Multifarious Musings from Outside the Comfort Zone.

A non-writing author is a monster courting insanity. It appears to be true of bloggers too. I can already hear the rumble of discontent and the budding debate about how, when and indeed if a blogger could or should be considered a writer… but this blogger is propped up in her bed, coffee cup at hand, and her Sunday morning neurones don’t want to go down that road.

Kafka’s words have been leaping out of the screen at me for weeks – I came across them on a crowded Google image screen during a hectic day at work, and put them carefully on my desktop as a reminder that I needed to give myself some writing time. I have been away from the blog for a while – although I have written many posts in my head during my thrice-weekly sallies outdoors, the hamster wheel of self-employment has been turning far too fast for me to find blogging time since the beginning of the year – both a blessing and a frustration for a self-proclaimed “word nerd”.

We are all multifaceted, and MM is no exception. We constantly evolve and as we do, we sometimes ask ourselves if there isn’t something more to life than our immediate comfort zone. We occasionally feel an inexplicable and insatiable need to empty the closet of our mind and refill it with new things, yet cannot bring ourselves to banish certain comforts. So we package them up carefully, put them away on a shelf for future reference, then turn towards exploring personal change and renewal with the reassurance that we have not burnt all our bridges behind us.

A need to challenge and test myself reared its head at the end of 2014. Waking up to the same old me peering over the edge of the reassuringly comfy slipper of my life every morning, whilst pleasant and reassuring, had also become strangely predictable, tarnished by my frustration of being unable to eliminate the small, niggling imperfections that are constantly putting a grain of sand in the otherwise perfect machinery. Papounet often laughed and said, ‘Happiness is the spacetime between two mishaps”: life is never perfect, and there will always be something providing the legendary cloud on the horizon. This links up nicely with the candid wisdom of MMD (MM’s Dad – love you, Dad, ‘cos I know you’re reading this -) when I whined “It’s not fair!” as a child: “Yeah. Well, life’s not fair.”

A whole year has gone by since Papounet died, and the jam-jar moments continue. A jam-jar moment is what happens when the sight of a trivial everyday object, such as a half-empty pot of blueberry jam, opens the floodgates on the dam holding back a lake of memories and emotion. Yet losing people you love teaches you unexpected lessons that make you a stronger person. For me, this lesson was that although we are all relatively anonymous and unimportant in life’s great plan, we all make a lasting impact – good or bad – on more people than we imagine. Papounet, Grandma, Uncley, Rick, Grandpop, Auntie Laura, Mamie and many other people I loved who are no longer here today had helped me to kick existentialist ass – we do play an essential role in other people’s lives, whether it is intended or not. I remember taking this photo of a poster last summer at the gardens of Heligan, one of my family’s favourite haunts in my home region; I realised at that moment that although people disappear, they remain very much alive in my everyday life.

IMG_5461

I am currently reading a book that illustrates this beautifully – written by the Bishop of Norwich, Graham James. (When I said I was stepping out of my comfort zone, my parents will probably agree that this is a prime example.) Called “The Lent Factor”, it takes a fascinating approach to Lent and describes 40 people he refers to as his “travelling companions”. All deceased, they influenced his life in one way or another. He illustrates through the chapters how people, even those we meet fleetingly, can affect our vision of life and our relationships with others: “They are all part of my personal pantheon. They have all joined with and crossed and belonged to each other through their influence on me and what I believe and the person I have become.” We are, indeed, very much the product of our interactions with others, and in turn, we can affect what others become, often without knowing it.

Losing someone who had this effect on our lives is also a reminder that each day should be savoured as if it were the last, and this feeling has been reinforced for me as I see the world around me dive into a spiral of unfathomable evil resulting from a twisted, blinkered vision of humanity. But in my immediate bubble, all is well. So one year after Papounet’s death, I pulled on my trainers and took his memory for a run. As I jogged through the vineyards, I felt the sun on my face, admired the bright expanse of yellow rapeseed set against the mountains and the blue sky and the gnarled fingers of the vines awaiting the summer, and told him how happy I was. That life is good. That we have not, will not and cannot ever forget him. That we have no idea how much time we have here on this earth, but that we all have the choice to leave a positive trace for someone behind us to keep and build on. Just like he did.

 

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A Letter to Papounet.

Check, Papounet....Little My playing with you last summer.

Check, Papounet….Little My playing with you last summer.

Dear Papounet,

Since you passed away, I keep finding myself talking to you out loud. The stray cat you used to feed comes running every time, and your neighbours must think I’m one can short of a six-pack as I chat with thin air. I’m writing to you on my blog, because you were a regular reader – you even wrote “MM” on the last envelope I received from you. Knowing you, you are already hooked up to St Peter’s internet router with a glass of punch in your hand, because that’s the kind of person you were.

I hope that you found your eulogy acceptable. I wrote my own eulogy for fun once, but I never thought I’d have to write a real one – why did it have to be for you? None of us wanted corny, tear-jerking crap, so I put a dose of MM humour in there, and we managed to raise a laugh at your funeral. I’m sure that the vicar will get over it. (That, and the assorted platters of cold meat we cheerfully offered him afterwards – the resident font frog nearly keeled over with shock, and we had to revive her with a glass of orange juice. In all the kerfuffle, we had forgotten that it was Good Friday. I can hear you laughing from here.)

Grief is a weird thing – we’re new at this game. I You’ve been gone for exactly thirteen days, and the feelings are still raw. Your favourite magazines are still in a neat pile, and your armchair has been literally shouting into the room for attention. Nobody has moved your favourite cup. Everything has changed, yet in appearance, nothing has changed. Life appears to be suspended in mid-air, waiting for you to walk back in and slam the door.

Yesterday, the wind whipped through the olive branches as I pegged the laundry out to dry, coaxing a silver ripple out of the leaves on its journey to freedom. I pulled the flannel from the tangled pile, and the tears welled up.

I angrily wiped them away and lectured myself. Who cries for a flannel?

I do.

I’ve become an emotional crumple zone. PF had been surprised to see me cry when I saw the pot of your favourite jam sitting on the breakfast table. Ordinary, everyday things now spark off a wave of feelings – inanimate objects have suddenly and inexplicably started yelling your name at me, whispering memories into my ear.

Like the flannel. I pegged it on the line and stared at it. The last time I had held it, I was joking with you in the hospital room. I had taken the flannel, a basin of hot water, some soap and the nail clippers, and took care of your feet. As I trimmed your toenails, you recounted the history of the scars on your toes. A nurse came in, and you asked her to take me on. I enquired if there was anyone she didn’t like on the ward today, and offered her the nail clippings to put into their coffee. She declined. You grinned.

Shortly afterwards, PF called and asked me to give you a hug and a kiss. So I carefully snuggled up on your shoulder and you put your arms around me. I kissed the warmth of your neck, and told you that it was from your son. Then I blew a gentle raspberry on your skin, and it tickled. You laughed out loud. I stood up, took my bag and promised that I would return with PF and your grandchildren, and you promised that you would wait for us. I turned in the doorway and told you to fight, flexing my biceps. You pulled a face, and did likewise. I blew you a kiss, and you said good-bye. I cried on the motorway – you had never called me “ma fille” – “my daughter” – before that day.

I kept my promise, and you kept yours. It will take us some time to adjust to life without you. For the moment, life is a bowl of toenail clippings – you would have enjoyed learning that expression. I’m proud to have known you, Papounet… and I know you’re still here with us.

Love,

MM.

Real Friends in a Virtual World: Thank you.

Have a glass of rosé, people! I had a surprise a couple of days ago – I discovered that it was my blogging birthday.

The war-torn veterans of this blog may know that MM has been polluting the blogosphere with her multiple meanderings for two years now. When I started out, I wasn’t sure how long the blog would last, or where I was going. I wasn’t seeking fame and fortune or trying to sell myself. I just wanted to get my writing out of my kitchen – somewhere other than in my head. When I clicked on publish for the first time, my heart practically leapt out of my mouth.

Then I got my first follows and comments, and I was dumbstruck. I hadn’t expected anyone to come across my blatherings, let alone read them. And when I saw the same people coming back again and again, I suddenly realized that I had become a tiny part of a complete stranger’s routine. A stranger who looked forward to reading more. It was scary, but I liked it.

I have pressed that “publish” button umpteen times since, and still get the same thrill out of it. But the most beautiful thing I have discovered is the unexpected support and friendship that has grown out of this blog. I started this for the writing, but meeting you wonderful people and reading about your lives on your blogs has become the best part of blogging by far. Although I’m trying hard to balance it out, I still feel that I have got so much more out of the blogging world than I put into it – all thanks to the human contact and input of the blogging community.

I used to say “thank you for the follow” when I started blogging. Two years later, I’d like to rephrase that as “thank you for the follow-through” – the humbling proof that real friendship can be found in a virtual world.

So happy birthday to us. To celebrate this milestone, I would like you to watch this. I suspect that if I was a nun, I’d be more a Sister Act than Mother Teresa. This young Sicilian nun is a reminder that you should never give up on a dream because of your choices in life, and that we should never judge a book by its cover. Just amazing.

Evicting Mr Merlot

As she walked past the cupboard under the sink, she heard his muffled call. Clear to her, yet imperceptible to others. Laura opened the cupboard and obediently pulled out the bottle. Her brain registered satisfaction as the cork popped and the velvet red remedy tumbled into the stemmed glass.

Mr Merlot – as she had baptised him in a heated, one-sided argument with the wine bottle one evening – had been her companion since Vincent stormed out in anger, dragging Emily in his wake and leaving her in a terrifying silence. Her friends had long since fled, leaving her with two-faced Mr Merlot: her best friend, and her worst enemy. He anesthetized her pain and gently creaked open the flood gates retaining her sadness. He was like her; he hated to be alone, and refused to return to the cupboard until he was spent. So she gratefully drank up his company, right down to the bottom of his bottle-green soul.

Laura winced as she remembered Emily’s hot, tearful face against hers, the day Vince had left. But the judge had ruled that she wouldn’t get her daughter back until Mr Merlot disappeared from her life. She pulled the doctor’s card out of her pocket and inspected it as she sipped at her glass. It was battered at the corners, just like her.

Raising her glass to the kitchen, she silently admitted that she was dependent on the bottle – just like she had been dependent on Vince before he left her. When Laura had stepped off the well-worn rungs of the medical career ladder on to the homemaker’s wheel, she had never intended to stay there for long. She surfaced fifteen years later, and looked up through her domestic haze to see her husband teetering at the summit of his career.

He became increasingly distant until that fateful evening. She had fled to the garage, opened a bottle and methodically drained it in an attempt to forget his words.

“Take a good look at your life,” he had bellowed, glaring at her across the dinner table. His fork remained suspended in mid-air as his eyes locked on hers. « You’re useless, woman!”

She had merely offered up a wry smile in response, telling him: “If you wanted something useful, you should have married a Swiss knife.”  Karma promptly bit her on the backside – he fell in lust with a young medical student from Zürich with DD cup appendages, legs up to her armpits, a Ph.D and a tubal ligation.

Laura was startled out of her thoughts by a movement in the hall, then realised that it was her own reflection in the mirror. She put down her glass and approached with a combination of curiosity and fear – when was the last time she had looked in a mirror? She had avoided looking herself in the eye for too long. Her hesitant fingers traced the length of her cheekbones, then slid her hair neatly behind her ears. The mother in the mirror was tired, but not beaten yet. Deep in her mirror image’s green eyes, she saw life. And her daughter.

A sudden wave of resolve carried her back into the kitchen. Flinging open the kitchen cupboard, she opened and emptied the bottles. “I’m not useless,” she calmly informed the last bottle. “Goodbye, Mr Merlot.” She laughed out loud as the blood-red wine gurgled down the drain, then pulled the card out of her pocket and strode purposefully towards the phone.

Photo credit:  dontshoot.me!

 Note to my regular readers: I have signed up to “Tipsy Lit” in the hope of widening my writing horizons, meeting more bloggers and testing my limits in writing fiction. This post is  my first contribution. My choice of topic is unfortunate given the title of the blog, but it’s what came to mind when I read the challenge… Find the prompt and more entries at http://tipsylit.com/.

Should we let sleeping blogs lie?

I don't have any photos of a sleeping blog, so here is my sleeping dog - Smelly Dog.

I don’t have any photos of a sleeping blog, so here is my sleeping dog – Smelly Dog.

Every so often, I drop by to see you. I’m concerned, but you don’t know. You are comatose, frozen in time. Your stats line bleeps in surprise at my occasional visit, yet no beautiful nurses run in with Dr Carter to wipe your brow and call your family. Nobody does that for a blog. You are a sleeping blog, hanging in the void – waiting to discover if you will be reanimated, remain in creational hibernation, or disappear with a simple, decisive click of a mouse.

As time ticks by, I think back to when I first discovered you. You were one of the first blogs I followed – your positivity made me want to get up, get down, get out, get going and otherwise groove, James Brown style, as I read the latest batch of posts over my morning coffee. You were among the first real people (as opposed to robots) to send shivers of pride down my newbie blogger’s spine when you not only “liked”, but commented on my efforts.

Then suddenly, your posts ceased. I still pop by from time to time, and sigh as your post from six months ago fills the screen, the comments politely paired up below with their replies, like happy couples waiting for a table for two at the diner. I feel like a drug addict, staring through the chemist’s window at his fix of happiness on the shelf.

Never underestimate the effect a good blog post can have on the start of MM's day. You count.

Never underestimate the effect your blog post can have on the start of MM’s day.

I often hope that something wonderful happened to you. Maybe you had another baby, won the pools, inherited a Swiss chocolate factory or got swept off your feet by the working mother’s answer to George Clooney (with or without the coffee machine). Or has something awful happened? Maybe you got the dreaded blogger’s block. It was impossible to conceive that blogging could have fallen out of favour – if I love blogging so much, then surely other bloggers do too… or maybe they don’t. Maybe your life has evolved and changed, and your need for blogging has passed.

My finger has hovered over the mouse so many times – should I write a new comment, and see what happens? Would a quiet nudge in your cyber-spatial ribs revive you?

Thus the question reared its ugly head: should we let sleeping blogs lie?

Hands up if you have ever clicked on that email contact form to check if a fellow blogger is ok… I plead guilty. I nudged a favourite blogger in the past when he uncharacteristically stopped writing. I admit that I was concerned – was he ok? On the other hand… was it really any of my business? Why was I concerned about a person I had never met before? It could be perceived as rude – after all, who was I to get pushy? But could I do without my fix? No. I was uncomfortable to realise that my reasons were also selfish: I missed his posts and the interaction on his blog.

As you follow a blog, you inevitably become involved. You follow a life story, and strangely enough, a bond is created between people who don’t know each other from Adam. Two bloggers who chat regularly in the blogosphere wouldn’t necessarily even recognise each other if they sat side by side on the bus, yet they may bring a necessary smile to each other’s faces on a regular basis. The anonymity of sharing and discussing through the written word means that we are sometimes more prone to revealing our fears and feelings to our readers than we do to those who are close to us in our everyday lives. Welcome to the paradoxical blogging dimension, where people are both friends and complete strangers at the same time.

The Fox Tames The Little Prince

The Fox Tames The Little Prince (Photo credit: Pictoscribe)

This made me realise that blogging involves a risk – one described so well by Antoine de St Exupéry’s “The Little Prince,” when the fox tells the prince:

“To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world….” 

Without being as melodramatic as the fox, who has never blogged and never will do, it’s true that building a relationship with someone, even when you have never met them in person, makes them part of your world. And however small that part may be, you notice when it disappears. Whether it’s a regular reader who suddenly goes off your blog’s radar, or a blogger who stops writing, something goes missing. Or maybe it’s just me? In that case, some of you are probably thinking it’s time to back off from MM’s blog incase she starts getting too demanding. But I don’t think I’m the only person who believes in the fabulous human dynamics of blogging.

So here I sit at the head of your blog bedside in the home for sleeping blogs, hoping that you will come out of your cyber-coma. I miss you. If you’ve stopped blogging for ever, thank you for sharing part of life’s journey with me. But if your stats monitor suddenly bursts into activity, Carter, the nurses and I will all be waiting for you.

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.

Madame Cougar and the green-eyed monster.

Since last night, a green-eyed monster has been gnawing away at me. Sitting on my shoulder, it has been whispering maliciously into my ear. Driving me wild with its insidious suggestions. Its name is Jealousy.

The Lady and the Monster

The Lady and the Monster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It all started before dinner, when Bigfoot put his size eleven in it right up to the ankle (as you can see, we don’t call our number one son « Bigfoot » for nothing).  He looked slyly at me over his glass, and a smirk spread slowly across his face. “Did Dad tell you what happened to him today?” To my surprise, P.F started to wriggle uncomfortably beside me, muttering “I told you not to tell your mum”. Bigfoot’s smile widened and his eyes sparkled with mischief as they probed my startled face. I intercepted his hand and slapped it away as it descended on the bowl of Pringles. “Spit it out, Buster!”

Bigfoot was more than happy to deliver the goods, with a few extra bells and whistles to make the story better. P.F had been shamelessly chatted up on his way home from work. Not only had his decrepid old genitor scored, but he had been obliged to fight off not one, not two, not three, but an entire pride of four sex-deprived cougars with his bare hands as he waited innocently for the tram. As my chin hit the coffee table, Bigfoot’s hand shot out and grabbed a huge wedge of crisps that he victoriously crammed into his mouth before settling into his armchair for the parental showdown, which promised to be better entertainment than Kramer Vs Kramer and Rocky rolled into one.

I turned to a now amused PF for an explanation. He explained that as he waited at the bus stop, a pack of four vixens started peering around the partition at him. (Bus stops are apparently a rich hunting ground for city-dwelling cougars in search of fresh prey. You live and learn.) Then they went to the ticket machine one by one, checking him out as they did so. Then one stopped to tell him what beautiful eyes he had. At this point in the story, my stomach flipped over like a greasy fried egg. The woman had then continued to tell him that she was sure he had women falling at his feet non-stop because of those gorgeous blue eyes. And that it was just incredible how much he looks like French actor Thierry L’Hermitte. At this point, the greasy egg in my stomach attempted to flop out of the scorching pan that was burning a hole in my solar plexus. I gingerly enquired how my hero had replied to her sassy, pseudo-sensual soliloquy.  “Well, I said: Thank you, someone’s already said that”. I roared in protest, resisting the temptation to crack him over the head with my beer bottle. “Hey! It wasn’t just somebody, it was your bloody wife, sunshine!

Thanks to Quill, Mose, Kate & Willow ...

Drooling in anticipation, the cougar on the number seven bus casually flicked her tail and asked her unsuspecting victim if this seat was taken. (Photo credit: Corvidaceous).

But it wasn’t over yet. Our bus stop babe was on a merciless, no holds-barred hunt for a man, and as her fellow felines looked on approvingly from the suburban equivalent of the pampa grasses, she went for his emotional jugular with her best shot – a petulant, bitter and heart-wrenching “… but men like you are never single”.

I was seething with anger. In my head, I was there, living the moment. The anti-heroine of a sordid story of bus-stop seduction. Children giggled with their mothers, teenagers listened to music on their headphones and parents returned home to the family cave from a hard day hunting their daily pay check. A prowling tigress was circling her prey, preparing to pounce on the father of my children – my sidekick, my friend, my lover, my…. ok, that’s enough Mills & Boon. What is more, she was doing so with all the alacrity and finesse of a pot-bellied French politician in a bath towel stalking an unsuspecting cleaning lady as she cleans under the bed.

I hated her to hell and back. The brassy, audacious, toadying ratbag. How could she blatantly make eyes at my husband? She had no excuse – after all, the fact that he’s married is written all over the fourth finger of his left hand. And as she said herself, if it looks to good to be true, it probably is. Hell, didn’t she know that the only other females I allow to look at him are his daughter and his mother? My jaw unhinged in silence as I gaped at her barefaced cheek, and marvelled at the surging rage that had torn through my guts at the mere idea of a rival trying to push in and pinch my husband – even for five minutes at the bus stop – after twenty years of marriage. Oh, yes…. jealously is still alive and kicking. And it was Mrs Cougar I wanted to kick. Right into the middle of next week.

PF smiled and told me it was no big deal. As I expected, he attempted to sooth my ruffled feathers by telling me that just like the nubile young students who have fluttered their Rimmelled windscreen-wipers at Môôôsieur in the past, Madame Cougar was as big as bus, smelled like a skunk, had one eye in the middle of her forehead and was otherwise no competition whatsoever for my Nefertiti-esque beauty, charm, wit and style.

He can read me like a book. He grinned at me, stroked my arm and said,  “Don’t worry. I did the same as Bruce Willis in that film we watched together: I showed her my hand and waggled my wedding ring finger at her.” Oh, boy. If I’d been there, fingers would waggled too. But not the same ones. Before I proceeded to hang her upside-down off the nearest lamp post with her leopardskin print knickers over her head and a feather duster stuck in their place. So hands off, honey. He’s already been spoken for – by me…… and my green-eyed monster.