Bad Head Day

I’m tetchy today.
“What’s up with you now?” asks long-suffering Esther, with barely concealed irritation. Actually, it’s not concealed at all.
“I’m wearing all the wrong clothes” I mutter. I imagined that when I left the house, I would be wearing something understated and quietly elegant, that looks “nice”. Instead, everything feels ill-fitting and uncomfortable. Looking back, I think it’s my brain that’s ill-fitting.

"Does my brain look big in this?"

Everything is annoying me.

“Pathetic little mummy’s boy” I snarl at Devo, who is curled up in luxury on the sofa, gumming Lisa’s dressing gown like a blissful baby. PAH!

Under my breath, I mutter “I wish I could do that”

Babies are lucky bastards. Every need is catered for; every spiky thing is rounded off. How can the rest of life compete with that?

You start off a baby and you end up that way too, said Shakespeare. The older you get, the more you end up needing your bum wiping and your food mashing up for you.

Lisa and Esther are getting utterly despondent about having to clean their Gromy’s house every week.

Last time they went, Lisa said;

“It’s about time for your electric chair, isn’t it?”

What she meant (of course?) was a mobility scooter. But what her Freudian slip meant was a lethal piece of furniture.

Esther and her cousin, Britney, were chatting about Gromy yesterday after tea. Me and her boyf Justin sat in bemused silence.

“I reckon she’ll live to be 100” said Brit,

“If she lives past 100, I’m killing myself” says Esther resolutely. “It’s me or her.”

“Don’t worry, if she reaches 100, I’ll take over” reassures Britney.

After this had been decided, we moved on to ghost stories. The tension is building. We’ve had some high quality tales so far. I decide to mine the rich vein of odd things my mum has told me.

“My mum once slept in a hotel built on a Victorian pet cemetery”, I start,

“But she didn’t find that out till the morning after her dream…”

I am forced to abandon the story because everyone is laughing at me. I try a new one.

“Oh, and she saw the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the park near her dad’s house…Oh, wait, it was only one of them…”

I have to abandon that one too. These are meant to be scary not funny, god-damn-it. I give up.

I am temporarily distracted by The Whistling Man of Sharrowvale. Every so often, when me and Esther are sat in bed, we hear a funny repeated whistle out there in the street. First of all, we assumed it was a little old man who was too shy to call his dog by name, and was whistling his pet in for the night. How sweet, we thought.

However, I saw him a few days later and he is a young, blonde haired, sporty man that walks along and whistles sharply and nervously every 30 seconds along the way.

Esther has decided that he has Whistle Tourettes. Now we know this, it is really tempting to whistle back and see what happens.

I think she has Thought Tourettes- she just can’t stop thinking out loud. It really is a problem.

Katy Perry ft. Gromy Gilpin “Rotherham Girls”

"I've even got better cotton buds than you"

I had a dream last night. We were staying round Katy Perry’s house. Russell was out flouncing around somewhere.

It was time to take a shower. Katy lead the way, avoiding the windows in case we were papped. Esther got in the first cubicle then me and Katy went in 2 next to each other. I did try to get some personal hygiene done, but what with Katy’s breasts and the fact that I only had bleach to wash with, it all got a bit too much. I ended up on my knees, scrabbling round for bubbles to lather with, and looking up at the buxom and fully lathered Katy, who threw her head back and laughed. How embarrassing. If I’d had a bar of imperial Leather, I’d have been able to stand proud.

When I woke up, I made a mental note to buy some more shampoo.

"The birds love me, it's nothing to do with the superglue on my clothes"

Every Wednesday, Esther and Lisa visit their Gromy (“Gran + Mummy” to make her sound younger) in Rotherham.

She has a budgie called Peter and a lovebird called Tay. Tay is a nervous wreck. Today Gromy made Esther and Lisa watch as she demonstrated all of Tay’s toys. She pointed each out in turn, and then went into a strange trance. She grabbed a toy and began pushing it into the cage. After a moment, she says;

“I love tormenting him with his toys” in a deep monotone, her hand thrusting the toy at the scared bird. Esther and Lisa had to bite their lips to stop from laughing hysterically. She sounded like one of the characters from Psychoville.

Gromy thinks she is brilliant with animals. She’s not. She sent her dog crazy by shouting at it as if it was a naughty grandchild. She treats pets as family members, who shouldn’t be acting like animals. When she talks to Tay, he quivers in fear until she goes away.

The girls are there to tidy her house. This involves:

  1. Hoovering up the skin flakes around the bed.
  2. Pretending to dust the ornaments. (“Shall I dust the teddy bears?” Lisa asks with a trembling voice).
  3. Going to the shop for her whisky and fags.

When they get back to safety of Lisa’s house, they huddle round a cup of tea and shudder. Lisa spends her evenings researching ways to avoid getting older. And snoozing.

“Apparently long faces are the worst for ageing” she intones in her ‘morbid newsreader’ voice.

“That’s a funny long face” says Esther to me, as I process Lisa’s doomful comment. I have to think for a moment whether or not I am pulling a face. Thankfully I am.

“You can shut up, you’ll be alright” snarls Lisa. “You’ve got a round face”

Having a long face is a curse. Imagine every time you hear a joke about a horse, you think it’s about you (Q: “Why the long face?” A: “Genetics”).

"Why the long face?"

Boredom, Rotherham and other places of interest

Today we had Lisa and Esther’s 2 nieces and 1 nephew around.

After about 30 mins, during which she held up her new mobile phone and played every nasty tinny 2-bit ibiza ringtone on it in our faces, the oldest niece Holly shouted

“I’m bored”

and again, when no-one responded

“I’m bored

On the third time, I overheard Lisa giving her some advice.

“Just think, you’ve got another 80 years of boredom left” she, going the way of brutal honesty rather than comforting misdirection.

However, it was doomed to failure because no child can ever imagine being old, while no adult can ever forget being a child. Our bittersweet ‘you’ll learn’ grumbles pass straight over their heads and only make us look jaded and cruel, like faded sunflowers using their big wrinkly faces to ruin the sun for smaller, more youthful and prettier sunflowers.

"Stop stealing my limelight, you bottle-blonde human bean"

We keep getting post for the previous tenants, a Dickensian couple named ‘Scragg’. Having a boyfriend called that is surely reason enough to demand at least a double-barrelled married name, if not a “I’ll keep mine as it is thanks” type post-feminist stance.

They were obviously highly functioning members of the bourgeoisie, who displayed their class guilt with ostentation. Most of the mail is from well-meaning charities. This week, the envelope demands “Send Someone a Cow“.

Lisa picks it up, and looks horrified. “I’d hate it if someone sent me a cow” she says.

“Mind you, you could have it butchered and sent back in pieces. But once you’d seen its face, it would be a different story…”

When I was making the guilt-ridden transition from fully paid-up veggi to pescatarian, before the inevitable lazy belly-flop into bloody meats of the world, I used to have one rule:

Never Eat anything with Legs.

This meant I avoided prawns and shrimps, and didn’t even glance at the higher invertebrates. Now I think my motto will be:

Don’t Eat it If You’ve Seen It’s Face (or Been Its Friend). 

"Gah! I can't do it!"

Every Wednesday, Esther and Lisa are driven, kicking and screaming internally, to visit their Gromy (Rotherham speak for ‘grandmother’). Their unofficial job is to dust and wipe every surface in her museum-clean house, while she watches over them, interjecting-

“You’ve missed that bit!”


“I don’t do it like that, I do it like this. But you can do it how you do it. But I don’t do it like that” before snatching your cleaning equipment of them and doing it herself.

and Lisa, being a youngest and unaware of mortal danger, might pipe up with “well, I want to do it like this…”

To which Gromy exhales “JESUS WEPT!” before she storms off to the kitchen.

"The messiah, he had a little cry-a"

Today I have been airing the varicose veins on the back of my calves. And disguising my bloated middle with an oversized “FILTH” by Irvine Welsh t-shirt stolen off my dad. It has just occurred to me that it is offensive to police officers. But I have worked out what to say should I be stopped, strip-searched and told off.

“I like the police right now”, I will say with the smug confidence of middle-class citizenship, “so if by the end of this conversation I no longer like you, it is your fault”. This will make them feel bad about using their strong-arm tactics on me.

Right, now time to make them come get me…