Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Things Mrs Jones would not have said 30 years ago

Courtesy of rosezombie - FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Relationships evolve over time. Thirty-three years ago, the future Mrs Jones and I met in a social club at the hospital where we both worked. Like any couple in the early stages of the mating ritual, we were each on our best behaviour: no farting in front of each other; swearing restricted to exclamations; and bowel references were no more graphic than the occasional mention of an ‘upset stomach’.

Nowadays we are less inhibited. I share the following scenarios as illustration:

  1. Mrs Jones returns home from work and enters the living room where I’m tip-tapping away on my laptop. My attention is drawn to the twitching of her nostrils. She looks directly at me, accusingly, and asks, ‘Have you shit?’

  1. Together on the settee, watching television.
‘I wish you’d stop fidgeting’ I say.
‘I can’t’ she says.
‘Why, what’s the problem?’
‘My arse is stinging like a wasp with a cob on.’

But last week, while we were sitting at the table eating our evening meal, Mrs Jones made a comment that indicated to me how three decades of co-habitation had transformed the nature of our relationship. The rhythmic clicking of stainless steel utensils on ceramic plates, mixed with the occasional slurping of wine, were interrupted by the never-to-be-forgotten comment:

‘Move the condiments nearer to me; my tits keep flopping in my Bolognese sauce!’  


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The advantages of being a menopausal male

My status in the blogosphere must be rising! Today, I'm thrilled to announce that I am guesting over at Menopausal Mother, one of the many rib-ticklingly funny homes for the work of the multi-talented Marcia Kester Doyle.

Marcia is my blogging soul-mate who hilariously captures the essence of the ageing process from a female perspective - or as she describes it, 'The good, the bad and the ugly side of menopausal mayhem'. Marcia is also a staff writer at In The Powder Room and a contributing author to What The Flicka. She wins awards for fun, her blog recently beating all-comers to win the Top Hilariously Funny Blog VoiceBoks 2014. Her work has also been featured on numerous sites, including: Scary Mommy; Erma Bombeck Writers Workshop; Suburbia Interrupted; Mamapedia, Midlife Boulevard and Aiming Low. If you are not familiar with her work, I urge you to drop in on one of her blogs and see for yourself.

My guest post is highlighting the (albeit few) advantages of being 55. Please come over and tell me what you think. The link is:


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

It's floppy!

For the first time in my blogging career, I'm thrilled to announce that I've been asked to guest-post. (I know, some of you guys do it every other week, but this is virgin territory for me).

The invite has come from a giant of the blogging world, non other than Starr Bryson at The Insomniacs Dream. The multi-talented Starr is wonderfully versatile and can write on any topic from humor to erotica to serious stuff; she can inform, arouse, offend or tickle, depending upon which mood she is in. So pop over there and read her stuff on http://www.theinsomniacsdream.com/ You will not be disappointed.

My guest post recounts a tale from when I worked as a sex therapist - now that surprised you, didn't it - many years ago in the pre-Viagra days. Please pop over (via the link below) and give it some attention and comment. Otherwise, Starr will not be happy and, quite frankly, I'm scared of her!



Saturday, 1 February 2014

A ball-ache at 48

Courtesy of stockimages -

As I zipped up my trousers, my physician peeled off his latex gloves. ‘In light of your age, I’ll refer you to urology for tests’ he said. We can’t be too careful.’

It was 2006, and my 48-year-old right testicle had begun to ache several weeks earlier while watching a TV program about how men are prone to neglect their health, particularly if the problem relates to their dangly bits. I clung to benign explanations for the pain: perhaps my budgie-smugglers were too tight, or maybe I had unknowingly crushed the sensitive orb when I crossed my legs?

When the pain persisted, my hypochondriacal curiosity prompted me to enter ‘testicular cancer’ into the search engine. Reading the symptoms – a lump in part of one testicle, a dull ache, or a heavy scrotum – triggered several days of cupping, prodding and mirror-gazing that only aggravated my pain. I relented and visited my doctor who in turn was now propelling me towards the specialist.     

Three weeks later I am sitting in the urology waiting room at the local hospital, fearing the worst, and visualizing malignant cells multiplying and stomping, jackbooted, into the neighbouring testicular tissue like the Nazi invasion of Poland.

‘Mr. Jones, please?’

I turn to see an attractive young woman in a white coat smiling, and beckoning me to follow her. She has sallow skin and ebony hair, tied back in a bob. I follow her like a faithful puppy-dog to the consulting room, feeling a rising sense of unease in anticipation of my indecent exposure.

Once inside, after exploring the history of my problem, she rises from her chair, moves a couple of yards away from me, motions me to also stand, and asks me to let her ‘have a look’. I lower my denims and briefs to allow the front-room furniture to swing fee. Standing there exposed from waist to knee, I fidget, not knowing where to put my hands. She peers at my genitalia, ‘to check for symmetry’ – apparently, observing whether my right ball is hovering at a different altitude to the other. Disturbingly, as she scrutinizes, she purses her lips and tilts her head. I conjure up lusty thoughts to try and inflate the pipe-work a bit but, alas, all in vain; in the cold consulting room my meat and veg resemble Bob Cratchit’s turkey, the last one in the shop.   
Courtesy of hyena reality

While I remain standing, she approaches, squats before me and digs her finger into the suspect testicle.
‘Does that hurt?’ she asks.
I yelp, providing her with an answer. She continues the examination by manipulating each ball between her thumb and forefinger, and cupping each in the palm of her hand (presumably checking for the diagnostic heaviness – if not, I’d been the victim of sexual assault). After returning to her full height she instructs me to lie on the bed. Any embryonic ember of sexual excitement is immediately quenched by the comic image in my head of my shuffling across the room, hairy arse on view, trousers around knees, like a floundering contestant in a sack race.

A male colleague with cold hands joins us and more prodding ensues. At the end of the examination I’m told that my testicles feel ‘totally normal’ but, in light of my age, they will arrange for me to return to hospital for an ultra scan ‘just to be on the safe side.’

Two weeks on, I am laying on a bed in the X-Ray Department, ubiquitous blue gown raised to my hips, while a black man, with hands the size of pit shovels, moves a wand-like object three inches from my gonads as if searching for precious metal. His verdict: ‘apart from a slight, non-significant aberration in the right testicle, they appear perfectly normal.’ He also tells me that the pain is probably due to ‘post-vasectomy pain syndrome,’ a discomfort experienced by one-in-three men years after the operation – a fact denied to me when I had the snip a decade earlier.  
‘If this was your testicle, would you choose to undergo any further investigation?’ I asked.
‘No,’ the radiographer replied, ‘I’d leave it well alone.’
‘That’s good enough for me,’ I said while rising from the bed, thoroughly reassured.


Wednesday, 22 January 2014

The day they arrested my dad

Last Saturday I attended a football (soccer) match with my 82-year-old father. I remain unsure as to the trigger – maybe a gesture or a comment –but while sitting together in the main stand, I relived an incident from almost half a century ago when my gentle, fair-minded dad evoked the wrath of the local police force.  

On a Saturday afternoon forty-seven years ago, the rain pummelled the window pane as I perched on the sill waiting for my dad’s return from work. The previous evening he had suggested we attend a football game and now, barely an hour prior to kick-off, he had yet to arrive.

My dad laboured all week in the engineering factory at the end of our road. To boost his take-home pay, he would often work Saturday mornings as well so as to benefit from the time-and-a-half hourly pay rate. When he clocked off at 12 noon he and his work mates would head for the Rose-and-Crown pub to imbibe a ‘bit of throat lubricant’. As I loitered at the window at 2.00 pm on this watery Saturday afternoon, I visualised him standing at the bar, tankard in hand, oblivious to his commitment to escort his 8-year-old son to the football.

His invite to attend a game together had startled me. Burnley, the team we (and several generations of Jones) supported were playing 250 miles away on the south coast, so we wouldn’t entertain travelling on such a pilgrimage. It would have to be a visit to our local (and bitterest) rival Blackburn Rovers. Nor did I usually go to the football with my dad, my companions being either my older brother or my uncle. Maybe my dad’s invitation had been fuelled by guilt at his perceived failure to fulfil his fatherly duties.

At 2.15 a car pulled up outside; my dad had persuaded a work mate to drop us at the ground. Climbing into the back seat of the Ford Corsair, I caught a whiff of alcohol, thereby confirming my earlier hunch of their pre-match stop at the Rose-and-Crown. As we queued to enter the ground of our loathed adversary, torrential rain lashed into our faces. My dad handed over his hard-earned cash at the turnstile and we found our seats in the stand. The pitch itself, clad in a collage of water-pools of various shapes and sizes, appeared unplayable. Yet at 3.00 pm the referee blew his whistle to start the proceedings. At 3.03 pm he blew it again to abandon the game due to the water-logged pitch.

My dad, with me clinging to his arm, strode immediately to the ticket office to seek a refund of his money only to be informed that, as the match had started, no reimbursement would be given. An agitated crowd gathered outside the ticket office, demanding that the directors of the club leave their plush boardroom and explain why they can’t have their money back.

My father is a peaceful man, but on that day he transformed. Maybe due to alcohol- powered disinhibition. Or the frustration of a premature abortion of a rare football trip with his son. Or the fact that heinous Blackburn was responsible for the gross injustice. Whatever the reason, maybe a combination of them all, my dad (together with his clinging 8-year-old son) gravitated to the front of the baying mob.

 A few minutes later the police arrived. ‘Move along now sir, you’re causing an obstruction’

‘I’m going nowhere until I get my money back’ said my dad.

The officer put a guiding arm on my dad’s shoulder. ‘Come, come now; you don’t want to set your lad a bad example, do you?’

Patronising comments now an additional factor in the already incendiary mix, dad shoved the policeman away. The crowd, some yards further back, cheered at his defiance, thereby providing further encouragement to continue with what was, by now, a one man protest.

The police superintendent appeared. ‘Move on or you will be arrested.’

My dad leaned in towards the superintendent, wagged a finger at the stripes on his uniform and said, ‘Just because you’ve got that bird crap on your shoulder doesn’t mean you can tell me what to do.’  

But it did. The police yanked my dad (together with me, his appendage) into the back of the police car. He avoided a night in the cells (probably due to the presence of a minor) but received a fine of £10 for ‘disturbing the peace’.

On the bus journey home, my father pleaded with me not to tell my mother (who would have, no doubt, castrated him for his hooliganism). A loyal son, I didn’t grass him up; well, at least not until a decade later!  And now, almost fifty years on, I’m announcing his aberration to the world.


Friday, 27 December 2013

My lazy-bowel mystery

Courtesy of Melis82
Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Since opting for early retirement from the day job three months ago, I have developed a fixation with my bowels. Rarely a moment goes by without me ruminating over the internal activities of the 1.5 metres of tubing that languishes in the pit of my abdomen. And there is plenty to think about; my bowel is a mystery of such intricacy it renders the Bermuda Triangle, Jack the Ripper and the Turin Shroud all obvious by comparison.

I’ve concluded my large intestine has a wicked sense of humor. Throughout most of my earlier life it pulsed with gusto, its manic and unpredictable contractions rendering me vulnerable to recurrent looseness. Twelve months ago I adopted a healthier lifestyle, jogging three times per week and eating a low-fat/high-fibre diet, a change that resulted in the welcome loss of 20 pounds. But my bowels, like militant union leaders, opted for a go-slow and thereby triggered extended periods of constipation.

After hours, nay days, of visualizing the festering faeces backing up in my labyrinth of turgid intestines, I entered the phrase ‘cures for constipation’ into my Google search engine. I skipped the recommended laxatives (I have an aversion to medications of any type) and the glass of daily prune juice achieved little more than nausea. So I probed for more creative remedies in an effort to prompt my lazy bowel into action.

Standing on the seat and squatting, thereby recreating the more 'natural’ pooing position of our pre-toilet ancestors, was a non-starter; my iffy knee ligaments couldn’t cope with such athleticism.  Elevating one’s feet while sitting on the toilet and rocking backwards and forwards was another recommendation, accompanied by confident claims that it would help lever the arid detritus out of the darkness. So I duly conveyed our plastic foot-stool from the kitchen to the toilet, sat down and, with my knees under my chin, performed repeated lunges, back and forth, inhaling on the backswing and exhaling on the forward lurch. My panting attracted unwanted attention.

‘Stop that,’ shouted Mrs Jones from the other side of the door, 'you’ll go blind!’

Undeterred, I persisted with my rocking and thrusting for several minutes but, alas, I only succeeded in pissing on the bathroom floor.

My bowel mystery does, however, have a happy ending. I’ve discovered the perfect solution: beer. A minimum of two pints per day of cask ale maintains regularity. Sorted!    

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The turn-down girl

Last month, Mrs Jones and I escaped to the Scottish city of Edinburgh for a romantic weekend and were fortunate enough to stay in the alien surrounds of a plush, 5-star hotel. On our first full day, we trudged around the famous castle and the National Museum of Scotland before devouring a late lunch swilled down with copious quantities of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. By 4.00 pm, two enthusiastic sight-seers had transformed into chilled, mellow bohemians sitting in a city-centre pub, me nursing a pint of cask ale, Mrs Jones glugging Bulmer’s pear cider from the bottle-neck.

I thought I detected a mischievous sparkle in my wife’s eye so, emboldened by the alcohol, I leaned towards her and said, ‘Shall we go back to the hotel room and …eh … relax?’
‘What do you mean?’ she replied, the smirk on her face divulging that she knew exactly my intention.
I played along with the pretence. ‘I just wondered whether we might slink back to that luxurious room with its king-size bed and indulge in a bit of afternoon delight?’    
‘But I’ve already eaten dessert,’ she said, her laughter indicating that the charade was over.

Even for an intimate partnership spanning in excess of 30 years, there is something excitingly illicit about the prospect of rumpy-pumpy in an unfamiliar hotel room. We were tearing at each other’s clothes before we had crossed the threshold.

Minutes later – I’d like to say hours, but that would be fibbing - Mrs Jones was riding the crest of a wave, in the superior position, with us both accelerating to the point of no return, when there was an intrusive rat-a-tat-tat on the door. We both froze. After a few seconds Mrs Jones dismounted, covered her dignity with the complimentary hotel dressing gown and strode to answer the door, leaving me on my back, hands behind my head, with the smug look so characteristic of a bloke who knows that his manhood will stand to attention for the foreseeable future. Mrs Jones opened the door a few inches, and I listened to their conversation.
‘Would you like me to turn down your bed?’ asked the young hotel maid, in her east-European accent.
‘You’d have more than the bed to turn down if you went in there.’
‘Sorry? I’m here to turn the bed down.’
‘It will go down in its own good time.’
‘Nothing – we’ll be ok thanks; we’ll turn it down ourselves.’

I will never forget the huge grin on my beautiful wife’s face as she shut the door and turned back towards me.