A sticky moment | Tales From The Vale


A sticky moment

Right, the Editor’s asked me to put something funny in this issue. ‘Our 12,000 subscribers will be a bit down as we plod through January and the excitement of Christmas is over,’ she explained.
So here’s a true story.
Ages ago my girlfriend, Sarah, went to the gynae. It was a private consultancy and she needed to visit the loo before the inspection. He (why are so many gynaes men?) directed her to the bathroom in his immense town house.


The loo was spotless and beautifully appointed but lacked loo roll. So Sarah fumbled in her handbag for a loose tissue and gave herself a quick dab.
With her legs in the straps in the clinic (what women go through! I’m pretty sure if men had to visit the gynae a more elegant method would immediately be invented) the gynae had a quick gander, looked quizzical, curbed a nascent smile, and reached for some tweezers. He delved into the coal face, removed something, gave an astonished look then delicately popped it in the waste bin.
The inspection over, everything tickety boo, he left and after dressing Sarah peeped into the bin to see what he’d removed. I’m sure gynaes see a lot of strange things but this must have been a first for him as when he saw Sarah out he was clearly sweating with the effort to not laugh or mention what he delicately placed in the bin. Which was a first class stamp.

How to tell if you’re aging

We were discussing with friends how to tell when you’re approaching middle age. There are 10 signs that we came up with.

1 You start to use the word ‘pop’ a lot: ‘I’m just popping to the shops,’ or ‘I’ll pop the kettle on.’

2 You start putting the early morning tea mugs, spoons, sweetener etc. out the night before.

Initially you do this just before you go to bed, then it gets earlier until you find yourself doing it straight after washing up that morning’s tea stuff. There’s a word for this: TOMA. It stands for ‘Tray Of Middle Age.’

3 When you watch TV or a film, you cannot help ruining it for everyone else by endlessly saying “Oh she was in that film with that bloke (you can’t remember the bloke’s name, obviously). What was it called? It was set in Hollywood, no not Hollywood… err…” which really infuriated me when I was a kid and my parents did it.

Now I’m doing it.

4 Not only can you remember Angel Delight, you know for
a fact that no-one liked the butterscotch flavour which tasted synthetic and looked like cat poo. (So so wrong. Butterscotch is literally everyone else’s favourite flavour, Andy – Ed)

5 You value function over style: for example we pulled up at some red traffic lights and a load of Hell’s Angels revved up ahead of us. They were all on those customised bikes with laid-back seats and long curved handle bars so each rider was shaped like a cross leaning backwards. A few years ago we’d have thought them really cool, but Kae just said “that can’t be good for their backs.”

6 There’s a great blues band playing at a pub five minutes away. Gig starts at 9pm. Not too long ago you’d be there by 8pm getting some pints in, chatting to the band and checking out their guitars and equipment.

Now you stay in and watch Yorkshire Farm on catch-up. (And you still refer to the TV soap Emmerdale as Emmerdale Farm).

7 You’re early for appointments. You’ve got the doctors at 5pm, you arrive at 3.55pm ‘in case there’s a delay on the roads’. You then spend an hour in your beige Fiat Twingo sucking Werther’s Originals and failing to complete the Telegraph crossword.

But you feel it’s worth it.

8 You don’t know why, but somehow you’ve gone from wearing tight black jeans from GAP or Next to elasticated-waist jeans from M&S. You genuinely don’t know when this happened – and even worse, you’re not really shocked by it.

9 You may decide to start a digital magazine. It’s bloody exhausting and terrifying and you quickly realize you lack the skills to succeed and you have the 3am terrors and are convinced you’ve made the most God-awful mistake. But the magazine quickly becomes an enormous success with incredible on-line stats (even though your Deputy Ed consistently fails to learn that online is now a real word and never hyphenated – Ed). And when people you love, and who love you, tell you how brave and brilliant you are while simultaneously (and affectionately) taking the piss out of you every single day, you don’t believe them.
(I thought you were being nice to me so I left this in. But I just realised it’s no.9 in a ‘you’re aging’ list so you basically just told me I’m old now – Ed)

10 You are pathetically grateful on a day that your tiny village is flooded by torrential rain and you mail your editor to say ‘we need wine and we can’t get out of the village. Courtenay’s got a huge 4×4, what are you going to do?’ And an hour later C arrives with provisions.
Totally not me, by the way.

The Audi Crap

Laura, the Editor, made me laugh when she mentioned that in the 80s a brewer was about to launch an ‘Irish Red Ale.’

They’d spent tens of thousands in product development, testing, branding consultation, marketing etc.
Then a newcomer to the team questioned whether a beer called IRA was a good idea.

I responded by telling her that I was rather matey with a bloke who used to be the marketing director of one of the UK’s most famous and luxurious car marques.

They had developed a new model and spent a fortune with a brand consultancy to get exactly the right name for the new super luxury motor– a name which reflected style, glamour, an air of mystique and exclusiveness.

The consultancy came up with Mist. Sounds good, eh? Everyone was delighted. ‘It’s perfect, you’ve earned your fee.’ The print and TV advertising agents started working – and invoicing. The invoices were not small.

Germany was one of the brand’s biggest markets. But the main German franchisee was less than impressed when he was consulted.

He told the car-maker that the word Mist in his language could be translated as slang for ‘crap.’ Can you image the hilarity if a top German car brand launched, for example, ‘the Audi Crap?’
I can picture the ad tag line, ‘Don’t go through the motions, have a Crap. Buy Audi.’ ‘Did you pay the consultancy their fee,’ I asked. He gave me an old-fashioned look shaking his head. Lesson there – always question the ‘experts’.

Goats on the line

‘The 7.15 to Charing Cross is delayed. There are goats on the line.’
I was in a queue at the ticket office at Wadhurst station when I heard this and we all collapsed with laughter. Being English we all become instant friends.

A lady ahead of me announced that she was at a country station in Wales and a train was delayed due to a refrigerated lorry carrying tons of soft cheese got stuck on a level crossing. The refrigeration failed, the cheese melted and ran out of the lorry onto the tracks. A team were called to clean the tracks of thick greasy substance. Big laugh.

I said (and my life’s gone downhill since) ‘did they put up a sign for motorists saying Drive Caerphilly.’ Back in the queue at Wadhurst that got a big laugh. But I got a bigger one when I truthfully added, ‘You don’t know how long I’ve waited to use that.’


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