Monday, February 6, 2012

Moaning Glory

Once again I find myself trying to dredge up a spare crumb of time to blog amongst the chaotic and relentless responsibilities that comprise modern living. This is a pity because blogging is one of the two things in life I find pleasurable.*

Sorry, I don't mean to moan.

Or do I?

I  appear to have reached that age when it becomes almost enjoyable to complain. I don't know if this is a phenomenon that occurs to everyone at a certain time in their life but it's happening to me. Half the time I'm not even after an apology. There's just something very satisfying about having the moral high ground for a while, even if you've been inconvenienced, be it by dodgy service, an undeserved rebuke or, as happened to me recently, a parking ticket for somewhere in Enfield, London, for a car I don't own in a place I've never been.

Ooh I enjoyed that phone call. It was marred only by the efficient and polite retraction and follow up apology letter by their annoyingly helpful staff.

Recently my sense of exasperation has become more sensitive and, like an allergic reaction to repeated bee stings, I get all flushed and raspy with just the slightest exposure. Stuff that once I would not even have registered grabs my attention and makes me tut with barely contained fury.

Tut like an animal!

For instance:

Fillums. Now free on the internet!
A two film collection?


Since when have two things been a collection? You wouldn't get many visitors to the Natural History Museum if you only had two fossils in it. The Louvre would be less the major attraction were it to contain just a pair of pickchaz (although the tour would be nice and quick allowing you to rapidly tick off 'culture' on the compulsory Parisian itinerary and move on to spitting off of the Eiffel Tower).

No, two things do not a collection make. If they did, everyone could have collections. Look at my collection of eyeballs. I keep them in my face. Do you like that kidney? It's part of a collection. This penis? Well, have I got a surprise for you.

Here's a collection of slippers I bought during the same trip to our local supermarket:

Ooh, you so big when you slip inside.
That's right, slippers.

I've never had slippers before. It seemed the sort of thing a forty year old man should have, so I bought some.

Despite suddenly having warm feet first thing in the morning, I'm still undecided on the whole slipper issue. There are aspects of slipper etiquette I am ignorant of. Am I supposed to wear socks with them? Do I have to take them off before I put my feet up on the sofa. If you put the bins out and keep your slippers on, do they immediately become outdoor wear and thus unusable in the house? How hard are you meant to spank someone with them before it is construed as assault?

Mysteries as deep as the meaning of life itself.

The particularly sharp reader may have noticed, despite the seamlessly smooth transition of  subject using the literary trick of writing down words, that I have moved away from complaining and on to slippers. This is not a non sequitur because they are linked by an underlying thematic scaffold of age.

Another thing that isn't now a non sequitur is this drawing I saw in one of my children's books:

Oofed right in the grunt.

Those of you who have delved into the murky depths of the Gravel Farm will know I have an interest . . . no, a passion, for out of context pictures, especially published ones that demonstrate questionable appropriateness for their readership, be it the bloody groin of a sheep or the  tail ramming shenanigans of Little Bo Peep.

At least this one doesn't involve sheep.

The fun is trying to guess what the underlying story, if any, could possibly be, or perhaps making up your own. It's better than Sudoku for keeping the cerebral hinges from seizing up.

I recently discovered that out of context hilarity is not just limited to modern times. In our local village hall is a replica of a section of the Bayeux Tapestry, where French seamstresses celebrated a spat between a couple of royal ponces called Bill and Harry:

Paws for thought
Rather than discuss the unfairness of how the undeserving upper echelons of society dragged (and still drag) the lower classes into their sordid little affairs, which would probably take at least two paragraphs to fully investigate, I would like to point out that the central, trouserless figure has a dogs paw on his genitals.


I think we can all agree on that at least.

Let's see; complaining, slippers, cartoon dragon assault and medieval animal abuse.

Yes, I think that's covered everything I set out to at the beginning of this meticulously planned post.

* Everything else is a chore. Everything.



  1. I've grown found of looking out the windows and griping about kids on my lawn, yet I'm only 37-it comes after 32 years of age I think, learn to love it and embrace it-be the best curmudgeon you can be!

  2. I can answer your Slipper spanking question.....Quoted directly from the well known military book by Corporal Punishment (and not to be confused by the one by Major Assault) "Using a standard classroom chalk stick, scribe a cross (X) 6" x 6" on the posterior of the miscreant. Proceed to Spank it off with the slipper. Punishment is complete when no trace of the chalk cross remains.

    I had a deviant teacher at school who used a variation of this punishment using a size 10 Plimsole.

    Ah! The good old days!

  3. I see you not only have a collection of slippers but a plethora of Tomatoes, a numerosity of grapes and ..whats that? Kiwi fruit in England..a multiplicity of Kiwifruit.(tisk!)
    Dont worry, as you get older this complaining thing seems to become more refined almost automatically, before long you will be tisking and tutting like you were born to do so..
    Ah, life's good!

  4. Mr Mischief - You're absolutely right. No point fighting it. Grumpiness is a force of nature.

    Urbane Warrior - That's excellent! Of course, these days they use pens for white boards, so it would probably take about a week of strenuous spanking to remove the ink. Or the epidermis, whichever comes off first. Still, lesson learnt, I reckon.

    Tempo - I also got a cornucopia of beer a bit later on. And here in England we use the Kiwi fruit for throwing at cats wailing outside our windows. Tut.

  5. The young kids on the other side of the fence keep knocking their baseballs and occasionally a basket ball into my back yard. They are afraid of my dogs so don't hop over to get them on their own. This results in me having to go out and collect them all and throw them back, despite my constant recommendation of them perhaps hitting them in the opposite direction?

    As a learning experience for the young ones, I wipe each one in the dog poop now before I throw it back. I tell my self it will build their character.

  6. SkylersDad - It will build both character AND healthy immune system. And respect! Both of those three things.

  7. So you call a pair of slippers a "collection" of slippers over there? Interesting.

  8. Haha, hear hear, I'm the same Jules. I know like a good moan, more than I should. It's definitely linked to age - as are slippers - but complaining is both rewarding and therapeutic to me. Nice post Jules

  9. Cranky and old are redundant terms when describing those of us who have gone past middle age. I knew I was meant to become cranky when I complained about the kids playing on my front lawn only to discover one of them was my own. I blame my father, of course, who mastered cranky at age 30.

    In marketing, "collection" and "set" are synonymous. An unnecessarily big word meaning "fork over your money."

    One wonders... is a pound equal to a pound of silver these days?

  10. i'm too old to comment, sugar! i've forgotten already...wait, slippers, right? i have slippers, in fact, i'm wearing slippers right now. *looking down* yes, black slippers with fur. or maybe that's a cat. xoxoxox

  11. I wouldn't call that animal abuse. Dogs have always been keen to please their masters, the sloppy-tongued whores.

  12. Uh oh. Slippers are the first step to dementia. Next you will indeed be wearing them outside with socks. Black ones, pulled high. While in boxers and an old t-shirt. And bed head. Such a dad.

  13. Dr Z - Only if there are two or more.

    Joe P - Thanks! Moaning is probably good for you, which is why there are so many grumpy old buggers around. All the cheerful, easy going types are dead at fifty.

    Douglas - We get to postpone things a little these days, like leaving childish things and taking up the mantle of grumphood.

    Savvy - Yeah, right. And I expect you're about as grumpy as a . . . not very grumpy thing, right?

    GB - Ha! I hope that's not a bit of domestication envy there GB?

    Wow, twa - Next? That sounds like the epitome of sartorial elegance to me.

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  15. Willard C. Harvey - Howdy, Thank you. I look forward to being dugg and receiving the accolades of your benefitted friends!

  16. I too have a collection of slippers, which I am actually not undecided on - I decided long ago, THEY ARE A WASTE OF TIME AND MAKE MY FEET SWEATY. I'd like to know who to write nasty letter of anal drivel too, but I've no idea who to address it to.

    Speaking of out-of-context hilarity the best I ever saw was a dubious picture of Alan Titchmarsh on the front page of a local paper, peering over a bush. This was (unfortunately though hilariously) sitting beneath the main headline of 'Rapist on the loose'.

  17. mo.stoneskin - I think you shoud go straight to the top and write to Alan Sugar.

    I so want to see that paper!

  18. I will never have slippers, ever, now 'Get off my lawn! *shakes fist*'

    Ooops, that sounded complain-ey.

  19. Eric - I'd shake my fist back, but what with the rheumatism and all . . .

  20. I know who those guys are! William the Conqueror and Harold Godwinson, circa 1066. I'm a complete medieval nerd.

    That is all.

  21. yvonne - You don't look THAT old!

  22. Slippers - they're great. Wear them with / without socks. In / outside. Anything goes. Don't listen to these naysayers. They have never known the true joy of a good slipper. My last pair were hand knitted (oh yeah!!). I used to slot them into my flip flops to pop outside. Practical AND elegant. Now I have sheepskin ones which I have folded up to make little granny boots. Sigh.


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