Reblog: S.S. Haircut

One of the things I find weird about WordPress is the range of emotions it evokes. By that, I mean that just like Forest Gump said, “Life is Like a box of chocolates“. You really don’t know what is coming next. I follow something over a hundred other blogs and revisiting WP from time to time, there is bound to be a new collection of posts to read. One post might be the funniest post I ever read, the next could be the saddest, and my awareness has to be able to flip between those two extremes, one post to the next.

I’m gonna give you fair warning, this post is the latter. As serious as they come. So, if you’re not in the mood, please bug out now.

The post that got me even suckered me in. I’d just finished writing a bantery comment to someone, so I still had a smile on my face. I noticed that the title had the word “haircut in it, and I automatically thought that it would be somebody whining that their hair had gotten too long during lockdown Don’t get me wrong, some of these whiney posts can be quite witty, so I opened it, still smiling from the previous post. And then I started reading…

And I just choked, there and then.

I posted the other day about my mum-in-law, who was having issues, let’s say, with the groundbreaking technology of a mobile phone. I’d like to talk some more here.

World War II was brewing for a long time before it all kicked off. So much so, that ships were arranged to evacuate as many children as possible from the potential war zone, to the relative safety of the UK. This programme was called KinderTransport. That word has a very obvious meaning to me, but I appreciate that it might not, to some of you.

Mum-in-law was actually born in Belgium. She was one of the last generations of children to come across on the KinderTransport. Now, she was born in January 1939, so she must have come across aged less than six months, because that’s when the war started. That in itself should raise a red flag to any parents out there. How on earth do you give up your six-month-old baby? Even if there is a war coming?

Once in the UK, she had no relatives so grew up in an orphanage. Mrs Bump talks about it, obviously from handed-down tales. Growing up, her life’s ambition was to get married. Here, now, I can look on that scornfully and say “is that all?” but it makes perfect sense. When your background is an orphanage, you crave the relative stability of a settled, married life.

So I look at this and, knowing full well what went on to happen in Europe, mum-in-law might so easily never have had the chance to live a life. And no m-i-l, no wife. That’s what made this post personal. That’s what made me choke.

We hear from time-to-time these days about holocaust-denial. I’ve got no time whatever for this nonsense. I am convinced of what actually happened in, like, a nanosecond. If the Holocaust didn’t happen, would somebody please come and explain to my mother-in-law why she has no family? *Never* had a family?

This poem was beautiful. Thank you, KK. I didn’t feel able to comment on it at the time, this post is my comment.

Yard Sale of Thoughts

They opened up the parlors.
How can we work with angry hair?
Barber dryer,
tendriled wires,
German chatter,
electric glamour.
Hair like soil from high boots;
the massacre of dead ends,
piled on tiled floor
after months of skin and dust.

Today, there’s the fluttering
cushioned carousel chair,
my son’s body diffusing,
curled into twirling leather,
amid pandemic blether.
Gleeful in his last moments
of unruly hair.
The comb hissing and flying
through his lockdown locks,
an Oktoberfest swing.

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Technologically Challenged

I don’t know if any of you remember – some of you have been following me for this long, so you might – but about a year ago I posted looking for some tech recommendations for my mum-in-law.

Well, the year went by and she stubbornly refused to take any steps to help out. She has even lived through lockdown isolation in, well, isolation.

Until a couple months ago. She tripped down the stairs. She certainly seemed to be injured, as she was unable to get up. They called for an ambulance – which arrived about 5 hours later. 5 hours – let that sink in. They eventually got her up. They wanted to take her to hospital as a precaution but, what with COVID n’all, she declined. We said from the start that the only way she would know what she had done was by x-ray, but what do we know?

One of the good things to have come out of this was that m-i-l at last agreed to carry some device. The cheapest solution happened to be a mobile phone – it costs half of one of these emergency SOS devices. The phone allows you to program a bunch of emergency contacts. It also has a big red button which, if pushed, will send a help text to all these contacts.

All was set up and working, Mrs B even made a pouch so that m-i-l can hang the phone around her neck. In an effort to coax m-i-l into using the thing, everybody is calling her on her new mobile number.

All going swimmingly.

Until last week. Feeling adventurous, m-i-l decided to find out how the phone’s camera worked. Unfortunately, whatever button she pushed, the phone no longer rang! It vibrated, but didn’t ring.

Everybody, by now, was remote. It was a case of trying to figure out what m-i-l had done, to turn the sound back on. Pouring over the online manual, here, Mrs Bump suggested some fixes. But however those suggestions translated to button-pushes, m-i-l has now also managed to turn “vibrate” off!

So now, the only way she knows if somebody is calling is when the screen lights up. And this is a flip phone, so… almost never!

What do you do? One of Mrs Bumps sisters is heading over there in the next few days.

Happy Birthday

My wife did another card. This time, for a sister she hardly has any contact with. Took her all day – go figure!

How to Shop?

I had this post in my Drafts folder anyhow and was thinking of publishing it today, but it also kinda fits in to today’s (3 September) Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) prompt of odd, because one of us (most likely me) probably falls into that category.

I was inspired to think about this topic when AngloSwiss posted the other day about completing an online shop. Probably one of the few things to have become bigger and better during the pandemic is online grocery shopping, so I thought I’d share a little disagreement I have with my wife.

She does it – well, I’m not quite sure how she does it – let’s just say voodoo, and stick with how I do it.

I close my eyes. I imagine I’m going into the shop, walking down the first aisle. Toiletries. Do we need anything this week? No? Let’s continue.

Next aisle. Milk and spread. Oh yes, we always need milk. Let’s put 2l in the virtual shopping cart.

Next aisle, cheese. Then yoghurt, and so on.

The point is, I’m sitting there with my eyes closed, adding things into my online, virtual shopping cart in exactly the same order as I would add them to a real shopping cart, if I were walking around the real shop.

Every week, my wife will ask “do we need anything else?”, and, true to form, I’ll say “No”. Not a question mark “no?”, but a firm, definite “no”. Because at that point, I have reached the end of my virtual store. We have been everywhere and there are no more aisles to trawl.

I figure at least this way, I’m not gonna forget anything.

My wife thinks I am crazy, because when she wants to add something from, like, ten aisles ago (which she does frequently, including when we go to the real shop) it really puts me out of my stride.

We’ve evolved to this uneasy truce where one of us adds all the things they want, then the other then adds all the things that they want, including checking for dups.

Come on, which of us is mad?

A Birthday Surprise

My wife has a friend’s birthday coming up, so she decided to make a card for them. She has been quite enthusiastic about her crafting lately, and this is the card she produced. I thought it was lovely so scanned it in. The skeletal design came from some stamps, and she has added watercolour. What do you think? Do you think she deserves some cake after her lunch?


I just said to my wife:

– I never argued with any of my partners as little as I argued with you.

She responded:

– I never argued with any of my partners as much as I argued with you.

I guess that’s marriage for you.

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (1 June 2020)

When my daughter was small, we went out for tea and scones once. It was a beautiful day so we sat outside, on the lawn.

Look at those two pigeons! my daughter exclaimed. One of them is giving the other a piggy back!

for Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC), lovebirds.

Date Night

Here’s an idea for lockdown:

Last night, my wife and I had a date night. We’d planned it for the evening after we’d been to the shops, so while we were out we picked up some goodies.

Since last week, I have been looking through the programme guide and recording all the decent-looking movies I could find as they aired.

Monday, I raided the wine store and found a 20-year-old bottle I picked up from the producer while staying down at the bottom of France. It had been in the fridge since then. Ever the clinician, when I finally poured it, my wife said it looked like a dodgy-looking specimen, but there was 20 years of deliciousness in each glass.

Come 7 o’clock, we prepared just a frozen ready-meal, mushroom risotto. We have one of those good-frozen-ready-meal shops in Salisbury, so made a quick detour while we were out. We’ve had the risotto before and it too is delicious – and vegetarian! So we settled into our date night, settled in to watch Jason Bourne. It was crap – my wife and I have rarely agreed on what constitutes a good movie, but never mind.

The highlight of any meal is, of course, the pudding and we each made our choices at the supermarket. She had what tasted like a mixture of fruit, meringue and cream, whereas I had a delicious chocolate-and-salted-caramel torte. Mine was only a couple of inches in diameter, but it was so rich, that was enough. The beauty about both desserts is that they came in pairs, so we can try it all again soon!

There was one sad sign of our ages, however. Where we’d once have got up to all sorts of canoodling afterwards, last night, by not long after 9PM, we were both tucked up in our (separate) beds, snoring soundly. Because I seem to tolerate rice quite well, my sugar was also low, when I measured it this morning (that tiny torte wouldn’t hurt anyone, plus I was careful what I ate yesterday to that point).

So, a second date? With a decent movie on offer, who knows? Just provided those puddings last…