Posts Tagged ‘Beardieboy’

Faint Praise (shhh)

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

I regularly roll my eyes at Beardieboy for his lack of insight, inability to understand women and self confessed disconnection when he’s preoccupied. He leaves me curling my toes with his tendency to sleep in his day clothes; distresses me incredibly with his lack of ability to have a meaningful conversation. We have the most challenging relationship I’ve ever had in my life, in both good and bad ways. He drives me to total distraction, hurts my feelings and makes me feel isolated at times. At other times he is so caring, loving, and thoughtful I feel mean for ever having had a negative feeling about him. We work brilliantly as a pair of musicians, and wonder now why we waited so long to ‘get it on’.  He’s also pretty hot, for my money anyways.

The last few weeks I’ve been ill and had an operation on Monday. In all that time he’s been obscenely hard working. Up to 60 hrs a week at work, rehearsing, practicing his German (he’s now better than me – crapsticks) and on top of that he’s done ALL the cooking, virtually all of the cleaning and entertained the troupes. Even preparing the house for viewings, which means folding towels neatly and actually closing drawers.  He’s stepped up to the plate and he’s been the best husband a woman could hope for (apart from his infernal snoring). I’m not normally a sappy chick but when, in the past,  I’ve thrown my wedding ring at him for his utterly shittastic behaviour I’m now rather glad that he didn’t pawn it for guitar strings.

Don’t you dare tell him I said nice things about him. His head is frigging enormous.

in the next photo he sticks his tongue in my ear...this is sexy stuff girls

Dying on Your Arse

Monday, December 6th, 2010

Did you hear about the comedian who couldn’t tell jokes because he was too busy dying on his arse?

We are in a comedy zone at home. Beardieboy thinks he’s fucking hilarious. Every moment of my home life is a pallet for his art, every intercourse is an opportunity to build a story, try out a story, check his comic timing. Sod. I mean, when you’re on the loo and someone’s standing outside saying ‘are we nearly there yet?’ you’d like to hope it’s not a 38 year old man shouting through the lock.

The man drives me, quite literally, bonkers. Having said that he is really funny and when he does his ‘thing’ he really does make me belly laugh. He’s not run of the mill, not lazy and he’s studiously hard working (I know because I am there for every bloody joke that he practices and perfects – ‘should I say it or the?’. He did his first gig and was lauded by the regular crowd who see all manner of drivel and shit, as well as all the good guys. I felt like I’d earned that for him, putting up with the constant experimentation at my expense.

We have a friend who decided to become a comedian at the same time as Beardieboy. Given that they started at the same time you’d think they’d be in roughly the same place. Hm, well you’d be wrong. This person got up at their first gig and they were devastatingly bad, having clearly done no work to prepare at all. Tumbleweed rolled through the pub as they struggled to remember even one  line of their routine. Yikes. I felt more uncomfortable than I did watching Bruno, and that’s some embarrassment we’re talking about. At this point most people would pull the wool over their own eyes and make straight for the door. My hat goes off to this person because they didn’t do that, they dusted themselves off and booked another gig. Kudos.

Beardie got on and wrote another routine, to try out some new stuff, to torture me with. The man is relentless. Our friend promised they were also working hard on their routine. It wasn’t true, and before Beardie could do his second gig our friend was up again. We sat there wondering what would happen. Let’s just say that even the tumbleweed were too embarrassed to make an appearance. I sat through the car crash and could barely breathe for ten minutes. Yet again this person came off stage and bold as brass stayed exactly where they were. They did not rush for cover, they did not give up. Knowing they hadn’t done the work they just determined to do it better, differently, more. Well done them.

Beardie did well for his second gig and eagerly anticipated his third. A few days before that gig he started to feel unwell, lavatorially speaking it wasn’t much fun, not much to joke about. I watched him sleeplessly over a few days becoming more and more unwell. On the day the gig was due he was literally dying on his arse. He started bleeding and we went straight to hospital, straight to isolation. He couldn’t speak, he couldn’t cope. They wondered if he had some disease, with long term, life changing implications, or if it was a serious infection, with the potential to ruin organs and ultimately reach the same conclusion as if it were some disease.

It turns out that he did have a serious infection. After over 48 hrs of bleeding thing have started to improve, though I think he has a long way to go. I knew things were improving when he picked up his phone and tweeted about having his ‘needs’ met by a nurse who looked like she was straight out of a bollywood film.  He’s still in hospital and needs some tests to check that the damage isn’t permanent, making sure his kidneys are ok etc but I think he might have been a very lucky man.

I’m in a state of shock still, I’ve never seen so much blood come out of a person who I needed to believe was not mortally ill. I don’t ever want to go through that again. I desperately need to see him home and eating well. He spent today doing his best to piss me off with his extreme views so I doubt it’ll be too long before he is back to business.

What I need now is to get to two third gigs. The third gig that will mark the return of my lovely funny man and the third gig of a friend who will either allow us all to breathe again or who we will be counselling to find a new hobby.

Birmingham and I

Wednesday, September 15th, 2010


This is what you get when you put me to bed with a laptop.

I used to live in a beautiful little welsh valley town with a population of just under 3,500 which swelled to over 40,000 during the summer months. It was a town where 95% of the population is white and about 60% of the population is middle-class with the kind of lifestyle within the working classes that mirrors a few Enid Blyton/Viz stories (depending on your age and alcohol intake). My happiest memories were watching fish jump out of the river, sliding down the mountain into the bracken on pieces of cardboard, then eating my squashed white bread and jam butties and being in ‘clubs’ which were basically corners of someone’s dad’s shed, which we earned by mowing the lawn or picking up leaves. My brother’s favourite moments were catching the fish, punching me in the arm and throwing darts at my Sindy dolls.  Yes, it was nearly perfect (and we were the poor(ish) people).

In the next picture my brother kicks me

In fact, it was so perfect that when I grew up and got married, I determined I’d give my family the same kind of upbringing. I use the term ‘grew up’ loosely because I actually, stupidly, got married at 18 – not pregnant and no one tried to stop me! I had three kids and sadly divorced. I say sadly because although I am happily remarried now I feel that if I had understood life more I may have made more effort to make things work. I was not properly tooled up for the task at hand. Fortunately, neither myself nor my exhusband are total arses and we continue to have a pretty great relationship (this means I don’t call him a dick and he doesn’t call me a bitch – to our faces) and he’s a wonderful father to our three kids.  I stayed where I was, giving the kids the best I could afford, which wasn’t much but it was my best and eventually bumped into Beardieboy on the Internet one night, talking about music. It turned out we’d both performed on virtually the same circuit. We got on like a house on fire. This means we were happy chatting without the need to jump each others bones. It was all good. We started talking on the phone and eventually arranged to meet…

I’m going to skip the bit where we jumped each others bones, got sprogged up, got a business and then decided to get married. Maybe that’s for another day. Suffice it to say we did do that and then tried to sell the house in wales to move here. This is the house that I lived in for 20 years and raised 4 children in. By the time we’d sold it I was a heap of nerves, I was moving to a polluted pit of overpopulated, underfunded greyness and I was leaving my friends, family and fresh air behind. I was horrified, I questioned what kind of fruit-loop I must be. I photographed every inch of my house as if I’d never taken any photographs within the walls before. They basically led me weeping from my empty home and I cried the entire way to Birmingham.

A close up would show teardrops on the carpet.

A close up would show teardrops on the carpet.

I arrived, I moved in, unpacked and hated it. I hated you lot. You were all rude, all pushing and shoving, all in a  hurry, all didn’t care. I couldn’t believe how hung up on colour and culture you all were. I couldn’t get over how you all defined yourselves by these things and not by your individual nature. I was confused. I was Welsh yes, but mainly I was me, a creative being, frustrated by daft barriers of my own making, a mother and a musician and someone who was never happier than when feeding and comforting others. That’s it. I arrived here to find complex characterisations of people, by themselves and each other. People who defined their person by the fact that they were white Muslim, Pakistani Muslim, Irish catholic, black, Somalian black/Muslim, Sikh, white, Chinese, etc, etc. I was no longer surrounded by Johnny Saw (carpenter), Maggie who makes pots, Pete the Milk, Joanie Bigmouth (yes it’s true, she was the local fishwife, god love her). Suddenly I was surrounded by people who defined themselves by their religion or colour and I was confused. I didn’t know where I fit in, I didn’t know any welsh people,  I didn’t know anybody that wasn’t introduced to my by Beardieboy. I did know some musicians by this means, but it’s hard to find common ground with people who are as close to Napalm Death as you are to Alanis Morissette.

I remember the first time I took a stroll down City Road. I had my toddler in a buggy and I realised I couldn’t breathe such was the air pollution. I wept imagining what it was doing to my child’s lungs, came back and rummaged for an inhaler and never walked down that road with her again. The same happened when I went up Bearwood Road at home time. I couldn’t get over how dirty I was after a day shopping. The city is a dirty place. And the litter…don’t get me started on the litter. Cripes people, pick up some rubbish will you.

Our business ground to a halt overnight. I am not joking either. One day we were happily moving rich people from one big house to another, smiling and wrapping up their bone china, and the next day recession hit, and along with 10 other removals companies a week, we simply stopped working.  Fortunately we’re hardy buggers and Beardieboy immediately started driving HGV for the only growth business in the recession – Poundland. He’s never been out of work since, thankfully and I immediately got my job and was only out of work for the time it took to check I wasn’t a secret cat burglar.

I got my job working in the heart of public service, in the heart of the biggest court in Europe, in the heart of the second city and I loved it. I don’t talk about it, it’s my job. I do, however care about it. Through my job I’ve got to know the best and the worst or Birmingham, literally. I have learned about the driving forces behind city crime, community division, the risk of falling into the educational abyss, cigarettes, whisky and wild wild women. I’ve learned how cultural identities help people create communities in what would otherwise be a heaving pit of humanity lacking any cohesion. I’ve come to see how it can be positive for some people to identify themselves in this way in the absence of ‘the village’ and how it can cause strife. I love the diversity in this city, in my office, amongst my friends. I always have enjoyed diversity on the level of personalities but now there’s an extra dimension within culture/religion/ethnicity.

I find the city’s architecture fascinating. It’s such a challenging city. So chopped up by trends and ages but somehow it works. It’s exciting and forward thinking. Brummies are not afraid of a challenge. Not just in building but in so many ways. If you don’t believe me take a look at http://www.justdoit.org to see how many different organisations need you to make a better Birmingham.

I saw all this and set about making a life for myself here. I set about finding people who valued their own individuality and other peoples’. I’ve used social media for its most perfect purpose. I’ve found people I have got to know, and people I am getting to know and have noticed people I’d like to get to know and you are probably one of them if you’re reading this (especially if you’ve read this far).

I’m back writing and singing and am at the point of ‘putting myself about’ along with Beardieboy with our ‘Less for Murder’ project. It’s a strong project. We like it and so do others. I’m hopeful.  I’m even more hopeful for my eldest daughter who is displaying the result of being brought up surrounded by musicians and has a fearsome untapped talent that is jumping up and down to be heard. I’m just as excited for my son who is about to begin reading for his degree at Birmingham City University and for my youngest, who will grow up  remembering nothing of her birthplace, other than as a location we visit to see friends and family. Only my eldest has shown no interest in the city, but that’s ok. I remember hating it when I arrived. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

I am still welsh in my heart, the valley will always be mine. I still gasp for fresh air and feel my skin is suffocated by the pollution but I am hopeful and excited by this city and I feel I have a place in it, not just a nameless, faceless body in an unremarkable home but I have a place being me, being constructive and creative and contributing. After two years I’m ready to start taking part.

This is a Relaxing Holiday

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Holidays are tough. If I ask Beardieboy he can never make his mind up, doesn’t want to think about money and doesn’t want to go anywhere that is vaguely organised or ordinary. He wants to feel free. Exasperated that I can’t get any straight answers from him I just get on with it by myself. After all I was a single parent for 10 years, if I can’t organise then who can?

Approximately 6 months before a holiday I begin. I start by choosing a destination. This is based on activities that are available. The more activities the better. Two years ago I had a 17, 13 and 3 year old so it had to be something to suit everyone. For anyone interested that seems to be Tenby though I’m sure Cornwall and Devon would do it too. Then I work out a budget. How much is the accommodation? Do we take a tent, our increasingly rickety caravan or rent something. Then I work out my entertainment budget. I plan to do something every single day, knowing we won’t do that but it’s important to cover all angles. I budget for two restaurant meals usually. I bid for Tesco points on eBay and get them converted to entry tickets to theme parks. I am relentlessly organised. I print out maps, buy extra food each week in the months leading up to it and on the day before I leave I make a picnic hamper. This takes whole operation takes hours of study and planning, weeks of organising and preparation. It’s my family holiday and I want my family to have a great time.

Usually about two days into the holiday Beardieboy saunters down a cobbled street with an ice cream in his hand or climbs off a nerve-shattering ride and declares with his warm shining grin, ‘This is a relaxing holiday. We should go with the flow more often, you should chill out more’.

A Little Bit of This and That

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

Oh there you are. I must have had my map upside down, I was heading in the opposite direction. Soz.

I’m not sure I’ve got anything interesting to write about. Work is interesting but I can’t talk about that and stay working so we’ll leave it there. You’ll have to take my word for it.

Family? Well, let’s just say, everyone has been ill so far, and the least ill but the most grumpy is obviously Beardieboy.  I sent him a text tonight, after venting my spleen earlier (I still haven’t found my wedding ring from my outburst two days ago so I really should get some anger management). The text said ‘Sorry I got angry. Please get well soon.’ This means ‘Sorry I got angry (, you wound me up with your whiney shit and outrageously grumpy, pestering behaviour and if you don’t get well soon I might have to kill you, so) please get well soon.’  He came scampering down the stairs like an excited puppy to accept the apology in person. grr

A typical victim of 'man flu' - just add a beard and ignore.

 I’ve been so ill all week that I’m finally on antibiotics and recovering. It’s a good thing. We’re short staffed next week and well, you can’t have too many people to push bits of paper around can you?

Friends? My welsh friends will always be my friends but not being able to get home more than once every four or five months is proving a bit of a barrier on the close friendship front. Never mind, we’ve been friends since we were five I’m sure we’ll survive. Then there’s the friends I’ve met through Beardieboy. I have to say they are pretty much as lovely as you’d like. Kind hearted, good fun, always come to our parties and never borrow the lawn mower. However, it’s important to find friends for yourself as well, so I decided recently that I should start working on new friendships, new acquaintances and becoming part of my new community. Twitter’s been amazing.

 I’ve chatted with some hilarious and lovely people. Take @nudieprincess for instance. She’s gorgeous even in the nude .  Obsessed with (my) weird sex (fetishes) too.   Then there’s the beautiful and talented @cosmicgirlie. I don’t chat to her much but I do watch her growing confidence in photography and her refinding of her love for cello with admiration. Her honesty is very endearing. Her kids are cute too. There’s @brumcast who is passionate about birmingham and passionate about music his Rhubarb Radio show is great and he’s very excited about his impending parenthood (and so he should be, it’s a bloody trip). We met up with him at a rhubarb radio mash up and he’s a lovely bloke. There are more and I’m sure I’ll mention them again but I don’t want to do a roll call. You/they are all great and make my long evenings tolerable.

Deserving of a paragraph all of her own is @mrs_eddieizzard What can I say about this woman? She’s funny, passionate about her family, human rights, society, and crocheting.  She’s also an absolute mare who nearly made me piss my pants by texting the word ‘Boo!’ to me when I was watching Paranormal Activity the other night. This was closely followed by ‘Look outside, I’m behind the bush’ Not fucking likely spank you very much! I’m the woman who watched Salem’s Lot in my first home with no curtains up. So there I was, sitting in the living room, when there was a tappety tap tap on the window. Fearing that my life was about to drained from me by terrible vampires I picked up two pokers and fashioned a cross before turning around to discover they were effing moths trying to get to the light. Bastards.

 

However, back to mrs izzard, she is propery funny and has great taste in clothes and cars. I know we’re going to have fun, even if she is younger than me, with bags of energy and enthusiasm. Calm down dear.

Music? Well that’s taking on a life of its own. Still nothing recorded as Less for Murder yet but we did go down to Katie Fitzgerald’s in Stourbridge on Monday, where they have an open mic night. Someone called us experimental; someone was clearly heard saying ‘well that was shit’ after the first song, but overall we had some very positive feedback, including being compared to the Pixies. We were encouraged to return. That’s the ticket! We’re going to be spinning our little yarns of fucked up relationships and the life choices of weirdos at the Adam and Eve in Digbeth on 31st May for our first offical outing as Less for Murder, that’s if I don’t decide before hand that I could actually get less for murder and dispatch him with a rolling pin first.

So that’s it, in a nutshell. Been sick, have new friends, driven insane by the evil one, making music, will be heard. Night all!

Love is…

Monday, May 3rd, 2010

My fifteen year old daughter is, so far, blissfully unaware of my blog and my Twitter.  I say ‘so far’ because no doubt she will eventually find them and egotistically search them for any mention of her good self.  I wouldn’t like to disappoint her.

A few months ago she confessed to me that she quite liked a boy she’d met at her church group’s camp holiday last year. I was determined not to be as much of an arsehole as my dear father was and showed her genuine interest without any hint of motherly possessiveness. Now, my dear dear father wasn’t quite so easy going. My first boyfriend, at the age of 15 was a local bounder called Paul. Paul was a few years older than me, which to me meant very little but to my father it meant war. The first time Paul came to our house to take me out I came into the hallway just in time to see my dad open the door and say ‘Fuck Off!!’ before slamming it in the poor lad’s face. Parental love is a funny thing.

Anyway, so she tells me about this boy and, after bigging him up quite a bit, she slips in the fact that he’s 18. I yelped internally and later figured out a way to tell Beardieboy, who is not strictly her dad but, in the absence of her dad , does a pretty good job of standing in for a paternal grinch.

Beardieboy: Fuck Off!

Me: I’m sure he’ll be lovely

Beardieboy: la, la,la I’m not listening, la, la, la

Me: Pack it in…

Beardieboy: Invite him round to dinner, I’ll sort him out

Perishing the thought I did just that and to both our surprise he seemed like a perfectly nice boy. Very young for his age, very sweet. Beardieboy was calmed. My father, on the other hand, called me a bad mother, declared the boy a predator and told me to put my child on the pill. I smiled sweetly, went in my mother’s kitchen and muttered something about getting stuffed.

Now, they only see each other once a week and when they do it’s shopping, cinema, bowling or in our house or his parent’s house, with adults around. So I had been feeling quite comfortable with things. Then, a few weeks ago, I walked in to find them, erm, getting a bit heated. I swallowed. I made dinner and we sat at the table. He volunteered it was his birthday the next week.  I suddenly realised my little baby was dating an actual man. He may be a bit gawkish and geeky, he’s certainly not as wordly wise as my own 19 year old son, but he IS 19.

The beautiful au pair thinks all of this is hilarious, and in a very direct german way, wants to know if I’m worried he’ll have sex with my daughter. I reply by saying that, if she likes, we can talk about her parents having sex. She bursts out laughing and wanders off like I’m the funniest square she’s met in a long time.  So, you’re language skills have improved to the point of sarcasm…hmmm?

Last week, I was in the kitchen (I seem to do that a lot) when the sweethearts came in for a drink. My daughter’s face was covered in bright red blotches from excessive snogging. – remember that! I joked that I hoped she wasn’t allergic to him (I say joked, because I secretly wished that she was allergic to him. More than that, I wanted her to find him boring). I carried on being jovial, saying they’d have to keep their distance if it was an allergy.  I said it’d make having a relationship difficult. Imagine…

Mimicking someone shouting from a distance, I half shouted across the room to him: Heyyy, I really like you

He, caught up in the moment, yelled back: Heeeyyyyyy, I love you too.

I audibly choked and suddenly decided to put the kettle on.  The au pair, who’d been idling by the fruit bowl, suddenly picked up an apple and rammed it in her gob in a bid to stop herself from laughing.  A small amount of embarassed murmering took place and the blotchy couple left, sans drinks. The au pair crumpled with laughter. I just glared at her.

Me: Did you hear that? Did you hear that?

Beautiful au pair: I will help you interrupt them every 15 minutes, we can take it in turns.

Me: Ok.

Snip Snip

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

So there I was, sitting in my very uncomfortable office chair thinking about whether to apply for another job, again. In the middle of a difficult decision about coffee or hot chocolate with my mid morning toast I had a phone call from home. I almost never get phone calls from home, mostly because the kids are usually in school, the au pair likes the gym and the dogs, as clever as they are at opening bins, cannot yet use a phone.

Sobbing greeted my ear followed by a very distressed message from my eldest daughter telling me that my youngest daughter, aged 5, had decided to restyle her hair completely, with scissors.

Me: is it bad?

Her: very bad

Me: will I be upset?

Her: I’m upset for you

Me: send photos

A very long 30 seconds pass.

The phone vibrates

the vision of a child's hair after a creative moment with scissors

I Cutted My Hair

(please notice how long it *was*)

I texted back: send me a picture of the front.

30 more tortured seconds gazing in disbelief at the first picture were interrupted by another vibration.

solemn child with terrible self-cut hair

I'm Sorry

(check out the tuft of micro-fringe that no longer hides the solemn expanse of forehead)

I took a deep breath, made a phone call and texted back: meet me at the hairdressers at 5pm

My colleague was almost on her knees in a puddle of unrestrained laughter and piss, obviously entirely at my expense. Thanks chum. I was on the edge of sobbing when I suddenly realised I had to tell Beardieboy. I went over the edge and sobbed. Then, being the woman that I am I made the decision: coffee. I drank the coffee and made another call. Beardieboy answered sounding like he was on top of the world. Poor sod. He went from hyper-happy to utterly appalled in a  matter of seconds. Poor sod. His beautiful child mangled by a misadventure with some kitchen scissors. I refused to send photos and said I’d sort it. I had a plan, it would work. If it didn’t work, in my mind I planned a Stephanie style pink wig. ‘It’s a fun wig, you’ll have fun in it, your friends will think you’re a hoot’.

5 O’clock arrives. The hairdresser took a very deep breath and on at least three occasions put her scissors down and walked away to compose herself. Every time she thought she’d solved it she discovered another hack or tuft and yet more had to come off to blend it in. Meanwhile I sat there rubbing my face like a neurotic. The salon manager came to the rescue with yet more coffee. The coffee helped me, and training evidently helped the hairdresser. She toiled for 20 hard minutes before giving me a brief lesson on styling to hide bald patches. Now I wouldn’t like you to get too close and study this for tufts but with a bit of hairspray this will work. She even has a bit of Parisian chic going on.

A relieved child after a professional snipper has rescued her do

Post Haircut Haircut

A handful of disney hairclips and everyone will think we’ve gone for something radical for spring.  Our house is now sleeping beauty but with scissors not spinning wheels. We ceremonially collected all the offending articles up and we’re locking them in the west tower until she’s old enough to know better and if she still decides to screw up a perfectly good haircut at that stage then good luck to her.

Music

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Beardieboy has an ego as fragile as a spring  jonquil. he used to vie for gigs with the opening line ‘Put us on the bill with anyone, we’ll blow them out of the water’. He believed it and generally that’s exactly what they did. A lot of spit, blood and water (and the odd shopping trolley) have passed under the bridge since then and neither of us have performed in any project for six years. Well, that’s not strictly true. We’ve both sung at funerals but let’s not go there.

bearded man plays guitar swearing under his breath at photographer

Beardieboy. Yes, he really does have a beard.

About 11 months ago we decided to have a go at a project together. We settled on the name Less for Murder and started writing songs. We started really well. *started*really well.  Life does its thing and we’ve sputtered along.  The biggest issues has been perfectionism. Beardieboy desperately wants it to be perfect, and who can blame him. Perfection has a high price, to achieve it you usually have to set aside many other things. Having been a single parent for many years though I do recognise that best is perfect when perfect itself is unobtainable. I’ve cajoled, tickled, begged, shouted, begged some more and finally he’s submitted and we’re going to do a short slot at the end of May, it’s not a full gig, it’s not an open mic, it’s somewhere in between.

He’s still very nervous and I don’t want to make a big deal but I’ve very fucking excited indeed. I haven’t sung a song of my own in front of a crowd of people since I was 5 months pregnant with this.

a small child with a unique sense of style

She chose all her own clothes. Honest.

We haven’t had any photos taken, still have a list of songs as long as your arm to work on and I still can’t tie him down to recording anything, but that’ll come in time. He’s more amazing than he knows. Me, I know how bloody fabulous I am 🙂

We Went to London

Monday, March 29th, 2010
A poncy photo of Big Ben by my photo crazy daughter

Look Ben, it's not big and it's not funny. Ok, so it's big, but it's not...

So, there I was bragging about how cheap it all was, what good value for money it was and how planning ahead was the way forward. I booked my train tickets  and hotel back in February and picked the tickets up on Friday to discover I’d bought outward and return journies for Saturday. Yep, both for Saturday. Arse.

I called thetrainline and explained how I was a regular and good customer, had made a genuine error and needed help to transfer my tickets. ‘I can do that for you, there will be a £50 admin charge’, I looked at the phone in disbelief, ‘but I can book new tickets for just £42, why can’t you just transfer them?’ ‘I can, the charge is £50’, ‘Waive the charge’, ‘No, I can’t I can only waive £10 or £20’ ‘Are you going to offer this?’ ‘No’. Ok thanks for your unhelp.

+£42

Arrived at the hotel to discover the the second bedroom information had overwritten the first bedroom information and we had a small double and large double for 5 people. The suggested the teenagers share a bed. ‘No, my daughter is 15, my son is 19, not only is it inappropriate it’s likely to end in violence, they’re siblings’  Oh well, we’ll move their room and put a foldout bed in your room for your five year old.  (So much for a romantic weekend). Oh and there’s an extra charge of £15 because our software system screwed up your booking. Arse.

+£15

We had plans to go to the Tate. Sidetracked by the companionship of a small scruffy bear from school (sent to accompany us on our travels), Beardieboy decides in his wisdom to take a detour to see Westminster ‘so the bear can have it’s picture taken’. No, really, this is true. We arrive at Westminster, haul arse to the wrong side of the Thames, glare at each other and the stupid bear has its stupid photo taken with the five year old, on the shoulders of Beardieboy, too close to the edge of the Thames. Consequently this detour resulted in a dozen photos of my five year old looking utterly terrified on the shoulders of a Beardieboy who smiled with barely masked anger due to me cringing at the sight of my child in such jeopardy. Fortunately the bear is quite photogenic.

image of a teddy drinking coke, it's ok though, it's diet coke

Paws drinking coke, it's ok though, it's diet coke

The detour also took an extra hour or so leaving us precisely 15 minutes to do the Tate and take a taxi back to Euston. Extra cost of unscheduled taxi was £12.80.

+£12.80

A picture of my derrier

Apparently this is me being a grumpy arse

Don’t let me plan your London trip unless you have a spare £70 cushion in your budget. I didn’t and it’s a good job we like lentils and beans.

picture of a lion statue at the Natural History Museum

At least some things are set in stone...not the price of trains, or hotels mind you.

Music Therapy

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Treating the whole, not the part. My doctor, treating me for a leg injury, asked me how I was and what I was up to. I told him and he said, ‘don’t forget to do things for fun too’.  Seems to me that’s the best prescription I could have. I’m just not sure where to get it filled in. I know that my fun is, or should be music.

I need music, I need to sing, I need to write. Beardieboy and I began collaborating about 12 months ago, writing songs and rehearsing. Trouble is he’s a combination of a perfectionist and a sensitive soul so the slightest gap in rehearsing leaves him thinking his voice has gone, the songs are shit, the path is blocked. Because he’s a sensitive soul he is often the cause of his own blocks. Too much worry, too much work, getting a cold, all conspire against him and therefore us.

I feel a bit stuck. I have had several projects before, including one which produced the songs found here but, and I’m not just saying this because he’s my Beardieboy, but this is the first project that I truly believe in. I don’t care if we ever get famous but I do care if we get heard. We must get heard. It’s a bit different for Beardieboy I know, he was totally committed to the Damn Dirty Apes when we met. I wonder if, for him, this is some kind of consolation. I wonder if he believes in it the way I do.

So, what to do? If I stick with this project I stand two chances: I’ll either be stuck in a cycle of progress and delay, never quite reaching the standard in the eyes of Beardieboy that will allow him to let others hear, or, he could get his act together and then so could we. If it’s the former then I’m stuffed. I need to sing. I need to write, I need to perform. I can’t hedge my bets with a second project, I don’t have time for two projects. I can only manage one between work, study and family. I so believe in our music that I don’t want to give up on it. More than this I struggle with the idea of losing something that has had a very positive effect in this relationship. If I chose to cut my loses and give up waiting will I effectively be weakening my relationship? If he continues to feel sensitive and stuck is he allowing those feelings to stop the music and in doing so weaken the relationship?I wish I had the answer. I need to think.

Suddenly it all becomes clear. I know what to do. Following this brief period of introspection I realise what the answer is, I know the thing that will make all the difference.

I’m going to kick his arse.