A Younger Woman’s Bed

I went to Stories Aloud last night for their first birthday. Yay Sarah. Good work. There were two authors there who both agreed that – newsflash – writing needs to be worked at. It is probably arrogance ( I am reminded of the famous Thatcher reply when asked if she was pretentious – who, moi?) but as writing is one of the few things I seem to be happy plugging away at and quite enjoy I have decided to give a slightly longer piece a go. I have a thing about slightly edgy titles as I believe it accomplishes the internet version of a flashy cover in Blackwell’s et al. The bed bit is coming. I promise.

Her name is, well, that’s not important and I met her through a friend. She has two neurotic cats that I think I am allergic to, in a nice little flat in Oxford. Being the all round super guy that I am I stepped in to cat-sit when she had been let down at the last moment and they had already paid for their tickets.

On the surface it is just fine. A seven-day sideways step can’t be that tricky. Can it?

I have turned on the slightly baffling monster telly two or three times now. Turns out that it is possible to watch all-day police pornography shows with satellite TV. Who’d a thunk it? 20/20 cricket is ok, though not as soothing as Test Match stuff but the gem in all of this is a channel called Sky Arts HD. I didn’t know the Dirty Digger thought culture was anything other than something that grew on old yoghurt.

Opera’s, organ recitals and the like. organI was fascinated as they tried to sex-up an organ recital by placing cameras inside the organ and then doing tight-in shots of  hands and feet playing the beast then immediately cutting away to the corresponding action shots from within. I am now much better informed as to what happens inside all the guts of the organ. Strangely though, I was just enjoying the impressive panning shots of this behemoth of an instrument and the up-skirt internal organ shots added nothing. Still, I guess they are trying. However, I can take about 20 min then it’s telly off and back to my book, or more usually my keyboard.

I have shopped for what I eat and drink in Waitrose so am more comfortable that I don’t need to survive on Kraft Dinners kraft dinnerand an odd little coffe machine. Proper espresso, industrial strength from a Bialetti stove top type thing. There is always that slight frisson of “will it explode and kill me with some cheap cast aluminium shrapnel?”. I find the post-brew survival adds to the caffeine buzz. Cheese, red wine and bananas were also lacking. No fear Waitrose is here so all is good on the comestibles front now.

In my bedroom I have an old mattress that needs changing, an orthopaedic pillow – that also needs changing – but most importantly of all I have a lovely down duvet with nice John Lewis Egyptian cotton bed linen. In her room it is a nice but slightly too firm mattress, bed linen with a bit of synthetic fibres making me sweat like a man on death-row capped off with a synthetic duvet. It doesn’t drape very well but rather it just uses your body as the apex point to form a mini circus tent. Due to my increasing years and general softness – I talk about Rule #5 but don’t always follow it – I want the duvet to settle over me and form a nice and gentle hermetic seal all around my body.

I am not used to waking up in a young woman’s bed slightly cold and sweating on such a regular basis.

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Blovember #20 – On Swearing

There is a perennial debate about whether using expletives in written or spoken exchange is a sign of intelligence or stupidity. Before writing this I did a bit of digging and this topic has produced much debate through the millennia.

Unsurprisingly, the bible covers this off in typical “this is bad, don’t do it” style. After all, what would one expect from the manual documenting the rules by which religion attempts to control it’s followers. It has also been through so many iterations at the hands of so many special interest groups that it is no surprise that you can find a version that says what you need it to. For example: Ephesians 4:29 apparently tells us, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

Define unwholesome exactly? This is the nub of the swearing argument as there is no hard and fast list of “unwholesome words”. In some circumstances an appropriately used fuck may help those who listen. However, to paraphrase from the good book; one man’s meat….

Yesterday I used the word fuck in my post and a friend remarked on this possibly not reflecting well on me. In my circles an appropriately deployed fuck is both acceptable and necessary. In theirs it isn’t. That’s the way it is. Ranting and repetitive use of the word fuck, to me, is unnecessary overkill and spoils the effect. To others it fits just so and to them it adds the emphasis they feel is needed.

I can get on my intellectual high horse and look down on them for overuse of the word fuck. Others can do the same to me. If you invest the word fuck (or many others, fuck is a good example) with power to shock and offend then it will do just that. Additionally, you weaken yourself because anyone who wants to try and shock/offend/unbalance can then use this utterance to do so.

My mother, raising three boys as she did, had a great reaction to overhearing one of us say fuck. We were collectively marched to the bookshelf and the Oxford Dictionary of Slang was produced. We were made to look up the word fuck, recite the definition and use it in a variety of sentences. Took the fun right out of it. FYI it is first found in use in 1475 in an old English poem called Flen Flyys. However you slice it there is no denying that  fuck has turned into a very interesting word. I wish my dear Mother also had this explanation from Monty Python:

From unwholesome swearing to reading and research  in one easy step. Fucking cool eh?