Thursday, 4 February 2016

Women don't fart

Sharing an office with Suzanne had many advantages. 

In her early 30s, with shoulder-length auburn hair and full figure, she brightened my working week. Indeed, she kindled all my five senses. My 50-year-old eyes feasted on her taut buttocks and fulsome breasts – but only when she was occupied and wouldn’t notice my attention; I’m a gentleman and wouldn’t wish to make her feel uncomfortable nor for her, God forbid, to conclude that I was indulging in unwholesome thoughts. Her gentle voice caressed my eardrums with intelligent commentary on work-related issues. And as for smell, her entry into the office was always followed by a delightful waft of Opium perfume mingled with herbal-essence shampoo. Alas, the touching and tasting only happened within the confines of my imagination.

But there is one major drawback of sharing an office with a woman: you can’t fart. Amongst males, one can let an audible one fly, apologise, and carry on as normal. But with females around, gassy emissions are prohibited.

Contrary to what you read in biology textbooks and on social media, pretty women never fart. Nor do they defecate. It is a little-known fact that females’ waste products, and associated gases, evaporate from the tops of their heads and smell like hairspray.

One morning in the office, Suzanne at the adjacent desk, I felt the ominous stomach rumble, like the extended growl of thunder prior to an electric storm. A swirling vortex of noxious gas was demanding release and accelerating towards my arse. And I knew it would produce a stench of eye-watering intensity - six pints of finest cask ale the night before would see to that - so slipping it out silently was not an option. 

‘I’ll pop out and photocopy this document’ I said, while rising from my chair and grabbing the nearest piece of paper from the desk.

‘Do you want me to do it later?’ asked Suzanne. ‘I’ve got a lot of photocopying to do and …’

‘No it’s OK’, I interrupted, already exiting the office.

Clenching my buttocks, I scampered along the corridor to the deserted photocopying room and closed the door behind me. In the privacy of this oasis, I leaned forward, hands on my thighs, and prepared to let rip. But nothing happened. As with other bodily functions – urinating in the doctor’s bottle, achieving an erection during one’s first sexual encounter – the process of breaking wind can, paradoxically, fail to deliver when you most need it to. On this occasion, my intestinal cyclone of noxious vapour had performed a U-turn and burrowed into the depths of my gut. I loitered a couple of minutes beside the photocopier, expecting the stomach rumble to return, but the gas showed no sign of a seeking a reappearance.

Deflated in mood, if not in body, I returned to my office. As I entered I noticed Suzanne’s cheeks had turned crimson. Unusually, she did not look up to acknowledge my presence, instead maintaining an unwavering focus on her computer screen.

And then it hit me. A rancid mix of rotting egg and semi-digested cabbage clung to the inside of my nostrils. My embarrassment was palpable with the horrific realisation that, unknown to me, my fart must have slipped out during my hasty exit. After all, what other possible explanation could there be?

Photos courtesy of: Stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos .net
                                Stuart Miles at


Friday, 11 December 2015

It used to be fun

For each of the last 25 years Mrs Jones and I have invited our parents to our home for Christmas dinner. This time we’ve made a momentous decision: it’s not happening!  
Courtesy of Apolonia at

It used to be fun. Those hours spent in the kitchen preparing the traditional feast would be rewarded later in the day by a sense of mischief and family togetherness: in the early years, the kids excitedly introducing their grandparents to their favourite gifts from Santa; the grown-ups engaging in alcohol-fuelled banter around the meal table; and poignant reminiscing in the evening about the tales of our own childhoods, stories that still amused despite yearly repetition.

The decline started with the death of my father-in-law a decade ago. We all miss Henry; his whacky comments about ‘the good old days’, delivered in a dialect that only his trusted inner circle could understand, always generated a lively debate, and one couldn’t help but recognise that – despite some of his more extreme pronouncements –  underneath, there lived a kind, generous human being. More recently his widow, Sheila, has succumbed to that terrible, dignity-stripping brain disease called Alzheimer’s, her memory for new events lasting no longer than a few seconds. Although my own parents, both in their mid-80s, are in good physical health, my mother is profoundly deaf and my father is obsessed with his Golden Retriever to such a degree that he feels increasingly uncomfortable about leaving his beloved dog at home alone for longer than a couple of hours.

Typically, while Mrs Jones and I – clad in psychedelically-coloured pinafores and sweating like condemned convicts on death row - slice carrots and baste turkey in the kitchen, in the living room bizarre goings-on are afoot:

 Sheila: ‘Has Ryan (25-year-old grandson) got a girlfriend yet?’

 Mum: ‘Sorry, Sheila, I’m a bit deaf – you’ll have to speak up.’

 Sheila: ‘Has Ryan got himself a girlfriend yet?’

 Mum: (turning to face dad): ‘What’s she saying, Harry?’

 Dad: (stroking his eyebrow while lost in in deep thought about the current wellbeing of his dog)’What was who saying?’
Mum: ‘Sheila has asked me something.’

 Dad: ‘What did you say, Sheila?’

 Sheila: ‘Has Ryan got himself a girlfriend yet?’

 Dad (turning to face mum): ‘She’s asking if our Ryan has got himself a girlfriend yet.’

 Mum (turning back to face Sheila): Oh, yes – he’s got himself a lovely young lady called Faith. They’ve been together for over a year.’

 Sheila: ‘Very good.’


 Sheila: ‘Has Ryan got himself a girlfriend yet?’

In the aftermath of Christmas 2014, it struck me: no one is enjoying this habitual façade, so why are we subjecting ourselves to it? So this year, at 4.00 pm on the 25th December the family (me, Mrs Jones, our parents and our two 20-something children) will be secreted around a table in the local tavern being served the traditional Christmas dinner, swilled down with copious quantities of fine wine. After two hours, a minibus will collect us and return us all to my home where we will, in turn, select golden-oldie tunes from You-tube and reminisce. At 8.30 pm the minibus will return and take our parents home – much to the relief of our parents, as well as the Golden Retriever – leaving Mrs Jones and I some quality time to devote to our two wonderful offspring and each other.















Thursday, 29 October 2015

Recollections of Amsterdam, 1979

My 25-year-old son has recently returned from a 4-day break in Amsterdam with his girlfriend who arranged the visit as a surprise for his birthday. No doubt the two of them will have absorbed the culture on offer within the Dutch capital: the exquisite art on display in the Van Gogh Museum; a sombre trudge around Anne Frank House where eight Jewish people tried, unsuccessfully, to evade Hitler’s evil clutches; and the charm of the canal network that meanders around the city.  
Their trip to Amsterdam rekindled memories of my only visit there in 1979, as a twenty-one-year old. Accompanied by my best mate, Alwyn, my patchy recall of our long weekend is rather different and comprises some less refined moments, as two testosterone-drenched, unattached young men experienced what was then the sex-and-drugs capital of Europe.

The passage of 36 years has, inevitably, lessened the clarity of my recollections. Also, the fact that Alwyn and I lived the whole experience in a drunken haze further compromises the reliability of my memories. Nonetheless, here are some of the more salient snapshots:

  1. Attending a live sex show where the lady, kneeling on all fours, appeared bored and unforgiving while the poor bloke thrusting at her rear struggled to sustain an erection.
  2. Arriving back at our economy accommodation – the Magic Inn – at 4.00 am to find a bearded tramp in a stained raincoat asleep on my bed. Having lost the power of speech due to imbibing copious quantities of Heineken, I fumbled my way back to reception and tried, using a combination of grunts and hand signals, to explain to the young girl behind the desk about my unwanted room-mate. She sped upstairs and, seconds later, I heard her scream, ‘Dirck! How many times do I have to tell you – get the fuck out of here!’
  3. A 230-pound pimp in a three-piece pinstripe suit and tie encouraging us not to linger too long gawping at the red-light ladies in the windows. If I recall, his exact words were, ‘Move along or I’ll cut you into little pieces’.
  4. Participating – fully – in an ‘all-day booze cruise’ along the canals and, by the evening, engaging in some communal on-board sexual groping. I have little recollection of the nature of my playmates; I just hope they were human!
  5. Lounging in a city-centre café surrounded by hairy, sandal-clad hippies, all of whom were smoking reefers. As a lifelong non-smoker – not even tobacco – I did not join in, but recall the sweet, sickly smell that clung to me. In the aftermath, I suddenly realised that Alwyn was an alien who had been sent to planet earth on a mission to murder me.   

But, alas, standards have slipped. It is such a pity that, unlike their parents, the young adults of today lack awareness of the finer things in life.  
Photo courtesy of scottchan at


Thursday, 8 October 2015

Six pieces of advice I'd give my teenage self

As a contented 57-year-old I’ve few regrets. I found my soulmate and we’ve savoured the 34 years together. Between us we guided two children into adulthood, both of who are decent, talented and – of course – beautiful 20-somethings. And we’re lucky enough to be financially secure and able to travel the world following our recent early retirements at the age of 55.

But knowing what I know now, if I could travel back in time, there are some nuggets of wisdom I’d share with my 16-year-old self.

1. Don’t assume there’s always a ‘right’ answer for all of life’s questions. There are few absolute truths in this world, so rather than devoting all your energies to science subjects, why not give more of your time to English Literature and the appreciation of art. Read more fiction and fewer chemistry textbooks. Don’t always strive for the logical answer – Dr Spock was a bore - but explore the infinite expanse of your own creativity and imagination.

2. Don’t’ expect too much from your girlfriends. Lower your standards. Spread your seed far and wide (while, of course, taking the necessary precautions). Flirt more and don’t take your relationships too seriously – there’ll be time enough for that when you’re older. When someone tells you that your current girlfriend was spotted licking the tonsils of another boy, don’t sink into a depressive stupor; just smile, wish her well and move on to the next gal.
3. Don’t drink copious quantities of Pernod, as it will evoke projectile vomiting and, before you
realise, your orange stomach lining will be sprayed across the bedroom wall like some psychedelic modern art.
4. And try to drink less volume of beer when you stay over at a mate’s house; your best friend’s parents wont appreciate you pissing the bed in their guest room.
5. Actively seek out opportunities to learn new skills. Don’t always play safe by restricting yourself to sporting activities that you already know you’re good at. If you botch up, it doesn’t matter – learn to laugh at yourself.
6.Relish every moment of team sports – football, cricket, basketball – for there are few better feelings than winning and losing together as part of a unit against a common foe. Embrace that togetherness that competition brings; you’ll miss it when it’s no longer around.  
But would my 16-year-old self have listened? Absolutely not for, as everyone recognises, teenagers always know best.

Photo courtesy of iosphere at










Thursday, 24 September 2015

Seven things I don't understand about my wife

Image courtesy of Ambro at
I met the future Mrs Jones 36 years ago at a social-club disco in the psychiatric hospital where we both worked. We’ve been a partnership ever since. My love for her strengthens with each passing year, and no one understands me better (and vice-versa); we often finish each other’s sentences.

Nevertheless, there are several recurrent behaviours my wife displays that leave me befuddled – perhaps others can inform me whether these actions are peculiar to Mrs Jones or endemic across the female population.

  1. Moving household items for no apparent reason
Often, I return home and believe, for an instant, I’ve mistakenly entered the wrong house as some combination of armchairs, settee, cupboard and coffee table have exchanged places.

On other occasions it is smaller items that are rearranged. In the shower, while facing the gushing water, the shampoo was always on the left while the conditioner lived on the right. One memorable day in July, Mrs Jones swapped them around; it took me three weeks to realise why I wasn’t working up a lather!

 2. A liking for busy outdoor flea markets

My lady could spend a whole day rooting through the stalls on an outdoor market, burrowing into the merchandise in search of a bargain. As for me, I don’t take kindly to the back of my legs being rammed by prams, my ribs poked by pointed elbows and my personal space invaded by a frenzied shopper with body odour and bad breath - all for the sake of buying some crap

  1. Irritation when I leave the toilet seat up
I’ve always struggled to comprehend the angry reaction to my leaving the toilet seat up. I don’t respond with fury when I go to splash the porcelain and find the seat down. In a society of gender equality, shouldn’t she lift it after use so it’s ready for me?  

  1. Criticising my dress sense
I accept that selecting matching clothes to wear is not one of my strong points, so I often depend on Mrs Jones to choose my outfits. Sometimes she complains, asking - with hands on hips and indignant expression – ‘do I always have to dress you’. Yet, on the rare occasions when I strike out for independence by dressing myself she responds, ‘Oh no – that shirt doesn’t match those trousers’. What can a guy do?

  1. Quilt hogging
Throughout the 30-plus years we’ve slept together, and irrespective of the size of the bed and quilt, there will usually be a point in the depths of night when Mrs Jones turns over while clinging to the bedspread as if on the crest of a roller-coaster ride. This sudden – nay, violent – movement invariably exposes my bare arse to the elements.

    6. Inconsistent spending

Courtesy of Stuart Miles at
Sometimes Mrs Jones will dedicate a whole week to a mission to half our grocery budget, rejoicing in her achievement of saving a few pennies on a loaf or a bag of potatoes. These periods of austerity are punctuated by spending binges when she shops like a crazed Russian oil baron let loose in London’s West End.

    7. Fluctuating sexual interest

Now both in our mid-50s, those days of working our way through the Kama Sutra have – sadly – long gone. While my sexual interest remains constant, albeit less than in my young adulthood, Mrs Jones would admit that these days she can take or leave the rumpy-pumpy. Nevertheless, it has not gone unnoticed that there is a sudden increase in her libido in the aftermath of those rare occasions when she's witnessed an attractive woman talking to me.

Any help in de-ciphering the mysteries of my wife’s psyche would be gratefully received. I eagerly await your comments.



Thursday, 27 August 2015

Beware the Egyptian god of the bowel

Courtesy of Arvind Balaraman at
After a wonderful two-weeks holiday in Egypt, I returned home to the UK with a tan and the shits. And I don’t mean any run-of-the-mill shits; this was an erupting-mount-Vesuvius-with-an-explosive-personality-disorder type.

For 8 days I spent my time within a 3-metre safety zone of the nearest lavatory, fearing to tread beyond this imaginary line in case the angry Egyptian god of the large intestine decided to make yet another unwelcome appearance. During this extended period of captivity, I often pondered the source of the bug that had decided to squat in the depths of my gut: I had followed advice, and drank none of the tap water; I’m obsessive about washing my hands thoroughly prior to each meal and after using the loo; and we tourists were repeatedly reassured that bottled water was routinely deployed to wash all the salads and other food stuffs.

Alas, the likely cause of my spectacular rear-end emissions occurred to me: contaminated beer glasses. The 7-day cruise along the Nile River had witnessed several of my fellow tourists succumb to ‘tummy upsets’ and it occurred to me that all those stricken were lager drinkers. On several occasions, late in the evenings, the boat staff had ran out of clean glasses and were forced to rinse the used ones; I’m certain they resorted to tap water on these occasions thereby exposing my inner tubing to over 2000-years’ worth of detritus that had been slopped into the ancient river.

Motivated by her constant fear of being shat on in bed at night, Mrs Jones persuaded me to seek medical assistance and so I ventured out the house to consult my local doctor.

‘I’ll require a stool sample’ he said, while handing me a flimsy plastic pot with a red spoon in it, rather like the ones used for eating ice cream from a tub.

‘Here and now?’ I asked, while disturbing images of me squatting in the corner of his office pushed into my mind.

‘No no’, he said with a tolerant smile, ‘take the pot home with you. When you next feel the urge to open your bowels, place several layers of toilet tissue in the bowl and, once you’ve emptied, scoop out a piece and return it to the reception desk for analysis.’

As I sped home, I suspected the doc had failed to grasp the extent of my looseness. ‘Scoop out a piece?’ Think water-bomb with flecks of sand and you will be getting closer to the essence of my lavatory experience.

Within minutes of arriving home, the irresistible rumble returned. Upon reaching the bathroom, I decided upon my own strategy to capture a sample of dung. I stripped naked, wrapped toilet tissue around my hand and forearm and squatted above the toilet bowl. At the point of detonation, I swung the plastic pot to-and-fro under my arse; it was a bit like wafting a thimble over the nozzle of an over-pressurised hose-pipe.
Courtesy of Tuomas_Lehtinen at

Having successfully captured a splash of excrement, the next morning I returned to the doctor’s surgery, my specimen bottle hidden deep in my jacket pocket – it may have been my imagination, but passers-by seemed to stare at me, as if they had insider information about my secret cargo; or perhaps I just stank of shit.

At the reception window, the practice nurse casually collected my specimen while munching on a cheese and tomato sandwich – such professionalism! Within 48 hours, the bug had been identified and a 7-day course of antibiotics successfully rid me of the bacterial intruder.  

So if you are contemplating a visit to Egypt, the threat of terrorism is the least of your worries. It is the intestine-grasping revenge of the Nile River that you should fear. Don’t say you’ve not been warned. 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

The middle-aged man's survival guide

Women are complicated. Sometimes they're unfathomable. Despite a relationship spanning over 34 years, I cannot yet claim to understand the mind of Mrs Jones. But I have learnt a few things along the way – how else would I have survived? – and I’d  like to share them for the benefit of other men out there who might be even more perplexed than I am about the female psyche.

With regards to her body shape and appearance, a lady will never ask a question of her man unless she has already identified the response she wants to hear. Consequently, such questions strike pulsating terror into the bowels of any male. We know there is a ‘correct’ answer that, if delivered promptly and with sincerity, could later be rewarded with an assortment of sexual favours. But get it wrong and punishment awaits, ranging from icy silences to physical assaults.    

So gentleman, here is my guide to how to (and how not to) respond to six common questions from our partners. If you’re masochistic enough to offer response 1, brace yourself for punishment of a type that would have seemed gruesome in the dark ages. Offer a response 2 and expect to spend at least the next 24 hours in social isolation during which she will emit only one-syllable replies to your attempts to initiate conversation. But get it right with a response 3 and you could be creasing the sheets while entwined in the limbs of a passionate woman (that is, your partner).

Question: Which of these two dresses should I wear at the restaurant tonight? (asked while trying them on)

RESPONSE 1: ‘Won’t your jeans and sweatshirt suffice?

RESPONSE 2: ‘They both look OK’

RESPONSE 3: ‘You look great in both; they each show off your figure, but I think the red one just edges it’


Question: Do you think my bingo wings are disappearing? (while tugging the flabby bits on her upper arms)

RESPONSE 1: ‘No, but all women your age have bingo wings. And now I come to think of it, even the pretty lass next door has them, and she’s a lot younger than you’

RESPONSE 2: ‘They’re getting there’

RESPONSE 3: ‘I can’t say I’ve ever noticed them; your arms always look slender and elegant to me’


Question: My boobs are getting really floppy; don’t you find them a big turn off?

RESPONSE 1: ‘Yes. They’re like two blubber-filled hammocks in a gale’

RESPONSE 2: ‘No, I like them floppy’

RESPONSE 3: ‘I love your boobs; what man wouldn’t? Soft and natural and so much better than those plastic ones that some models flash across the newspapers’


Question: Does my butt look big in these jeans?

RESPONSE 1: ‘Of course it does; I didn’t nickname you “bacon arse” for nothing!’

RESPONSE 2: ‘No, not really’

RESPONSE 3: ‘No way! It looks firm and pert. In fact it’s taking all my willpower not to caress it’


Question: Doesn’t that bracelet look gorgeous? (while gazing into a jeweller’s shop window)

RESPONSE 1: ‘Give me strength! At that price we should be living in it, never mind wearing it’

RESPONSE 2: ‘Yes it’s nice’

RESPONSE 3: ‘It would look fantastic on you. If only we could muster the funds to buy it’ (buy it later that day and surprise her)


Question: Do you think I’m losing weight? (while standing in front of a full-length mirror)

RESPONSE 1: ‘No, I can’t say I’ve noticed’

RESPONSE 2: ‘I hope not; I like you with a bit of excess poundage’

RESPONSE 3: ‘Without a doubt; you’re shape reminds me of our wedding day’   

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at