This is the first of a new series Im writing on organising your home. Today we’re dealing with, Clutter. (wow)

Clutter is the love child of your emotional imbalance combined with your lack of self respect.  It’s the physical representation of something you’re doing very wrong in your head and can’t hide it.  Yes, your head, laid out for everyone to see.

It’s true.  I made it up.  (But we both know it’s true….)

When my darling children were young, at the end of a busy day they lay in their beds, having begged for another story, shared some made up problems taken from pop songs, made me hunt a favourite teddy they hadn’t seen for two years, begged for a snack or a drink, had a tummy ache and generally made me hang around a couple of resentful hours, I’d watch them sleeping. Anglic wax models of their previous hyperbolic selves.  At this point, I’d look at their faces and wish they could be like this all day.  Not anything weird, just a bit quieter and peacefully beautiful, like Zen children.  I’d trip through the chaos of the house, that I was now supposed to clear up. Often, I’d stand at the back door, looking up at the night sky, the mess piled high behind me and pray, that aliens would come and abduct me.  

Back to Zen Children….

I’ll write a book about “Zen Children” one day.   It will detail lies about raising my children without plastic, so they connected with the natural world.  I will put pictures in it, of favourite toys I’ve made with them from shells and other shit you find on the beach. 

My son’s favourite homemade toy; his whale “Blubba”

My zen husband with have a beard and there will be photos of the driftwood climbing frame he has loving crafted from wood, found in a secret cove that the Whales lead him to (on his 5am daily swim).  He hauled with those heavy branches back to our run-down, but loving caravan-home, on a beach in Mauii.  He surfs a driftwood surfboard and preaches to the materialistic surfer dudes about the goodness of life.  They love him and admire him and while they can’t give up their contracts with trendy surfer brands – they really wish to be like him, and have a sexy renounced zen wife (that’s me if you weren’t sure) and have beautiful Zen children who happily dress in (organic) rags.  My husband’s surfer-dude friend, Jeff comes over to sit at our weathered kitchen table and escape his demanding girlfriends, who are models and all crazy beautiful (in that order).  He eats from our hand-whittled bowls and drink the soup I make on an old Aga. 

Eventually, the surfers leave town for bigger surf and even bigger money;  and my husband leaves me, for one of Jeff’s crazy beautiful girlfriends, she becomes his new wife.  They are “influencers” and share videos of her with whittled bowls and organic soup online.  My heart breaks.  To support the children I have to move to the city and become a nurse, tending to the sick, working long shifts in spongey, white clogs.  Often, I stay on past my shift end, to hold the hand of a patient dying alone, because her selfish surfer-dude children could only manage a quick good-bye by video link. Then I rush across New York and find my children angrily waiting, alone in the school yard, for me.  I hug them too tightly, crying and they say, “It’s ok mommy”. We walk home across New York, playing imaginative games, sometimes we walk under a billboard advertising their Father and his wife, on a beach in Mauii.  We don’t see it, we’re too busy chatting, my middle child is not boring us with his fascinating whale facts.

By the time we get home, to the poor side of town it’s nearly dark and I carry my youngest child, now asleep, up the dark stairs to our tiny apartment.   I always say “hello” to the elderly woman who lives downstairs, she thinks I’m a saint.  Once in a while, their father will come to pick them up and the children will rush into his arms, while his icy new wife judges me.

One day at work, a Doctor asks me out. The children are excited for me and I wear my best dress, it’s a bit crinkled, I’ve had it for years.  The elderly woman who lives downstairs, babysits and I go out on The Date, he likes me – I like him.  As he becomes a part of my life I am so happy and we go for dinner and do boring things like that, in the name of romance.  However, the elderly woman downstairs notices the Whale-fact-child becomes quiet and stops talking about Whales.  She eyes my Doctor boyfriend with suspicion and raises her concerns.  I shout at her and tell her she’s wrong and it’s none of her business, but really, it’s because I am hurting so bad inside.  I sit with my Whale-fact child, as I stroke his head he confides in me; he is torn because he wants me to be happy.  I promise him that we will never see the Doctor again.  I scream at the Doctor on the phone and tell him I will have him kicked out of the hospital for this.  On Monday, I go to work but my electronic swipe doesn’t work, I am confused.  I get into the hospital and feel that people are whispering about me, one of the Admin staff frostily asks me to come to a meeting.  In the meeting my Doctor is there, smugly patronising me, I am hauled up in front of a disciplinary panel and fired – for his lies.  I am broken and can’t pay the rent.  We have to leave New York, I am no longer a nurse, we hug the old lady goodbye and she blesses me, giving me a whale’s tooth pendant and tells me the whales will take care of me. I laugh, there are no freakin whales in our lives anymore.  

I missed my patients and the spongy footware.
“No matter that they take from me, they can’t takeaway my dignity”. W.H Ousten

We move to a poor town on the coast.  The boys are older and work in a local boat yard.  I am a waitress in a run down diner, over looking the sea.  My kids drop in to see me before they surf and I insist on they eat.  They go out on homemade driftwood surfboards, just like their father, years ago.  Happily they surf alongside the kids with shiny boards and big trucks.  I serve coffee to all the overweight lorry-drivers who try to get a date with me, I am done with men and friend-zone them all, (even the one with the really fancy truck, who is a bit aggressive and entitled).  One day, one of the owners of the Dude Surfboard Company comes in.  He stops to talk to my sons about their homemade surfboards and kindly compliments them, before sitting with his cool Dudes and their crazy beautiful girlfriends, discussing their international competition schedule.  My kids leave for their evening classes, I can’t afford for them to go to college.  Serving the coffee, I accidentally spill it and one of the surfer girlfriend’s makes a joke at my expense.  Flustered, I apologise and wipe it up. The owner of the Dude company looks up and tells me not to worry, his brow ceases with confusion and he asks if he knows me.  I assure him he doesn’t.  Later he comes to the counter to pay.  He asks if I’ve ever lived on Maui and about my son’s unusual surfboards; eventually we realise it’s not the first time I’ve served him coffee or soup, it’s Jeff, from years ago. Laughing we remember the good times we shared back then.  I wipe my brow and remove my pink server’s hat and let my hair down.  We walk along the beach to his surfboard, it’s weathered and well used.  He paddles me out to sea, I sit on the front dangling my legs in the water, hoping a shark won’t bite and we watch the sunset together, I try not to slide off the front as it dips with my weight – now I reget all finishing all the leftovers in the diner each night, and those family size bags crisps and the foot long Toberlerones that were onsale at Costco.  Sudddenly, a whale leaps over us and nearly capsizes us.  We grab onto each other and laugh with shock and surpise.  We are together. 

Some time later, my lovely boys hold a ceremony in the ocean, “mom” they said to me, “we dont need this old shit anymore, we’re going throw them in the ocean because we’ve got pro boards now”. They float peacefully on their gleaming new Dude surfboards, with their gleaming new friends around them. They throw things at the old boards, I assume it’s flowers, I can’t qutie see from Jeff’s yacht. But they’re probably remembering the lani we love, in the old days in Hawaii. They set their driftwood boards free and gifted them back to the sea. Those boys, such big hearts, they have always been so generous and organic like that, . The waves are wonderful that day, as if the ocean replied thanking them for the gifts. Later they join us, excited to go to deep water and try to find Whales with Jeff. They load their spear guns and I touch the necklace, that old, nosey lady gave me back in the Bronx. She’d known, all those years ago we would always be have affinity the whales.

Jeff – he was amazing at catching them


The End.

The moral of this story is, if you want to keep your house tidy, you have three options.

  1. Be incredibly left brain and organised.  It’s possible that this articles has not been all that helpful for the left-brainer.

2.  Pay someone to constantly tidy up, gets a bit pricey.

3.  Have wax kids and get abducted by aliens.

I really hope this article has helped you organise your home.  If you’ve found it useful, please click subscribe to my YouTube channel which doesn’t exist.  They’ll be more fascinating material on managing your home, coming out when I get around to it.

Surf on dudes. 

I was recently asked about online dating. To protect the identity of the person, I’ll paraphrase it.

“Dear Agony Aunt,  I’ve been single for at least 5 minutes and I’m desperate to find somebody, somebody, somebody, somebody; can anybody find me, somebody to love?  Please can you share some top tips?  

Unlovable, Hull.

Dear Unlovable Hull,

Have you tried the Queen fansite?  I expect they must have a dating page, because no-one, except other Freddie fans, are going to date you.  Sorry if it sounds racist, it’s not, it’s music-ist and maybe the truth hurts. No die-hard Queen fan is going to get any action, unless it’s with one of “their own Think of it as a unlikely as Freddie Mercury being straight, or Elton John getting married, Tom Cruise having kids, Madonna having friends, or William Shatner shagging some sexy cat aliens*.

*William Shatner did actually shag a couple of alien cat-women sisters in the film “Star Trek; Into Darkness”.  This immorality got the Starship filmed banned by a Pastor Swanson, who clearly didn’t appreciate Shatner setting his phaser to stun.  Pastor Swanson (for he was sired of man, but born of a swan), was so outrage by this storyline that he banned himself and his children from seeing it, on the grounds of, wait-for-it, bestiality and inter-species sex.  Interestingly, in Pastor Swanson’s bible, Jesus has no problem with threesomes and/or sister-on-sister incest, before or after marriage.  Well, I think we can all guess who’s behind that bit of sexual liberation, wink, wink. Ole Mary Magdalen, obviously teaching Jesus a trick or two, (but even she said no to cats). Pastor Swanson, the scion of Man-on-Swan loving, knew from the pain of personal experience that mixed marriages don’t work.  Perhaps when young, he struggled to adjust to alternate weekends; having the freedom of the river one week and then, the confines of a 1-bed apartment in Detroit the next?  Perhaps, he was the proverbial “ugly duckling”, swimming in armbands behind Mummy, (or “Hiss” as he called her)?   Whatever happened back then, we’ll never know, but it all came flooding back to haunt Pastor Swanson when he heard about Sexy Cat Aliens. He took a stand, like a middle-aged man Greta Thunberg, and he said, “Stop”. I wonder what the sexy-cat-aliens said.

Pastor Swanson with his Mother, Hiss. She says she is “So proud of him, now.”

Sexy Cat Alien: “Purrrr, you were inter-galactic last night baby”

Swan: “No, I was drunk, god, I regret that. I wish I couldn’t remember it. Is that what you people call normal? Because that sure aint “normal” on my riverbank. I’ve a good mind to tell the Queen on you, she’ll chop off yer head, what to speak of yer bollocks. Prince Philip, now there’s a man who know how to woo a swan; he’s so charming and funny and so, giving. The breadcrumbs he brings, all Duchy Organic, nothing finer, what a gent? Oh, I’m like putty in his hands.  So, back to you, then Galaxy-boy?  How ‘bout you just feck off into a black hole somewhere, you Space Pervert?  I’m off to sit in the weir and wash those memories away.”

So, back to online dating. I’ve compiled a 10 point check list, to help women become more successful, at online dating. (I may write one for the chaps, later, if I’m asked);

1.  Put on your profile, you are looking for “Mr Right”, to have sex with.

2.  Lower your personal standards; then lower them some more.

10.  Er, that’s it.

If you need help with a problem that you, (or a “friend” of yours), are facing,  get “them” to write in the comments box below.

Xxx

I was recently asked to write about “Loneliness”, by my friend Rich BJ., (that’s actually his real name; sucks doesn’t it?).  According to BJ, loneliness is a cutting-edge issue of our time and one, I have to say, I often help clients resolve.  So, I’ve written a few pointers on the dos and don’ts of loneliness.  But before we jump-in with a shit-storm of bad solutions, like a Trump supporter in a gay orgy; let’s first try to clarify what we mean by “loneliness”.  I’m sure that the patronising tone of this article, will probably lead you to consider that I also may have suffered the isolation of the human condition, and remarkably, come out the other side with a wisdom borne of experience.  Well, not true!  I’ve always been incredibly popular and had loads of friends.  Now, back to you.

Often, clients say to me;  “I’m just not like other people” and this may be true.  Perhaps, you’ve been shut out of spaceship and your “people” legged-it at warp-speed to another Galaxy, leaving you behind in the woods.  Many of us have been subjected to similar types of social exclusion, often verging on bullying.  But worry not, you’re amongst friends here, and help is at hand.  There are some popular misconceptions on this topic I think we need to clear up first.  No matter how “alien” you feel, do not hide in a dark garden shed or entice a ten year old boy into that shed, by playing “catch my balls” with him, at night.  Do not move into his bedroom, with or without, asking his parents’; nor hide there as a “special secret” between you two.  Neither, contrary to popular belief, can I recommend you engage in cosplay, or cross-dressing with his pre-schooler sister.  If the police are chasing you, do not go on-the-run with a group of ten year old boys, strangely dedicated to you.  Trust me on this, you can save everyone a lot of hassle by just handing yourself in for medical research.  The probes they’ll stick in you are a kindness, compared to the probing on a sex offenders wing, in a high security prison.

Aliens who hid in children’s bedrooms

Perhaps you just feel inherently “different”, to other people.  Maybe you’re a bit of an “outsider” at home, or you just don’t want to play-by-the-rules of conventional society? For those of you who really can’t fit-in, my suggestion is to turn to the healing power of music.  Try dressing from head-to-toe in black, perhaps don some daytime make-up which makes you look slightly vampirescque and look for musicians wearing the same clothes.  Buy their music, whatever it is, then buy all their merchandise, (even wear the t-shirt) and travel as often and as far, as you can, spending all of your money on their concerts.  For a mere $100, you can find yourself surrounded by tens of thousands of other outcasts; all wearing the exact same black clothes and all gathered together (on a weekend night), voicing their refusal to partake in a system they neither understand, nor agree with.  You’ll find things in common, as you stand patiently in line, waiting to show your ticket, or try to locate your numbered seat, amongst the thousand of identical rows.  Trust me, the unique feelings of isolation and disaffection, will be amplified as you all rhythmically raise a fist in time to the music and join in the mass sing-along.  You may have just found your tribe.   Who knew there were so many people, like you, who work in admin during the week.

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Individualism can be an isolating and lonely experience.

For some of you, it’s an insatiable craving for friendship and connection which creates feelings of desperate loneliness.  Even though you could be (unhappily) married, or have children (who secretly dislike you), for some of you, that’s just not enough.  Perhaps you feel like your life is stuck in second-gear, and it hasn’t been your day, your month or, even your year.  Given the opportunity, perhaps you don’t even have five good friends you could share a rundown, Manhattan penthouse with?  Don’t feel stupid or unpopular.  The trick to having friends is to systematically collect them.  Start by locating a weekly classes or activity, you can attend.  By seeing people on a regular basis, having shared interests, you build relationships.  Plan to acquire one new friend at each activity you go to.  Once you have four friends, meet each of them, once per month and continue to collect more.   The more classes you attend, the more friends you will make.  Simple.  Let’s say you attend two classes for six weeks; in just two years you could rack up 18 friends, filling both your diary and any rundown penthouses you want to live in.

Lastly, perhaps you are empathic to the isolation and social confusion of others, particularly young people and adolescents?  Maybe you want to reach out to help them, but you don’t know any?  One of the best ways you can do this is to go back to college and get a degree in English Literature.  You’ll also need to do a post-graduate year, to qualify as a teacher, then you will be able to apply for teaching jobs in wealthy,  conservative, mens colleges.  Once installed there, you will be able to play a pivotal role in broadening your student’s minds, creating a sub-community of attractive young men, all deeply connected through…poetry.  Don’t worry about getting fired for challenging the “system” through the power of verse (no limericks thank you).  Yes, you will change lives, (primarily your own), by surviving unemployment, without references or social security benefits.  Don’t worry, in twenty years time or so, you’ll be invited to their big weddings, lots of people will shake your hand and thank you for being “inspirational”; and you’ll get to eat and drink for free!

Another inspirational poetry teacher is invited to wedding.

Perhaps you are facing problems that you’d like my help with, in future articles? Write to me, confidentially, in the “comments” section below. I’ll answer every one I find interesting.

X

Suit of d’Amour

Chapter 2

The Dress

 

“Oh my gawd,” said the Duchess of Sussex in her dressing room, “I’m so flaming fat, now I’m up the duff.”  Her Ladies in Waiting, looked at one another, pausing to see who was going to reply.  They deferred, to Chief Lady in Waiting, Lady Isabella Chessington-World, who nodded sympathetically, saying, “Perhaps, you’d like to try a different dress, ma’am?”  Darker colours are obviously most flattering on us all. 

 

“Do you think I look like a bloomin’ iceberg?”  The Duchess  continued, pulling at the white ankle-length dress she was wearing. 

“No, ma’am,’” came the muted assurances of the Ladies. 

“But I do think Isabella has a good point,’ piped up Lady Green Von Gables, “This one is very beautiful on you and it’s Harry’s favourite colour.”  There was a understated urgency in her voice, that was barely detectable, to one outside the intimate royal circle.  The fact that it was detectable at all, meant something was severely amiss, amongst the Ladies.  Surrounding the duchess, they eyed each other uneasily.

“Oh, would you Adam and Eve it?  Not more flaming khaki?” the Duchess sighed.  This time there was a noticeably enthusiastic response from the Ladies.  Gushing words in flattery of the mud-green dress (Primani Couture) and excited requests for the Duchess to try it on.  “Nah, you’re alright,” the Duchess continue, “I’m not getting changed, I’ll just wear this.”

The ladies didn’t respond.

Lady Isabella broke the silence, “I’ll get us all some juice, it’s awfully stuffy in here.”

“Luverly.” Replied the Duchess, not noticing the ice-like undertone, in Lady Isabella’s voice.  The other ladies suddenly found things-to-do, there was an unease in the room, that only the Duchess was oblivious to.

“I was thinking of carrying a small bunch of flowers” she continued musing out loud, and maybe wearing a little thingy on my head, a little “Markle-sparkle, as they used to say.” She laughed, alone.

Lady Isabella clapped her hands and Peggy, the Duchess’ maid, appeared.  “I’ve brought the blackcurrant juice, m’Lady Isabelle”, she said nervously. 

 

“Put it over there.” Directed Isabella, nodding towards a side table, on the opposite side of the room.  Peggy walked over and as she passed Isabella, something caught her ankle, for the life of her she could have sworn it was as if she was tripped, although obviously, that was not the case and she, the “clumsy fool of a girl” (as Lady Isabella had rightly shouted at her, many times in the past) lurched towards Meghan, the huge jug of blackcurrant juice tipped and the glasses fell.  They were only saved from breaking by the extra deep pile of the khaki polypropylene carpet, Prince Harry had insisted on, for Meghan’s dressing room.  To Peggy’s horror, the juice splashed across the front of Her Highness’ full-length white gown.  Peggy looked up from the floor, now prostrated at Princess Meghan’s feet.  “What da fuck?” Shouted Her Highness. 

 

To Peggy’s surprise, the Ladies were incredibly nice about it.  In hindsight, the nicest they’d ever been.  They rushed forward, helping her up and asking if she was alright, ever-so-sweetly laughing it off.  They even collected the glasses and ice onto the tray, before she had a chance to, still assuring her not to worry.  Even Lady Isabella told her not to blame herself, saying “accidents happen”, with a kindness she’d never seen before.  Peggy went slowly back down to the kitchen to tell Cook, what she’d done (knowing, Cook’s tongue would be more painful than the carpet burns she was enduring).  She was feeling terribly guilty, not just about the dress, but also about all the nasty things she’d thought about Lady Isabella in the past. She stayed out of the way until the ladies swept down the grand staircase and out in the big black cars, to attend Princess Eugine’s wedding in Windsor, later that day.  HH Meghan, had changed in a loose-fitting khaki dress (Georgio D”Asda – home delivery item).  “She looks lovely in everything.” thought Peggy, as she watched them go.

 

Later Peggy took the white dress to the Royal Dry Cleaner and arranged for it to be made as-good-as-new.  Mr Dyson, the Royal Commissioner for Cleaning, kindly agreed that Peggy could make weekly payments, until the balance was cleared.

 

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