b3ta.com user Sahara Desert
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A call centre monkey with an almost OCD level of fanaticism to the English language and a tidy desk. A purveyor in the paegentry of pedantry, if you will.

Service with a smile, a snide, sarcastic aside and a vicious tongue.

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» Thrown away: The stuff you loved and lost.

The Brown Kitty Cup
One of my earliest memories is drinking hot chocolate from my brown kitty cup. It wasn't a large cup, small handle, medium brown plastic with a white line drawing of a Persian (or some cutesy-looking fluffy moggy) on both sides. I loved this cup. I'm right-handed so I always held it with my right hand. As such, one side of the cup got badly scratched thanks to my teething habit of scraping at the top of the cup with my lower row of gnashers. This inevitably wore away one of the images of the cat.

Fast forward a few years, I have stopped using the kitty cup (all growed-up and using smashable ceramics!) but I knew it was stored away in a kitchen cupboard, as I had informed my Mother solemnly that it was not to be thrown away (the start of my hoarding tendencies, much?) as I really liked my cup.

Some time after, a jumble sale is being held in a town not far from the village where we lived and my mother was having a sort-out of stuff to flog in the name of charidee. One such item she chanced upon was (yup, you guessed it) my brown kitty cup. Mother duly asked me if I still wanted the cup and I answered in the affirmative. I had a deep affinity towards this cup and the grooves I had worn into it with my brand spanking new teeth.

A few days later, I find myself being hauled into a church hall in the town for the jumble sale. Giving my Mother my best "I'll be good and behave and not touch and not run off" look she allowed me to wander amongst the assembled trestle tables and look at all the sorts of utter shite people were selling (a thought has just occurred to me: a jumble sale is really like eBay but tangible...).

I had completed a lap of the hall and was on the way back to my beloved Mother when I stopped at a table laden with little ornaments. To my mind, an array of little ornaments is always worth a second glance, just to make sure none of the assembled objets d'art were worth begging my Mother for some extra pennies. Nothing did. So back to my Mother’s stall I skipped.

Physics dictated I approached the stall from the front. Something caught my eye amongst all the tat recently evicted from my home. My brain starts talking to me.

“What's that, Sarah?”
“What? What?! Is it sparkling? Perhaps something infinitely childish?”
“Stop gibbering, Sarah, and pay attention.”
“Look carefully. That cup looks familiar.”
“Hmm. You’re right, Brain. It looks awfully familiar.”
“You really ought to take a closer look.”
“I will!”

So I made a mad dash to the table, covering the remaining distance like Amy Winehouse towards a freshly-warmed syringe of heroin.

I stopped.

I stared.

I might have even whimpered.

My brown kitty cup sat there, on the table, sticky label informing the assembled masses just how small a price my Mother placed on my treasured cup. I reacted with gazelle-like reflexes. I snatched that cup down and marched straight round the other side of the table and confronted my heinous parent.

“Mother, what’s this?”
“It’s your cup. You said you didn’t want it so I’m selling it.”

I splutter.

“I never said any such thing!”
“Sarah, if you had wanted to keep the cup, why would I be selling it.?”

I think to myself, “because you’re a money-grubbing, mean and heartless woman who I thought loved me because I am one of your treasured daughters.”

Obviously, this is a little too elaborate for a nine-year old girl to vocalise, so I actually answer, “I never, ever said I wanted to get rid of my cup!”

My Mother reacts with classic British parenting.

“Well it’s on sale now so if you want it back you’ll have to buy it.”

I stop. I think. Buy back my own cup? The one which I never wanted to get rid of? How ridiculously unfair! I say as much to my Mother, who then guilt trips me with the obvious fact that the charidee which the jumble sale is in aid of will be left out of pocket to the tune of twenty new pence.

Damn. But then my brain starts to demonstrate some of its cunning and underhandedness for which I am known as an adult.

“Okay Mum. Can I borrow 20p please? I have it in my moneybox at home and I will pay you back as soon as we return to the family homestead.” Or something similar. I knew I had the money at home.
“Yes, dear heart.” Cue Mother delving into her voluminous handbag for her purse of many partitions. “Here you go.” She hands me a bright, shining coin with our venerable Majesty’s head emblazoned on one side.
“Many and sincere thanks, Mother dearest.”

I hand the coin back to her. She looks at me a little blankly. I stuff my brown kitty cup into my Mother’s voluminous handbag.

“Please do not sell that cup. I really am quite attached to it. I don’t want to have to buy it back again.”

Here my memory fades, but I like to think my Mother stood there, jaw agape at her youngest daughter’s keen intelligence and utterly lost for words.

I sit here now, knowing exactly where my brown kitty cup is. It’s next to me as I got it out of a drawer where it has been kept safe for many years, away from the capitalist claws of my Mother. It’s only seen the light of day now so I could describe it to you, dear reader. Even twenty-odd years later I take great pleasure in reminding my Mother of this event every so often. It’s only fair, after the emotional distress and monetary loss I suffered.

Length? Well, the teething grooves are not much to write home about but the cup stands over a mighty 3 inches!
(Tue 19th Aug 2008, 13:38, More)

» Drugs

I'm doing some temp work in a car showroom and this particular day I'd had to get the bus to work so one of the sales reps offers me a lift home in one of the cars he's test driving after a bit of repair work.

"Bonza" thinks I so I park my butt in the passenger seat.

Next thing I know the sales rep is speeding off, picks up a fairly pretty hitchhiker then rocks up at a corner shop, twats a chav holding the joint up then dives into the back seat with a carrier bag overflowing with cocaine, snorts a pile of it and starts fucking the hitchhiker.

I got out and walked to the nearest bus stop. I start at a VW place next week now.
(Thu 16th Sep 2010, 18:37, More)

» Siblings

The Three Ss
Ah, how I love my older brother (by six years) and sister (by five years). I have many tales of the three of us getting into all kinds of scrapes. Naturally a few of them stand out in my mind, and I shall tell you of them. Now, it’s no good me using initials to refer to them, as handily our parents named us all common names beginning with S. Nice. So instead, I shall refer to them as my brother and my sister. Job done!

Now, a quickie. My sister has a delightful scar lengthways down the inside of one of her wrists. No, we didn’t drive her to it, instead in a pique of fury during one of our many scraps, I scratched her with my bare fingernails. I am adorable!

One of my earliest memories involves my siblings. We had a red and white tricycle when we were very young, which had a little boot on the back of it (classy or what?!). Being the youngest, the best idea my elders could think of was to bundle little me into this boot, shut the lid then have my brother go off peddling as fast as he could up and down the path outside our house. Said path takes a sharp turn right to go alongside the side of the terrace, so he shot round it on two wheels, the lid of the boot pops open and I roll out in the opposite direction. Oh, how we laughed!

Another time the three of us were spending a rainy evening playing with a bunch of other children on the swings etc. at the large recreation ground in the village when my brother comes up with a most spiffing idea.
“Everyone get on the big roundabout and hold tight!”
“Okay” bellow the rest of us, myself and my sister included.
My brother and one of his friends then proceeded to push the roundabout very fast indeed. Subsequently my little fingers got tired of clutching on so they let go. Cue me hurtling off the playground instrument of torture (as I now view them), through the air before coming to rest on the ground several feet away. Of course the laws of physics got their way and I continued to travel along the ground on one side of my face. Do you know what upset me the most, and kept me in tears all the way home? My brand new Mickey Mouse t-shirt had got ripped a little bit! What a git.

Many a time was we would play hide and seek, I would hide (splendidly, I thought) but my dear siblings would then give up, start playing another game and leave me in my hiding place for what seemed like hours.

My sister, being five years my senior had make up and nail polish before I did. Not fair, especially considering the more creative flair I have! So, one bored summer afternoon saw me paint my name using her new scarlet nail polish on our shared chest of drawers in our shared bedroom. How on earth did they find it out it was me?! I also remember when we were bought a new bedside lamp by our loving parents and I adorned the shade with the name ‘Gary’ (no, I don’t know why either) using one of her lipsticks. The shade was grey, by the way. I don’t know how they saw it!

Oh yes, I just remember another early memory. I sat on my sister’s head and farted. She never got me back for that one, despite her swearing she would.

At one point, our back garden was filled with rubbish (my parents were having a massive clear out) so we were playing war – my sister and me against my brother. Part way through the game we swapped sides of the garden so we could have different weapons to use but my sister and I wanted our shield ironing board back so my brother threw it to us across the garden. It arrived. And smacked me square in the mouth. And knocked out my two top front milk teeth. And I promptly swallowed them in shock. Then let the whole neighbourhood know about it. Loudly.

One time I got cross with my brother so I tested out a word I had heard used somewhere. I called him a bastard! I wasn’t even in double digits at the time, and I did it in front of my parents and sister too! I found myself soon being told off loudly for that one. (I should add here that I’ve heard swearing for as long as I can remember, and as soon as I hit senior school my potty mouth was unstoppable. It’s terrible at my current place of work too – the two guys I sit with spend the majority of each day calling each other some of the worst names possible: we’d make a sailor blush.)

Back to the subject. A good one was our father was strict when we were little, and from time to time it would be time for the group bollocking. My sister suffered from inner ear problems when she was a child, and also occasional fainting episodes. So one time our father was merrily blaring away at the three of us and next thing I know he’s gently pushed my sister onto the sofa and my brother has run screaming and crying from the room. Shortly it transpires that my brother has thought our father has just killed my sister and lost it big time with him, when actually our father saw my sister was about to have a fainting bout so pushed her to the sofa so she wouldn’t smack her head on the floor. Isn’t it amazing how things look to a child?

I’m running out of decent tales now, so I’ll tell you how things have panned out for the three of us.

My brother clearly developed a taste for older women: the smallest age gap between his partners and him was about five years, and that was his wife. He had a son at age 21, my parents’ first grandchild and whom they dote on (my father adores him). As I was only 14 when my nephew came into the world, I didn’t want to be called Auntie. However I know he does behind my back because his half-sister told me he does. And also one time he accidently called me auntie when I was talking to him, the git! Bless. He also doesn’t like that I take after my father in the height department and although he’s nearly taller than my sister (and is, at last, taller than my mother) he’s still got a good half a foot or so to get to my height though. Hah! Back to my brother. He’s now divorced from his wife (and his son’s mother) and had a couple of relationships but is now happily engaged (long term) and doing his original job of a postman.

My sister knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life – she got a City & Guilds in caring, had a succession of jobs working with teenagers and young adults with autism and/or severe learning difficulties. She left home when she was 24 and is successful on the property ladder. She had a semi-serious relationship at around that age, even getting engaged but he was a berk and she finally finished with him. She didn’t really have anything serious until about 2-3 years ago when she met her now live-in partner. Happily they started trying for a family in autumn 2007 and she got pregnant almost immediately – with twins! (Twins don’t run in either our or his family but I suppose they’ve got to start somewhere.) She gave birth to two little girls in May last year who are turning out to be two very different personalities and are utterly adorable. And if you’re wondering: I shan’t mind them calling me Auntie – I’m going to be 30 this year! *shudder*

Edit: [insert your own witty length pun here]
(Tue 6th Jan 2009, 15:33, More)

» Festivals

Free, gratis and for nothing!
I got to go to Glastobury 2000 (the dry year) for the price of a telephone call - YAY!

There I was, 21 years old sat at home watching The Priory hosted by Jamie Theakston and Zoe Ball, guest starring Kylie Minogue when the weekly competition appears on screen: identify the reason the person was famous. Easy, thinks I: it was the chappie who reads out the footballs scores of a weekend. I knew this because he'd appeared on a programme not less than a week before.

Verily I dialled the number and chirpily gave my answer to the friendly lady at the other end of the line, who sounded incredulous I knew, and so asked. I told her what I've just told you. She took my details and within the hour I was watching the rest of the show when teeny, tiny Kylie reads my name out (and pronounced it correctly to boot) as the excitable winner of a free pair of glorious Glasto tickets! YAY!

I spent that weekend enjoying the delights of The Happy Mondays (overrated), Reef, Coldplay, Slimboy Fat, Kelis (Best. Set. Ever. Kaleidescope is far too overlooked as a debut album), The Orb and Basement Jaxx. (And to this day my brother has never forgiven me for choosing Basement Jaxx over David Bowie on the Pyramid Stage on the Sunday night as my entertainment of choice.)

The only festival I've ever been to and I didn't have to pay! Plus, Kylie read my name out on national television!
(Wed 10th Jun 2009, 12:44, More)

» Easiest Job Ever

Bubble wrap, bats & rugby
Two jobs ago (between 1998 and 2003, for that is when I was employed at now-folded company as slave labour) I had to deal with warehouse staff. 

It being a warehouse there was a forklift truck (electric motor - this is important), plenty of empty cardboard boxes, expanding foam and racking two storeys tall. 

The warehouse staff would regularly scramble to the top of the rack and launch themselves off into assorted cardboard boxes which was very funny (I am easily pleased).

One Hallowe'en a rubber glove was filled with expanding foam, given to me to decorate realistically (I failed art GCSE don'tchoo know?) then throughout October it was planted around the building with the aim of causing as many heart attacks as possible. (I am not posting from jail on a manslaughter charge.)

Sheets of large bubble wrap were strewn carefully across the warehouse floor then driven across by the near-silent forklift truck at the most opportune moment with the aim of scaring colleagues, couriers and customers. (See above re manslaughter.)

My next job after that wasn't filled with immediately obvious prank equipment but my, we had some fun dodging the office bat. 

Yes, bat. 

The office was a converted barn with a resident bat who would happily strafe our desks while being chased by my barmy Italian manager. The little shit shat all over my paperwork one afternoon. The bat that is, not the Italian. 

That job also saw me forced to take advantage of a spare, free debenture ticket for the opening 6 Nations match in 2004, Wales v Scotland in Cardiff. Driven there in company Audi, slap-up Chinese dinner, excellent seats and game (Wales won and I'm part Welsh so was really chuffed), and perhaps best of all because the Audi's owner was slightly squiffy, I got to thrash the car back to Southampton on clear roads. Vroooom!

Apologies for length. My current employers blocked the site and it took me an age to get me back into QOTWing via the judicious use of my iphone. 
(Thu 9th Sep 2010, 21:03, More)
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