I was treated this week to a live video guided tour of Shed World. Ever Patient Husband very kindly FaceTimed me during a particularly busy day in Zoomland to show me all the sheds in Shed World. Within seconds I had lost the will to live and yet politely smiled and said things like “ooh, that’s nice”.
Shed World? This is an actual place? It sounds like the worst day out ever?
EPH was asking me questions about what kind of shed would work at the back of the garden in the area I’ve identified previously as Chernobyl. I seriously couldn’t give a flying fuck what type of shed we have and having felt the life slowly drain out of me, told him that I had some paint to watch drying and hung up.
We‘ve been on a few road trips recently and so when we went out of Thursday evening for fish and chips on the beach with my Older Funny Brother and his Lovely Wife to celebrate her birthday, I was appointed designated driver.
No Gin for you then! I hate being designated driver. Totally Pants!
In our household, I am the petrol head and tend to drive like a Norwegian rally driver. My car is small, nippy and not as fast as I’d like it to be, but that doesn’t stop me from pretending it’s fast. It does have sports mode and the dash board lights up in a very pleasing red colour when I flick the switch.
EPH Held on very tight as I flung the car round a roundabout, sped up the slip road and gave it full throttle onto the ring road. He made comments about my driving and I was prompted to retort with,
”At least I don’t drive like a grandad.” Which he does. He’s jolly sensible and plods along quite happily at the speed limit. This is a good thing and gets us all safely from A to B. However, I get bored easily and need to add some adventure into my life....
So I drove Bev, my little CT200 like a go kart to the artisan fish and chip van and smirked inwardly as EPH clung on for dear life. I felt I’d got my own back for the World of Sheds live tour.
You must love pootling about with me in Gertie? Gertie who rarely manages to reach 70 milEd per hour, even with a tail wind and a good downhill stretch.
Being of a certain age brings many advantages, such as giving less of a fuck about what people think of you and being able to express unfashionable opinions on the use of pronouns and keeping certain statues firmly in place. It does, however bring some interesting health matters to the fore.
Us ladies are accustomed to regular invasive tests in the form of a cold, metal things being shoved up our fannies every three years for the cervical smear. Gents have the pleasure of dropping and coughing, but over fifty and the two sexes merge together to enjoy the pleasures of a poo test.
Those cold metal things are called 'Cuscoe's Speculum' and they come in different sizes, as one trainee nurse helpfully informed me as I was enjoying a cervical smear, it was after my third child and the smallest size apparently no longer 'fitted' I had to move up a size. I was utterly delighted to receive this information as I was lying in a prone position with a strangers face staring at my snatch - I am still in denial and it was nearly 30 years ago.
It you’ve not had the pleasure of testing your own poo yet, then boy, do you have a treat in store. You get a little stick thing that goes in a container and illustrations of how to poo onto a pile of loo paper carefully placed in the bowl of the toilet. The illustrations are in full technicolour complete with a photo of an actual poo. I nearly vomited but feel secure in the knowledge that if I have bowel cancer it will be found early.
Let‘s bless the NHS and their poo testing capabilities.
This sounds repellent - is there a particular reason you decided to torture yourself with this rather unpleasant test?
The lovely Davina
We must also bless Davina McColl this week for talking about the menopause and peri menopause in such an open an honest way, although I’m not sure it was necessary to show the tasteful coloured clitoral stimulation device towards the end of the programme. Apparently, some people think you can’t have orgasms after the menopause and the nice lady Davina was interviewing exclaimed that she has a client aged 92 who is still enjoying a good fumble and gasp with the help of her electronic devices. Good to know there is always hope ladies.
Beautiful Daughter and Giant Husband watched this - much to Giant Husband's consternation -
'Why are we watching this?' came the rumbling enquiry.
'So I can tell Mam about it of course!’ replied Beautiful Daughter as she cried with laughter watching Giant Husband try and nonchalantly watch an hour programme about the menopause without obviously cringing - She is a vey wise person, if all men watched this sort of stuff routinely there would be alot less murderously irritated women and intrinsically confused men!
They were both scarred for life by the bit with the vibrator apparently. And the fact that I assured them both that although its been nearly 18 months - I‘m pretty sure its all still in working order, albeit not currently receiving any attention.
Finally, in this week’s random collection of thoughts, we are are brought to death. If the UK are generally crap at talking about the menopause, then we are even more crap about talking about death. If we lived in Mexico we’d be enjoying the annual death day, dancing on graves, partying into the night, dressed as skeletons and celebrating death.
If we lived somewhere or another in the Himalayas (or elsewhere mountainous) we would get our dead Relatives 'up' once a year, dress them up, give them a fag and a beer and generally catch up on the last 12 month craic. Not I guess that they would have a lot to say, but, you know - its the thought that counts.
As with most things we are uptight about in old Blighty, I blame the Victorians who took the whole death thing a little bit too far, got themselves into a bit of a tizz about it and then inflicted us with a reluctance to discuss death openly, reducing us to hushed tones and euphemisms.
”They’re no longer with us.”
Queen Victoria doing her mourning thing
Weirdly though they did have a full on thing about Post Mortem photography - slightly ghoulish perhaps? Especially if framed and standing on the mantlepiece....and momenti mori - you know the stuff, skull rings, bits of peoples fingers, weird things made out of a dead persons hair - Victorians were a bit odd...
Etc. Being direct, practical and down to earth, I have told my family exactly how my funeral should be conducted, including the music and the fact my body needs to be donated to science so they can discover stuff. For the record, I want two Bowie songs; Rebel Rebel and Heroes. Cliches, but I don’t care. You must laugh, get drunk and have a massive party. No moping about.
I want to be wrapped in a sheet and bunged in a big hole in a wood, something planted on me - possibly not a fruit tree though as that would be strange...My kids have also been informed of my requirements. No grieving just dancing and lots of JD! My current musical requirements are Bat out of Hell - Meatloaf and Ratio - Massive Wagons that may change. In truth I‘m not going to know anything about it so really they can do what the hell they like with me when I’m dead - although any terrible rap music and I will frigging haunt them!
Anyway, the poo test brought my own mortality to the fore as did visits to elderly relatives who we are now allowed to see. I would have been seeing them before, but they didn’t want to see me. They’re now fully vaccinated and so we took a family trip to Manchester and did full on hugging and eating indoors because quite frankly I still refuse to be told by any government who I can and cannot hug and whether I can eat inside a private house.
My Step Dad is not in good shape. He’s a funny yellow colour and looks like a skeleton. He‘s been in my life for 38 years and like a very modern family, I helped him with his online dating profile after my mum died so he could find a new love. Happily, he did and got married only eighteen months ago to an absolutely wonderful woman. They’ve had about seven years of happiness together, enjoyed holidays, trips abroad and found new hobbies together. It would have made my mum happy to see him happy.
He doesn’t have long left on this earth in his current form. This is sad for those of us he’ll leave behind, but life must end. It’s the only guarantee we’ve got.
Death and Taxes are the only definites in a life of change.
I find death to be a time of reflection, renewal and hope. It really isn‘t the end of the world, it’s just the end of a life in its current form. I like to think of us as souls inhabiting a body. We are collection of cells, a bundle of energy that when the time comes, is not destroyed, but transformed into another kind of energy and different types of cells. We are burned or buried and our energy is changed.
Perhaps if we were less squeamish about death and embraced its inevitability, we wouldn’t be quite so afraid and a whole lot less susceptible to the terrible dystopian fear mongering our governments have attempted and in some cases, succeeded in forcing upon us.
Its a difficult concept that one isn't central to the Earth revolving on its axis, and that life will go on after one stops. Are people frightened of dying? I don't know really..I know I'm not. But you do only get one go at this life so make it a fucking good go. Personally I intend to screech to a halt whenever fate says, quite probably clutching a bottle of JD and look back with no regrets.
We get one life people. Live it. Take the poo test.
I might not take the poo test frankly.