Tag Archives: advice

I Need Your Advice Please

I’m thinking of doing/organising some fund-raising, for our pretty little (inner city) Anglican Church. The funds would be for boring things (we don’t need a new steeple, or something sexy like that), so we are going to have to inspire generosity from a pretty cold start. Also, the congregation are mostly old and poor and the surrounding population is 70% Muslim… This may turn out to be quite a challenge.

Apparently, jumble sales and the like do not make much money anymore. It seems the availability of cheaper brands of clothing and the work of charity shops has made “jumble” redundant. I’m not sorry really, I bloody hate jumble sales.

I looked into those wristbands that various  charities sell. They’re fun but quite expensive, unless you invest a fortune. Also, ordering more of those to be made just seems like yet another way to pollute the environment. Have you ever raised funds using them? Are they worth ignoring the negatives?

I’ve thought about sponsored events but I don’t really like the idea of bothering people for money, to see me sitting in a bath full of jelly for ten hours. Ugh. Also, we’ve only just had a sponsored hymn night.

People like food, don’t they? Maybe I could make some sweets (chocolates, candy etc.) to sell. Or get someone who can actually bake to make some cakes. Please could some of you share any simple recipes (for sweets/chocolates/candy) with me?

Also, if any of you can suggest any tried and tested craft ideas (of the small fund-raising variety), I would love to hear them. I’m willing to put in the effort, if you KNOW they are worth making.

I know I could Google all this… But I want to hear from REAL PEOPLE about what ACTUALLY WORKS. I trust people who have the good taste and intelligence to read my blog. I’m not so trusting of companies whose main motivation is to sell me “St. Agnes Church” key-rings.

I did have one more idea and that was the internet. Father Stephen already runs a pretty kick ass website. I thought maybe he should set up a page about needing funds and put up a PayPal button, or something? I will suggest it to him, if people think that might work. We are in rather a difficult place to raise funds, so more fortunate Christians might help… But whether or not Father Stephen would do that, I don’t know.

Am I missing anything else? I don’t think a fashion show would work, by the way, unless it was for Zimmer frames, or embroidered hankies.

Thanks in advance!


Americans: This Is A Jumper

We all know there are lots of words that Americans get wrong: They call crisps “chips” for instance, they call a lift an “elevator”… That’s all pretty well-known, Brits have got used to it and tried to make allowances for such mistakes. However, some words that Americans get wrong are more obscure and frankly just CONFUSING. As far as I’m concerned, Americans need to be re-educated about these words and taught to use them properly.

What if I wrote a blog entry about Brandon and said, “Bran was going out, so he put on his favourite jumper”? Americans would go “WTF?” and imagine my son wearing THIS:


They would, of course, be WRONG. Despite his admittedly camp demeanor, Brandon hasn’t been out in a DRESS yet. Not even a PINAFORE DRESS, like the one above.

So what would he be wearing then, if I said “jumper”? He would be wearing THIS:


Which is NOT a dress, it is a JUMPER.

Look at it, learn the name, FORGET the dress. Repeat after me “THIS IS A JUMPER”. Congratulations! You are now speaking English!

Ten Ways To Annoy Your Cat

Unlike dogs, (who are stupid, loyal and think everything is BRILLIANT), cats are highly-strung, selfish and supercilious. They take advantage of us and are never grateful – often spending time at a neighbour’s house, to get extra treats… So how can we get even?

Ten Ways To Annoy Your Cat

1) Discuss your cat loudly (while the cat is in the room). Repeatedly say the cat’s name and occasionally laugh. The cat will eventually look paranoid, with flat ears and shifty eyes. Job done.

2) Keep opening cans of peaches, peas, anything that isn’t cat food. The cat will greedily run to the kitchen and then look miffed. Hilarious.

3) Dress your cat up. Baby clothes are good fun, or maybe just a big, silly bow. The cat will try to  hide under the bed, in shame. Take pictures.

4) Copy your cat’s movements, when it is washing. The cat will gradually catch on, until it sits motionless, tongue half out, staring at you in angry disgust. Have fun with this idea but don’t accidentally lick your genitals, or the cat wins.

5) Whistle, in long, low, mournful notes and sit still. The cat will look confused, revolve its ears a bit and then come and try to put its head in your mouth. Stop until it goes away and then start again. Repeat until you get bored.

6) Fuss over a cuddly toy, while your cat is watching. Stroke the toy and tell it how wonderful it is, whilst completely ignoring your cat. The cat will come over and try to get your attention, finally flopping down in a jealous sulk. Leave them to fight it out.

7) Play a game called “It’s Raining”, whenever your cat finds you in the bath, or with your hands in water. The cat will get wet and angry. Pretend to be sympathetic about the unexpected weather.

8) Speak to the cat, in its own “language”, remembering to make it the most grotesque parody possible. The cat will be embarrassed and confused. With luck, you might even miaow something offensive.

9) Keep turning your head suddenly and staring at your cat intently. The cat will feel incredibly insecure and flooded with adrenaline. Priceless.

10) Post about your cat on the internet. The cat will mourn the loss of both privacy and dignity… Well, mine do anyway.

World Cup Team USA: How To Do A Post Match Interview

So, England and the USA are both still in the World Cup – although it pains me to admit, the USA won our Group, whilst we qualified to continue in the competition as the “runners up”. Oh, the shame.

Does this mean I will now stop trying to educate Yanks about football? Of course not! Today’s lesson is about the Post Match Interview.

Yesterday, after watching England’s thrilling win against Slovinia, Dave and I watched highlights of the USA’s victory over Algeria. At the end of the highlights, there was an interview with USA goal-scorer, Landon Donovan. I have to say, the American interviewer had no idea how to talk about football and nor did Donovan. Dave and I were actually CRYING with laughter at them both.

Let me give you an example of what a PROPER post match interview (with the winning goal-scorer) SHOULD sound like:

REPORTER: Great goal, how do you feel?

SCORER: Over the moon… I hit the ball, the ball hit the back of the net and the rest is history.

REPORTER: I bet you and the boys will be celebrating tonight?

SCORER: We’ll have a few beers, yeah.

Now let me compare that with random quotes from the American post match interview:

LANDON DONOVAN: “I’ve been on a long journey, for the last four years…”

AMERICAN REPORTER: “What does it say about the player you’ve become, and the leader you’ve become, that you were able to pull this off …?”

LANDON DONOVAN: “People who know me closest, know how hard I have worked for this moment…”

I don’t know if I can really explain this properly but football is a very complex thing. It is both a religion AND a solid, no bullshit, working class game – where men talk like men and scoring a goal is poetic enough, without poncey sentiment and navel-gazing. The post-match reaction should not sound like an Oscars acceptance speech, or an endorsement of football as “therapy”.

Remember: Nothing introspective, no long words, no sentiment and don’t thank God (or your parents). Ball in net, men glad, drink beer.

You’re not in Hollywood now, Team USA.

Manipulative People

One thing that makes me very tired, as I grow older, is dealing with manipulative people. When I was young I bought into all their bullshit and took their feelings to heart, even as they coldly refused to consider mine. I had a habit of romanticizing people in my head, so I tended to put a positive spin on lots of negative behaviours that people displayed… Or rather I listened to the positive spin that THEY put on being cruel, or thoughtless. I’m still not immune to all the techniques that people use to get their own way but now I quite often SEEM to be getting sucked-in, whilst really I’m just monitoring the situation and deciding how long I’m going to let it go on for.

 Here are some translations of the games people play, and the things they say, when they want you to let them get away with being inconsiderate to you:

“I’m very hard to get close to… But you’re special, I trust you.” = “You’re SO lucky that you get to listen to everything I want to say. That’s quite a privilege, so don’t blow it by saying anything I don’t want to hear.”

“I’m honest, I always speak my mind, no matter what people think.” = “I’m rude, suck it up.”

“I have a lot of things to deal with right now but at least I know I have YOU to turn to.” = “Don’t tell me any of your problems, just listen to mine.”

“Sometimes I go into myself and don’t want to talk.” = “Sometimes I have something better to do than talking to you, so don’t expect me to make time for you then.”

“You’re so good to me! You got me the only presents I got this year.” = “Thanks for the presents! See how important it is that you buy me presents!”

I’m not into birthdays and Christmas, I never buy anybody anything.” = “You’re not getting any presents back.”

“You know what I’M like…” = “I’m selfish, suck it up.”

“I never think people really WANT to talk to me… So it’s better if YOU contact ME.” = “You make all the running.”

You get the idea.

Sometimes it IS nice to be warm to someone who seems sad or lonely, whatever the reason. But often the reason they are like that, is that they don’t give a flying f*ck about anyone who isn’t pandering to them… And that means YOU, if you (in the fullness of time) try to ask for a more equal relationship. I’ve “enabled” more bad and selfish behaviour in my time than most people… Mostly because I thought that if you could show someone how good it felt to be on the receiving end of some niceness, they’d automatically want to return the pleasure. When you’ve supported someone for ages, through thick and thin and then they don’t actually care when you need some TLC, it hurts BADLY.

Don’t try to melt someone else’s heart of ice and break your own heart in the process. Lay some rules on them and limit what you will do if they don’t reciprocate.

10 Good Reasons To Have Children

1) You Become An Adult: This is probably the best reason to become a parent… You’ll finally have to really grow up. Once you are a parent you can no longer allow yourself to be afraid of the dark, afraid of bees, drunk every night, or going without food in the house, “Because I bought a new Xbox game”. You mature, you think things through, you get over yourself… Because you now have some perspective. Usually.

2) Reproducing Your Genes: Let’s face it, once you’ve managed to meet the partner of your dreams and you’ve built a little home together, having a child is the logical next step. If you are worried about the environment, concerned about overpopulation and questioning the future of the planet…You are exactly the sort of person who should be breeding. God knows there are enough idiots doing it, and they have to be counter-balanced.

3) Buying Their Clothes: Tiny little baby clothes. Cute kids’ clothes. Cool, hardcore, kickass, teenage fashion (or alternative clothing). All great fun to buy, but they won’t fit you in middle-age… Or even if they will, you’ll look embarrassing. Kids are your ticket into the shops that you can’t normally shop in and it’s great fun to choose clothes without reference to your own fat belly. Mind you, it doesn’t always work – Brandon wanted to buy a horrible, chavvy, pastel-coloured polo shirt last week. I was all, “Get this T shirt! It’s BLACK with skulls on!” but he refused to entertain the idea. Damn.

4) Sharing Their Toys: I don’t need to explain.

5) You Can Use Them As An Excuse: “Oh I’d love to come and help you move house but Brandon has a temperature and he feels sick”. Or, ” I’ll have to get off the phone now Mum, Little Johnny has his head stuck in the bannister”. Perfect.

6) Retribution Is Yours: Ever been in a restaurant and seen kids running wild and throwing food? It’s SO frustrating that you can’t shout at them or hit them. However, if they are your own kids…You CAN! And everyone will applaud you for it.

7) Explaining Sex: Some people think this is a HARD part of parenting. Personally I loved it. Especially when one of my sons (naming no names) told me that masturbating sounded “disgusting” and that he thought he probably wouldn’t take it up. HAHAHAHA!

8) Telling Lies: If you lie to your friends and colleagues, you end up being put in a mental home. But with your kids, you can say anything you like. And better still, they believe you! Mine thought I was a secret agent, a magician, German and (at one point) their adoptive Mother. Of course, you have to tell them the truth after a couple of years.

9) Watching Children’s TV: Everybody knows that some of the best shows on TV are aimed at children but if you don’t have kids you have no excuse to watch them. Or maybe you just won’t notice them. Without Brandon, I would not have seen Pingu, for example.

10) Securing Your Future Care: Even at the exact moment that you are wiping your kids’ arses, you know in your heart that one day they will be doing the same for you. Or paying someone else to do it. And what boy can resist digging his old Mum’s garden? Or mending her roof?

Are These The Worst Flirting Tips Ever?

I was looking around online (to see what other Wisdom is out there) when I noticed a link to some of the most inane flirting advice I’ve ever seen. Really, I’m sure there are robots that could think of warmer, more flirty banter than this. Ms. Liz H. Kelly has had a book PUBLISHED on the strength of her advice… But if I couldn’t do better than her I’d give up.

So to make myself feel better, I’ve written replies (or my reactions, where replies are too painful to contemplate) to the 10 email flirting questions, that she thinks will help “ignite sparks online”, when sent in response to a potential date’s Profile. Or something. Silly bitch.

Where did you get that fantastic smile?
Cringeworthy and completely unanswerable, in any serious way. What are you supposed to say? “Genetics.” or “I’d just got laid.” spring to mind. This is the sort of approach that lonely, desperate people use, thus making certain that they will still be lonely and desperate tomorrow, and the day after.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor and why?
Mint choc chip. “Why?” WTF? Who (over the age of three) says “why” to that? How the f*ck do I know? Genetics again? Any exchange that starts with this question is going nowhere, faster than courgette soup goes through my bowels. Really, is that the most interesting aspect of my fabulous existence that you can come up with to examine?

What is the most romantic place that you’ve been on a date?
This question is just WRONG. It asks me to cast my mind back to a unique situation, where I was in love with SOMEONE ELSE. Seriously, we haven’t even met yet  and I’m thinking about my old boyfriend already. At least say “…that we could GO on a date together” and make it about the future and about US.

What would you do if we got stuck in a snow storm in the mountains?
“Try to radio for help. Dig a cave in the snow and try to make my rations last. Try to hit the correct balance between maintaining warm blood around my major organs (by resting) and keeping frostbite out of my toes and fingers (by moving). I might write a will or a goodbye note to my loved ones. Are you there? Oh OK, I might kill you and eat you to survive.”

If you were going to take me out for a romantic evening, what would we do?
Something cheap.

What is your favorite thing to do with a partner for fun?
Sex. Or in your case, bowling.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?
OK, this question isn’t quite as bad. It doesn’t try to force things by saying “romantic” for a start. It sort of tempts me to say “I’m not sure, remind me where you are again…” though. And then leave them to work out whether I’m planning on visiting them, or planning to put as much distance between us as possible.

How long have you played guitar? (Ask about something in their profile.)
Possibly the LEAST interesting reaction when you find out that someone plays guitar. It would be better to ask what type of music they play, whether they sing too, if they’ve ever performed to an audience…But just “How long have you…” is dull. And DULL. It’s like “I’ll ask you the question that will elicit the shortest answer, that way I won’t have too much to read or remember before we get to f*cking”.

Wow, is that your cute golden retriever? (Compliment something in their photograph.)
My replies would be “NO, it’s my MOTHER!”, or “WTF? How did THAT get in my picture?”.

When are we going to meet to find out whether we would ever want to kiss each other? (Depending on the person, you can sound cute using this one)
Depending on the person. Like depending on whether or not they have special needs. If a woman said this to a man…Meh, he might not care, I mean it opens the door to some possible physicality. But if a man said this to me I’d translate it as, “When am I going to find out if you’re pretty enough to deserve my attention and whether you’ll put out or not.”

Responding to profiles with flirty emails IS a challenge, I’m sure, but the tips that Ms. Kelly has come up with are PAINFUL. They’re like the ANTI-FLIRT. Don’t do it, back away from the keyboard…Heh.