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This is a question My most treasured possession

What's your most treasured possession? What would you rescue from a fire (be it for sentimental or purely financial reasons)?

My Great-Uncle left me his visitors book which along with boring people like the Queen and Harold Wilson has Spike Milligan's signature in it. It's all loopy.

Either that or my Grandfather's swords.

(, Thu 8 May 2008, 12:38)
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This question is now closed.

my trunk
It's an old wooden trunk of the kind taken to sea by sailors of yore. I keep it at the foot of my bed and it's stashed with a lifetime of curios and valuable items. Here are some of them:

1) Charlie Chaplin's comedy rolling pin. As used by the master in his music hall days in London before he went to Hollywood to make his fortune. He'd mime rolling out a huge piece of pastry so big that it covered the entire audience - an act so funny that in 1906 14 people actually died laughing.

2) A diamond ring with a stone as big as a door knob - about 250 carats. I found this at the bottom of a well that some skinheads had thrown me down back in the 80s, As they laughed and jeered at me from a distant aperture, I became instantly rich beyond my wildest dreams.

3) A carved mahogany dildo made by the Hut-Tut-At-Ut tribe in Malawi. It was used to break in virgins during the Utubu ceremony and my particular dildo has 114 scratches on it, representing hymens stretched. A German offered me £2000 for it, but it's a rare item I won't part with.

4) John Lennon's bogie - flicked from the balcony of the Odeon in central Liverpool in 1956. My mother, then a teenager, said it landed in her hair during a matinee and she went upstairs to kick John in the bollocks until the police were called. The joke was on him him, because Christies have valued the bogey at £14,000.

5) A Disney rarity featuring Mickey Mouse humping Minnie up the arse dressed in a Nazi uniform. It was drawn by Walt himself after he'd spent an evening sniffing strong solvents while depressed. He then posted the illustration at random...to my grandmother. For years, she used it as a dart board, but missed it with every dart on account of being a blind paraplegic.

6) The sword of Alexander the Great. Stolen by my Uncle Bert from a museum in Turkey, the sword is jewel encrusted and features the scratches and nicks of a hundred illustrious historical battles. I sometimes get it out and imagine that I, too, have conquered the known world.

7) The thorn of crowns - yes THAT one. The very one worn by Jesus of Nazareth. Nobody know how it came into out family in an unmarked parcel from Palestine, but it has been authenticated by a local priest and whenever I take it out the trunk I hear heavenly choruses. It has the ability to heal the sick and confers eternal life on all who acknowledge its power.

8) The missing pieces of film from the Zapruder tape filmed in Dallas on the exact day when JFK was shot. I found it inside a book called "Me and my Vulva" in a sex shop in Hamburg. The missing frames show that shots emanated from a gun shop at the precise moment Mr 'Blind' John Squinter was testing a rifle.

9) A portal that allows one to travel through the time-space continuum at will, visiting innumerable worlds and periods. Only last week I went to one of those planets Shatner used to go to, where all the people are hot women in satin bodysuits.

10) A bottle opener once used by Barry McSpaxworth, an old schoolmate of mine who was able to suck his own knob. He left it to me in his will when he choked on his boner one New Year.
(, Mon 12 May 2008, 17:11, 15 replies)
Bit of a dilemma
The other halfs cooking: I dont treasure it, but I regularly rescue it from a fire.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 10:42, 3 replies)
Bert
Years and years ago when I was about 8 years old I was sleeping in bed one night – as I often did back then – with the window wide open to let the cooling summer breeze into my room. I imagine I was dreaming about Lego or the strange feelings I had just started getting in my manly bits.

Suddenly I let out a scream – I could feel a sharp pain on my chest – I looked down and switched on my bed sight light to see a small red, raised mark on my chest.

“aarrghghmememmmde” I shouted again “EEEEOOIIIPPPPPHH”
“MMMaaaaaaaaarrrggfff” Again another sharp pain

I jumped out of bed, put the main light on and glimpsed a very, very red and raised chest in the mirror. Then I saw it. A wasp was drunkenly hovering around my bed. I can’t say I have good vision, but, I swear to god I could see its shit eating grin and satanic eyes. The complete fucker had stung me a total of 7 times in the space of a minute and I now had a swollen and very painful chest

“Im going to get you” I called out – which in hindsight was probably not really too understandable to a wasp.

I ran to the bed and grabbed a pillow and thwacked the sleep-robbing fucker several times. Surprisingly it was not dead, but, was clearly injured. It kept buzzing round in circles on my sheet trying to straighten its bent wings so it could launch another attack.
Now I didn’t want to touch it, it might sting me again, so I looked around my room for something to kill it. I know I could have just smacked it with a book, but, this trigger happy fucker now had a taste for flesh – I wanted to hurt it.

I scanned my room. In the middle of my bedroom floor was a large tube of PVA glue. Earlier that day I had been pictures out of cut up coloured card. I grabbed my empty drinks glass of the bed side table, flicked the wasp in it with a scrap of card and filled the glass up with PVA glue – to the very top – and watched it take its terminal breath. Then I ran crying to mummy.

Now what I didn’t know about PVA is that if it’s left out in a glass over night it goes rock hard and its milky colour turns clear. When I got home from school the next day I noticed that the wasp was now part of a perfectly smooth and large cylinder of plastic. It was stuck in the very centre in some terrified pose. To an eight year old it looked fucking ace.

I named the wasp Bert

Every time I move house, every time I go on holiday, every time I go anywhere that I might have to sleep for a few days – so does Bert the Wasp. It’s a reminder to all of his waspish cousins what will happen if they fancy some KMWIP flesh. For nearly 20 years he was my suspended animation companion.

And I was not stung once

Last year I took it on holiday with me and those lovely people at American Airlines sent my suitcase to the opposite side of the earth to where they sent me. I did get my case back after a month. Out of all the items of clothing, electrical and other holiday type garb that had gone missing on its way back to me – I was most devastated to lose Bert.

I am sure that where ever he is he is happy though – as he sent another black and yellow cunt to sting me the very next week.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 14:20, 4 replies)
my engagement ring
In 2001 I got engaged to the bloke I loved, my best friend. Due to monumental awfulness beyond our control we got disengaged 6 months later. Love is not enough. Don't buy into the shit that it will conquer all.

We were pretty broke at the time and we went to the cheapy jewellers and chose a ring; very simple, very plain, with a tiny barely-visible-to-the-naked-eye diamond. I even tried to pay for half of it, frickin' feminist that I am, but he gallantly refused. I think it cost £250 quid in total and I panicked at wearing something that expensive (to me) on my hand.

I loved wearing that ring. I loved what it represented, and loved that I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to marry that man. It broke my heart when we broke it off - it totally destroyed me - and it has taken me 6 years to get over it.

I know I shouldn't get so attached to a piece of jewellery that that represents a part of my life that is gone now, but it represents a point in my life where I was incredibly happy and optimistic about the future. I wore the ring on a chain around my neck for months after. Now it lurks in a drawer and occasionally I see it and am tempted to try it on to remember what it was like to feel that much in love with someone, but I usually manage to resist.

The day of my PhD graduation I bought myself a silver ring which I constantly wear on my ring finger. I have no idea if I'll ever wear an engagement ring again. I had the life I wanted but it slipped away,and it'd take someone pretty special for me to get to that stage again.

I'm not sure there's anything material that I'd save from a fire, but it's certainly something over which I still get sentimental.
(, Thu 8 May 2008, 12:57, 15 replies)
Naughty Scratchcard
The one thing I would save in a fire is my comedy scratchcard. It fell out of a magazine I bought (probably NME or Q back when I was cool) and offered the chance of winning fantabulous things such as a mountain bike or some in-line skates (wow!). Now being 13 it had yet to occur to me that nobody ever really won these prizes but, whenever we got them, all my mates insisted on calling the claim line. It cost £1 a minute and you had to listen to five minutes of bullshit just to discover you'd won a pencil sharpener and, if you just stayed on the line another five minutes, you could leave your details and your fabulous prize would soon be winging it's way to your door. Yay!

So anyway, the card fell out of the magazine, you had to answer a question and scratch off the panel to see if you were correct. If you were you then scratched off the next panels to reveal four letters. If two of them were the same you called the phone number and the letters corresponded to your prize. I got two 'C's!




I never did bother phoning the claim line as I presumed I would have to give up my newest favouritist possession git ever to get my 'prize'. So it's been on my wall for the last fifteen years (as you can tell by the question). Bollocks to family members, they're not as funny. If there's a fire, I'm saving this!
(, Sat 10 May 2008, 9:19, 4 replies)
I say boy.
When my stepdad first came into my life, we never got on. From the moment it was clear that he was around to stay, a constant friction in our relationship as stepfather to stepson made life really difficult in the Scentless household.

Neither of us helped the situation, bickering became something of an artform between us as we'd always find something to moan at my mum about with regard to each other. It caused some very problematic situations as time went on, and now I look back and cringe at how much this happened.

That said, as I got older, things got easier, and we started to reason with each other and I soon came to realise that the reason we clashed so much is that we were so much alike in our personalities.

Anyway, during my A-levels, I went into some sort of metaphorphosis from class geek to class slacker, and my grades dropped through the floor. Telling your mother that you've scraped an E in your Pure Mathematics 1 paper when only a year previous you were an A-grade wonder is not a pleasant experience.

This kept happening, to the extent where my stepdad took me to one side after one too many poor results. Expecting a big row, I went on the defensive and started being a right royal moody bastard with him. To my surprise, my stepdad just took it, and then let me calm down, and said words that still hit home today:

"Thing is Scentless, I had nothing when I was your age, no prospects, no potential, no nothing. You've got the world at your feet, everything that I didn't have, and you're kicking it in the face... and it breaks my heart."

The man, who battled with me for years, started to cry. I started too, finally realising my predicament, and it was from then on a mutual understanding was formed. We never talked of it since, but that moment had it's impact.

I turned it round, got decent grades after all at college, walked into uni, and got top marks in the class in the first and second years. I took off on industrial placement in the third year (see my many mentioned Basingstoke related posts), and my stepdad volunteered to help me move down and get sorted.

The day I moved, we said little on the trip down, and barely more as we shifted my stuff into my new abode.

However, as we finished and he prepared to leave, he motioned to shake my hand, and as we did, I grabbed hold of me and gave me a big (but totally hetero and non-strange) hug, and said...

"I'm proud of you, son."

Well blow me if that wasn't some rite-of-passage moment. It was the first time he'd ever called me son (hell, I've never heard my biological father call me it) and I finally realised that despite all the shit I'd caused for the poor bloke, he'd seen through it and had faith in me.

After that, he departed and I was left to sort all my stuff out.

On my bed, there was a box I didn't recognise, and inside I found a Foghorn Leghorn (you know, the big Looney Tunes chicken) plush toy.

My stepdad's nickname for me is Foghorn because of my loud voice (imagine Brian Glover with the volume turned up to 11) and this was obviously my stepdad's way of having a laugh after all the seriousness of the day just gone. What my new housemates thought of what they thought was a big strapping former rugby player hugging what was effectively a kiddie's toy whilst drooling over the evening's Hollyoaks I couldn't say, but I didn't care, I felt good.

To this day (7 years later!!!) I still have it, pride of place, in my front room. It's a reminder to me that no matter what happens to me, or how I'm like with my stepdad, I know that he'll always be looking out for me. If I lost it, I really don't know what I'd do. I think I'd even state in my will that I was to be buried with it.

Apologies for the shit, overlong, soppy and frankly unfunny story, but it means something to me, and I felt I had to get it off my chest.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 21:06, 3 replies)
I sympathise with Legless
I, too, lived for years out of a single backpack and I believe there's nothing I could lose that would kill me. Losing journals and diaries would be a bit of a drag, but I'm a believer in stoicism and accepting that whatever gives you pleasure could be taken away at any time. Pleasure must be something inside.

That said, who doesn't like shiny trinkets? Ten years ago I bought a Rolex. Now, everyone knows that this - along with a Porsche - is a prime symbol of the tosser. But wait a minute. It cost me around £2000, which was exactly the amount in my bank account. I emptied the account on a whim, and at the time I didn't own a house or a car or anything more than I could fit in a 75 litre backpack. I did it because James Bond wore one in the early films.

Still got it, though none of my colleagues knows and I don't advertise the fact. I'm pretty much a failure in life - I'm 36 and have never earned more than 20 grand. I still owe my entire student loan from 13 years ago. But I wear a Rolex. The contradiction amuses me greatly.

One day it'll be stolen and I won't be able to afford a new one. C'est la vie.
(, Thu 8 May 2008, 13:51, 6 replies)
First anal experience
A lot of people have posted about their most treasured memories so I thought I'd post one of mine. It was when I first tried something anal.

One day while reading about men's health, I read something about the prostrate. I came to the conclusion that this was an alternate means of sexual stimulation for men than penile stimulation. I was intrigued, but at the same time, the thought of sticking anything up my bum, be it a finger, another man's willy or even some woman's strap-on did not appeal to me. But then, I had a brainwave. Naturally, poo comes out the bottom, but what if I make a designer-turd that's specially designed to rub against my prostrate. It would be very solid, with a softer coating on the outside. If I held in the solid turd, it would be widened by amassing a less solid turd to the sides.

The following day, I set to work. For breakfast, I ate an entire box of bran-flakes, a loaf of bread and six apples. For lunch, I went to a fast-food place that had an "all you can eat" offer. By now, I was starting to need a crap, but knew that if I held on, I'd get the desired effect. By dinnertime, my bowels were beginning to feel heavy. To add icing to the cake, I ate a chicken vindaloo.

When it was nearly bedtime, I moved around a bit. I felt something I had never felt before. The rough insides of the core of my super-poo were rubbing against my prostrate while the softer coating was pushing the rougher parts in the right place. After experimenting with different bodily contortions, I found the one that was just right for my current bum-recipe. By bending my pelvis, I found the sweet spot. It would send me into heaven every time I made that special pelvic movement.

While I badly needed the toilet, the stimulation was causing me such great pleasure that I went straight to bed. Further experimentation found the best sleeping position to give me my newly found ecstasy. I kept this up for some time, but inevitably, the urge to go for a crap overcame me.

So I got up and went. However, once my new bum-baby started to move, I felt yet another feeling I had never felt before. As it was coming out, the textured turd was giving my prostate the time of its life. I just had a very big smile of both relief and pleasure. The expression on my face must have been more akin to a cartoon character than a human. The crap seemed to perpetually go on for a long time. I knew it wouldn’t last forever, but I tried to slow down the exiting. Towards the end, the heat of the poo vindaloo was giving my ringpiece a pleasant sensation of fiery heat. Normally, this would be a bit painful but because I was so aroused, it felt pleasurable. There were so many new sensations that I didn’t even think about touching myself, yet I managed to cum. I didn’t remember cumming, but the evidence was clearly there. Gradually, my mind was becoming more and more open to alternate means of anal stimulation. With a warm afterglow from both the vindaloo and my feeling of wellbeing, I went back to bed very content. And that was my most treasured po session.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 20:45, 14 replies)
Venetian blinds
Venetian blinds are so simple, yet so clever - those little slats that gather dust and block the sun, permitting the light to be angled round your room. Venetian blinds were patented by Edward Beran in London on 11th December 1769. Can you imagine what life was like before that?

If there was a fire, we should save the venetian blinds, otherwise it'd be curtains for us all.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 12:22, 13 replies)
miraculous escaping corn snake
This is probably a good place to tell you about my amazing snake.

About 5 years ago a friend was getting rid of his corn snake. As I've always wanted a snake I asked for him, and Huzzah! I became the happy keeper of a beautiful corn snake. He had a small scar from when My friend had lost him and found him with the hoover, but was lovely looking and having been brought up in a house with very small children was very tolerant.

A year or so later, we had to move house, and couldn't find a new one before we had to move out of the old one, so we went to stay with some people we knew,and put most of our stuff in storage. Three days after we got there, we returned to their house to discover smoke pouring out from under the floorboards in the living room. After wandering about for a bit trying to work out what was going on, we open the hall door to go upstairs and met with a wall of smoke. yup, their bloody house was on fire. We later found out the floor had collapsed over where we were wandering around shortly after we got out. Hurrah for not dying!

Among our clothes and other replaceable essentials, my snake was upstairs in his tank in our bedroom. the fire was upstairs. Arse. Not much I could do about it though.

After a few hours of worrying that the fire was our fault (it wasn't - woo!) and watching the firemen go in and out, the fire was vanquished. One of the firemen (in full kit) was nearly killed by the backdraft when he opened the door into our friends bedroom where the fire had been caused by a dodgy electrical socket sparking. The heat had been so intense it melted all her jewellery and stuff. My snake was in the next room. Again, arse.

Then a nice firelady asked whose the snake was. Sadly, I said he was mine, expecting to be shown a blackened crispy dead thing. She said she didn't really understand why, but he was OK. He was a bit brown and sticky (like a stick!) from the smoke, but he was otherwise fine. Still, 4 years on, when he sheds his skin (more often than he used to) there's always a brown smudge along the top of it. For a couple of days afterwards he was quite sluggish, so my guess is that he slowed down his breathing or some other reptilian trickery. I dunno.

2 years later he escaped. He had been prowling around his tank looking for a mate, refusing to eat anything for a few months, when he managed to prise the lid open and get out. The front door happened to be open, and he was gone by the time we realised. Arse!

A whole year later, I was coming in from the garden, when there he was! My wife came running because I bellowed 'SHIT!" so loudly she thought I was hurt. When she saw me with Rusty around my neck she was speechless. I should probably mention here that we live in the North Cornish countryside, in England. He'd survived a whole year, including a fairly harsh British winter. There were feathers in his poo, so he'd definately been hunting, etc. There had been an unconfirmed sighting of a corn snake over a mile away from us while he was gone. I like to think that was him. Now after another escape scare (kids left tank lid off, he got out but was under my daughters bed) he's curled up in his tank in my office.

So huzzah for my amazing cornsnake - he's survived fire, the English countryside, vacuum cleaners and small children.

Length? about 5ft now!
(, Tue 13 May 2008, 10:52, 9 replies)
As an accountant,
I feel that it is my duty to inform you that you are legally required to retain the past seven years financial records and that it is your responsibility to ensure that said documentation is not destroyed. Therefore, in the event of a fire I suggest you forego saving items of sentimental value and replaceable family members in favour of financial documentation.

For a nominal fee, I can meet you at the front door of your burning residence and perform an in situ audit to ensure that all relevant information is removed from the premises. This will ensure that you are fully compliant with HMRC regulations.

For more information contact "Fuck Me, My House Is On Fucking Fire Accountancy Services" on 0800-555-FIRE
(, Thu 8 May 2008, 16:08, 2 replies)
I don't need anything to remember my grandfather.
All I have to do is stand in the house he lived in for 50 years, and smell that particular 'grandad smell'.

Really I suppose we should bury him.
(, Thu 8 May 2008, 16:45, 1 reply)
Paper
I've been thinking about this one over the last couple of days. And the expression "You never know how much you'll miss something until it's gone"

Let's get the obvious stuff out of the way. I would obviously remove my various financial documents and my computer from the fire, between them I've got pretty much most of what I need, the rest can be replaced on insurance. That takes care of the essentials.

But as for the other stuff? That needs a story.

About three years ago, my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer. The symptoms were very similar to those of stomach ulcers at first, so it didn't get diagnosed immediately. She was in her early eighties at the time, so health problems at that age aren't really that unlikely. She'd always been the grandparent that I'd been closest to, growing up, and though I was lucky enough to know all four of my grandparents she was clearly the best. The longest-lived too, as she was the last one alive.

And it was then that I realised that yes... she was going to die. All of my other grandparents had died when I was younger than 12, and it didn't really hit me at the time. Subconciously, I thought that she'd be around forever, even though my logical mind knew that wasn't true. She was stoic about it. And I started writing to her. I'd never done that before, previously we'd chatted on the phone now and again, and every time I went home from university to see my family I always went to see her too. But never writing before. We sent messages back and forth, hers beautifully handwritten... mine typed on a computer purely because my handwriting is atrocious. And it was good. We got to know each other better over those three years than we ever had before.

I didn't throw out any letters she sent to me. I didn't read them again after the first time I read them, but it just didn't feel right to throw them out. They're all over my bedroom in various misc places. She went through a bout of being really really ill, lost a lot of weight and ended up looking skeletal, the chemotherapy not doing much either. But the cancer went into remission and she pulled through for a time. And lasted another year, though gradually getting weaker and frailer. And still remained mentally alert and strong through it all, despite three strokes. She kept her mind until the day before she died, when she was in a morphine daze.

Near the end, she walked into the hospital on her own power, and that was the last time she walked. She was shipped to the hospice after that, and I talked to her the last time two days before she died. I got to tell her that I loved her and that she'd been a wonderful grandmother, and she heard me. 48 hours later, she was gone, only a few days before Christmas. She was the first person I loved who died when I was actually old enough and mature enough to understand death and exactly what it meant. The first time I cried as an adult. And I got to see the uglier side of it too, all the endless organising, bureaucracy, and sorting out paperwork, legalities, funeral arrangements as well as the obvious physical side of things.

The memories I've got of her aren't going anywhere. And I have photos of her and the family stored on servers so backups aren't a problem. But the letters? They're what I'd take out with me, I think. I'm not sure I'll ever read them again. But they're a reminder of the connection we had, that was just me and her. My mother told me how happy she was whenever she got a letter, and I'd glad that I was able to help her in that way. Even now, six months later, I think about chatting to her, and it takes me half a second to realise that I can't do that any more. The letters remind me to really treasure what you have because it can just go.

Sorry for being all sappy.
(, Sat 10 May 2008, 15:41, 4 replies)
A beautiful aquamarine ring and earring set.
I was graduating from school, and my parents threw a small party for relatives and close friends. After all the gifts had been opened and cake had been eaten, an old family friend, a frail old spinster whom I loved dearly, pulled me to the side.

"I have something for you", she said, and handed me an ancient Kodak film container, so old that it was made of melamine and screwed together. I opened it up, and nestled in a small square of yellow flannel was a beautiful pair of earrings and a matching ring. "I want you to have this", she continued. "When I was your age, I had a sweetheart. He was very special to me, and once, on a trip to Brazil, he brought these home to me." Knowing, as I did, that she'd never married, I waited for her to finish. "He went overseas during World War Two, and...he never came back. I had another friend who had thought that she had lost her sweetheart, so she married another, and after the war, it turned out that her first love had been in a POW camp. I will never forget the look of disappointment on his face when he found out, so I waited, because I wouldn't have been able to bear if my sweetheart had come home to find out I was with another man. He never did come home. But I want you to have these, I never could wear them, but I think they will look lovely on you."

And that is my most treasured possession, those earrings, that ring, and that story. I will wear this jewelry on my wedding day. To this day, I can't believe that I was given something so amazingly precious, and I will never forget that someone loved me enough to share that with me.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 6:40, Reply)
The Drinking Jacket
1 M&S suit jacket, second-hand from charity shop: £7
20 second-hand beer towels, bought on Ebay for an average of 80p (inc p&p) each: £16
1 very patient Mrs Ousgg, who's good at sewing things in funny shapes and doesn't mind stabbing herself in the thumb with a heavy-duty needle a few dozen times: Shagwanking Priceless!

The end result is by far the only 'cool' item of clothing I own. Given that the rest of my wardrobe consists of suit-and-boot work clothes, beer-promotion T-shirts, jeans from Matalan and generic Burton's underwear, this is hardly a surprise.

I would post a photo, but frankly I can't be bothered to drag out the camera and upload it, so you'll have to imagine what I look like.

This modern-day harlequin's coat is warm in winter and features a range of beer-towels, chosen for colour rather than brand (as is evidenced by a purple Abbot Ale on the right breast, and a rather embarrassing green Carlsberg Special Brew on the left shoulder). There is no visible black jacket left - the only uncovered area is underneath my armpits, for reasons that involve me not having to walk around like a cyberman.

The reason it is my most treasured possession is the instant credibility it seems to bring me in any sort of drinking establishment....

"Nice jacket mate!"

"Bet you don't worry about spillage!" (I don't - it's fully machine washable)

"Er...this is a bit embarrassing - would you mind if I took your photo?"

....Put on the jacket and I'm a smegging celebrity all of a sudden!

On the strength of one £23 home-made bit of kit, I have achieved the following over the past two years:

- At least twenty pints bought for me by complete random strangers. Probably more when you consider I occasionally suffer from ethanolic amnesia.

- Instant (and often free when applicable) access to any drinking establishment in my home town. I got sniffy looks at a club in Cheltenham; I'm not going back there.

- Preferential service at several locals who are packed three-deep on Friday and Saturday nights. It's also quite easy to order ales over their deafening metal music, by pointing to the relevant part of my jacket.

- A pat on the shoulder from the bobbies for breaking up a fight in the town centre, by the simple expedient of walking in between the two protagonists, who both drunkenly "Woah"ed and did a reasonable 'rats of Hameln' impression.

- An impromptu invitation to join three different stag nights.

- Three genuine offers of a blow-job, which I felt sadly obligated (due to the aforementioned Mrs Ousgg, who was only my fiancee at the time) to turn down. Although, having now been married for a few months, I'm more open to persuasion.

I think making a pair of matching trousers would be a good continuation of the project, although I'm worried that might make me look like Ian Poulter, the golfing prat, rather than the cool chap in the slightly wacky jacket.

Seriously, guys, if you've got a good sewing hand and a few quid in your PayPal account, you could do far worse than make one of these little babies. But don't come around my patch please, otherwise we'll both look like idiots.
(, Thu 8 May 2008, 19:16, 6 replies)
This One Is Going To Be Hard For Me.
.
My life has been a roller-coaster. From extreme poverty to extreme (in my terms) wealth.

A few years ago I left my ex-wife (OK - I was kicked out) and ended up, in my rented flat, with my life in about 4 bin-bags.

I can clearly remember looking at them and thinking:

"Is that it? Is that what I've worked my arse off for?"

A few books, some clothes, some of my test equipment. Everything else was still at my ex-wife's home. My DVD collection, my massive library, my computers, my fishing gear, in short, pretty much everything.

In the nasty divorce that followed I was royally screwed. I wasn't allowed any access to any of *my* possessions. So I left it, walked away from my life.

It was strangely liberating.

You see, all that, it's just *stuff*.

It's things you pick up on your way through life and, most of it, you can replace with newer, shiner stuff.

Yes, I missed some of it. And yes, I boiled when I found out my ex was giving my things away to people she knew I didn't like in order to piss me off. But, in the end, it was just stuff.

I can't really get emotionally attached to inanimate objects.

Things happen in life that you have little control over. At any second, Loki can wave his wand and your house burns down, you lose your job, you become incapable of working and you lose the lot.

But don't worry. It's only stuff.

Stuff can be replaced. The people you love, the people you care for, can't be.

And even Loki can't take away the thing that matters the most to me. My memory.

Cheers
(, Thu 8 May 2008, 13:18, 10 replies)
This is going to sound utter shit
But it's be my PC. Not the monitor or the accoutrements, but the system box. Now please allow me to explain.

I grew up in the 1980s, and at a time when (without knocking them) my parents' chosen careers had been struck from the record. We had some hard times. If you've never waited yearning in January for the gas meter to be emptied and the back-adjustment to be calculated you'll have a rough time understanding this.

After picking a couple of a-levels up at college I didn't really see the point of continuing on an academic career and took a few years off, to bum around on crap jobs and see where the winds blew me.

It all went to shit, I couldn't afford the upkeep on the car I was driving and I accrued a shitload of fines. It caught up with me, and in 1994 I was sentenced to a few weeks in a local jail.

While I was there there was a choice that was pretty much forced on me - I could interact with the protochavs there and discard the things I believed were important, or I could ignore the taunts and aggression of the losers I was blocked with and just deal. Being an antisocial twat I decided on the latter.

To reiterate - I had been born of a working-class family whose aspirations had been pissed away by the current government; I'd then had a number of years of subsistence living before my short sharp shock.

A few weeks after my release I discovered the doyen of computers - the 386. The extent that the machinery had moved on from my days of pissing about with pascal on a prime minicomputer for my a-levels floored me. I knew then and there what I wanted to do with my life.

In those days, there wasn't quite the same hobbyist PC-builder market there is now. PC cases were filled with shrapnel and evil; any change was more customarily performed via manipulation of dip switches or jumpers rather than BIOS screens. Notwithstanding, I upgraded a couple of 386s to one 486 (Cyrix 486-133) and a Pentium, and was given the castoffs for my trouble.

Being on the dole it took me an age to put together the £30 for a case and the £90 for a 14" CRT monitor, but I eventually managed it. It took more blithering and obsequious attitude, but I finally got on the rungs back into work and worth.

In the 14-years or so since I built that machine, it's been with me. It's been upgraded countless times - sometimes the mainboard and processor; sometimes new discs; occasionally new optical burners (I had an expensive SCSI habit in the late 90s). But that machine has been constant to me for that entire length of time.

When my ex left me, that machine was there - reminding me that I was still able to do something. When my grandparents and the last of my parents died, I still had evidence that some things could endure - and that I could assemble them. During all of the low days when I feel battered down by the general shitness of the world I look at my fifteen year-old box and am reminded that I still have some power to affect the chaos around me.

And it is for this reason that I would exert my all to retrieve my PC from a burning house. No customised dell box could provide the same experience, ever.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 23:53, 5 replies)
I think it was William Morris who said:
"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful."

Anyway, I heeded his words and got rid of my family.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 13:40, 3 replies)
One set of photographs
My wedding photos - not because I continue to have any great feelings for my ex - although he is the father of my children and fundamentally a good man.

But I'd want them because three very important people are in those pictures…


My Grandmother
A lovely old lady with whom I shared a passion for cooking, reading and gardening. When she was still with us the only thing we shared was our passion for reading…I have since discovered that the cooking and gardening gene skips a generation in my family.

Sadly she died four months after I was married and even in those photographs of the wedding day she looks frail.


My friend Stuart
Stuart was my ex's best friend, he was a fantastic guy, looked like a dark haired version of Steve McQueen.

He always had umpteen women constantly after him - the first time I met him I was reduced to uttering nonsense, something along the lines of 'wibble', simply because he was so good looking.
He also had the ability to make anyone laugh - mothers, grandmothers, babies, and all men just seemed to either want to be him or be with him. I'm sure a fair few must have hated him too though because he was such a great guy.

One of the things that was that part of his attraction was his huge addiction to adrenaline. If it was exciting and dangerous then he was there…power boat racing, canoeing and kayaking - he used to build his own, helicopter flying - he was a qualified pilot, and motorbiking.

The ex and I were married in the April, Stuart was killed two months later on Father's Day. It was a beautiful June Sunday, he'd gone out on his bike with a mate, he took a corner too fast and was killed almost instantly.

The night before we'd told him and his girlfriend that I was pregnant.

They had told us they'd just got engaged and would officially announce it the following day.


My dad
Yes, he's still with us, but three years ago (seven years after the wedding) he had a massive stroke. Aside from the wheelchair to which he is still confined, the person who he once was has gone.

Where once my dad would argue for hours about politics, current affairs or why people are so stupid these days now he's mostly compliant and easy going. He would read almost constantly and we shared many books yet for the past three years he hasn't read any thing more than the headlines on the newspaper.

I could go on and on about how the stroke has affected him - the losses he and we have suffered but as it is I can barely see through the tears.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 11:32, 6 replies)
The token serious post
In the event of a house fire, I'd save my cello. Although it's not technically mine, it's worth over three times more than everything else I own put together and has immeasurable sentimental value. But the thing I would have saved, if it still existed, was snatched away from me.

My parents hate each other. There's nothing too unusual about that in itself. My mother however has taken it upon herself to hate unreservedly my father's entire family. Mum and I have always had rather a strange relationship. She never bonded with me when I was a baby (hey, sometimes it just doesn't happen) and as soon as things started going wrong with Dad, suddenly I was the devil-child who shared 50% of his genes. My childhood was filled with screams of, "You're just like your father". So really, I felt absolutely nothing towards my mother other than a pathetically desperate desire to please her, which I knew even then that I would never manage.

The one person who I did bond with as a child was my cousin. She fell in love with me the moment she saw me, and I can't remember a single moment of my life when I haven't completely adored her. When I was a child, it was hero-worshipping admiration, and feeling safe and loved with her in the manner in which I guess most kids feel about their parents. These days, if anyone hurt her I'd break their legs.

Mum hated her. Obviously she hated her because she was related to my dad, but there was also the thorny issue of her having such a good relationship with me. She ended up, through various means I won't go into here, ensuring that we would never see each other for a very long time. Until last year in fact, thanks to the wonders of facebook. So, having not seen each other in 15 years we were swapping life stories and photos and blubbing in front of our respective computers like little girls. Then one day her husband messaged me to say that all of her childhood photos had been lost, and so if I had any at all, it would mean the world to them if I could scan them. "No problem!" said I, for I knew that there were loads of photos of all my cousins in a big box in my mother's living room. It wasn't just photos of my cousins - it was a massive collection of photographs of the whole extended family, some of them 100 years old. They'd come from my grandmother's house. My grandmother's house, which Mum had helped sort out after her death.

I wasn't that concerned when I couldn't find the box of photographs - I just assumed Mum had moved them to a safer place, or perhaps put them in an album. So I asked her, "Mum, you know that big box of photos that came from Grandma's house, the one with her parents' wedding photos and everything? Where is it?"

"Oh, I threw them away."
"WHAT???"
"They smelled funny."

That box of photos would definitely have been what I would have rescued from a house fire, but instead it was maliciously thrown away by a bitter, twisted old bitch as a last insult to a family only one of whom had ever done her any wrong. Thanks to one petty act of vindictiveness, my cousin has only the five childhood photos that I had myself. I don't care how funny they smelled - they were five generations of family history. I wonder how good it felt to her, consigning them to the dustbin. Surely not comparable to the hurt she's caused. She has robbed my beloved cousin of her childhood photos, and for that I may just have to break her legs.

Well, not really. But sometimes I am sorely tempted.
(, Tue 13 May 2008, 15:45, 13 replies)
Nostalgia is a Greek word
Despite my copious beer swillage and foul mouth, I'm a tactile old softie at heart. My friends and family know how much I love them; that doesn't deter me from telling them so frequently. Sweary Jr and I exchange the L-word daily. At the age of 12, it surprises me that he'll still often initiate the exchange in front of his mates.

However, my old man has always been an exception to this rule. I call him by his christian name, and find it hard to refer to him as my father or dad. It's certainly not that I don't love him - I do, very much - but we've always been emotionally constipated with eachother.

As I 've mentioned several times before, I spent 3 years living on the Greek island of Kos. My mother wrote to me every week and occasionally Sweary Senior would add a page at the end. So, in answer to this week's question, it is these letters I would save from a fire. I've spent the entire afternoon reading them (fuck flattening clothes, this stuff is *important*).

One in particular will be selected for rescue, depending on the ferocity of the flames. If you have the appetite to read it, here's an extract:

"..... Continuing family news; communication with Grandad has taken a turn for the worse. You know he mostly blurts disconnected bits of gobbledegook and expects people to instantly decode what the hell he's on about, while, when you want to say something to him, you have to simplify it to the irreducibly gormless - then shout it at least twice. Well, now he specifies the number of words he requires, e.g. "What exactly is Tourettes doing? - in four words". This is often a bit of a challenge and can mean taking liberties with grammar or shortening a sentence, e.g. "Fucked if I know".......

The letter ends thus:

"......in two words,
LOVE, DAD."

I love and respect you millions Dad. I will pluck up the guts to say it aloud to your face xxx

(Or chicken out and show you this.)



*EDIT*
In the likely event of plan C for chicken:

Dad, for all the shit I threw your way, I apologise. I remember that acrimonious drunken phone call I made late one night (when I lived in Dunsmuir Grove?) spitting venemous vitriol at you. You never said a word. (I hope you left the phone on the dresser and walked away.) That is one of my few regrets.
Whenever I had a head-fuck whilst away, be it Kos or the USA, I'd listen to my tape of Keith Jarrett's Köln Concert and think of you. That always gave me strength.





**EDIT**
I showed this to my Dad yesterday :)
It put a lump in his eye, so it did.
(Tears & snot were dripping off my chins when I wrote it.)
(, Mon 12 May 2008, 18:36, 15 replies)
Apart from me daughter who rocks,
I have packed away a US Super Nintendo and a cartridge of Final Fantasy 6.

When I was about 14, I was going through a rough patch at school. An all male school is never easy for the quiet ones and I was psychologically tormented by all the wankers that normally attended and occasionally punched for fun by others. Was not a nice place to be in and it took alot of willpower to get through. Around that time, I didn't socialize outside of school and was basically glued to my computer in the house. The previous Christmas me parents bought me a PAL Super Nintendo and I'd finished quite a few classics on it but our local computer games shop had an imported USA game called "Final Fantasy 3", now recently re-released as "Final Fantasy 6" on the GBA.

I picked it up, stuck it on through a converter and was hooked. Every day I'd get home from school and play this game. All the crap which I'd put up with from the bullies, all the name callings were literally forgotten when I played this; they couldn't touch me here, none of that mattered.

I played it for 5 months until I'd completed every morsel of the game, then afterwards hunted down every single game Squaresoft released on the console, also discovering "Secret of Mana", "Secret of Evermore", "Final Fantasy 2" among others. They all helped me to take my mind off things; a distraction to the anguish. After a while I'd then started to build up some confidence through actually meeting a few friends outside of school, and taught myself how to deal with the bullies in my own way. But until then I owe Sqauresoft my gratitude for keeping me sane up until that point; thanks for offering me my own personal escape.

A few years later I got a job in that same computer store and picked up a 2nd hand US Super Nintendo. Had to finish the game again after I'd bought it (which I did, 60 hours and I knew where I was going too). I've packed away the game that saved my sanity now, and I don't know if I'll ever part with it.
(, Sat 10 May 2008, 8:29, 2 replies)
Gerald
I am a very normal man to all friends and acquaintances alike. I don't cry, I don't buy flowers or pretty decorative things for my house. I like football and metal and would think nothing of kicking a cat if it started to claw at my shoes.

Meet Gerald, my sunshine buddy.

A few years ago I moved to a strange city, bigger and further away than any place I'd ever lived before. I was several hundred miles from all branches of my extended family and though excited I was also a bit alone. So when I saw Gerald in the window of Forbidden Planet I bought him immediately as I thought my girlfriend would find him cute. Not me of course, I'm a manly man. But my girlfriend would like him. Gerald was posted to my girlfriend with instructions to look after him and within a few months she moved to the same city to live with me in my new house.

Gerald of course came too and he now sits on a south facing window frame in the living room getting the most light to ensure as much bobbing of the head from side to side. Every morning when I open the curtains I'm ashamed to say that I greet him with "Morning Gerald!" and at night wish him well with a "Night Gerald!". I love the spring for one more reason than most as it means that there's enough light when I get home from work to power his solarpanel. For the darkest months of the year I don't see him move except for a few brief occasions at the weekend.

And when my girlfriend and I split up and she moved out we discussed what was going where. She took some extra towels and pillows, I kept the toaster and kettle. She wanted to take Gerald but I was adamant he was going nowhere. I bought him, he was mine. And if you've ever lived with someone for so many years you've forgotten what it's like to go for a few days without hearing another voice, without having a chance to have a conversation with a friend at a moments notice - however brief - about nothing in particular, it can be quite disturbing how eerie and silent it gets.

But I was okay because Gerald was there for me. Always bouncing, always smiling.

So for all my expensive guitar, keyboard, amplifier equipment, the 3 PCs and 15 years worth of banking details, letters and other assorted crap - I would save Gerald, my sunshine buddy.

Words can't begin to describe how unbelievably sad and pathetic I feel having just typed all that.

EDIT: Pic updated to show Gerald in action on his very own windowsill.
(, Thu 8 May 2008, 14:24, 2 replies)
Hmmm.
I'm not going to say any of my friends/family, because they're not in my possession. I'm lucky enough to have an amazing family and a wonderful Mr BobFossil, but I'm not going to claim that I own them.

Don't get me wrong, I like having stuff. Possessions are lovely. However, they're not the most important thing in life. Every birthday and christmas, my brother asks me what I want from him. And every year, I can honestly never think of anything I want or need. So I ask him to surprise me. I'd rather get something that has been specifically thought about and chosen for me, than a random DVD that could have come from anyone. Possessions just don't bother me too much.

That said, there is one thing that I would be heartbroken to lose. My flute. It was made by the Haynes company for me (to my exact measurements and specifications) in 1999. I went to Boston to order it. It's the best flute I have ever played. I call it "Beryl" after my Grandma, who left me the money in her will to go towards getting myself a proper, professional-standard flute that would last me the rest of my life. It's beautiful. I actually feel like I have an emotional connection to it, even though it's an inanimate object made out of metal. Having spent at least 4 hours a day playing it, growing as a musician whilst making the parallel journey into womanhood (whilst at a rugger-bugger school full of idiots that bullied me, and looked down on me for being a musician), it felt like my best friend.

Less than a year after bringing it back to the UK, I broke my ring finger. Well, ripped it open, to be honest. The end joint was shattered into over 30 tiny shards of bone, the artery cut, and the nerves severed. It took months to heal (it's weirdly bulbous at the end these days), partially because the nurse at the hospital couldn't stitch it back together, it was so pulped. The nail has grown back. The shards of bone have fused back together. However, the nerves could not mend, and the joint itself is buggered. Whilst I have a top joint in that finger, there is little to no sensation in it, and movement is extremely stiff. I cannot move it anywhere near as fast as I'd need to, to be professional. Essentially, my dreams of being a top-flight professional flautist were as shattered as my finger.

I'm still in music: I'm a semi-pro singer, I work in the classical music industry, and I'm perfectly happy. However, that flute is there to remind me what could have been. It's there to remind me that my Grandma had enough faith in me to leave me money for a proper flute. And mostly, it's there to remind me not to dick around on my bike ever again.
(, Mon 12 May 2008, 14:43, 11 replies)
Childhood memories.
I'd take my childhood bed.

My parents never understood why I insisted it be kept, and never understood why - when I moved away from home - I took it with me.

I have a deep emotional bond with that bed. In that bed I dreampt of princes, white horses and dragons, and I wept for the lost love of my first boyfriend. I was 8 at the time.

Memories aside, the foot of that bed has two beautifully varnished posts which rise a proud seven inches from the end bar. The night I discovered I could ride those posts was a long one. I keep it because it is the best sex toy I've ever had, and I'd save it from a fire because I truly believe it's the most satisfying inanimate object in my life.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 22:15, 3 replies)
my compass and my maps -
I'd be lost without them.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 10:06, 7 replies)
My first post (so be gentle)
Hi, apologies for my first post being rather slushy and long winded but here goes.
My grandad died when I was about 5 years old. I remember him as "jelly grandad". This is what I have always called him because when he was alive every time we went to visit him and my nanny he'd always phone up to ask what colour jelly I wanted for pudding (I was the only one allowed to choose out of myself, sisters and all my cousins as I was the oldest and he was very proud of me, his first grandchild). The answer was without fail 'red jelly'. But he always used to phone up anyway (I think he just liked to wind me up by saying there was a red jelly shortage and that we had to have green jelly (never actually happened thank god!)).
A few years ago (about 7) I found some 8mm projecter type footage in the loft at my nannys house and I thought I'd see what it was (because I'm nosey) and there was me in my little walker chair thing running around crashing into the person filmings legs (you never got to see who was filming). I asked my mum who it was filming and she said it was my grandad. It breaks my heart that there is no actual footage of him on those films. But the thing is I know he's there laughing at me chasing him and that's enough to make those films my most precious possesion. So now when I watch them, sitting there eating my red jelly, I think about all the times when my family have said I am so similar to him and how proud he would have been of me and I always hope that's true.

P.S my boyfriend has a stormtrooper helmet that I've got my eye on too.
(, Thu 8 May 2008, 14:38, 3 replies)
My 200kg anvil
It's been in the house for as long as anyone can remember. Indeed, the house was built around it. Though it wouldn't be damaged by a fire, I'd hate to see it blackened and charred.

As a consequence, I have laid out a pathway of greased logs across my carpet, a pivot and a steel ramp so that in the event of a fire, I'll be able to kick the anvil on to the ramp, pivot it on to the logs and roll it directly out of the front or back door.

Many people have said that an anvil is a curious thing to save from a fire, but they usually don't realise that the sword of King Arthur - the mighty Excalibur - is embedded in the steel and has been for eons stretching back into the time of myth. Legend has it that whomsoever pulls the sword will become king of the realm. Oh, I've tried! But to no avail. Nor has the never-ending queue of knights in armour been able to do anything about it.

If that wasn't bad enough, there's a samurai sword in it, too. Legend has it that whomsoever pulls the sword will become Katana Judoku Kan - the Overlord of the Samurai and ruler of all Japan. I tell you, the number of Sunday mornings I've been got out of bed by little guys in leather armour and ornate carved face masks wanting to have a pull at the sword. Most of them don't speak a word of English and they get tetchy if you tell them to piss off. One of them had the cat's leg of with his sword.

I need hardly mention the Viking sword of Edragar, the Claymore of McWalkers, the Gladius of Magnanimus, the Cutlass of Maltoon or the Sabre of the Mogol Hordes. That anvil is like a bloody porcupine of notorious mythical swords - none of which anyone can pull out. Some days they're queuing round the block, rattling armour and chattering in extinct languages about how they're going to rule the known world. I've had letters from the council about it. Just last week a Mongol horder diced Mrs Buttucks as she tried to gain access to the Co-Op.

What can you do? I'm the guardian of the anvil. It's something to put on your CV.
(, Wed 14 May 2008, 9:41, 12 replies)
My dad's motorbike
My dad built a motorbike from scratch, last year he died and left it to me in his will. It's amazing.



The frame is based on a loop of tube from
Mole Valley Farmers sheep rack range of products, plus other bits -
the geometry is based loosely on Sammy
Miller's works Ariel bike from the museum. He threw my dad out of his museum when he caught him doing a bit of espionage with a tape
measure.

Things get more interesting when you look at the engine. It is a 498cc four stroke based on 1955 Ariel Red Hunter crankcases with steel
flywheels which don't explode at high revs unlike the cast iron road bike versions. It's got a 85mm stroke and Triumph high capacity oil
pump instead of pathetic Ariel version which wouldn't fill the cistern in a doll's house loo. That last part is a direct quote from my dad.

A home ground trials type camshaft (with gentle valve opening) to give good low speed torque is combined with a Piston is from a Toyota car
engine, much machined, which cost about £20 instead of the £90 odd for a proper bike one. The Barrel is from a Lister stationary diesel
engine - my dad smashed the fins off, cleaned it up in the lathe, got a foundry to pour aluminium around it and machined the fins on, plus the recess for the cylinder head.

It would be a great bike to escape to Switzerland on, except it would make the jump.
(, Fri 9 May 2008, 9:41, 4 replies)
Dad's chess set
Back in the mists of the 1960s when Mum and Dad were newly married they had no money and no telly and I was a baby, Dad started to carve a wooden chess set. He made models in plasticine and slowly carved the pieces in some mahogany that was given to him. The kings and pawns look just like him and the queens look like my Mum. It took him seven years to make, carving away in the evenings. When my son started to show an interest in chess, Dad showed him how to play, and was a gracious (and mendacious) loser, encouraging Henry and helping him to learn the gambits. When Henry finally beat Dad for real, Dad gave him the chess set. It is the most precious thing I have or can ever imagine owning.

My sister was really cross that he gave the chess set to us - but as she is far richer, far prettier and by far his favourite, it is almost a consolation.
(, Sat 10 May 2008, 12:02, 2 replies)

This question is now closed.

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