Friday, June 29, 2007

Balderdash and Piffle

Sadly I’m not nearly as sexy as Victoria Coren but I have been asked by RDAL to find out a bit more about the origins of the word Punk and I thought that I would also throw in a bit about These Boots were made for Walking. On worrying that so many words in one comment box would probably cause it to explode I thought that this really merited a post of its own, so here goes.

Due to lack of time I have just done a quick internet trawl on this and I’m not sure how accurate all of the stuff you find on the internet is so I have merely reproduced what I have found. However if anyone else can come up with any other theories I would be most grateful to have them here.

To answer your question about Punk and the origins of the word RDAL I have come up with the following:-

The earliest meaning for punk is a 'prostitute or a whore'. Its origin is unknown but it first appeared in print in England in 1596, and soon was in very wide use. Shakespeare uses it four times, twice in Measure For Measure.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, punk was coming into use in the late 17th century meaning 'rotten, slow-burning wood, used as tinder'. The Barnhart Dictionary of Etymology says that it may have been borrowed from the Algonquian word ponk which means, literally, 'living ashes'. The sense that the wood was rotten gained importance as punk began to be used widely. From there, the word took on the meanings of 'something worthless; foolish or empty talk'; 'an inexperienced youth'; and 'a hoodlum'.

The term punk rock was coined by rock critic Dave Marsh and first appeared in print in 1970 in the magazine Creem. He says this about it in an interview: "Our [Creem's] point of view was vulgar, belligerent, often less respectful to rock's major institutions...with the result that all of us--and especially me--were frequently assaulted with the epithet: 'You are such a punk'. I decided this insult would be better construed as a order to emphasize our delight in rock's essential barbarism."

Another internet source states the following:-

The word "punk" first made an appearance in music journalism in a 1970 essay, "The Punk Muse: The True Story of Protopathic Spiff Including the Lowdown on the Trouble-Making Five-Percent of America's Youth" by Nick Tosches in Fusion. He described a music that was a "visionary expiation, a cry into the abyss of one's own mordant bullshit," its "poetry is puked, not plotted." That same year, Lester Bangs wrote a novella titled Drug Punk, influenced by William Burroughs' book, Junky, in which there is a line, "Fucking punks think it's a joke. They won't think it's so funny when they're doing five twenty-nine on the island." Dave Marsh used the phrase "punk rock" in his Looney Tunes column in the May 1971 issue of Creem, the same issue that introduced the term "heavy metal" as a genre name. Marsh wrote, "Culturally perverse from birth, I decided that this insult would be better constructed as a compliment, especially given the alternative to such punkist behavior, which I figured was acting like a dignified asshole." Tosches, Bangs, Marsh, Richard Meltzer, Greg Shaw and Lenny Kaye used the term to define a canon of proto-punk bands, including the Velvets, Stooges, MC5, the Modern Lovers and the New York Dolls (DeRogatis, Let It Blurt, 118-119).

And the final source states the following:-

'The word "punk" originally meant a prostitute, moldy wood or fungus. By [January 1976, when New York-based] Punk magazine took its name, it had gone on to mean a person who takes it up the ass in prison, a loser or a form of Sixties garage rock'n'roll' (John Robb, Punk Rock: An Oral History, London: Ebury Press, 2006, p. 150).

And now for something completely different.

On the subject of These Boots were made for walking, the correct title is "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'", a song composed by Lee Hazlewood and first recorded by Nancy Sinatra. It was released in February, 1966, and got to Number 1 in the United States and the United Kingdom Pop charts.

Nancy Sinatra was encouraged by Lee Hazlewood to sing the song as if she were a sixteen-year-old girl giving the brush-off to a forty-year-old man.

The song was adopted by troops in the Vietnam War when they marched, and Sinatra traveled there in the mid- to late-1960s to perform for the U.S. soldiers. It was used on the soundtrack to Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987). Sinatra also sang it on an episode of China Beach in the late-1980s. In 2005, Paul Revere & the Raiders recorded a revamped version of the song using Sinatra's original vocal track. It appeared on the CD Ride to the Wall, Vol. 2, with proceeds going to help Vietnam veterans.

If anyone else can add anything to this I would be very grateful.

I hope this helps, RDAL. Please visit again for more words, although as to whether they are wise or not is a moot point which if you are interested comes from an Anglo-Saxon term for meeting. (Oh I will have to stop this now, I’m actually turning into Victoria Coren!!)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

China Buffet King

Crackers to my right, spring rolls to my left and I’m stuck on the horns of a dilemma. Not for long though…..

We’re under starters orders at the 7.30 at Braehead. Dinner plates (as large as you like) at the ready, and we’re off. The going looks good. There’s every Chinese dish we could conceivably want to eat. Not only that but we have a certain obligation to eat every conceivable dish merely because it is a buffet and if we’ve paid for it we might as well eat it. Coming up on the inside we start with prawn crackers and spring rolls, moving swiftly on to sesame toast, jumbo shrimp and sushi. Totally foregoing the notion of separating starters and main courses we further pile our plates with Spare Ribs, Mussels, Aromatic Duck, Sweet and Sour Chicken, Lemon Chicken, Beef in Black Bean Sauce, Peking Duck and finish the mountain of food with onion rings, noodles and chips.

People give us strange looks as we go back to our table and a baby starts howling as we pass, but we are beyond worrying. We are at China Buffet King, it’s cheap, it’s cheerful and we are starving.

Ten to fifteen minutes later the going gets a bit harder and we are not so much starving as struggling. The mound of food on our plates does not seem to have decreased any but our stomachs would beg to differ. Those said stomachs are protesting and have started making strange groaning noises (or is that us doing the groaning?) No matter how bad it gets we have to clear our plates, as to do anything else would be ungrateful and what did our mothers always tell us about the starving children in Africa? So we persevere and our trousers and skirts start to strain at the waist. Buttons are surreptitiously undone and our rate of eating slows almost to a standstill.

Eventually after a Herculean effort over the remaining hurdles, our plates are cleared and we’re stuffed. We should of course really have ended our dining experience there, but one final hurdle awaits in the form of dessert. There is of course a well known law (whose name escapes me but Glutton’s Law would be appropriate) which states that no matter how full up you are there is always room for dessert. And so it is that we struggle up for our mandatory visit to the dessert section of the buffet. And what an incredible selection lies therein. The pangs of overeating and tightness around the waist miraculously leave us as we approach and take in the spread before us.

We’re on the home straight now and the plates are again piled high, this time with syrupy pancakes, profiteroles, black forest gateau, cheesecake and, of course, jelly and ice cream. The God of Gluttony has a kindly eye on us though and we manage to finish off our mountains of dessert with no ill effects although we are deserving of much lingering agony for our greed.

At weigh in we had been around a normal healthy weight but come weigh out we’re pronounced unfit to be in the close proximity of food for, oh another week at least.

It’s been 2 days now, my belt’s still tight and my stomach’s still protesting…

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Spa Life

Luxury is not something that I do a lot of or something which comes at all naturally to me. An exception occurred at the end of last week when I indulged in a Spa Day. To be truthful it was a “Mini Spa” which I believe is the economy version for people who like to think that they are in with the Hoi Polloi but in reality can’t afford it. The TK Maxx of Spa Life if you like.

Ladies and gents who no doubt lunch lazed around the pool and jacuzzi as we entered, complementary towels and robes strewn casually over poolside deckchairs. I spent most of the time in the jacuzzi alongside a chap reading Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid (Very good choice sir). Let’s be honest I spent ALL my time there because the pool was too cold and the sauna and steam room were too hot.

Our next port of call was the massage room. As I was later to learn, all the rooms have a theme, and the theme of this one was “The Moroccan Room.” Sadly there was no luxury Marrakesh riad or flying carpets but there were a couple of nice ethnic style cushions delicately arranged beside the CD player.

Soft music emanated from the un-ethnic CD player. The sort of music which would probably have a name such as “Moments of Calm” or if we were lucky “Moroccan Moods”. At one point the masseuse left the room and, as if on cue, some cheery banjo music started up from the CD, only to fade out as she re entered. I got the feeling that cheery banjo music wouldn’t have been her thing and the CD player must have known.

I was a little worried about the massage as I have been told that my shoulders are less than relaxed and was afraid of a Dr Gillian McKeith type lecture from a straight laced “school marm” type in a uniform. Fortunately my masseuse said nothing as we started the massage and in fact said next to nothing from then on in. I had thought that she might have told me with some pride what she was doing and with what speciality products she was doing it with, but no explanation came. Presumably clarification does not come with the “Economy” version of the spa experience.

As the time came for the foot scrub to start, a small worry entered my head. I have incredibly tickly feet and was worried that when the foot scrub started it would reduce me to a giggly fit. I had to fight very hard to stop this happening I can tell you. In fact, she must have previously seen the rather ugly state of my feet and when the time came, she dimmed the lights considerably so that she would not have to witness their full horror.

All too soon time was up and our health conscious spa day was over. Fifteen years ago I would have been swimming in the mud at Glastonbury. What a difference a decade and a half makes. Too much health can only be a bad thing however and we did what can be the only natural conclusion – we headed off to McDonalds for a Big Mac.

Here’s to healthy living.

PC Heaven

Hooray. After a few false starts I finally have a PC at home that does what it says on the tin. I can now use e mail and the internet and therefore blog at home to my heart’s content without my PC taking a hissy fit. This hissy fitting PC is currently regarding me with some hatred from the corner of the room wondering why I feel the need to be using that new fangled internet thingy on my fancy new modern PC. I tell it that it is because everyone uses the Internet these days but as we speak it is preparing to join some Luddites and smash up some of these new fangled PC’s.

There’s just no pleasing some people is there?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Avast, Me Hearties!

What was the weather like with you this morning? Here, I drove to work through a river previously known as the M8. My little Daihatsu Charade acquitted itself very well and a new career as a boat surely awaits. The rain has now stopped but as we all know only too well could start up again any time.

When will summer come back or have we had it?

Monday, June 18, 2007


The campsite which perhaps at some stage in its life could have been called terra firma was less than firm now, having been beaten into a muddy pulp, and that was before 400 teenagers descended upon it. The rain started the assault on the campers, drenching even those with waterproofs and the wind finished the job, blowing a chilly wind through wet bones. Just a normal summer’s day in Scotland then.

The rain started on Friday and didn’t stop until Sunday. The grass turned brown with mud, and the mud seemed to permeate through our whole camping experience.

Fortunately we were not camping under canvass and had sensibly decided on the log cabin option. We are actually talking camping luxury here because the cabins had central heating and showers.

Within minutes of moving in, the girls’ room looked like an explosion in a beauty salon. Make – up, hair care products, towels, clothes and iPods were liberally strewn on every available surface. Soon the devastation had extended to the bathroom and the hall, with clothes soaking in the sinks, all manner of toiletries ready to topple off ledges, and 20 pairs of shoes strewn about the hall ready to trip up anyone foolish enough to cross it.

All the other teenagers at the camp seemed to be wearing welly boots and other assorted sensible shoes. Not ours. Silver pumps, beaded pumps and stilettos waded through the mud and will probably never look the same again.

Activities had been organised for the kids, but those that had not been cancelled due to the bad weather were not deemed cool enough for our youngsters so they spent most of Saturday having sweetie fights in the cabin.

I took myself off to a “Youth Leaders Seminar” where I managed to fall asleep, waking up just in time to ask a few pertinent questions, in the hope that no one would notice my lack of wakefulness.

The seminars were held in strange little huts, which although very basic, had curtains which could have graced a grand house, held back with fancy tie backs. The floors got progressively muddier and then the mud started climbing the luxury curtains. Whose idea was curtains?

In the evenings the campsite had a “Cinema” which was basically another hut with black bin bags on the windows and a DVD player. Despite the DVD player (possibly on loan from George W Bush) refusing to play “An Inconvenient Truth” on Friday night, I saw it on the Saturday night on a second DVD player. I also saw The Last King of Scotland and Hotel Rwanda. All are excellent films and well worth seeing.

Of course, our youngsters were not at the cinema, preferring the disco where the music was rotten but the boys were cute.

At the end of our stay the girls cried uncontrollably on leaving a friend who had moved away. She, however, seemed strangely unmoved, and was more interested in her mobile phone as she was driven off.

I arrived home on Sunday night with some song by Justin Timberlake and “Eye of the Tiger” ringing in my ears. I still maintain that for teenagers they have some strange musical tastes.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Teenagers with Attitude?

On the basis that I can fit into a minibus with an inordinate amount of hair straighteners, iPods and make up I am away this weekend to camp with a group of 20 odd teenagers. I will be taking a couple of good books with me (Michael Chabon – Kavalier & Clay and John Le Carre – Absolute Friends) for reasons of sanity maintenance.

The last time they saw me they thought that they would “introduce me” to the joys of modern music, so were a little surprised when I said that I had actually already heard of Maroon 5. I personally think that Maroon 5 is a bit tame for a group of teenagers. Should they not be listening to something a touch more rebellious? Mind you now they know that I have heard of Maroon 5, that band’s “cool” appeal will be lost and they will hopefully find something more appropriate. They then let me listen to something called Akon (I think). Again I had to admit that it wasn’t too bad. I’m not sure if that went down with them too well either. As an adult who likes the music they like, am I not gradually destroying their faith in it? Well I jolly well should be. They should be out there listening to cutting edge difficult music that I haven’t any hope of understanding never mind liking shouldn’t they? They don’t make teenagers like they used to.

Anyway, if I make it back in one piece I shall see you here again on Monday.

Have a lovely weekend.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tearing It All Apart

What would you do if you wanted a new telephone system in your home or office? Would it be reasonable to assume that one of the best known telecommunications companies would be able to service your needs? One would think so. Feeling confident in this course of action I called out such a company (lets call them UKTEL) asking them to visit and give us a quote. Imagine our surprise when we were told that someone was in the area and would be with us within half an hour. Our faith in the multinational corporations was some way to becoming restored. Come the hour, come the telephone engineer and at the appointed time he duly arrived and proceeded to take detailed notes and measurements, leaving us with the assurance of a swiftly delivered, reasonably priced quotation. And there it should have ended. However we were of course naive in our optimistic assumptions.

A couple of days later we received a phone call from UKTEL wondering if we would like a quote for a new telephone system. An uneasy feeling of Deja Vu swept over me.

“No, that was last week’s conversation and you’ve been and gone.”

“No, no one has been out to see you.” the UKTEL rep assured me.

Now either I had slipped into some parallel universe or an international terrorist had infiltrated our company under the guise of a telephone engineer. I didn’t much like either explanation but was truly flummoxed so the UKTEL Rep said that he would endeavour to investigate. A couple of days later he called back.

“The wrong company came out” he informed us.

“So it wasn’t someone from UKTEL who came out.”

“Yes it was someone from UKTEL.”

“So you’re not from UKTEL?”

“No we are from UKTEL.”

Are you confused? By this stage I certainly was. He then gave me a detailed explanation of the internal machinations of UKTEL involving franchises, umbrellas, mergers, devolvement, involvement and unilateral nuclear disarmament (probably) by the end of which I had lost the will to live.

Essentially someone from the wrong franchise had come out and now this would have to be rectified by someone coming out from the right franchise to get identical information from us.

“Would it not be easier” I suggested “just to get the information you need from Franchise 1 and then you can send us the quote?”

The UKTEL rep probably then shifted awkwardly in his seat and said “Well you see they won’t give us the information”.

It turns out that for a major telecommunications company, they don’t seem very willing to communicate with each other. You see Franchise 1 was annoyed because they had lost the job to Franchise 2 so won’t give them our details. Franchise 2 are no doubt too scared of the big bullies at Franchise 1 to ask a second time if they can have their ball back. At this point I felt compelled to ask him which nursery school he was phoning from, what with the company throwing its toys out the pram with such velocity. With the prospect of yet another UKTEL Engineer/international terrorist coming to visit us to get exactly the same information which we had previously given to the first UKTEL Engineer/international terrorist we politely informed them that we would not be using UKTEL for our telecommunications needs.

As a little postscript to this, shortly afterwards, another employee from UKTEL contacted us to find out the phone number of the UKTEL rep that I had spoken to. A telecommunications company with no internal communications, and to prove it, not even an internal telephone directory. Just what sort of set up are we dealing with here? I don’t think that Sir Alan Sugar would be too impressed.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sunshine on Leith

As you may be aware, my usual attitude to the weather in this part of the world is one of healthy despair. However Saturday was somewhat of a revelation. The sun not only peeped through a chink in the clouds, it positively told the clouds to take a long walk over a short cliff, which, for once they did and a glorious sunny day was the result. And what a result. Sandals, t-shirts and shorts were fished from the bottom of drawers and faces metamorphosed from frozen wet misery into radiant sun-kissed happiness. Actually the sun-kissed may have been the result of a few too many tanning sessions, but we’ll let that lie.

Somewhat appropriately I went to see Sunshine on Leith in Glasgow. Taking previously written songs by The Proclaimers and moulding a musical around them might seem like a challenge, but themes of love, loss, separation and heartache run through musicals and popular music in such equal measure as to minimise that challenge considerably.

The storyline involves three couples who variously fall in and out of love, surrounded by a supporting cast who help them through the pain by singing an appropriate Proclaimers song to them, further enhanced by a quirky dance routine. Having watched a fair number of musicals, this form of “Musical/Dance Therapy” seems, by the time the curtain falls, to be an effective emotional problem solving strategy. I’m sure that Psychotherapists the world over are taking note.

I did take some issue with one central character being actively dissuaded from following her dreams of going to America, a move which by the final scene offered apologetic undertones which did not sit easily with me.

To add to this, my viewing experience was somewhat curtailed by a thicket of acutely angled hair sitting in front of me. Further interruptions ensued when, over the course of the evening, an inordinate amount of people felt the need to excuse themselves causing us to spend a good deal of the time bobbing up and down in our seats like demented penguins.

All in all however, because I don’t want to end on too negative a note, a good night out was had by all. Well, the weather was nice and we could all use a few Proclaimers songs to cheer us up.

* * *

This morning, on coming into work, I have just heard the worst possible news. Apparently the weather is to get progressively worse over the rest of the week, culminating in a disastrous 11 degrees and rain by Friday. I am quite distraught. What did I say about ending on a negative note?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Watch the Wall my Darling while the Gentlemen Go By

Some time ago when my circumstances were altogether different from that of today I lived in a street whose circumstances had followed an oblivious downward trajectory over the years, similar to Charles Handy’s frog, but without the boiling water. At this time I had the good fortune to live within cruising distance of a brothel and a drug den. Not that I partook of any of their services you understand.

The drug den was a rather unassuming flat whose novel feature was a rather attractive globe in the front room. Obviously so as to educate clients from where in the world their purchases had come.

The brothel was a large mansion which had lost the grandeur of its former days. Paint peeled from the walls and the garden had become a vast wilderness, attracting only the neighbourhood cats, living out their fantasies of stalking gazelle in the Serengeti. The ladies of the night whirled and stumbled along its driveway back and forth at all hours of the day and night. The naive would comment that both houses were home to rather large families and those who knew better would say nothing, only give a weary smile.

One day there was a fire in the drug den and the local paper said that “flames shot up into the air”. However I watched the whole thing and there wasn’t much more than a puff of smoke and a couple of ladies standing in the street in their nightgowns. This is, you understand the same paper that on 9/11 led with the headline “Drug Dealer Jailed” and had a small paragraph entitled “A Bit of Trouble in America”* hidden away on page 10.

The nights were noisy. Door slammed, people shouted and someone once landed in my hedge. In the mornings strangely attired ladies and gentlemen would stumble their way to the corner shop to buy whatever they needed to bring them down from the night before.

Then one day the police were on the scene. Attempting to be unobtrusive but failing miserably, they made their presence felt. Cars were loaded up from first the brothel, then the drug den and driven away. “Oh that nice family have left” one elderly lady was heard to say. “Well their teenagers were a bit on the wild side” another countered.

And that was the end of the bohemian dream. The flats where the drug den had been were knocked down to make way for “executive” (ie very over priced) new build flats and a new family moved into the former Brothel. I wonder if they ever found out about its former existence.

I moved away. Things would never be the same again. The street was becoming a bit too up and coming for my sensibilities.

* This may not have been the exact line but you get the picture.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

He Doesn't Look a Thing Like George Formby but he Talks Like a Window Cleaner

It had been a long day concerning itself with crunching numbers so hard that broken teeth were a recurring anxiety. The drive home was a relentless crawl, the monotony of which was broken only by mint humbugs slowly consumed before they disintegrated in the heat. Eventually I made it home, not before taking the long way round to avoid the new roadworks placed at just the right intervals to catch out the unwary motorist. I struggled up the stairs, coats and bags flung asunder to prepare dinner and thereafter a long luxurious soak in the bath. With dinner over, the warm froth of sweet smelling bubbles, flickering candles and soft music tempted me into the arms of sheer indulgence and relaxation. I entered the heavenly bathtub, to relax into the warmth letting the cares of the day melt away.

And then the doorbell rang. I thought about getting out of the bath, then decided against it. This was my moment and nothing should detract from it. The world could wait. A couple of seconds later and the door was rather unceremoniously thumped. Panic skitted across my brain. Could it be a burglar? Surely burglars don’t ring the bell first to ask politely if they can rob your house do they?

Reluctantly I levered myself out of my heavenly repose, threw on a dressing gown and, still dripping from every conceivable location, made my way to the door.

A badly shaven man in clothes apparently unwashed for several millennia stood in front of me, seemingly unmoved by my state of dripping undress.

“Window Cleaner?” was his monosyllabic question. I was tempted to respond with “No, I’m not but if you know of a clean one let me know”. However in the manner of the best of politicians I answered his question with another, “How much do I owe you?” Payment out of the way he sauntered off, but not before meeting his mate and throwing suspicious glances in the direction of my house. To be fair to him I have now got clean windows, in fact now so clean that I need to keep the curtains closed at all times so that no-one can peep in, thus defeating the purpose somewhat.

I tried to return to my bath, but the water was tepid, the bubbles had disappeared and the candles had burned down. The moment was lost and I let the water trickle its way down the drain with what was left of my relaxation time.

Why did I agree to have my windows cleaned?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Whisky A Go Go

I have a bit of a quandary today.

I woke up with a rather sore throat this morning and over the course of the day it has got progressively worse. It’s hot, sore and when I swallow I feel as if it would be less painful to swallow rusty nails. Oh yes, it’s that bad. Now, in my experience, the best way to deal with this type of sore throat is to drink lots of whisky. Obviously only for its medicinal properties you understand. It will leave you with an incredible hangover but your throat will have returned to its senses or will at least have been numbed into the never never until it does. However I am going to a rather important meeting this evening where decorum and probably abstinence is everything. So what do I do? Do I turn up unable to talk lest I start another battle between the germs in my throat and my pain receptors or do I turn up slurring my speech, smelling strongly of whisky but free from pain?

I must make a decision soon because the pain is increasing and those pain receptors canna’ take much more captain!

Monday, June 04, 2007

When I’m (Not) Cleaning Windows

I have, I fear, yet again been exposed as a disgrace to housewifery. The fact that I am neither anyone’s wife nor resident in my house for any lengths of time appears not to be the point. The heavy hand of Housewife’s Law fell upon me at the weekend when my next-door neighbour approached me. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a couple of weeks now” she said. Doesn’t your heart sink on hearing words such as these? They take you back to schooldays and the knowledge that some terrible punishment awaits for whichever one of your misdemeanours you have been found out this time.

“Morning” I said, affecting a weak smile and hoping that my apparent friendliness would diminish whatever cruel punishment awaited. “I’ve noticed that your windows are needing a bit of a clean” she stated. Now she does have a point. I have struggled to find a window cleaner for the last couple of months and my windows have become progressively darker to the point where they would soon have made effective WWII Blackout Curtains and if they were a van, someone would have written “plez cleen me” on them by now. I would imagine that introducing these darker tones to my windows was, in her estimation, lowering the tone of the neighbourhood somewhat. (She wants to live between a brothel and a drug den, but that’s an entirely different post.)

“Now I’m sure that you’re like me and you like clean windows,” she continued. On the evidence of my blackening windows I couldn’t think what could possibly have drawn her to that conclusion, but I felt that the only right and proper response was a resounding “Yes of course”. “Good” she said. “So I’ve organised for my window cleaner to clean your windows as well.” This was, you understand a statement of intent, which I could no less back out of than desist from breathing.

I thanked her profusely for her kindness and was about to hurry off when she hit me with her final thought. “And your parents have made such a good job of your garden”. Now that’s taking the cruelty too far because the person who has been slaving for hours at a time over a hot lawnmower, attempting to dodge death inducing blades, getting all manner of nastiness under her fingernails, and thereby not having the time to find a window cleaner has in fact been me. Thanks for that Mrs X..