Work like you don't need the money.Love like you've never been hurt.Dance like no-one's watching.Sing like no-one's listening.Live like there's no tomorrow.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Big Pants and the emotional forecast

I am prepared to lay a bet there are probably very few men who aware that, women's pants can be a very reliable method of forecasting the mood and demeanour of their female better- halves in the hours and days ahead? Women have an extremely complex psychological relationship with their undergarments which cannot be underestimated! Whilst they are very likely to talk about what their underwear is covering, sisters and girlfriends' conversations about their knickers themselves are rarer than hen's teeth! This is not because the topic is boring but simply because a woman's choice of pants is incredibly private and we are rather sensitive about it and we wouldn't cope at all well if it were analysed!

When a girlfriend took me to M&S and shared the identity of her preferred cottons, it was a symbolic moment almost akin to becoming Blood Sisters. We solemnly collected up every single pair; black and white, in our respective sizes and marched to the till daring someone to challenge the fact we were wiping out the entire stock. A good pair of knickers is a friend for life; well at least until the elastic goes and sometimes for a good while after! Women attach sentimental meaning to the underwear. Many wives keep the basque knickers suspenders and garter, they wore on their wedding day if only to marvel at how on earth they fitted into them? And that is the key to our love affair. It is all about the right fit. Or at least the right fit for the right day.

Any man standing boss eyed with boredom while their beloved is handpicking their new knickers must surely be wondering why on earth their is such an infinite variety of cuts and fits of knicker? The men's department will only tend to stock perhaps five or six different makes of pants which concentrate mainly on the merits of airflow and containment. But for a woman, regardless of her age or dress size; her knickers can make or break an outfit! That dear menfolk is why a woman has to have new lingerie to go with the dress, shoes, bag etc etc. Of course the bottom line is modesty and draft exclusion but a good knicker maketh a woman.

Women, if put under pressure, will grudgingly admit they have knickers lurking in that chest of drawers, not only for EVERY occasion but for EVERY emotion. For example, I accidentally bought some knickers in my size and took them home; taking silent pleasure in their pristine whiteness in my shopping bag. However on removing the packaging I realised that a MAXi BRIEF was not by any stretch of the imagination brief, in any respect? In fact, on examination, it was clear that I could comfortably shelter in them against storms, whilst camping on the north face of Everest. But despite my fleeting disappointment I decided to keep them because you never know when they might come in useful. A few days later and after a somewhat challenging week I woke this morning feeling completely mentally and physically exhausted. So after a bracing cup of strong tea I reached for the big pants. Why? simply because with big pants you cover every eventuality. No VPL (they practically hug the back of your knees), No Muffin Top over the waistband of your work trousers and absolutely no chance of the horror of Wendy's Wedge (the female equivalent of Builder's Bum see BOB the Builder for details).

These particular knickers rose snugly to just below my breast bone and I felt comforted that I could take on whatever the day could hold. So I threw caution to the wind and put on a pair of white linen trousers. To wear to work. To wear whilst making pizzas with a group of 2 and 3 year olds! Thus as I bent over to spread passata for one of the children there was a collective gasp from my female cohort! "Mel" my Boss asked hesitantly "Is everything all right ?" following her gaze in the direction of my XXL's I understood her anxiety. A large, glacial expanse of armpit hugging cotton was on view, not looking too dissimilar to a surgical brace although clearly not. The concern in the air was palpable. "Oh I m fine!" I replied breezily" Just bought some knickers in the wrong size but needed something anti-VPL under these trousers." My colleagues nodded sympathetically but clearly privately considering if this was a precursor to some kind of mental breakdown. As every woman knows, no girl puts on her XXLs unless her grip on reality is faltering or she is dealing with some MAJOR Fat Demons.

However there is the flip side of the coin.. the special occasion knicker. It is no coincidence that when women buy a new outfit they have to buy smalls as the icing on the cake because the lovely knicks will probably never see the light of day ; but they might and there's the rub! No self respecting woman gets married without glossy virginal whites or perhaps ivories to show she's second only to God at that moment? Likewise, when women want to impress in the boardroom, playground or bedroom, it is all about the right bra and knickers. I am not alone in having lucky knickers and I defy any woman to contradict that.? They are the silk and lace or for the minimalist among us, sporty cotton numbers that have got us EXACTLY what we wanted; WHEN we wanted it and HOW we wanted it. That set , speaks volumes about our inner Goddess and are testimony to the times when we are on top of our game. When discovered amid the greying elastic of the usual knicker drawer, they are an instant trip down memory lane rendering you breathless in way you probably haven't been since the last time your wore them! For every saggy every-day knicker, there will be a pair that shout "This is who I am supposed to be!"

Of course there will also be an eclectic collection of near misses; the red lace and black satin number that he thought you meant when you said sexy; much more top shelf "Loaded" than the Agent Provocateur that you had in mind. Then the eponymous thong. Whoever created the thong clearly hated women. Why would anyone combine a cheese slicer, a string vest and Lycra all in one design? They NEVER look good, rendering most women to look like they are doing a good impression of a rolled brisket of beef. Thongs are one of those items when the saying "Less is more" definitely doesn't apply. Apart from being excruciatingly uncomfortable they look utterly hideous if accidentally glimpsed over the waistband of your most expensive jeans. If God had meant women to wear thongs he would have put our reproductive parts on our shoulder to be nurtured and rendered us smooth as a Barbie underneath? Better to be bare than risk of feeling like a tightrope accident?

So, black, white, sporty ,stripey or floral, our knickers should be friends for life and when the stakes are raised and the going gets tough, you can guarantee that us girls will be quite literally be wearing something to cover our ass!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

There is a hole in my bush and other horticultural Farce

The Weather although hardly subtropical, has turned Spring like and my mother decided the time had come to face the horror that is my garden. Two years of thorough neglect and the unfettered destruction wrought by two hairy canine berserkers, has made eighty foot of gravel and turf come to resemble the battlefields of the Somme.
So armed with steely determination, extra thick garden waste bags and rusty secateurs, my Mum took on the garden and managed to prune, hack, scoop and shovel it back into some semblance of order. However she got a bit snip- happy with the privet hedge and now there are tempting holes through which the furry terrorists have been hurdling into next door's garden.
There they have made merry; liberally fertilising my elderly neighbour's lawn, digging crater size holes and burying their terrifyingly prehistoric- looking bones that the local butcher gives us, under her prize petunias!
Mortified, I tried to block the holes with garden chairs but to no avail, as with ears flying and tongues lolling in derision the dogs simply used the garden furniture to vault the obstructions and carry on their nasty playtime with glee! So my Mother and I conceded defeat and decided it was time to "Call a Man in".
After admiring my friend's immaculate ,velvety new turf and woven willow fences, I rang her gardener who, after a few near misses (him turning up to view the garden whilst we were sitting in A&E with the walking wounded) finally agreed to come and assess the problem, on a sunny Tuesday evening. Simultaneously my Mother phoned another chap who had popped his card through the door, to come and "Quote us happy" for fencing the boundary between the two houses. However due to a breakdown in communication, neither of us realised we had arranged for both Gardeners to come at the same time, on the same evening?
Already slightly lacking focus from a glass of wine with Supper, my Mother answered a knock at the Door and greeted a small, dishevelled man covered in bits of mown grass, who said he had come to see the garden. Assuming that he was the chap she'd arranged to come and quote for a fence and calling him by the wrong name, she led him up the garden to look at the boundary. Then came another knock at the door and I opened it to Tall, handsome "Quote me happy". Realising my Mother's error and that Tall handsome was here to quote for the fence and Small dishevelled was here to quote for the turf, I tried to interrupt my mum who was in full flow explaining what height fence posts we would need. Small dishevelled was looking suitably bemused, as his strengths clearly lay in shovelling, weeding and turfing rather than bevelled panels and concrete posts, but he was far too polite (or confused) to interrupt her and even responded to her calling him Matt when he was really called Alan! Meanwhile Tall handsome (you obviously can't be small or ugly and deal in large panels and gravel boards) was trying discreetly not to laugh at my discomfiture.
Mortified that it appeared that I had invited them both to engage in a quote off for the job I decided to engage Tall handsome in a muted conversation about the best way to erect a good barrier. Now I have been out of the game for a while and the farcical situation had thrown me off my guard. Tall handsome fixed me with his cornflower blues with a smile playing around his lips and asked me what the problem was? Unused from lack of practice, to being flirted with overtly and slightly overcome by this unexpected upsurge of testosterone in my back garden I replied that I had a very big hole in my bush and I needed something big and strong to fill it! (OMG OMG OMG!!) Rising to the occasion he said he had exactly the right thing for the job and could fill my hole very quickly with no problem and that the thing for the job came in six inch increments! Then.. and I swear on my life this is true... he added "Fnah Fnah!"
Well at that point my inner teenager took to the fore and I fell about laughing, scarlet with embarrassment squeaking something about it having been a very long day and that wasn't meant to sound quite the way it did?
At this point my Mother came over suspiciously to make sure I wasn't being won over by his earthy charms and demanded what he was going to do about my turf because it was looking a moth eaten and could do with fertilising adding that it hadn't been seen to in a while!
Spluttering incoherently I tried to explain that Tall handsome was the fencing man and that Small dishevelled was in fact the gardener and wouldn't know about a good solid upright if it jumped up and bit him? Meanwhile the two men eyed each other competitively vying to out quote each other, while the dogs circled sniffing their crotches enthusiastically!
Eventually I managed to give the correct attention to each chap and explain the confusion and apologising profusely for the chaos.
Sadly it seems that Small dishevelled will come in at the right price for the work and so will have to be the man for the job . But both my Mother and I agreed, that although more expensive, it would be churlish not to invite Tall handsome back for a little monthly maintenance of this Lady's garden!