Some of you may recall it has been an interesting time for Shuffler, having spent most of last year in an institution, while the local authorities attempted to saddle her with different labels. We've had everything from Asperger's Syndrome, Delusional Disorder, Dementia, Bipolar, Depression etc.... You name it, Shuffler's had it, all be it briefly….We seem to live in a caring age that is determined to force us all into little boxes that can be ticked, folded neatly and then forgotten about. The one box they don’t seem to have though is the one for "Awkward" … Shuffler would fit that a treat. She is normally fine with people, as long as she gets her own way and in fact seems to be very popular with some of her carers. As long as they don’t try and make her do anything she does not want to do, that is.
I know Shuffler has been suffering from incontinence for a few years. She proudly announced a few weeks ago that she now gets free Tenalady Pants (nappies for grownups). Just typical of the sort of stimulating conversation we have these days. At this point she also claimed that her meals on wheels dinners were now being provided for free. A couple of days later I got a phone call from said meals on wheels saying that Shuffler had stopped paying her bill…..
Does this mean that she is also stealing her TP’s and the next call I’m going to get is that she is up on a shoplifting charge?
Is it a case of the Emperor's new clothes and she is wearing her super-strength invisible ones?
If it is the latter, it might account for how she ended up back in hospital after a number of reported incidents of damp patches in the kitchen. Despite her protests of innocence she was admitted and the Doctors laid siege to her. She received a full barrage of tests, was prodded, probed and questioned to find out if she had a urine infection or if they could pinpoint any other reason for the sudden surge in the non-drought like conditions in and around her kitchen. After a week of discovering nothing, other than what an awkward bugger Shuffler can be, she was given the all clear and released back home. It is this sort of level of poor treatment that should be reported to Social Services, only.... this was Social Services...who do you report them to....?
Subsequent investigations pointed to the problem being her leaking washing machine. It’s a shame they don’t do the equivalent of Tenelady pants for leaky household goods….
Now, for anyone thinking,
"How can they mistake washing machine pee for human pee?",
well, it can probably be put down to being old. Have you ever wondered why some old people don’t smell as a fragrant and fresh as a spring morning? It comes down to a fatal combination of losing a sense of smell at the same time as a certain amount of relaxation in hygiene standards as they return towards childhood*. In more severe cases they stop tidying their bedroom**, doing their homework and brushing their teeth (or should that be brushing their gums?) .
* Not sure where I’m going to go, having steadfastly refused to leave childhood in the first place
** Often putting up badly spelt, threatening "Keep Out" signs
My relationship with Shuffler had been going down hill since before my father died. I can’t say she didn’t do a fantastic job looking after him, as he fought an, ultimately, fruitless battle with cancer. Given 6 months to live when I was 14, my father held out for three gruelling years, wasting away before our very eyes. At the end he was almost totally bedridden but not for a minute did I ever think of him as anything other than a normal father. Even 27 years later I still feel the loss and one of my biggest regrets is that Mrs B never got to meet him. I hope enough of his qualities remain in me to give Mrs B a flavour of the man.
Where I have a real problems with Shuffler is the games she has always played. One particular incident springs to mind. Shuffler would collapse and either go rigid or look like she was having a fit - very difficult for a couple of teenagers and a dying man to handle. This went on for quite some time until my Dad pointed out that she would probably end up losing her driving licence. This seemed to produce some sort of miracle cure and Shuffler never suffered another attack. It also made it clear to us that her game was manipulation and helped me and my Sister after my father's death. I suspect it was attention-seeking but shortly after Dad’s funeral my sister went to university and Shuffler started to try and turn my sister and me against each other, claiming "Your sister said this" or "Your brother said that". We cottoned on very quickly and would ring each other up and laugh about the latest ludicrous claim. The end result was that rather than driving a wedge between us she helped us get closer.
When I decided it was time to leave home and buy a house, Shuffler offered to lend me the deposit. Great - that would be really helpful. However the next few months became a living hell as she threatened at almost every opportunity to withdraw her offer of the money. It was bad enough that she was mucking me around but as I was buying a house with a friend …. In the end she stumped up the deposit but it was held over me for the next few years, which proved a fantastic incentive to pay it off quickly. I probably would have been better off going to a loan shark. After all what’s a few broken bones and 5000% interest compared to a smorgasbord of emotional distress?
Cake of the week (This is a new and possibly one-off section of the BlackLOG)
"Chocolate, Mocha, Coke*** and fizzy sprinkles cake". The name hardly rolls off the tongue and judging by the huge slice I received was not rolling off the plate either. Your dedicated guinea pig can report it was absolutely delicious and well worth the risk. Mrs B predictably rolled her eyes at my choice as she opted for the much safer sounding "Lemon Meringue Cake", which must have been OK because it appeared to vaporize before her, a slight lemon smudge on her lips being the only clue as to its final resting place…
*** Please note the fizzy drink and not the white powder
Some of the other cakes available were:
Malteser chocolate cake
Eton mess cake
Popcorn toffee cake
These were all home made creations and I confidently predict it won’t be the last time that we will be waddling out of that particular door. The only downside for a coffee shop (Delicious – In Bishops Storford) was that their fancy coffee machine had broken. Since this is one of about 12 coffee shops in the town they need to get it sorted PDQ otherwise they will suffer the same fate as the kitchen design shop that previously occupied the same space.
We had actually used the services of this shop when we revamped our kitchen a few years back. I was not surprised that it went under though, as they were pretty useless. Mrs B and I had a rough idea of what we wanted, they then tried to turn our plan into an unworkable space with useless attempts to keep clean lines and flog us more granite work top than we needed. If we had gone with their ideas, we would have ended up with a kitchen bar that ended in such a sharp point we could have impaled unwanted guests on it or used it for spiking mail that had been dealt with…
As it was they stopped me having the kitchen hob with the proper Wok burner, claiming it was too wide for the work surface. It was only after they had finished the work that I found out they could have supplied us with a slightly wider run of granite, which would have allowed space for my original choice of hob. Grrr!!!! Yet another example of some of the useless tradesmen that are out there (most of whom seem to gravitate towards our door). I don’t think they were out to con us; they were just genuinely 100% incompetent. Not having been to design school myself, I can only guess that they teach people all sorts of rubbish about clean lines and perspective but forget to mention that these will only work if combined with equal measure of common sense and practicality…..
Photo's of the week
I had a meeting in London this week and so dragged The Beast along....
**** Next week I will try and straighten the "Leaning Tower of Pizza" and make the statue of Jesus, in Rio, look like a second hand car salesman. If I have any time left I will look at turning Mount Rushmore into the Beatles.... Please note this is all without the aid of the evils of Photoshop and will be achieved by a clever combination of cropping, angles and mind altering drugs….
I then met up with Mrs B, in Canary Wharf, for dinner, where there happened to be a car expo which featured the new Mini Countryman (5 door 4x4). We are currently looking to replace our 12 year old Golf and the new (not so) Mini is a front runner at the moment