Please Take A Compliment

Chocolate Cheesecake

Chocolate Cheesecake

Compliments are contentious where I am concerned, especially unwarranted ones. Due to my over analytical nature I admittedly look too much into the ulterior motives behind the compliment. Thanks to the great genes my parents kindly bestowed on me, people often question my age. Upon finding that I am more than legal, conversations take an altogether different realm. Digressive paraphernalia becomes the norm. I end up being an involuntary party to a diatribe I have no business being part of. That is when the creepiness seeps through. A furrow of flirtatious furore disguised as a compliment ensues.

I have had my fair share of obscure compliments that make me question not the compliment per say but rather the person who is saying it; once I have untangled the web of obscurity surrounding the compliment that is. Such was the time when someone stopped mid conversation and complimented me on the colour of my natural lips, then stopped to quarrel with himself as to why they were a certain shade of pink! It didn’t help that I was biting my lips in anguish.

A guy once said to me I was classy because of my taste in using mascarpone cheese in my cheesecake as opposed to the supermarket brand cheese. Up until that point I was of the conviction that mascarpone was the norm for all humanity engaged in baking, but it transpired as not being the case. I was aghast at the suggestive undertone of his compliment. Was he implying that I am a stuck up cow who thinks supermarket brand cheese isn’t good enough for my baking stature?

It was truly mortifying and mystifying on equal measures. I didn’t read the compliment in that but rather saw it as an assault on my baking stratagem. We exchanged cheesecake recipes and I implored encouraged him to try mascarpone in his cheesecake as it would give it an elevated taste. The next time I saw the man he acted like he didn’t know me.

Or the time someone expressed to me their desire to be with someone who had my face. I couldn’t help but feel offended on behalf of the rest of my body. I know that I had a midriff bearing worthy body once upon a time; nevertheless this was an insult in my books not a compliment. Upon noticing my disgruntled mood the man in question attempted to justify his bizarre testament. He attested that he liked the symmetry of my facial features and how as long as his significant other had such accolades anything below the neck didn’t matter as much. I wasn’t buying his fervency!

I don’t mind compliments, at least those that are out of the norm. Give me a compliment on my perfectly arched eyebrows. They are by far the most worthy recipients of a compliment or two. They triumphed through a decade of conspicuous craftsmanship, odd shapes and the occasional mishap concerning a razor. The times they got mistaken for belonging to a face of hardened gangster because they had the odd unintentional lines cut through them. That was one heck of a learning curb. I have now established the perfect symmetry and accepted that my eyebrows will never look identical. I am now at peace with the fact that they are not identical twins but second cousins who share one common denominator- my face!



What Man Has Joined Together Let No Man Put Asunder

photo (7)Union or no union that is the question on many minds tonight.

Take Gabriel. We might as well give him a biblical pseudonym. I am really keen in preserving this man’s right to remain anonymous. He is going through a terrible time from the snippets I gathered from his parable; so the least I can do is afford him one of the many basic human rights that he is so convinced was taken away from him.

Gabriel is a man who is a strong advocate of the better together campaign. Better together as a family: Mum- Dad- Children. But his visions were short lived. It transpired after what he described as a minuscule marriage lifespan that his wife had other plans. She didn’t share his apparition, so she devised an evil plan to eliminate his presence and put a callous end to this union. She ignored the majority vote comprised of Dad and Child for a union. It wasn’t long before he found himself in the dog-house with the law enforcement agencies imploring him to surrender or to suffer the consequences of an alleged domestic violence case he was accused of.

At times, during his narration he seemed so close to welling up that I had to call a time out and excuse myself to the toilet so as to avoid witnessing a nervous breakdown. Such scenes are too disturbing for someone who is emotionally unstable these days to witness. I either cry in solidarity with the person (bogies and all) or I lend a sound track of intermittent nervous laughter to an already awkward situation. I am never quite sure which way the hormonal wind will blow. And frankly, I don’t get paid enough to provide my new boss with a shoulder to cry on nor am I professionally equipped to deal with such cases. Is there organisational training for such things because I sure as heck didn’t get any..?!

By the time I visited the toilet for what was the dozenth time in the space of an hour and this time Gabriel being at a real breaking point, closer than ever to a point of no return… I decided to save us both from the imminent. To borrow the local vernacular save him face, and of course protract my sanity!

So I resorted to the only thing I know when placed in such discomfiture – verbal diarrhoea! This time it took an unintended, unexpected religious turn. Gabriel and I were both taken aback

I went on a self-inflicted sermonette on how God knows best, and how Gabriel should put his trust in Him and that everything will work itself out, with the help of God that is!

His pupils retracted those tears faster than I could have anticipated. They were now widening and awestruck. Relieved of their heavy watery task they were now beginning to dance in joy given the gospel I just dropped.

He spoke of marriage idealisms that I haven’t encountered since Sudan was one country. “My son needs his dad”, he would contest. “It is not good for him to grow up in this world fatherless”. “I can’t even see him”, he said dejectedly; those tears threatening to do a comeback. I quickly reasumed my sermonette.

“God is on your side Gabriel” I reassured him. “He won’t leave you to face this alone. Put your trust in him and He won’t disappoint you”.

I was more than happy to continue with this theological monologue, to avoid witnessing this man cry or until the clock indicated home time. God seemed to have answered my prayers because my escapade was nearing. Ten minutes to home time.

He spoke with the fervour of a new convert. “My wife should obey me” he would contest. “She shouldn’t have done what she did and gave me the respect that I deserve as head of the family”. His conviction was infectious I almost believed him too. Thanks to my caffeinated beverage of choice at the time, my sound judgement was somewhat still intact.

The last time such levels of subservience was being practised anywhere; Scotland and England were embarking on a not so holy matrimony of their own…Heck the last time anyone really practised such nonsense the world was one big fat country!

“I still love her though despite everything”, he eventually declared. “I just want us to be united”. I don’t know why the preacher in me turned devil’s advocate. “Maybe she doesn’t want unity, maybe she wants to move on with her life, maybe this union you so desire isn’t a healthy solution for all parties concerned, maybe it is better to part ways. You know how the saying goes if you love something you should set it free. Self-determination and all that jazz”!

I can wholeheartedly attest that this wasn’t the best thing I ever said. He looked troubled. This was troubling. Can I possibly get sacked over this? Shall I just resign now?

“I want to punish her”, he finally said after few moments. “I am going to marry a second wife, then she’ll realise my worth”. Nothing like being part of a concubine to make you realise your husband’s worth, eh.

I felt obliged to reiterate the position of the English legal system on polygamy given that this man was already on bail. Lock yourself up and throw away the keys while you are at it, why don’t you?!

He saw some sense, i think. I saw a man that needed professional help. I could also foresee an ugly divorce battle ensuing.

But it wasn’t long before he started questioning me on how one can acquire a second wife. This was now worrying. I wasn’t sure at which point in this conversation did I indicate that I had a spreadsheet priming with details of women wanting to take the leap into concubine-hood! This was messed up. I was insulted. I acted like I didn’t hear his question.

My Casio watch starting beeping indicating my release. I did my time and I was more than ready for my freedom. “Gabriel I would love to continue this talk with you but I have got to go now”, I said. God doesn’t like liars I reminded myself. He apologised fervently for keeping me behind and offloading his problems on me. Will my services be rewarded with a promotion, I wanted to add?!

“Do you have any children?” he asked just as I was leaving. “No”, I replied. “Ohhh so you won’t possibly know the feeling of parenthood”, he conquered.




I didn’t think you had such cattiness in you!


Late Arrivals

Gare Du Nord

Gare Du Nord

I am now of the belief that I was destined to miss every train I am scheduled to get on. Everyone that knows me always jokes that I will probably be late to my wedding, funeral and every other monumental occasion that won’t function without my presence. But this week it dawned on me that there might be some truth to that joke.


I ventured on a week-long vacation to Paris last week. I have a fear of flying so the scary cat in me opted for a five hours long train journey from the North of England to the capital of England to get to the Capital of France as opposed to an hour long plane ride. The things we do when we succumb to our fears, eh!


I could write a verbose on the psychology of how I missed every train but I shall refrain from that because what I realised is that the problem arises from the fact that I take my small town mentality to big cities like London. Of course there is nothing wrong with that if there weren’t any time constraints. I live in a place where everything I need is within five minute radius and thus you cannot possibly be late to anything but often I still am. At those extraordinary times when I do; it is due to reasons out of my personal control. Such as the taxi company not getting my taxi within the prescribed five minutes, or a catastrophe of sorts befalls my wardrobe that day that I am left feeling wardrobe content bereft despite it bursting with clothes. In which case whoever I am supposed to be meeting understands. Maybe because I usually feign catastrophe of different calibre- the type that revolves around my car breaking down and consequently creating an awful traffic jam in the city. Oh it works a treat every time.


The extent of my driving is limited to that of the passenger’s seat.


So I missed my train to London, almost missed my train to Paris and missed my train back home. Not to mention the numerous other trains/tubes I missed whilst travelling in London. By the end of it all I had enough; I just wanted to be reunited with my pillow. Is that too much to ask for? It was turning into a bit of a maze.

photo (1)



For a change I put up a fight, well my lungs and legs did. I always walk at a leisurely pace. Nothing will ever warrant me to run. But that day I felt I owed it to my pillow and my friend to not miss that damned train. I ran like a demented woman with a suitcase up until that point I was struggling to carry. As I got to the platform the train left taking with it my friend and the promise of two hours worth of girly chit chat with it. It wasn’t a dignified scene to say the least but in hindsight it aided my appeal to get on the next train at no extra charge. Had I approached that platform with my usual leisurely pace I am sure the station staff would have been convinced I didn’t care.


I stood there alone, defeated, and battling an asthma attack whilst cursing intermittently through gulps of air.  I was now at the discretional mercy of the train station staff. It is never a good thing to be at the discretional mercy of anyone! The long walk back to the front of the platform allowed me to gather my thoughts, how can I get on the next train and avoid the 120 pound fare. Can I bribe the staff with macaroons? Will they accept the train fare in Euros because it was all I had?  Will a puppy eyed look win them over? Shall I resort to some seedy tactics that involve the fluttering of my eyelashes and putting my new acquired cup size to a good use (no surgical enhancements here; it is what having a reciprocated love affair with chocolates and carbohydrates does to you).


I was ready to part with my beloved macaroons and feminist idealisms for this.


But I didn’t have to do any of that. In fact I didn’t even have to say a word. Unbeknown to me my friend must have utilised some or all of the above said tactics, maybe she employed new ones I was unaware of. Who knows, all I know is she won me the sympathy card. The lovely station manager took away my train ticket scribbled something on it and stamped it. The only thing he asked me was “what happened”? I simply replied with conviction that “I was stuck in traffic jam”. He had a look of “what traffic jam situation takes place underground” about him.


Thankfully it was left at that. Possible traffic jams within the London underground wasn’t an area I could lend my expertise to.


He said he promised my friend he will get me to my destination that day. In my head I was thinking mate I admire your altruism and everything else but I don’t have the sums you require to upgrade me on the next fast train. Good job I was still amidst a severe asthma attack to utter such nonsense. Because true to his word he got me on the next Sheffield bound train that got me to my destination ten minutes after my friend’s arrival at no extra cost.


Yorkshire- God's own county!

Yorkshire- God’s own county!

Dennis mate if you ever read this, I owe you a macaroon… or two… OK maybe a whole packet of them!!


Was your name even Dennis? Damn it…if you read this and you identify yourself with the hero of this story who was behind the happy reunion of two northern lasses one with pillow withdrawal symptoms …mate really thank you!!


So I got on the next train, my pulse and lung activity somewhat back to normal. I endured the two hours train journey in solitude reflecting back on my innate ability to forever be late to everything and anything. The scenic countryside was too much of a distraction though. It wasn’t long before I started questioning other people’s lifestyle choices… how could someone live in the middle of nowhere and how could they possibly gather all the herd of sheep scattered around the green spaces back to their place of residence .. I believe they call it a farm, no?!


On another note, THANK YOU to all you lovely folks out there who took the time to read, comment and follow this blog.  I came back from my holiday to find a burgeoning number of followers and views, something that was far-fetched at the start of this blog. You all deserve a macaroon or two.

Help yourself to some...

Help yourself to some…