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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Green Or Mean?

I’m very good at stern letters, me. I write them to big corporate companies all the time – Richard Branson probably has an auto ‘avoid this crazed woman’ command for when my emails come up, I’ve complained about his stinking Virginity so many times.

I like letters. We’ve got a friend who’s just gone to prison and I’m writing to him. Not in a fall-in-love-with-a-conman-and-marry-him-while-he’s-behind-bars sort of way, just in a ha ha, you knob! You’re in prison now, how’s that going? I want him to know we innocent souls on the outside, the ones who don’t ask undercover police officers if they want to party at festivals, are not going to forget about him.

Yes, I like letters. Stern ones are my favourite. When Wightlink messed up my Bestival festival tickets this summer, I wrote them ever such a stern letter. That the issue was probably my fault was neither here nor there – if I have to deal with these billion pound turnover companies, then they have to deal with me. Simple.

Thus, I wrote to South Gloucestershire county council, for they are my council and are supposed to be looking after me and my environment. And I said hey! Council! I want to put my food waste in a brown bin like what my friends in neighbouring council patch Bristol do! I want to separate my rubbish from my food stuffs, so you can feed some pigs somewhere. When will I be allowed this extra notch on my recycling bedpost?

Well, Kim Willis, they kindly replied, we think you’re right. How about we initiate the green waste collection scheme, as of December 2010?

Thank you and goodnight.

I could once again sleep at night. Another stern letter in the bag, another problem solved.
 Now, the brown bin has arrived and I’ve started chucking my tea bags, carrot peel and leftover dinner in there. Alright, less of the leftover dinner. That goes in my belly. But the carrot peel? My goodness gracious me, it takes two weeks for the bin men to collect our green waste, and in two weeks, putrid carrot peel smells begin to infest the entire flat, like a rat has died and maggots with backpacks full of rotten eggs are riding skateboards around our flat.

This is a stern, open letter. Am I missing something? Am I doing it wrong? Surely all the people I know who separate their food waste don’t just live with this smell. Perhaps I ought to invest in some kind of ghostbusters-esque suits and for the second week of the fortnight, we can just sit about in those, breathing through gas masks. Like when they thought ET was a bit of an alien and everyone got all dressed up. It is seriously that bad.

Or, dare I say it, I think the green team might be down a player. I’m not sure I’m cut from strong enough cloth to keep rotting food in my house for a fortnight. I’ll just have to fly a bit less far on my next holiday to make up for it.
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Wednesday, December 1, 2010


There’s nothing quite like a holiday to make you want to be a better person back home. Whenever I go away, I use the time away from my computer, my routine, my obsessive compulsion with punctuality and etiquette, to take a deep breath and say, now Kim, how can we improve on this near-perfect personality you’re lugging around?

Having just returned from two weeks in the sun, I’ve got plans. Buy less clothes, save for a house. Spend less time at the computer, go on more walks. I can’t very well get a dog one day if I can’t be bothered to walk when it’s raining.

But most importantly, I decided I want to be a better girlfriend. Gareth doesn’t get his own way much. I come from a long line of bossy people and Gareth has allowed this personality trait room to breathe and, disastrously, grow. I control the kitchen. He may pay for half the food but hell hath no fury like a woman who finds out he helped himself to some cheese I was saving for dinner.

I control the bathroom. I have even taken to using my label maker (yes, I have one) to write ‘Step away from my posh shampoo. It’s Asda own brand for you’ on my shampoo. Poor kid. Either he doesn’t care, or when I’m not looking he gives me my comeuppance by squirting my £20 shampoo on his genitals.

Time away has given me time to think. After three years together, we’ve picked up some bad habits.

Dear Gareth, I wrote, from the bubble above a beach on which I floated, shall we try harder to be better people when I get home?

Gareth was all for it.

‘Let’s stop swearing at each other,’ I said. We had, of late, taken to swearing at each other for no particular reason. I say ‘we’. I say ‘we’ just to make myself feel like I’m not the only one in this relationship who has forgotten how to be polite.

‘That’s not how you cook pasta, you dick!’

‘We’re going to be late, penis head.’

My little potty mouth, churning out blue murder at a rate of one swear word per sentence formed. Not good. Which perhaps explains Gareth’s Big Idea:

‘How about we have a swear box? Every time we swear at each other, £1 in the box.’

I agreed it was a fabulous idea. But wait, there was more.

Gareth also wanted us to reduce our sexorcism.

What is sexorcism, I hear you ask? Well, it’s humping. It’s thrusting your groin enthusiastically, fully clothed, whenever something marginally exciting happens, and not necessarily nor regularly related to sex.

Gareth’s been complaining for a while that watching me thrust my hips back and forth with a Rik Mayall circa-the-Young-Ones expression on my face is not exactly the aphrodisiac he was hoping for when he signed up. So, we added No Sexorcism to the list.

I got home from Malaysia raring to be a better person.

Day one, and I’m already down £6 in a mixture of blue words and pelvic thrusts. It’s tough, changing your personality.

Plus, it’s raining. So I think I might just stay indoors, not walk my imaginary practice dog and sit at my computer. Punctually. While swearing at Gareth.

God, that feels so good I think I feel a mild thrust coming on.
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Wrinkly Bottom

On the last day of the holiday, Tammi and I practiced our regime for when we are 70 because, yes, we do have it all planned out.

Long will our husbands have left this world for the next, and Tammi and I, childless and rich, will live together, in an eccentric, dilapidated mansion. We will divide our time between alcohol, the kind of drugs we would have taken in our youth if only they’d been invented, watching films and eating the kind of food we’d have been eating in our youth if only we weren’t obsessed with just about squeezing into that size 10 dress.

It’s going to be fantastic. We’ll be urban legends – adults won’t believe the yoofs round our way when they tell them those mad old women who smell of gin are on first name terms with the most dangerous dealer in town. We'll have watched 24, the Wire and Breaking Bad 14,753 times by then. We'll know how to score.

With Dad departing Malaysia a day earlier than us, we were left to run amok for a full 24 hours before our own flight home.

It was a good trial run. Some people are afraid of getting old. Not us. When you’ve got a plan like ours, old age doesn’t seem quite so daunting.

As a dress rehearsal for the last chapter of our lives, we spent the day sunbathing naked. As the sun went down, we gave each other the courtesy of a few items of clothing, then played scrabble while guzzling gin and tonics.

We then headed out for an exquisite dinner at the fanciest restaurant in Lang Kawi (think of the 10th fanciest restaurant you know in England and you’re about there) We didn’t hold back on starters, cocktails or puddings. You don’t have to watch your weight when you are 70. Or on the last day of your holiday.

Gareth always teases me for my ability to remember events by what I had to eat. ‘Remember when we went to Cornwall, and I had the prawns and you had a burger?’ I’ll say. He doesn’t. I do. A lovely marie rose sauce. August 2005. Followed by ice cream.

And so my night with Tammi, practicing our eccentricities for old age, will forever be remembered by the seafood antipasto starter, the barbecued chicken with mango and cashew nut salad. More importantly, the steamed apple, macadamia and butterscotch pudding, and the duo of gingerbread ice cream sandwiches, with chocolate brownie and caramel bananas. And, because Tammi’s memory bank also revolves around food, I know I’m not alone.

If only we could have got hold of some hallucinogenic, possibly anti-arthritic, drugs and scared a few kids, it might as well have been 2050. Only, with slightly less wrinkles.

Close your eyes now if you don't want to see what I project we'll look like in 2050. Gin and Tonic just out of shot...
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