Stuff that makes me cringe and wince!


It’s a warm, sunny day – rare in Ireland. The church bells are tolling, calling me to prayer. Quickly, I up-end my handbag onto the kitchen table. Tissues – check. Lipgloss – check. Mints – check. Kitchen sink – check. Pliers. Pliers? Hammer. Hammer? Screwdriver. Screwdriver? This is weird. What’s all this stuff doing in my bag? Oops! It’s hubby’s tool-box. Pink toolbox? Tissues? He never has tissues. I’m the ‘have you got a tissue darling’ carrier. Lip Gloss? Double-check! Bells toll again, this time in my head. 

I panic. Where’s my handbag? No time to find it. Run out the door. Grand-Prix drive to the church. Flustered. Wipe sweat off my brow. Stroll in nonchalantly pretending I’m cool as a cucumber. Slide into pew doing that crouch and ‘excuse me’ thing you do when you’re shoving past people. Phew! Made it. Only half-way through the sermon. 

Collection time. Fake-leather money pouch swings in front of my eyes. I grasp it with one hand whilst the other hand reaches for my handbag. No handbag. Check pockets – quick! Nada!! Empty. What do I do now? Pass it on to my neighbour with a smile? Dip my hand in and pretend I’m putting in some dosh? Rattle it? Drop it? My mind is now in overdrive. I wish my neck would collapse and allow my red face to sink into my sweater. I decide to rattle it and pass it on to my neighbour with a cringeworthy smile. 



Don’t you just hate toilets on aeroplanes? I know space is at a premium, but seriously! Who’s bright idea was it to make them so small? You have to slide in side-ways and then breathe deeply to allow the door to close. Breathing in deeply in any public toilet is not goooooood! Somehow, you have to re-arrange your clothing to do the necessary. This is one advantage men have over women. They can zip and rip. We have to swivel and hover. All females hover to avoid skin contact as much as possible with these inhumane contraptions. Unfortunately, this action propels you forward and your forehead knocks into the stainless steel sink. Try doing that in a moving bus toilet and pray the door doesn’t crash open. It’s all about positioning to avoid accidents. Jolt, plop and drop. 

As for those port-a-loos at open air events you’re at the mercy of gale force winds which are guaranteed on the day, or the vindaloo-night-before person who used the ‘facilities’ before you. They’re called s…. storms for a very good reason. 



All umbrellas should display a hazardous warning sign. On a rainy day in Ireland it’s an olympic feat to walk down the street, or up the street depending on your mood, and avoid being attacked by an umbrella. They have a life of their own and no amount of ‘prettiness’

improves them. Bespoke they are not. Be spoked – guaranteed. Your eyes are at risk of being poked out and de-socketed. It should be illegal to carry an umbrella and the great fella upstairs agrees with me as he sends a puff of wind to turn them inside out and carry them off to the great umbrella grave yonder. 

If you’ve paid more than four euros for an umbrella, more fool you. However, they’ve been around for almost 4000 years so someone is making a massive profit. Probably invented by the Chinese which shows their propensity to make money. Savvy! 

The buggy is usually pushed by learner drivers who are exhausted, deafened by babies crying, and generally just not with it. They will aim straight for your ankles, especially the bandaged sprained one. They will attack your heels and your screams will go unheard. Now I know this is not intentional, but……….. AAAAHHHHH!!!!!! 



If anything is over cooked I would advise you to check your children’s pockets. They know the rule – ‘EAT YOUR VEG OR YOU’RE GROUNDED!’ Children are intelligent creatures so also check underneath the table. The cement-like deposits of food are worthy of an art award – no names mentioned. 

Over-cooked mushy veg is gruesome with neither texture nor flavour, but the top of the list has to be over cooked broccoli. Leached of all colour and vitamins and turned into a gruesome slimeball it tastes as vile as it looks. Your fork refuses to pick it up and may well do a Uri Geller bendy trick, or take flight across the room. Just hope that your gran’s posterior is not in the way. 

The alternative is barely cooked broccoli – al dente. That may also be a disaster as your teeth chew and chew and chew until eventually a sliver of something detaches from this miniature tree called broccoli. The one advantage is green gritty teeth with which to scare away the undesirables in your life, or be carted off to Area 51 in Nevada. I suspect that all information regarding aliens being held there are all broccoli related. 



Apparently this stuff is good for you. It can reduce the embarrassing habit that always happens in a packed lift, in an important meeting, and when you meet royalty, as you do. I mean the dreaded flatulence, the bottom burp or air biscuit that lingers forever. Knowledge is a powerful thing. One never knows when a bit of charcoal might save you from disgrace socially. Always be prepared. 

I detest the smell of burning food, but first and foremost it increases one’s metabolic rate. You didn’t know that, did you? It’s called the broom-dance. As the fire alarm screeches,

I grab the broom and stretch upwards trying to stab the offending item. I beg it to stop. I plead. I swear. Eventually, silence. Sweating, yet victorious, I grab the burnt toast. Now should I scrape off the offending burnt bits, or think about the benefits? Oh well, there’s only one answer. With a peg on my nose I slather it with butter and crunch, crunch, crunch. Hope lives eternal. I may well avoid the ultimate trump. Don’t forget to scrape the burnt residue off the butter. It’s not visitor friendly. 

Have a cringe-free week. Avoid public toilets, airborne or otherwise. Don’t trump. Don’t eat. Stay home and have a duvet-day!


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