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A Tax rose is but a rose by any other name - Page 59 - Carers UK Forum

A Tax rose is but a rose by any other name

Socialise and chat about other areas of your life
688 posts
The fox looks ace enlarged. It's gone from blue looking eyes in small photo to amber ones in larger one. I think the blueish eyes look more exotic on a fox though. I'll probably have nightmares now about psycho, icy blue-eyed foxes having staring matches with me... Just when you thought it was safe to go in the garden :ohmy:
The squirrels were mine too ! Taken in local park
squirrel 1.JPG
squirrel 2.JPG
I've definitely got a photo of a fox looking out through leaves. I will post it again when I find it, but I am not sure when that will be.
I've got two fox photos here, but I don't think this is what you meant, Sajehar.
Those are terrific photos of foxes. You're so lucky to be able to take them. The ones around here only come out at night. I know when they're around because the security light in the back garden (my room backs onto the back garden) keeps going on and off, sometimes waking me up. I've even seen the little buggers walking up and down in front of it setting the security light off. I swear they do it on purpose!

Now for something completely different, but still involving the back garden:


Yup! This morning (yesterday morning by now) I finally got around to incinerating my hoarder’s stash of old Inland Revenue accounts/tax returns (some going back to 1986 including from my business in London which went bust in 91), plus old council tax bills, water rates, bank statements, etc, etc, etc.

It’s much harder than it looks starting a fire. It quickly became obvious to me that I’m no natural born arsonist. It took me a lot longer to get my wheelbarrow pyre-fire going than the fire actually took to reduce over 30 years of my life to total ashes.
I expected to feel sad seeing my past life go up in flames and smoke, or at least suitably sombre. Instead I felt released, euphorically so at one point.
I didn’t actually dance naked around the wheelbarrow (too bloody cold for a start) chanting to leaden skies, but I was in my mind’s eye…..

BEHOLD! The fire takes hold (eventually; should’ve chucked some petrol or something on the paperwork first.)
ashes to ashes 1.jpg

“BEHOLD, SAJEHAR,” spoketh the rapidly melting snow angel under dad’s wheelbarrow, “and weep tears of great joy. Bear witness to these ashes for thou art free from thine past at last…. Or at least the bits that seriously pissed thyself off.”

So bore witness I did, or at least my mobile phone camera did.
ashes to ashes 2.jpg
Me: Is that IT?

Snow Angel: What is this IT you speak of?

Me: So much paperwork - two great big plastic bags full - yet so few ashes.

SA: Tis the way of world.

Me: Huh! That’s wot ‘they’ always say when ‘they’ haven’t got a clue.

Apparently, the clueless angel is called Shirley – not quite the name I’d imagine an angel to have, but there you go – and she/he/it is my guardian angel to boot. Being a snow angel is just a sideline apparently.
I promptly informed Shirley that she/he/it was a rubbish guardian angel. That she/he/it was a right little shirker of a celestial being, never being around when needed. Therefore, in the time honoured manner of Alan Sugar from ‘The Apprentice’ I told Shirley, “You’re fired!"
As the last traces of the ‘snow’ Shirley faded away to wherever sacked guardian angels go, she/he/it intoned, with ever decreasing volume:

Shirley the GA: I’LL BE BACCCCKKKkkkkkkkk......

Me: Great! That’s all I need; an apprentice guardian angel who thinks she/he/it is The Terminator.

Enter SM.

SM: Who on earth are you talking too?

I explained, and he exclaimed:

SM: Good grief, woman! Aren’t you a little old to still have imaginary friends? Besides, don’t you know that talking to yourself is the first sign of madness?

I should add here that both dad and SM think I have an over-active imagination, and they could have a point.
But I let SM know in no uncertain terms that there are worse things to do than holding an imaginary conversation with an imaginary mythical archetype whilst contemplating a too small pile of ashes. Watching Jeremy Kyle for one; better to be mad than that! And much more entertaining too.

SM: Can’t argue with that…. (Holding up a partially charred bit of paper which must have blown out of the wheelbarrow)…. Oh, you naughty, naughty girl you!

Me: What is it?

SM: It’s only a summons to appear before a tribunal of tax collectors at the Elephant & Castle Town hall on 16th June 1980 something. The last digit’s too badly charred to read.

Me: Oh that! What a waste of time that was…. 1989 if I remember rightly.

I explained to SM that I hadn’t sent off any tax returns to the Inland Revenue for either two or three years; hence the summons.
I turned up in my work clothes (some of us had a business to run, after all.) The town hall was one of those really elaborate Victorian monstrosities with so many different types of marble all over the place that the effect was positively psychedelic. Whatever those Victorian designers were ‘on’ at the time, I wanted some too!

I was met by a 14 year old looking lad in an ill-fitting suit who introduced himself as my advocate assigned by the tribunal.
He escorted me into this huge room. I had no idea what to expect, but what confronted me left me gobsmacked.
At the end of this towering room was a huge, high semi-circular table full of severe looking, black clad octogenarians staring down at me. They looked like crows.
I had to stand in front of them and explain myself, looking suitably contrite with my hands behind my back.
I had a vision in my mind’s eye that the whole scenario must have looked just like an up-dated version of a painting in the Walker Art Gallery I was very familiar with, entitled ‘When Did You Last See Your Father?’
The whole thing was positively surreal. I actually burst out laughing nervously, gesturing to all and sundry, and declared, “All of this… just for me?”

[attachment=0]when did u last see ur father.jpg[/attachment]

The crows were not amused, but they turned out to be pussy cats in the end. I explained that according to my bank my business was something called a ‘project business’ and I wasn’t expected to reach profitability until my 5th year of trading. I then wanted to know what all the fuss was about. I was breaking even, just, and it wasn’t like I was trying to avoid taxes or anything.
After lecturing me on my civic duties to the Inland Revenue, they then wanted to know what my personal expenditure was. I told them, and they told me it wasn’t possible to live on the amount of drawings I’d stated.

SM: So the crows had you cornered….

Me: They did not! I told them it bloody well was possible, and I was proof of that.

SM: You didn’t actually swear at them… did you?

Me: I most certainly did, and I let them know that they didn’t live in the real world; not one that I recognised anyway.

They STILL didn’t believe me so I pointed out that I didn’t need to pay rent for a flat as I lived in a motor home permanently parked in my business premise’s car park. I bought all my clothes from charity shops and bought nearly all my food from the cheapest of cheap supermarkets, the Quickie (the long defunct Quik Save to the uninitiated.)
I further pointed out that I was way too busy either fulfilling orders for my business, or out rummaging up orders if actual work was slack, to be gadding about spending money I didn’t even have.
And if they still didn’t believe me they were welcome to visit me in my motor home in the car park of the Old Telephone Exchange Small Business Centre in Lambeth. I’d even make them cups of tea served up with Quickie’s Garibaldi biscuits as a special treat.

SM: So how much did the crows fine you for lack of due diligence over your tax returns.

Me: Nothing. They lectured me some more, made me promise to submit my returns ASAP, which I faithfully promised to do, and let me go.

SM: And did you?

Me: Did what?

SM: Submit your tax returns… what else?

Me: Not quite as quickly as I’d promised. But eventually I did, so I kept faith with them… kind of.

SM: You were very lucky to have escaped their clutches so lightly. Nowadays you'd get fined £100 for a late return, then 5% on any tax due, and then £10 a day on top of all that after 3 months.

Me: Luck had nothing to do with it. You can do them online now; you couldn’t then. And besides, it was blindingly obvious I was such small fry it wasn’t worth their effort to pursue me any further.

SM: My God, how times change.

Me: That sounds just like something Shirley would say, if she/he/it actually existed. After all, it can’t be every day that a so-called guardian angel gets the sack…. Makes you wonder what….

SM: No it doesn’t. Enough of flights of fancy for now, I’m hungry. What do you say to lunch at the Lodge?

Me: I say if you’re paying, I’m eating.

SM: Why does that not surprise me.

Me: Erm… before you get too carried away being the Mr Generosity forker outer, may I remind you that the Lodge may be a bit pricy, but they do 2 for 1 deals on dinner, so I’m really cheap.

SM: You said it, not me! Come on… let’s go. But first you’d better douse those ashes with the hosepipe.

Me: Will do (pootle over to the hosepipe)…. Just one problem. There’s a great big icicle sticking out the end and the whole hosepipe’s frozen solid… Typical!

After dousing the ashes with a large saucepan full of water, we set off to the lodge for an ace dinner. I was going to spend the night at SM’s as dad had had one of his 'good days.' But dad then had an angina attack earlier on this evening. The nitro spray worked it’s magic and I didn’t need to call an ambulance.
He hasn’t had one for a while now but I know from past experience that he can’t sleep after he’s had an angina attack. So I’m currently sitting up with dad, both keeping him company and just in case he has another attack. Unlikely, but you never know, so why take the chance? He tends to panic and forgets about the nitro spay in his panic.

He’s been watching some really boring documentaries about cult leaders which he was so engrossed with he didn’t even notice I’ve been battering away on my laptop. And then he started watching The Waltons :roll: :roll: :roll:

But time to sign off now. Dad's now bored of watching The Waltons. So I'll make dad some tea and me some coffee (fully caffeinated), and we'll settle down to watch recordings of his latest obsession, a series called ‘James Town.’
It’s dead good, and is set in 17th Century America about a bunch of puritan settlers who are for ever accusing one another of witchcraft or trying to bump off the local Native Americans for kidnapping the puritans’ babies and such like, which of course the natives are innocent of. But try telling that to a bunch of outraged puritans fired up with nasty, spiky farming implements and primitive guns. I hope the goody Indian doesn’t cop it…. Time to find out after beverage making.

But first an attachment of 'When did u last see ur dad.' Thought I'd up-date the title a bit.

Chow for now.


My Snow Guardian angel has gone remarkably quiet of late. Perhaps because the snow has gone? More likely because the poor sod is trying, and failing, to navigate the vagaries of the DWP at the local Job Centre ever since I gave Shirley its P45 cards and sent it packing.

I can see it all in my mind’s eye :blink:

Shirley the GA: I’d would liketh to sign on, please, or so sayeth mine last charge. Most rudely I should add.

Job Centre Bod: Fine. Are you fit for work, and able to take on a job at 24 hours’ notice?

GA: Most assuredly.

JCB: You do realise this is now a Universal Credit area?

GA: I be a child of the universe, and have approximately 100,000 years of credit with The Almighty. So methinks I do qualify.

JCB: Only 1000,000 years approximately, eh! Could you be a bit more specific?

GA: No. One doth get a little hazy with time betwixt the first couple of ice ages or so.

JCB: (Turning to work mate at next desk) Got a right one here….. Right! You do realise you have to apply for UC online? Do you have access to the internet?

GA: I haveth a direct line unto The Almighty. Access be not a problem for mineself. Doth that count?

JCB: I’ll take that as a no…. If you sit over there in the waiting area, your name will be called out shortly and a colleague will help you fill out your application.

GA: Doth this waiting area be the Centre of Jobs equivalent to The Almighty’s waiting room, the heavenly purgatory?

JCB: So I’ve been told. Please be seated…. NEXT!

Three hours of earthly purgatory later, after reading the same Tax credit, and how to be self-employed, leaflets over and over and over again.

Another JCB: Shirley Angle, can you please follow me.

GA: Tis Shirley Angel; I be not an angle.

AJCB: I do beg your pardon, this hand writing is terrible. Please be seated….. Now what’s your usual job or profession?

GA: I be a guardian Angel.

AJCB: Oh, you’re one of those vigilante types dishing out justice and vengeance.

GA: Heaven forbid it.

AJCB: Funny, I always thought that was part of the job description for a vigilante… always fancied it myself.

GA: Heaven doth forbid it. “Revenge is mine,” sayeth The Lord. Twould be more than mine job is worth to be vengeful.

AJCB: Of course, of course; I wouldn’t want to offend your religious sensibilities. I take it from the way you speak you’re not from around here. Are you a UK national?

GA: Yes, I be a child of universe.

AJCB: Aren’t we all. What I mean is are you from the UK?

GA: No, I be not from this UK.

AJCB: Thought not. Are you an EU National or a Non-EU National?

GA: I be both a EU National and a Non-EU National for I most extensively do travel through time and space. That be part of mine job description, not this vengeance of what thee spoketh.

AJCB: Whatever you say. And how long have you been resident in the UK?

GA: I have been in this UK of what thou speaketh from the time of the first Black Death. Twas a most terrible time to be a guardian angel. I was most glad not to be an angel of death. Such angels were most sorely tested and near worked unto death thineselves. Satan, that most fallen of fallen angels, did almost cause the death angels to go on’eth a strike.

AJCB: That figures. Always knew Satan was a trade unionist. But you do understand that after 13 weeks of job searching, you can no longer pick and choose what jobs you can apply for? Or is it 3 weeks? They keep changing the rules on us. Anyway, if a job comes up for a cleaner say, or angel of death, you’ll have to apply for them. You can’t be picky or you’ll be sanctioned.

GA: Only The Almighty can choose an angel’s mission.

AJCB: Well good luck with that one! I think you’ll find the DWP Decision Maker will disagree with you there. We’ll leave that for the time being. Do you have leave to remain in the UK?

GA: The Almighty hath granted me permission to hover upon the waters and most green land of this UK in search of souls sore in need of guidance….

AJCB: YES, YES! But has the Home Office granted you leave to stay and a work permit?

GA: The Almighty permits mineself….

AJCB: Yes, yes, I know the spec by now. The Almighty premits thine – I mean yourself -
to work… am I right?

GA: Thy be ‘spot on’ as mine last charge would sayeth.

AJCB: Just why did you leave your last job?

GA: Mine last charge did dispense with my services. I am never to darken her grass again so she sayeth.

AJCB: Grass! Don’t you mean door?

GA: No. I appeared unto her as a Snow Angel on her backeth lawn. She did not welcome my speakings unto her as she doth not believe in guardian angels and she most angrily cast me forth into the wilderness. When the snow did melt away so dideth mine wings. This be The Almighty’s punishment for mine charge losing faith with my goodly self.
AJCB: That’s a bit harsh…

GA: The Almighty giveth, and the Almighty taketh away… tis the way of many world’s.

AJCB: Tell me about it! Look, don’t take this the wrong way but you obviously have serious mental health issues. I think maybe you should be applying for ESA instead.

GA: And what be this ESA?

AJCB: Well it’s…………….

And thus endeth Shirley’s first encounter with the job centre.

I love writing nonsense like the above; it’s so, so therapeutic. But I’m now using it as an avoidance tactic. And what am I avoiding? Writing about my ‘Crash & Burn.”
I’ve been writing loads of notes about my C&B after I began to pull out of my metaphorical nose dive; as I was advised to do by my councillor. So now to FINALLY thrash them into some kind of order and shape. This thread is as good a place to start as any, so onwards and downwards………… Tomorrow that is.

After all, to quote the bloke who wrote Tom Sawyer, “Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” Or was that Oscar Wilde? Either way, a man after mine own heart.

Chow for now X
Lovely nonsense Sajehar. :lol: I can just picture the scene
I wish my avoidance techniques were as creative. I mostly eat biscuits
Enjoyed that Sajehar, you need to publish in something satirical.
Hi Mrs Average and Henrietta,

To quote from the indomitable Mae West, “Flattery will get you everywhere.” Mae West is one of my heroines, along with Joan of Arc and Zena Warrior Princess.

A little preamble on the preamble to my ‘Crash & Burn’ debacle…. MORE procrastination; Mark Twain/Oscar Wilde would be proud of me.

Yesterday was very important to me as I’d had a load of health tests done about mid-feb and I was to find out the results that morning… GULP!

I was quietly confident and excited, and nervously shit scared, to get them; all at the same time.
But they couldn’t have been better as I was smack bang in the middle of the healthy ranges for all of the blood/urine tests. I was over the moon, as you can imagine.
But it got better as I also found out that I no longer have megasomething or other aenimia (Spell Checker says anomia, what the hell is that? Time to hit google – It means: a form of aphasia in which the patient is unable to recall the names of everyday objects – Figures!
What’s aphasia? Google again: inability (or impaired ability) to understand or produce speech, as a result of brain damage. OH dear, that doesn’t bode well, considering I was previously put on mega vitamin therapy to prevent brain damage which I’m now off. Time will tell.)

God, I’m so easily distracted… but I refuse to let that googled anomia/aphasia stuff dampen my spirits. For my cup was about to overfloweth, as Shirley my sacked imaginary guardian angel would say.
After the nurse took my blood pressure – 3 times with 5 minutes between each taking – I found out my BP is actually on the low side. BLOODY BRILLIANT, as it had been up & down more than a fiddler’s elbow when hospitalised late last year, plus during my last tests in February it was on the high side.
I’ll write more about the Feb test results later, but here are my BP results from yesterday:

Sylostic (Bugger! Spell checker says stylistic) Pressure: 111 then 106 then 105

Dilostic (Bugger! Spell checker says dialectic) Pressure: 78 then 71 then 69

Pulse (At last! Spelt that on right) 69 then 65 then 64

I practically have the BP and pulse of an Olympic Athlete B) Maybe I exaggerate a little there, but those results are excellent. I don’t know who was more pleased me or the nurse.

I’d arranged to meet up with SM after he’d done his food bank outreach stuff in the townlet I’d gotten my results from. We had made plans to go over to my flat and do some work there but, on hearing my good news he thought we should take the day off, and go for a bite to eat to celebrate instead. I didn’t take much persuading… Sod the flat, and bring on the scran!

Anyway, before we ate, I decided I wanted to check out the charity shops first; all 10 0f them. We didn’t actually get to eat till late afternoon, because after scouring just 3 of the charity shops I THEN remembered another appointment I had at mid-day.
However, at the third charity shop I made a rather pricey purchase (for me) which floored poor old SM.

SM: You’re not seriously going to wear that now are you?

Me: Course I am. I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise, would I?

SM: Isn’t it a little impractical?

Me: What have practicalities got to do with anything? I’m in love with it.

You’ll have to wait till tomorrow to find out what it is I bought that so embarrassed SM, even though I think it’s the biz, and it suits me down to the ground to boot; quite literally.
Suffice it to say, my sojourn in the charity shop involved the KGB and The Wizard of Oz, with a bit of South Pacific thrown in for good measure, and Tolstoy put in an appearance too.

Chow for now X


Shirley’s still whinin' & cryin' about her/his/its lost wings. I just might take pity on the emotional blackmailing holy terror and see what I can do to rectify that.

Been up really early today as I have an appointment with the dentists at 10am, and I always get up early due to nerves when visiting the dreaded dentists. It’s only my six monthly check-up, and I reckon I’ll get the all clear. But you never know.

Also, today would’ve been mum’s birthday had she lived. But, never one to let death get in the way of celebrating a birthday, I’ve ordered 3 Blue Moon rose bushes to plant in her memory. These where her favourite roses (mine too) as we had an actual enclosed rose garden in the 1st house my parents moved to when they decided to move over the water. It had one solitary blue moon rose bush, which mum swooned over, nestled amongst all the other different ones. Its perfume was fantastic, and mum often mentioned it longingly.
I always meant to get her one before she died, but never got around to it. Still, better late than never and all that.
There’s just one problem. I ordered them just over two weeks ago and they STILL haven’t turned up, and I’ve got a little planting ceremony planned too for later.
Mind you, it did say on the website to allow 28 days for delivery. But they all say that to cover their arses, but stuff ALWAYS turns up just a few days later. Not this time though… Typical!

Mum’s rose bushes will also help to rectify the damage caused by dad’s and well bro’s manically over enthusiastic pruning. They’ve visited Armageddon on the back garden wall with that bloody chainsaw of my well bro and dad’s secateurs. There’s hardly anything left of the rambling rose, and nothing of the ivy and other things providing cover the birds when feeding. Apart from Cassidy the robin/robins and a few magpies hardly any birds visit anymore. I feel like taking the chainsaw to them too!
Dad says not to worry as it’ll grow back like wild fire. So why get rid of it all in the first place? But in their defence it was getting well out of hand.
I tried to carefully prune the back wall last summer. But when I was finally confronted with a massively tangled mess of greyish/whitish looking mini trunk/hairy bone ‘things’ I kind of gave up. This tangled mess was so huge and extensive it looked just like what I’d imagine a giant teradactryl’s (I’ve defeated the Spell Checker here; no suggestions at all) nest to look like, as follows:

Before my pruning last summer
back garden 1.jpg

Part way through my pruning. The teradactryl’s nest was under the few rambling roses that survived the nest’s hairy/bony stranglehold and extended all the way to the end of the wall. No wonder I gave up!
back garden june 2017 2.jpg

Granted that was a bit much. But those pair of vandals have laid total waste to the back wall. And they have the cheek to accuse me of always going to one extreme or another. They can talk! A bit of restraint with their pruning wouldn’t have gone amiss. I only have to look at that wall and I feel naked. God knows what the poor wall feels. Not that walls have feelings, but if they did I’m sure it would feel positively violated.
One of those blasted attachments coming up now. Given we humans can put men on the moon, you’d have thought the computer bods at CUK could work out a way we posters on the forum can put at least 3 piccies up, as we used to be able to do, without the third one being a pesky attachment. Spoils the flow. And I bet it appears at the bottom of post too.
back wall mar 2018.jpg
See what I mean. On second thoughts, maybe my dad and bro had a point. Maybe I’ll forgive them for the scorched earth policy they inflicted on the wall…. Maybe?

Anyway, talking of birthdays, yet ANOTHER pre-amble to my main pre-amble coming up. Even Mark Twain would be raising his spectral eyebrows at me by now, and Oscar Wilde’s shade would be accusing me of taking the piss in Victorian Speak. If ghosts exist that is, which, of course, they don’t.

It’s my birthday soon and, for the past few weeks, I’ve been dropping all sorts of discrete and ever so subtle hints and tips to all & sundry who’d listen about what I’d like to receive as pressies on this momentous (for me) occasion. Needless to say, I’ve been driving them nuts in to the bargain.

Me: You’ll never guess what happened to me in Superdrug this morning?

SM: Let me guess. You were caught up in the middle of a hold up by a demented junkie demanding “Morphine or your lives.”

Me: It was worse than that. I went in to buy some replacement brush heads for my leccy toothbrush, only to find out that those bastards at Braun have discontinued my model. I hate it when a product I really like gets discontinued.

SM: Don’t we all, don’t we all.

Me: It got worse. Not only has it been discontinued, but it’s about the only model in the existence of the universe that won’t take any other brush heads. How typical is that! EVERY SINGLE TIME I checked out the other brush heads, including the universal ones, they said on the back ‘not to be used with Oral B Vitality Sonic’. How annoying is that!

SM: Very, I should imagine. How long have you had it?

Me: Only about 7 or 8 years. 9 tops.

SM: Only 9 years! No wonder it’s been discontinued. Perhaps you can get spare brush heads for it on e bay or Amazon?

Me: The Superdrug assistant suggested that. Just one problem. Because they’re now rarer than hens teeth the sellers want about 20 quid for a measly two heads. That’s taking the Mick. For a few bob more I can get a latest technology brand new one ESPECIALLY as Superdrug have a sale on of them at the moment. Loads of them are less than half price. The model I want is only £22 and it’s got 3D action and a crossaction head, round too, and has a pressure sensor and quadrant bleeps and….

SM: There you go then. All you’ve got to do is buy this half price dental wonder and your problem is sorted…. Sonic is so yesterday.

JESUS H CHRIST! Can’t the man take a hint? To make sure he did, I spent the next few minutes googling.

Me: What do Harold Wilson, Nigel Lawson, YUK, Rupert Murdoch, DOUBLE YUK, Douglas Adams – he’s brilliant - Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen, I have a soft spot for him and his crushed purple velvet, Dave Cameron – OH, NOoo! Not him - Jesse Jackson and Junichi Sato have in common?

SM: I haven’t the faintest idea. Who the heck is Junichi Sato?

Me: He’s a really ace Japanese animator film director. But not as good as Hayo Mayosaki; that man’s a genius. I saw his ‘Spirited Away’ 6 times on the trot. The bit with the giant cat fish was sheer magic. I really like the one about a fly ace too who was pig and the one about the little witch girl who decides to give Deliveroo a run for their money by setting up a courier service using her broom stick…. And?

SM: And what?

Me: And what do they all have in common? Oh, hang on a mo…. It’s not ‘Call me Dave’ David Cameron; this one’s an Aussie canonist. Thank god for that! That’s weird. According to this website Jesse Jackson is five years younger than me; I thought he was in his eighties. He must have had a really hard life to look so old…. Oh, hang on. I didn’t notice the junior bit; must be his son…

SM: Now it’s my turn to thank god. I’ve always had a bit of a thing about older women, but you being eighty would be stretching it a bit…. I give up; what do they have in common?

Me: I’ll give you another clue. What day will it be in 3 weeks and 4 days’ time?

SM: How the blazes should I know? You’re worse than those police shows with detectives demanding to know what a suspect was doing between 9pm and 1am on a Thursday night 16 years ago.

Me: You’ve got a calendar on your smart phone; look it up.

SM: It’s the 11th March. Were they all born on that date?


SM: And what?

I gave up on subtlety at this point.

Me: You’re worse than my dad…. It’s MY BIRTHDAY TOO…. And I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY want an OralBPro6003DCrossactionelectrictoothbrushType3757

SM: Try breathing properly now. Why didn’t you just say so in the first place?

Me: Because it wouldn’t be a surprise then.

SM: Even if I’d cottoned on to your rather ham-fisted hints more quickly, it would hardly be a surprise, would it?

Me: Well no, but it would be non-surprise surprise if you see what I mean.

SM: Not really, no. I suppose you expect me to gift wrap it too.

Me: Too right I do; with ribbon and a great big bow as well, preferably satin. And a card too.

SM: For someone who bans Christmas more readily than the Grinch, you make a tremendous fuss about birthdays.

Me: I didn’t ban Christmas. We still had the huge nosh up and deccies and stuff. I simply suggested that we drop all that senseless spending of money nobody’s really got buying loads of tat for each other that nobody really needs or even wants. Makes sense to me, AND everybody agreed with me too, apart from you.

SM: I didn’t see you refusing my present.

Me: And why should I? You didn’t have to buy everyone pressies; that was your choice. I’d given you plenty of notice that we’d decided to ban the pressie stuff come Christmas. Still, I have to admit they were ace pressies.

SM: Glad to hear it, but….

Me: And another thing. Birthdays are specific to the person in question, and not some semi-mythical bod who may, or may not, have even existed over 2,000 years ago. Bit of a difference! And birthdays don’t bankrupt pressie buyers coz they only have to buy the one pressie for the one person, not loads of pressies for loads of people all at once.

SM: But one still ends up buying a lot of birthday presents over a year though.

Me: So! The operative words here being ‘spread out through the year’ and not having to buy loads all at once like at Christmas.

SM: It’s just as well not everyone thinks like you or huge tracts of retail industry would go down the pan.

Me: That might not be such a bad thing. I came to the conclusion that western civilization was dying on its feet when I had to stack advent calendars in Tesco’s.

SM: Now you’re anti Advent calendars too.

Me: Not per say. But these weren’t just any Advent calendars; these were Advent calendars for dogs. Dogs, for Christ’s sake! A squeaky toy I can understand or those Dreamie things for a cat. But dogs can’t read, and even dinky dogs’ paws would be too small to open those titchy windows, so what’s the point?

SM: You have a point. I daresay a piece of best sirloin would be better appreciated by our canine friends than cardboard and dog chocolate. Do you have anything special planned for birthday?

Me: Yes; I’m going litter picking.

SM: Litter picking!!!!

Me: Yup. On the shore to be precise. Didn’t I mention that to you earlier? The one I turned up to last Sunday had been cancelled due to the 50 mile an hour gale and freezing hail. First one ever the organisers had ever cancelled, apparently. Anyway, I promised to turn up to the next one before I found out it was on my Birthday. Couldn’t wriggle out of it then, after I’d promised and all, could I?

SM: Very community minded of you; have a Brownie Point. I suppose I’ll just have to cancel the weekend break I had planned for us over your Birthday. Still, for such a community spirited gall, litter picking and a half price toothbrush should suffice to celebrate your birthday, shouldn’t it?


But SM was only teasing, and he’s since rearranged this short break away for the weekend after my b’day. However, no matter how I’ve cajoled, threatened and even begged him to tell me where we’re going he’s kept/keeping well schtum (Spell Checker says Ischium: the curved bone forming the base of each half of the pelvis… Hummm! Stupid Spell Checker doesn’t even know German as I did spell schtum right.)
All I know is we’re leaving early next Friday, so it must be quite a distance away. Plus laptops/mobiles are banned, including his. Can I survive 3 whole days without my beloved laptop? I’ll either love it or go into techno-withdrawal; have to wait and see.

Anyway, given that SM had already sorted a pressie for me, this called for a change of tack regarding getting my new super-duper toothbrush. I hit on my well bro and dad instead. I pulled the same delicate hint dropping stunt on them as I’d done with SM. I think they got the message.
But there are two of them, so I pulled another similar stunt regarding another dental appliance.

Me: Those interdental mini-loo brush things my dentist recommend I use are doing my head and gums in; they keep bending out of shape... They’re a pain to use.

Well Bro: So use floss instead.

Me: That’s almost as bad. My teeth are so squished together I have to pull up-push down so hard with it I sometimes cut into my gums making them bleed like mad. And it’s damn near impossible to do the back teeth unless you have contortionists for fingers.

Dad: I don’t have any problems with the interdental brushes or floss.

Me: You don’t have teeth too big for your gob. But I’ve researched this, and what I need is a gum irrigator.

Well Bro: What the hell is a gum irrigator?

Me: It’s like a sand blaster for between the teeth, only using water and air instead. It’s a 100% more effective than flossing and it doesn’t make your gums bleed like flossing does. AND it gently removes debris from below the gum line to boot while massaging your gums too. It sorts out periodontal pockets as well.

Dad: What’s a periodontal pocket?

Me: Not too sure. But whatever they are, and if I have any, I want them sorted out with this pulsating water squirty thing.

Well Bro: Sounds good. When you get yourself one, let me try it out. If I like it I’ll buy one too. I don’t like flossing either for the same reasons as you.

Dad: I’ll give it a test run too when you buy one.

Bugger! Those two really are obtuse. So I hit google again.

Me: Bit of a historical quiz for you two. What do the following have in common? The sacking of Rome by the Gauls in AD537? Etna erupting in 1669 killing 15,000? And in 1986 1 million days had passed since the foundation of Rome on April 21st 753BC?

Well Bro: That’s your idea of a bit of a quiz! We’re not experts in roman history.

Me: I’ll bring it more up to date then….. What do these events have in common? The Great Sheffield Flood in 1744 killing over 250? Moscow becoming the capital of revolutionary Russia instead of Petrograd? German troops entering Austria, Japanese troops landing…

Dad: Japanese troops landed in Austria?

Me: Don’t be daft; I haven’t finished yet. The Nazi militia formed in the Netherlands and 1,000 allied bombers bombed Essen? Plus the first deportation train leaves Paris for Auschwitz. Oh my God, get this! In 1958 an American B-47 accidently dropped a nuclear bomb on a family home in South Carolina… how bizarre is that? And last, but not least, a tsunami hits Japan in 2013 killing thousands and causing the second worst nuclear accident in history.

Dad: What was the worst one?

Me: Dunno, I’ll have to google it….. It’s Chernobyl. So, you two, any idea what all those events have in common?

Well Bro: I do. They’re all disasters, like you being born. So I think they all happened on 11th March. Am I by any chance right?

Me: Sarcy git! As a matter of fact, yes; apart from the me being born bit.

Well Bro: Surprise, surprise!

Me: And for your information it wasn’t all doom & gloom. The first ever successful liver transplant took place on 11th March in 1926. And the EU banned animal testing in 2013 on that date.

Dad: As late as 2013; I thought banning animal testing happened years ago. Might have known the EU would drag its feet over something worthwhile.

Me: You are such an OTT Brexiteer, and since when did you care about animal rights? You’ve been reading that Daily Mail too much.

Dad: And you’re nothing but a whinging Remoaner.

Me: If that’s the worst insult you can come up, bring it on, daddyo!

Well Bro: Cut it out, you two. And who’d ever have guess liver transplants happened so long ago. Just as well, little sis, in case you ever need one. Just think, they’d have had nearly a hundred years practice by the time they get round to you!

Me: Swivel on it, baby bro! And the ashes of Gene Roddenbury of Star Trek fame were blasted into space in 1997 and….

Well Bro: ENOUGH! You’re worse than a 10 year old banging on about your birthday. If I have to hear just one more obscure fact to do with your birthday I swear to god you won’t make it to your birthday in one piece.

Me: I take it then that you don’t want to know what the average house price was in the year I was born. Or the price of a pint of beer or the average wage or….

Well Bro: NO!!!!!!

Me: They were £2,770, 1 shilling and seven pence and £826 respectively… so there!

Well Bro: You’re a total pain the arse. But as I don’t want to be sent to jail for sistercide, I’ve got an idea. Why don’t you write out a long list of pressies you’d like to receive? That way you’ll won’t actually know what you’ll be getting, or from who, until the day itself, but we won’t be wasting our money getting you something you don’t want. That way everyone’s happy and you can stop torturing us with your non-stop birthday reminders.

Me: You mean like a wedding list?

Well bro: More like a Crimbo list kiddies send to Santa the way you behave. So how about it?

Me: I’ll do it right now…. Ace idea, by the way.

Well bro: Thank f..k for that!

I spent ages composing my list, with prices to suit all pockets, of things I really wanted. There’s only 7, maximum 10 people, who’d bother buying me a pressie so I was determined to come up with a list of 15 pressies so’s I really won’t know what I’m getting till the day itself.
The last on my list is Black Opium perfume for no good reason other than I couldn’t think of a fifteenth pressie, try as I might. So I bunged down black Opium because as I was scratching my head trying to think of something, its advert came on the telly, and I really liked the music and shape/colour of the bottle.


Talk about judging a book by its cover which, incidentally, I’ve done loads of times before. Some of the best books I’ve ever read I only bought because I either liked the cover illustration or title, sometimes both at once. Who knows, if anyone buys me this Black Opium, I might even like how it smells because, as of now, I haven’t the foggiest idea.

Think I’ll go for a walk now to take my mind off the dentist’s visit. It’ll be dawn soon, the sky’s cystal clear going by all the stars that are out strutting their shiny stuff. This means there should be a really good sunrise. Sometimes the sunrises here can be more spectacular than the sunsets.

Wish me luck at the dentists :dry:

OPPS! Got that wrong about only 2 photos and that blasted attachment appearing at the bottom post. Nobodies perfect :whistle:

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