handsomely to keep his name out of this.  On his way back to his student digs, he decided to cut across the park, admire the statuary and take some brass rubbings of the angel’s boobs to enjoy later, between Holy Mary, Mother Of God Studies and lunch.

The park at that hour was deserted, apart from the rustle a few local councilmen and woman enjoying brief leafy flings in the undergrowth before getting back into their estate cars and off to assume the mantle of municiple concern for the day.  And look!  There was the bishop of Bath up early and giving…what looked like…alms – yes alms, to an urchin!  God bless him!

Spotting a marble angel with a really good rack, Wrigley Bland dismounted his bike and approached her, clutching his brass rubbing supplies in excitment.  Looking around him furtively, he climbed the statue’s plinth,  giving that a quick rub on his way. (Because, if you’re a pervert, you can’t really not take a brass rubbing of something called a plinth, can you?)  Then, clutching at a boob for balance, he hauled himself up til his eyes were level with the statue’s cleavage.

Overhead, Wrigley completely failed to notice the naked nun and that was too bad, because she was to be the naked nun of his doom.  Her name was Sister Agatha Thaddeus, and she was fond of climbing trees in the nude.   She liked the feel of the bark against her thighs as she straddled a thick limb, feeling the sap and life of it flowing right between her legs. Her friends, Sisters Constance and Effie, were off straddling poplar limbs in another part of the park, but this morning Sister Agatha had fancied a nice bit of oak.

Sister Agatha was a larger Sister, and and intrepid one too.  Farther and farther out on the branch she ventured, huffing and puffing and enjoying nature.  Suddenly, the branch beneath her round, pink flesh snapped!  Down she fell!  Down, down onto the statue below, where Wrigley had just started his brass-rubbing…

He never knew anything about it. 300lbs of falling Sister Agatha was no match for mere solid marble, and the statue, breaking off at the ankles, toppled slowly forward, as Wrigley Bland held onto her waist and prepared to meet his Maker.

The cause of death was listed as “trauma to the head with a blunt object”, but this was misleading because the statue had an unusually pronounced left nipple and it was this that had pierced Wrigley ‘s skull. The Divinity College did their best to distance themselves from the incident and so Wrigley Bland’s funeral was
sparsely attended.

Sister Agatha, suffering no more than a few bruises, declared her survival a miracle and went on the breakfast television circuit.  There, her talent for contralto singing was noticed and she gave up nunhood for a life in Parisian burlesque.


If you’re looking for a moral to this story, then I’m afraid you shall have to find it yourself.  Me? I merely presentthe facts; I just record life as it really, truly happens.   And if any of you should doubt the veracity of my tale, I shan’t mind, no not at all.  But I’ll know. I’ll know who the doubters are.


I have a friend who made a new Year’s Resolution to master the art of raising one eyebrow.  I value loyalty and discretion amongst my friends above all other things, except money, obviously, so let’s call this friend, who is in no way me, Sally.


“Sally” has been taking her resolution very seriously.  She knows the value of a disciplined training regime. In
her quest for amused superiority, she rises before dawn and takes her eyebrow running round the park.  On a
typical day she will do a good three miles and as she does them, she flexes her glabellar muscles vigourously. At this point in the training she doesn’t know which eyebrow will look most archly devastating when raised, so, for this early part of the day’s training, she’s working on muscle development in both.  I think this is a good call and on many occasions have said to her “Good call” even on those days it wasn’t.  I really feel a sensitive support-network is crucial for her at this stage.

Admittedly, it makes for a curious sight, a 30-something woman jogging around, her expression oscillating
floridly between classic mild runner’s resignation and apparent sudden astonishment at dustbins and squirrels and other wholly unastonishing things.  This is why she trains so early, before many people are about. In the past, lunchtime jogs have left her tearful, and really quite dismayed by rude comments thrown at her by her fellow recreators.

“Ahooohooahhoo ahoo ahhoooohoo”  She often sobs. And remembers every slight and slur.  Some have been barbarous in the extreme.

“I never even knew that was possible with a stiff, wire brush!”, I recall her remarking to me, once, in quite genuine wonderment, about a particularly unseemly suggestion lobbed by an uncouth sort of fellow.  There were not tears about that one though; she was more intellectually curious about it than shocked, as I remember.  Her voice was very high and quiet.

Anyway, back from her workout, Sally showers, massages her glabellar region with stinky oils, recommended to her as “real professional-performance grade” and “highly illegal” by her friend, “Bill”, from the online eyebrow chat forum in which she often passes her evenings.

Next, she will usually breakfast on a lean protein item and some complex carbohydrates, from time to time
startling at the increasingly nervous cat the better to glabellarly tone.  Off-schedule exercises are not mandated but she really is committed.


After breakfast, the training begins in earnest.  Sally favours a carrot and stick and fishing-line approach with her eyebrows, although other individuals will find other techniques are better for theirs.  It depends on the eyebrow, its age, haircount, willingness to try new things etc.  Sitting in front of a wall-size mirror, Sally’s eyebrows are given a pep talk.  She tells them they can do it, they really can, if only they believe in themselves.  This is America, she tells them, anythingis possible with hard work and a can-do attitude!  She urges them to dream big and reach for the stars.  At this point, if she feel her eyebrow is skeptical, she may show a video of Lance Armstrong or a particularly encouraging episode of Barney, who “really possesses a lot of life-wisdom if you know how to listen” (Bill) . This is THE CARROT part.

However, on some not-so-good days – and doesn’t the questionably good Lord know we all have those – she might fall to her knees and stroke her eyebrows cajollingly, pleading either one of them to rise independently, just this once, please!  One eyebrow, hairier than its fellow, responds to this stroking a little better than the other, and some raising does indeed take place.  Sally was once told by a seaside psychic that that eyebrow had a strong masculine aura, so this doesn’t surprise her but – ever hard on herself ho ho – she doesn’t count this as an actual bona fide eyebrow raise.  At this point, wretched with shame at her lack of control with the stroking business, Sally, has often contemplating shaving her eyebrows right off and giving up, ending her battle.  But someone once told her she had nice ones, and some small foolish vanity has never allowed her to go through with it because they said her eyebrows were nice too.

THE STICK is an actual stick, with which she beats herself about eyebrows if she suspects they are not trying hard enough. It’s quite tiny but it really smarts when thwacked by someone who means it. There is also a little whip, I’m told, but it rarely used; she is not a monster.  She mentions it quite a lot though, just to keep these eyebrows on their hairy little toes.

THE FISHING-LINE approach consists mainly of hooking a fishing-line to the eyebrow and jerking it in an upward motion.  This imprints a “muscle memory” according to Bill, and Sally trusts his advice implicitly – he has been in the Unibrowular-Lifting Training Program now, longer than anyone she knows, and has amassed a wealth of knowledge, despite not ever actually managing to raise just the one eyebrow.

A variation on this is the weighted eyebrow lift, where the fishing line is attached to a series of small lead weights and the eyebrow works to lift them; but that method is only really for actors, body-builders and the professionally supercilious.  It is not advised for amateurs.


After a hard morning at it, Sally changes and readies herself for her part-time job as a basic-cable, viewer-send-in video-bloopers television show host.  She was given the job despite her lack of formal eyebrow qualifications because she was sleeping with the producer at the time. That producer was later found slain in his car with the note “You shan’t have her, she’s mine!” stapled to his forehead.  Investigators were led, via a fallen pair of used tweezers, back to “Bill” from eyebrow-group and he was questioned at length, but in Bill’s own triumphant words “They couldn’t get me for nuffing!” Even though nobody had accused him of nuffing anybody.

Anyway, the long and the less-long of it is that the new producer is demanding that Sally be able to raise one eyebrow or she will be thrown off the show. So you can see then, why she is so keen to acquire her eyebrow-raising skills as soon as she can.  If she loses this show it is going to be a major setback in working up to being a MSNBC news analyst.  It is Sally’s dream to one day replace Wall-Street whizzkid and famous beauty, Maria Bartiromo, as television’s most popular “Honey On the Money” or “Econobabe.”


And so, at the end of a busy day, Sally, her head swimming with theory, her eyebrows often aching, ignores Bill’s on average 14 texts with great new training ideas, and finally sinks into her bed.  But there is no rest for poor Sally even now. Before she can sleep, she studies publicity shots of her idol, Roger Moore for his breathtaking artistry and sheer technical virtuosity.  A small sigh will often escape as she contemplates the poetry of his rising arch, the profundity of his downward sweep.  He is a Unilevitus Glabellar God.  He is her Unilevitus Glabellar God. O to be born with such a gift!


Sally might weep hysterically a little at her own facial ineptitude before she sleeps, rending her sheets and tearing at her lovely hair, but let’s leave her there, shall we, friends?  Trying to comfort her now would only lead to her screaming and continued distress over strangers off the internet seeing her in her nightie.

I leave you too then, gentle blogging types, with this question: for what goal would you sacrifice your mental health?  And what goal would you sacrifice someone else’s for?  (If you are now, or have ever worked at either Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay, please do not respond to that last one. Also, if you are called Candy or Biff, it might be better if you don’t answer either.)

Transferring domains

Back soon!

It’s involved and time-consuming and frustrating and execrable and headacheable.   I’m in stage 3/4 of the process but now I’m stuck again.  If the site goes off that’ll be why.  Waily waily!  I’m hoping just dogged determination and a bit of teacup smashing will be all there is to it, but I fear I might need an IT meerkle, peeps! (like a miracle, but more freckled and Midwestern).

Wish me luck as the cabin door breaches on problemchildbride and I am sucked into the outer ether to float eerily forever, like one of these motes you get in your eye when you’re in your 30s, that never, ever go away. Nobody hears the plaintive cries of these motes either.

Living Life Expletively

You know when life wallops you in the soft parts of your head and turns things upside down leaving little room in your bonce for anything else – and then here comes Thanksgiving and what now?  – it’s Christmas? – and crikey Mikey, I haven’t blogged for a whole spletiving* month?

Well that isn’t at all what happened to me.  What happened was that I ate a dodgy kumquat one day and fell into an hallucogenic stupor where I believed fully – and with some effing dismay – in an elaborate storyline with plot points including, but not limited to: arson, love, hate and winter heating allowance; roof slates, insanity and uneven bites.  Now, on this day of Festivus, I have woken up and realized it was all just a crazy dream.  Whether it happened or not is beside the point – I don’t have to believe in it.  In fact, I don’t. Believe it, I mean.  Instead I believe that:

1. Eating broccoli makes me strong and thoughtful

2. And that love is real.

And that’s it.  The rest I’m not sure about, but that’s OK.
There are questions though, many questions at this time of year.  Come, all ye faithful, I mean really, come on!  And when you’re on, Come off it!  Whether or not you believe in the Christmas story surely you must concede God can’t be wild about how we choose to spend it consuming and consuming and, “oh, go on then” consuming a bit more like demented flocks of reward-points-earning, store-credit-having, remortgage-lamenting, stomach-ulcer-developing, wild-eyed, murderously store-employee-trampling ovines?

Problemchild 1 took the baby Jesus out of his manger the other day and replaced him with a bit of ceramic Nessie who was coming from the East bearing gift vouchers for the new king.  Then she ran around warbling “Nessie in the manger, no crib for a bed…” for about half an hour longer than was strictly funny.  (She gets that from me) But the point was well taken.  We might as well have Nessie be part of the Christmas as much as anything else. Get Scottish tourism in on the cash-deer.  Why the bloody-nosed not? All our traditions are such strange amalgams of customs old and new:  Santa only wears red and white because some adman at Coca Colaearly last century wasn’t so keen on the blue and white;  How the virgin birth of the son of a jealous desert God ever came to be associated with an antlered ungulate from Northern climes with an angry nose infection, is a story more convoluted as the one that links cocoa beans from the tropics, bunnies and eggs with the hammering of a man to a cross far back in sand-swirly time in an rocky, unpromising land that people will fight savagely over for millennia. ….And breathe…

I’m not really that wild about it.  ‘Scuse my dramatic breathiness. I can’t even get worked up about the mass massive stupidity any more. We all know this stuff, we all think it every year and we all keep right on with the silly things we believe, emotional creatures that we are.  So do I. I love Christmas, I buy right into the tree and the lights and the ridiculous paper hats that add a tragicomic aspect to the Christmas Day family bust-up on Eastenders.  And I do think there are millions of deeply good people who embody the Christmas spirit – which is a bloody good idea after all – be nice to your neighbour. Still, it’s all a bit mad.  Why can’t we be gooder all the year long?  It’s hard, isn’t it?  Being good an’ that.

I’ve missed the bloggy life.  If I don’t get around to see y’all in the next few days, please don’t be taking it personal, like.  I visit people only as Lord Time allows, randomly, without rhyme nor a smidge of reason.  Except for fatmammycat and Pat.  They rhyme.

Also, here is a book you might like to buy. It’s called Homepages and I’m in it but you should buy it anyway.

Love to you this Christmas, blogchums; love and pie.

*My pletives aren’t ex; they are very current and uttered full-throatedly in the moment.


Cindy Woods is my friend.  She is a remarkable woman and a gifted artist.  Beloved Cindy is in hospice care, her battle with cancer lost.  Knowing her has been a revelation, a surprise, a delight and an education.  Her unwavering gaze at the difficult things of life and her incredible line-drawings and sketches have made an enormous impression on me.  She is a sweet, brave, amazing woman whose life is drawn out on her blog and on her Flickr site.  I cannot recommend a visit to her site enough.  She has touched me profoundly and I feel strongly that her’s is a talent and a spirit that needs to be broadcast far and wide.  If you follow these links you will see what I mean.

What’s The Matter With Annabel Sue?

Annabel Sue was a terrible case
The worst Doctor Whom would e’er again face.
See, Annabel suffered from awful complaints
O Annabel’s agonies would sore try the saints!

“I’m sure that my ileum must be quite septic!
Can’t recall when I last felt so vile and dyspeptic,
My hear palpitates, every breath is a mercy
And that pain in my coccyx is getting quite piercy.”

“I’ve always been delicate, wispy and frail,”
Anna said heaving o’er like a great lacy whale.
“Now leave me a while, I must have my nap
Wake me round ten with sweet tea and a bap.*”

And often…

“Oh crivens my bones!  Oh Heav’ns, my gall-stones!
I’m fading away, Look! I’m just mere skin and bones!
Call out for the doctor! This pain, I can’t bear it!
(If you’re going past the kitchen i could stand a welsh rarebit…)”

Ann said to the doc. “I’m not one to complain
But I really do think you should cure my chillblains.
After all, I lie here, a martyr to pain!
A slave to my ailments! You can’t know the strain

Of lying here day after day after days
With nothing but telly and all-day buffets.
How I wish I could rise and labour and toil!
How I wish, but I can’t on account of my boil

It’s in rather a delicate place, as you know
The slightest wrong move and that sucker could blow!
Plus I have this strange, bald patch where hair will not grow
And only this morning I staved my big toe…”


Doctor Whom was just sterling, a real multitasker
But still Annabel suffered, was wretched – just ask her!
Every day brought more ailments, tv ad-break swooning,
(Annabel’s weight was by now fair ballooning)

The good doctor was tested, ne’er rested, befuddled
Sworn to cure…trying to grasp…with reagents she guddled.
She ordered Clear Soups and Tonics and Salves
And ointments to rub on Ann’s shins and her calves.

When that didn’t work she cried “Nil By Mouth!”
But Annabel soon sent that idea South.
On account of her “digestive difficulties”
Anna-belle self-prescribed only cakes, steaks and cheese.


The poor doctor read widely from tomes (e’en in leisure):
Annals on anal discomfort and pressure,
Case studies of bunions gone bad, lab reports
And causes for gastric distress, and strange warts.

She consulted with doctors all over the land
“So what can be done for vague pain in the hand?
While Annabel’s kin sold off lamps, rugs and chairs
To keep her in food and them out of arrears.


Then came one day, (notable for more moaning)
Doctor Whom woke up fresh, her head clear, brain not groaning.
She suddenly saw what she had to achieve!
No stethoscope needed, no blood-pressure sleeve!

She strode past the family and up the back stair
She knocked once, went in, and to Ann did declare,
“Annabel Sue, the cause of your affliction’s
No physical problem, but Sickness Addiction!”

Anna cried “Oooh! I’ll get a pill for that then!
Do fill out the prescription at once, here’s a pen!”
Doctor Whom screamed quite calmly, face not the least red.

Annabel Annabel tried to arise
Shocked Annabel Annabel, stunned and surprised!
Doctor had ne’er before been quite so forceful
Sure sometimes resourceful, and sometimes remorseful

At not having got to the heart of the matter
About Anna’s so oddly becoming much fatter.
“You’ve bankrupt your kin, dashed near ruined their health
In caring for you they’ve lost most of their wealth!

Annabel I will not tell you once more
Get up!  Take a walk, try a stroll to the door!”
“No!” shrieked out Annabel, I WILL NOT DO IT!
You’re fired Dr. Whom! Oh boy, you done blew it!

Dr. Whom smiled and quietly gathered her things,
Downstairs listening, the folks packed their scarce belongings.
They all left together and shut the front door
As upstairs Anna did rage, scream and roar.


Annabel Annabel, ne’er really ill
Annabel howls and is sitting there still.


One Of The Perils Of The Shawbost Kid

The Shawbost Kid crossed the moor on a Shetland Pony with no name.

(What was a Shetland Pony doing on Lewis?  It swam, OK?  Stop asking questions.)

Barely conscious, bleeding and shirtless he kept one eye peeping open so that he would be sure to guide The
Shetland Pony With No Name into the part of town favoured by the Ladies Of The Night, who he hoped would still be up as Dawn touched the sleepy town, probing slowly, gradually into its most secret crevices.  Down by the already busy harbour, a hauling-crane reached up to its fullest height.

Men were chasing The Shawbost Kid, men with guns,  men in whose bellies burned the righteous fury of those sworn to uphold the Law in these wild and Western Isles. One of them had a white hat. Others of them didn’t. He needed a refuge, a place where someone would risk their lives to hide him, and if, in that refuge, he could have as many bosoms as possible pressed around his attractively wounded head, he was sure that that would help too.

The only trouble was, in order to get to that part of town, he had to go right through the part of town favoured by the Old Knitting Ladies Of The Mid-Morning.  These ancient women would sit and knit on their doorsteps from about a quarter past nine ’til when Neighbours came on the telly.  They would talk of purling and the old ways.  Sometimes they would sing in eerie voices and their quick hands were mere blurs on their flashing needles.

Although it was Dawn, The Shawbost Kid didn’t want to risk alerting any rogue knitters, knitting outwith the usual hours.  He knew they would take him in and look after him well, but he really, really wanted to seek his desperate refuge with the Ladies Of The Night instead.  So he rode up into an alley, leapt off The Shetland Pony With No Name and tied Tesco bags around her hooves with the rustic twine he always had to hand.  Together they padded back into the winding street.

Slumped, gashed and goosebumpy but still somewhat sexily, our bare-chested hero and his mysterious steed, rode their way through the Knitting District, the sharp clops of hoof on pavement muffled by the plasticy crackle of unhappily non-biodegradable shopping receptacles.

At last they reached the neat, well-kept houses on the street of the Ladies Of The Night.

“Please, still be up! Please please please!” thought the Shawbost Kid fervently.

He rode up that winding hill of transacted love in the sexiest, most heroic way any Shawbost man ever could, bleeding, broken, and clearly – to anyone with half a brain – in need of the tender ministrations of pretty ladies.


Damn!  The Tesco bags.

He leapt off and removed them behind a sudden convenient peat-stack.  He rode back on down the hill, this time the clippety clops of hooves ringing out sharply against the tarmacadam.

Nothing again.

Gritting his teeth, he turned the Shetland Pony With No Name and they plodded slowly back up the hill.  This time he moaned and whimpered as loudly as he could, peering out from beneath his hat-brim for any sign of movement.

Not a door opened, nor a curtain twitched. This was getting ridiculous.

The Shawbost Kid didn’t have time for this.  He needed water offered to his cracked lips and he needed it now, dammit! Also, he needed tender injunctions to eat delicious soup, the soft brush of perfumed bosom on his rough, grateful cheek, and the solicitious, revivifying massage of capable hands on his bits and pieces.

But most of all, he needed a jumper.  It was colder than a nun’s nipple out here and he’d always been chesty as a boy growing up.  Being chesty isn’t sexy for an outlaw on the open moors.  Look, at Seamus “Catarrh” MacLeod, the Holy Terror of Barvas.  He never got laid.  Besides, fugitives from justice couldn’t risk imperilling their safety by going into the villages to buy cough-drops.  And it wasn’t cool to ambush the shop-van on the way back to town either.  People’s grannies relied on that shop-van and he sure wasn’t the kind of asshole outlaw who approved of inconveniencing people’s grannies. Leave that to the Hearadhs.

Man and inscrutable mount turned and headed back down the hill for a final sweep-through.  If this didn’t work he was going to have to go back to the knitters and some of them had 3-hair warts and reminded him of his great-auntie Etta.  He shuddered.  But his pursuers would be here soon.  So, flopping around in his saddle, wailing and shrieking his agonies to the street, he gave this last performance his all.

“Hey, I’m not bad at this! ” thought The Shawbost Kid .”Maybe, if I gave up my wild rebellious ways, I could get a gig on the stage or screen!”  But he thought he remembered hearing that actors don’t get laid a lot, so he banished that thought quickly with a flea in its ear.

On and on he wailed, he even gnashed his teeth which isn’t as loud as it sounds and so he quit that in favour of some more wailing and carrying on.

And then… right at the bottom of the hill, a trim little yellow door with roses all around started to open.

“Pssst!  Quick, over here, I can’t risk being seen!” The whisper was low and urgent.

The Shawbost Kid needed no further encouragement.  Sliding brokenly, wincing and exhausted, he dismounted his unfathomable mare, who looked somehow as if she had seen this all before – in other towns, with other outlaws – and limped, foot dragging dramatically, over to the yellow door.

A hand pulled him inside and, too late, The Shawbost Kid realised his mistake.  For the hand that pulled him was not slender and soft, nor was it plump and warm.  This hand was broad and black hairs curled from it like his mammy’s wire-wool pot scrubber.  He should have known!  He should have guessed from the naughty garden gnomes that frolicked around the polished step!  With a last glance as he was dragged inside he could see now just how naughty these gnomes were being.  He should have noticed the alphabetically ordered pots of common kitchen herbs lined neatly up under the windows!  He should have spotted the tiny (but oh so there, oh so very there) little rainbow flag in the bottom corner of the window!

The Shawbost Kid swallowed hard as the full realization came upon him.  He had somehow managed to be rescued by the one and only Laddie Of The Night in all of Stornoway.

“Oh, wait! Wait!” he protested in the floral hall as the door shut behind him.

“Wait!, I’ve made a mistake.  Look, hey, I think you guys are great, right, and I fully support you and your right to have your marriages fully recognized under UK law, I mean my cousin’s a gay and I played with him my whole life…I mean I didn’t play with him that way, I mean not like that, wink wink… God and Christ, no! No winking…I mean…Look, I reeeeaaally appreciate you saving my life and all but the thing is I’m really feeling much better now and my pursuers probably won’t be along for a whiley yet. So you know, if I limp quickly I’ll probably be safe enough to make it to the holy sanctuary of the church around the corner.

Just then, a great clatter of hooves resounded from the street outside.  Through the top square of the charming 9-pane window, he saw a white hat.  Shit.

“God, It’s always the same with you straighters” said the Laddie, a towering, beautiful, oiled Adonis standing in the hall with nothing but a Nigella Lawson apron on and spatula in his hand.

“Why would you imagine for a minute that I’d be interested in seducing you?  I mean, look at the state of you, man!  You stink! Just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I want to shag everything walking around with a willy in the Outer Hebrides, you know.  I have standards like everybody else.  I mean, I bet the reason you’re up here is that you didn’t want to be rescued by any lady older than 70 who has wiry three-hair warts, am I right?

The Shawbost Kid looked down at his wellies, and mumbled a sheepish “Yes”.  He should feel relieved right?  Yet, why was he wishing he had shaved that morning?  Why was he so strangely miffed that this man, who was frankly, feckin’ gorgeous (even Chuck Norris would have to admit that) didn’t think he was even a wee bit cute?

The clatter in the street stopped suddenly…footsteps outside the little yellow door.  Suddenly the door exploded inwards, splintering ahead of the foot that followed it.

The Laddie grabbed the Shawbost Kid to his burnished chest, shielding him by turning away from the door, and kissed him, kissed him like The Shawbost Kid had never been kissed before. Through the shattered door-frame, the embarrassed lawmen looked at the embracing pair – the huge Laddie hiding most of the Kid with his broad, muscular back – and they coughed a little.  And again. And then cleared their throats a little more loudly, chestiness being an attribute in their line of work.

“Um.  Excuse us, like. We’re just checking the neighbourhood for a desperate outlaw.  Sorry about the door and that.  Can’t be too careful you see. You wouldn’t have happened to see such a desperado this morning, sir…would you?

Laddie and The Kid continued in their passionate snog, seemingly oblivious to the awkward, shuffling defenders of justice peering in from the garden.

“Righty-ho! then,” said the man in the White Hat with excessive joviality. “I can see you’re busy – got to keep the wheels of commerce rolling, eh? Ahahahaha.  Nice to see a young man up and at work so early. Look, we’ll just leave our card here and, you know, if you should…Jesus!”

Our Saviour was brought into the conversation right then on account of The Shawbost Kid’s hand moving down from the lean, muscular waist to cup the taut buttocks of the Laddie Of The Night.

“Umpff, let’s go lads, there’s nothing more we can accomplish here.”

And, calling back something garbled about sending a receipt for the damage to the station, the hard-riding, weather-beaten lawmen of Lewis beat the speediest retreat from the little cottage since 1973 when Sidney Wetherbottom of Little Chipping, Yorkshire, pulled out of Janice Cuddieswick just as Thomas Cuddieswick strode through the bedroom door – widely regarded as the speediest retreat beat by anyone, ever, in the British Isles.

Releasing The Kid with an involuntary shudder, The Laddie said to him, “Well, that was close!  Go back there into the kitchen and I’ll make you some breakfast.  You can lie low for a day but then you’re out, dyahear? Gone.”

And turning at the end of the hall, the glowing, handsome Laddie Of The Night, looked back curiously at the dazed, slightly swaying Shawbost Kid and said, “You know that’s one hell of a grip you’ve got with your right hand there, cowboy.  My tush is going to be black and blue for a week!”

The Shawbost Kid looked at his hands.  They were shaking.  Frowning, confused, he touched his hand to his lips. Then he sat down and took off his wellie boots.