Posts Tagged ‘ambulance


Why the woman in black wears bright red knickers

I used to wear black on the outside because it was how I felt on the inside, now I wear it in the vain hope that it will somehow disguise the fact that my backside is used by astronauts as a homing device when they return to Planet Earth.

When I say I’m the Woman in Black, I mean it. I am the only person I know to whom getting dressed in the dark holds no fear.

My only concession to colour is my underwear, which is brightly coloured. This was a tip from a women’s magazine I once read that advised you should always aim for an element of surprise with your outfit. My element of surprise is saved for the ambulance service in the eventuality they might need to cut off my clothes after a hideous accident or the lucky few (if Mum is reading) who have been allowed access to my inner chambers.

My pathological hatred of fashion or clothes shopping means that as soon as I find a garment I can bear, I instantly buy six identical garments and then rotate them until I find something new that I like. Due to this fact, I shunned trousers for 15 years because I was working my way through dozens of totally identical skirts.

Flagrantly ignoring the Bible’s warning – “woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man…for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God” – I bought myself a pair of trousers and experienced a sense of liberation I had not felt since I discovered the mute button on my phone at work. I instantly went back to the shop and bought five identical pairs.

God’s vengeance was of no concern to me. I have seen the gentle BBC comedy The Vicar of Dibley, I know that God allowed female clergy in Dibley to wear trousers without sending plagues of locusts or apocalyptic floods to punish their sins (more’s the pity).

For the first few days of trouser-wearing, I was irresistibly drawn towards sitting with my legs splayed like a leering uncle at a wedding and had to fight the urge to ostenatiously adjust myself whenever anyone was looking. And oh! the joy of being able to step out of my horseless carriage without showing even an inch of petticoat – I tell you ladies, I think these ‘trousers’ might catch on.

Having embraced a whole new world of sartorial possibility, it seemed time to readdress my hatred of fashion and give it a second chance. I was not far into my search for inspiration when I found this crock of shit from celebrated Danish designer Henrik Vibskov.

The police's new community support officers weren't entirely happy with their new uniform

I know I have been away for a long time, locked into a clothes hell of my own making, but is this really what the young people are wearing these days? Just look at those buffoons in the background; it’s like a New Order video for the colour blind. And then there’s this:

As Jared walked down the runway, he couldn't help wondering: how had it all gone so terribly wrong.

This is the kind of coat that the kids with fleas wore at my high school. At best, you could say the coathanger hat might come in handy if you needed to pop into the dry cleaners and didn’t have a spare hand to carry your freshly-laundered smoking jacket home, at worst, well, is absolutely everything else.

I need no further proof that black is the way forward. My calculations show that I need not shop for clothes again until 2012.


Forget sat nav: my primary school promised me I’d have a hover car by the year 2000. The liars.

I fear for future generations, I really do.

They’ll already be hampered with giant thumbs thanks to the genetic legacy handed down to them by forefathers who spent 23 out of every 24 hours texting and now they’re destined to drive aimlessly over cliffs because no one in the world will be able to read a map thanks to in-car satellite navigation systems.

A recent report revealed that UK drivers trust their sat-nav systems more than they trust their own eyes; just allow a few seconds for that sentence to sink into your brain before you take to your bed and weep for a week over the lost innocence of maps.

In the past, sat-nav owners have driven into the River Avon and to the edge of a 100-foot drop because their tracking gizmos told them to. An ambulance crew transferring a patient 12 miles from Ilford to Brentwood drove 200 miles in the wrong direction because they were following directions from their sat-nav system.

At some point, surely, you’d think they might have noticed that the half hour journey was taking around four hours longer than usual. But no – it’s this kind of blind obedience that helped Hitler get a foothold in Germany.

The real irony is that the youth of today (my descent into the world of the bitter old goat continues apace – next I’ll be berating the charts for not having any songs with lyrics) absolutely hate being told what to do, yet they’re all queuing up like lemmings to buy a box which tells them what to do ALL THE TIME.

It doesn’t even convert into a TV when it’s not barking orders at you.

If it’s not telling you what to do, it’s telling you just how depressing the road ahead will be; roadworks, traffic jams, accidents, hairpin bends, hurricanes, plagues of locusts – they all lie ahead.

Frankly, I’d rather not know. Being stuck in a motionless line of traffic is the only chance I get to have some of this “me” time I’m always being told about in glossy magazines.

This week, while out and about in my car, two drivers allowed their vehicles to roll backwards into mine while fiddling with their sat-nav.

One had the good grace to wave at me apologetically, the other simply drove away, probably because his sat-nav told him to.

Personally, I like living on the razor’s edge and relying only on a road atlas bought from a Jet garage in 1988 as a means to convey me from one location to another. Isn’t part of the joy of a family day trip the prospect of spending at least a quarter of the journey aimlessly winging it and lying to the children about knowing precisely where you are?

Admittedly, this policy has led to some spectacular “short cuts” through Wales on the way from Norwich to King’s Lynn, but at least I was the master of my own destiny and to my credit, I didn’t end up in a river or dangling from the edge of a cliff.

By the time my children have cars (which, by the way, will be never unless they arrange a police and paramedic escort for every journey they undertake) they won’t need to drive at all, they’ll just get in a car, telepathically relate where they want to go to some kind of gigantic brain on the dashboard and then sit back while the on-board robot serves them moon pills and space juice and drives them straight into the nearest reservoir.

Showing my kids a map and asking them if they could use it to get from a to b will be like giving you or I a mangle, a bar of soap and a tin bucket and asking us to spend the entire day scrubbing the family’s smalls.

They’ll have braying computers built into their toilets to remind them to wipe their bums and wash their hands and a microchip in their forehead telling them when to breathe.

Before sat-nav salesmen grab their green biros to point out to me that their systems are marvellous and I’m the kind of technophobe who makes the sign of a cross if anyone uses so much as a microwave oven in my eyeshot, let me point out that new research proves that I’m right.

Computer Which? a magazine for fearsomely clever boffins who don’t fly into a panic if people start talking to them about jpegs and motherboards commissioned a survey to see just how reliable sat-nav systems are.

The research revealed that an £8 road atlas beat a high-tech satellite navigation system on a simple 70 mile journey, despite the latter costing more than 28 times the price of the book.

Granted, the AA book didn’t look quite as good mounted on the dashboard, but it worked, although to be fair, the survey did note “you need a level-headed passenger with map-reading skills” which cancels out a great deal of hollow-skulled halfwits to whom maps are like flat pack instruction manuals written in Sanskrit.

In a manner of speaking, sat-nav systems are a perfect example of Darwinism – if you blindly drive your car into a ford or to the edge of a cliff because a jumped-up calculator tells you to then you’re proving the theory that only the fittest deserve to survive.

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