44 articles Articles posted in Rant

Enough is enough.

Excuse the dry skin, it’s still healing

Let me start this blog post by saying that I consider myself to be a charitable person. When I was a kid, I went door-to-door selling raffle tickets for Meningitis Trust, as an adult I’ve organised events for Lupus UK, I spent a whole year giving up my Saturdays to work in a Child Contact Centre and back in May I ran Race for Life to raise money for Cancer Research. A few weeks ago, I even went and had a black ribbon tattooed on my leg for melanoma at an event organised by one of Husband’s good friends where the proceeds of every tattoo was donated to cancer charities.

But today, I can unequivocally say that I’ve had a gut-full of charity. Whilst walking up the high street to do the banking for my boss, one of those obnoxious charity collectors (who get PAID to fund raise…can you explain the logic of that to me?) stepped towards me and starting shouting her script at me, telling me that it was my responsibility to end poverty in Africa. On account of the fact that a) I didn’t have time to stop and b) I have a moral objection to that type of fundraising, I politely told her that I didn’t have time to stop and carried on walking while she stood behind me muttering.

On the way back down the high street after I had run my errands and much to my complete and utter incredulity, the very same chugger (as I’m reliably informed they’re called) tried to stop me again, this time by physically blocking my path. I told her that she’d already tried to stop me and that I STILL didn’t have the time to stop, only for her to make facetious comments about me as I walked away. Now, is it just me, or does that seem a little bit out of line?

This evening, we had Husband’s father and his wife over for dinner as she’s American and we wanted to give her a nice Thanksgiving dinner and just as they were leaving the telephone rang. I answered and a man introduced himself as a caller from Cancer Research. He thanked me for my money-raising efforts for Race for Life and asked me if I’d had a nice day. Next, he asked why I’d chosen to do it and I explained about Lorraine and how she’d recently lost her fight. He expressed sympathy and proceeded with his spiel, offering me the chance to give £8 a month directly from my bank account. I explained that I couldn’t afford to add to my monthly outgoings this close to Christmas, but said that if he was able to phone back in January that I may be able to contribute. He barreled on (I must add, totally ignoring the fact that I was crying on the other end of the phone, after he decided to tell me about the wonderful new treatments for extending the lives of cancer patients) pushing me to sign up. At this point, Husband had had enough of seeing me upset and told me to put the phone down, so I interrupted the bloke for the third time and told him that I needed to hang up.

As I’ve gone to great lengths to stress, I consider myself to be a charitable soul, giving not just money but also as much time and effort as I can spare too and yet I got off of the telephone this evening feeling as though I’d been completely wrung out by this charity worker. I don’t know if it’s the policy of Cancer Research to treat people this way, and I’d never speak ill of a charity which has done so much, but I really feel that these aggressive methods of fundraising are a step too far. I feel as though I’ve been harangued in my own home, chased up and down the high street and generally treated like shit.

I won’t say that this has put me off of donating to charity, I’ll always give where I can. But I hope someone, somewhere, will read this post and maybe think about the way that they approach people. I don’t deserve to be made to feel guilty and reminded of personal grief. I’m a good person and this isn’t the way to make me part with my cash.

The Last Word.

Last year, not long after I started this blog, I wrote THIS post about how I collect straws. The basic premise of being a straw collector is that a person who collects straws goes about their day and if something negative happens, they store it up. Then the next minor thing happens and they store that up. They collect up all these ‘straws’ of anger, until they get to the final one and then they snap. I’ve been trying my hardest to not do this, and although I still have a bit of a temper if I’m pushed, I am a lot more chilled out in a lot of ways.

There is, however, a character flaw that I have which is something else that I should really work on, and that is the fact that I feel like I must have the last word. If I argue with someone or have a disagreement, I always feel like I’ve been totally wronged unless I get them to change their opinion. I’ve had disagreements with people in the past which still weigh heavily on my mind because I didn’t get an apology or a retraction from them, even though I know they were totally wrong. I’ll admit, I have a huge chip on my shoulder when it comes to people judging me wrongly. I know who and what I am, and I think I’m a very honest person when it comes to myself, but when people get it wrong, it winds me up terribly.

I have internal conversations which people where I say all of the clever things that I wanted to say during an argument, all of which prove them wrong, make me look wonderfully intelligent and urbane, whilst employing great amounts of grace and wit. Of course, arguments generally just degrade to a point where no one employs much wit, and all that’s being slung is something which rhymes with wit, so I never get to really employ all of these skills that I’ve honed so well inside my own head.

But it’s not very healthy, is it? Sometimes, when I’m walking the dog or washing up or going about some other brainless task, I go over petty rows in my head and I get so wound up that I end up with an ache in my gut and a mood like a bear who’s been disturbed, mid-hybernation. I suppose it’s a bit of longer-term straw collecting, but I just can’t seem to let it go.

I suppose I need to know that I’m not alone in this. Does anyone else do this, or am I the only one with an over-developed jaw muscle from all of the teeth grinding that I do? It can’t just be me, can it? Does this make me a terrible person, this need for people to know that I was right and they were wrong? Gosh, when I put it like that, it does sound that way, doesn’t it?

The Ultimate Betrayal

I never thought that it would end the way it did, with me finding out that you’d been cheating behind my back. I honestly never thought you’d do it to me, I thought you were honest and true, a real family man. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. You’d been flirting and courting the Russian for some time, or so it seems. I think that’s the bit that hurt the most, the fact that you were saying all the right things to my face, making an effort and going out of your way to pledge your devotion to me, and then playing away. I feel so stupid.

And more than feeling stupid, I feel so bitter. You made me believe in you and then took it all away with an ease that I never expected from you, an ease which almost took my breath away. I HATE feeling this way, I’m almost as angry with you for turning me into this cynical, untrusting person as I am for the betrayal that you found so easy

So now I know what it is you’re really after, you want more than I can offer, more money, more glamour, a trophy. And I just cannot make those promises. Honesty, hard work and integrity. That’s what I have.

But it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, is it? Far from being the prize you thought you were, you’re langushing. Oh yes, I’ve heard about your performance problems, your inability to fulfill needs. And I can’t say I’m surprised. I was willing to love you in spite of all of that. But you threw it in my face.

Sure, you were good for me at the beginning, but at the end of our time together your heart clearly wasn’t in it, you were no longer interested, your eye already wandering. I should have known. I should have known.

Does it kill you to see me doing so well without you? I’ve had my ups and downs, but I think I’m on the right track now, headed towards happiness and success. And I did it without you. Better off without you. It’s taken me a while to realise it, I still catch my breath when I see the odd glimpse of you, here and there, and although you’ve put on a good front, I can see you aren’t entirely comfortable, being touted about town like a cheap trinket.

So fuck you, Fernando Torres. I hope you’re happy. But just know, you’ll never find another club like Liverpool Football Club or fans like ours. And I reckon you’re still kicking yourself, even now.

I’ve been wantng to write this for a while, but in the deafening cacophony that was the aftermath, I had trouble finding my voice. So here it is, dedicated to each and every Liverpool fan. YNWA.

EDIT

I’d love it if you could sign this petition, demanding full disclosure of all documents relatng to the Hillsborough Disaster, which will hopefully lead to justice for the 96 people who were tragically killed on that fateful day. You don’t need to be a Liverpool fan to sign, just a human being with a heart and a desire for the truth. We need 100,000 signatures in total and we’re just under 10,000 shy of that, so every name counts. Thanks.

Race Relations

I’d like to start by saying that although in the past I’ve written about some controversial subjects, I tend to stay away from the biggies because blogs can so often be taken out of context and come back to bite us on the arse. Subjects like sexism, homophobia or racism are always going to be emotive and I don’t expect to unite the world with one little blog post. However, I’ve become more aware of, and more shocked by, the levels of racism that seems to have become acceptable in so-called civilised society, amongst well-educated and usually moderate people.

I’m by no means a naive person, I know racism exists in all walks of life and have written previously about idiots like the English Defence League. Before I go on, I’d like to say that I do believe that racism is subjective and because of certain liberal values, political correctness has gone a bit mental. I remember a few years ago my friends’ Mum, who is a social worker, came home and told us that they’d been given a new language directive at work and they were no longer allowed to use the expression ‘mixed race’, and that they must now say ‘dual-heritage’. This seems rather an excessive way to go around the issue of ‘what to call someone’ to me, but I don’t make the rules.

But I think i was first made aware of “middle-class racism” when the furore over Rastamouse started. I saw several people complain about the use of patois in a children’s programme, bloggers and tweeters up in arms that their children would turn into thieves and layabouts. Aside from being a massive, glaring generalisation of an entire culture of people, their short-sightedness floored me. Surely, learning other accents and cultures enriches the lives of our children?

Since the riots, I’ve seen a shocking amount of Facebook statuses and Tweets, talking about how immigrants and people of non-British ethnicity were “99% responsible for the riots” and was shocked when my best friend (who is of Nigerian heritage) went on Facebook to say just how disappointed she was that no less than seven of her online friends had been making racist comments about the riots and surrounding events. I don’t want to get into a row about the cause of the riots or the politics surrounding it, but I know this; I watched HOURS of live news footage of those riots and I saw just as many white faces, or mixed race faces (you know, those people who are still HALF WHITE) in those crowds as I did black, asian or a.n.other faces.

But it’s not about the perpetrators or what percentage was foreign or domestic. It’s about the way we choose to react. It’s about the fact that yes, some were black, some were young, some were old, some were women, some were men….the only pattern is that they were all PEOPLE. They all committed the same crimes, so what the hell does their ethnicity or economic standing have to do with it? Don’t bemoan the colour of their skin, bemoan the fact that they were violent, opportunistic tossers.

I know I’ll never get everyone to agree and I’m sure you all have a scathing response to write, stating immigration policy and crime statistics, but I don’t want to be part of a community where colour is more important to people than criminality. It’s not a race issue, it’s a ‘raising your kids the right way’ issue.

Calling All Cowards – My iVillage Post

My first post for iVillage also went live today, so if you think you’d like to read a post that begins with the line ‘Daddy, what’s gay?’, you should head over there now!

 

 

Apparently, The Customer ISN’T Always Right…UPDATED.

I’ve written many a product review here on Mum’s the Word and over at Brew Drinking Thinkings and I always say things as honestly as I can. Remember the Roomba review? Or the unofficial Moon Dough assessment? Just last week I had a crisis of conscience over a product which I had terrible results with, which resulted in me emailing the PR company and telling them I’d had a bad experience. To their credit, they said I was welcome to review it but they’d appreciate it if I didn’t. I didn’t review it, but if anyone would like to know what the product was, get in touch and I’ll let you know. I wouldn’t want you to waste your money.

But sometimes, a company can treat you so badly that you just have to talk about it. You may remember this post back in January about how I’ve been trying to improve my health with diet and exercise and how we’d bought a Reebok Edge exercise bike from Argos? Well, shortly after we bought it, we noticed a worrying grinding noise coming from the mechanism. We called Argos and they offered us a straight replacement, which we took. So, we got the new one and within weeks, we were having problems with this one too. So back to the shop it went and this time we were sent the same bike in a different colour as Argos had stopped selling the original one. This one seemed worse than the others, the display barely worked and the resistance would give up at random moments. We’d had enough, so we sent back our final bike and asked for a refund. Argos tried to refund us the unit price and withhold the delivery charge, but after I pointed out how patently unfair that seemed, they refunded that too but only “as a goodwill gesture”.

The point of getting an exercise bike was to enable us to workout without having to go to the gym, so against our better judgement we went back to Argos and bought a treadmill (A Roger Black Silver Medal Treadmill, in case you’re interested) which cost us all of our exercise bike refund plus an extra £100 or so. Within days, Husband noticed that the band was slipping and stalling during operation, so we performed the prescribed maintenance of tightening the belt (which, the manual said, shouldn’t need to be done for at least the first two months). The problem didn’t seem to be any better and the final straw was when Husband was running on the treadmill and the belt actually stalled so badly that Husband was basically thrown off and narrowly avoided being really hurt.

Obviously, my immediate reaction was to get on the phone to Argos and tell them. They put me through to their maintenance team, who told me that the unit sounded dangerous and he wasn’t confident telling me to do anything with the treadmill after it had behaved in this way. So, back to customer services, who told me I could have a replacement or a refund. Again, I had to ask for the delivery fee to be refunded, which once again was described as a ‘goodwill gesture’, leaving me feeling like they thought I was a liar. I decided to complain to Argos about the seven months of disastrous experiences that we’ve had with them and received a standard template email in reply, ignoring every single one of my complaints and telling me that unless I keep the faulty item, there’s nothing that they can do to compensate me for my wasted time, money and effort.

So, seven months after the original purchase we still have no fitness equipment, have missed many hours of work and commitments from spending time waiting in for items to be delivered and collected and we’ve had not so much as a ‘kiss my arse’ from Argos. You could say I’m feeling a little bit let down.

Let this be a cautionary tale. If I can prevent my readers from going through the same thing we have, then at least I’ve got one thing out of this mess.

 

UPDATE

The Argos Twitter Team have been in touch since reading this post and have offered us a cheque for £50 to cover the inconvenience caused. I’m happy that they’ve made this decision and feel sufficiently bribed into leaving it at that, but I’ll think twice before I buy from them again.

I AM NOT A MORON (Or; F*ck ‘The Only Way is Essex’)

I am not a moron. I don’t spend my days shopping and getting my nails done, nor do I go to trendy nightclubs, nor have aspirations to be a glamour model or a ‘socialite’. Yet, thanks to the latest televisual cesspool from ITV, whenever I tell anyone where I live, this is what they assume. Yes, dear readers, I am from Essex. And as a county, we’ve been getting a bad rap for years. I don’t know whether Chigwell-ites ‘Birds of a Feather’ are to blame, or if it’s something else, but the rest of the world seems to have this impression that we’re vapid simpletons.

Continue reading →

The Dumbening.

I know a few people have written posts giving their take on what will now forevermore be known as SophieKingGate at Cybermummy over the weekend, but I’ve been digesting the events over the past couple of days and quite honestly, the whole thing is giving me indigestion! Most of you will have read a run down, detailing exactly what was said and how many feathers were ruffled and unless you were there, I don’t think you’ll have an idea of just how much tension there was in that room.

I stayed to the end, maybe because I’m a chicken, but mainly because it’s a session that I was really looking forward to and was clinging onto a hope that I might get something out of it. Which ultimately, I did. I’ve looked over my notes, and apart from the part which says “Why is a woman who admits she hardly ever blogs, trying to teach a room full of bloggers, some of them bloody successful ones, how to BLOG?”, there’s definitely some useful stuff written down. Other people have commented that the title of the session was misleading, “Find your blogging voice with this hands-on workshop run by novelist and Oxford writing instructor Sophie King”. Maybe I’m wrong, but this would have been a good session for people who wanted to get into blogging, but surely we were all there because we have blogs and our own ‘blogging voice’?

One of the main causes of contention was when Sophie King suggested that one prominent blogger change the name of her blog. She decreed that she’d much rather read a blog called ‘Granny at 37’ than one called ‘I Am Typecast‘. Er…really? Are we aiming at the lowest common denominator here? Do we really need to lay our shit out in the title, for fear that no-one will read? I think not. I think people are far more likely to read something which piques their interest and doesn’t give everything away in the first few words, which is exactly what ‘I Am Typecast’ does. Should an established author not already know this?!

I really felt as though Sophie King had missed the point in this session. She may be a successful author and journalist, but as we all know, blogging is a very different animal. I’m not going to start dumbing down my posts, nor am I going to change everything to an alliterative blast of verbal diarrhea, just so that I can draw in the chick-lit crowds. Surely the whole point of a blog is that what you write, no matter what you write, THAT is your voice? My voice is opinionated, sometimes controversial, and always profane, but it’s MY fucking voice and I’m not about to change it. Sure, I’d probably get a shit load of more PR opportunities if I didn’t drop the F-Bomb in every post, but it also wouldn’t be MY voice, would it? It’d be an edited, sanitised for the feint-of-heart version of me. And blogging is most definitely not about censorship.

What do you all think? Have I missed the point? Should I become Fucking Frantic Female?!

Maybe not.

My Wonderful Sponsor

A Right Royal Idiot.

I’ve been steering clear of the internet today, specifically Facebook and Twitter. I simply cannot be arsed to get drawn into some petty debate about how William absolutely deserves to have a fuck-off great big wedding, paid for by the serfs, because he does a bit of charity work. But then I thought, hey, I can write it all on my blog, where I don’t have to listen to the flag-waving, jingoistic bullshit that’s been grinding my gears all day.

Let me preface the next few paragraphs by saying this; I’m really happy for William and Kate and hope they have a long and happy marriage. Congratulations.

But they aren’t the ones I’m pissed off with. I’m pissed off with you. Yes YOU. The idiots who slept on the streets all night, despite having a perfectly good hotel room, so they could get a good view of the Royal precession. The people who keep telling me it’s unpatriotic of me to feel a little cynical about today’s events (One of Husbands friends got it spot on today when he said something along the lines of ‘standing in the street, cheering for people who are richer than us doesn’t make you patriotic’) The people who went to London dressed in wedding dresses to show their support.

I’ll give it to the Royals, they’re clever bastards (that’ll be all the private education WE paid for…). Here’s what they’ve done. They’ve organised the biggest wedding in Britain since simpering halfwit David Beckham married the soulless stick insect, whilst the country is in a recession and scraping by the best they can. They’ve organised a massive party, sent us the bill, then told us we can’t go (someone far cleverer than me said that, but I can’t remember who it was).

And then, if that wasn’t bad enough, they’ve deigned to allow us a day off of work, in the form of a bank holiday. Yes, that’s right, a BANK holiday, the banks, those fuckers who got the country in this state in the first place. I could add far more, like how every single person in that chapel was dripping in jewels and designer outfits that they probably didn’t have to pay a penny for, just because they’d be seen at the Royal Wedding, but I won’t.

And are we, as a country, outraged and revolting against the injustice? No. We’re standing in London, WAVING FUCKING FLAGS! We’re watching it on not one, but two TV channels, our kids are even treated to a Pingu wedding special on CBeebies.

So no. It’s not the Royals I’m pissed off with. It’s all of you. Because if the Royal Wedding had taught me one thing, it’s that people are idiots.

Ad Sense?

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘Tampax’? I bet it’s a woman on roller skates, being pulled along by a shitload of Dalmatians, looking ever so care-free and not at all menstrual, right? Now, let me ask you this; did that advert make you go out and actually buy Tampax? Or what about an advert for Canesten? Would seeing that make you think “Hmm, I must try that over my regular brand, next time I have thrush?”. I’m well aware that the answer, from at least some of you, must be ‘yes’ or else these enormous companies wouldn’t bother wasting their money on advertising. But, really, do we honestly need these adverts to tell us which stool softener to purchase?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a feminist, I’m right up there with the bra-burners (though I may not actually set light to mine, burning that much fabric must be hazardous, besides, they cost a lot of money!), and I don’t think that any of us should be ashamed about menstruation, constipation, or any of the rest of it. But, do I need to be reminded about all of it while I’m eating my tea? Or trying to catch up on my Come Dine With Me on the V+ box? No. If I want those products, I’ll bloody well go out and get them. Until then, turn it in!

It’s the men I feel sorry for. They know the difference in our biological workings. They know that things happen. But you don’t see adverts for condoms and bollock cream on the telly, do you? (I don’t actually know if there is such a thing as ‘bollock cream’, nor what it would be used for if it exsisted…maybe one of my male readers could enlighten me?!)

Maybe from now on, if there’s a particular item that we want, we can just go into Boots and look at the labels? Or ask a pharmacist? We aren’t stupid, we know what we want, we usually know what works for us. It doesn’t need to be advertised, especially not when I’m trying to enjoy a quiet cup of tea and a jam and Nutella sandwich. All I know is, these adverts are all starting to cheese me right off.

Hmm…I wonder if there’s a cream for that…?