Dutchess of Skid Row

23 May, 2010

I have three of the “oh my god” children here wreaking havoc for the day. With mine, there are six kids under eight in my fairly negligent care. My neighbour, has very kindly, just added chicken wire to the gate to stop them escaping, keep them safe in the garden.

My current number of godchildren is nine, for no good reason. I haven’t got any money to lavish on them, let alone leave them in a generous will. They get some (god) motherly tough-love and a share in a dvd at Xmas. Sometimes, I remember some of their birthdays and, if there’s special offer on in Poundland, they might even get a present. I’m thinking of declining any further god kid applicants, (and handing out free condoms to my friends).

A mum from school said, “Nine, that’s like Royalty”. Yup, I’m sure you’re thinking, Princess Grace of Monaco, I know.  But, believe it or not, I could be a lot more Fergie – inappropriate humour used to make situations that are bad, far worse. I read an article on her this week in the Daily (it must be true) Mail. She is apparently on skid row again since she lost her job running a Weight Watchers meeting.  Although, during the interview, she bought the £1,300 chair she was sitting in, as a spontaneous present for a friend. Her latest business venture went into liquidation owing £600,000, plus £200,000 to her solicitors and a few others who are owed smaller sums (like £20k).

Now, I always quite admired how Fergie survived the 80s and 90s. I’m not normally one to knock someone when they’re down. But the woman does get £250k a year from her ex-husband. On top of that she earned £2 million A YEAR representing Weight Watchers. Is this really the ex-princess who went into a “deprived” housing estate to help normal people get their lives together? I can’t believe no one thought of pitching that show the other way round? Normal hard working people, show hopelessly out of touch ex royal, how to manage her life and live on under £2.25 million a year.

It would go something like this:

Common (sense) bloke: Don’t worry luv, I’ll help you. I can teach you a bit of common sense with money. How much do you spend a year right now on non essentials?
Skint Fergie: I only spend on essentials. Nothing else.
CsB: Ok, then, how much is yer mortgage?
SF: My more gauge? Quite high, I suppose, about ½ a mill.
CsB: Half a mill, great, I used to work in’t mill. How many ton of flour do you get through a year?
SF: Well, I had to cut the cakes right down when I worked for Weight Watchers. But I have to admit, with all this stress, it’s gone up a quite a bit .
CsB: . So that’s in full productions, great. And you say you worked at Weight Watchers?
SF: They let me go.
CsB: Too fat?
SF: No. I was made redundant and since then, I’ve spiralled into a bit of debt.
CsB: Easy to do if yer not working. Do you get any support from that ex husband of yours?
SF: Two fifty a year.
CsB:. Well that won’t go very far. I’m sure it helps, with little extras though, like clothes and shoes.
SF: That’s exactly what I told him.
CsB: What about benefits, are you entitled to any?
SF: I get a lot of criticism about this. But yes, I take all the benefits I can get and that’s basically what keeps me going.
CsB: Aye, it’s hard surviving on benefits. What about family, do you get any help there from your parents or your in-laws?
SF: None. My side are poor polo players. His family live the life of royalty, but they won’t help me.
CsB: That’s terrible. Do you need help with housing? Where do you live?
SF: My ex husband was left a house by his granny. I’m in his spare room.
CsB: You don’t have to live like that luv. I’ll get you on the housing list. But, you’ll have to go into B&B for a few weeks.
SF: What? A hotel? That would be amazing.
CsB: Well, it might be a bit hard, but it’s just for a few weeks.
SF: Oh fabulous. Be a darling and book me for Mustique.
CsB: Don’t be daft luv, you can’t go to focking Spain.

Come on Sarah; how many people have your sort of disposable income, with no overheads? For now, just stop promoting yourself as a role model and guru of social change. Focus on strengthening your tenuous link with the real world first.

Girl, get a grip.

I'll never give up, (my Harrod's gold card).

She stood in front of me, her loud voice threatening me.  I focused on her bright pink lipstick, contrasted against her unnaturally dark hair.  I have to say she was quite attractive, very slim, but incredibly muscular – I knew these weren’t empty threats.  She had a gang of various sizes behind her, but she was their alpha.  They followed her every move.

I was totally new to all this.  An innocent out a Monday morning, caught in the crossfire of abuse.  I’ve always wondered where aggressive behaviour was learnt.  Now I know, first hand.  The leader of the pack was about my age.  Here she was, in broad daylight, shouting and threatening like some crazed maniac.  Thank god my kids weren’t with me at the time, (two in school and one in nursery).  I hoped that she’d leave me alone and just move along to someone else, but she stayed right opposite me, for what seemed like an eternity.  Eventually she turned her threatening glance to others in the crowd.

Now, in any normal confrontation, I’m the first one to speak up for justice and accidently get my partner into a fight.  But as I’m single, I have to be a bit more careful.  This time, I just kept quiet.  (I’ll repeat that for those of you who know me well),  I said:

I just kept quiet.

I watched her expertly move round the crowd, attacking with either her glare or her voice – talk about working it.  I just avoided eye contact, hoping she wouldn’t single me out.   Happily, she showed-off how to knee someone in the face – as if that were normal.  Lucky for us, she didn’t pick out a volunteer.  Then she shouted at us to follow her lead.  Most of the people there, like me, hesitated.  It’s just not something I feel a great desire to practise, let alone use – well, except perhaps on her.

“Do it NOW” She screeched.

“Pretend you’re grabbing a head, pulling it down and kneeing someone really hard in the face.” We did it first towards one knee, then on the other, then alternating sides. I found a surprisingly natural rhythm ensued, once I got started.  I have say, that the energy in the room seemed to increase noticeably during those sets.

Finally she left, shouting at us over her shoulder,  “See you all same time, next week”.  I breathed a sigh of relief and sat down, (slumped to the floor hyperventilating).   My first “Legs, Bums and Tums” class was over.

“Wow”, I panted from the floor,  “that was amazing” I lied.  Then I chatted to some mummy who was doing cooling down stretches, hopefully disguising my inability to get up.  Eventually, I staggered back to the car at half my normal sedentary speed – due to my wobbly legs.  In the Leisure Centre car park, I passed the Yummies from the class, eagerly unlocking their bikes.

“Maybe I’ll bring my bike next week”, I thought to myself.

I drove home, crawled up the stairs, and found myself back in bed by eleven am.


Legs, Bums and Beds

Oh my bed I really love you,

Exercise I hate.

But now I’m fat – my bed is empty.

The choices that we make.

I run, I walk and cycle too,

True it can be quite fun.

But I’d rather have a bar of chocolate,

And just sit on my bum.

Legs bums and tums, I promise weakly,

For fitness and for pace.

But if she screeches one more time,

I’ll knee her in the face.