Saturday 22 July 2023

Oh shit

I never thought the time would come when I would be posting my excrement through a mailbox - but the other day that’s exactly what I did.  And I suspect a few of you have done so too…

The reason being (other than fantasising that the person at the receiving end could be Jacob Rees-Mogg) I had a certain milestone birthday earlier this month and thus a couple of days later received an extra little birthday present from our lovely NHS – so thoughtful of them!  You probably know where I’m going with this: it was the bowel cancer screening kit in its neat card envelope, a cute little sample tube, complete with clear, illustrated instructions.  (I would quite like to have been commissioned for that artwork – it’s not every day you’d get to draw a job like that  get a job to draw like that.)

Well, I think it’s brilliant that we have the opportunity here to do these tests for free and at our own convenience so I was quite strangely excited to have a go.  And this post is just about writing itself with all its double entendre...

Anyway, it does take a little bit of what you might call ‘forward planning’ but honestly it’s no hardship, and then when it's all done, dated and ready to despatch, you can say you’ve pushed your excrement through a mailbox too, and write a blog post about it.

All of this brings to mind a song I particularly loved when I was 15 and first heard as the B-side of a much treasured and brilliant Buzzcocks single, ‘What Do I Get’  I know it’s not about the actual, erm, ‘substance’ (are there any songs out there that are?!) but as a swear word ‘shit’ is pretty excellent.  My poor mum and dad just kept shtum when I insisted on playing it at full volume on the family stereogram.  They did the right thing, of course, making a fuss would have just given me cause to rebel against them but instead they accepted it all with good grace. In fact my mum probably secretly liked it; I'm pretty sure that 'shit' (along with 'bugger') was her favourite swear word - she didn't hold back - and it has become one of mine too; it's the perfect response to stepping barefoot on an upturned plug, or when a handle on your Tesco 'Bag For Life' gives way and deposits your Maris Pipers all over the pavement, or if you have to answer the door to the postman wearing a freshly applied exfoliating clay face pack.  We've all been there.

The lovely Susie Dent explains more about it here (I thoroughly recommend her videos on all our favourite profanities):

And of course the song.

Buzzcocks: Oh Shit

Sunday 9 July 2023

Yorkie bar(s)

When you find yourself in a bar or restaurant talking about everything from the Southern Freeez, Bruce Springsteen and Shed 7 to the perils of snoring, the loudest gig you've ever been to, terrifying Public Information films from our childhood and how you file your music collection as well as the joys of mashed potato and the cut of David Bowie's trousers, you know you've fallen in with the right crowd...

And so it was that I recently found myself doing exactly that in the esteemed company of fellow bloggers Alyson, Charity Chic (and Mrs CC), John Medd  (and Mrs M) and The Swede - all of whom I'd had the great pleasure of seeing at our first "mini meet-up" in Edinburgh* a year ago, but this time we convened a little further South in York.  It's a city I'd never before visited and one I'd definitely like to return to as it was something of a whirlwind trip this time, but I'm just glad to have made it. It was actually bit of a test for me too; earlier in the year, hard as it seems to imagine now, I couldn't even envisage coping with staying away from home and the sensory overload of such an event, so I'm glad to say that although things are sapping my concentration a little, I've now reached the point where I can push past it enough of the time.  And I'm determined to keep doing so!  I know I wasn't alone in having some background concerns on this occasion either, and very much hope that the trip provided as much of an uplifting break for others too.

But anyway, back to the point, York was lovely and the company was even lovelier.  My memories are awash with (amongst much else) random snippets of the very small but perfectly formed Blue Bell pub, a certain blogger's delightfully dapper hat, a charming multi-tasking bus tour guide, the unexpected views onto houses from the Medieval walls and the most enormous Calzone you've ever seen in the most welcoming Italian restaurant you could go to - all mingled with smiles, seamless conversation, good food, drink and laughter.   As I've said before about blogging, it's a fantastic example of  how geographically distant strangers can form connections and have that sense of understanding and camaraderie, all just stemming from what we've expressed in our pages.  I haven't been very good at keeping up with that side of things lately but it hasn't seemed to have mattered, so here's a huge thank you to all.  I have indeed fallen in with the right crowd.

Perhaps in future, depending on whereabouts in the country we end up, others can swing by too?

Loved this font on a building viewed from a section of the city walls

and this gorgeous beetle art around the corner from the hotel

*minus Martin who unfortunately couldn't make it this year
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