That time we went dahn sarf.

As is my usual M.O, this has been written over several days and weeks and is therefore confusing. It’ll feel a bit like time travel. It’ll feel like you’ve flitted  back and forth through your wardrobe to Narnia half a dozen times. I apologise in advance. Just go with it. I’m not saying it’s worth it but it’ll at least give you a reason to stare at your phone for a few minutes thus avoiding human contact.

Tuesday (Now two weeks ago, FFS!)

We’re just back from a long weekend dahn sarf looking at art and eating. I love the idea of an art gallery or museum but find them overstimulating and can only tolerate about an hour of going ooh that’s lovely or worra load of old shit before curling my lip, yawning, needing the toilet and heading giftshopward or caféward.

The giftshop at Tate Modern however yielded a lovely read in the shape of a biography of Grayson Perry. I’m a huge Grayson fan and feel like we’d get on like a house on fire and become great friends. I also think that about Johnathan Ross. I had a Twitter exchange with him in the days when only six folk had Twitter accounts and we all spoke to each other and Johnathan and I regularly (once) batted witty repartee back and forward.

Grayson’s biography is what I’d describe as a charming book thus far (I’m only at the prologue!) and captures the zeitgeist of  growing up in the sixties very well in my snooty opinion.  It’s made me yearn for the Encyclopaedic Books of Knowledge that alphabetically lined a white gloss painted shelf in our living room when I was wee. I can still smell that shelf. I devoured the books and used to read them for fun. I wasn’t like the other girls. I was bookish. They suited my enquiring mind perfectly. I even learned the history and rules of lawn tennis from those books. That stood me in good stead, didn’t it? I’m a lardy couch potato. I’ve never used a tennis racquet in anger, or participated in any competitive sport, but never say never. Although I clearly just did. Three times.

While we’re loosely on the subject of my expert theoretical knowledge of tennis, there follows a summary of the highlights of our long weekend, set against the background of tennis match scoring.

But first some context. Prior to the London trip, in my usual penny wise/pounds foolish style, I cashed in my Tesco Clubcard points and exchanged same for 30 quids worth of Zizzi restaurant vouchers. I don’t know why I did that; I don’t like chain faux Italian restos. It’s just carbs innit? There’s nae meat. Regardless, armed with my thirty quid worth of Zizzi vouchers, off we went to London. First class if you please! I had gin at 1pm! Then felt hungover by Birmingham.

Arrived at the hotel at teatime, mysteriously starving despite having eaten everything off the trolley on the First Class Virgin carriage, and with the Zizzi vouchers burning a hole in my pocket, we set off smugly to Zizzi. I know, I know – all the lovely places in London to eat and we went to Zizzi. But HELLO. VOUCHER. Stereotypical Scots innit? But I’m happy to throw a hundred quid upwards at perfume and snake oil face creams. It’s ridiculous. 

So in to Zizzi we go, and OF COURSE sat behind the woman with the loudest laugh on the planet. Nevertheless, on we ploughed through the menu. We each ordered some overpriced carbs – me tortellini, she a weird gigantopizza – together with some extravagant cocktails and a lemony dessert that tasted of disappointment and was so tart it made my face go inside out, much to Mrs T’s annoyance every time I ate a spoonful. “Don’t eat it then!” But by Christ I was determined to eat it, mainly because my tortellini amounted to five pieces and I’d scoffed it in about three minutes, after which I got the terrible pizza horn but couldn’t have a bit of Mrs T’s because it had anchovies on it.

The bill duly came, not that I was worried because I was armed with thirty quid of Zizzi vouchers! Ha! Yes! I’m triumphant! I’ve thirty quid of vouchers for Zizzi! Take that London!

My jubilation was interrupted by the waiter:

“these vouchers are for Pizza Express”

Me: (thinking everyone’s a bloody comedian) “Hahahahaha!”

Waiter: “No. They are. Look”

And sure as a cat’s a hairy beast the vouchers were in actual fact for Pizza shitting Express.

Fifty quid for a mountain of fucking carbs and two desserts of disappointment.

Me, whining:”But…but…I don’t like Pizza Express”

Score: Fifteen Love London.

Wednesday. With carb bloat. 

Off to the V&A today to see the Undressed exhibition armed with our two for one voucher. (Again, penny wise pounds foolish). I hadn’t checked the weather so sailed out on to the streets of London in Converse and a short sleeve summer frock only to find that it was raining. Heavily.

Mrs T: Did you bring a brolly?

Me: Eh no. I didn’t even bring a jacket. 

Mrs T: You want me to go back and get your jacket? 

Me: Yes please

*interval while jacket is retrieved*

Me: Thanks. 

*dons jacket. Hood won’t stay up. Gets crabbit*

Me: Actually I kinda wish I had my brolly. 

Mrs T: you want me to go back for it?

Me: Yes. Yes I do. That would be lovely of you. I’ll sit in that nice dry cafe over there and have a cappuccino. 

*interval while brolly is fetched*

*Mrs T returns with brolly*

Me: Thank you but the rain’s stopped. 

Score:Thirty Love London

*Schlep to tube station*

Me:You got the Oyster cards?

Mrs T, clutching at pockets:  Oops. They’re in my other shirt. 

Me: Oh for fucksake. 

*Cough up tube fares*

Arrive at V&A

Me: Good morning my good man. We’re here to see this fancy exhibition about pants. I think you’ll find we only need pay entrance fee for one since we have this two for one voucher we cleverly downloaded off my internet. 

It’s here somewhere…

*Rummage in handbag…*

*Further rummage…beads of sweat forming on top lip*

*Look accusingly at Mrs T*

Me: Did you…

Mrs T: Eh no. You had it. Did you pick it up off the table in the room? 

Me: No. No I didn’t. 

Forty Love London, you bastard. 

Wednesday

In a state of post holiday bewilderment I spent today thinking a) it was Monday and b) wondering why I didn’t see any evidence of that purveyor of mediocre baked goods Gregg’s in London.

We’ve decided we need to lose weight. The taller and therefore relatively and arguably less rotund Mrs T has purchased a bike. The courier won’t deliver it here for some reason which is insane. We’re not in Macchu Picchu. The bike, when it arrives, has only three gears. “I’m 43; I’ve no need for a bike with twenty odd gears. I wouldn’t know what to do with them all”. This whilst poking down a Cornetto. 

Saturday

Woke up at 4am annoyed about sweet potato and the pointlessness of it. 

Whilst reading an article on incest today ( I didn’t seek it out; I came across it during one of those down the rabbit hole internet reading sessions that you start by googling something dull like ingrown toenail treatment and end up succumbing to clickbait with titles like I gave birth to a giraffe) I encountered the loveliest new word: consanguineous. I sighed with pleasure when I read it, and tried it out for size a couple of times to a nonplussed Tucker (who incidentally has taken up a delightful hobby – eating Audrey’s (the cat) meat and her shit. Literally eating cat shit. I can barely look at him.

 I can’t wait for an occasion where i can use the word consanguineous. I might have to resort to bringing up the subject of incest at some point. You might want to avoid me for a few weeks until I’ve moved on to another word.

I got bored with the tennis scoring thing you’ll notice. 

Still. Consanguineous. Phwoar.

An illustrated metaphor for my life involving a bandana. Not a banana. Although that also works. 

See this pic?

Well if you look closely – if you’re not blinded by my teeth that look like they could eat a tomato through a tennis racquet – you’ll see that Rachael (the child lying horizontally) is wearing a red bandana. This bandana was purchased on the day this picture was taken which was oh about twenty five years ago. (The other two people are my sister in law Brenda and my brother William if you must know – but they’re peripheral to the story, although interestingly now live in Holland, land of the Dutch, which reminds me of the day William and I went to visit the mother in the care home or “Grantanamo” as Brenda wrly observed, and we were trying to jog mother’s memory as to who William was by singing a song she used to sing when William and Brenda first departed for Holland – the last line being:

she’s down in the meadow, milking a cow” 

but mother joined in instead with:

“she’s down in the meadow, fisting a cow”). 

Ahem.

The bandana was purchased in a shop in Oban and was an expensive wee purchase at the time, as I recall. It’s an OshKosh B’Gosh (that was an arsehole of a thing to type) bandana. I know it was purchased twenty five years ago because the horizontal child is now 28 and, for the most part, vertical. The bandana has survived the years and been worn on various body parts, but mostly on my own head, to either conceal manky hair or to complement a particular hairdo. (It’s also been worn tied round my neck at a jaunty angle, air hostess style, to annoy Kate Cameron, but she wears cropped trousers on holiday so quid pro quo, Clarice, as Hannibal would say).

Today, ye olde bandana was tied round my head as a headbandy thing to conceal my manky hair which had assembled itself into two “horns” atop my head, resembling a Valkyrie, thus:

(Manky keeps autocorrecting to manly which makes me lol…mmmmm manly hair…). I’d forgotten I was wearing it when I took Tucker for his evening lamppost sniffing outing. The wind took my breath away (the actual wind, not Tucker’s bum toots although they’d strip paint off walls the day after he’s been eating buried treasure he’s dug up from the garden) and with it, at some stage in our half hour parish inspection, the bandana, apparently, I realised as I arrived home sans bandana.

I had my tea on the go so was rightly concerned about the timing of my baked potato, which left me conflicted: a) should I climb back in to the hottest coat in the world and its accompanying dodgy zip which gets stuck at inopportune moments eg airport security which then leaves me sweating like drug mule Billy Hayes in Midnight Express and go search for the bandana or

b) oh what the blow it’s only a thing. The universe giveth and the universe taketh away. The universe is a shit.

Settling on option b above, I climbed back in to the drug mule coat, ensured I was appropriately shod for the skating rink pavements once again (you can’t be too careful at my age, osteoporis is just around the bloody corner), and skittered back down the icy drive (without dog – I was too crabbit by this point) to begin the search for the fucking bandana.

Against the howling, biting wind, I skittered back up Glasgow Street to the Goldie Park (I vary my route, so any weirdo stalkers reading this who think they’ll find me doon the Goldie Park of a dark evening can piss off – you’ll find me down the boathouse, where it’s even darker and scarier, with rapists round every corner, if you’re interested) encountering only a woman with two big dogs in a leopard print dressing gown, possibly from Primark, who eyed me suspiciously – the cheek of it! – as I wandered back over Tucker’s pawprints in the snow in the middle of a dark field;

“You awright doll?” she enquired…

“Aye fine thanks!” I replied, needlessly further explaining “my bandana flew off my head earlier, I’m just looking for it. I’ve had it a long time, it’s been all over the world with me” I doubt she needed my life story, but at best it’ll have given her something to tell the weans on her return from her walk in a dressing gown.

Guess what? I found the bandana. I bloody kissed it, which on reflection was stupid because the two big dogs belonging to the be-dressing gowned woman had probably pissed on it. Well, I’ve never died a winter yet.

I like to think that all of this is potentially a metaphor for my life, surely? Something about having things for years, loving them but taking them for granted, losing them, being sad, looking for them, finding them and probably taking them for granted again?  Oh I don’t know. It felt like a good metaphor when I started writing it.