Smile!…..Oh, Va Te Faire Enculer!

I have taken some slagging this weekend. I think I might have brought much of it on myself, right enough.

Apparently, referring to David Bowie as an artiste is deemed incredibly pretentious and results in, Ooh, la, la’s and Lah de dah’s from my jokers here. Having a Glaswegian accent does not allow you to insert French, or any other language, into general conversation. I don’t care what they say. I know they all think he definitely had a certain je ne sais quoi.


The main piece of slagging actually started on Thursday and continued right through until yesterday. My own fault, as I said.

Hubs and I had to get passport photos taken (our old ones are so out of date, they’re relics). But hubs has been growing a beard. Yeah. No problem with that. His face. He can do what he likes with it. Up to a point. What he can’t do is put it near me. It started off jaggy and then just got tickly. I can’t abide being tickled. Anywhere. By anything. Hate it. I panic and scream. Even been known to cry. So no one tickles me. Under threat of death.

So, the beard. Tickling wasn’t the only problem. The beard is, was, oh, sod it, here’s what it was. (And feckin’ WordPress won’t let me link normally! What is it with this place and changes?!)

Now, the beard came off. I was pleased. He should’ve been pleased too. Took fifteen years off him. We went to the photo booth in the local supermarket. Not before I’d put a fresh face on though. Wanted to look my best, didn’t I?

Why do things never quite turn out according to plan? Or be as straightforward as they should?

The instructions on the machine were quite complex.

Choose the right set of photos. Sorted.

Put money in. Done.

Check seat height. Swivel, swivel, swivel back again.

Align eyes with the magic line. Swivel some more.

Uncover your head. I don’t do hats.

Show your ears (!). I don’t know either. I thought maybe they wanted to be able to check for the presence or absence of ear lobes as a genetic identifying trait. Tucked my hair behind my ears.

No hair on the face. I’d already shaved. Kidding! Sweep hair away from forehead and tuck it in along with the side bits. Looking a bit like Hitler at his point. So tempted to do the finger moustache. Lot of face on display now.

Do not smile. No problem, this isn’t funny. ‘cept for the thought of what the  passport office would say if I sent in my Hitler impersonation.

Do not make any facial expression. Fuck! I can’t do that. When I see the corpse in front of me I know why now. You need expression on your face to look alive.

Keep your eyebrows down. Double fuck! One of mine has a life of its own.

Ready? Steady…..

…don’t smile, don’t smile, do not smile, keep your eyebrows down, look straight ahead, do not think about Hitler’s ‘tache, keep your eyes aligned, don’t look away, Do Not Smile…

…and Snap!

One very ugly, traumatised pic.

It was lucky I had my fourteen-year-old daughter with me to talk me through the process. She kept popping her head through the curtain to keep me right. You’d think she’d have been a bit more on the ball with the results, mark you. Louise takes the best selfies of all my crew. Their words. We both rejected the first one but thought the second would do. It looked okay in the reflection.

How fucking wrong we were!

I kid you not, it was the ugliest photo I’ve ever had taken. Really minging.

And I should know. I’ve had some belters.

I even kept a collection of stoaters so that I could show my kids, should I have any, for when their teenage insecurities would inevitably arise. My sister would just rip hers up. Pot ugly, rip, rip, bin. And this was in the days before we had mobile phones, so every photo in the bin was like throwing away money. Holiday batches would come back from being developed and she would rifle through them, dismissing one after and another and shredding them. Even if you were in it. And looked okay!

I must have had a premonition, way back then, that I’d be surrounded with weans. I actually recollect thinking, ‘I’ll keep this (hidden) then surprise my kids with it when they feel an ugly day is upon them. I’ll whip it out and say, ‘Look. Even your gorgeous mother had off days. I never looked like that. It’s the camera. It lies.’

I’ve never had to whip any of them out and reassure them. They’re the selfie generation. All pouts and confident smiles. And if it doesn’t turn out well? Delete.  Just like that. How was I to know, all those years ago, that mobile phones would be a thing? And that selfie would even be a word. I could have saved myself the bother. They’ve found some of my stash in the past too and just ripped the shit out of me.

Hubs got in, daughter talked him through it. First time, fine. The bastard looks younger than me. And he’s fucking eight years older. Eight and a bit. Sometimes nine.

I thought, stuff it, I don’t care.

But I did. I do. I even got slagged for being vain! Like they wouldn’t have minded? Aye, right! You look in the mirror and you think you look one way. Then you see a photo and your illusions are destroyed.

According to second daughter, there’s a pile of psycho-babble about the mirror/camera/self-perception. I understood it at the time. Just can’t remember what it was. Something about she sees a nine in the mirror but she might only be a seven. The mirror contributes value added tax via personality. The camera is a bitch. Something like that.

Anyway, I had to take both photos and forms into work to get them countersigned by one of my colleagues I’ve known for about ten years.

She actually asked me if I wanted her to certify that it looked like me. And I was consoled that at least she didn’t think it did. She kept glancing at it then at me. I’m easily appeased.

I then passed it round the staffroom so’s they could all get a good laugh. They did. Some said theirs were bad too. But I know they weren’t as Quasimodo’d as mine. I could tell by the look on their faces, as they tried to compose them into some sort of expression that didn’t say, ‘For fuck sake! What happened to you?’

My eldest son wasn’t that kind. He’s a bastard though. He said, ‘You look as if you’ve been seriously assaulted and found in a hedge at the scene of the crime.’ He is a bastard, isn’t he? Even although I had to agree with him. I looked traumatised. Like Hitler must have after, you know.

On Friday, they all gathered, for a soiree. (oops) Not just to look at my photo, obviously. But I just had to show them. I mean, I just had to.

I kept saying, ‘Sure that doesn’t look like me? Please tell me that doesn’t look like me? Am I walking about looking like that and I don’t even know? For fuck sake! I’m fucking ugly!’

By now, hubs was pishing himself laughing. So were the kids. And my daughter’s fiance. He didn’t say anything though. He’s obviously much nicer than my own kids. I think he might be scared of me too. No fucking wonder! I was terrified when I saw me in that photo.

My eighteen-year-old said it did look like me but maybe in about ten or fifteen years from now. She’s a bitch. Hubs said that was good, though, because then I wouldn’t have to get a new photo when I next go to renew my passport in ten years. He’s a, he’s a, he’s sleeping on the couch!

The applications haven’t gone yet. I’m so tempted to go back to the booth and have another one taken. Or kick the shit out of it. But I’m scared I’ll get another just the same. Or even fuckin’ worse! Then I can’t even say it was an aberration. I can’t risk that. I’d never be able to look at myself in the mirror again. I’d just keep saying to myself, ‘Do ye think ye’re lookin’ good, hen? Aye, well remember what thought done. Shat the bed and blamed it oan the blankets.’

I’ve always known I wasn’t photogenic. Now, I’ll have the evidence for the next ten years. And that bastard of a son of mine said that the DVLA could access my passport photo when I come to renew my driving licence. Did you know that it’s become obligatory to have photo ID on your driver’s licence? So, I’m not only running about illegally (sh!) but I’m doing it with a coupon that looks mangled. And he wants me to let them put the same one on my licence!

It’s snowing here. If it clears up I might nip down with my illegal licence and talk nicely to the photo booth.

Then take it back into school on Monday for another signing. Maybe another slagging. But I’m a hacket-faced bint so I can cope with that.

My only consolation (I always look for the bright side) is that three of my daughters are nice kids. My youngest said I always look beautiful. (shit, I wonder if she’s a bit slow) and my twenty-two year old produced her passport to show me that she looked, in her words, ‘like a junkie’. And she did! I felt so much better. My eldest said I shouldn’t mind because, if it were her, she’d rather the geezers at passport control were shocked the right way. She’s maybe my favourite now. For a wee while.

And, if you think there’s a hope in hell that you’re getting to see it, you’re wrong. Very fuckin’ wrong. Jist so’s ye know. I’ll unfollow ye if ye ask. I feckin’ will!

Off to practise taking selfies. Wonder how the filters work. Je ne sais pas.


Coin In The Cork

Did you really imagine that the champagne cork would hold the bubbles, tickled against your nose, inhaled, expecting taste with closed eyes, breath of a memory, stored with the photos, still whole, coin inserted just so, to have and to hold, all worldly goods…

Did you really think that, paused in time, time would pause, hold the sparkled scent, corked, as it were, effervescent smiles in frozen pose, dancing into the unknown, wondering, wondering, hopeful…

Did you really understand then that hope is gaseous, elusive, needs catching constantly, requires work and give and take and would you have recorked, back then with that knowledge, for fear of coin slipping from inverted hub…

Did we really, in our wildest imaginings, if ever wild they were, and they were wild, believe that all the corks and celebrations would link, create the raft, float us homeward, always homeward, adrift at times, paddling, questioning views but always homeward…

Did we know and would we have cared or believed that for every celebratory cork we would also drink of pain and swallow loudly, gulping back that first dance, want to shuffle off the floor, till we knew the music changed again…

And did we dance. Oh, how we’ve danced! And drunk from champagne bottles by the neck, exploding corks to atmosphere and airy, practiced expectations, rejoiced and wept and found the means to keep the bubbles scented in the cork, the coin still holds.

Where We Live

spires and aerials me at night

I live where you live, in the darkness of a mind,

Empty chills around us, lit from lights outside,

You sense what I feel, gloaming casts the beam,

Inertia of the moment, all is as it seems.

I am where you are, upon an empty street,

Vacancies around us, no one left to meet,

Somewhere a bell peals, resounds within and calls,

I stand when you stand, fall whene’er you fall.

me flash

I hide where you hide, behind odd flash of light,

Night and day combined, it seems, still the light’s not right,

You know what I know, behind each night the stars,

Distant, surrounding, burn up but leave their mark.

We know the answers are not to hide and dwell

Inside self-portraits, untrue moments, hollow bells.

I’m brave when you’re brave, awake when you’re awake,

Gather our courage, own battlegrounds at stake,

We fight together, embrace the fear and win,

No hideouts, no heroes, just conquering one of mine.

Please, Miss… was the Guinness…

I’m not up to date with my writing and blogging because…

..the dog ate my homework

…my wee sister ripped up my jotter…

…some sheep put me off my stride…


…I was hypnotised by an evil witch and forgot…

…I was in a cottage with some wee people  and this old woman stopped in passing and made me eat a bit of an apple that was infected by an amnesia serum and it was just so peaceful…

an old hippy invaded my brain…

…an old hippy did invade my brain…


…and I’ve been in a semi-automatic state of meditation…

…contemplating tracks…

.. at the beach…

…and I couldn’t be bothered so I just read books instead…

…I had to work out some cloud formations…

…and there were some views I had to check out…

…a beautiful church I had to explore and photograph…

…I had to  climb a few mountains  sit at the bottom of some mountains admiring the view, reading and drawing, while my husband ran up and down them…

…I had to pretend to keep an eye on the kids while my husband stared into space did his own contemplating and played at caveman built a few fires…


When I returned from holiday, someone had eaten every morsel of food in the house except for some mouldy cheese and festering tomatoes  and I had to spend days stocking up…

… I’ve been catching up blethering  with friends and family I haven’t seen in a while…

…my laptop’s been playing silly buggers  freezing constantly and I had to save it from the blue screen of death…and it’s taken me ages!…

…Mrs Muse came on holiday with me and she missed the return ferry but may be back soon and decided to stay on supping Guinness, which, by the way, is the best I’ve she’s ever tasted……

…I took photographs of my homework instead…

…and drew a bit…

…I had to go out and trail round the shops doing school uniform buying… no, wait, that was a dream…

…I’ve still to trail round the shops doing school uniform buying…

…I’ve been watching the Commonwealth Games…

….Wait a minute….

I’M the teacher…no excuses… just chilled to the point of comatose!…

Still to do those feckin’ uniforms though and only a week left before school….

but like the Guinness, I’m not bitter…

My haze is lifting…I think…so back to normal fairly soon. Maybe.




Not All Is A Memory

Not All Is A Memory Photo courtesy of Mark


We bathed here

Clothes thrown to boughs

Skinny dipping in the dark

Skin touching undercover of ripples

Calm surface wakened by our arousal

Stretching in the sand

Giggling in the moonlight

Those were the days then

When cares were only for years to come

And eyes sought the others in black holes of midnight

Peaks outlined by starry skies

We loved then freely and with energy that age envies

We love still

Not all is a memory

Well, I’ll Be Buggered

Ok, not funny. Not funny at all.

Well, some people might think it’s funny. And I did laugh with my sister about it……..eventually.

But really not funny.

I was doing a post the other day about internet privacy and security and such. Maybe you read it. Maybe you didn’t. If not, why not? Only kiddin’.

This is kinda related, I suppose, in a weird and wonderfully humiliating way.

I was feeling a bit chilled. You know the weather’s changing and my old bones must have been feeling it. Thought to myself, I know, I’ll have a bath. A nice big, deep, bubbly bath. Hot. Really hot and I’ll relax. Thing is, I hate baths. They’re boring. You can’t do anything. I’ve dropped books in the bath before so I don’t do that any more. Lie back and think? Well, I can do that anywhere and in better comfort. Nah, baths are just boring. Prefer showers, myself. Or not by myself. Whole other story.

Anyway, I ran my bath, got some bits and pieces together. You know, a wee glass of red wine and my cigs. Then I had a great idea. I’ll take my phone. I’ll answer any comments on it from blogland. That’s a good idea, I thought to myself. Huggh! Not.

Well, my phone is a piece of shit Blackberry that does what it likes and changes words for me when I want to say something else. So for some reason best known to itself when I type *you’re* it decides *you’reyou’re*. I don’t know why. I know it’s predictive and I can probably change the settings but sometimes it suits me to have it on.

Anyway, it’s a piece of shit.

I hate it.

Now I hate it even more.

I have removed the battery and the sim card because my phone has been taken over by some evil phone thing that is unknown to me and I can’t live with that.

Back to the point.

Yeah, so immersed in a deep, hot bubble bath, I’m thinking this might be ok. Relax back, sip some wine, smoke one. I know. I’ve tried. Leave it.

So, I heard a little ping on my phone which had been conveniently placed on a little table next to the bath. Oh, you’ve got mail, I thought. And lifted it. With soaking wet hands.

Now I don’t know if that is when all the trouble started but it became quite unresponsive. I was pressing one button to see mail. And it was like, ‘no use me, compose a text’. ‘But I don’t want to text. I want to email.’ ‘Well how about camera then? Choose me.’ ‘No thanks. I want to email.’ Pressing buttons furiously on this piece of junk.

Anyway, it did what it wanted to do and I gave up. Put it back down. Finished my ablutions and that was that. I thought.

It started playing up and not doing as it was told. I was getting really pissed with it by this time. Told it that it was being replaced and that no one else would want it. I know. A bit heartless but it was how I was feeling. So frustrating. I must have had the back cover off it half a dozen times to restart it ‘cos I couldn’t get it to do anything. Then it happened.

I was still fuming about the crappy phone but gave up trying to fix it. Blogland would help calm my frustrations. I went to my homepage. And there, on my Twitter feed, was a picture of my leg in the bath! No f****** kiddin’. My leg. Surrounded with bubbles. I went all shades of pink and purple and started stammering aloud to myself, WTF, WTF, WTF. Get the picture?

I deleted it. Then I had a horrible thought. What if…no, God, please, no….I raced over to my Twitter account. And, God almighty, I nearly passed out. There was my leg. I had twooted my own leg to Twitter. Well, not me, that bastard phone of mine. So, I deleted it. Done. I thought.

Tried to make a phone call and answer a few texts. Nope, nothing doing. Ping, beep. And I could do nothing with it. Back off again. Removed the battery. Back on. It made all sorts of promises to me. And, like the naïve fool that I am, I believed it. It’s a liar though. I know that now. The back light went off again and I pressed more buttons furiously. Nothing was happening. Not that I could see. ‘Cos the backlight wouldn’t come on.

It wasn’t until my sister pinged me on Facebook to ask was everything ok, that I knew it wasn’t. Apparently, she had received a picture of my leg six times. Six times. She was obviously worried about my mental health by this time. Or, as she put it, ‘I thought maybe you’d got your toe stuck in the tap and needed the fire brigade. I was going to come round for a laugh. And to check out the fire fighters.’ Divorcee. You know.

So we had a bit of a laugh about it on private chat on Facebook. ‘Cos, of course, I couldn’t text her. Because, even as I write this, my phone is sitting beside me in several pieces. Its lifeline has been cut off. Battery out and staying out.

So we giggled and snorted some and she made all kinds of crass remarks about stuff I’m not repeating here. But it was funny. She made a few comments about how much worse it could have been. I was in the bath, after all. Good Lord, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

Then, after I had finished chatting to her and wiped the tears of laughter from my eyes, a horrible thought occurred.

My sis is always going to be there for me and question anything and everything. But….

What if, in pressing buttons on a screen I couldn’t see, this image has been sent to everybody in my phone book! My school work mates, my head teacher, my doctor, my ……it just goes on!

What if, it wasn’t just that picture that went? What if some of my other stuff went? Secret stuff, like…Well, I’m not telling you.

But, if you see a post entitled, ‘Coming Out Of The Closet Mark IV’, you’ll know I’ve been outed! I may become a full-time blogger with no job prospects because I send random drivel and possibly a few erotic poems and story ideas to all and sundry….six times.

So, I’m in the market for a new phone. I am never in my life taking any phone into a bath with me again. I tell my own kids this all the time. Do they listen? Yes, as it happens. Do I? Well, what do you think?

My laptop’s not been feeling too well either. Not going there. Not going there at all, at all.