Saturday, April 30, 2011

Whatsername of high barnet...?

Have had major memory lapse.  For the life of me I can not remember the name of that singer, you know, the amazingly talented one who was all skin and bones and big hair, and all you ever read about a couple of years back.  she of the bloodied ballet pumps, kohl, car crash lifestyle, appalling taste in boyfriends/husbands, whose cuddley daddy used to be constantly wading in, bailing her out, cleaning her up, shouting 'she's all right, she's just a youngster..' to the baying media, before thrusting her back on stage.

This was apparently the best UK singer/songwriter of her generation.  someone super gifted who could play a variety of instruments, pen globalwide hits to which she would overlay her unique deep husky pitch-perfect vocal chords. And wasn't it a shame that she's such a tragic, tortured genius whose path of self-destruction is depriving us music lovers of more of her aural ambrosia..  blah blah, yadda yadda, tut tut, hmm.

She didn't self-destruct, much to the disapppointment of the slavering ambulance-chasers - she just slipped into obscurity.  I've got a couple of her CDs for goodness sake but can not remember her name.  It was only a few years ago, Back to Black....there's a tube joke for god's sake...  Man, maybe this is early onset alzheimer's, or maybe it's the transient nature of pop genius. Adele who..?

but no, she of more tatts than skin and precarious beehive, my mind's a blank.  Hold on, I know.  Will google...    

amy winehouse. phew, thank god.  i am at peace.  

Where is she now...? 

Not sure, but I saw her on the tube once.... Really..?...Yeah, yeah, she got off at High Barnet (sorry), never to be seen again.

Sheer class

Tis true.  I admit there may, on this here blog, have been the odd weary mutter and dispairing sigh at some aspects of British psyche.  But there is no nationality I'd rather be after yesterday's performance.  It was pure class, breathtaking beauty, pomp and pageantry at its jaw-dropping best, and nobody in the world could do it better. Never considered myself a Monarchist but frankly, long live it.  This was an event that has singlehandedly restored global respect in our little battered Isles, and lifted the mood, nationwide.  Makes one puff one's little chest up with pride.

What's more, those Middletons are utterly gorgeous, all of them.  What cheekbones, hair, elegance and poise!  She may not be blue-blooded, but thank God!  There may at last be a glimmer of hope that the delectable Duchess's pristine genes mingling with Windsor blood finally do away with the long face and horsey gnashers that so predominate the clan.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hooked on blog ranking, that's 'ranking', with an r...

Am 20 posts down. 

When I started this blog, it was to get my lazy arse seated at a desk and feral fingers disciplined and tapping at a keyboard.  Essentially it was to instil the scribe habit.  I was/am doing it for noone but myself.  It has no theme - neither misery nor comic - nor is particularly practical, any one of which one has come to expect from a blog.  It is merely stream of consciousness random babbling and utterly pointless blah.

Like most things in life started with good intentions, I fully expected my interest to wane and this little project, like so many before it, to fizzle and die relatively young in the tooth. 
But then I discovered a whole new dimension behind web logs that I hadn't realised existed. One that keeps the blogger blogging, checking in, contributing.... 

It's the stats.  Don't be alarmed, but I can see who's read me, and where.   Not who precisely of course - no names, urls or any personal stuff, but what country the blog's been accessed from, what device has been used, and interestingly, which key search words browsers have tapped in to lead to little ol' moi.

Obviously, the vast majority of those who have arrived at chasing the plot will have done so by accident, chasing one or other comedy, misery, practicality scribblings aforementioned, or more likely, tittilation, only to be bitterly disappointed at finding the mad mutterings of a mid-life critical female country dweller.

they will doubtless not make the mistake of 'opening me up' (is that blog speak?) again, but tis interesting never the less.  In the three months I've been posting I've been 'picked up' (maybe that is) in singapore, ukraine, iran, the philippines, brazil, canada, as well as of course the usual US, UK, Germany, France euro states etc

I can see which of my posts are the most 'popular' by which I mean accessed the most, as opposed to liked... and based on this can categorically declare that that the predominant driver (not tech speak in this case) fuelling all those sticky search engines dotted across the globe is, you guessed it, porn.

the tatler post is the current leader, notching up over the twice the pageviews of its closest rival.  This it seems, is because it mentions Tatler's 'prettiest school girls'feature..oops, I've done it again (watch the pageviews mount.  Hmm, mount.. that'll doubtless bring a couple in).  It's all about search engine optimisation.  Following some way behind (behinds) Tatler is surprise, surprise, Brazilian Warning, about waxing, that is complete depilation of women's pubic hair - that's pubic. hair. women. you see what I'm doing here...? 

and then some way beneath the pornographers come the techies - the ipad posts are coming in at third and fourth most stumbled upon plot-chasing posts, and then it's the girlie magazine stuff - eyebrows, fight the drab/glamour chasing (girlie and glamour, sorry can't help myself). The rest of my ramblings are like the long-odd contenders, stragglers  in the Grand National, huddled, bumping and stumbling over Beechers Brook only to unseat rider and trot leisurely, and rather late, over the finishing line.

All in all, it gives one an insight.  If i'm to achieve world domination (that's domination..) and have all the countries coloured in on my little blog map i must insert, erm, and I apologise profusely for this, wank words into each and every post.  Or indeed any that could be construed as such.  Which clearly seems to be pretty much every other word in the English language. 

I shall report back on just how well this post does as part of my experiment - note labels below...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A nation of dreary scowlers

We are so repressed and dull in this country.  whatever you feel about the royal wedding and the monarchy, it's an excuse to party.  get out, get some wine down you, jig on the spot, let your kids play with their kids, have a laugh, see everyone having a laugh.  Instead all we hear about is how bored everyone is with the forthcoming royal nuptials, the need to escape it yad yadda yawn... 

Says a lot about a nation that we're quite happy to ogle it on the box (apparently 58% of us plan to watch it on the telly) but couldn't possibly be seen to be doing anything that might be construed as enjoying it...5% will actually take part in a street party.  the British are crap at having a good time, even when it's offered them on a plate.   there's some kind of shame associated with it.  We have no joie de vivre - even the expression is bloody foreign.  it does not translate. The nation throws a party and nobody comes.

instead of using the event like the French, Spanish, Italians would, we'll be slobbing and scowling on the sofa like the Royle family, tutting over the cost of this and that - 'don't they know there's a recession woteva woteva'.  when we leave the house it'll be to drag our flab to the pub to moan some more into our six successive pints, so we can whinge louder uninhibited.

case in point...there's a busker in exeter who sings swing like one of those fabulous old crooners, accompanied by a Palladium big band courtesy of his ipod and PA system.  You can't walk past him and not be lifted by his 'Fly me to the Moon', flick a hip at his 'Lady's a Tramp', stomp the ground at his 'Mack the Knife' but everyone resists, suppresses, scuttles past, eyes down.  On the continent, people would stop, appreciate the poor guy, grab one another, fill the precinct dancing...   In this country, regardless of the sun shining and him trilling, we must get on, rush to get back to the dross - grey little offices, insipid boring lives.

I lived in Madrid for three years and discovered another way.  I recommend anyone feeling the drag into the vortex of incessant gloom and bah humbug that's so peculiar, and endemic amongst us brits get themselves to the continent sharpish and rediscover how to have fun.  Seeing and hearing this busker, we stopped, my two-year-olds and I.  The twins swayed, bopped, and waved their arms to the music and I had a little bounce with them.   We were the only ones.  They started moving to music pretty much as soon as their little brains registered it, dancing as soon as they could stand.  It's something I plan to encourage until I'm old and decrepit - succumb to the urge to move, party, have fun, and don't let the British default-to-dreary smother it.   Even if it means packing them off to Spain. arriba arriba.   

I know, I know, I promised not to be rant, but need to vent every now and then....

Monday, April 4, 2011

Breast-feeding twins

There's an item in the news today, about how more help is going to be provided to mums of multiples trying to breast feed.  The report featured real-life stories of how these women's cries for extra help went unheard by various professionals yadda yadda.....'

Firstly wasn't my experience. Secondly, is it just me, but we seem to be blighted with this 'woe-is-me, why isn't someone heeeelp-ing me, sob sob' attitude these days, instead of just getting on with it.

when i was in hospital following the birth of my twins I had a bed that at the press of a button would slowly fold to prop me up to sitting, where I could feed, watch telly, chat, issue orders.  Nurses would appear like clockwork to administer painkillers (post caesarean) apologising profusely if a little late.  I had a nurse from neo natal visit every three/four hours throughout the night to check the babies were feeding/I was feeding them. but if I still needed help there was another button by the bed which you could ring for assistance.  I considered this emergency only.  Others were more liberal, regularly reaching for their bell, and I would hear nurses running up and down the corridor as pumping on the alarms got more impatient.  Notwithstanding there were certainly some valid cases for which urgent help was required, I can guarantee the vast majority weren't.  It was like bloody upstairs downstairs. We had our meals provided, a caretaker would bring tea and biscuits morning and afternoon and we could summon our exhausted servants/nurses to our attention at a whim.  All courtesy of the NHS, and all, from what I could see, blithely taken for granted. 

Maybe I was lucky.  Everyone I encountered in the birth of my twins was extraordinarily helpful.  the hospital provided me with a giant U-shaped cushion that I could happily balance both babies on to feed simultaneously, and I had lovely comforting midwives whose mission it was to latch them on should I have target trouble, and ease my pain. i have no issue, only praise for the hospital care, after care all the plentiful care, so much care, I received from the state. 

My problem with breast-feeding was two-fold and all my own.  Such was the double demand on my somewhat modest mons that after a few weeks they would become so engorged between feeds they'd be rock hard.  Twin domes that were stretched so full, they were like pumped up Pamela Anderson beach balls fit to burst.  Very tricky for a little mouth to latch on to.  Come feeding time, I'd extract each from my bra and like garden sprinklers they would spray pressurized milk across the room.  It would be a frantic race to get the babies on before quantities of the stuff was wasted.  My mother in law who'd regularly visit to coo over her little granddaughters adoringly, frequently got it in the eye, but ever polite would just dab it away, pretending not to notice.

As the weeks went by my breasts would get fuller and harder, and more excrutiating to carry around.  I  would need a crane to prop myself up in bed as using my arm to lever myself vertical was sheer agony (and there was no mechanical folding bed at home, or button to press).   Not only that but something about my prolactin levels (hormone responsible for milk production) would cause me to have night sweats. Like you wouldn't believe.

It started the first night in hospital when I'd felt a little damp but put it down to the hospital-regulation plastic pillows and bottom sheets.  As the days passed it got worse.  After a few weeks I'd have to wear a towelling robe to bed, such was the deluge.  Like clockwork the sweats would start at 1am and continue for a couple of hours until I was literally lying in a cold pool.  If awake I could feel it happening, like taps under my skin all turned on to full simulatneously. One minute I was dry, the next drenched.  Each night I would get up looking like I'd just emerged from the shower, hair dripping, and bleary-eyed discard wet towelling robe for one that was dry, then feed the babies.

this went on night after night for months, about three, until I started combination feeding.  At three months my twins were on formula, and before I get all those breast evangelists cussing, it was because they weren't getting enough from me, something they made abundantly clear by punching and clawing and howling at each emptied breast they'd ravenously sucked dry.  It was either formula or hungry babies, and personally, not least because it's bad for all our nerves, three-month-old hungry babies, in stereo, can never be a good thing.

so there you go.  My problems with breast-feeding were all my own.  I was very grateful for the help I received which was plentiful, but I don't think any additonal multiples-related help would have, well, helped.  As a grown, relatively intelligent adult who had managed to get pregnant, I'm not sure further twin-specific spoon-feeding's really necessary when it comes to breast feeding.  Is it?  Really?  i mean, our mothers weren't, nor theirs, nor all the others preceding us, throughout civilisation. 

It being a blame culture though I will blame them for my short-lived breast-feeding.  My antecedents that is.  It is they who are collectively responsible for not making me better endowed, and probably, the minxes, for that prolactin nightly charm offensive.  They have a lot to answer for.