For my Monday morning commute.
Now, I know that most of the stuff up there (which Mrs Masher refers to as ‘a load of old junk’, but is actually all really useful stuff) is mine.
And I know that I really do need to sort it out, sometime.
It’s not ALL mine.
You know those Really Useful plastic boxes that they sell in such places as Homebase and Staples? We’ve got loads of ‘em up in the loft. All different shapes and sizes. And all full of tat. Apart from a couple of them that belong to me, that are obviously full of really useful stuff.
Really Useful boxes filled with really useful stuff.
But, there are several boxes full of stuff that the kids did when they were young: paintings, small clay models; shit like that. Why are we keeping it all? It’s memorabilia.
There are boxes of clothes that Mrs Masher is hanging onto, just in case she’s ever likely to squeeze into them again.
Wallpaper! You know when you finish decorating and you have half a roll of wallpaper left over, and you think “I’ll hang onto that, just in case some bizarre accident ruins a single piece and I have to re-hang it” , then up in the loft it goes? Well, yesterday, I brought down dozens of rolls and semi-rolls of wallpaper that had ended up up there. Some of it dated back twenty years to when we first moved in and Mrs M and I spent quite a while going through it all; recognising various wallpapers but not being able to remember which room they’d been hung in.
And suitcases! We are a family of four. So why did I count thirteen different suitcases? Jeez!
Now, I’m not one for New Year resolutions but, that loft IS going to be sorted out.
You heard it here first.
But I think I may need to order a skip.
I’ve always felt that massages were a waste of time. Over the years, I’ve had a couple of amateur ones – performed by Mrs Masher – and never felt any real benefit from them. The story below is an extract taken from my Holiday Diaries, from when we were in Egypt some time back. Mrs M had booked herself in for the full pamper package at the on site spa and she had persuaded me to try a ‘proper’ massage…
At this time of year, the sun starts setting here shortly after 4pm and it was already low in the sky with the light starting to fade, so I decided it would probably be a good time to go and have my massage.
Arriving at the Spa & Fitness Centre, I was given a menu detailing the range of different massages available. I opted for the straightforward Classic Massage: none of those special toning oils or aromatherapy crap for me!
I was led to a small room lit by candles, which had a massage bed in the middle of it: one of those with the hole in it to stick your face into. I removed all my clothes apart from my swimming shorts and lay face down on the bed as instructed and waited for the ample breasted, fit young dusky maiden to come and rub her soft and sensuous hands all over my body.
A young bloke turned up, of course.
He covered me with warm towels then his hot, oily hands started working my feet and toes. I was biting my lip in an effort to not laugh, as it tickled so much.
Then, he moved up to my calves. “Do you want it soft, medium or hard?” he asked softly.
“Pardon? Oh, er, medium will be fine, thanks.”
His hands rubbed and slapped at my calves and then he moved up to my thighs. He pulled the legs of my swimming shorts up as high as possible until they resembled an ill-fitting thong. His hands kneaded and squeezed and pummelled my thighs and buttocks. “Relax boss,” he said, feeling me tense up at his touch. Relax? There is a man squeezing my buttocks and he’s not a doctor! How am I supposed to bloody relax?
But I tried. I let myself go, telling myself all the time that there was nothing to worry about: that this man was a professional masseuse. In doing so, I found I actually started to enjoy it. I was cautious not to enjoy it too much though: didn’t want to find myself nursing an unexpected and unwanted semi!
Gentle Egyptian music played in the background and the young fellow sang softly as he worked on me. I was starting to doze off when he pulled the towel from my back and rolled the top of my trunks down. Suddenly, I was wide awake again, as I felt him climb up onto the bed, his feet either side of me, straddling my backside.
Then something warm and wet spurted across my back!
“It’s oil! It’s just fucking oil!” I told myself, as I lay there, face through the hole in the bed, my eyes darting frantically around the floor to find something to focus on and take my mind away from what was going on behind my head.
Again, he kneaded and squeezed and pummelled and pushed, but much harder this time, his position above the bed giving him the extra leverage he needed to push every ounce of muscle or fat through the back of my ribcage. It actually hurt!
Then he asked me to turn over and he massaged my shoulders and neck. Fresh, warm towels were placed over me again and then he used just his fingertips to massage my head and my face… which just felt fucking weird.
When he had finished he motioned me to get off the bed and get dressed. “How do you feel?” he asked.
“Really good,” I lied.
Anyway, I’ve tried it now and I stand by my original claim that it’s a complete waste of time. Yes, I suppose it was enjoyable – in a way – but at the end of it, I didn’t feel any better; no more limber or looser or whatever.
At least I need never bother with another one.
Last Wednesday, I awoke with a pain in my lower back. Not debilitating, or anything like that, but a bit sore on the left hand side.
It stayed with me for a couple of days and didn’t seem to be easing, but it wasn’t causing me too much bother.
And then, Friday lunchtime, I was sitting on the sofa, eating a sandwich whilst watching a bit of telly, when I did something that would put me in agony for the next few days.
I crossed my legs.
That’s all: I just crossed my legs.
As I swung one leg over the other, the pain in my back shot from one side to the other.
It has literally crippled me. I’m walking around like I’ve shat myself and it takes me about ten minutes to get dressed… that’s without the socks. I can’t put them on at all!
As a long-term sufferer of back pain, I know that it will clear up. Eventually.
Meantime, I’m on industrial strength Ibuprofen.
First day back at work, today. That should be interesting.
Inexplicably, my legs are also aching. I think might have over done it on the cucarachas.
But, it was a good time and everyone seemed to enjoy it… even if much of the music was unrecognisable to an old fart like me.
I admit to losing all faith in the DJ, when I told him toward the end of the evening, that it was about time he played Come On Eileen. “I don’t have it”, he said.
Don’t have it?! What sort of party DJ doesn’t have the Midnight Runners’ greatest party hit? A staple of every decent party playlist, surely? And my signature dance tune, to boot. They missed out on me busting some serious shapes, to that one.
But, there was also a walk-around magician. Everyone knows just how much I love magic and illusions, so he really made my night… although he probably thought I was a pain in the arse, following him around all night.
And there was a fight at the end of the night, which always rounds up a party nicely, I think.
I stayed over in the hotel, to save faffing about with taxis, etc, and it was great to be able to just stagger upstairs at the end of the night.
But, it nearly didn’t happen.
You see, I went up to the ATM to get some cash beforehand, but it refused to give me any. It was dishing out tenners willy-nilly to everyone else, but not to me. So, I phoned the bank. “Ahh, glad you called, we’ve been trying to contact you. We have put a temporary stop on your card due to some suspicious activity.”
“Riiight”, I said. “What kind of suspicious activity”
“Did you make a payment of five pounds to a company called TI Ltd, this morning…”
“No”, I said, stopping him in mid-flow.
He carried on though: “… followed by a payment of fifty pounds, one hundred and then two hundred pounds?”
I most definitely did not”, I stated. “I’ve never heard of TI Ltd. Who are they?”
“They are an online gambling company” he said, matter-of-factly.
“Definitely not me. I don’t gamble. Never have.”
“This is why we have stopped your card.”
“But I need money. I’m going out tonight and need to pay for my hotel.”
“We will put a new card in the post to you.”
“Yeah, but that doesn’t help me tonight.”
“Sorry. Is there anything else I can help you with?”, he asked, brightly.
Back at work, I went on the scrounge; begging people for money. Twenty quid here; a fiver there and, before long, I had eighty quid. That should be enough: it’s a free bar, so no money required there and the room is fifty quid. Sorted.
I checked in and handed five of the new fancy ten pound notes to the male receptionist. He looked disdainfully at the money resting in his hand. “It’s a hundred pounds”, he said, “Fifty pounds for a deposit”.
I explained that I didn’t have another fifty quid in cash. “You can use your card”, he said, and so I explained that it didn’t work. He shrugged his shoulders at me and handed my fifty quid back. He then watched as I spent the next twenty minutes, vainly trying to get hold of anyone on the phone who might be able to help. Eventually, he took pity on me and handed over the key to my room. “You can bring me the deposit later”, he said.
Thankfully, I promised him I would do so and then scarpered off at speed, with no intention of going back later.
I don’t know how the thieving bastards got hold of my card details, as I am always very careful with it, both online and otherwise, but it has certainly caused me quite an inconvenience.
If my new card doesn’t come through soon, Mrs M might have to pay for her own Christmas present!
Starting at Toddington Services on the M1 and, bedecked with red t-shirts over our leathers, my group left at 1pm to join the M25 for around 1:30. There were probably about sixty of us and we rode in staggered formation in the first lane.
It’s been a long time since I rode in formation with such a large group, but I really enjoyed it. The idea was for other groups to join at respective points around the M25 in the hope of making a single line of red around the London Orbital, so as to form the world’s largest poppy (or poppy representation!). Whether that was achieved or not, I don’t know, but much money was raised in the process, so we achieved something, at least.
We rode for about an hour, round to Thurrock Services and I was quite knackered by the time I got there. The cold weather worked it’s way through the fifteen layers of clothing that I had on and made it physically tiring. And the concentration required to stay in formation and keep a close, but safe, distance to the bike in front – not to mention being aware of the constant hazard of cars and lorries cutting through us at every motorway junction – made it mentally tiring.
But, it was challenging and there was great camaraderie – as there usually is between fellow motorcyclists – and it was also quite a sight to see, I’m sure.
If I do it next year, I might just have to squeeze another layer on though.