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It’s been 17 Weeks and 5 Days

July 15, 2020 2:34pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 18 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

So, yeah. That’s how long it’s been. 17 weeks and 5 days. Not that I’m counting or anything but the last time I went to the pub was 11th March.  I don’t even feel British anymore.

But then, just recently, pubs were allowed to open – so long as they had new fangled stuff in place.

Teenage Tipples

It’s not that I haven’t been meeting my friends at the park for a tipple or two.  I’ve had regular outings getting my arse wet on the grass, sipping my gin and tonic from my Chili flask like a 15-year-old, but there’s something ingrained in you as a Brit that makes the public house a second home.

Shandy Steps

So when my best mate said, “Shall we go to the pub?”  who am I to argue? Besides, she’s a nurse so I figured that one of the following things would happen:

She’d get the clap from the bar

She’d be given a freebie for being part of the NHS

She’d be able to resuscitate me if I got over-excited

We decided that it would make better sense to not go on a Friday night. Shandy steps.  We chose a rather nice pub that we used to frequent in middle-class suburbia at 2 pm on a Monday afternoon.

And we still had to book a table online. For a pub.

“Be sure to go straight to your greeter who will take you to your table”, the information stated.  “No standing at the bar – you will be served by the waiting staff”

Off we went…

As you can see, they were very pleased at our return.  We were taken swiftly to our table by a young girl wearing Timmy Mallett glasses -come visa.  Once seated she took our order.

I glanced around the pub to get my bearings again..

And realised how much I’d missed the wisdomous words of the barkeep…

The girl brought our drinks over and we had to take them from the tray. This made no sense to me whatsoever because somebody’s already had their mittens around my stem so how is that protecting me?  Anyway, there I sat enjoying the comforts of the local with a rather splendid Pinot.

After a couple of these, albeit rather bizarre, I started to enjoy myself.  Never had a Monday afternoon been so exciting! At least not for 17 weeks and 5 days.

I decided I needed a wee so off I went to the public toilets. I went the wrong way because I didn’t notice the arrows on the floor.  Every place has since turned into Ikea and I’ve never stuck to that rule so why start now?  Far too many regulations to pay attention to.

Regardless of flaunting the rules I didn’t get barred and found myself face-to-face with a moveable sign on the main toilet door that I had to change from vacant to engaged.  Basically, the whole toileting area was mine.  If I wanted to wee in all 3 toilets and dance around naked, nobody else was allowed to enter.  Hmmm, let’s see how well that goes down at about half ten on a Saturday night.

8 bottles later…

Just kidding!

After 3 large glasses of wine each, we asked for the bill.

£40!

FORTY-BLOODY-QUID!

17 weeks of buying and mixing your own sauce makes you realise how much money you’ve saved.

“Let’s bring our flasks next time and sit in the pub garden,” my friend said.  This is why she’s a nurse. Nurses are clever.

We said goodbye to our friendly staff in their sexy PPE …

 

and I remember thinking, “It’s a good job she’s pretty”

 

 

 

 

Rage Against Ma Chine

June 24, 2020 10:46am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 9 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

One of the terrible things about being in lockdown is that it’s very easy to be distracted by things online. There I was scrolling down my Instagram feed when all of a sudden an advert caught my eye.

Cut It Out

A beautiful machine   ma chine to cut glass bottles in half and turn them into works of art… like, ya know, half -cut bottle decanters that, ummm, make pots to hold…stuff.  Yeah.

I thought this would be a marvellous idea because the glass bottle collectors had not been collecting the bottles for the last twelve weeks and despite me hiding mine on my neighbour’s side, I was starting to look like I had a gin problem.

What a genius idea to turn all my bottles into – umm…things..

Beautiful glass doo-dah that I could gift to people.

Just for them.

Wow.

Cutting Edge Technology

Three months I waited.  THREE MONTHS to have this tool delivered so I could create my glass malarkey emporium. By which time I’d lost all interest in the idea and they had ruined any chance of me becoming a millionaire.  Dream crushers.

Even the glass recycling collectors had come out of lockdown by then and collected all my empties.

Still, having the entrepreneurial spirit that I do, I drank a couple of bottles of wine to have a go at the thing now it was here.

Never mind don’t drink and drive – more like do not drink and operate the glass cutting machine.

In fact, don’t remain sober and operate it either because it gets you into botther  bother…

Needless to say, it didn’t work. I nearly ended up in A&E with missing digits.

Never buy tat from the internet.

 

 

 

 

 

Alexa – The Gift That Keeps On Giving

June 17, 2020 11:56am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 10 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On A Wednesday!

Way back in the days of yore, when people could hug and cocktails could be shared, I made myself a new friend.

I use the term “friend” very loosely.

In fact, I wouldn’t say friend at all these days.

Joy To The World

It was last Christmas. In the days when you could give your heart to someone, share a cup or two of mulled wine and not have to disinfect your parcels before you gave them to anyone.  

I received the gift of an Alexa.  

I never-ever-not-never-ever-never wanted one before because I’d heard rumours of spying and that Alexa was a sneaky little harlot.  However, I couldn’t think of anything else I wanted for Christmas and I figured that if people really wanted to listen in on my life then I could give them a run for their money and, honestly, if they found me that entertaining then they needed to get out more.

Alexa – the gift that keeps on giving. 

Fractious Friends

I had an immediate dislike to Alexa because I found her a bit of a precious little diva during the set-up process.  But then I’m a tad disagreeable so I recognised that I had to put aside my ultra – ultracrepidarianism and open up to my future friend. 

It all started well: she said goodnight to me, found me recipes, played games with me and made my life more easy-breezy and enchanting.  But the shine soon came off the plastic. Some friendships can’t keep up the fake friendly facade and the red flags start to show. 

It wasn’t too long before Alexa started to be rude.  Signing off with an “OK. Goodbye” or ignoring me completely.  Other times I’d ask her to play a track that she’d played the day before and she would say, “I don’t know this – goodbye”, when she full- well knew it and had played it ten times over!  What an entitled little harridan she became. 

I found myself arguing with Alexa telling here to ‘watch her mouth’ and ‘you wouldn’t speak to me like that if you knew what I did to people who do’ but she still continued to be a spiteful little device. 

Alexa, what’s one-hundred, one-hundred, one-hundred in Welsh?  Yeah… that’s you, bitch queen. 

It was then that I realised that I had a problem and Alexa had to go in a corner without power for a while. 

There’s only room for one passive-aggressive bitch in this household. 

 

Murder on a Thursday Afternoon

June 10, 2020 1:30pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 17 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy On Wednesday!

It’s been a while since I felt whimsical, to be honest, but I’ve decided to get back in the saddle before I lose my sense of humour altogether. A creative in lockdown causes social suffocation and trying not to kill anyone takes priority. 

Having said that…

I’m starting to get more used to it and we have been given a little more freedom in the form of meeting people outside or at a distance in your very own garden.  

The thing is, I don’t think people will want to come to my garden because it’s a ghetto.

You wouldn’t think so to look at it: baskets with beautiful flowers hanging around the garden. I love a bit of a hanging basket. Even if your garden is looking a bit shabby, a hanging basket comes along like a fresh stroke of paint and wakes up the whole vista.  Might I suggest this option if you can’t be arsed to mow your lawn.

Lunch in suburbia

Anyway, there I was on a Thursday afternoon sitting at my dining table eating my lunch. If memory serves I think I was eating homemade quiche and a quinoa salad.

1: because I’m trying to be healthy and stop doing this:

and 2:  lockdown has made me a bit soft. That needs sorting out. 

Back to the point in hand which was that I was enjoying a very pleasant lunch at my table. The window was open next to me as England has had exceptionally sunny weather – the best spring on record. Naturally, we can’t go out so bring on the heatwave.  

I gazed outside, my line of sight falling on my rather lovely bird stand where I provide a wealth of nutrition for the local feathered- friends and the thieving squirrel.  

‘What a beautiful day’, I thought. 

And then…

A middle -class murder

All of a sudden and straight away in the middle of my perfect moment a sparrow-hawk of the most vicious kind swooped down into my garden, ripped a poor bird from the air and pinned it to the ground until it died. Murder in the garden on a sunny Thursday afternoon. 

Dear. God.

Horrific.

Put me right off my lunch.

And the guilt? I’ve basically made a live buffet station in my garden for birds of prey. 

Lovely. 

 

Lockdown Deeper and Down

May 6, 2020 3:00pm Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 24 Comments

Satirical Snapshots Bringing You Whimsy Whining on a Wednesday!

I want to talk about being in lockdown and my journey through the weeks. This situation we find ourselves in has affected people very differently: some actually like being in quarantine while others rail against it in desperation. Many of us fall somewhere in the middle, bouncing from being OK to not. This has been my experience. 

 

 

In the beginning

When we were first told that everything was shutting down in the UK on 23rd March there was a dramatic feel to it: a mixture of trepidation and dare I say, a little excitement. This was me experiencing something major and historical in real-time.  

The Government have closed the country and leaders worldwide are doing the same

When I started to think about the enormity of that I began to get the fear. How bad is this flu-like virus? What aren’t they telling us? I read all the conspiracy theories; I read fake news on how to avoid getting COVID-19 like gargling repeatedly with mouthwash to stop the germs multiplying in the throat.  Even though I believed I’d had this virus pre-lockdown, how did I know for sure and what if I got it again?  Didn’t I read somewhere that it mutates…

Grime is Crime

I turned into a psychotic germaphobe. I wiped everything down after it had been touched – I even wiped my mail and sprayed parcels with disinfectant.  I washed my hands so much they became sore and irritated and looked like they belonged to a pensioner.  

Going to the supermarket became an ordeal and a trip fraught with danger. For a start off, most people don’t seem to know what two metres is and having someone breathing over your shoulder looking at the cottage cheese whilst you search for ricotta breeds a nasty kind of hatred towards your fellow man. You despair of them, judge them, and treat them like lepers. You despise their logic when panic buying toilet rolls and pasta and call them out on social media. In the next breath, you are willing the Great British spirit of the people to come together creatively and we stand outside clapping the health workers every week without fail.

Social interaction has become a difficult relationship

I look outside and analyse the people passing on my street. Do they look related or are they cheating?  Whilst I am behaving against my will are they ruining it all? How many people have suddenly taken up jogging and cycling, for the love of God? And I swear those people never had a dog before. It’s funny, but I’ve started to feel possessive about my area. I live opposite the beautiful greenbelt and it’s usually very quiet. I can walk along the footpath and maybe come across a couple of people all the way through. All of a sudden my walk became littered with moochers and new hikers. I selfishly worry that they will continue to come after lockdown and my local beauty spot will be ruined. Instead, I drive to various woods and country parks around me, picking my times and venues carefully so I don’t get enraged by other people. My walks in nature have been my saviour as I am not a person that likes staying in. 

You can can’t come too – I’m going to the zoo

Some days I feel so trapped and hemmed in I could burst with rage. I snap at anyone near me finding their conversation banal and irritating. Sometimes I cannot even talk to my friends or family on the phone because it feels too much. Even though I miss and love these people I can’t deal with them all at the same time – maybe just one call a day. Has social distancing made me distant?  

I am overwhelmed at my most underwhelmed

What’s that all about? I have to force myself to focus on a task. I can’t do the things I am supposed to be doing because my new, isolated self cannot seem to cope with them. Procrastination has now become my greatest skill. I find myself gravitating towards mundane and repetitive tasks or new and pointless hobbies like drawing monsters and colouring them in. Am I 5 years old again?

Writing this blog post has been one of the hardest things I’ve done of late and I’ve had to really force myself to get back into my groove with writing even though the content of this particular post is therapeutic, I think I’m having trouble concentrating. On anything. 

Time And Again

Because I do a bit of work every morning, I know what the date is but I easily forget and don’t know the time or the day.  Sometimes this is good and I think it is teaching me to let go and just be in the moment because that’s all that time really is. Then there will be days where I cannot stand the bohemian train I seem to be travelling in and need order and structure to stop myself going insane and it feeling like a purgatorial state between Christmas and New Year. 

The Pros 

Because there are some. The world is having a break from us all and there’s something cleansing and calming about that thought. I notice the lack of traffic and the increased birdsong most of all.  I get excited by a delivery from Amazon or a rustic veg box. I’ve always paid attention to nature but now I do it even more so, appreciating the beauty that is starting to grow despite the unseen evil that lurks in the air. I love the creative spirit that people have found; the things they have made and shared. I am proud of the force of this nation and the goodness of some people in a time of crisis. 

The Cons

My God, it’s as boring as hell. Rinse and repeat. Sometimes you have to have a word with yourself about being a big cry-baby. But I am a baby and I will continue to be a big baby. So jog on. I don’t even know what I’m missing exactly because it’s the gentle layers: the shades, the sounds, the subtleties. I don’t miss the coffee in the coffee shop – that’s not really why I go.  I miss the event that it is. I miss my freedom of movement. 

What have I learnt?

I do not have balanced emotions. I am not a steady Eddie.  And I don’t care to be one. I’ve tried and it’s soul-destroying.

“It’s your inner chimp,” someone said.

“Whatever. My inner chimp had twins and that’s what I have to contend with!” 

What about you?

Because of this new world we find ourselves in at the moment, myself and fellow writer, Miss A -from The Essence of a Thing, have decided to delve more into how people are feeling or coping and what are they thinking about the future. Like an extension from The Meaning of Life, how has life’s meaning changed for you?

How do you think this current global situation bodes for human existence in the near and far future?

It is said that we’re in “the new normal” do you think that’s correct and what do you think the new normal means?

What has this lockdown taught you about yourself? 

Please feel free to share your thoughts and stories with us either here, openly, or by mail anonymously.  We also have a  FB page @TMOLProject where past MOL participants are giving their thoughts and feelings on what happens next.

Tell me, what does “next” look like to you? 

 

Moving into Stillness

April 1, 2020 11:30am Published by Jules Smith in Whimsy On A Wednesday 16 Comments

Satirical Snapshots bringing you whimsy on a Wednesday because whilst Corona Corner is relevant there’s nothing like a bit of whimsy on a Wednesday to make you feel chipper.

Life BC ( before Corona)

A few weeks back when life was normal I did things my way, I started a few yoga classes to get my chi whizz flowing or calming or whatever.  This was when “moving into stillness” was a thing people wanted to do and were not forced to do like we are at present.  All of a sudden, moving into stillness sucks, doesn’t it? 

Anyway, I queued up with all the lycra-clad, barefooted hippies and tried to blend in by not getting impatient whilst waiting in line.  As I stood in the long queue I spotted a man hot-footing around the front, chuntering under his breath and peering in and out of the window of the door to the room we were waiting to enter.  He definitely had attention deficit disorder and clearly needed some yoga though my initial thought was, ‘he really should be going to dynamic aerobics’.

S-s-s-s-s- Saluting the sun

Eventually, we got inside and the man rushed in and walked around and around the room, checking it out while everyone else came in and sat quietly on a mat.  Turns out, he was the teacher.

The yoga teacher.

The not calming, grounded yoga teacher. 

The not calming, grounded yoga teacher with a stutter.

The not calming, grounded yoga teacher with a stutter and the inability to stand still.

Moving into stillness had never been so intense. 

Downward Spiral

To be fair, the man knew his stuff even though the delivery was a little frantic and he took us through a series of moves.  I ended up with my head on the floor, my arse in the air and feeling a bit dizzy.  I didn’t look anything like my other classmates.  The teacher came rushing over to me and shouted, “ That is n-n-n-n NOT d-d-d-d- Downward Dog!”

“It’s downward frog,’”  I replied.

“That’s n-n-n-n- not a thing!” he exclaimed.

“It is now so f-f-f-f-f – put it in the Yoga Sutra!”

I left before things got Namaste.

 

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