Mother Nature’s Wicked Sense of Humour

It was quite a revelation this morning when I jumped out of bed in happy expectation of a brand new day – only to find that for the first time in my life something other than my feet hit the carpet first.

As I sleep butt naked, I’m sure you can imagine what I forlornly ended up dragging along the beige shagpile towards the bathroom, whilst avidly avoiding hubby’s boots that had hastily been kicked off the night before. Needless to say, double nipple burn is not pleasant but I counted myself lucky that I hadn’t smacked them into the wrought iron candle holder on the landing.

Somehow, and I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it sooner, I had grown old.

Everything that had previously pointed North, had suddenly decided to take a road trip South. They didn’t bother packing an overnight case or think it necessary to let me know where they were going, or leave a forwarding address. They just bloody got up and went between 10pm the night before and 8.30am in the morning.

As I plonked myself down on my silent flush, low level budget loo, my once pert nellies rolled out to comfortably drape themselves across my upper thighs.

I wanted to cry.

I’d got used to pulling out the odd grey hair that had begun to adorn my head. Even a single stray that had hung tantalisingly out of what was left of my right eyebrow last February, got the rapid tweezer movement, but THIS….. this was something else.  Whilst brushing my teeth, I desperately tried to console myself that at least nature hadn’t combined the two and given me hairy nipples.  Then again, on closer inspection, I could be wrong.

Plucking at the fine fluff adorning them I gave a sigh of relief.   Carpet fibres.  I quickly offered up a solitary, half hearted thank you to God…. although what a man would understand about despair and hairy nipples was beyond me!

As my luck would have it, Mother Nature decided she wanted to give me one more kick in the Tena Ladies, as my day got gradually worse.

Once I’d hoisted my hooters back into their rightful place with a bra that had seen better days, I casually dressed myself in shorts and t-shirt for a bit of gardening. I have an agreement with my hubby. His knees creak less than mine, so he does the weeding and I do the watering.  Actually….. talking of watering, that’s another aspect of impending old age.  A need for what’s commonly called amongst us oldies, APP.

Advanced Pee Planning.

76C39A04-76CB-4599-B5FD-F26A80592EF2If you don’t monitor your fluid intake you sure as hell better carry plenty of change and know the prime location of every toilet facility within a three miles radius – intimately! Pretending you’re an Irish Clog dancer to cover the jiggling, whilst dragging the depths of your handbag for a 20 pence piece is soul destroying.

Right, so far we’ve got droopy nellies, hairy nipples, creaky knees and bladder weakness, all signs of old age that has crept up on you whilst you have, in sublime ignorance, carried on with your blissful life, believing you are drinking from the fountain of eternal youth.

So, where was I? Oh yep, gardening. So there I am, happily watering the back garden in my best cerise pink Crocs, you know, those delightful plastic things with holes all over them, allegedly for aeration, but in stark reality it’s really where your street cred slowly seeps out with each squelchy step.  This is my shameful confession – I am a secret Croc wearer.

I never venture out in public for fear of ridicule, although I did get shitfaced once on the cooking sherry (one for the pot, two for me) whilst making a Beef Bourguignon, forgot I was wearing them and went out to empty the bin. The look on my neighbours face said it all.  I knew that from that moment on I would forever be ostracised from the Meols Mummies Group, and as a consequence, invites to Aloe Vera Product parties, Ann Summers and Gin Evenings would never again rattle through my letterbox or bleep on my mobile phone.AD1DD77A-B805-4486-845B-FB184F5476B6

I was so distraught at being caught red handed, or should I say cerise pink footed, that I finished off the rest of the bottle, burnt the Bourguignon and woke up eight hours later in bed wearing nothing but my bloody Crocs and a half-hearted smile. According to Hubby, getting my clothes off was easier than trying to prise those dratted things from my sweaty feet, so he’d left them on. Well at least that’s what he told me, maybe he had a ‘thing’ about naked women wearing Crocs. Sadly, due to my alcohol induced coma I will never know, but if he buys me a new pair for Christmas I’ll be seeking an appointment with a Deviancy Counsellor.

Anyway, back to gardening and Croc wearing.

I was happily enjoying a quiet five minutes whilst still mourning my loss of gravity and bounce over a glass of chilled white wine. The glossy pages of the LaRedoute catalogue, open at the the underwear section, fluttered and shimmered in the sun along with a landing strip of hair on my shin that I must have missed during my most recent leg de-fuzzing session without my glasses. I studied each youthful lingerie model with growing envy. Not one of them had droopy nellies, flabby tums, nasal hair or cellulite. One well toned red-head, her hair tumbling across her shoulders, softly draping over her buoyant boobies grinned out at me from the pages, gloating. I was just in the process of wishing a thousand boils upon her pretty face and a pair of septic bunions, when the doorbell rang.

…..and this is how my day ended.

“Oh hi, I was just wondering if you could take this parcel in for one of your neighbours?”

99B0E4E0-30D0-4FDF-BE59-686817DC5AC3There, standing on my ‘Feck Off’ doormat was the epitome of manhood. A Poldark lookalike. His smouldering eyes swept from my feet to my head, a glint of a smile touched the corner of his full lips.

Rooted to the spot, I grinned, desperately trying to stretch my jowls and wattle for a more youthful appearance. Hoisting my newly drooped baps up another two inches I leant backwards against the doorframe whilst simultaneously trying to hide my Croc-clad feet behind a nearby plant pot…..

…..only for them to suddenly emit a horrendously loud ‘fart’ as my damp, sweaty feet forced a rush of air through the holes.

“Oh dear, that’s one good reason for not wearing these dreadful plastic shoes isn’t it?” I coyly proffered, desperately trying to hide my embarrassment.

Mr Poldark grinned.

“Gosh, I wouldn’t worry too much love, no need to make excuses. You’re like my Nan, she suffers from flatulence too. She has tablets for it…” he offered in a smooth, almost pitying voice as he turned on his heels to slink panther-like, down my path leaving me drooling with unrequited lust.

I closed the front door and kicked off my sweaty, embarrassing crocs, sending them sailing down the hallway, narrowly missing Cat. Slumping down on the sofa, I jiggled my unclad feet, paying particular attention to several stray hairs that now adorned my big toe, another unwanted extra of old age. Depressingly droopy nellies, Crocs that fart and hairy toes, what else could dear old Mother Nature throw at me whilst she giggled in pure, unadulterated glee?

All I’ve got to look forward to now is giving my granddaughters the obligatory electric shock from my upper lip hair (which I’m  in the process of excitedly cultivating) whenever I give them a kiss goodbye, along with milky cocoa, Ponds Cold Cream and a hair net at bedtime.

So, whilst you digest that depressing thought, I’m off to pencil in my ever diminishing eyebrows so that when the postman tells me about Nora from next door-but-one dragging her droopy nellies across her memory foam mattress whilst pleasuring the milkman, I can at least raise something to show how surprised I am!

Gina Kirkham

(c) 2017



image          A DEAD END JOB


“Right you little monkey, come and sit here for a cuddle, I’ve got crisps, Twiglets and Chocolate Buttons.”

Ella’s face lit up as she bounced down on the sofa next to me. Clicking the video remote I started the film. Our favourite. Mary Poppins.

She crunched a Twiglet and pointed the remaining bit at me.  “Mum have you ever seen a dead person yet, you know a real dead humung beening?” 

I tried not to laugh.  “It’s human being Ella, erm no, not yet….but that’s such a strange thing to want to know sweetheart.”

She shrugged her shoulders as her hand disappeared into the Twiglet tube.  I just wondered if they had wings when you found them or do they come later?”

Jeez, questions on Theology, I could spell the word, not have an in depth discussion on it.

 “Err I’m not sure I get what you mean Ella.” 

“Oh nuffink, I just thought it would make it hard to get them out of the front door if they were dead AND had a big pair of wings. Can I have another Twiglet?”

…and with that the conversation on dead people was over.


“Neighbour from No. 32 is reporting he hasn’t seen the old lady next door for several days Mavis, voters show an Alice Creighton, 87 years.”  The ensuing silence from the other end of my police radio gave me time to think.

I groaned. Thanks Ella!

No sooner does she mention something, then it happens. I’d avoided the optional Post Mortem visit during my early probation as I didn’t quite fancy savouring my breakfast twice in one day. After all, I wasn’t going to be the one that had to bloody dissect them. I just needed to know how to deal with finding them.

Standing in front of the dull black door to No. 34, the abode of the unseen Mrs Creighton my heart sank. The backlog of newspapers and milk bottles could mean only one thing.

Grimacing, my stomach did a huge flip.  It’s more the anticipation of death that is so disturbing, so unless someone has ever taken the opportunity to actually keel over and expire in front of you, the chances of seeing a dead body are probably few and far between.

I lifted the letterbox and had a discreet sniff.  I baulked.  Yep, something smelt very dead inside the little terraced house.

“Here yer are love, it’s her spare key, use this.”

The kindly neighbour from 32 proffered the shiny bit of metal on a piece of string. I looked at it, looked at him and looked at the front door. It was at this exact moment I realised that I was the one wearing a uniform, and as such, I was probably expected to do something about the unseen Mrs Creighton.

Why on earth couldn’t I have worked at Sainsbury’s, they never have to find dead people do they?

I let that thought hover in the air before slipping the key into the lock, tentatively turning it and stepping through the door.  I glanced back to a sea of faces belonging to the concerned neighbours outside, watching in a medley of keen anticipation and sheer nosiness.

Just on the remote chance that there was anyone alive to hear it, although I did seriously doubt it judging by the stench, I loudly announced my arrival in a quivering voice.

Mrs Creighton, Mrs Creighton, it’s the Police Mrs Creighton…….”

No reply, nothing. Not even a whisper.

I carried on along the hallway, checking each room in turn with no sign of Mrs Creighton.  In the kitchen I found a pan of some foul smelling gunk on the old enamel gas stove. The furry growth on top had been fermenting for some considerable time.  I held my breath, this was going from bad to worse.  I tried again.

Mrs Creighton, don’t panic, it’s the Police, just need to know you’re okay”


With my heart thumping in anticipation, I began to climb the staircase. Picking my feet through the threadbare runner, I swept my fingers along the dark brown bannister.  I was utterly convinced I was going to find the elusive Mrs Creighton rather deceased somewhere upstairs.

Oh please God don’t let her be all horribly….. well, you know what I mean… just make her sort of fresh…ish…!

The first bedroom was empty apart from an old 1930’s wardrobe, several dead flies on the ledge of the cast-iron fireplace and a commode. Motes of dust whipped up, catching in the muted sunlight from the window. Coughing I closed the door. Creeping out onto the landing, I put my very sweaty hand on the door handle to the second bedroom, pausing long enough to control my breathing as my heart threatened to explode through my shirt.

I turned and pushed.

The door creaked open….

…… and there, lying in bed amongst her pink rayon sheets and green polyester quilt, mouth wide open and eyes hooded was Mrs Creighton.

Very grey, very still, very cold and very, very smelly….
……and in my expert opinion…. just a little bit dead!

I froze.

Oh shit, I’ve got a dead body, a real life dead body.

My first.

Panic ensued. 

Think Mavis, think.  What did they teach you at Bruche? 

For a split second I didn’t care what they had told me at Police Training college, it didn’t matter.  All I wanted to do was to get the hell out of there…….

…..and then I remembered.  It all came flooding back,  I knew exactly what I had to do.

My priority was to confirm that there was no output from Mrs Creighton, no breath, no pulse, nothing that could be resuscitated, no signs of life.

Way to go Mavis.

I held my breath and walked gingerly over to the bed, jumping as the floorboards creaked. Oh blimey, facial hair! Mrs Creighton has facial hair. I hesitated, wondering if she still had her false teeth in, which in turn reminded me of Marj at our first aid classes. A quick glance at the bedside cabinet confirmed that her teeth were accounted for, they were floating in a glass of disgusting yellowy green…err…. something.

Fantastic that was all I needed. I’d never get a good seal around her mouth for CPR if it was caving in through lack of teeth. The thought of shiny gums and spit made me feel sick.

Taking hold of her limp wrist, I bent over her to check for a pulse.  As I tentatively moved closer to her face, I paused waiting to see if any air was being expelled from her nose.  The hairs on her top lip remained static.  Oh dear, this seriously wasn’t looking good.

I moved in closer, my own breath barely perceptable.  At the exact moment my nose almost touched hers, her eyes shot wide open.  A low moan drifted from her mouth as she suddenly sat bolt upright in bed.   Every nerve in my body went into high alert as I stumbled backwards in fright, knocking into the mirrored wardrobe.  

Letting out an almighty screech akin to a banshee, she flailed her arms in the air.  “What the fuck are you doing in me bedroom……?”

I screamed.

Mrs Creighton screamed….

….and I legged it out of the bedroom in sheer terror, flying down the stairs, missing several steps as I went.

The neighbours, fearful of my findings and the wailing from inside the house, crossed themselves in godly reverence before disappearing back into their own houses as I fell over the door mat landing sprawled out on the pavement.

Standing alone outside, I gathered what was left of my dignity and quietly meditated my predicament before forcing myself to return inside the House of Horrors.

I made Mrs Creighton a cup of tea, washed her dishes and contacted a relative to advise them she had been suffering a rather awful bout of influenza, which had been aggravated by a Nightnurse induced coma.

Plumping the pillow behind her, I folded back the quilt and handed her a bowl of chicken soup the next door neighbour had brought round.   “Here you go, that’ll make you feel better Mrs Creighton.”

She grumbled, sniffed, tasted the soup and let the spoon rattle back into the bowl.   “D’ya know what would really make me feel better?”

I was mesmerised by the flake of chicken adhered to her top lip as her tongue snaked up trying to dislodge it.   “Anything, just say and I’ll see if I can sort it for you” I gently crooned.

She wiped away the chicken with the back of her hand, flicking it across the counterpane.  

“I’d feel a whole lot better if you’d just fuck right off……   and don’t let the door smack you on the arse on the way out…!”


Back at the nick I filled in my report on Mrs Creighton before going off duty, still stinging from her ingratitude and gobsmacked that an 87-year-old lady could actually know, let alone use, the F-word.

“There you go Mave…” Bob dunked his biscuit in the chipped mug, brought it up to his mouth with seconds to spare before it drooped, “…it’s the four S’s, you should’ve known that.”

I closed my notebook, What on earth  has sun, sea, sand and sex got to do with an ungrateful old biddy with Tourette’s?”

He grinned, cramming the rest of the biscuit into his mouth.

“Nope, it stands for not all Shitty Smells Sniffed are Stiffs….”


Extract from Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Primark Thong (c) 2016

Gina Kirkham




Swinging my car into the much coveted parking space next to the industrial wheelie bins, two broken chairs and a bike minus a saddle, I spotted Petey.  He was obviously having a bad start to his night as I watched him grapple with his rucksack, which had become firmly wedged in his car door.

“Evening Mave, hhrrmff, I erm, is the grrrmff…….is the new lad starting tonight do you know, hey?”  He grinned, looking at me expectantly as he pulled and tugged on the unyielding bit of khaki canvas.

The poor lad was so desperate to have someone else on the Section to run the gauntlet of pranks, jokes and general teasing because no matter how good natured it all was, he had decided that he’d enjoyed his fair share and now wanted to be one of the ones that was playing the games rather than being at the receiving end of them.  

“Yes matey, he’s with us from tonight, but before you get too excited he’s not…..”  but before I could finish I was rudely interrupted by a loud ripping sound as he gave one almighty tug and catapulted himself across two parking bays, landing on his back, as the material on his rucksack gave way, scattering a cheese and ham sandwich, two packets of smokey bacon crisps and a strawberry Telly Tubby fromage frais onto the Tarmac.  Hastily picking himself up to retrieve his goodies, he continued to mumble to himself.  

“Super, oh super, so what have we got planned for him?  Hey, I know, can we do the ‘wet weather bike test’ Mavis, can we? I could do the hosepipe bit, that’ll be such a laugh.”  

Shaking my head and smiling to myself, I headed off to the locker room, leaving him muttering away in childish excitement as he disappeared under a car to grab a packet of Iced Gem fancies from behind the rear tyre.

To the rhythmic banging of locker doors as we gathered our kit together for Parade, Bob shouted across the din.   

Yay Mave, all set for later, can’t wait to see his face, promise it will defo be the last time.   Lets call it for old times eh?”   He winked with an impish grin as he clipped his tie into place.  

Shoving an avalanche of old sweaters, mismatched slash-proof gloves and half a box of 70 denier black tights circa 1988 onto the shelf, I grinned back and gave him the thumbs up as I slammed my locker door shut.  

“Just don’t go too far though Bob, he’s quite a sensitive soul really”.   

All through parade Petey jiggled and wriggled in his seat in unbridled excitement at what the night was to hold, whilst keeping a watchful eye on our newest member, Constable 5682 Shaun Lovell.  Now, contrary to what Petey believed, although Shaun was new to us, he had already served six months in a neighbouring division and wasn’t as wet behind the ears as Petey thought.   This was the advice I was about to impart earlier when his rucksack had given up the ghost cutting me off in my prime.  Oh well, bit late now I mused, as I shoved a hastily written note of our plan of action across to Bob and Adrian; and if Shaun fell for it, all the better.

Getting Petey on his own after Parade, I ran through what we had planned.  

“We’re not doing the cycling proficiency wet weather mate, mainly because it’s raining, so it wouldn’t be very effective with you and the hosepipe, or very funny.  We’ve gone for the ‘old body in the Mortuary’ trick, okay?”  He studiously nodded as I continued.  It’s not been done for a while, so it should be good”.  

A smile spread across his face, clearly happy to be part of the planning.  

Final preparations in place, our little prank was all set for scoff break, 3 a.m, dead of night, the bewitching hour.  Petey was doubled up with me again and as I tested the lights, klaxons and checked the vehicle log book, he sat in the passenger seat rubbing his hands together in glee.  

“Right Mave, can I just run through it again, I get on the slab, you shut the door and then when Shaun comes along I burst out and shout ‘aaaarrrrrgggghhh’……….”  

Sighing I closed the book, started the engine and ran through it with him again.  “No Petey, once in the mortuary you go to the cold storage section, get on one of the empty trays and cover yourself in a sheet, I’ll slide the tray back in, close the door and you just wait in there. Got it so far?”

He chewed the end of his pencil and then stuck it in his left ear giving it a robust jiggle.  Yep, yep, got that Mave….”

Right, okay.  You don’t move, you don’t say anything until the tray is pulled out again by Shaun who will have been sent to check a tag on what he believes to be a John Doe.  Still with me?”   

Inspecting to end of the pen he gave a nod as he vigorously wiped it on the sleeve of his jumper.  

I grimaced.  “So that’s when you sit up and start groaning, still with the sheet on okay?  But for God’s sake watch your head on the tray above, wait until your tray is fully cleared.”

“Yep, yep, got that Mave…..” he paused for a moment, chewing his bottom lip “…..errr Mave, what’s a John Doe?”

My patience had hit its limit.   “Bloody hell Petey, we’re in a mortuary what do you think a John Doe is?  How long have you been in the job? There’s going to be at least six other bodies in there with you, are you sure you want to do this?”  

He sat looking out of the window, biting his fingernails in silence.  I stifled a giggle.  What neither Petey or Shaun knew was that the mortuary was closed and empty of any residents as a new chiller section was being installed the following day.  For the price of two packets of Digestive biscuits and a Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut bar, we had endeared ourselves to one of the mortuary assistants and had secured thirty minutes uninterrupted time in the existing chillers before they were removed.

I gave him what I hoped was one of my more sincerest looks, whilst at the same time feeling ever so slightly guilty for knowing what he was about to endure


The early part of the night shift passed quickly with only one drink driver and two minor scuffles outside ‘Ali’s AbraKEBABra’ shop.  Indian Joe and his lovely girlfriend Liberty Lil had objected to the lack of chilli sauce with their kebabs.  Subsequently Ali had objected to Lil wiping the word ‘Chilli’ from his window display after she had ripped off her rather rancid, crusty fishnet tights to use as a duster whilst advising him on the Trade Descriptions Act.

At 3 a.m prompt, Petey was ensconced on tray 5, covered head to toe in a white sheet after having climbed between two shroud covered bodies, who were the unexpected residents of trays 4 and 6. As much as the excitement had thrilled him, he clearly hadn’t been thrilled at the prospect of being in such close proximity to dead people. 

Sitting up on his tray, with his eyes as wide as saucers he started to whine. 

Oh God Mavis, do you know what they died of?  It’s not catching is it, I mean, well, you know what I mean…..”  He looked horror struck.  

“Oh for goodness sake Petey, the dead can’t hurt you, they’re dead, gone, deceased, not of this world.  Look if you don’t want to do this…”  I kept my fingers crossed, hoping he wouldn’t back out now.

Sighing he put on his best stiff upper lip, leant back in repose and resigned himself to playing his part whilst I pushed his tray into place.  As I  slammed the door shut I could hear him giving a very muffled and quivering rendition of ‘Jesus Wants me For a Sunbeam’ from inside.

At 3:10 a.m on the dot, Shaun, after receiving a radio message to attend the Mortuary, was preparing to open the huge stainless steel door which housed trays 4, 5 and 6, which in turn contained the two unidentified bodies and sandwiched in the middle of them, our very own shivering Petey.

As Petey held his breath in eager anticipation of playing a rather good jape on Shaun, he heard a groaning noise emanating from tray 4 above.

“Ooooooh it’s a bit bloody parky in ‘ere isn’t it?”   wailed a ghostly voice from above.

Petey froze as a second voice shouted from tray 6 below him

“Yeah, no shit Sherlock, I popped me clogs in me underpants on the way to the bog, I’m feckin’ freezing me nuts off  in here…”

A brief silence followed before the occupant of tray 4 sighed

“Hey, you in number 5, what did you die of then?”

In that split second Petey let out a scream of utter terror whilst banging his head on the bottom of tray 4.  The realisation that he was number 5 and that his two neighbouring dead bodies had just carried out a little tete-a-tete was too much for him, finally tipping him over the edge.  

At that exact moment Shaun opened the door and started to pull out tray 5 containing the hapless Petey.  Seeing the shroud covered vision moaning and flailing in front of him, Shaun screamed, Petey screamed again, the residents of trays 4 and 6 screamed and wailed and Shaun turned on his heels and legged it through the doors into the night air, closely followed by Petey with his sheet attached to his trousers, billowing in the wind.

As the Mortuary doors slammed shut in the eerie silence that followed, I came out of hiding to see Bob and Adrian swinging their legs over the side of trays 4 and 6, completely helpless with laughter as they flung off their sheets, waving their arms in ghostly fashion.

“Woooooooo.  That was bloody epic Mave, absolutely bloody epic, a two-fer-one….” wheezing with laughter Bob wiped his sleeve across his eyes. “….did you see them go?  Freezing me nuts off and underpants!!!  Ade when have you ever worn gandipants mate?”

I had a horrible feeling that wherever they where by now, Petey and Shaun would be very grateful for clean underpants, any style, any colour or any brand.

(c) 2015 Gina Kirkham

Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Primark Thong