Friday, 26 June 2015

International Yoga day

The yoga aficionados in Paver Place decided to celebrate International Yoga Day last week with an open session, allowing anyone who wanted to manipulate their body into an implausible position to do so. I have trouble bending down to pick up a dropped crisp so didn’t put myself forward for this event, although according to the gossip in the Spar it was going to be well attended.
The session had been the brain child of Jacinta and she was pleased to secure the group’s usual venue, Pavers Primary, it was being held at 11 on Saturday with a follow up barbeque at Reg and Margaret’s. Reg had made a new range of sausages and patties for the occasion incorporating a wide range of eastern spices. It seemed a strange follow up to me, I thought yoga was all about the lifestyle as well as the stretching and I couldn’t imagine pork patties being included in any ancient doctrine.

Margaret, Catherine, Jacinta, Suzy and Mand were all regular yoga attendees and apart from a few teachers from the school, the only other new participants were Ken, Shane (the vicar) and Garth. I couldn’t wait to hear how Ken would get on, he seems to fall into a deep sleep every time he sits down, any floor relaxation could have him snoring loudly.
The yoga tutor was very gentle with the newcomers introducing them to a few positions that they could easily manage. As normal Garth had turned up in an unusual choice of clothing, of course his flip flops were firmly stuck to his feet (although he did remove them during the stretches), but he wore black shorts, no top and a beany hat. I can’t help thinking that the man’s internal heating system needed some fine tuning.
Catherine reported back to me later that Mand had been misty eyed when Garth had entered the room but had become almost hysterical when he removed his coat to reveal his body. I understand the session was quite tame, although by the end of it Garth had declared himself as a master of yoga having affiliations to it through his Jedi roots, as if to demonstrate this he twisted his body into an unnatural shape which had the tutor begging him to be careful and citing health and safety regulations at the top of her voice.

There were a lot more people at the barbeque, the vicar took it upon himself to say a few words, which I have come to realise he will offer himself up for at any occasion, Joe lying beside him demonstrating the upward facing dog position.

Reg’s spicy pork patties were flying off the grill along with his eastern style sausages, I stuck to the vegetarian option of a cheese and salad bap, not cherishing the possible repercussions later.

Jacinta was declaring the event a resounding success and Garth was just about to recreate his twisted body position when a loud moan escaped from Tom. He was leaning over, grasping his tummy and looking quite grey, Margaret acted quickly and pointed him in the direction of the toilet.

The sausages and patties suddenly lay untouched on people’s plates, apart from Reg who was eating them with his normal gusto. Ken summed up the feeling of the guests when he said, ‘Ah, the gippy tummy position, that’s the one no one ever wants to practice’.



Thursday, 18 June 2015

The Pirates Not In Penzance

Have you ever had one of those days when you keep seeing pirates? No, me neither, but last week there was rarely a day went by without one being spotted in Pavers Place.
It started on Thursday last, two of them in the Spar, Harry was behind the counter and he is far less inquisitive than Gary so didn’t enquire as to what they were doing in the area. However, he did have to ask them to leave the shop, animals aren’t allowed and one of them had quite a large parrot sitting on its shoulder.
‘I did feel sorry for the parrot, it looked a bit fed up, but still rules are rules’.

I don’t think spending any time in the Spar would have helped to cheer the parrot up, Tom is in there half his life and happy go lucky would never apply to him.
They turned up again later in the Short and Curlies, this time four of them (and the parrot) dressed in full pirate regalia, hat, eyepatch, black teeth, the lot. After a grilling from Shirl it was established that they were on the way to a gathering of pirates in Penzance, the town attempting to break the record for the most pirates in one place. They had stopped here so that one of them could visit his Aunty Ethel, who lives round the corner in Pavers Lane. This information seemed to satisfy Shirl and even Baz but I was disappointed, being an aunt to four nephews, if any of them turned up at my house in full pirate costume they would be told to change their clothing at once, there are certain standards to maintain.
Mand was in the pub that night with Catherine, she was on a break from Garth who had decided he needed some time to gather some power, as he found her quite ‘sapping’. That man comes up with the best excuses, but at least he didn’t say, ‘it’s not you, it’s me’, the reason that most of her previous partners had used.
One of the pirates had taken a shine to Mand, Catherine was doing her best to encourage the flirtation in an attempt to lift the malaise that had descended on her since Garth’s decision. Mand was unsure,
‘I don’t like know really, I mean I’ve just come out of a relationship with a religious man and I’m like not sure I could cope with another one.’
Catherine looked from Mand to the pirate and back again, I don’t think piracy is a religion and I’m not sure they are real pirates, he’s only here for a few days, just enjoy the attention.’
Mand was unconvinced, why, she had argued, would they dress up as pirates on a visit to see Aunty Ethel if they were not the real thing? At last, Mand and I were on the same wavelength, I’ll have to watch out, I could find myself saying ’like’ next.
The next day they were still hanging around in the street but this time they were clearly upset about something; after several large ciders the previous evening they had progressed to a bottle of rum and being generous in their drinking this had resulted in a lock in at the Short and Curlies. Aunty Ethel’s house is just a short walk from the pub but it had taken them several hours having turned right out of the pub instead of left, on the journey they had lost a back pack with essential items in it. My mind raced with a list of possible contents that was causing so much concern, a hook hand, a peg leg, eye patch, there had to be a treasure map and hopefully some pieces of eight.

After several hours searching, the belongings were declared lost for good, and they found themselves back in the Spar complaining to Tom that they had lost the sat nav that they were relying on to get them to Penzance. Tom allayed their fears, he had an encyclopaedic mind when it came to maps and directions and would write out the main motorways for them. The pirates left, still annoyed about the missing technology but determined to be in Penzance on time.
On Sunday I read a news article about the failed attempt to get the record for the most pirates in Penzance, apparently some people failed to turn up, I do wonder if Aunty Ethel’s visitors are still driving around the M25.



Thursday, 11 June 2015

A Tribute Act at the Short & Curlies

On Sunday there was a tribute act at the Short and Curlies. I don’t often surrender myself to these community events, but this is an occasion that’s hard to resist. Baz runs one about every three months. The first time we had Pelvis Resley, a bloke of about 60 in a white suit that was far too tight in the crotch area, and who sang as if he had a mouthful of marbles; although when up close I couldn’t help feeling it would have been preferable with extra strong mints. Last time we had Barry Mangolow, whose facial skin was as tight as the real Barry, had a voice that was slightly better, but danced as if two badgers were having a ruck. It was a miracle that no one was hurt; during the singing of Copa Cabana he swung the microphone so vigorously that many of the punters assumed the crash position.
Anyway, that is all by the by, this time he had managed to get Garibaldi Barlow.
Mand was exceptionally excited, especially as she has the knack of confusing fact with fiction and had told herself that this was the genuine article. It took some persuading by Jacinta and Garth that we were going to be seeing an imitation, in the end she was only convinced by the fact that the real Take That (or what is left of them) were about to embark on a run at the 02, and therefore unlikely to be appearing in the Short and Curlies.

The pub was packed on the night in question, even the miseries had managed to get a baby sitter, although after the hug between Suzy and Garth at the Grand National event Roger kept his wife in the corner of the bar, wedged between him and Margaret. Personally I was hoping that this would be of some consternation to Garth and that he would do a dance routine with Suzy later in the evening, finishing with the words, ‘No one puts baby in the corner’, but instead he and Mand seemed to have their lips glued together, so this particular flight of fancy was unlikely to happen.

Even Shane the vicar had shown up for the occasion, although he sat on the seat outside the pub for most of the evening, with his dog Joe sitting peacefully beside him. I get the impression that Shirl had the glad eye for Garibaldi Barlow, she had worn a blouse that was even lower than normal and praised him enthusiastically throughout her introduction. He took to the stage area, with a wink in Shirl’s direction and launched immediately into a ‘Million Love Songs’.
Garibaldi's voice seemed quite high to me and after a few verses he appeared to be joined by a backing singer, but even though I looked round the pub I couldn’t see anyone else, if it was a recording he clearly needed a new set of ears, it was awful.
Garth and Mand managed to disengage their lips, I was standing quite close to them and heard her tell him that Gari had been known to sing at people’s weddings. I don’t think the full implications of this statement sank in until she went on to describe the long white dress and silver flowing veil that she was intending to wear, at this point Garth made a swift exit to have a smoke outside with the vicar. Mand did not deter from her description, turning instead to Jacinta, who was trying to focus on Gari,

‘…and in tribute to my love I will wear silver flip flops’.
Jacinta’s look could only be interpreted as a signal to stay silent but by this time Mand was on a roll, when Gari finished his song she dashed up to him to whisper something in his ear.
Before bursting into, ’Baby you can light my fire,’ Garibaldi said a few words, ‘This one is for a couple with truly original names, but I bet it makes their love even stronger, here’s to Man and Grass.’
Mand looked mortified and fled outside to find the object of her desire; as the door of the pub opened I finally realised who the backing singer was, Joe had his head flung back and was howling at the top of his voice.
Garth took one look at Mand and pointed to the dog, ‘I dunno who you are marrying darling but forget the wedding singer in there, just book Joe’, and with that he sauntered off home.




Thursday, 4 June 2015

National Smile Month

I had wondered why the television and papers are currently full of horror stories of people who have repaired their own teeth with super glue, or pulled rotten molars with the help of a husky and sleigh; then I realised it is National Smile Month.
I should have guessed this fact sooner, Gary and Harry have had a poster on the wall of a woman’s gleaming smile for a week or so now, although neither of them are particularly good adverts for pearly whites. Harry has long since had yellow teeth after years of smoking and Gary had all of his removed, after most of them were knocked out in a particularly nasty scrap when he was a youngster.
‘You can’t beat a good set of falsies, have kept mine in a glass by the bed for years now’, he pushed them forward with his tongue as if to illustrate the fact. I had to leave the Spar at this point as this particular trick turns my stomach. I have grown up in a family where a host of aunts and grandparents would pop out their dentures at the drop of a hat, when was this ever considered entertainment? I can only be grateful that Simon Cowell is not a fan of false teeth.
Tom, a frequent visitor and stool sitter in the Spar also has very bad teeth, mainly due to a lackadaisical cleaning routine and meanness.
‘I don’t believe in wasting money on expensive toothpaste, I just pop the brush into the sink after I’ve had a wash and a quick scrub round my mouth does the trick...when I remember.’
At this point I would have considered inviting the BBC to come and continue with the ‘Great British Floss Off’ in Pavers Place, but I was too busy retching to follow that particular train of thought.
In celebration of National Smile Month, Gary and Harry have been encouraging the local children to bring in pictures of themselves smiling, to be exhibited on the community board that they have in the shop. Those children who could manage an image of themselves smiling and holding a toothbrush were entered into a prize draw, being inclusive as ever they would accept pictures that the children had drawn themselves.
There was some debate over the prize, Harry favoured a box of sweets and a colouring book, Gary felt it should be teeth related. They were already courting controversy as every entrant was given the choice of a brightly coloured and no doubt sugar enhanced lollipop, a deterrent to positive tooth care that Jacinta was quick to point out.

In the end they settled on a toothbrush with a novelty face, some toothpaste and a bag of candy false teeth, a prize to cover all bases.
After Jacinta banging her drum loudly and widely about the thoughtlessness of the lollipops as a prize, the take up had been somewhat minimal by the children, although both Ken and Garth have had one sticking from their mouth every time I have seen them this week. In a desperate measure to get rid of the lollies they had even been offered to Tom, who has never been known to turn down food. However, Jacinta’s message had clearly also reached him and he declined, opting instead to help himself to an apple that was on the cusp of its sell by date.
The next time Tom was seen he had a hot water bottle welded to the side of his face with a thick scarf and a look that screamed lack of sleep, he was also seeking the phone number for the local dentist. Apparently the healthy option had tipped his decaying molar over the edge and it had broken clean in two, leaving exposed nerves and a lot of pain.
A week later Tom was still blaming Jacinta, Harry and Gary for both the physical and mental anguish and the dentists bill, but every time I heard the story it always ended with the words, ;…and you should have seen the size of his drill!’