Sunday, 23 November 2014

CHECK OUT MY RACK (No, my actual rack)


I'm going to attempt to type this over the cat, so if it is full of silly errors, that will be why (honestly: she's very very old, and no longer understands that sometimes she gets in the way. No, she says, The Universe is mine now. All will fit round me).
This blog is not about my cat, but it is about nice things. Not ranty things. For a change. I've been baking this weekend, you see, and of course being the SocMed Addict that I am (and I had to restrain myself from use of hashtags there) I uploaded pictures of yummy things onto Instagram*.

Inexplicably, people asked for recipes - which is tricky to fulfil, as I make them up. But you're welcome to give them a bash. Don't expect miracles, though. I don't, and I'm the fucking Pope.

Here is the flapjack recipe. Everyone knows how to make flapjack so I won't go into a list of instructions. Just grease the tin well, use a low-ish heat (180C) as the sugar content is high, and let them cool in the tin. Oh - before they go into the pan, put the cornflakes in a bag and hit them repeatedly with a rolling pin. That's fun to do.

BREAD - I love to make bread and I don't do it often enough. There's nothing clever or fancy or artisan about my ingredients or my method ('Artisan'. If you mean 'handmade', say handmade. Please); I'm not claiming that my results are spectacular or better than those of others, like her off telly and that; and I cheat and use this (left) because I don't like getting gooey dough under my ridiculously long fingernails. KitchenAid. I do love it. Sigh. And it's purple...

What is more, if I take a break and then go back to breadmaking after a long time, the first batch is always like bricks. Always. Fortunately my family like my 'Dwarf Bread' so it gets eaten up just as fast as the decent loaves. Check out those delicious little bastards on the right, though - those are Marmite pinwheels. I didn't invent them, I only attempted to emulate them.  Here's what to do: 
1. Make a quantity of bread dough (see below). After it's risen, roll or press it thick but flat on a floured surface. 
2. Spread Marmite all over that motherfucker. As thick as you like. Do it. Then sprinkle grated cheese all over it if you want to. Mmmm. Yeah.
3. Roll the dough up like a Swiss roll. Pinch the edge closed if you like; it's not an exact Science. Slice the roll into, I don't know, 3/4" or 1" slices, depending on how big you want the finished pinwheels to be. 
4. Arrange them in a floured tin - two floured tins, they need space - and bake at 200C for about 17-20 mins.
5. Cool on a wire rack. Prepare yourself for adulation.

BREAD DOUGH - do it in any way that works for you. My way is not especially wholesome or pure. But the end results never last more than a day before they're gone - so something's working.
1. Half a bag of flour. I use white. Don't judge me. In a bowl. Make a well. Drop two dessertspoons of sugar into the well. Fill it with warm water. Not too warm. Drop two teaspoons of yeast into the water and stir.
2. Cover the water and yeast with flour from the edges and leave it for ten minutes until the yeast is working. Sprinkle two dessertspoons of salt round the edge of the bowl - keep it away from the yeast for now.  You might want a bit more salt - up to you.
3. Mix up the flour, water, yeast etc with a knife. Add more water and incorporate all the flour. Add flavourings at this point if you like - herbs, fried onions, olive oil, seeds, nuts, mixed peel, anything.
4. Once the dough is formed, knead it on a floured surface. This is important and meditative. Yes, it's the bit I don't do because it's gooey. You can do this in a mixer with a dough hook for five minutes, or by hand for about fifteen. Roll, press, fold. Roll, press, fold. Until it's clean and elastic.
5. Let the dough rise in the bowl for 30 minutes. Bit of olive oil over it, cling film, and a tea towel. Warm place. It should double in size. 
6. Shape the dough and put it in floured baking pans. I make rolls or small loaves as they cook faster.
7. Into the oven for 20 minutes. Don't open the oven until the end (you know that though). Cool on a rack. Lie to your children about hot bread giving you indigestion. Help yourself once they've left the room. And don't burn yourself when you take them out of the oven. Ouch.

Bake. Balls it up. Have another go. Let me know how you get on.

*Do you follow me on Instagram? You really should. 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014


17-21 NOVEMBER 2014

Let me get this bit over with.
That is not bullying. I merely illustrate the point that I am not here to discuss Kim's rear end: ironically, I can't be arsed. Thank you.

For a few days now, I've been brewing one up over this Shirt business. Just when I thought the battle was all in vain, and I was going to have to lay aside my spoon and spew forth bile and outrage whilst exhorting the Keyboard Warriors to Just Be Fucking Nice For A Change, It Doesn't Cost A Fucking Penny, You Irretrievably Myopic Slack-Jawed Learn-Nothing Want-Wits (breathe, Mu - that's the girl), Colin gave me a better idea. That is, it's still his idea. I'm just running away with it.

Nothing else need be said. There is no excuse for bullying, ever. Never. Don't sit behind your computer and act like a c**t. If you wouldn't say it to someone's face, don't type it; and if you would say it to their face, then possibly you're a git. Do you want to be a git? No? Then be nice. Or shut the fuck up.

Ok - smile! Here's Colin's idea.  It's his birthday tomorrow, Wednesday 19 November. He said this (see pic). He's a top bloke.
So to take part, all you have to do is post a pic of yourself in a crazy, colourful, gaudy or plain badass shirt on WED 19 NOVEMBER. I recommend posting it on the Facebook page  '10k for Dr Taylor'  with the following hashtags:
...I'm going to throw that last one in for good measure. You can add a link to this blog, too, if you like.

Don't forget Twitter and Instagram, and if you are able to make a charitable donation, please do so.
If anyone cares to give money in the name of anti-bullying, here are some links to anti-bullying charities.
In the US:

There are plenty of others. I am not endorsing these ones. Choose another if you like. I donated to one that supports families of LGBT victims of bullying earlier this year.

Now. Here is a photo of Dr Matt Taylor, and a link to the real story he's been involved in, actually, bollocks to that, go to his wiki page instead, he's amazing. But it doesn't stop there, does it? I now find myself obliged to agree with everyone's favourite bumbling moptop Boris Fucking Johnson, who apparently said:
"There must be room in our world for eccentricity, even if it offends the prudes, and room for the vague other-worldliness that often goes with genius." 
Fuck's sake.

Finally, here is how I think his apology should have gone. And you know how I feel about opinions; I should be grateful that all of twenty-five people agreed with it. 
Presumably, everyone else thinks it's balls.

Now... Hand me a new spoon, Butler, for I must bite through it with vigour.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014


For anyone who didn't get hold of issue 242 of Skin Deep Tattoo Magazine, you can view the article here. It's quite nice. You can even purchase back copies if you go here

Thursday, 6 November 2014



The signed print. In my hands. Retail value $75. Limited edition of three prints, and the only one available to buy
A while ago I published a blog called 'The Best Photo I Never Took', or something like it, I can't remember, anyway, it's here, but no need to look, there wasn't much in it, and the photo is below so don't bother. Come back to me. Thank you.
It featured a single photo of a marble I found in my bed. I don't know where it came from, or how it got there. I accept it's not an impossible thing to happen, but generally I can follow the logic of random bed-finds. This was different: I have no recollection of anyone playing marbles in my bed, and the mystery remains. I held it up to the light, and my little daughter pressed the button on my phone to take a picture. 

Photo: Tiny Sprig
I really love that picture. It makes me think of so many things, so many worlds, Universes, possibilities... captured in the morning light by a sleepy child. Shall I get to the point? Because I'm about to lose my marble...

SOMEONE CLOSE TO ME has recently received a diagnosis of Alzheimer's. I don't really know what that means. That is to say, we all have an idea, or we think we do... we all say 'what did I come upstairs for?' twenty times a day, then laugh and say 'It's my age!' - Well, I suspect the journey of finding out what Dementia really means is about to begin. I'm a little bit frightened. I wonder if my Someone is, too.

NOT LOST: the Marble
I LIKED THAT MARBLE so much that I had it caged and fastened round my neck. I shall certainly not lose it, like that. But now I am choosing to donate it, for whatever it is worth, to the annual charity auction at the Discworld Hogswatch celebrations later this month. Yes, perhaps it is a symbolic gesture. Perhaps it's somewhat flippant. But I think you know me, by now. I choose, symbolically, to lose my marble, in the name of charity.

The necklace is not all. You may also be aware of some fundraising activity I undertook a mere matter of weeks ago.
Skin Deep Tattoo Magazine
In case you haven't been keeping up, take a look at another blog entry, in which I provide details of my giant tattoo in aid of Dorothy House Hospice Care and Depression Alliance. Those were the two chosen charities of the British Beard and Moustache Championships 2014, which I co-hosted back in September (go on, go and have a look). The event raised a total of £5000 - over a quarter of which came from donations to my tattoo fundraiser. Well done, you fine people, and thank you. 

Brian Kesinger's 'Otto & Victoria'
Brian Kesinger, who did my tattoo artwork, sent me three signed prints of the design. I have kept one. The second has gone to my Mamma, who loves Shakespeare even more than I do. The third will be auctioned off at the end of the month, at the Hogswatch celebrations, in aid of RICE - the Research Institute for the Care of the Elderly. 
Yes, I'm being Victoria. And there's Otto
The purpose of this blog is not to ask for donations again, though of course you can give if you want to - go here.  Just have a look at the photos and, if you want to put in a bid for the print, or even for the necklace, just drop me a line.

Photo: SteelJam
I SHALL BE PERFORMING in my usual outrageous capacity at the Hogswatch celebrations. Come and see me.  Come and bid on something unique. Come and join the family of Bloody Loonies. It's all right, we are, and we know it. Terry says so.

Brian Kesinger's artwork for my tattoo. Bid on this - A3-sized signed print

The Blue Marble from my bed; My necklace. Own it
The finished piece. Not included in the auction. You cheeky monkeys.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Live And Let Live. Grow and Let Grow. Something About Kissing.

Oh fuck me, I’ve come over all ranty again.

It’s Movember: the time of year when – first and foremost – the campaign to raise awareness of prostate/testicular cancer1 gets its biggest slice of the attention-pie all year. That is, after all, what Movember is for, and I hope that actual fundraising takes place, besides all the moustache baby-steps and hirsute guffaws. I’m all for it. Anything that makes a difference; bonds men together; makes people happy and adds fur to faces – those are all boxes to be ticked in my opinion (woo – there’s that word again, Mu’s favourite). After all, I am heavily involved in the Bearding Community and I have seen first-hand the good that Beard Clubs do, not just in raising funds for charities but right down on a personal level. Beards Help Their Brothers.
Some lovely Bearded Gentlemen. The Wessex Beardsmen, in fact.
Naturally, SocMed fills up with the usual memes relating to moustache growth; beards; shaving; not shaving; the superior ability of the one faction to ‘get pussy’ compared to the propensity for the other faction to actually have one, or be one, or something equally droll. These are met with laughter and/or derision, depending on the point of view – nay, the OPINION – of the other users. 
A new one this year was along the lines of (um), “She Says She’s Doing No-Shave November – She Better Get Ready For No-‘D’ December”. I’m not posting the meme here, for fuck’s sake, you’ve seen it enough times. I gather the implications are
  • ·        that the Girlfriend of the Male in question is planning to stop shaving one or more body areas from which she is habitually inclined to undertake hair removal;
  • ·        the Male is repulsed by the prospect of the Girlfriend acquiring a month’s worth of hair growth in said areas;
  • ·        the Male proposes, presumably as an intended punishment, withholding sexual intercourse (the “D”, if you will) for the month following

It is unclear whether the Male intends to continue engaging in intimate acts with the Girlfriend during the month of November, nor is it clear whether the Girlfriend will revert to her usual state of depilatory satisfaction in time for the apparent penance of ‘No-D December’.
I am struggling with the logic here. Surely the Male will punish himself twice:
 - firstly, by forcing himself to have to commit acts which, though normally pleasurable, will disgust him (but not her, presumably) because he is having to do them with a lady of a very slightly more hirsute appearance during November;
 - then, for the month following, by which time the Girlfriend has become smooth and therefore, to him, desirable once more, by declining to engage in said acts despite the offending follicles being made bare of their growth in accordance with his preference?
Entirely gratuitous Jimmy Niggles shot. What? My blog...

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Mu, you’re thinking, Stop over-thinking it. It’s just a meme, and not a very good one at that. Well! Clearly I am not the only one to over-think things. ‘Swhat the Internets is for! This meme appeared in a ‘Closed’ Facebook group where, it must be said, nearly2 all of the members are of sound mind and sense of humour: warm, kind, tolerant, and always happy to laugh at the ridiculous. The passion which unites us is for The Beard, and we don’t seem to care whether it’s on a man or a lady: all are welcomed with love and respect. It’s great.

However, this meme proved divisive. Debates began. Insults were thrown. True colours showed. Members left. Others laughed. I won’t repeat any of it – it’s all filed under YHTBT3. But it got me thinking about Feminism. Again, not a debate I plan to open, but I will say this: it is possible to be a Feminist and still shave your legs. Not every woman – not every Feminist – sees hair removal as a symptom of male oppression. If you are happy with your reasons for shaving – or for not shaving – great. That’s all you need. I don’t care if your reason is ‘Because my boyfriend prefers it’: if that’s your choice, that’s fine with me.  Why does it even need to be ‘fine with me’? See previous blogs where OPINIONS are concerned! Stop reading! You don’t need to care what I think! I barely give a fuck myself! There are bigger issues to be tackled by the Feminist movement than the choice of body hair removal. But to the men who buy into this ‘No-D December’ nonsense4, ask yourselves a couple of questions:
  • ·        Do you think women’s body hair is gross because your friends say so?
  • ·        Or because you watch a lot of porn?
Photo: Nash.  Meme: Me.
  • ·        Or are you so ungrateful that the woman who lies down beside you actually desires you (whatever state you may be in) that you can’t look past a bit of leg stubble or even a hairy armpit?
If your answer is yes to any of these, seriously, grow the fuck up. Grow the fuck up. Body hair is unimportant. What we do with it is unimportant. Don’t use it as a tool for oppression, a symbol of liberation, don’t use it as anything. Shave it; don’t shave it; do with it as it pleases you. Respect the right of others to do with theirs as it pleases them5.

You know, though… I got to thinking. Again. If I were a man, yeah,
and I was having sex with a lady, yeah,
and I found she had hairy armpits, yeah,
that would be kind of cool. It would be like finding a little mini-beard in a place I wasn’t expecting.
A mini-beard! Amazing!

Women are beautiful. Men are beautiful.

Do you know what’s really amazing? Kissing. There should be more kissing. There just should.

1The Movember movement also supports men’s mental health. I approve this warmly. Love. Respect. Kindness. Compassion. Everyone. Women and Men.

2I say Nearly. Clearly one or two of them turned out to be misogynist pricks. Or maybe they were misunderstood; Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged. Thou Shalt Not Be A Keyboard Warrior. And all that shit

3You Had To Be There. That’s where it’s filed

4No, I know it’s not really a ‘thing’. But there are people out there who take memes more seriously than they should. For example, I’ve got a thousand words out of doing just that

5My own feminine horticultural arrangements remain, however, my business and mine alone. I will not be drawn on this6

6And no, I don’t mean it’s drawn on. Fuck’s sake. But you know, I do love a footnote