Category Archives: Humour

The Gown

I knew from Sarah’s desperate call that the situation was urgent.
“Tom, has it arrived or not?”
“Yes, the courier’s just been.”
“Right, let’s just hope it fits. We have to be there for seven!”
The Chairman’s annual dinner dance is the highlight of our social calendar (the other important dates being Christmas and my Mum coming for Sunday tea) so what to wear is a stress known only to the fairer sex. I on the other hand have no such conundrum, needing only to dust down my penguin suit (Although sometimes the previous twelve month’s over-indulgence can result in a fight to the death with the trousers).
So my problems were as nothing compared to Sarah’s. Rushing in from work, she ran upstairs to our bedroom, where on the bed lay her nemesis – the ball gown. I was half way up the stairs when an ear-piercing scream froze me to the spot.
“Tom!”
I burst in to see my beloved stuck inside an oversized merengue.
“They’ve sent the wrong dress!”
Immediately I went into damage limitation mode. “It’s not too bad. Here, can I pin it?”
“Since when did you become a seamstress? It’s ok, I’ll just wear the black one. Thank goodness you never stuck it on eBay.”
My grimace gave it away. “…Tom?”
“If it’s any consolation, My feedback score is excellent.”
Right well that’s it. I’m not going. I can’t go.”
“I’ll tell you what, let’s ask our daughter.”
I shouted Hannah, our sassy, fifteen year old fashionista. My eyes bored into her as I nodded furiously and said,
“Doesn’t that dress look lovely on your Mum?”
Hannah, glancing up momentarily from her smart phone, took one look at her Mother and said, “Have you not got anything else? What about that black one?”
Dragging the Apple of my Eye out onto the landing I said,
“Word of advice, don’t ever apply to be a diplomat, will you?”
As Hannah rolled her eyes I heard Sarah call from the bedroom. “Right that’s it. I’m not going, you can go on your own.”
Disaster loomed. I had to think quick.
“Look, let’s see what Debi says.”
Debi was Sarah’s best friend and my last hope. Hurriedly, I took some pictures.
“You could at least smile darling.”
“Listen David Bailey, there isn’t time.”
With Sarah in the bathroom, I seized my chance as Debi’s messages pinged through. “Sorry hon, that dress is awful!” (delete) “Is there nothing else? What about that gorgeous black -” (delete).
Beep! The taxi arrived. Bustling Sarah into the back of the cab, I handed over her phone.
“Debi hasn’t replied, but I’m sure she loved it.”
Outside the hotel, Sarah made a final adjustment to her dress as she looked me up and down.
“Have those trousers shrunk or something?”
“Let’s just go in shall we?”
Shuffling into the lobby, we were greeted by a glitter ball on legs – The Chairman’s Wife.
“Mrs Hughes, don’t you look…nice?”
“There you go, she loves it.” I whispered through my fixed grin.
“You’ve a lot to learn about women.” Replied Sarah through gritted teeth.
The night wore on. We danced and drank our way through it. Eventually it was late enough to make our excuses and leave. Sarah poured me into the taxi and we headed home.
“Be honest. Do I really look nice?”
“You look absolootelee dee-vine dahling (hic!) and I down care what Debi said.”
“Why, what did she say? You said she didn’t reply. Tom?”
Then, our chauffeur, a skinny young man with a pierced nose decided to chip in with his two penneth. “Take no notice love, my wife has the exact same dress and it looks great on her. Mind you, hers isn’t white, it’s bla-”
“Just here thank you!” Testily, I cut him dead.
Sipping coffee in the kitchen, I saw Sarah busy on my phone.
“What are you doing?”
Im just ordering myself a new LBD online. It’s a bargain, only £200. And isn’t PayPal so convenient?”
“But you haven’t got a PayPal account.”
“I know. But you have.”
And so, the wheels of married life turn endlessly onwards….

How Not To Recycle

Last Tuesday morning I drew back our bedroom curtains and watched bleary-eyed as the summer wind sent plastic bottles, newspapers and Dominos pizza cartons swirling into my neighbour’s gardens. Cursing the litter louts who had blighted the Avenue, I turned to my slumbering beloved and said,
“Sarah, what’s with all the rubbish outside? Should I ring the council?”
From under the duvet came the muffled reply, “What day is it?”
“Tuesday. Why?”
My Dearly Beloved suddenly sprang from the matrimonial divan and stood frozen on our 80% wool twist, deep in thought.
“Yesterday was a bank holiday…Tom, is Mrs Murphy on her front? ”
“Yes, why?”
The look of horror on Sarah’s face said it all. Clasping our hands to our faces, we both screamed together –
“The bins!”
Time was of the absolute essence.
“Tom, what are you doing ?”
“I’m er, looking for my other sock.”
“Never mind socks, just go down as you are! There isn’t time !”
“In my jim jams? Why can’t I get dressed?”
“Because… you are a man, you don’t care what people think. Now go! And don’t wake your little Nephew.”
Heartened that my sartorial insouciance gave me licence to roam the streets half-naked, I leapt quietly down the stairs, through the kitchen and out onto the patio where lay the dreaded recycling receptacles. Dropping the waste food bin (eugh) onto the cardboard bin, I stuck the one for plastic bottles under my arm and ran towards the front door.
I made it just in time to see the pink recycle lorry meandering away down The Avenue. Oh well, maybe we could just wait until next week? A bang from the window above told me that I’d better get a move on.

Along the road I limped, hitching the boxes up onto my shoulders as bottles and tins clattered down around me.
“Mr Hughes? You’ve dropped something!”
Mrs Murphy, aggressively sweeping her designated part of the pavement shook her head as I staggered on, cursing my burden of domestic detritus.
Up ahead a swarm of tattooed bin men swung plastic boxes in and out of the open-sided van. Eventually, I caught up with the happy band of council employees at the end of The Avenue. Triumphantly, I dropped my containers at one of the Recycle Operative’s feet. Ignoring me completely, he joined up with his pals as the lorry trundled out of my road. And there I remained, standing in my pyjamas, on the corner of The Avenue and Harrington Drive, smelling of stale milk.

Undeterred I pressed on, managing to barge my way past the lorry to dump my bins at the feet of a tattooed Hell’s Angel in a hi-viz vest.
“Can you empty my bins, please?”
Giant Haystack’s surly half-brother gave me a stare and then with his massive paw began lifting up my receptacles. Thank goodness for that, now I could end this nightmare, go home and tweezer the gravel out of my feet. Wrong!
The black bin crashed an inch away from my foot, un-emptied.
“What’s the matter?”
“There’s a tin can in your cardboard box bin.”
“Did you know that in China, a new coal-fired power station comes online every six months, so I don’t think one tin – ”
“Sorry sir, I can’t take your bin now, I’ve put a sticker on it.”
I looked down. On the side of the container was now stuck a bright yellow note – incorrectly packed bin. Giant Haystacks shrugged his shoulders as he and his lorry rolled down Harrington
Drive.
The sky darkened, commuters stared. There was nothing left for it. The walk of shame awaited. I carried my still-full bins back home.
Mrs Murphy shook her head as Sarah opened the door, took one look at my burden, then turned on her heel and went back inside. We didn’t speak until lunch.
Billy, my little nephew, was sat at the kitchen table mashing his eggy soldiers as I shuffled mournfully towards the patio.
“Uncle Tom, when I grow up I want to be a bin man.”
“Why on earth would you want to be a bin man?”
“Well, you get to wear a cool hi-viz jacket, you get a good pension, and you only have to work one day a week….”

image

The Intervention

For husband and father Tom Hughes, last Sunday morning began like any other. Hot Tea and warm toast to the ready, I sauntered into the lounge looking forward to a double helping of Broadchurch on catch up only to discover my dear wife Sarah and my teenage daughters Hannah and Emily sat in wait. Wearing a benevolent, concerned expression on her face, Sarah gently relieved me of my steaming mug and buttered Hovis, sat me down and said,

“Tom, What we are about to say is said out of love and concern, nothing else.”
Then I realised what was happening, it was a family intervention! But an intervention about what? Was my customary Friday night pint of mild down the Paraffin Lamp getting out of hand? Was my chocolate habit becoming a cause for concern? What could it be? I decided to confront the issue head on.
“Listen, if anyone is wondering why all the cream eggs keep disappearing, I want you all to know that from now on I promise to share the value pack with everyone else.
A confused silence descended. My three precious girls all stared at each other. Chocolate Eggs it seemed, were not the issue. Sarah pressed on.
“We are gathered here today Tom to tell you that, well, you are a bit of a scruff.”
“A what?”
Next to pipe up was Hannah.
“Yes Dad, look at that jumper, look at those jeans?”
“What’s wrong with them? ”
“Dad, who wears hiking socks, walking shoes and a snood to the gym?
“Yes Tom, the girls are embarrassed. Their friends are talking. You need a new wardrobe, urgently.” Said Sarah.
“Well ok, I’ll go through my stuff and – ”
“Too late we’ve done it for you.” Then, to my dismay, Sarah produced a black bin liner full of my precious old clothes. My sweatshirts, my jeans and – horror of horrors- my Bruce Springsteen 2005 tour t-shirt.
“Not the Boss ! Please?”
“No Tom this lot is off to the charity shop in the precinct. Now, grab your coat and let’s go shopping! Er, on second thoughts, leave the coat, let’s just go.”
In the vast Outlet clothes store I wandered aimlessly around, fingering the rails without a clue what I was doing. Eventually I held up a pair of jeans with the pleasing price tag of £24.99.
“Sarah, what about them?”
Sarah examined my choice suspiciously.
“You haven’t just grabbed the cheapest have you?”
“Not at all I-”
“Right put them back and go try on these.”
I examined the pair picked by Sarah. To my untrained eye, they looked identical to the jeans I had just chosen. Identical that is, except for the price. Sarah’s were fifty pounds dearer .
“Why would I pay seventy-five pounds for something I can get for twenty-five, I don’t- ”
Grabbing the seat of the expensive jeans, Sarah pointed to a yellow logo stitched onto the rear pocket.
“Look! That’s why. They are designer!”
“So, they sew a little squiggle onto the pocket and they charge you treble the price? Are you being serious?”
The look from Sarah told me that yes, she was indeed being deadly serious. She picked out a second pair from the rack, handed both of them over and pointed in the direction of the changing rooms. I sloped away to the curtained off area where a glum-faced child gave me an orange circle on which was printed the number two.
I battled with the first pair for what seemed like an age. Eventually I gave up, deciding that, in the words of my Auntie Joyce they “wouldn’t go near me.” The second pair I actually managed to heave myself into. And a more uncomfortable pair of pants I couldn’t imagine. Baggy round the crotch and barely covering my posterior – clearly this particular “Designer”, in his hurry to stitch on the magic money squiggle had stamped them with the wrong size.
Outside I informed Sarah of the manufacturer’s error.
Sarah shook her head in defeat and flung back at me the cheap pair I had originally chosen. I tried them on. Of course, they fitted perfectly.
The next day Sarah arriving home from work, found me sat in my new jeans and sporting another, different purchase.
“Tom! What are you doing wearing that tatty old Bruce Springsteen t shirt? I thought I gave that away?”
“It’s very simple darling, yesterday afternoon, decided to go and do my bit for cancer research…”

The Opticians

“Tom, I’m sick of wearing glasses, I want my eyes lasered. You should get them done too.”
“Listen, the nearest I’ll get to a laser is watching Star Wars.

image

Anyway, have you seen how much they charge?”
“Ok what about contact lenses then? And I’ve booked us a double appointment tomorrow at the opticians.”
Opticians give me the creeps. Sitting in the dark with all that equipment, I always think of Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange.

image

Walking into the opticians we were greeted by a pleasant young man in reception. I shook his hand and said,
“Hello. I’ve just been next door to Co-Op Travel asking about my eye test and they told me to come in here.”

“Tom stop it, he won’t get your silly joke.” Said Sarah.
“Very we’ll sir have you an appointment?”
“Yes. Mr and Mrs Hughes.”
“One moment please.” Sarah took her seat while I went to examine some frames.
” What do you think of these darling?
“Put them back, you look like “Michael Gove.”

image

(For anyone outside the UK Michael Gove is an unpleasant member of our Government.)
Then a chubby little man with a built up shoe limped into reception “Mr Hughes ?
I nodded, gulping nervously. A fat index finger beckoned me inside.
“Come with me dear.”
Dear? I looked at Sarah, who urged me to follow saying,
“Go on in, we haven’t got all day….dear.”
He paused at the door to his torture chamber, looked me up and down and said, “I’ve not….tested you before, have I?”
“I don’t think so.”
“No. I’d have remembered. Come in then.”
Through his enormous lenses his big saucer eyes bored into me. Sat in the hot seat, I watched as he removed his glasses and began cleaning them with his tie. He looked up at me once more. His eyes had disappeared! Then back on went the glasses and…zoom! The huge pupils returned.
“Now relax while I dim the lights…”
If I wasn’t nervous beforehand, I was now.
Letters appeared on the whiteboard opposite. My torturer settled in besides me and, I have to say, a little too close for comfort.
“Now can you read left to right, top to…bottom.”
I’m sure it wasn’t the right way to do an eye test but I just started guessing
“K no, R”
“Now Tom, don’t guess.”
Then he did something really weird. He grabbed a hand held light, put his face right next to mine, as in right next, and shone it in my eyes. All I could hear and feel was his breath on my cheek. When, for a second, our noses touched it was all I could do to stay seated.
Outside in reception I found Sarah, relaxing after her ordeal.

“Well I won’t be going in there again . I nearly chinned him. I thought he was going to throw the lips on me.”
“Tom, he uses an ophthalmoscope to test for high blood pressure, you dope.
“Oh…. Well he could have told me.”
Then it was time for our contact lenses. The nice lady demonstrated the technique for putting them in. We followed suit. After handing over a fortune we both stumbled outside, now with our twenty-twenty vision supposedly restored.
As we groped our way to the car park, I could hear people tutting and oh-dearing as we passed.
One elderly lady stopped me and taking hold of my hand said,
“Whatever tragedy has happened my loves, remember, time is a great healer.”
I looked at Sarah, she looked at me. Our eyes were both red and streaming.
“I can’t see a bloody thing.”
” Neither can I.”
“Look this is ridiculous, let’s go back.”
We retraced our steps down the high street, doing our best to avoid the lamp posts.
“Listen mate, can we change our minds? We just need to buy some normal glasses.”
“That’s no problem sir, but I think you’ll have to try next door, er this is Co-Op Travel?”