Monday, June 23, 2008

An ode to duct tape

Due to an unfortunate concatenation of circumstances, we decided we should open my car's sunroof yesterday. Now, this being Britain, my sunroof hardly got any practice over the years. As we tried to open it, the cable snapped, and the sunroof wouldn't close completely. When everything with the world looked gray, bleak, and cost at least £120, a little bit of gray in the name of duct tape dropped from the heavens.

An ode to duct tape (modified from Melody William's ode)

I have to say that my world is gray,
not because of compromises made
or morals in the shade,
but because of a sticky tape
and the way it takes shape.
There are so many uses
and not many abuses
of this great sticky mess
this component of my car
That keeps out the rain and the tar,
Keeps it dry as I drive afar.
Ode to duct tape, my best friend;
Ode to duct tape,
may the gray never end.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Stripped, Part I

Note to prudes and author's parents: This is a work of fiction. Honest.

I do not remember whose idea it was to start with. I have a nagging fear in the back of my mind that it was my putrid mind that came up with it to start with. However, arguing over who thought of it first is neither here nor there. All of us had to live through the consequences of the brainwave.

Now that the first paragraph has set the mood and got the reader all curious about what this tome is all about, it is probably a good time to get the elbow grease flowing (if flowing is what elbow grease does) and start at the beginning. Note: The author is well aware that his absolutely pointless digression here is likely to have chased away a large proportion of his reading public. However, he chooses to ignore this possibility as the possibility that he had no readers to start with is more imminent.

It all began when C decided to leave Europe and return to Mexico. That he missed Tex-Mex food, being called gringo, and wearing those wide-brimmed hats they are prone to wear in Mexico cut no ice with the rest of us who were to continue our stay in Europe.

'But', cried C,' go I must, cabron. It's been three long years since I last tried to scale the border wall into the States.'

'How about the Berlin wall, mate?', I rejoined, '... or Hadrian's wall. I'll give you that there are no trigger-happy rednecks with M16s to add to the thrill at either place – but you can make the adjustment, can't you?'

But no, C was obdurate. He refused to listen to reason, and had already found a bag large enough to stow away in. It was final.

Us Warriers have always been standard-bearers of the tradition of noblesse oblige, rather like the Woosters we copied it from. So I began to plot a farewell suitable for a king, or at least a C.

B (whose name bears not the slightest resemblance to a marked protuberance of the waist) suggested we drown our sorrows in drink. But given every one of his ideas seem to feature drowning something or the other (usually one's own liver) in drink, I ignored him.

After prolonged mental gymanstics, I arrived upon the perfect solution. Or what I thought was the perfect solution. So, I gave G a ring.

'Hi hon, I've come up with the perfect solution to our problem.', I screamed, literally bursting with excitement.

'That's brilliant. When's the funeral?', said she.

I was bemused. 'Whose funeral?'


To say that I was confused would be to put it rather mildly. 'But I don't plan on dying anytime soon, last I heard.'

'Ah right, so it's another problem you're talking about.'

'That's not the right line to take. I thought we conducted our relationship strictly on turtle dove lines.', said I, rather peeved.

'I'm usually not averse to turtle doves (or doves of any other sort). But the situation alters somewhat if you insist on blowing my ear off screaming.'

After having duly apologised for my slight, as I have been trained to, I went on, 'I meant that I think I know what we could do to bid adieu to C.'

Her ears pricked up at this (or at least, I think they did; it's difficult to tell over a voice-only phone line). 'What do you plan?'

'You know, we're going to Spain next week, yeah? And we've rented a flat, yeah? And you know that C and B are joining us there, don't you?', I said.

'I can't have forgotten, can I? Considering I bought you your tickets back, you freeloader!'

Though I cringed at the slight, I decided to let it pass. The idea was too good to hold on to any longer.

'How about we get a stripper to come over to the flat, rather like in American Pie 3? It would be a stag party, except he's not getting married to some unfortunate popsy.'

'The only unfortunate 'popsy' I can think of is myself', rejoined she. There was rather a harsh edge to her voice.

'Uh, should I take it that you don't like the idea...?'

'No, I bloody well don't. First off, how's it a stag party if I'm around..?'


'Oops is right. After all this time, don't tell me you've never realised I was a woman, and have been actively searching for places that permitted gay marriage now!'

My head swum at the bewildering complexity of the previous sentence. It was a minute before I managed to stutter, 'Er... sorry, darling.'

Silence ensued.

'So there's no question of bringing a stripper home, then?'


'Oh alright then.', said I, defeated.

'We could go to a club though, if you like...'

I ventured cautiously. Long experience had taught me to tread cautiously, especially in the wake of spectacular booboos of the sort I had just committed.

'Er... a club, as in...?'

'A strip club, of course. C can have his farewell lapdance there.'

A childhood full of nasty surprises of the 'Santa doesn't exist' sort had left me rather lacking in faith in my guardian angel. But it all came rushing back to me at this instant. Getting spousal (or soon-to-be spousal) sanction to enter the hallowed portals of a strip club is not something that one receives too often.

After resisting the (foolhardy) itch to ask if I were allowed a lapdance by a stripper as well, I hung up to continue the plotting.

To be continued...

Sunday, June 08, 2008

News and all that kind of jazz

As regular readers (if I have any left) are well aware, I have rather fallen out of the habit of writing quite as regularly as I used to. The era of my highest productivity harks back to a time when I was single, and entirely convinced of my complete inability to captivate a woman who wasn't (a) ugly as sin, and (b) younger than forty. As it has always been my considered opinion that what the human race needs most is the opportunity to have a good laugh at another's expense, I regularly regaled my reading public with (sadly true) stories of my ineptitude.

However, a serendipitous concatenation of circumstances has happily proved me wrong. Contrary to most predictions that I would die alone and be subsequently gobbled up by ravenous Alsatians (or Dobermans, if you prefer that), I did end up meeting a popsy who did not see such a morbid fate for me. That was a year ago, and my blogging frequency stands testimony to that. While I might – quite fairly – lay the blame for my unproductivity at her doorstep, I think I have been most suitably recompensed in several other ways.

After spending several months in bliss, during which I blew my savings up travelling around rather a large swathe of the old continent, a brainwave struck me sometime last Christmas. I had previously been made aware of how cheap everything was on Boxing day (which, to the uninitated, falls on the 26th of December).

'Hmm, old chap, what say you about getting hitched and all that?', said the fevered bit of my mind to the rest.

'Get engaged? Are you insane? Do you know how much rings cost!?'

'It's Boxing Day, mate. Discounts!'


So, the aforementioned popsy and I walked along to Princes street in Edinburgh, which wa s where I knew I would find the discounted ring my fevered mind spoke so highly of. But first, I had to get rid of her.

'Hey, look, Next has a sale!', said I.

'Cool, let's pop by and take a look.', said she, rather unhelpfully.

'No, I'd rather not.'

'Oh okay then, let's just walk around'

'No, I think they're selling lingerie there. And I'd rather avoid the embarassment of looking like a perv checking out women's underwear. You go ahead.'

After I'd got rid of her, I scooted off to the Swarovski outlet to pick a ring up. I hadn't bargained on one thing, though – a smiling helpful salesperson angling for a tip for her role in executing what is probably the most important decision in one's life.

After staving her repeated attempts to be excessively helpful, and trying not to blush as she kept throwing knowing looks at me, I managed to pick a ring that looked just about right.

Now, what a sensible bloke would do would be to book a place at a swanky restaurant for that evening, and take yon popsy there to pop the question. But I'm not a sensible bloke; worse still, I am parsimonious to a fault.

So, I dragged her along to a Starbucks and popped the question.

And incredibly enough, she said Yes!

(I got rather an earful for asking a question as important as this at a place like Starbucks, and did end up having to pay for an expensive restaurant. Also, my ring selection skills left much to be desired – we returned to Swarovski to exchange the ring for another.)

Anyway, there you have it, folks – I'm engaged to be married. :)

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