Women’s Bits and New Books



images-1It’s been so long since I’ve posted on here. It’s been a manic few months with so much happening.

Life is certainly never static is it? After months and months of chronic knee I finally went private to find out what was going on. This only after being told that my appointment to see a consultant would take eighteen months. Eighteen months, I don’t know about you but that seemed a lifetime away to me. I love the NHS but it certainly doesn’t seem to like me. Or maybe my GP doesn’t like me. I discovered my flat feet were crippling me. Who’d have thought such a simple thing could cause so much pain? Insteps and a few months later and I feel like a new woman. Well, leg wise anyway. A woman I am beginning to detest being.

So, I thought I’d share the ongoing saga I am having with my GP. I’m attempting to see the funny side of things as I’m sure there must be one. I’m also hoping someone going through a similar thing may contact me to share. God knows I’m in need of sharing.

Before you read on, be aware this post does mention female bits. Okay, brace yourself for the ride. Ready? Here we go then.

About three months ago I began to feel just a touch uncomfortable ‘down there’ My mum always referred to it as ‘down there’ and oddly enough so did a very young gynaecologist I saw. There was me trying to be all technical and knowledgeable by saying, ‘The sore area is on the right labia, high up by the vagina.’ We finally just referred to it as ‘down below.’ I must admit it is far simpler. I also worry I’m saying the names wrong. I probably know the parts of a car better than I do ‘down there’

Anyway, I’m waffling as usual. So, the first thing I do is go to my GP. Sensible I thought. I phone for an appointment. I’m then triaged as I say I really can’t wait three weeks! I’m told my doctor will phone me. She does. She then tells me they are too overcome and I’d have to go to another surgery in the town closest to me. Off I trot. I see a nice doctor there who says she can’t see anything ‘down there.’ Asks me if sex is painful and then suggests something to numb the soreness. I’m not over the top happy but take her prescription. A week later I’m still the same. I phone my GP again and it’s arranged for me to see a female doctor at my own surgery. Off I pop. I explain the soreness and she has a look.

‘Ooh,’ she says surprised, ‘I can see a lesion.’

‘Oh really, I guess that must be the problem,’ I reply.

‘It looks like an ulcer.’

‘Right, what do you do for that?’

A sensible question I thought.

‘I think we should take swabs.’

Great, this was what I wanted to hear.

‘Shall I test for everything?’ she asks.

Now, not being a doctor, I have no idea what everything is. Clearly she doesn’t need to check me for Syphilis or any other STD. I’m happily married to my second husband. He is happily married to me. I was previously married for a long period to another man who wasn’t the type to put it about either. You know your men better than the doctors’ right?

‘Not the things I’m unlikely to have,’ I say.

‘I think we should test for Herpes,’ she says.

I’m a bit open-mouthed for a second and then stupidly find myself wondering if you can get Herpes any other way. I’ve not even worn a tampon in over a year, besides you can’t catch it from them can you? I try not to be insulted.

‘There’s no way I have Herpes,’ I say, trying not to sound affronted.

‘You could have had it from the age of nineteen,’ she says confidently.

‘Without symptoms? I ask.

I’m seriously distrustful of her judgements now.

‘It would be odd that you’ve had no symptoms,’ she says.

So here I am at the age when the only thing I should be worried about is the menopause and this twenty something woman is telling me I’ve been walking around with Herpes for over thirty years without any symptoms and now wham bam here they are. Yes, right, you don’t trust her judgement either do you?

She takes the swabs and I hit the ceiling. She tests for thrush and Herpes. I tell her I have neither. She doesn’t listen to me. I have no voice.

I trot back home and phone for the results a few days later. The receptionist isn’t allowed to give me the results so I wait for the doctor to phone. She doesn’t. It’s on her list but she doesn’t phone. I call the next day and ask could she phone as I’m still in discomfort and need something to ease the soreness. I’m now struggling to pee. And let me tell you, I pee a lot.

‘She’s the duty doctor today,’ I’m told. ‘So she’s very busy.’

Excuse me, but am I not a patient?

I patiently explain she was supposed to have phoned me yesterday and didn’t. It’s a Friday and I don’t know what to do now the tests have come back. It gets to five and still no phone call. The phones shut down at six at the surgery. I phone The Doc (Andrew my husband) in tears. He phones them and says how dissatisfied we are. They promise to phone. They still haven’t by six. He goes in on his way home and says he won’t leave until they call me. She finally does and tells me I will need to be referred and it will take six weeks but as they saw a lesion she thinks I should be referred to the cancer clinic using the two-week wait. I question whether it could be a hormonal thing as my breasts are also sore. She doesn’t know. I ask if she thinks it could be serious and she says ‘The other doctor saw a lesion so best to be sure.’ I agree and wait for the appointment. At least I know I don’t have thrush or Herpes. It’s a start.

A week or so later and off I pop again to see a lovely gynaecologist. We chat about ‘down there’ and finally he has a look ‘down there.’ He then asks if I’d like to know what is wrong with me? Dumb question, but still.

‘Nothing,’ he says.

‘Right,’ I say. ‘So is it Atrophy then?’ I ask pulling up my knickers. I’d worn my best frilly pair. Well, last time I got caught out with a hole at the back. Very embarrassing.

‘Ah, how do you know these things?’ he asks.

‘Ah, I like to know what’s going on with my body,’ I say.

‘Right,’ he says, ‘You need some local Oestrogen for ‘down there’

‘Oh, I say, ‘I take HRT, wouldn’t that have been enough?’

‘Some women need both.’

‘So it’s okay to use both?’

You can’t say I don’t ask questions.

Off I pop. A few days later I phone  my GP and ask them if I can have the medication. They say they will get the doctor to phone. She doesn’t phone. I’m tearful. I phone again the next day and she finally calls back and tells me I can’t have it if I’m on HRT and that she needs the letter to come back first and will also contact the menopausal clinic to speak to my consultant there. I tell her the gynaecologist said it was okay. No one believes me. I contact the menopausal clinic. They send an email saying I can have the medication. The gynaecologist writes and says I can have the medication. My doctor still doesn’t give it. I phone again to be told she is very busy and that she needs the letter first. I tell them it is on their system as I can see it. That day I get no medication. The next day I phone again. I wait until six, no phone call, no medication. Finally it gets to Thursday and I phone again. This time no reply. I jump in my car and go there. I’m seething, in pain and totally fed up. I demand the medication and tell the woman at the pharmacy at the surgery that I’m not going without it. She then tells me my doctor has gone home. She had messages to contact me. She ignored them.

I stand my ground and a doctor gives me the medication as soon as he hears what is happening.

Your opinion? I’d like to hear it.

Meanwhile happy news. While all that has been going on ‘down there’  ‘up here’ a new book has been released and I’m so excited. It’s already getting rave reviews and it’s only **99p** at least for a short time. Don’t miss out.


I’ve loved writing this book and I so hope you enjoy reading it. It’s a fab read for Christmas. Well, I would think so, wouldn’t I?

Lots of love



My Normal, Mad Behaviour


Me with the geocache in France

It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks. I’ve been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. And just when you think it has gone, it rears its ugly head again with a vengeance. Leaving you drained and shattered and with thoughts that you don’t normally have.

However, it hasn’t stopped my normal mad behaviour. Now there’s a phrase you won’t see very often. Normal mad behaviour.

I got back from my holiday. Ooh I never told you about the weird happening on holiday. Here I go digressing. The doctor and I went on a little trek to look for a Geocache. If you’re never heard of Geocaching, then let me enlighten you. Dotted all over England and in Europe are little treasures. Nothing big but finding them is fun and they are nearly always hidden in beautiful parts of the country. The doctor and I do this a lot. Yes, you always wondered what we did in our spare time didn’t you. It’s a good way to get walking and walking in a nice place. So, while in France we decided to go Geocache hunting. You can check Geocache hunting here

Off we went on a lovely walk. We find the treasure. Took photos for the web page and started to walk back. By now we were both thirsty and a little hungry. The walk took us onto a dual carriageway where we never imagined for one moment to find an eating place. But there was the sign. Large and bold ‘Creperie’


‘How lucky,’ I said.

We turned the corner to where the sign was large and welcoming again and even more welcoming was the open sign. In French, of course, but luckily the Doctor can speak some French.  Ahead of us was a large wrought iron gate and hooked through it was an odd padlock. Hooked through but not locked. We looked at each other for a moment and then pulled the lock through the gap in the gate. We then pushed the gate open only to hit a large paddle which had been laid in front of it.

‘I’m not sure we should go in,’ says the doctor.

‘But it’s open,’ I say, my throat closing up from thirst.

I’m beginning to know what it feels like to be stranded in the desert. Was this some kind of mirage? My first thought was that dogs may come racing towards us, tearing at our throats like something out of a Stephen King novel. I hesitated at the gate.

‘It does say open,’ I repeat, feeling my breathing return to normal after seeing there is no sign of mad, snarling dogs.

We step over the paddle and venture in. We turn a corner and see the café. It is all set up outdoors. We stare for a few seconds and then both become aware of the eerie silence. The huge house to the right of us is imposing. We look at the table and chairs and then I realise. They are all pulled out, like people left in a hurry. On the tables are jugs, half filled with water, just sitting in the sun. Also there was a bottle of wine and glasses, also sitting in the hot sunshine. On one table was a lighter and glasses.  On others half-drunk glasses of water, but the worst part was the eerie silence.

And then … that awful feeling of being watched.

‘We should go,’ says the doctor.

There is not even the clatter of crockery. That usual noise you hear when in a restaurant. We backed out slowly and I nervously began clicking away with my camera, focusing on the windows of the house.

We then hurriedly left and for some weird reason I felt an overwhelming need to look behind for at least twenty minutes. Here are the photos but they don’t do justice to the spookiness we felt.

IMGP2360 IMGP2357

IMGP2361 IMGP2358 IMGP2359


Back to my normal mad behaviour.

I got back from holiday, went to fill my car with petrol and couldn’t get the petrol cap off. I was turning it the right way but it just went round and round. When I turned it the other way it made a strange clicking sound. I spent twenty minutes in the garage. Finally I came home and considered pulling it off with a knife. I phoned the doctor first though. I didn’t want his wrath when he came home.

‘Take it to the garage where you bought it,’ he says. ‘It’s still under warranty.’

So, off I go to the next village with my car. Of course, by now, I am very low on petrol. I pull up and march into the office.

‘The petrol cap won’t come off,’ I complain. ‘That’s not very good. I’ve only had the car for a few months.’

You have to stand your ground in garages don’t you? especially if you’re a woman and blonde at that. They immediately assume you’re a dumb blonde don’t they? Well I’m here to prove them wrong.

He follows me to my car and turns the petrol cap until he has it off and is holding it in his hand.

I stare flabbagasted.

‘What did you do?’ I ask.

‘I undid the cap,’ he says flatly.

Ever felt like a dumb blonde.

‘But how?’ I ask.

He demonstrates and I realise when I thought the cap was locked it was in fact the right way to turn and just needed a little more turning to come off. I’d only been away a week and in that time I had managed to forget how to take the cap off my new car. I mumbled something about being tired and drove home.

Still at least I have a good reason for this madness now.

Lastly, my novels. Well, you didn’t think I would write a blog without doing a bit of promotion. My readers say they will buy anything I write. So, I don’t understand why no one is buying ‘The Diary of Rector Byrnes’ which is me writing under the name of Edith Waylen. Please give it a go, it is only 99p at the moment and you don’t often get Lynda Renham books for 99p.

Here it is.  It’s a chilling love story. Click here to purchase  It’s a tale of love, faith and much more.


Meanwhile much love to you all and thank you for your support. This CFS is a bugger and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.





Car and the Stepson Having a Breakdown


We’ve never been conventional in our house. Although I expect you’ve gathered that already. So, you won’t be surprised to read that we both drive old bangers. Peugeot 206 bangers to be exact and the exact same colour bangers come to that. That wasn’t intentional, it just kind of happened, you know, like things do. We have talked about buying a new car and we have glanced at some. But that’s as far as we’ve got. Cars are just not important to us somehow. But it was only recently that I realised just how unimportant material things are to us and how eccentric we are. Of course, if the doctor’s AKA as my husband Andrew) son hadn’t come to live with us I wonder if we would ever have realised. But he has come to live with us and I’m not sure how he is finding it but he and his wife and four year old son seem to laugh a lot which frankly if you’re around us you have to and they are getting adjusted to our odd way of living. So, when stepson (James) asked about going onto our car insurance we thought nothing of it. So imagine James when he first used Andrew’s car to find he couldn’t push the driver’s seat forward to get his son in the back.

‘Ah yes,’ we say. ‘That seat is broken. You need to watch that. You may also notice the seat moves forward slightly when you’re driving,’ adds Andrew, ‘It’s quite safe though.’

James gives him an odd look.

‘So we have to use the passenger side to get into the back do we?’ he asks.

We nod.

Off they go to return a few hours later looking a little strained. We’d totally forgotten to mention that the indicator has a mind of its own too and when you indicate one way and take the turn, instead of clicking itself off it clicks to indicate the opposite way. If you don’t hear it you could be indicating for miles. God knows we have done this many a time on a motorway only to be flashed numerous times. Then, of course, there is the door that swings wide open. So when you park and open it you have to be careful else it smashes into the parked car next to it. We also forgot to mention that it struggles a bit when going up hills.

‘The seat is a bit low too,’ says James.

‘Oh is it,’ says Andrew. ‘I like it that way.’

‘Hard to see the mirror,’ says James tactfully.

‘You can use mine if you like.’ I say.

His face lights up.

‘If that’s okay?’

If he thought Andrew’s car was bad …But of course, I don’t think to tell him because I’m not aware there is anything to tell him. But on reflection I suppose I should have mentioned that the clock is always an hour fast. I’m not sure why but I’ve got used to it now and always work backwards when telling the time. A light tends to come on and flashes the words ‘air bag’ too. Andrew jokingly says it is referring to me. Then of course there is the radio which doesn’t work anymore after I had a battery change. However I worked out if you press the on button and programme number 6 button it will play … for all of 5 minutes and then you push the buttons again and so on. I’ve been known to do a three hour journey playing the radio like that. The CD player doesn’t work at all. Then there is the passenger seat in my car which is broken. So to get a child seat in the back you have to do it via the driver’s side. Not to mention the state of the boot which houses Andrew’s tool box, his flying suits (bearing in mind we no longer fly as we don’t have a microlight anymore) plus his helmets and other boxes of stuff. I have to be honest and say I have no idea what the stuff is. The car is full of sweet wrappers which are proof of my guilty chocolate feasts. I do vaguely mention the radio before they go.

‘Just keep pushing the buttons,’ I say.

Off they go and off we go to visit my mum in Essex. We return to a white faced James.

‘Everything okay,’ I ask.

‘Your car flashes an airbag sign all the time. I didn’t know what to do at first but then thought maybe it always does it. That seems to be the way with your cars.’

He’s getting the hang of it.

‘I did try pushing all the buttons for the radio but nothing happened.’

Ah yes, I probably should have said which buttons.

‘I did think about doing some shopping but there was no room in the boot.’

‘Yes, sorry about that,’ I say.

‘I think it may be best if I stick to Dad’s car.’

Famous last words. For two days later he broke down with a flat tyre and was late picking up his wife from work. Oh well, at least we were there to babysit Matthew.

‘Are you sure you don’t want mine?’ I offer.

‘No, Dad’s will be fine.’

Second lot of famous last words if you can have a second lot of last words.

For as I write James has just text me to say he has broken down in the doctor’s car. It seems the clutch gave up. Poor James was convinced it was something he’d done and he asked the breakdown man for reassurance.

‘Wear and tear mate, this car has had it.’

Well, we always said we would drive them into the ground. The cars that is, not the sons.

James walks in ashen faced and exhausted.

‘What a nightmare. How do you cope?’ he asks.

‘With what?’ I reply.

I’m greeted by my daughter in law who is also ashen.

‘Oh Lynda,’ she says nervously. ‘I’ve broken something.’

I quickly look for Bendy and relax when I see him sleeping happily on the couch.

She holds out my BITCH mug.

‘James said it was expensive,’ she says tearfully.

I look at the other mugs hanging on the rack and shrug.

‘It’s just a mug. When you kill Bendy you need to think about leaving.’

I think they’re laying down in a darkened room now. I suppose this means I’ll have to collect Matthew from school. Good job the school is next door. Not sure what we’ll do about the Christmas shopping, or my appointment for my holiday vaccinations or my daughter in law’s journey to work. Oh well, we’ll think about that tomorrow.

Oh yes, and a Merry Christmas from us.



Let’s talk bags … Then again, let’s not.

cat han
I want to talk bags. Well, actually I don’t. Personally I can’t stand the things. I just want to know if you suffer the same or whether it is just me. Why can’t I be like my friend who has a gorgeous Radley bag with everything neatly placed inside it? A place for everything and everything in its place. Even her receipts are in a nice tidy wallet. If I want to return something to a shop it usually means the whole house being turned upside down and me finally ending up in a darkened room with a Valium.
Handbags are the bane of my life. Come to think of it they are the bane of my husband’s too. He tries hard not to tut while I am cursing and throwing everything out of the bag to find my keys. I have regular clear outs (of the bag that is, just in case you thought I was talking about my bowels) but by the end of the week the contents are back. I’ve bought new bags with those lovely compartments, convinced that this time everything will be just great. So why is it a week or so later I’m in Body Shop with the contents of my bag strung across the counter as I try to find my Body Shop loyalty card? I pull out everything from a Blockbuster video rental card (Blockbuster in our village closed down yonks ago, so God knows why I still have that) to a Cambodian taxi driver’s card (that’s really useful isn’t it?) There is everything of course, but the Body Shop card, which is lying at the bottom of another handbag no doubt.

I want to go out without looking like a Sherpa. Not much to ask. But I’m somehow stupidly convinced that everything that is in my handbag I seriously need. I’ll be carrying a camper loo soon.
I’ve made big efforts, I really have. I’ve bought bags to go in the bag. A bag for pills and let me tell you I’ve got more pills than a chemist. Except what happens? I forget to zip up the bag within the bag and the bottom of my bag is littered with foils of pills. I don’t think a junkie carries as many drugs as me. I buy a bag to house all those odds and sods. You know, handbag mirror, lipsticks with no tops, hair grips, scrunch, MP3 player, which usually has no battery so it’s useless, headphones, glasses cleaner and the odd tampon. But of course I rummage in it to get a scrunch and forget to zip it up. So, what happens? I buy new purses thinking that this will magically help me get organised and it does for a while until I feel harassed in Sainsbury and throw everything straight into the bag. Weeks later I’m overcome with receipts and loose credit cards. Not to mention a hairy hairbrush, car keys, glasses that have fallen out of their cases, a book that I plan to read in the hairdressers but I never do because they have such great mags. Then, of course, there is the odd notebook, leaky pen, mobile which had a lovely case until it got covered in ink. Recipe cards, I mean why? I don’t bloody cook, at least not fancy cakes like these. I carry a cheque book but never use it. A spare pair of knickers, I can’t imagine when I think I’ll need those and a tube of moisturiser which nearly always leaks and eventually everything is covered in Rodial day cream. Another thing why are there all these chocolate wrappers in my bag. I don’t eat that much chocolate … or do I? Are there no rubbish bins? Why are all the wrappers in my bag? Then there are the used and unused tissues. Why do I have both and how does one tell the difference after a while? A week in my handbag and they all look the same. I’ve bought smaller bags in the hope that this will stop me but no. The small bag just bulges more and more until it finally splits under the weight. I just want to leave the house without becoming round shouldered by the time I return. My bags are getting bigger and bigger so they can accommodate my needs. I’ll have room for the bloody cat soon. My husband tells me I don’t need to take every single pill I possess but I’m convinced that the one pill I leave behind will be the one I need. It’s true isn’t it? I get more comments on my bag than I do on my appearance. That’s not normal is it? Mostly the comments are about the size. It’s not just bags either. Library books are the other problem. Why is it I can never get them back on time? Seriously the money I’ve spent on fines could have bought me a small bungalow. I wouldn’t mind but I never read the things. I just don’t have time. Why? Why? Why?


Erect Nipples and The Dog’s Bollocks

I thought of riding a horse, wearing nothing but Thierry Mugler’s Womanity perfume through the streets of Oxford. I figured if that doesn’t catch people’s eyes and have them rushing to Waterstones to  buy my books, then nothing will. Then I looked out of the window, saw the fierce wind and occasional spits of rain, and figured that perhaps it was just a touch too cold and me with erect nipples and red cheeks (face ones that is) may seem appealing  to some, but I felt sure there would be just as many, if not more, that it would not appeal to. Although I had no doubt it would sell trillions of books. But I realised there was a good chance I may dramatically develop Pneumonia and die a very dramatic, if not glamorous death. Well, if I’m only wearing ‘Womanity‘, how could it not be glamorous? Then I considered the fact,  that of course, I may be arrested. That alone didn’t bother me. After all, If I sold billions of books it would be worth it. But what really stopped me was Andrew’s face. It didn’t so much say, ‘What a crazy idea’  but more, ‘You really believe you riding a horse through Oxford, naked, will sell books?’  Of course, what the look really meant was, ‘Have you seen your body lately?’ Of course he never voiced any of this. But you know what those looks mean don’t you?

So, I decided perhaps a nice little innocent post on Glipho might be safer for everyone. The new book is enough to shock everyone without coupling the sight of my naked body to it as well. The new book by the way is about me. Now you’ve shut off totally haven’t you?

It’s my exploits as a woman. Or you could say it is my exploits as a crazy woman. Because if you consider me normal after reading this little ditty maybe you need therapy too. Mind you after reading of my attempts to remove a tampon, you may well need therapy. Thank goodness my publisher issued a warning on the Blurb. If you’re wondering about the blurb, here it is.

A collection of short funny tales and a unique insight into the world of chicklit royalty, aka Lynda Renham. A right comedy of errors if ever there was one. If you’re looking for her beauty secrets and fashion ideas you’ve come to the right place. Read of her intimate sex life, her secrets for staying young and how she keeps her man – just. A fly-on-the wall true account of the life of a romantic comedy novelist, written in her own words. It’s all here, the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Publisher Note: We are not responsible for any of the advice given in this book. If you do not look like Lynda after reading this we cannot be held accountable.

Warning: Tena Pads recommended while reading. 

Now, the best part about this little ditty is that it is only 99p. What can you buy for that these days?

So, off you pop and download your little copy here Go on, save me the ordeal or freezing my bollocks off on that horse. Talking of bollocks, you can buy my other book if you like, ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ here Give yourself a laugh over Christmas. If not, see you in Oxford on that horse.

Mine’s An Eggnog (a humorous look at Christmas and warning: tits are mentioned)



  naughty santa

So that wonderful thing called Christmas is looming towards us. You can’t escape it. Radio presenters are already playing those ‘throw up into your handbag’ Christmas songs, although thankfully most of them banned Cliff Richard.


I’m scared to turn the radio on. Not that I hate Christmas or anything it’s just all that stuff that goes with it. If you’re organised like me then you’ll be turning the house upside down trying to find those sodding Christmas cards you bought for half price last year along with that cheap roll of Christmas wrapping paper. Not to mention the sellotape and scissors. Where do they hide themselves at Christmas? The continuing conversation in our house when Christmas wrapping is ‘Do you have the sellotape? What happened to the scissors?’ Mind you, they’re not needed much these days are they? When I was a kid I got presents. What happened to that? When did presents get replaced by money and vouchers? My sister insists on giving us a cheque each for twenty five quid and when asking what they would like (wrong thing to do by the way. Never ask what someone what they would like for Christmas because you’ll always get the ‘Oh don’t get me anything,’ and should you take this literally … Yes, you’ve been there right? How many friends have you lost?) Anyway back to my sister who responds with ‘The kids prefer money and we’re sending you a cheque.’ So we end up giving them a cheque for twenty five quid each, plus another two for the kids of course. I’m not good at maths but even I know that doesn’t work out fair. I can’t help thinking it would be much easier if we just said ‘Go and treat yourself to something for twenty five quid and we’ll do likewise, saves on the postage sending the cheques.’  But of course we don’t do that do we because we wouldn’t go and treat ourselves to something for twenty five quid because it’s more sensible to put it towards the heating bill. So cheque exchange we continue to do. Although I can’t help feeling short changed somehow with us not having kids. Anyway, the fifty quid we’ll receive we’ll put towards the heating bill. Get my point?



It’s the time of year when we sit in endless traffic queues trying to get into town and find ourselves in the same car park we always use only now it’s free. The barriers are up. Except you can’t get bloody parked can you? Not unless you get there at three in the morning. Then for some odd reason it is presumed we forget how to use the car park at Christmas as there are now bossy men telling us where and how to park. ‘Over there mate,’ they say pointing to an obvious space. It seems the powers that be deem us to be brain dead at this time of the year. Well we must be if we eat Brussels sprouts and drink hot wine. Do you ever drink hot wine any other time in your life? Precisely, but at Christmas you consume tons of the stuff don’t you? Not to mention that Eggnog stuff. When do you see that at any other time? When have you ever been in a pub and heard someone say Mine’s an Eggnog? I rest my case.egg

And why do we have to eat so much? It seems it isn’t Christmas if you don’t eat enough to make yourself sick.Do you know how much we spend at Christmas? No, I won’t tell you otherwise you may end up another Christmas statistic. Because, of course, it is that time of year when suicides rise apparently. It seems more people are prone to putting their head in the oven as opposed to a turkey. I’d do the same but it’s an induction one and I don’t think I’d achieve much. Think of the poor turkeys and pheasants though. It’s mass murder for them. Seriously it’s poultry genocide however you look at it. Still, don’t let me put you off yours.




But Christmas is special isn’t it, and who does it fall on? Yes us women. There is just so much to do isn’t there?  No point sending the men out for the sprouts and stuffing is there? By the time they reach the supermarket they’they’ve forgotten why they’re there and they get side-tracked and of course their mobile phone is always out of signal. No best to do it all yourself. This probably means you end up in bed with a Christmas migraine on Boxing Day but at least everyone is having a good time right? And someone is bound to bring you up a turkey sandwich.Then there is the tree. That’s a project on its own isn’t it? I mean, when else would you have a tree sticking out of the back of your car and no one bats an eyelid? And when else would you move your whole house around so you can put a tree in it? Then there is the whole debate of where to put the sodding thing so the cat won’t constantly jump up to catch the baubles while at the same time having it in prime position. By the time ’you’ve done all this and managed to hide the wiring of the tree lights you’ve got pine needles every bloody where, on the floor, on your jumper, under your jumper and I don’t know about you but I certainly had a few stuck in my tits. Also have you noticed how at Christmas you suddenly discover more friends? Where did they come from? Christmas cards drop through the door from people I barely know, and they’re all signed lots of love. Every week I have to buy more cards to keep up with these people. I’m now realising that Christmas cards are a bit like Facebook Friends. Let’s see how many we can get. Then all our other friends (the real ones) will see how popular we are. That’s mature right?


Seriously, when else would you wear a silly hat while you’re eating dinner and feel it is perfectly normal, while reading out cheesy jokes from your crackers? That’s another thing have you seen the price of bloody crackers? If you want your guests to get a decent little something from the cracker these days you have to take out a bank loan. I bet the banks love Christmas. You can almost see them rubbing their hands in November can’t you, totting up their Christmas bonus no doubt. The thing I find most worrying is how we are all so afraid to be alone at Christmas. You have to be with someone or have someone come to you. I’m just as guilty of this that I spend most of November trying to sort out where we will go or who will come to us that I eventually have too many invites and everything gets more complicated as I untangle myself from it.


But best of all, we break all the rules don’t we? We drink to excess, eat to excess and talk about the after Christmas diet, which I don’t think anyone ever starts do they? Finally, the best part about Christmas where rules really are broken are with the children. Ask little Johnny what he did today in town.


‘I saw Santa, sat on his lap and told him where I lived and what presents I wanted.’


Bloody marvellous. No one has a clue who the guy in the Santa outfit actually is right? He could be your local paedophile on a protection list. Even the employer at the store wouldn’t know.  All year we tell our kids not to talk to strangers but at Christmas what do we do… we actually take them to see a stranger and encourage them to talk to him and even allow them to sit on his lap. So remember kids, as long as the stranger is wearing a costume of sorts, calls himself Santa and says he will go up your chimney it’s perfectly okay to chat to him and sit on his lap. I mean, why not, it’s Christmas after all.

Picture 370Dedicated to my lovely dad who loved Christmas and dressed as Santa for his grandchildren every year.


Giving it away…

teddy 2


I’m giving away a free signed copy of my new novel ‘The Valentine Present and Other Diabolical Liberties’

All you have to do is pop over to my Amazon page


check the blurbs on my books and email the names of all my heroines to ‘Bloggiveaway@renham.co.uk

I’ll announce the wiiner on the 10th September.

Meanwhile read all about me, my handbag and Lady Gaga over at Talli Roland’s blog.


I’m loving writing books to cheer you all up. I wrote comedy after deciding how nice it would be to re-create in a book that wonderful feeling you get from a lovely feel good film and I think I have achieved that. Enjoy and Good luck. xxxxx

A little t-t-taster. ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’


As  ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ is about to be launched, I thought I would write a piece for my blog about stammering. One of my characters has a stammer and at one time so did I.

I know exactly how awful stuttering can be and find that most things are easier to cope with if we laugh at them. After all it is better than crying right?

Having a stammer is no fun. I remember the days when people finished my sentence rather than have to bear that awful long wait while I tried to get the words out. Of course they always guessed wrong and I was left stammering for England yet again. My stammer started as a child. I was an emotional wreck even then 🙂 Nothing changes. I remember reading classes in school as the worst ordeal I ever had to endure. The teacher would go around the class getting each child to read a small passage from a novel. I would try to work out which would be my paragraph and scan it quickly to see how many B’s or F’s or M’s were in my piece and as it drew closer and closer to my turn I would quickly put my hand up to be excused to the toilet. Having an argument when you have a stammer is very frustrating too. The angrier you get the more you stammer. Believe me you never win an argument. You never get the words out in time. Or when you have good news to share and the excitement just bubbles over in you? Well, it certainly doesn’t bubble over in words, I can tell you. By the time you get the great news out, the fizz has all gone. My stammer never completely left me but in my late teens it certainly eased. But even now, when I get excited or angry I begin to stammer again. Sometimes a word is so difficult to get out that I have been known to pretend I have forgotten it and people help me out, thinking they are being my memory (oh, the deceit)

So, my new novel is dedicated to all fellow stammerers. We may find it hard to say the words but God knows we have plenty to say. It just takes us a bit longer to say it.

So here is a small taster of the latest novel and meet Alistair my fellow stammerer.

Chapter One

Don’t you just hate people who are always on time? Even worse are those people who aren’t only on time but fifteen minutes early. Totally unexpected buggers aren’t they? There you are in the middle of a quickie and they turn up on your doorstep, and you’re staring at them with that post orgasmic flush on your face as you accept their bunch of carnations and bottle of plonk. Not that Julian and I often have quickies before people come to dinner you understand, just in case you think we do, but you know what I mean. The only quickie you’ll catch us doing fifteen minutes before guests arrive is sieving lumps out of the cheese sauce. Lumpy cheese sauce is a speciality of mine. As for me, I am late for just about everything. I just can’t seem to get anywhere on time no matter how hard I try, and believe me, I try. I’m trying pretty hard right now. Julian, however, is one of those people who is always on time and I imagine he is well on his way to the church by now.
‘I’ll meet you at the church. Try not to be late,’ he had said with a wink, knowing full well I would be.
Meanwhile, I’m desperately trying to bungle Celia Blakely out of the laundrette where I work so I can finish my shift, change, and get to my friend, Silvia’s, wedding.
‘So, I said to Mr Newman, you know Mr Newman don’t you?’
I don’t know Mr Newman in the least and I am beginning to wonder if I actually want to.
‘He lives just up the road. His wife was …’
She leans closer and I shift slightly so I can hear her while continuing to unload the dryer.
‘Having it with Mr Douglas from number thirty-three.’
‘Oh,’ I say, folding the towels and placing them into her laundry bag.
‘She went to the Isle of Dogs with him. Well, I said to Mr Newman she can go to the dogs a woman like that. We don’t want the likes of her here in Battersea do we?’
I shake my head and glance at the clock. I’m going to be so late. I find myself wondering if Julian and I might have it later. A wedding always gets you in the mood doesn’t it? Lots of slow dances and champagne, and Julian in a nice fresh smelling shirt and I can see myself getting quite turned on. After all it seems like ages since we have.
‘Where’s this wedding you’re going to?’
‘St John’s Wood, it’s a bit of a posh one. My mum used to clean at their house when I was little and I used to play with their girl. I’ve got to get the bus when I clock off here.’
She grabs the washing bag and hands me ten pounds.
‘Here’s a little extra. Get a taxi. I know you’re struggling with that café and your studies.’
Café? God, Julian would have a hundred canary fits if he heard the restaurant being called a café.
‘Oh no, I couldn’t Celia.’
‘Don’t argue, just take it. It’s your birthday soon, ain’t it?’
‘Yeah, tomorrow actually. Thanks Celia, I’ll pay you back. Honest.’
She tuts.
‘I wouldn’t want it back.’
I see her to the door and rush to the back room to change, tapping Julian’s number into my mobile as I go. It rings and rings and finally goes to voicemail. Shit, he is probably at the church already. I pull off my stripy laundrette overall and study myself in the cracked back room mirror and slip on my new scarlet satin dress. It’s not strictly new of course. I bought it at Oxfam, but it’s perfect. I expect Alistair will quip something about The Waltons when he sees it. A quick shake of my shaggy blonde hair and a stroke of mascara transform me. I look critically at my reflection and sigh. Not enough time to achieve my normal Kate Moss look. Who I am I kidding? I clip a diamante slide into my hair and swipe Sugar Kiss Red lipstick over my full lips and stroke Rosy Red blusher onto my cheeks and sigh. Not bad I suppose. Of course, I’m sure I could look sensational if I had that Bobbi Brown stuff that Fiona uses. I’m so knackered. The last thing I need is a wedding, and a posh one at that. I slip on my trainers, as they are easier for running, and throw my red satin sling backs into a carrier bag. Clutching my woollen shawl, I open the door.
‘Bye Maud,’ I shout to my boss.
My mobile trills and I fumble in my bag. It’s Sid, my landlord.
‘Harriet, I hate to phone you darling. I’ve tried Julian but I’m not getting an answer. I’m sure it’s a silly mistake. Just a bloody oversight but as it happened last month I just thought I should check all is okay.’
What happened last month? I look down the street for a taxi.
‘Sorry, what’s that Sid?’
‘Julian’s bank isn’t paying the standing order for the rent. I’m sure it’s a mix up again, like last month.’
I feel my stomach lurch.
‘Last month?’ I say my voice rising.
I sense his embarrassment.
‘Not to worry babe, I’ll try him again. We’ll get it sorted. He said he would settle last month‘s rent and this month by the end of last week, but I think he must have used the wrong account again. Not to worry huh?’
‘I’ll speak to him. We’re at a wedding today. But I’ll get him to sort it tomorrow for you. I’m sure it’s just a mix up like you say.’
I hang up and push the conversation to the back of my mind. Sid’s right I’m sure. It’s just a silly mix up. Right, all I need now is to hail a taxi and that’s no mean feat. I’ll probably have to flash them. Oh well, there’s a first time for everything.

* * *

‘This is it,’ I tell the taxi driver as I slip on my new Shoezone stilettos.
‘That’s twenty quid darling.’
‘What? You’ve got to be kidding. That’s bleeding extortion more like,’ I quip fumbling in my purse. ‘What a liberty.’
I reluctantly hand over the money and dash through the church gates, struggling with the strap of one of my sandals as I go. That will teach me to buy cheap. I wobble on one foot and fiddle with the strap when I feel a hand on my arm.
‘Can I help with this?’
I turn to the voice and come face to face with a very striking man. In fact, he is so good looking he sends an ache through me. He’s wearing a dinner suit and his white shirt complements his tanned skin. His warm hazel eyes twinkle with amusement and a small smile flickers over his face. His voice is soft but clear and seems to have a hint of laughter in it. Is he mocking me, or is it just his manner? He holds out his arm and I lean gently on it and adjust my shoe strap while trying to ignore the fact that my breathing has quickened. His arm feels warm and sends a tingle down my spine.
‘Ta very much,’ I say gratefully, removing my hand as quickly as possible before I end up ripping off his shirt.
Blimey, I haven’t felt this randy in months. He nods towards the church where the organ is playing softly.
‘I think they’ve started,’ he says in his soft cultured voice.
I do believe I have lost the power of speech, bloody hell, that’s a first.
‘Shall we?’ he asks, heading towards the church.
Ooh, I’d love to but I’m not so sure a church is an appropriate place. For a split second I imagine him without that white shirt and feel myself go weak at the knees. I follow meekly, slipping in quietly at the back. I spot Fiona and Alistair but Julian is not with them, and I can see no sign of him. I love the smell of churches. I couldn’t tell you why. They are kind of sweet and musty all together. Although right now this church smells of Chanel perfume, Pierre Cardin aftershave and rose petals. There is also a faint smell of baby vomit which I am trying to ignore. I love weddings too. I don’t care where they are, I just like the atmosphere. Church weddings are best of course. The atmosphere in a registry office is nowhere near as holy is it? I’d like to get married in a church, not that Julian and I have ever talked about marriage even though we’ve been together for three years. And let’s face it, we can barely afford to eat at the moment, let alone plan a wedding. We never seem to have time to discuss our relationship. Either I’m dashing out to work, or panicking to finish a study assignment and you don’t normally bring up the subject of marriage as you’re tumbling out of bed or flying through the kitchen waving a piece of Marmite-smeared toast. Julian is working hard getting his restaurant going and if we are both home at the same time we are so knackered that we barely exchange more than twenty words. When it’s time for bed we are normally out for the count in seconds. Our sex life isn’t riveting but then whose is after three years? Mind you, my sister Caron and her boyfriend are at it nine to the dozen, or so she would have me believe, and they’ve been together for four years. It would be exciting though, I don’t mean going at it nine to the dozen, although that would be pretty exciting if I could just get up the energy. No, I mean getting married would be exciting. I look down at my dress and feel my head again to check the diamante slide is still there. All the other women are wearing huge hats and fabulous dresses and I feel just a touch underdressed. I’m not good at top hat and tails weddings. I love my friends but I feel so out of place with some of them. I bet these guests didn’t buy their outfits from Oxfam. I pull the dress gently from my newly pierced navel and adjust my bra slightly. I love Oxfam. I don’t know what I would do without it, not that I want people to continually starve, I mean that obviously goes without saying, but charity shops are a godsend to people like me. It’s just a shame they don’t sell cheap food.
The wedding march roaring from the organ snaps me out of my daydream. I turn to see the bride enter, but am acutely aware of the good-looking man beside me and the fresh clean smell that comes from him. I gasp as Silvia glides down the aisle in her beautiful Vera Wang wedding dress.
‘She looks amazing,’ I sigh.
‘She looks okay,’ says the man beside me.
I gape at him.
‘You’re kidding, that’s a Vera Wang dress. I’d die for a Vera Wang dress.’
Oh God, I sound so shallow. I give him a sideways glance and try to guess his age. I’ve never been good with ages but at a guess I’d say he was early thirties. I wonder if his wife/girlfriend and Julian are stuck somewhere together. There is absolutely no way this sex god is single.
‘I like your dress,’ he says softly, looking into my eyes.
‘You do?’ I say surprised. ‘It was a fiver in Oxfam …’ I bite my lip. What am I saying? I don’t need any help in making a bad impression do I?
‘Alistair always thinks I look like crap. He’s dead embarrassed to be seen with me,’ I whisper.
‘Is Alistair your boyfriend?’
‘Heavens no, I’d rather slash my wrists …’
He must think me so common.
‘He’s my friend’s partner,’ I say, pointing at Fiona a few rows ahead, ‘but he’s a bit rude. My boyfriend Julian hasn’t arrived yet,’ I say quickly, although I’m not sure why.
‘I’m Brice Edmunds by the way.’
Brice? I should have known he would have a sexy name.
‘Harriet Lawson,’ I reply, wishing it were something much grander.
There is a hushed silence as the vicar begins the service. It is so unlike Julian to be late. Forty-five minutes later and it is all over and we are applauding Silvia and Hugh as they leave the church. I make my way outside and wait for Fi and Alistair while searching for Julian. Brice passes me and smiles. He could stop hearts with that smile. I spot Fiona and Alistair and head towards them. My God, his flies are undone. I’m so preoccupied with Alistair’s trousers that I send myself sprawling as my heel tangles in my dress. Fiona catches me and wraps me in a tight embrace. Thank God for a familiar face, although it would have been much nicer had it been Julian’s.
‘On time as always,’ Alistair quips sarcastically. ‘There is something c-c-comforting about your consistent lateness.’
‘Hello Alistair, you look nice, like the Y-fronts.’
Fiona follows my eyes to Alistair’s zipper.
‘Christ Alistair, your flies are undone. Do something before that Jeremy guy sees you.’
‘What Jeremy guy?’ Alistair asks while fumbling with the zipper.
‘Over there. He’s a Lord or Sir or something. Anyway, zip your flies up for Christ’s sake.’
I peer at the man.
‘I don’t think he is,’ I say.
‘Are you sure? He looks familiar,’ she says.
‘That’s because he’s the parking attendant at Homebase,’ sighs Alistair.
I narrow my eyes.
‘He’s right you know,’ I say.
‘Are you sure? What’s he doing here?’
‘P-p-parking cars,’ huffs Alistair. ‘I wish you would wear your contact lenses. Honestly you’ll be curtsying to parking attendants before we know where we are.’
‘I do wear them. I’m just so tired and they make my eyes sore. I was sure my glasses were in my bag. I feel like I’m jet lagged. You know, that ‘when you’re not here’ feeling?’
‘I’m rather wishing I wasn’t. I feel like a sodding wallflower,’ I say looking around desperately for Julian.
‘A scarlet w-w-wallflower,’ sneers Alistair. ‘It’s a w-w-wedding you know, not a b-b-bloody period drama.’
What a cheek, some people just don’t appreciate individualism do they?
‘Bloody things,’ he mumbles yanking the zip up.
‘You look lovely,’ Fiona assures me. ‘I love the snap pearl buttons on that dress.’
‘You don’t think it’s a bit, you know, Little House on the Prairie?’ I say feeling self-conscious.
‘A little bit?’ sneers Alistair. ‘That’s an understatement.’
‘Ignore him, he wouldn’t know style if it bit him on the arse,’ Fiona says glaring at Alistair.
‘Have you seen Julian?’ I ask. ‘He should have been here ages ago. I’m sure he left well before I did. You know how he likes to be on time.’
‘Most people like to be on time,’ says Alistair.
‘I can’t see anybody without my contacts,’ moans Fiona, ‘let alone Julian. He’s probably got held up at the restaurant.’
I shake my head sending a pearl drop earring flying.
‘I’ve tried the restaurant, and his mobile, and he isn’t answering either. I’ve only brought a cheap card with me. He’s supposed to be bringing the present.’
‘I imagine he’s still bombing it down the A40 in your Mini,’ says Alistair casually.
I stare at him.
‘That’s just the thing. Alistair swears he saw Julian bombing it down the A40 in your Mini. I said that’s not possible. It’s completely the wrong way, and your Mini won’t do more than forty,’ says Fiona.
‘Not with an empty tank it won’t. That’s why I got a taxi here. I forgot about petrol. I don’t mean I forgot that the car takes petrol, of course. I’m not that dippy.’
‘That’s a relief,’ quips Alistair.
I shoot him a dirty look.
‘I just forgot I was on the red and I’m flat broke. Bombing it down the A40, are you sure he was in the Pooch? The thing will blow up.’
‘I don’t think it is p-p-possible to mistake your Mini. You know that distinctive whining sound that says Harriet’s Mini?’
Why on earth would Julian be ragging the Pooch down the A40 when he’s got his new van? I hope the wheels weren’t nicked from it. That’s all we need. The past nine months have been shit. Every single penny going into Julian’s dream of setting up a French restaurant which, so far, has not done very well at all. If it wasn’t for our friends eating there we wouldn’t have broken even. I’ve seriously started considering selling a kidney. Julian’s obviously, not mine. I’m not that crazy. After all, we could survive on three between the two of us. In fact, maybe I could sell off bits of Julian’s body until he has the restaurant up and running and I have all my studies paid for. Although, strictly speaking, not all our money has gone into the venture. I have been secretly squirrelling away some of my earnings. I decided from the start that one of us needed to put a little by and I’m so glad I did. I need to pay for the next part of my tuition fees as I am not planning to work in a laundrette all my life. I can’t help worrying though, what earthly reason would Julian have for racing down the A40 in my Mini? Come to think of it why is he ragging it down the A40 at all when the church is the opposite way? Still, Julian always did have a terrible sense of direction. All the same, it’s a bit odd. Julian would never be late unless there was a good reason.
‘It’s not like Julian to be late,’ I say voicing my concerns.
‘There’s a f-f-first time for everything,’ says Alistair.
‘It’s dead posh this wedding isn’t it?’ says Fiona, breaking into my thoughts. ‘There are Lords and MPs and everything. It’s a real high-class do isn’t it? They’re all big knobs.’
‘Is that a fact? Perhaps you should keep an eye on that zip Alistair. You don’t want people making comparisons,’ I laugh.


Holey knickers, sex gods at hospitals and fiddling the NHS



cat 2If yesterday was not scatty enough with having to chase a demented cat out of the kitchen with a baby green finch in its mouth, then I certainly made up for it today.

Yesterday I flew out of the new French doors to chase Bendy (the cat) screaming the whole while for him to drop the baby finch he had in his mouth. The poor thing was twittering so much. Of course in my haste to rescue said bird I rushed out practically naked. It was early. I did grab a shawl in case. I had of course totally forgotten the kids would be arriving for school and you only have to look over the wall to see the mayhem in our garden. Not that we have continual mayhem here. Mayhem yes but not continual. Anyway as always I digress. So there I am a shawl draped over my naked body save for holey knickers and what happens? You guessed it the parents arrive with their kids. I don’t know how many saw my backside. Suffice to say Andrew was not thrilled. He expects me to end up on a list any day now. After dashing to the vet with a poor shook up little green finch I finally got on with work. I managed extra 2,000 words to the novel knowing I would be out half the day today at the hospital having a foot scan and x-rays.

Now, I ask you what can go wrong with a simple visit to the hospital. First stop the Orthopaedic hospital for my X-ray. I pop my money in the pay and display and off I go. So far so good. I am out within the hour. Jump in the car and off to the next hospital ten minutes up the road. Don’t ask why I couldn’t have the ultrasound at the same hospital. Only the NHS can explain that one. Arrive at next car park take ticket from barrier and park car after much difficulty. God, when did hospitals get so busy and when did you have to pay to park? Anyway, off I go to the next Radiology department. I sit and wait until, my Goodness, this Greek god comes to get me. I kid you not. Open necked black sexy shirt, so I get a glimpse of his hairy chest. I say, radiology never used to be this sexy. He wears tight black jeans and gives me the sexiest smile ever. I begin to think my legs may give way completely. Oh well, they have wheelchairs here, so that’s handy. He talks to me in broken English and leads me into the room for the ultrasound. He then caresses my feet in such an erotic fashion that I think I’m in a scene from ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ hunk

I blame the Greek god for what happened next. I leave with the news that I am showing slight signs of Arthritis. I look around for the machine to pay my parking fee and then remember I already paid. I climb into my car and the bugger won’t start. I phone Andrew thinking he will have to come and get me or arrange a tow. As I talk to him, the engine starts up. My husband the miracle worker.  I love him for just that reason.

‘Right,’ I say. ‘I won’t stop now until I get home in case it conks out.’

Off I go to the barrier where I push my ticket in. (spotted the obvious mistake yet) I still haven’t and I try again and again and again but it just spits out at me. The lady coming into the car park tells me her barrier won’t work. I tell her mine isn’t working either.barrier

She gets me to buzz and some man snaps at me through the machine. I tell him there is a huge queue behind me and that the barriers aren’t working. He is quiet for a moment and then tells me the system has crashed. We wait. I try again and again. The queue gets longer. People start climbing from their cars and asking me what the problem is. I explain the system has crashed. Finally another man buzzes and complains and then someone comes and lifts the barriers. Relieved I drive through, my engine still running. It is as I am halfway home that I realise it was in the other car park that I paid. It was a pay and display there. The last car park I didn’t pay at all and was trying to exit with my entrance ticket. With a gasp I realise it had been me that had crashed the system. The question now is do I tell Andrew or leave him in the dark? I don’t want to be sectioned yet do I?

Oh, to live a normal life…

Lucille Ball and Hijinks

Brilliant review by Blog Critic

If Lucille Ball were alive today, cookie cakes, she’d be devouring Lynda Renham’s madcap romantic comedies like Cookie Monster devours cookies. When it comes to screwball storytelling the delightfully talented Renham sets the gold standard in penning hilarity.

The characters in Pink Wellies and Flat Capsand their dialogue are charismatic, sharp, and witty. Renham’s latest is brimming with engaging,



energetic, and flawless entertainment.

Alice Lane has it all; a magnificent fiancé, a responsible occupation and a charming flat in Chelsea, however after Alice has a bra fitting her world turns topsy-turvy. In a nutshell, her life goes tits up. Adrift with just an iridescent engagement ring as a token of her former life Alice agrees to take on a position in Cornwall as a live-in farm manager and learns her situation in fact can indeed get worse. The appealing Alice finds exactly what she is made of as she wrangles to handle her temperamental employer. Nevertheless can Alice forego love and repel the dynamic Dominic or will the past come back to astonish her?

Alice sparkles brilliantly as she tackles life and her new career. side-splitting laughter, amusing adventure, and feel good awesomeness is flitted throughout this delightful tale.

At moments heart-wrenching, at moments raucous, at moments zany enough to tinkle from the hijinks, at all times engaging and satiating,Pink Wellies and Flat Caps earns a read if you’re a romance comedy enthusiast.

Article Author: Diane Morasco

Diane Morasco created The Book Resort in 2009. In 2011 she founded Morasco Media and in 2012 Morasco Enterprises. Ms. Morasco is the Founder and CEO of Morasco Media(MM) and Morasco Enterprises(ME).

Doughnuts and Valium (the best combination)

Even this sight of me doesn't drive the builders away
Even this sight of me doesn’t drive the builders away

I thought to myself, because I do that sometimes. I talk to myself also (more than I should) but let’s not go there. I thought to myself, let’s write about this building work, after all it might be cathartic. Before I even wrote three words there were tears falling onto the paper blurring the words Okay, there would have been had it been on paper written in ink. In fact the words may well have been blurred by the scarlet red of my blood, so suicidal have I felt. But… there is always something good to be found. I don’t have to worry about dieting. It’s quite impossible to cook anything. The slow cooker is buried in brick-dust, the kitchen no longer exists and even heating up two TV dinners has become a skill. Balancing one on top of the other, making sure the dish covering one is just large for the top to take another TV dinner while continuing to rotate nicely. Wednesday night has become fish and chip night while Sunday has become Roast dinner down the pub. I buy the builders doughnuts and myself hot cross buns. I’m drinking copious amounts of wine (mostly because the doctor won’t give me Valium and wine is the next best thing) I don’t have to clean (no point) I use someone else’s bathroom as I don’t have one (luxury) and I always have a man about the place. Some of them are admittedly as good as useless but I have men never the less. I don’t have heating but I do have a small electric fan heater which we sit huddled over. I have found washing using a bucket isn’t so bad. I’m beginning to wonder what the fuss is about sinks. So between popping pain killers and laughing till I cry I am managing to stay sane amidst the chaos which begins every day without fail at 7.30. Come rain or shine I drag myself from my bed at 7 or earlier and am sitting in my tatty towelling robe when they arrive. They sadly realised quite early on that I am no Brigitte Bardot so why pretend? If Andrew can cope with the morning nightmare of me then so can they?
There is Mark, also known as ‘Dipstick Mark.’ Named thus by us. Dipstick Mark swaggers around all day swigging from his never-ending cans of Red Bull. I imagine he is flying by the end of the day and seems incapable of doing anything without an ensuing disaster. He plumbed in pipes for the heating and then forgot to turn the water on. We attempted to later that evening only to have a flood. Dipstick Mark returns to repair said damage and fits a tap in the bathroom so we have water upstairs. He then forgets to turn the water back on. When we do turn on the water we discover said tap has a leak. ‘Dipstick Mark’ almost flooded out our bathroom and ruined our new ceiling.
There’s lovely Dan, who I would adopt if I could. I’m not sure life will be the same once Dan goes and I won’t be able to shout ‘Dan,’ every time something doesn’t seem to work. Dan flies out to bring in the washing if it rains and takes in any deliveries. It’s like having my own manservant but without the ‘Mam’ bit.
There is lovely Kevin, the boss. He doesn’t say much but does plenty. There are two Steve’s otherwise known as sparky and the plumber. Not being versed in this language I spent several days waiting for someone called Sparky to arrive. I finally said to Dan,
‘I must keep missing Sparky. I haven’t met him yet.’
Dan patiently informed me that Sparky is the trade name for electrician. Well, I’m not to know that am I?
I’ve had four periods during the time they have invaded my home. Trying to insert a tampon while sitting in a portaloo with three builders outside having a tea break is no fun at all.
I’ve read builder nightmare stories of course but you never think it will happen to you. Oh, be afraid be very afraid. These builders are all the same. I’m actually lucky to still be alive after a rain of scaffolding came hurtling towards me. I have slipped on the mud inside the house not outside I hasten to add. Lovely Dan places the dust sheets neatly on the stairs every day showering the living room in a cloud of grey making the room resemble smoky Joes by the time he has finished. There was also the day they forgot to tell me that although I could see a cat flap hole on the outside, they had actually plastered it up on the inside. That night the cat couldn’t

Bend the cat has a tea break
get out to pee, hence the house reeks of cat pee now.
The worst thing possible they have done is… filled my fridge with Snickers bar. The overwhelming temptation has proven too much and was a disaster for my diet. But I am proud to say I weakened only once and stole one. ‘You’re roughing it very well,’ said Kevin. Is that a gloat I see on his face?
But enough of my story telling. Have a look at the photos.
All donations to the new building fund to repair builder damage can be sent to me directly.
Lovely Dan

Our living room/bathroom/kitchen/junk room

Living room

Bendy thinks ‘Ah this looks promising.’

This looks even more promising


Our current draining system

But it will be worth it

Cow dung and cream teas

There’s nothing like doing a bit of research down on the farm is there? Except I’m not a real born and bred country girl as many of you may have already worked out. I’ve spent the past eleven years fighting a constant battle with wood lice, mice and spiders. Give me a lizard any day and I am fine. But a slug in the kitchen is my biggest nightmare. But I have decided the next novel is to be set on a farm and that my research can easily be done on the internet and via emails with a lovely farmer that I tracked down. Not so. Andrew thinks differently.
Last week he surprised me by saying.
‘I’m taking you away for the weekend’
Those immortal words every woman dreams to hear.
‘To a working farm in Cornwall, where you can see the milking and get up close to and smell the dung,’ he continued.
Not the words every woman dreams to hear.
All the same it sounded like a good idea. Nothing like experiencing the real thing now is there? So on the Friday morning we left our builders with their tea and doughnuts (oh yes the builders and the extension are a whole other blog) and began our drive down to Cornwall. I learnt it was down from a very irritated Andrew after I had mentioned to a few people that we were going up to Cornwall to stay on a farm. Up or down I can’t see as it matters but it seems it certainly does. Of course we had forgotten it was the school holidays and the traffic was a nightmare and the service stations were completely packed. You know the kind of thing. You revert to a Cornish pasty from the van outside because the queues are unbearable and the loos look like they have been raided and all that was worth stealing was toilet roll. There isn’t a roll to be found for neither love nor money. I found myself sitting on the loo with hand dryers going like no tomorrow frantically searching for just the smallest piece of tissue in my bag. I was desperate and finally rummaged to the bottom to find something (I’m not telling you what, but it did what was needed)
And so we continue and finally arrive at the farm where the sheep dog Molly greets me with a leap up my trousers. It has been pouring with rain in Cornwall. Everywhere is muddy and so is Molly and now so are my trousers.
‘Good boy,’ I say good-naturedly.
‘I think you mean good girl don’t you?’ asks Andrew. ‘Especially with a name like Molly.’


Okay, so I’m a bit tired. But Molly didn’t seem bothered. In fact she jumped all over me again in gratitude.
We are shown to our room with a promise of a farm tour the next day.
It rained all night and all the next day. But a farm tour I got, or more a tour of mud and dung.
Pearl, our lovely B&B lady told us to wear our old clothes. For her that was an old boiler suit. For me it was the only rain mac I possessed and my wellingtons over an old pair of leggings. I’m not a country girl remember. Andrew however looked well at ease in his old jeans, wellies and jacket.
Well, I cannot begin to tell you. I was the one with the camera which seemed a little unfair as even in my Wellington’s I am gingerly moving through the mud while trying to snap away. Pearl and Andrew forge ahead while I am slurping my way through muddy fields and several times almost went head first in the mud to comments of,
‘You okay with the mud there? From Pearl before she surged ahead.
And from Andrew,
‘You’re okay you’ve got your Wellington’s on.’
Andrew with Pearl. Looking sexy indeed. Andrew that is.

This isn’t mud this is quicksand. Even Molly is no help. She just keeps pawing me for more strokes. Talk about me, me me.
I slosh my way to the milking sheds and sigh with relief. Hopefully now we are in the dry I can relax. I take more photos and slap down Molly’s muddy paw for the hundredth time.
‘Let me show you the dung heap. That’s the dung spreader you can hear,’ says Pearl proudly.
‘We had to hire the spreaders. As we have twelve months of dung to spread we will need to work as long as possible to make the most of the hire. We only have them for four days.’
Holy Crap! (As one might say in ‘Fifty shades of Grey’) Twelve months’ worth of shit? She is seriously taking me to see and of course smell twelve months of shit? I am seriously thinking there are many places where the novel could be set and perhaps now is the time to tell Andrew I have changed my mind. But before I can he is again forging ahead with Pearl through the mud, slime, and now the dung. I slip and slide all over the place and I feel sure I cry out at one point but hey who is listening to me. I’m only the writer. The smell is now overpowering and there in front of me is the dung heap. It is fascinating. Pearl tells me how they will take the dung and spread it over the fields.
Cow dung

‘Fascinating,’ I say and it is but not so fascinating that I want to stand for fifteen minutes hearing all about it. Andrew, however, who has to leave the room if I should ever so much as dare to fart seems happy to stand all day in cow shit with the rain pouring on him. I am beginning to find it quite sexy. If you believe that then you will believe anything.
But it is quite amazing to watch I have to admit. I have never seen so much dung in my whole life.
We finally leave the smell, and sounds of the dung spreader behind us and head for the fields. Well Andrew and Pearl headed for the fields. I just kind of sloshed my way along. Then we’re in the farm buildings and facing me with wide eyes and wet noses were the cutest calves ever. Pearl explained that the female calves will be kept for milking. We were silent as I coo cooed over a male calf with unusual markings and then asked ignorantly.
‘What happens to the male calves?’ I asked
‘They go to the slaughter-house,’ said Andrew.

Right there right then, of course, I wanted to rescue every calf on the farm. In fact every calf residing in Cornwall I could have rescued at that precise moment. But like everything I quickly forgot. Had she offered me roast beef later that night I’m sure I would have thought nothing of it. As it happens it was roast chicken.
A quick trip into the fields or in my case more a quick slip and slide and we were heading back the whole time listening to Pearl’s wonderful stories of farming life and life in the farming community.
With an aching back and aching legs probably from all the tension I built up in my legs trying to stay upright, I made hundreds of notes. Andrew then took for a wonderful cream tea. Seriously it was one of the best cream teas ever. The scone was huge, the jam was runny and the clotted cream was divine. If you are ever near Bude do find the Lavender tea rooms. I can’t recommend them highly enough. It was just warm enough for us to sit outside overlooking the lavender fields. Heaven indeed.
Nothing like a bit of dung research to get the juices flowing, so to speak. Let’s hope it worked. 15,000 words into the new novel so can’t be bad…

It’s only wind!

My life surely has to be more entertaining than a soap opera. I really don’t intend for it to be that way. In fact I was not aware it was even similar to one until Andrew said as much and some good friends confirmed that he was indeed a saint to cope with it all. Poor Andrew. No wonder he swings from lamp posts.
Last week was a prime example I suppose, when I popped to the Doctors with what I was convinced was a serious problem with my stomach.
‘I imagine they will send me for tests,’ I told Andrew the night before.
‘Yes, of course,’ was his response. ‘Although the most likely scenario is that they will tell you it’s wind.’
So, the next morning off I trot to the Doctor, almost wanting to prove dear Andrew wrong.
After much poking around. Ah, talking of poking, that reminds me I must be due a smear test soon. Aren’t blogs wonderful things. They even jolt your memory.
‘Take a seat Mrs Renham-Cook. Now…’
Oh dear. Convinced she is about to tell me I can’t now travel to Cambodia, I begin forming the words to convince her of otherwise.
‘I can find nothing wrong.’
She can’t?
‘It could be irritable bowel.’
Seems Andrew was right as usual.
I go to stand up and the pain I had been having in my calf catches me and I gasp. She notices, has a feel and immediately phones the hospital. I nearly pass out in fear. This is the thing with being a hypochondriac. The illness you expect to be diagnosed with never materialises but when something does happen that you hadn’t even thought of it throws you into blind panic.
‘I’ll phone the nurse, see if she can take your blood now and we can send that off and get it checked for Deep vein thrombosis. We will have it back in the morning.’
Deep vein thrombosis. Oh my God. I immediately picture a clot on my lung. Convince myself I only have a short time to live and beginning planning how to break the news to Andrew. God, I know I sit down a lot but this is ridiculous.
The nurse rushes me into her room. She only has a few minutes before they come to collect the blood. I am jabbed unmercifully with her needle. I’m someone used to having blood tests. I have my thyroid checked monthly but nothing hurt like that one did.
‘Best to be safe than sorry,’ the nurse tells me.
Yes, quite. But does being safe mean it has to hurt so bloody much?
I drive home in a dream. Well, that’s normal actually. I do everything in a dream. But this time I think I was more in a dream than normal.
Andrew comes home and I break the news.
‘I may have DVT.’ I say. ‘Well it’s highly likely actually.’
My leg has been throbbing ever since I arrived home.
‘Yes, I’m sure,’ he responds looking through the post.
I’m sure he is worried, he just doesn’t want it to show.
I spend the evening with my leg up.
‘I read on Google that’s the best thing to do,’ I tell Andrew.
‘I’d chop it off if I were you. Save all the bother.’
Obviously he is trying to cheer me up with humour.
Now, of course my arm is so sore I can barely move it. By the morning I have a massive bruise. Although the morning seems a long time coming. Andrew seemingly unperturbed sleeps like the dead. I know this because at one point I try to wake him up. Before I tell you about the night’s adventure I should just set the scene a bit. Andrew sleeps very soundly. I don’t. I am up and down like a jack in a box. This used to cause all kinds of upset. I now use my Blackberry to see where I’m going. I’m night blind, did I ever mention this.
‘No, no, but please don’t fill us in,’ I hear you shout.
Okay, don’t worry. There isn’t time anyway. Suffice to say I use my Blackberry to find my way to the bathroom. So, here I am on my way back when from the light of my phone I spot something black and large on the bedroom floor. Oh God, a spider. How do I get past that? More importantly if I do, what is to stop it coming onto the bed. I am terrified of spiders. Yes, I have killed spiders. Or I should say asked someone else to kill them. I was told off for this on Facebook. Told I should think twice about taking a life. Does this apply to the mice that are overtaking my house and the ants that seem to be everywhere. I mean, where do I draw the line? Anyway, back to the story. I’m sure I will hear lots of opinions on killing spiders. Even I am rethinking it through. I call Andrew, well that is I whisper Andrew. After the eighth whisper I am screaming Andrew. The spider hasn’t moved but with all this racket going on he is bound to soon. Bendy the cat, sitting downstairs, hears the racket and joins in with his meows.
‘What’s going on,’ utters Andrew.
At last!
‘There’s a spider, do something. I can’t go back to bed.’
‘Is that why you woke me up?’
‘Isn’t it enough?’
He sleepily climbs from the bed, finds the spider, kills it with the metal detector that sits on the landing (lent to me by a friend to find my engagement ring, if you’re curious and that is a whole other post.) wraps it in my sock (I ask you) and asks if I am returning to bed.
The following morning Andrew informs me that the spider I was so terrified of, was in fact the fluffy cover off of my headphones. I mean, typical or what?
‘Let me know what the verdict is,’ he shouts as he leaves the house. I wait all morning by the phone chewing my nails and wondering if I should pack a small bag ready for my stay in hospital. I begin a list of things we will need from Waitrose. That way Andrew can go instead of me. Doctor finally phones.
‘All is well,’ she tells me.
Surely she has made a mistake? I feel so tired.
‘Let’s check your thyroid,’ she suggests.
Yes, let’s do that, I agree.
Oh, well this means I can go to Waitrose today after all.
Normal life resumes. I know, I know, it’s far from normal but it’s how I like it…

The Oxfordshire mating call…

So I decide to go to Waitrose. This is never a good idea for many reasons. In fact I am beginning to wonder if I am actually safe to be let out alone. Oh, you think I joke. I kid you not.
On Friday I decided to go to Waitrose early. There were many good reasons for this, although as soon as this decision was made it caused problems. A heavy debate ensued about dinner. Usually I buy a Rotisserie chicken and we have this with some Moroccan couscous and then… Could you stop yawning please. I assure you this gets better. Where was I? Oh, yes and then we watch a DVD or maybe two. Friday night is the highlight of our week and I don’t need your pity. You can put that back in your pocket right now.
Now, here was the problem. If I go to Waitrose early they will not have a chicken cooked and ready for me to take home. A tricky problem is this. So, I need to check what else Lord Cook would like. We decide on a curry.
Why not just go later, I hear you ask? A reasonable question, if I do say so myself. I needed to be at the Doctor’s at 11.02. At least I thought it was 11.02 but we’ll come back to that later. Plus, to complicate matters even more, the appointment is not at my usual small village surgery but at the main one in a nearby town. I hope you’re keeping up with all this because it gets more complicated as time goes on. So, I decide to pop to Waitrose, that’s if you can pop to somewhere that is about six miles away and then on the way back I can do a short detour to the Doctors and then home.

‘That will give me the whole of the afternoon to write,’ I told his lordship.

Oh, famous last words or what?

So, off I pop. Trying to get to Witney from my village is a feat all of its own. The road leading to Witney is a driver’s nightmare. I have been done twice for speeding along there and I don’t speed. But the speed limit changes so often that I feel like I’m driving chitty chitty bang bang. So I potter along, accelerating from 30 miles an hour to 40 and then up to 50 miles an hour. The car behind me obviously doesn’t give a fig about speed limits and spends much of his time in the 30 miles per hour speed either flashing me (with his lights obviously. My luck never stretches to anything further than that) or hooting me while driving as close to my bumper as he possibly can. I’m under no illusions. This is intimidation, just in case you thought it was some kind of Oxfordshire mating call. We all relax when I am back in a 50 miles an hour zone. This doesn’t last long and I am back to 40 and quickly down to 30 and being flashed for all I’m worth. Finally, I reach Witney and the car park for Waitrose. Guess what? It is full. How can this be? I’m early for goodness sake. I drive round and round until my head is spinning. I finally spot a space and shoot into it only to discover it is only an hour stay. I do a quick calculation in my head and figure I can race around the store and be back within the hour.
Don’t you just hate supermarkets? Even worse, don’t you hate supermarkets on a weekday? I fight my way past the mums with their screaming children and hover for five minutes behind an elderly woman who is studying the teas and make my way to the chicken counter, where the assistant smiles at me and continues checking the temperature on the cooked birds with such concentration, you would think she was operating. I feel like telling her they look very dead to me and could she pop one in a bag. I attempt to speak but she holds a hand up to stop me and continues with her deep concentrated efforts with the thermometer. I’m getting close to telling her where to stick that thermometer and it isn’t in the chicken. I want to scream,
‘I’m on an hour here Lady. Can we move on with this?’
‘Can I help you,’ she says eventually.
Oh, how fab. She has finally seen the customer. I mean, there is enough of me, so she couldn’t really miss me.
I choose my chicken and hastily leave the meat counter. I fly along the aisles, throwing in everything I need and finally I am at the till. It has taken me forty minutes. A record and I almost feel like they should give me a medal at the till and not just a little green disc for the charity box. I saunter from the store and make my way to the car. It is then I realise I am still holding the green disk. Typical. I throw the carrier bags into the boot. Drop the disc into the trolley and pop the trolley back to the trolley park. I’m making good time. Then, I am in my car and making my way back home. Checking the time on the clock I wonder if I have enough time to take the shopping back before driving onto the Doctors.
I don’t know about your Doctors, but my surgery is ultra-organised. They even send you a text message with the time and date of your appointment. Not that it helps me, of course. I have a vague memory that the appointment is 11.02 but it could well be 11.22 for how good my memory is. I decide to be really organised and check my phone at the next lay by and therefore make an informed decision. After all I have one hot dead chicken in the boot, not to mention the Mini who is behind me. I swear if he drives any close he will be joining the chicken. I’m wondering if he would like to join us for the DVD later.
Finally, I see the lay by. I indicate, pull in and reach for my handbag to check my Blackberry. My stomach lurches when I see my bag is not on the passenger seat. Time stands still and my mind does one of the back track things that you see in the films. Everything runs before my eyes in slow motion and I see my handbag in the shopping trolley.
Oh God. I left it in the trolley and I left the trolley in the trolley park. I picture all the things that are in it. My glasses, Blackberry, purse, credit cards, money and groan inwardly. I check the clock. I have waited weeks for this appointment and it is almost 11. Oh, no, horror of horrors. I will have to tell Andrew. He is working from home today. I restart the car and zoom down the country lanes to our village. So much for keeping to the speed limit now. I skid to a halt outside our cottage, fly into the house, bound up the stairs and declare to a wide-eyed Andrew that I have left my bag in the trolley and the trolley in the trolley park.

You can almost understand Andrew being driven to things like this.
You can almost understand Andrew being driven to things like this.

Yes, you heard him. It is not the first time. I won’t repeat the other things he said. They went along the lines of how could I be so stupid and that there is something seriously wrong with me. I phone the store, my heart in my mouth. Please let them have it I plead. I was lucky enough the last time this happened. But just how many honest people are there out there? Well, most certainly two it seems. Someone handed it in. I yell up the stairs to Andrew that I am going to the doctors in the vain hope that my appointment was at 11.20 and not 11.02 and then back to Waitrose.
Off I go again at top speed. I assure you there was no driver up my backside on this journey. I swear I left a cloud of dust behind me so they wouldn’t be able to see my backside if they tried. Zoomed into the Doctor’s car park and raced in to discover my appointment was for 11.30. What a relief. The day has barely begun and I am exhausted. I could go back to bed.
You’ll be pleased to hear that my blood pressure reading was normal. My return to Waitrose was uneventful also. In fact I even got parked directly outside the store and everything was inside my handbag, not even a snotty tissue was missing. So, right there, right then, I decided all this scatty behaviour has got to stop. I’m pleased to tell you that so far so good. Mind you it has only been five days. Ask me after five weeks…

You is well funny!

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I have always looked on the bright side of things. My sense of humour is wacky and I have been called eccentric, nicely mad and well funny. One memorable comment from a student I was teaching many years ago was.
‘You is well funny, you should be on the telly.’
Yes, well… There have been times that it could seriously have gotten me into trouble.
I have already recounted many funny episodes in my life but believe me for every one that I have told you there are a million others. So, here we go, sit down, get comfy and those cheeky ones can bugger off now. It all began with this morning, well, in theory on Thursday when my friend Marie, and yes Marie, this is your entire fault, gave me an early birthday card. She asked me to open it right away and of course I did. There is always the vague hope that there might be a cheque inside. There wasn’t, just in case you wondered. I think she must have forgotten to put it in. Hopefully when she reads this, she’ll pop it in the post. On arrival home, I showed Andrew my card which was a lovely lookalike picture of my cat Bendy. Where she is going with this, you are asking. Don’t deny it, because I heard you. The card was then placed on the book shelf. I did notice Andrew’s newly purchased tax disc but that is really the only time I recall seeing it. It is at this point that I have to claim total ignorance at whatever followed because I honestly cannot remember. I blame hormones myself, mine that is, not Andrew’s. It is a miracle of nature that I am still having periods actually but that is probably another post altogether. But while we are on the subject of periods I would just like to raise the question, why are sanitary towels not free? Did I ask for periods? More importantly did I ask for them to go on forever? Did I ask to make history? No. I spent over nine pounds on sanitary protection the other day. I think the NHS should supply them; after all they supply condoms don’t they? It’s all one and the same thing surely? But I transgress as usual. The next day he asks have I seen his tax disc. I admitted I had but that was the night before. He insists I have lost it, I insist I haven’t. Andrew finally finds it in the recycle bin, folded neatly and inside the envelope clearly marked Lynda which originally housed my card. I mean, honestly what is going on? How did I do that? More importantly when did I do that? And most importantly of all, why did I do it?
My question to you is this. Am I clearly mad, or can this all be blamed on hormones?

I have been known to trudge round Marks and Spencer for over an hour, pack my shopping, ask for the collect by car option, accept my number disc and then drive all the way home, get indoors and then realise I am still holding the disc and my shopping is still at the store.

I’m the part medical receptionist who politely argues with the patient who comes to collect a prescription.
Patient, mumbling:

‘I’ve come to collect my prescription.’


What’s your name?

Patient: Whispers

‘Joe Smith’

Me, looks for prescription can’t find it. Ten minutes of me asking when was it requested and trying to trace it, I suddenly come to the realisation that it must be a controlled drug and the script is somewhere safe. I search in the relevant place but no prescription. Joe Smith, mumbles his name again and fidgets uncomfortably. I again ask him what it was for in the hope it will give me an idea where to look. He shifts about again and whispers something I don’t catch. He finally reveals it is a private script. Ah, why didn’t he say that in the beginning? With a flourish I produce his prescription which he grabs and quickly exits.

‘What was that all about?’

asks my fellow worker.

‘Oh, nothing,’

I respond.
Well, how was I know his prescription was for Viagra?

I really hate to hurt people’s feelings and that can go as far as our local milkman. Rather than telling him we didn’t want him anymore, I said I now had lactose intolerance and couldn’t drink milk. He was so sympathetic and helpful that I found myself accepting his offer of lactose free milk and yoghurt. Andrew’s face when seeing them in the fridge was quite a picture.

I am even polite to obscene phone callers. One once phoned and asked if I wasn’t too busy would I talk to him while he w***ed himself off. I apologised, saying I was in the middle of the ironing. I mean, who does that?

I have left my handbag in a shopping trolley and driven home.

Left the house, locked the front door while leaving the back door wide open.

Slept in the summer-house when Andrew was away working because there was a spider in the bedroom. Because we do not have a back entrance I had to leave the backdoor unlocked all night, so I could get back into the house in the morning… (shush) don’t tell Andrew.

I have unbuttoned my skirt while travelling on a coach only to forget to button up again. Yes, you’ve guessed it. While running along Oxford Street to catch a connecting bus I ended up with my skirt around my ankles.

I’m the woman who gets a tampon stuck and has to have it surgically removed, oh yes, that’s me…

I have also attempted to get into a car that looks very like mine for about ten minutes until I finally spot the baby seat and remember I don’t have a baby. Thank god, the car wasn’t alarmed.

I find I am out of control whenever I hear Irish music. When walking through the grounds of Blenheim palace and hearing ‘Lord of the dance’ I break into an Irish jig. Klik hier voor meer gratis plaatjes

Like a good wife I prepare dinner early and put everything in the slow cooker and then potter off to write. It is only when Andrew arrives home at 6.30 that I realise I had plugged in the toaster instead of the slow cooker. No dinner!

I have handed over my NHS employee smart code to policeman when stopped in my car, thinking it is my driving licence (well they are both pink!) and been told I can go. (Obviously they mistake me for a Doctor. Understandable.)
I send text message to the wrong people… Seriously, this can be quite dire.

Now, you are all going to tell me how similar things happen to you every day aren’t you? Or are you just going to tell me.
‘You is well funny!’

Help, we’re sinking…fast

Here I am about to go on a boat trip and stupidly I had not even considered we would do this. How I had imagined we would visit a floating village without a boat being involved, I do not know. But that’s me, say yes to things and think about it later.
Now I don’t particularly like boats. In fact I don’t particularly like water either. Well, obviously not all water. I don’t want you think I don’t shower. It’s more sea like water, the stuff that boats sail on, that have an adverse effect on me. I have a good reason for this sailing aversion. I can’t swim and any boat trip is seen as a possible drowning threat. The only boats I will go on and probably then kicking and screaming are those that tend to have lots of safety equipment such as lifeboats, life rafts, life jackets; you know all those safety things that have the word life attached to them. I want to live you see for quite a few more years. I know, maybe learning to swim might be a good idea. My attempts at swimming lessons are a whole other blog. Anyway, as usual I am digressing. Back to the boat, did I say boat? Oh, God, never has something looked less like a boat than this one and the sailor less like a sailor. I want to die…
‘Surely we aren’t getting on that,’ I say weakly.
Andrew’s face is enough to tell me we are. After all we have just paid thirty dollars to go on this and Andrew is determined to get his money’s worth. If that means I drown, so be it. Okay, he isn’t that bad. In Cambodia there are two words that just do not exist. Those two words are Health and Safety. This is not a nanny state, oh no. I am the first to disapprove of nanny States but God knows right at that moment I would have begged to be part of a nanny state. The boat is of medium size and is made up of planks of wood with lots of gaps between them. It seems to be cobbled together from bits of old car parts. The motor is an old car engine lashed to the stern; the rudder is controlled by two lengths of rope strapped around a steering wheel

Our Captain.
For some reason there is a hand brake which never seems to get used, obviously. The petrol tank is a plastic drum wedged into the back.
The back of the boat and the rickety chair. Note the car battery...
There is a noticeable absence of a silencer so when the boat was throttled back we were practically deafened, not to mention almost choking to death on the fumes. But when it moved it was like greased lightning. We shot off at such speed that the wake demolished any living habitation. The word conservation doesn’t have an equivalent translation it seems. But again, I digress. Before all this happened I had to actually board the boat. Not as easy as it sounds. I stared as if hypnotised at the distance from the ground to the inside of the boat and watched as Andrew heaved himself up. Yes, right. I continue staring until the captain understands the problem and walks off to get a ladder, obviously, except the ladder to the boat seems to be a rickety old chair with a hole in the middle. Knowing I have no other option I climb onto the chair gripping the Captains hand tightly. The Captain by the way looks not a day over sixteen and less like a Captain than anyone I have ever seen. What am I doing? Help!
Trying to look relaxed
I am finally on board and all I want to do is jump off. Where is everyone else? After all there is safety in numbers right? Before I know where we are he is starting the engine and we are off and like I say Greased lightning has nothing on us… I grip the sides and pray. I look behind us in the hope of seeing the security of another boat but there is nothing. At least the water is not too deep. Famous last words, I hear you say. Oh yes indeed. Ten minutes later the water is very deep. In fact all around us is water. Nothing else, no other people, no other boats, just lots and lots of snake infested water and I fear I may never leave Cambodia alive. But amazingly enough we reach the floating village in one piece and he pulls the boat close to the floating café. We, of course, do not have any money left. On reflection, I do believe this was our big mistake.
Tea, anyone...
Had we climbed from the boat and had a nice cuppa all would have been fine. The boat would have had a rest as would have we. But, come on, when do things go smoothly in my life? Come on, answer me? I rest my case. So, on declining a cuppa we take the long route to turn around and head back through the village and finally home. I am a bit more relaxed now and take some photos. I am slightly perturbed by the depth of the water but convince myself everything is fine as we are on our way back. I am so busy snapping away with my camera that is a few seconds before I realise the captain has cut the engine. The boat bobs gently on the deep water and I look around me to see we are totally alone. Not another human in sight. My stomach flutters and I tell myself it is flatulence. Well, let’s face it panic is the last thing we need. Famous last words. I turn to Andrew and in a forced calm voice, which he sees through right away, ask.
‘Is everything okay?’
He nods. ‘Just a slight technical hitch.’
Oh, that’s okay then.
‘We’re sinking’
Nothing in sight, not even a solitary fish

What! What! He points behind him and oh my God, there is water everywhere. Well of course there is water everywhere. What I mean is, it is everywhere it shouldn’t be. Like in our sodding boat. Oh someone please help. A slight technical problem? I’m going to drown and Andrew thinks it is a slight technical problem.
‘Please be serious, is everything okay? We will be okay won’t we? He knows what he’s doing doesn’t he?’
I get the ‘You are getting hysterical look’
‘I don’t know, but I presume so. He has stopped the engine.’
I look frantically around me. Must keep calm, must think of strategies for rescue. Look at the situation calmly. Okay, I am in Cambodia, in the middle of a deep-sea, with no other boats nearby and not another soul in sight, unless you count Andrew and the Captain. The Captain can’t speak English. There is no life raft, no life boat, no life jackets and I can’t swim. Oh God, soon there will be no life, No, no think positive. Think positive, why am I thinking this is somewhat impossible? The only thing I can see on the boat is water and a rickety chair. Deep breaths, deep breaths. I strain to see the nearest bank but there isn’t one. Check Blackberry. Yes, as I guessed, no signal. I’m going to drown in Cambodia and no one will know, well my family will. But no one else will. It’s not like I’m famous. I probably won’t even make the local paper. Oh, what a sad end. Oh, hang on what’s this? The Captain is strolling past me, fag in mouth, and carrying a car battery.
Letting in water

‘Ah,’ says Andrew. My lovely hubby has an irritating habit of saying Ah, and Mmm, a lot. I have come to know the meanings of these Ah’s and Mmm’s over the years and this is such a hopeful Ah that I allow myself a heavy sigh of relief.
‘What is he doing?’ I ask hopefully.
We both watch as the smiling Captain attaches something to the battery and sticks a hose into the water.
‘He’s draining the water out of the boat. Funny isn’t it?’
I beg to differ. I can see nothing to laugh about here unless you count my hysterical laugh as comical.
The water pump

The boat continues to bob and the Captain gives us a thumbs up. Yes, well, this is not very good actually. After all we have paid for this. I could pay a lot less to go in a haunted house if I wanted to be scared to death. The water runs over my feet and I pull them up quickly. Visions of the water reaching my chin haunt me and I start humming to push the thoughts away. I lean over the boat to see the pump and feel my shoulders relax when I see the water pumping out nicely. Within minutes we are roaring through the deep waters and Captain eats his sandwiches while I dry swallow two painkillers and think that my nerves really cannot take much more. We dock with a bang and a thud and with Andrew and the Captain’s help, along with the rickety chair I disembark. Next step? I now need the toilet desperately. Be warned, that is the next blog…

A holiday in a Bangkok jail. Well, almost…

I should have known a trip to a place like Cambodia would not go without a hitch. After all I am Lynda Renham-Cook right? I expect you have been waiting for me to dish the dirt. Well, here it is.
The question is where do I start? Okay, let us start at the beginning. After all it is a very good place to start isn’t it? But which story first? The Construction work or negotiating the monks loo? Possibly the best one was when the boat we went in to visit the floating village started to sink.

Our sinking boat
Oh, I feel myself shudder at the memory. Or maybe the story of the German who insisted I download his document on my computer.
‘You vill download,’ he had snapped. Okay a slight exaggeration but when have I not exaggerated? Better still is the story of the two weddings we got involved in and how I ate A Cow’s stomach. But I am straying away from the beginning as usual in my excitement to share all.
I started the holiday with a massive headache, which I still have now actually. It came and went on and off for most of the holiday. So, if anyone knows a cure for these constant headaches, do let me know as my body is taking a hell of a battering from painkillers. Talking of which I went to Cambodia packed like someone who was delivering medical aid, except the medicines were all for me. Andrew took one look at the suitcase and sighed.
‘Did you forget I was coming too,’ he said caustically. Okay maybe not caustically. More with a sardonic smile I suppose. ‘You’re supposed to take a first aid kit, not a first aid suitcase.’
Honestly, such sarcasm from my husband when all I am doing is being cautious.
‘Well, we will need another suitcase anyway for the Christmas presents,’ I argued. He picks up my three toiletries bags and sighs. Yes, okay, so I took a lot of pills with me. But you can’t be too cautious in a place like Asia can you? The web page even advises us to take toilet roll as they apparently don’t use it out there. What they do use I dare not think about really.
‘My son still uses it I hope. As we are staying with him I imagine there will be some.’ Andrew argues.
I am about to tell him that maybe his son cannot purchase toilet paper and that who knows what new habits he has acquired now but I stay quiet and just insist we do not take any chances. So I pack every pill in sight. I’m not going to go down with a stomach upset, I say. Famous last words. So, finally we are ready for the off, with enough toilet roll to bring down the plane. Talking of planes, what fun we had at the airports. We arrive in Bangkok after flying for ten hours and go in search of our luggage. Of course, I presumed it would just go straight on to Cambodia with us but it seems BA did not arrange it that way. We discover to fetch our luggage means we have to check out of the airport even though we have a connecting flight. This takes forever and our eye is constantly on the clock. We go through three passport control ports and each ones takes almost thirty minutes. We get lost and I feel my head throb even more. I am bursting for the loo but we don’t have time to stop. It’s just that in Bangkok I think they have toilet roll. We finally trace our luggage, grab it and fly to the next security check. By now I am so fed up that when the alarms go off I am almost expecting it.
‘Open the bag please,’ demands the official.
I frantically try to remember what is in my hand luggage. Are there medications in there too? Oh my word, I won’t get thrown into Bangkok Hilton will I, for carrying Co-Codamol? I feel my heart thumping as I open the bag. What other pills did I pack? I find myself looking around for dogs. With shaking hands I open the bag and watch with a thudding heart as they open the small make up bag. Visions of shackles on my hands and legs float through my mind and I quickly try to remember my solicitor’s name and then realise I don’t have one. I feel faint and quickly close my eyes. I open them to see the man holding up my tube of Nivea cream. Oh, what a relief. He pops it into a bag and ticks me off. But thank God, I am not going to prison in Bangkok. I smile at Andrew and grab his hand so we can quickly escape. Ten minutes later we are heading past Duty free on our way to our connecting flight when Andrew asks.
‘Where is your hand luggage?’
What! Oh no!
‘I left it at the security desk,’ I squeal, already legging it back. I mean, honestly. Only I would do something so stupid. We heave a deep sigh of relief to find it is still there and Andrew gives me a ‘What is wrong with you,’ look. I just shrug.
Two hours later and we are on our flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia. On the plane I debate whether to eat the food I am given. I read that the water is poisonous and can kill you. As for the food, well let’s just say I was preparing myself to lose weight rather than risk the food. An overpowering thirst wins, however and the water goes down along with the ominous looking sandwiches, which I figure I may as well eat now seeing as I have drunk the deadly water, along with two painkillers. One hour later and we arrive. The hot air hits me instantly and my head throbs even more. I will be glad to climb into the taxi and drive to James apartment. He meets us and directs us to our transport. Good lord, what is this. He surely does not expect us to get into a small rickshaw thing with our luggage and everything? Yes he does, oh my goodness. We all climb into the Tuk Tuk and I try not to cry out as my foot gets cramp. We seem to fly along the main roads, the dust flying into my eyes. I am sure I whimper as the wind whips at my face making my head throb even more. Good god what am I doing in this God forsaken country?
‘Are you okay?’ asks Andrew adding before I can reply. ‘It’s great isn’t it?’
Oh yes, fab.
‘The Tuk tuk is the only way around,’ says James.
Is it? Oh dear. I would later come to love the Tuk Tuk and the Tuk Tuk drivers who waited outside the apartment. I would come to adore the food. In fact I would come to adore Cambodia so much that the wish to return becomes unbearable. But as usual, I digress. Twenty minutes later we arrive at James apartment and in the dark I cannot see the outside very well but the inside is lovely and guess what? he has toilet paper and an en suite bathroom too. We have an oversized bed, air conditioning and plenty of bottled water. Perfect, except we also have a construction site next door.
‘Oh, that won’t be a problem,’ I say.
Why are there a lot of famous words in this here post? Off to bed we go, exhausted and already feeling some jet lag. The next day is the beginning of our holiday and is Boxing Day. We will open our presents and then go into town later for a look around and to get some dinner. Of course, the construction work won’t be going on, not on Boxing Day so it should be peaceful. More famous last words. I soon learn there are no holidays in Cambodia, only work. I wake to banging and drilling. A holiday nightmare. I tell myself it can’t get any worse…

You have 72 hours to shoot the computer…

A few weeks ago our internet connection died. If I had known the hassles that were ahead of us I seriously think I would have emigrated to Australia or something. Oh, it surely wasn’t that bad, I hear you say. Oh, trust me, it was worse. But as usual I digress. So let me go back to the beginning. It all began on a Sunday night about three weeks ago. Andrew was trying to get his server onto something called a cloud. Now, don’t ask for any more information on that. Suffice it to say that he runs a business from his office and had some concerns about his personal server going down so that particular evening he was attempting to get it onto a cloud. Not a cloud in the sky you understand, although for as much as I know about it, it could well have been in the sky. Again I digress. Trust me, the server, cloud and everything else is really unimportant in this story. The next day we both toddled off to work. Well, I toddled anyway. I only work a few hours in the morning at a health centre and believe me a few hours working for the NHS is still a few hours too many. Andrew doesn’t work for the NHS and therefore works more than a few hours and is far more important than me. I left work and travelled miserably to Sainsbury’s, as you do and fought my way around the aisles. I knew exactly what I wanted but nothing goes to plan does it? It seemed something had blown up that morning so their freezer department wasn’t working properly and for some reason it affected their spit roast chickens. I did query the connection but no one seemed to know what it was. I quickly re-arranged dinner in my head and headed for the fish counter. Finally, I got to the tills where the queues were a mile long. Eventually I reach the till and am faced with twenty questions.
‘Hello, how are you? Would you like bags for your goods?’
Actually no, I thought I would carry the whole trolley load in my skirt! Or better still in a basket on my head.
Of course I want bags. But before I can answer…
‘Do you have your own bags? Do you need help packing?’
No, I don’t have my own bags and no I don’t need help packing. I mean, do I look helpless. Before you ask, I have sex three times a week, or more if I am lucky. Of course, he didn’t ask about my sex life but you know how it is? And yes I have a club card but I forgot it and no I don’t need to complete a form for a replacement as it is just at home. What an ungrateful woman you think. Well, yes, but I just want to get home and I know they are only doing their job. But really, if you have more than three things in your trolley, then obviously you need bags, right?
Next comes the bit that makes me cringe and bite my tongue. Along the conveyer with a thump come my apples followed by my pears. The bag of flour splits slightly as it is thrown along and the lady behind me gasps. Oh no, I now have to say something and then he will ring the bell and then I will wait forever for someone to get another bag. I sigh and push it into my bag. I really do not have the time. I pay and smile when he tells me to enjoy my nice things, like I have just bought an iPad rather than Mackerel and salad. Ah well… I drive home, lumber inside with my shopping and put the kettle on. Now, you can tell that already I am not in the mood for anything more dramatic than perhaps the teabag splitting. No luck for me. I realise the answer phone is bleeping like crazy and the skype phone is flashing like mad and there is a loud screeching coming from Andrew’s office. I feel an overwhelming temptation to flee while there is still time. I enter the office warily and prepare myself for the horrors that await me. I fight the temptation to scream. The computers are consistently rebooting themselves in an effort to re-establish connection and the answer machine is flashing menacingly at me. Poor Bendy quakes behind me and attempts a purr but it comes out a bit shaky. I listen to the messages with a sinking heart. Andrew’s customers can’t access the server. I phone Andrew and pop two painkillers in case. Pre-empting a headache is always a good idea I find.
‘Not to worry,’ says my calm husband. ‘It’s probably the router. I’ll sort it out when I get home.’
Andrew arrives home at about six and by ten thirty we still have no internet connection. We have a new router though which doesn’t work and irate customers who cannot access what they need. We phone BT. Well, we actually phone India, which is the same thing. We think the woman tells us it is the router. Now, I am not being racist here when I say we cannot understand her. It is just a fact, we simply can’t understand her accent, or the man who follows her, or the woman who follows him. Andrew consistently tells her it isn’t the router to which she responds.
‘Good, we agree it is router.’
Hello, are you talking to us?
We finally give up and phone our internet provider. There is a thirty minute wait. Forty five minutes later someone answers and thirty minutes later after we have turned the router on and off several times we are told the problem will be logged.
‘Someone will contact you in 72 hours. In the meantime should your connection resume please contact us.’
’72 hours,’ I repeat in a strangled voice. We don’t own a television, I want to shout. What are we supposed to do? For God’s sake, you can’t leave us for 72 hours. What are we going to do? How will I get onto Facebook? Andrew slaps me round the face and I calm down. (Obviously he didn’t slap me round the face but it sounds dramatic doesn’t it?
So, we wait 72 hours. During that time I buy a dongle which doesn’t work, or at least it does but it cost me £5 just to surf Amazon for ten minutes and five of those minutes is spent waiting to get into Amazon in the first place. Andrew suggests we use his Android phone as connection. So we do and this takes 10 mins to get into the web page and just as I order a book and go to pay, it times out. How did I ever cope in the days when we had only BT phones and no internet? Can you remember what you did when there was no internet? Anyway, as usual I digress. So, finally one afternoon 72 years later, whoops I mean hours later. It probably just felt like years. Anyway many hours later, they text Andrew at work who then in turn texts me and asks would I like to phone them as I may get the connection back. Even with a thumping headache this sounds good to me. Never again, do you hear me, never ever again, at least not with a thumping headache. The guy is named Mark and this is how it went.
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‘Hello, how are you?’ Asks Mark.
‘Fine,’ replies I.
‘I need to go through the router settings with you.’
‘But we have done that already.’
‘I have nothing to say it has been done already.’
Lesson number one, do not argue with them because…
‘Well, I assure you we did.’
Phone goes dead. Now, I am not saying they do this on purpose. I mean why would they? With a thumping head I redial and wait fifteen minutes. While we wait, let me tell you something about Andrew’s office. No, better still have a look at Andrew’s office. (the picture below is just one part of the office but it would have to be the bit where the router is kept)

Now, believe it or not he knows exactly where everything is in here. And believe it or not, I don’t! I fumble around all the papers trying to find the old router. I then fall over objects as I try to plug things in while the whole time Bendy who has picked up the atmosphere is meowing around me and trying to get the airing cupboard door open with his paw.

Bendy hides in cupboard

‘Mark speaking, how can I help?’
‘We got cut off.’
Silence. Oh no!!
‘Are you there, are you there,’ I scream, slightly hysterically.
He politely gives me a web page address to type in. I start typing.
‘Are you in?’
‘Not yet.’
Was that a tut I heard?
‘This lap top is a bit slow. Ah, here we go, it says there is no internet connection.’
Surprise surprise. In fact he does sound surprised.
‘Are you certain?’
Why is it I now feel like hanging up? Finally I get into the settings and they are in Italian. I tell him this and he coughs nervously and then begins telling me to type things in but I haven’t got a clue where to type them.
‘Why is it in Italian?’
‘I don’t know’ I reply honestly.
‘Are all your settings in Italian?’
‘Well, that’s obviously the problem.’
‘What is?’
‘The fact it is in Italian. The best thing to do now is turn your router off, wait a few hours and then turn it on again. It should be okay now we have reset it.’
A few hours? Why does everything take hours with these people, what is wrong with minutes?
‘But, we have done that already and…’
‘The best thing is to wait until your husband gets home. He can phone us this evening.’
Wait till the husband gets home! Oh, do I see red, or do I see red? I stand up angrily, fall over the cat and curse. The phone goes dead. I am so livid I want to sue them. It has been four days now and so far all we have done is buy new routers and turn them on and off. Where is the engineer that everyone talks about? I decide it may be best to leave it to the husband. In fact, neither of us do anything and the next day it is back on. Of course it goes off again a week later but I really don’t want to put you through all that again. You will be pleased to know that after another 72 hours, copious amounts of Valium, a study clear out and a tranquilised cat, we finally got an engineer down who discovered our eighty year old wiring had gone rotten. But of course, we all know, it really is the router…

Dog food and Jude Law (a fable)

Time to come clean I think. All that skulking around the fish counter and pretending I am buying crab sticks when my eyes are clearly on something else has got to stop. I am close to becoming a menopausal woman for goodness sake. No, you’re not, I hear your cry. Oh, all right then, I’m not. But I will one day and then all this madness will have to stop. So what is it that has me behaving in the manner of a mad woman when visiting my local supermarket. Who or what is it, that drives me to buy twelve tins of dog food when I don’t own a dog? Or has me so demented that I enter the place wearing sunglasses, even when it is raining, in the manner of a celebrity so no one can see the desire in my eyes? It is Jude Law of course. Or more to the point the Jude Law look-alike clubcard man, otherwise known as Frank. I admit to even being tempted to drop by late at night in my P.Js such is my addiction. I see you holding your hands up in horror. I have tried to get this under control you understand. But Valium and counselling have had little or no effect. It all started last summer when I popped in to buy some bog roll. Jude Law accosted me at the door and amidst much swooning and patting of my hair I signed away my life. Well, it felt like that. I actually signed up for a clubcard and have not looked back. I also bought three lots of bog roll as they were triple points as well as 8 packs of crab sticks, also triple points (we don’t eat crab sticks, however we do use bog roll). I went back two days later and Jude Law commented on how nice my hair looked.
‘Oh, I just washed it,’ I shrugged. Well, that is Cheryl, the hairdresser had washed and blow dried it the day before, after highlighting and trimming it of course. But he didn’t need to know that. He showed me the special offers with double clubcard points and would you believe I couldn’t find my clubcard and we had to do the whole registration thing again. That was the day I came home with twelve tins of dog food and four lots of Denture Fixative. We don’t own either dog or dentures.
I am getting into serious hot water now. Today I saw that triple points are on I mean, we just don’t do Durex. We JUST don’t okay. But I was staring at them so closely that I did attract a few odd looks. Then, I saw that cat food has an offer. Now, how do I explain to Jude Law about the cat? Do I say the dog went to doggy heaven in the sky and in no time flat I replaced him with a cat? I mean it would kill two birds with one stone, if you get my drift. I would be rid of the dog and Bendy would at last get some real food instead of those mangy mice he keeps catching. Or do I just go cold turkey and cure myself of this disgraceful habit? I could of course say the cat is my neighbours. Well Bendy does spend a lot of time next door. Okay, okay, just a thought. Perhaps I can put myself on a withdrawal programme. Yes, that’s what I will do. Anyway must go, it’s national chocolate week and we need some chocolate and I could have sworn they were on offer.

Forceps anyone?

Sorting through the bathroom cupboard, I found my Mooncup. Suffices to say it was not fit for wear. Memories of why I bought one in the first place flooded into my head like a haemorrhage (forgive the pun) and I thought what a blog entry that would be. So, hang onto your hats and be prepared. By the way if you are like me, you will be wondering what on earth a Mooncup is. I would never have known had a good friend not introduced me to them. Throw away your tampons and sanitary towels and join the revolution! Save money and never worry about Toxic shock syndrome again and when you came as close to it as I did, for that alone you would be grateful. Okay, I exaggerate a bit, well, maybe a lot but hey I was the one who had a tampon surgically removed. Okay, ready, because, I shan’t be telling this story again in a hurry. So let us go back a few years. It is close to Christmas and a good friend has invited me to her works Christmas party. A great opportunity to buy a posh frock, dress up and basically have a good time. Now, if you’re a woman you probably know all about tampons. Easy to insert (apparently) not in the least bit messy (apparently) Gives you amazing freedom to do just about everything (apparently) and they are safe (apparently.) The latter I would question. But hey, it was probably just my luck. So, here I am, all doled up, posh frock, fake diamonds and all, ready for dancing, should anyone be asking. Just a change of tampon and I will be as ready as ready can be. The next eight hours free of worry and full of fun fun fun. Oh, why does life have a habit of backfiring on me? I had ten minutes. Plenty of time for a quick tampon change, you would think. Oh no, not in this case. My first fumble for that little piece of string didn’t cause me too much anxiety. I still had another hour or so to go before it was due to come out. With as much elegance as I could muster under the circumstances I cocked one leg and tried again. Now, there was a feeling of mild anxiety. Good god where was the damn string? I fumbled and probed and felt myself perspire. I stopped to check the time and then flew back for another go. Five minutes later and almost losing my hand up there I sat down panting onto the toilet seat. Now, I was seriously beginning to doubt I had even inserted one. I mean just high can the thing go? And more importantly how the hell did it get that high? One more try. This time I feel the string. God it is so high I almost lose my arm. Okay another exaggeration. I scream as I pinch myself and quickly give up. I am now fighting the clock in more ways than one. My friend expected me ten minutes ago and my tampon (bless its cotton socks) expires in less than an hour. Frantic now, I grab the Tampon box and yank the Toxic Shock Syndrome advice sheet and slump onto the bathroom floor with it.
* Remember to wash your hands before and after inserting and removing the tampon.
(Well, obviously, I know that!)
* You should change your tampon every 4 to 8 hours
(Oh good lord, it is close to the 8 hours now.)
* Be sure to use the lowest absorbency tampon for your flow.
(A quick check of the tampon box confirms my fear. Yes it is super strength.)
* Always remove your used tampon before inserting a new one.
(I’m bloody trying aren’t I?)
* Be sure to remove your last tampon at the end of your period.
(I’m having trouble removing one In the middle of my period, let alone the end.)
* If you wish to use this product overnight, you may do so, provided that you insert a fresh tampon before retiring and remove it immediately upon waking.You should never wear a tampon for more than 8 hours to reduce the risk of TSS during your menstruation.
I pulled myself up from the floor, grabbed my car keys and drove like a maniac to my friends. She rushed out smiling on hearing my car screech to a halt. I never hated her more in that moment. Dressed to the nines and tampon free, I mean, I just couldn’t help myself. I was so sore in the nether regions from so much poking about that anyone without a period was a target for my hate.
‘We have to go to A&E.’ I announced.
It suffices to say I was not popular. All credit to her, she did agree to come with me. Of course the only thing that propelled me to A&E was fear and that quickly trebled to absolute terror on seeing the board as we entered.
‘Patient waiting time is an estimated 8 hours. Please report to the triage nurse.’
Eight hours! I didn’t have eight hours to spare. I would be dead before they even got near my vagina. This was turning into a nightmare. My friend pushed me into the queue and found herself a seat. Constantly checking my watch, I edged closer and closer to the desk, very aware of the man with the bleeding arm behind me. Not because of his bleeding arm, you understand but because he would overhear everything I relayed to the triage nurse. I was embarrassed enough.
Finally she calls me over and just my luck she has one of those voices that closely resemble a fog horn. I want to die. In fact I am thinking dying is preferable to the embarrassment.
‘I have a tampon stuck. I have tried everything…’
‘How long has the tampon been in there,’ she interrupts and I feel sure the whole of A&E stops. A bit like one of those John Wayne moments when the stranger walks into the saloon.
‘Almost eight hours,’ I quiver.
‘You’re certain you have one in there?’ She says dismissively looking behind me. Ooh, excuse me is there a better class of patient waiting?
‘Well, yes,’ I say feebly. ‘I can feel the string.’
Did the man behind me tut?
‘Is it a regular one?’
‘Super,’ I say blushing and she raises her eyebrows. Is this bad?
‘Have you had intercourse?’
Good lord is that relevant?
‘Well, when do you mean exactly?’ I ask stupidly.
She shakes her head.
‘Today, have you had intercourse today with the tampon in?’
Does she think I am totally stupid? The look on her face tells me she obviously does.
‘Of course not,’ I reply defensively.
‘Take a seat.’
I question whether I really ought to be seen urgently but it seems to be met by a sneer.
And so we wait and we wait and my friend gets more and more anxious and I get more and more convinced that the symptoms of Toxic shock are beginning to show. At 10.30pm I am called in. I have been there 4 hours and the tampon has now been in for 12 hours. My days are numbered. My friend assures me it is fine and that the symptoms of Toxic shock are not that bad. She obviously has not read the same horror stories I have. I leave her wallowing in her ignorance. I then spend what seems like agonising hours being poked by a very handsome doctor and trust me it was not as nice as it sounds.
‘Are you certain you have a tampon in here,’ he calls from somewhere within my nether regions.’I can’t even see it. How did you get it so high?’
Well, if I knew that…’
‘Shall I have a go,’ offers a nurse.
Why not. Anyone else want to get in the queue? Trust me if you want to hang onto your dignity, don’t lose a tampon up your… well anyway. So, the nurse has a go and the doctor tries again. Forceps are requested and general surgery is discussed. Then the words I had been dreading.
‘We have to get that out. If it is in there much longer we will face a serious threat of toxic shock. Prepare for surgery.’
My heart sinks and I think it is time to call my husband. Forceps are pushed in and the nurse screams.
‘I see it,’
I almost cry. I have been vindicated.
‘Can you grab it,’ asks the doctor urgently.
More probing, more pinching, more biting of my lip and she calls out triumphantly that she has it.
‘Push,’ orders the Doctor.
This is probably the closest I will ever come to giving birth so I make the most of it. I push, she pulls and this lasts for all of a few seconds and then she is holding it up for all to see. Suffices to say they did not wrap it into a blanket and hand it to me while tears were shed all round.
Walking rather like John Wayne I approached my friend and with great difficulty drove us both home. After that little story do you blame me for resorting to the Moon cup? Talking of which I am heading over to Amazon to order a new one as we speak