Saturday, 27 March 2010

Recycled humour

I found this today, while I was having a tidy-up of my hard drive.  You know how it is, heaps of old documents on the floor, faded photos drifting into the corners, unlistened-to music piping away mournfully.  It's a nightmare in there, like an episode of How Clean Is Your House.  But virtual. 

So I decided to clear out some of the junk today.  All the old work documents from three jobs ago, stuff I have five copies of in different folders, photos that I have scanned and edited and no longer need the huge originals of. 

I think this was part of an email to a mate, but I can't remember now.  I wrote it before I started blogging, so it's at least three years old.  Maybe older. 

My favourite story in the local paper this week is the one about the local Morris men performing to the local skate park regulars after a sign saying they were starting a bit later than planned had been "blown down by the wind". The assembled crowd of "about 20 people", not seeing the blown-down sign, gave up and went home. Apparently the "youngsters" ended up by joining in with the dancers. On the bandstand. In the rain. With floodlights. I wish I'd been there.

I was given a leaflet about the forthcoming Warminster festival the other day. There's a great endorsement from Lord Bath on the back - a picture of him looking a bit startled, as if they've snapped a shot when he wasn't expecting it, possibly whilst he's answering his front door, and a quote:

"It is of great interest to me when my local town chooses to put on a Festival. I know that I shall enjoy it as much as everyone else."

My interpretation is: "I'm not involved, but I understand there's something going on locally. I don't imagine anyone will enjoy it much."

I still like that idea of Lord Bath being startled by the photographer as he opens the front door at Longleat.  I shall miss him now he's retiring.  If you are going to have a local aristocrat, he really ought to be completely bonkers.  We'll have to see how his lad performs in the role of Insane Local Grandee.

At least I'm not posting up all the other stuff I deleted.  Small mercies, eh?

Thursday, 25 March 2010


Remember I said I was starting a weight loss regime?  Yeah you do.

I am happy to report that to date I have lost nine and a half pounds.  Doesn't sound much, but it's 19 packets of butter.  Or nine and a half bags of sugar.  Or a shedload* of satsumas.

It doesn't really show yet, as proportionally it is a mere drop in the ocean, but it's an achievement and I am pleased.

Other news:  Visa application saga continues, and is stressful, depressing and expensive.  I ended up having to take the afternoon off work as I was weeping uncontrollably after having to rummage through all the paperwork relating the the SSFH** to find the bits that the Embassy need.  So that was nice.

Tonight, by way of light relief, Mr WithaY and I are off out to see some mates for dinner and to participate in a mass Folding.  The parish magazine doesn't just staple itself, you know.

*The research team are still working on the details of this one.
**Shit Storm From Hades

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Cracking fun

It's been a week of trains.  Trains, trains, trains.  Interspersed with the Tube.

Things I have seen on my travels of late include:

Two very excited West Ham fans on the Tube.  As the journey progressed they donned more and more kit - hats, scarves, shirts.  By the time I got off they were eagerly examining one anothers tickets for the match, and talking loudly about what a great night they were about to have.  They both looked very young, and were clearly having the time of their lives.  One of them gave up his seat to a lady, which I thought was polite.  Although, now I think about it, she was very attractive, and neither of them gave up their seat to a much less attractive lady later in the trip.  So, maybe an ulterior motive there.

As an aside, I often see people offering up seats on the Tube.  It's less common to see someone ofering up a seat on the train out of Waterloo, but that would mean standing up for the bet part of an hour at least, so I can understand the reluctance. 

I saw this on Tuesday night.  A man got on the train at Salisbury and proceeded to eat his way through a whole pack of chocolate mini rolls.  I have seldom seen anyone get less enjoyment out of food; he looked as though it was an exercise in energy restoration and nothing else. 

If you look closely you will see the reflection of the naughty photographer in the window behind him. 

I also took some pictures of Mr WithaY's crack.  So to speak.

It was HUGE.  It's all been fixed now, but it was exciting while it lasted. 

This one looks like an arty album cover. 

This one makes it look like we live in Bavaria.  We don't.

Other news:  I have been partaking of some Culture.  We watched The Hurt Locker the other weekend.  It was ok, felt more like a documentary than anything else, but without any kind of editorial focus.  I'm not sure why it won so many Oscars.  I didn't engage with any of the characters and thought it was far too long.  Maybe that was the point, I dunno.   

Also watched District 9 last weekend which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Much bleaker and sadder than I expected, and a lot more interesting to me.  I daresay that tells a story about my psyche, but frankly I don't give a rat's arse, amateur psychologists.  Ha!

A colleague lent me a book called Stasiland by Anna Funder which I read on the train, and thought it was excellent.  It's all about life behind the Berlin Wall.  The author is a lovely writer and a damn fine journalist. I recommend it. 

I'd love to go back to Berlin.  We lived there when I was little and went back for a visit a few years later when we went and looked at the Wall.  It made a big impression.

I am waiting for some v important paperwork to show up this week, and when it does I need to book Mr WithaY and I an appointment at the American Embassy.  Thanks to the SSFH* of last summer, we are no longer eligible for the Visa Waiver Programme, and need to get a tourist visa from the Embassy.  In person. 

So, $131 each for the interview (which is about £80), plus the cost of the train, plus £70 each (the cost of the Official Stuff from the police) on top of that...almost £300.  And if we want to go to Canada, or Australia or South Africa, or America again, we go through it all each time.

Thanks a lot, Police State UK (TM).

I'm still very angry about it all.  When I have stopped being so angry I might even blog about it, but not yet.  Too painful. 

Tra la laaaaaa. 

Still on the weight loss plan, but annoyingly have put a pound and a half back on, which is not the right way round.  I will stick with it though, I am determined to lose at least another stone before we go on holiday**. 

*Shit Storm From Hades
**Assuming we get a fucking visa, of course.  Gah. 

Friday, 19 March 2010


The cleaners came today, which is always nice.  We tidy the house beforehand so they don't think we're too filthy and idle, but they then do all the proper cleaning.  The floors are washed, the windowsills are dusted, the stairs are vacuumed.  Marvellous.

I went into the bathroom after they left and they'd folded the toilet paper end into a neat triangle.  It was like being at a hotel.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Poor example

Oh. My. Word.  I thought this was a joke at first, but I don't think it is. 

How does someone get to be 42 years old believing that being morbidly obese is not only a good thing, but something to be aimed at, an achievement?

The article, for those of you who can't be arsed to read it, says that she weighed 520lbs when she had her daughter (which in itself raises questions I don't want answers to), now weighs 600lbs, and is aiming to weigh 1,000lbs so she can break the world record for being fat. 

"She runs her own website where people pay to watch her eat, or see her wash her huge body. "  Nice.

I could run a website where people pay to watch me eat.  Or doing the ironing.  Or cleaning the windows.  Hot steamy domestic goddess action.  Not sure I'd make much money though. 

Apparently her website* makes enough to cover her weekly food bills. 

I'm trying to understand what she thinks she is doing.  She has a young daughter and a teenage son, she must know that by continuing with this she will probably reduce her life expectancy.  Is she so stupid that she thinks she will break the Fattest Woman Ever record, then magically get thinner so she can have a normal life again? 

Who's going to pay her inevitable medical bills?  Is this self-inflicted injury? Would medical insurance cover it?  I have no idea.  Diabetes, heart disease, arthritits.  All that fun stuff is pretty much guaranteed if she stays that size for very long.

I know I sound like a size fascist, but really.  Christ on a bike. 

I remember seeing  an archive photo from the 1920s or maybe 1930s.  Depression era, anyway.  It showed a "Fat Family" at a carnival.  A mother, father and teenage son, all plump, relaxed, smiling for the camera.  A crowd of onlooked stood looking at them. 

What was striking was that the fat people in the picture looked like "normal" people to me.  You see fatter people walking round town any day of the week nowadays.  The striking thing about the picture was how thin the people in the crowd were.  Sharp cheekbones and clothes hanging off them. 

Times have changed.

*There wasn't a link to it from the Telegraph article.  I looked.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Dig it

Mr WithaY has a huge crack in his windscreen.

I remember when I had to get a new windscreen.  It was like a hobby after a while.  I'm almost jealous. 

Other news:  We've been doing stuff in the garden.  We've planted up a nice terracotta trough with pink and purple heather plants to attract bees, which looks very smart.  I hope the bees wipe their tiny feet and sleek down their hair tidily before they use it.

Mr WithaY sawed one of the useless water butts in half and we are going to plant seed potatoes in it.  The seed potatoes are sprouting in the kitchen, so I expect we'll plant them next weekend. 

We also ordered the timber and topsoil to make a vegetable bed to go at the end of the back garden, and have a lot of seeds ready to plant.  Carrots, lettuce, pak choi, French beans, courgettes and onions.  Well, the onions aren't seeds, they are teeny baby onionlings.  After last year's failure, I am not bothering to plant tomatoes. 

If we grow enough courgettes, I might be able to use them for something artistic.  You never know your luck. 

We've also got a pack of wildflower seeds from the BumbleBee Conservation Trust.  Mr WithaY bought me membership as part of my birthday present, which was a lovely surprise.  You get all kinds of nice things when you join.  A car sticker, a lapel badge of a charming little bee, the aforementioned seeds, a handy poster with pictures of all the types of bee in the UK, a book on bee-friendly gardening.  Go on, join up.

I'm still thinking about getting a beehive for the garden, but I will wait till we've sorted out all the hard landscaping first I think.  While we were at the timber merchant's I picked up a brochure for hard landscaping requisites, and am now all inspired. 

It's amazing what a few hours of sunshine will do for your enthusiasm.

Money well spent

There was great excitement earlier this week when the washing machine man came round.

Well, we asked him to. 

It's not like he just turns up unnanounced and demands tea and biscuits.

For a while* now, the washing machine has been making terrifying clanking rattling noises.  Intermittently  Not all the time, not every time we use the machine, not even every time we do the same kind of wash.  That rare delightful thing, a truly intermittent fault.

It came to a head last weekend.  I'd put a load of washing in, and the machine was rattling and graunching as though it had several tons of gravel inside it.  A sharp crash, like metal on glass, reached us and Mr WithaY, a man pressed to breaking point, leapt to his feet and then to the phone.  Ten minutes later, we had a hot date with the repairman.

He turned up as promised on Wednesday morning and got straight down to business, refusing my offers of hospitable refreshment.  Tea? Coffee? A cold drink?  Digestive biscuit? Toast?  Anything?  Just please FIX IT. 

I had to restrain myself from clutching at his lapels.

He turned the machine on.  No clanking.  He turned it off.  He turned it on, but on a different wash programme.  Silence.  He looked at the dials with a furrowed brow.  I put the kettle on.  He turned it** off, then on, then off again.  I made tea.

We looked at one another in silence, frowning, him in genuine puzzlement, me just joining in to be friendly.

"Can you fetch me some towels?" he asked.  Perhaps he needed to mop his fevered brow as he figured out what was wrong.  Or maybe he got confused when he saw the kettle boiling and thought someone was having a baby.

Anyway, I went and fetched a couple of big towels which he loaded into the machine, before turning it on again.

There was a terrible rattling, graunching noise.  Success.

He looked at me with some relief and said "Ah yes, I know what that is."

He turned it off, drained the water out and pulled the filter out of the bottom of the machine.  He ferreted about up in the innards, which seemed rather indelicate, then extracted a 5p piece, holding it aloft in triumph.

"There," he said.  "That was getting sucked into the [[tech]] and making it [[tech]] which is why it was [[tech]]."

"Aaah,"  I said.  "Was it really?  Gosh."

"Yes.  That'll be a hundred pounds please."

*At least six months
**The washing machine, not the kettle

Friday, 12 March 2010

Train times

Ah, trains.  Trains, trains, trains.

There was a family of trolls on the train home earlier this week.  It was a commuter train, packed to the roof with tired grey-faced business types, all trying to sleep or read or faff about on their laptops. 

Sleeping is difficult.  For a start there isn't much space, so you can't relax physically.  I am quite tall, so end  up with my legs squashed against the back of the seat in front if I don't pick my position carefully.  Then there is the head issue.  What do you do with it?  If you just lean back on the seat (a challenge in itself if you are at all fastidious about rubbing your hair in unknown filth) you may start drooling or snorting.  If you let it loll forwards you run the risk of waking up with a loud grunt every ten minutes. 

Such a problem.

So, if I can get a seat by the window I do, and then try to lean on it and doze as best I can.  However, every time a train  goes past in the opposite direction it makes the window go "Whooomph!" which wakes me up.  Sometimes the shock is sufficient to bounce my head on the glass with an audible clonking noise.  I have to then either pretend to still be asleep to hide my chagrin, or just wake up and brazen it out by pretending that I'm not bovvered.

Luckily I have a great internal voice which lies to me.  It usually says "It's ok, nobody noticed."  It says that a lot.  I have to pretend to believe it. 

Anyway.  The trolls.  There were many of them.  Oh, soooo many.  They got on at (I think) Basingstoke, in a huddled chattery gang, dragging enormous bundles and cases with them.  The lead troll, a woman of indeterminate age with bright ginger hair, was organising them.  She fussed and chattered without stopping for about 45 minutes. 

"Come on, sit here.  Sit down, just here.  No, HERE.  Where's your bag?  *tch*  Give it here.  I said GIVE IT HERE.  I'll put it away for you."

She'd then stagger down the carriage dragging the bag, walloping people with it as she went, stuff it into the luggage area, then make her unsteady way back to her shuffling, fidgeting troll bretheren.  Then it would all start again with the next one.

"You sit here.  No you can't sit over there.  There's someone already sat there.  Yes there is.  Look, there.  THERE.  That man there *pointing at some crimson-faced inoffensive commuter trying to read his book* You can't sit there.  Just sit down here.  SIT DOWN."

I can only assume it was some sort of outing for the Terminally Bewildered. 

And so the long journey wore on. 

Things took a different turn yesterday.  My, what a day that was.

As we approached Basingstoke, the loudspeaker crackled:

"This is the driver speaking.  Would the guard please make their way to the driver immediately.  Immediately please."

Everyone perked up, wondering what was going on.  Had we been hijacked?  Was a crazed gun-toting desperado trying to take the train to Cuba?  I for one hoped so. 

After a few minutes there was another announcement from the driver.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I am sorry to tell you that this train is now cancelled.  We will be terminating this train at Basingstoke."


There then followed a long and detailed itinerary of all the other trains which were going to London from Basingstoke, what times they'd be running, what platforms they'd be using, and how many stops they were going to make before getting to Waterloo. 

Few people even pretended to be paying attention, they were fighting to get their coats on, and pack up all their stuff.  When the train stopped, we all got off and stood stupidly on the platform.  I was half expecting a few railway employees with large brooms to come and shoo us away. 

"Come along now *tchook  tchook*  Off to Platform Three with you..."

There was a disagreeable 20 minute wait in the cold, then a small local sprinter type train pulled up and we all crammed aboard.  There were very few seats, so most of us stood crammed together in the middle of the carriage, pretending not to mind.  I was lucky enough to grab a seat at Woking when some people disembarked, but even so it was very unpleasant.

I arrived into the office almost an hour late, which is impressive given that I don't usually get there till half nine anyway. I checked the train times online every hour or so as the day went on, ready to leg it out the door if there looked like being any more problems.  Fortunately, ther problem, whatever it was, had been resolved by mid-afternoon.  I left the office at about 5, planning to saunter back to the station and catch the ten to six train.  The Tube gods were on my side though, and I made it in time to leap aboard the twenty past five with two minutes to spare. 

What a schoolboy error that was.

Of course, there was not a seat to be had.  Even the little fold-down seats in the corridors were all fully occupied, and I ended up standing in the gap between two carriages, along with half a dozen other people, all trying to keep our feet as the train joggled along.

It alternated between baking hot and stuffy, and chill winds blowing through the rubber seals, bringing plenty of diesel fumes with them.  Nice.

After half an hour or so of this I realised that I was feeling dizzy, and of course, as soon as I realised that, I felt worse and worse.  I got queasy, and trembly. Cold sweat began to make itself felt, and I knew if I didn't sit down I would probably swoon dramatically all over the annoying yuppies to my right. 

There was absolutely nowhere to sit, so I just slid down onto the floor, filthy as it was, and hoped I'd feel better.  It helped, but I was still feeling ropy when we got to the first stop and a few people got off the train.  I was able to grab one of the little fold down seats and perched there for another 45 minutes or so.  Finally I was able to sit on a proper seat for the last half an hour of the journey, and was still feeling shaky when I got off the train.

I pay almost five thousand pounds a year for this.

Aren't I lucky?

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Hair! Again!

Sorry if you aren't remotely interested in hair.  On the bright side, I only go to the hairdresser about 3 times a year, so it isn't very often you have to put up with this.

Ta-daa!  Check out the new do:

I could have just posted the photo without the highly professional editing to conceal my secret identity, but it amuses me to look like a middle-aged ninja, so it stays like this.  Mr WithaY suggested I add some huge bug eyes as well.  He thinks he's funny.   

The charming girl at the hairdresser has chopped off loads of the skanky bits at the ends, layered it so it is all bouncy and wavy again, and given me a bit of a fringe to stop me getting too bored with it.  I am very pleased.  Also, (and this is why she gets a tip) she said I have no need to colour it as it has barely any grey, and that it looks lovely.  So hurrah.

I went to the music shop in Salisbury as I want to get the tab book for Alice in Chains "Black Gives Way To Blue" but no luck.  To be fair, I don't even know if the book exists, I just assumed it did.  I heard "Your Decision" on the TV a few nights ago, used my mighty iPhone to Shazam it so I knew what it was, and then downloaded the album on iTunes.  All while sitting watching CSI.  I love technology, I get to  pretend I am on the USS Enterprise when I do stuff like that. 

I found the chords online but am not convinced they are correct, as it sounds rather odd.  Plus the timing is a bugger, as soon as I try to sing AND play it at the same time it all goes horribly wrong. 

I still sound like I have a cold, even though I don't, so my singing is nowhere near the way it should be.  I wonder if I have some sort of yukky low-grade sinus infection or something left over from the Black Lung outbreak. 

If I am still sounding bunged-up by the end of the week I might ask the doctor what he suggests.  He may well suggest that I go away and stop bothering him, of course. 

Mr WithaY has had a cold for almost a week, but is on the mend now. He celebrated by cleaning out the fishtank this morning.  The soundtrack for this diligent activity was very loud trance music.  Apparently the fish like it.  It just made me think of Father Fintan Stack from Father Ted.

"I've had my fun and that's all that matters."  One of the best lines in comedy ever.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Hair crisis

Today I have mostly been staring at work documents till my eyes dried up.

Tomorrow, though, I am going to the big city*, to the posh hairdressing saloon to get myself beee-yoo-tee-fied.  I am facing a dilemma, albeit a small, petty, over-indulged middle-aged woman one. 

Should I have my hair cut short, or should I keep it long?  I've had very short hair and very long hair over the years, although not at the same time.  That would mean a dreadful gravedigger or mullet stylee.  Cute on biker dudes, dreadful on women.  Yes, even you, lesbian sportswomen. 

I quite like my hair, there's lots of it and it isn't grey yet, and it tends to look pretty good most of the time, despite my dreadful laziness and non-use of "products" on it.  It gets washed, it gets blow dried upside down, it gets a brush and it's ready to go.  Job done. 

Hair, long, brown, wavy, for the use of. 

However, I've been looking at the smart London ladies I see around the place when I am in town, and feeling just slightly intimidated and scruffy. 

Maybe I should wear a funky French plait?  I can do them on other people but not on myself, which isn't much use.

Or a proper bun, all strict and dominatrix-y?  Although I think I am still far too chunky to pull that look off convincingly quite yet. 

Even a bit of proper blow dry styling might help, although that tends to make me look like Nerys Hughes in the Liver Birds**, which is not the smart, professional look I am aiming for.

As you can see, this train of thought is interminable.  And, inevitably, it leads me to the "ooh, I could get it all cut off again!" idea.

I've done that a few times over the years, and whilst I do like the dramatic effect of going from long hair to very short hair  (why, Mrs WithaY!  You look ten/twenty/thirty years younger!  I'd never noticed what lovely cheekbones/teeth/ears you have!")  it is a lot less versatile, and I get bored with it quickly. Then I start to grow it out, which takes three years, and I whine regularly about having had it cut off in the first place. 

So.  What to do, what to do.

I think I might look at hairstyles on the internet and then at least be able to offer an idea of what  I want, rather than falling back on the trusty "Just trim it a bit and take off any split ends please," approach I usually adopt. 

Hmm, let's see...

I like this, but it looks like a LOT of work.  Plus I grew my fringe out and am not sure I want another one.

This one is mental, but interesting.  A bit Veronica Lake-y.

This one gives me flashbacks to being at school in the early 80s...that fringe must take a LOT of hairspray.

This one is completely bonkers but I reckon I could carry it off. 

It might be a bit awkward on the Tube though. 

I'll let you know how I get on.

*Salisbury.  Hey, it has a Marks and Spencer.  And a cinema.  And a Lakeland.  No Long Tall Sally though, sort it out, Salisbury. 

**Google it, American readers.  And anyone under 35.

Pictures nicked from here

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Important Announcements

Ah, trains.  Specifically, SouthWest trains.  How I love them, and all their myriad charming little ways. 

The train I catch from Waterloo to home is a great big long one, which splits in half at Salisbury.  I'm not entirely sure what happens to the other half most days. 

Maybe it gets dragged into the sidings and ceremonially vacuumed* by the High Priestesses of Rail Travel. 

Maybe it gets broken down and turned into spare parts to keep the other trains running for a few more days.

Maybe the mechanics and train wranglers spend the night making sure that none of the heating works in carriage two, or that the internal doors keep opening and closing every 30 seconds for no reason for the entire journey.

Maybe the back end driver just says "Ah, fuck it" and gets out, abandoning his half of the train at the platform for the remainder of the night, till the day shift get in and park it up out of the way.

I really don't know. 

One of the reasons I don't know is because SouthWest trains don't share any of the back story with the passengers.  Take this evening, for example.

I met my lovely mate Spencer after work for a long-delayed catch-up chat, so was on a later train home than usual.  All was well, I had a good seat** and it wasn't too crowded.  Even though my posh headphones have stopped working properly, and music only comes out of the right earpiece at the proper volume, the left one mysteriously reduced to a  tinny whisper, I plugged myself in and enjoyed some music.

The train gradually emptied, so I was able to squirm round and make myself more comfortable.  Then the guard's voice came onto the tannoy system. 

"Hello there," he said, chummily.  "This is your guard speaking with an important announcement.  Please listen."  I took my one functioning earpiece out of my ear and perked up, wondering if they were going to tell us that a member of the Royal Family was getting on at the next stop and could we all please brush our hair and polish our shoes. 


"This train will be arriving in Salisbury shortly, where it will divide.  The rear coaches will continue on to Bristol, the front coaches will terminate."

What?  Hello?  That's not what usually happens.  Usually the rear coaches terminate, or sometimes go off jauntering around the West Country, but the front coaches continue their creaky progress to Exeter or Yeovil. 

"All passengers who wish to continue their journey beyond Salisbury, please get off the train here and make your way to Platform 4," the guard continued.  I could tell he was grinning as he said that.

There then followed complex instructions how to get to Platform 4.  It involved several ramps, an underpass and some strategic shoving.  The train we had to get on was already full, the passengers watching our arrival in smug comfort as we re-enacted Napoleon's retreat from Moscow, huddled in our coats against the bitter cold, laden with baggage and packages.  The bastards. 

Two minutes from my station, a dishevelled-looking bloke approached me.  He stared intently at me, saying "Excuse me...I want you to do me a favour."  I looked at him doubtfully, the moment uncomfortably prolonged by the man with the refreshment trolley passing between us. 

The dishevelled bloke then launched into a long, confusing story about how he had just arrived in the UK that morning (he looked as though he'd been travelling for some time), was due to meet his parents at Crewkerne station, but he didn't have a UK mobile phone, and would I lend him mine, he'd pay for the call, it would literally only take one minute.  He had a handful of change, jingling it as he spoke. 

Rather than pushing him away with a long pointy stick, as was my first impulse, I said no, I was getting off the train at the next stop, and we were due to pull into the platform in less than a minute.  He looked disappointed and said "It'll take less than a minute, are you sure you won't lend me your phone?"

Yes, I was quite sure. 

As I left the train, I heard him asking the old chap sat in front of me the same thing.  I can only assume he kept asking till somebody gave in and let him make his call.  Or let him leg it with their phone.

Other news:  Spencer and I saw some interesting sights in London this evening.  One of them was a heavily-pierced man wearing a multi-coloured hat, carrying a giant backpack with several pairs of shoes hanging off it, and long khaki shorts, much like Lofty in "It Ain't Half Hot, Mum".

The other was this gentleman:

He's not shy about declaring his faith, bless him.  His jacket AND his backpack. 

Also:  Went to Fat Club on Wednesday and have lost another 3.5lbs, therefore have lost half a stone in the last 3 weeks.  As a reward I have made an appointment to get my hair cut at the posh saloon in Salisbury.  Yeee-haw.

*Unlikely, given the filth in every crevice and cranny
**As good as they get in filthy cramped standard class, at least