MM is feeling guilty, because she doesn’t have much time for blogging at the moment. New posts are in the pipeline, I promise… and lots of reading, too.  In the mean time, here is my contribution to today’s daily prompt about junk. I’m fascinated by the way nature or humanity repossesses unwanted objects that are abandoned.  I’ve got a fair few pictures I took with Candide Canon -here are a few examples I found locally. I hope you enjoy them!  MM.

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The Final Curtain

Try as I might, and much to PF’s amusement, I have never managed to avoid shedding an emotional tear or ten when faced with a pint-sized line-up of singing pumpkins, wise men or flowers at primary school events. I’m a soppy so-and-so, and being reminded that my kids are growing up way too fast kicks me viciously in the lacrimals each and every time.

Needless to say, there is nothing delicate or feminine about an MM going into emotional melt-down. Unlike the delicate mums who roll their eyes towards the ceiling to subdue the solitary tear in each rimmelled eye, my face generally crumples up like a 2CV in a motorway pile-up. I then reach into my pocket for a tissue, realise that I used up the last one to clean my hands after I dripped diesel on my fingers at the petrol pump, and end up with a choice between my sleeve or a vintage shopping list.

Kleenex logo

Kleenex: my trusty sponsor for thirteen years. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This year I was proud to get away with red eyes and a large lump in my throat. Thirteen years of primary school for my children had flashed by in what felt like the blink of an eye, and before I knew what had hit me, I was in the playground for the last junior school concert I would attend for one of my offspring.

Wonder Woman had already set up residence in the front row with her groupies, and was impatiently drumming her perfect nails on her video recorder (which, needless to say, had both a fully charged battery and a memory card). I will miss seeing her and her immaculately groomed kids. For those of you who don’t know her, Wonder Woman is the misunderstood matriarch of the maternal mafia. She’s the one who lurks by the refreshments stand at the school fête to police the access to her organic carrot cake. When you battle up the hill to school on your battered old egg-beater of a bike, Wonder Woman is the one who overtakes you with a sadistic, self-satisfied smirk, comfortably perched on her electric broomstick bike as she glides up the hill like a sinister, modern-day version of Mary Poppins. And at the concert, Wonder Woman was the one who had attacked her kid with a pair of curling tongs, making her look like a crossbreed of Orphan Annie and a Crufts contestant.

A hybrid of Orphan Annie and a Crufts contestant.

As I can see you wondering, here’s a hybrid of Orphan Annie and a Crufts contestant, courtesy of Little My and Smelly Dog.

The show began. A member of staff started battering at her glockenspiel as if it had done her an injustice in an earlier life. The beaming music teacher gesticulated wildly in front of the class, and stabbed her finger energetically at Annie Cruft, who obligingly broke into a warbling, off-key rendition of a Polynesian lullaby.

It took me a while to spot Little My in the sea of costumed children. My daughter was hiding in the back row, swaying imperceptibly in her Hawaiian dancer costume. My throat tightened as I glumly realised that this moment was soon to be archived in the family records under “Primary”. A wave of emotion welled up in me, but it was nipped in the bud by the wonderful sight of a miniature Speedy Gonzales. He was singing half-heartedly in the second row, gazing into oblivion from the shade of his sombrero as he absent-mindedly ferreted in his nostril in search of an afternoon snack.

The show was fantastic  – except for one vahiné who ended up in tears when her safety-pin let her (and her grass skirt) down mid-tamuré, it all went smoothly. The children had come a long way since the infant school gigs where baby squirrels seized up in a panic attack, dropped their papier-mâché nuts and ran off screaming into the arms of embarrassed mummy squirrels in the back row.

Speedy Gonzales (film)

Now you know what Speedy gets up to under that hat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The spectators were fun viewing, too. A small child danced in a happy trance in the no-mans land of trailing cables and maracas between the pupils and the parental posse. An adult tutted, turned and stared malevolently at the kid who was kicking the back of his seat.  Beaming grandparents took photographs. A child loudly announced that he wanted to pee and stumbled his way along the row of seats with his embarrassed father, who tripped over the tripod of the man who was filming the show just when he’d made it through the jungle of legs.

As the cast lined up to a standing parental ovation, babies wailed and grandmothers wiped away proud tears. Speedy Gonzales wiped his finger on his trousers. My face tried to fold into maternal origami, and I swear I saw Wonder Woman rolling her mascara-ed eyes towards the ceiling to catch the tears. Annie Cruft waved enthusiastically to the audience with one hand and readjusted her knickers with the other as the curtain fell on my Primary parenting years. It was time for us to start a new chapter in life….. but only after one last slice of Wonder Woman’s organic carrot cake.

To Russia With Love


Love (Photo credit: praram)

“There are a great many opinions in this world, and a good half of them are professed by people who have never been in trouble.”  

I wonder what Chekov would have made of the international outrage caused by his country’s behaviour recently. The Russian government has created a sorry buzz in the media as it openly brews up an anti-gay storm. It’s as if they were deliberately trying to goad the Western world into either boycotting the Olympic Winter games in Sochi or tacitly condoning their behaviour by attending.

On the 11th June 2013, the Russian Duma voted in Federal Law  No. 135-FZ. Behind this innocuous title is a law that puts a legal lid on any talk about homosexuality to under 18’s. It concerns the “Protection of Children from Information Harmful to their Health and Development,” and makes it illegal to “spread information aimed at forming non-traditional sexual behaviour among children, suggesting this behaviour is attractive and making a false statement about the socially equal nature of traditional and non-traditional relationships“.

Strangely enough, whereas an impressive 137 hours of debate about the recent French bill for same-sex marriage resulted in 331 votes for and 225 against the bill, the Russian bid to hush-up homosexuality was voted in by a vote of 436… to zero. Only one brave (or eternally optimistic) person abstained, and probably rushed home to change the locks and adopt a family of pit bulls with titantium-tipped teeth. It’s enough to make you wonder if voters had been given the choice between a vote in favour of the proposal or a voucher for a free, unlimited stay in a Siberian salt mine.

Two hands holding

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lots of things could be said about this, but here are a few of MM’s musings. Apart from the “minor” issue of being openly discriminatory, the terminology of this law needs to be more precise. For example, to accuse someone of encouraging “non-traditional sexual behaviour,” you first have to define what traditional means. It conjures up the unpleasant image of Igor doing a preliminary Cossack dance with a rose clenched between his teeth, switching off the light and honouring a blushing Olga wearing full local dress. (That sentence was deliberately ambiguous. Who is wearing the local dress? It could be Olga or Igor. Who cares, and who would know anyway? The light’s out.) I would therefore recommend either a public referendum on the subject, or calling in some international political colleagues with hands-on experience (I believe that France and Italy both have one) to help them with this difficult task.

The Duma also seem to have overlooked the fact that this law (no doubt unintentionally) states that homosexuals are not the social equals of citizens in “traditional” relationships. They should correct this, as I’m sure they don’t want small-minded citizens to see it as official permission to beat up their neighbour. I’m also flummoxed about why anyone would spend their time trying to “recruit” for the gay cause – what do they think gay people are, sales reps? If you want a law to protect the health and development of Russian children, ban vodka and fast food, not freedom of speech.

In for a penny, in for a pound, another law is in the Kremlin pipeline, giving Russian authorities the right to withdraw children from their parents if one of them is gay. Having gay parents is not good for children and could influence them to become gay when they grow up, they claim. That would be logical, except being brought up by straight parents doesn’t necessarily make you straight. I may be naïve, but I’d like to understand what the problem is if someone does grow up to be gay.

Rainbow Bot

Photo credit: Jenn and Tony Bot

So some Russians are gay? Whoopee. Get over it, and move on. A gay person is no more dangerous to you or your children than any other person you pass on the street. Being gay is not contagious, a fad, a fashion, or a “phase” someone is going through. Nor is it a choice: who would choose to experience intimidation (or much worse) on a regular basis?

These moral crusaders are touchingly convinced that their own offspring will not become victims of the suffocating, intolerant world they are creating for them. So think about it.  Set the example for future generations. Dare to think outside the box. I’m going to stop ranting now – I’m off to check that nobody is hovering around outside my house with a suspiciously pointy umbrella.

Happy Birthday, Bigfoot.

Seventeen years ago, you changed my life for ever. You lay on my stomach and looked at me as your father nursed his nail-indented hand and the football team of nurses waited impatiently to complete their birthing routine before the next mother arrived in the maternity ward. Your eyes sought mine and locked on, and we were a team. No screams or tears from either of us. The rest of the world disappeared, and I have never forgotten that first soul-searching look, your impressive calm. In the space of a few seconds, you read me like a book. We’d only just met, but we’d been together forever.

I came into your room this morning to wish you a happy birthday. I noticed again that when you sleep, your expression is the same as when you slept in the maternity ward.

I thought back to that day. I cannot describe the fear I felt. You were four, and when the specialist told you to play in the waiting room whilst she Continue reading

Alex, the Love-Sick Adonis.

“Alex from London” popped up on the right-hand side of my screen when I signed in to Facebook a few months ago. He was incongruously sandwiched between an advert for weight-loss solutions and another for a magic potion promising to banish my wrinkles forever. The fickle and unreliable adverts for miracle remedies changed daily, but Alex has flashed that shy grin at me every day since. I systematically ignore his ad, and as I sign out, I imagine him dripping tears of solitude into his glass of Chianti as he realises that he has been given the virtual brush-off once again.

Action Man

When love makes the ideal man go to pieces… (Photo credit: Mr Jaded)

According to the dating agency description adorning his photo ad, Alex is a “sophisticated single with higher expectations” (whatever they may be -more about that anon). His photo positively oozes suave masculinity and physical perfection – to such an extent that you are almost tempted to meet him, just to turn him upside down and check if he has “Made in Taiwan” stamped on his rear end. He has sparkling blue eyes, a square jaw, carefully tamed morning shadow, and an affable smile. The open top buttons of his impeccably ironed shirt reveal a perfect torso, possibly sculpted by a healthy combination of a fat-free diet, weight-lifting and Tai Chi.  But for my suspicious mind, it was primarily a sign that Alex is either an unhealthily meticulous and narcissistic bachelor, or that he still lives with his Mum. My fertile imagination galloped on to the conclusion that he has had a strict English upbringing and a good Oxbridge education, enjoys All-bran and a cup of fair-trade coffee for breakfast, and scrupulously irons his own underpants.

Although Alex is not my cup of tea (I prefer to meet a man before his hair migrates from his head to his chest), he is no doubt the scoop of the century for many women.  This metrosexual Prince Charming could sweep practically any woman off her feet if she has had enough of spending her evenings with womankind’s two favourite men, Ben and Jerry.

Ben & Jerry's

Ben & Jerry, two men known to comfort and reassure women without asking for anything in return. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So why on earth is Alex still single after three months of in-your-face advertising? If his huge salary, lean muscles, impressive qualifications and designer flat in Kensington do not attract even the least demanding female, something decidedly fishy is going on. Let’s face it: a single Alex is about as plausible as auctioning an evening with George Clooney and only getting a 50p bid from the toothless granny in the back row.

Or maybe there’s another explanation for his lack of success. After all, surely men like him are too busy carving up notches on the bedpost or getting modelling contracts – or both – to bother getting their Y-fronts in a twist over settling down? Here are my suggestions:

1. It’s a conspiracy. Facebook invented him to see if I really do love P.F. as much as I say, and is monitoring my every move with the firm intention of calling him in his office to rat on me the minute I click on that picture to find out if Alex still lives with his mum.

2. Alex suffers from self-imposed speed-dating due to halitosis so potent that it could stop a rampaging elephant in its tracks, meaning that every date does a runner as soon as he holds her face in his manly mitts and starts whispering sweet nothings. Or maybe those good looks hide the fact that he has the vocabulary and conversational skills of the average brick.

3. Alex is an imposter who has “borrowed” a photo of someone else, and is in fact a socially inept couch potato with a nasal whine who spends his evenings muttering incantations and eating entire packets of chocolate Hobnobs as he seeks his ideal spouse on the net. In this case, Alex, your secret is safe with me: like all the other women who have seen your photo, I am a tall, beautiful and slender nineteen-year-old Russian redhead named Natasha. I have three PhDs in rocket science, a generous banker of a father, breasts like twin watermelons and no intention to mess up my life (or my pelvic floor) by starting a family.

4. The prospect of Alex’s “higher expectations” may be a little off-putting for many women, and explain the lack of willing candidates. What exactly are we talking about here? Not all of us are into swinging from the lampshade with a copy of the Kama Sutra clenched between our teeth.

The Dating Game

The Dating Game (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So Alex, I’m off to click on the button that tells FB that I don’t want to see your mug shot anymore. You should contact “dubious date dot-com,” and ask for your money back. Then go over to your local superstore and hang around the section that interests the ideal girl for you: Beauty products for a girl who is pretty and dainty, DIY for a down-to-earth lass, the book section for an intellectual or philosopher, and the organic vegetable shelf for a girl with henna tattoos and dreadlocks who goes with the flow and swims to Nicaragua to do volunteer work every summer. I sincerely hope that you find love and happiness. Good luck, kiddo.