Bitch on the Blog

July 5, 2011

Snakes and ladders

Filed under: Uncategorized — bitchontheblog @ 09:51

Ramana asked me to join the queue. I don’t queue. It’s not in my genetic make up. I will wait my turn. Sure. In the meantime I mill (around). Every Englishman is the beginning of a queue so the saying goes. And, as most sayings, it’s so true you feel like hopping around on one foot with the sheer pain of it. “Milling” makes English people nervous. Twitchy. There is a peculiar “I was here first” mentality. Indeed you were. No one is going to dispute it. I poke my nose in between the “orderly queue” to see what’s available on the fresh fish counter. It never occurs to me that my action might be misinterpreted as a feeble attempt “to jump the queue”. I am not jumping anything. I am just surveying the fish on display to make a decision (whilst waiting) whether to go for line caught Mackerel or sardines. For a nation so relaxed as to virtually horizontal I have yet to understand what it is with the English and their queuing. Fair play. Sure. Just don’t make such a big deal out of it.

Which reminds me, Magpie: According to the Angel who returned yesterday (is there a woman in the world happier than I am?) little has changed in zee Anglo Francais relations not so cordiale. Whilst the Angel had many more happy experiences with the French than even he expected he has conceded that my warning before he set off was right: The French are nationalistic. No two ways about it. Before they break into English (which the English, so arrogantly on their part, assume is the lingua franca) they will force you through the hoops of their own language. Well, good for them. I shall spare my American readership what the Angel had to say on the way Americans he met travel. The dollar clearly speaks louder than a burger laden body can move. If that’s cryptic it’s because it’d better be. Forgive me Con. I know you are the male Jane Fonda of San Fran. Makes you wonder, doesn’t it? I’ve always hated that expression “The exception to the rule”. In order to find the exception you have to define “the rule”. In my world there are few rules. Only the odd principle.

Hugs and kisses




  1. Queuing is a good way to avoid conflicts. Yoof these days seem not to understand that and wonder why I block their way onto public transport and allow elderly people and pregnant women to get on before me and then them. Mind you it is embarrassing when said pregnant female, barely over 16 years of age stands up and offers me her seat!
    Talking of pregnant females: I seem to be inundated with them. Last Saturday I was in a queue behind a very, very pregnant and beautiful woman who looked about to deliver. he checkout assistant looked at her ad said, “Please don’t pop in here.” she was assured that that would not happen but I notice that as she walked away she stopped and stretched her back!
    Meanwhile the Great Dane down the road has whelped for the second time. She produced eight pups and mother and offspring are doing well. Mother actually knows what happened and what she’s doing this time. Last time it was Dad that seemed to be more aware than her.
    Do all females need a second attempt?

    The English relaxed? Really? You learn something new every day.

    On the one occasion that i went to France (with school) we only met one French person who didn’t want to show off his English: A barman somewhere around Montmartre insisted that we speak French to him as that was what we were there for….

    The exception that proves the rule you see……. he was not a show off like the rest of them.

    Comment by magpie11 — July 5, 2011 @ 21:54 | Reply

    • Trying to rethink the “relaxed” bit. The English are relaxed, in a sort of uptight way (particularly when queuing). You say queuing avoids conflict. I personally think it creates tension and stress. Seriously, I have encountered more aggression between people in queues than you see in your average European Festland butchers or bakers (where everyone mills, yet everyone also knows when it’s their turn). Yes, the uncooth. Glad to hear that there are actually still people who observe basic courtesies. To offer someone older (or pregnant) a seat is so ingrained in me I probably still will when I myself am dottery.

      You clearly live in fertile times. And no, I don’t think, a female needs more than one attempt. Some are just shell shocked – as happened to a friend of mine; Irish, highly competent in her career, fell apart when presented with her first born; it was tragic – not that I in my own maternal bliss even noticed at first what was happening to her. She went on to have another child. Took to drink. Big time. A life destroyed. My own hospital notes state, and it’s a compliment I am most proud of, that I am “a natural”, “a supremely competent” prima gravida. No anxieties for me. I took to my baby like the proverbial duck to water. Symbiotic. He gave me an easy ride anyway. Never known a child so happy, with such equilibrium. No tantrums, apart from once when he was faced with some small penguins – about his height. He lost it. Completely. Other than that complete and unadultered ease. Even my unfortunate attempt at ‘cucumber’ he just sat out till I gave up, berating myself what a complete and utter failure of a mother I was to try and make a three year old eat cucumber. The cucumber to this day my one weapon of X destruction.

      Talking of the Angel and animals giving birth: When we got a cat (at his request), he must have been about six or seven, said cat (gave birth to three kittens. I am not so good with other “people’s” gore; yet the Angel proved to be a midwife par excellence. Not only did he sit with her, patiently as the kittens popped out at roughly every twelve minutes, he soothed her and recorded the exact birth time of each one of them. I couldn’t believe it. In years to come he was the one to administer pills to the cats which is a feat to achieve if ever there was one. “Let ME do it, Mama”. You know how, sometimes, within one simple sentence you realise how incompetent you are. And he was right: Where I flapped he managed to con them into that which a cat, under all circumstances, will avoid: Popping a pill. I called him the Cat whisperer (and myself a complete failure). Mind you, he drew the line – and didn’t come with me – when Bouncer had to be put to sleep (skin cancer – I ask you: A black cat and skin cancer?) Shrunken from his 8 kg mighty self to 3.5 kg when the vet put him down. Scant comfort to me that I was holding him when he died. One of my big regrets that when his mother was killed in a car accident only nine months earlier, some kind soul having taken her to the vet, her heart giving out before I arrived. Wonder what her last words were. I am not being funny here. That cat was a dog in her previous life. She followed me around, always curious, always ‘talking’ with hundreds of different miaous. Yes, nine years, the cats and us: Practically the Angel’s middle childhood.

      So congratulations to the Great Dane Mama. Are you tempted to adopt one of the puppies yourself?


      Comment by Ursula — July 6, 2011 @ 09:32 | Reply

  2. I understand that the exception actually proves that there is a rule in order for there to be an exception to the rule. No doubt it comes from some erudite Latin phrase from someone like Clitheroe!

    Comment by magpie11 — July 5, 2011 @ 21:58 | Reply

    • Clitheroe? Magpie, what are you talking about? Clitheroe is some part of Lancashire. A questionable name at best. You don’t want to pronounce that under the influence.

      I will dig my heel in on “exceptions prove the rule”. I don’t live far from Arthur Canon Doyle’s burial ground (Minstead, New Forest), small place, tiny church, wonderful view across open countryside next to his grave. I hold it with his creation, the admirably arrogant Sherlock Holmes: “I never make exceptions. Exceptions DISprove the rule.” Actually, let’s rephrase that for myself: Being flexible to the tune of a U-bend (this lady is for turning) I make exceptions all the time. Which, by din of logic, eventually makes the exception the rule. HA. Get your brain round that one, Watson.


      Comment by Ursula — July 6, 2011 @ 09:07 | Reply

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