Bitch on the Blog

June 18, 2017

Shades of white

I am no good at drawing. Which is rather surprising since I come from a long line of people who actually made their living painting.

My father who inherited that most remarkable talent – though never made anything of it because he was more interested in pursuing other interests, once helped me out. I was about twelve. Our art homework was to do a portrait of a pirate (water colours no less – the smudge’s devil of all inventions). We had a few days. The worse and the more dreaded the task the more it’ll spoil not only your life in the interim but you’ll put it off to the last minute (deadline by another name). (Un)fortunately my father passed my desk (Sunday afternoon) as I was putting the finishing touches to a half hearted attempt at conveying both the cliche and the menace of a pirate (Johnny Depp my creation wasn’t – it was before his time). So, in a moment of charitable (or was it) intent, my father chucked my effort into the nearest waste paper basket and conjured up the most magnificent pirate ever. Took him zero time – not that he meant to ram home that I most certainly had betrayed the creative family line (on both sides). Not at all. He was far more interested in taking all my essays and other writings apart – even if they rated A* by assorted teachers. You want to know what my father called my teachers? Don’t. Repeating it would be flying in the face of my genteel upbringing and the manners my mother instilled in me.

So Monday was grand. My art teacher’s face lit up. He studied my father’s effort in detail. He was chuffed. He smiled. At me. After an artfully executed theatrical pause  he said: “Do tell your father that, on account of fraud, I’ll only give him a two” (a one being top mark). After that I can’t remember anything. Other than that I was always tops in the theory of art and art history. Brush to canvas? Forget it. Why would I? Know thy limitations.

Not to sell myself short and as befits my temperament, I did and do passable caricatures (of people). That’s about it.

As Karma has a way of biting you unawares,  most nearest and dearest to me, friends and assorted family, are masters of their chosen art. Occasionally forced to remind them, ever so tactfully, we can’t all be artistes. Some of us have to be the appreciative audience. The ones who do the clapping, the stroking of ego, the catchers of tears, the slayers of tantrums, the ones who write the critiques, facilitate you, marketeer your stuff.  And, BUY IT.

Whatever you do, please do not talk to me about gallerists. It was Basel/Switzerland, ca. 1997, when I fell off my chair on learning that a gallerist (the marketeer and provider of large swathes of wall and the monied) will take a  cool 66 % off your sales for services rendered.

Titanium white greetings,



January 13, 2017

Please select one of the following options

I need to vent a brief spleen. And who better than my helpless readers to vent it on?

One of the reasons I am considered to be so “good with children” that I have the patience of several saints rolled into one. Keyword “patience”. I myself would say that the reason I am good with children, indeed anyone, is because I am interested in them. But that’s not today’s spleen’s subject.

Patience. Naturally, as one would expect considering the laws of adversity, my personal life is peopled with people on a short fuse. GG (gay guy) had the shortest of them all. He was charming with it and, at a distance, one can live with other people’s short fuses. Though, truth be told, short fuses leave me bewildered. I don’t get it.

Back to where I started. I nearly blew a very long fuse ten minutes ago. Though I didn’t. It’s not that poor girl’s fault (Chinese, stuck in some god forsaken BT call centre, with an almost undecipherable accent to match) that the company she works for is what it is.

What got my goat – and not for the first time – that people just assume (in letters ASSUME) that I have a mobile/cell phone/handy so they can send me a text to confirm whatever there is to confirm. I DO NOT HAVE (see above). On relating this the dense will repeat the question: “What is your mobile number?”. This is the moment when even I (eleven minutes into a tedious call) am ready to burst a blood vessel. I don’t and I didn’t.

My question to you: Are we supposed to sing and dance to the same tune?


August 18, 2016

That which binds us together doesn’t divide us

Filed under: Culture,Family,Friends,Human condition — bitchontheblog @ 18:01

One more thought and then I’ll shut up on the subject of religion that’s occupied my thoughts the last few days:

One may ponder – and I have done so – why even those of us who wouldn’t describe themselves as religious do get married in church and, later on, have their children christened. And we, the collective we, do so, merrily, in our droves. Does that make us hypocrites? I don’t know.

Being of a practical bend I see those ceremonies as that what binds a family, a community, together, officially, through celebration. In the case of a christening – the welcoming of a child and introduction into wider family, “god” parents vowing in public to look after a child in parental absentia should the worst come to the worst.

What an exhausting subject religion proves to be – again and again and then some more …


June 27, 2016

Follow the leader. What leader?

Filed under: Atmosphere,Culture,Despair,Errors,Future,Integrity,Peace — bitchontheblog @ 10:28
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I came across a rather strange mention of me on someone else’s blog – something along the lines of “poor U(rsula). She seems to think it’s targeted at her”.

If that is what any reader has taken away from my last two posts then I have not only failed to express myself but I must appear more stupid than I flatter myself I am. Of course, brexit is not “targeted” at the likes of me. And, no doubt, the practical fallout for me personally will me minimal.

What I find a little bewildering that even my most consistent commentators didn’t have anything to say. Not one word of comfort, not even a grunt. Though by way of handing me a virtual tissue to wipe my tears both Ramana and Looney ticked the “liked” box. Good old Nick took pity on me and left a few words. So thanks for that. Anyway, has confirmed a long held belief: People don’t take to being flooded by someone else’s emotion. (or reason, come to think of it) . It’s ok. Just a little strange for someone like me who basically lives in the trenches of passion – mine and others.

What I meant to express was my dismay at a “mindset“, my huge and heartfelt upset at Britain going retrograde. Throwing it all away based on spurious reasons, and, worse, political intrigue. I didn’t call my last post “Shakespearean” for nothing. What is being played out here, and will be for a long time to come unless someone takes decisive action, is pure Stratford-upon-Avon. Except on that stage the curtain will fall and the audience goes back home, unharmed.

Brexit has the impact of living in a family and suddenly you don’t understand the dynamics of that family any longer. Say, your father bolts, your mother still wipes your nose, your brother takes to solitary fishing, your sister marries the man she least likes, the cat snarls at her best friend the dog, the dog comes to me because it’s also totally bewildered as to what the hell has happened. It’s a mess. Let me take the garbage out.

In the last three days I have read (as did the Angel), and we keep doing so, acres and acres and acres of analysis, opinion, prognosis. I am delighted at the many many eloquent, sometimes bordering on brilliant, writings by some of Britain’s finest brains.

And I am dismayed at some of the arguments of the blinkered total delusional Brexiters awaiting tomorrow’s paradise in Britain. Do wake up. Wishful thinking is one thing. A dream is another.

Some people (feeling a bit sheepish now) ticked ‘out’ for a joke because they believed Remain was a forgone conclusion. They now suffer what is so cutely called “buyer’s regret”. At least when you buy something you aren’t so sure off when you get home you can take it back, get a refund or at least an exchange. HA!

And those who advocate popcorn. Sure. Anyone outside the area (Britain and Europe affected more deeply than your scant glance will indicate), those of you who maybe not culturally well versed, aren’t too familiar with history, who don’t have to worry about their kids’ and future generations’ wellbeing – ENJOY.

Let’s go back to the dark ages. Don’t forget to bring a candle (and at least two matches).


March 24, 2015

Chickenfeed – on a drip in seven daily instalments

If I had to liken my life to an art form I’d say I am a sculptor. One who once more has managed to slice her thumb open whilst finally being nailed to the cross of her involuntary own making.

I am faced with a stark choice: Begging, bankruptcy, prison (or, naturally, as discussed recently, prostitution). All of them intense in their own ways. Only one an option I can stomach whilst still blushing.

The damage I can’t service this minute in one fell swoop? £1,285.48. Yes, I know. In the scheme of things it’s nothing. Nothing. But then in some countries they chop your hand off for stealing a loaf of bread. The second time round you are left without either of your tools.


January 12, 2015

Who are you?

Filed under: Art,Culture,Errors,Human condition,Nature — bitchontheblog @ 17:03
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Sometimes even I find myself caught in the firing line of contradictory advice:

“Keep digging.”

“Stop digging. The hole won’t get any smaller.”

To be on the safe side I do keep digging until my worst fear – the hole getting bigger – is confirmed.

Holes are conundrums. On one hand, by virtue of being a hole, there is nothing. Just a hole. Which is fine as long as you are not in it. If you want to be swallowed go to Dartmoor. Or somewhere where squelching mud will suck you down. And all you did was set a foot wrong. But at least you won’t leave a hole.

I like gardening. You dig a hole – on purpose. You plant a plant. Fill hole around plant with soil till hole is full – et voila. Come spring all you have to fight are squirrels, deer, cute bunnies, your cat, a neighbour’s dog (the swine),  naturally, snails and slugs – and you wonder why you ever thought gardening and its more serious cousin, farming, were a calling rather than a curse.

You know what a vocation is? When you can’t help yourself. Vocation, a calling, is usually associated with those of a true or imagined artistic bend and those who live in a monastery, defuse landmines and or do other foolish things to keep the status quo going. I tell you, and I mean it: Scrub a floor instead. At least you can eat off it and no one – not least yourself – expects you to win a noble prize.


October 4, 2014

Five minus four

Filed under: Amusement,Culture,language — bitchontheblog @ 19:46
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Need to wear hats in England notwithstanding, I sometimes wish I were associated with the Queen. Or Charles. Or someone. One could then go round using “one”  without being called pretentious. I like ‘one’. As one does.

Do you remember the film (Dudley Moore) “Ten”? One of those guys who proved that there is more to a man than height. I like men who scramble up hills to get to their woman. Dudley did it so well. I once dissuaded someone to climb a precarious slope to get me some cherries (Switzerland). As alluring as the cherries were ardour needs to be channelled. And sometimes one needs to know how to stem a flow and build a dam (think Holland). One did stay friends. One’s (that’s my) instinct proving right that it pays to not have that marsh mellow.

Marsh mellows – context: Instant Gratification – currently in the news big time.  So the deal being that your four year old self is faced with a choice: You can have ONE marsh mellow now or wait for twenty minutes and have two. It’s awful when you think about it. Particularly, when like me, you don’t even like sweets  So I sit there for twenty minutes hoping someone would take that damn thing out of my sight, only to then be presented with another one. Brilliant, don’t you think? How to get rewarded in life with things ONE does not want.


April 8, 2014

Don’t speak with your mouth full

Filed under: Culture — bitchontheblog @ 10:42
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Whilst I do notice someone’s manners I am not particularly hung about them even if they are bad. What is a starched napkin to some is a liberally employed toothpick to others. Doesn’t make you a less interesting person. Just reflects on your parents. Think about it.

Whilst you are thinking about it I’ll continue. My son can’t decide whether it’s annoying or amusing when I remind him – a minute before he goes visit his father – to not do this, do that, mind the gap and all that. I only do this because I know his father. His father is a stickler for the impeccable. And since he left all parenting (by mutual consent) to me naturally anything the Angel does or doesn’t do “correctly” reflects on me. As an aside: One might ask (and the Angel has) why I give a toss about what FOS thinks.

Yes, manners. Manners – and it doesn’t matter whether you behead your boiled egg or tap and peel it – are a prime example of true socialization. People harp on about nature vs nurture. Believe me: Manners are nurture and nurture only. My father is a great man yet his constant monitoring how to hold my knife et al  did spoil my appetite a few times in the early days of our acquaintance. To this day I can’t eat when there is tension at the table. A more benign form of having your stomach stapled.

However, such is nurture that even when eating in the sole company of my lovely self I will observe manners.

Where I come from there is a saying, and I don’t know whether it’s entirely true but there is a grain in it: “What little Hans doesn’t learn, grown up Hans never will”. Be that as it may. I was pretty relaxed with the Angel. I am a great believer in learning by osmosis.


February 5, 2014

Far far away

Filed under: Culture,Ethics — bitchontheblog @ 01:03
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I tend to steer clear of politics on my blog. However there are exceptions:

On reading an article on Afghanistan and new law proposed to stun women into silence (yeah, bring back stoning) I feel compelled to throw not much into the pot. There was one comment: “Backward isn’t even the word. They’re cowards. Too insecure in their own manhood to allow women the freedom to choose the terms on which they coexist with them. That’s no kind of man at all.”

Indeed. Manhood. You know what’s so wonderful about men? So very evocative? So very sexy? They feel compelled to look after you. Sure, in a moment of heat, there might be a lash out. Testosterone out of control. It happens. No big deal. But to actually sanction, under state law, the abuse of women on a grand scale is scandalous. Men of the world: Unite. Put a fucking stop to this shit. Women are your mothers, your sisters, your wives, your daughters.


March 29, 2013

Not on your nelly

Filed under: Culture — bitchontheblog @ 14:54
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Sweethearts, yes, I have neglected more than one of you shamelessly. Which goes to prove that absence doesn’t make the heart grow fonder. Not at all. All it does is make you forget you ever existed. Who the ‘you’ in the last sentence is I shall leave for you to decide: You, me or all of us.

The good news is that I was once proposed to by a Professor of a language I shall not disclose to you.   He had accepted a posting in Paris (Goethe Institut), promised to take me to a Viennese Ball, allow me all licence taking my fancy and generally make my life as soporific as only I can appreciate it. Yes. Insert pregnant pause. And more yes. Except it was a no.

Let’s leave aside that at the time I was married already (to my first husband). Considering that I am not the marrying kind it’s never stopped anyone proposing to me. I wish I were one of Emma’s sisters (ref. Jane Austen). At least her mother wouldn’t have had any problems marrying me off.

So if I had married the Professor my blog’s readers and I would have probably never met, and even if we had, I’d be “Parlez-vous Francais?” NON? Well go away then. Because the French only speak French. Even when ordering French fries.

Fast forward – not that fast. Instead of which after gently disposing of husband number one I married an English man. An English Man of the most exacting type. You want a cucumber sandwich? You can have cucumber sandwich – extra thin. You want tea in The Ritz? You will. Just make sure to wear a tie. Unless you want to be humiliated by the doormen offering you a left over. You want an after-eight? Just make sure you … Don’t ask. I have suffered more than an education in the use of an apostrophe.

Don’t knock The Ritz. I had champagne there after getting hitched at Marylebone Registry Office (the church ceremony being in the father/motherland two days later). Wish that bloody scanner of mine be working to provide you with photographic evidence. Give me a few more months and I’ll be back in the money replacing all that is on its last leg.

Which brings me neatly back to where I started: Instead of speaking French 99 % of the day I now speak English 99.9 % of the day (I do swear in the mother tongue which accounts for the missing .1 %).

I leave all of you with offspring with a dreadful thought: Imagine I’d have married the Professor, the Angel wouldn’t exist. No contest there then.

May your egg hatch too. Happy Easter,


PS Not so much an afterthought as a fact: The Englishman proposed to me in Paris.

PPS To keep the record straight: The Englishman is now – and has been for a considerable time – married to an American. A Catholic. The Englishman, apart from being a gentleman and a defender of the apostrophe, only has  two pet hates: Americans and Catholicism. One wonders. So far so good. And let me remind you: He is the father of my son. And few can claim that accolade.

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