I SMILE BECAUSE IF I DIDN’T, YOU’D ASK ME WHY…..

I Smile Because If I didn’t, You’d Ask Me Why….

Norman Wisdom.  The Fool.  The sad, funny fool.  Norman Wisdom, my comedy hero.

I vividly remember crying big heaving sobs of wet tears at the age of eight watching Trouble In Store one Sunday afternoon on our big old lumbering black & white television as he sang Don’t Laugh at Me ‘Cause I’m a fool.

I suddenly had an affinity, I wanted Norman to be my friend.  I knew I would be able to look after him, to make him feel loved and happy, just like I loved my battered old teddy bear.  I couldn’t understand how anyone could hold such sadness in their heart, but be so incredibly funny at the same time.

 

At the age of fifty, I sadly found out the how and the why.

In the space of a few short years, I lost both my mum and dad to cancer and whilst still coming to terms with being an overgrown, ditzy orphan, I was diagnosed with a painful, life changing disease that eventually took away the career I loved.

Suddenly I had two options:

a) Walk around with the cares of the world on my shoulders, weeping and wailing with my now ever developing jowls, courtesy of the menopause and old age, knocking my knees and tripping me up in Morrisons Fruit & Veg aisle

or

b) Smile, laugh and be the fool whilst designating the melancholy and hurt to a little box, carefully tied with a mental bow, and pushing it to the back of my mind as in truth, nobody loves a misery-guts.

‘A‘ wasn’t much of an option as I actually shop in Sainsbury’s and vanity made me horrified at the thought of anyone seeing my jowls swinging from side to side knocking the organic carrots from the carefully stacked display.

So ‘B‘ it was….. and that’s how I live my life.  Everyday I count the blessings I have rather than notching up the negatives.  I’m happy, fulfilled and nutty as a fruitcake!

I manage my condition with powerful medication that prohibits alcohol. Yep, no Gin, vodka, wine.  My saviour for so many social outings was banned, and in doing so, my false confidence went with it but on the plus side, no hangovers or photo’s of me I’d rather my granddaughters didn’t see.

I have this nasty habit of proving my hypermobility after a couple of vodka’s by throwing my legs behind my head.  All good fun until I realised I’d left my stiletto’s on and the heels had jammed behind my neck  making it impossible to extricate myself. There were many occasions I was left rocking backwards and forwards like my nan’s old mahogany chair whilst everyone howled with laughter….

….and that’s where the how came into being.  Their laughter lifted my spirits.  It made me feel happy too, and I suddenly realised how he did it.  His character Norman Pitkin’s heart was filled with this special fluttery feeling because of the laughter and I wanted to feel like that too.

This past eighteen months have been amazing for me, to have my book Handcuffs taken up and published, was my dream come true.

But it has also been a difficult time too.  Sadly, my step-dad, who has been a father to me for over 40 years, was diagnosed with Alzheimers. It is a dreadful illness that destroys a little of him every single day and at the same time my health has deteriorated, giving me constant excruciating, unmanageable pain.  I could be sad, downhearted, miserable but that’s not me.  I have to see the positives.

When I first saw my GP he called it ‘non specific back pain’ and told me to live with it.  I completely forgot where I was and promptly replied “Well it’s feckin’ specific to me mate!”  I don’t think he appreciated my life observation or the slamming of his door as I left.  I was actually gutted as my display of pique and the impact I had wanted in hearing the wooden door hit the frame with force was lost in the slow squeak of the pneumatic safety door closer which completely ruined my dramatic exit.

Six months down the line I have now found myself walking around like a geriatric wearing extra-large, thigh chaffing incontinence pants.  Each time the pain travels down my legs I either howl, groan, ooof or uuuugghh, which makes me sound like I’ve got Tourette’s.  Not to disappoint, I’m currently researching swear words to make a greater impact in Sainsbury’s on a Saturday amongst the Derby & Joan brigade.

This week, after the results of an MRI scan, I am finally being referred to a Neuro specialist.  This has led me to two great emotions.

Elation that finally something might be done so I can live a normal, pain free life.  I want to be able to care for my Dad without feeling a failure due to my limitations, I want to run and play with my beautiful granddaughters, I want to have a proper nights sleep and I want to have lovely, romantic walks with my hubby, and it would be amazing to wear a pair of stiletto’s again without looking like Dick Emery in drag as I totter along the path.

And then there was the sheer panic.  Knickers, or thongs or G-strings or strips of nothing.  I would have barely a gusset between me, a backless surgical gown and some poor unsuspecting specialist with what was currently stuffed in my underwear drawer.

I would just have to go shopping.

Leaving the GP’s surgery with a prescription for some miracle drug called Gabapentin clutched in my hot, sweaty hand, I planned a trip to Primark to see if they had any knickers that actually had a bum in them.  It was also to be my first day of Gabapentin ingestion.

Oh dearie me, that definitely wasn’t one of my better ideas.

High as kite, completely bombed out of my brain, I took my dilated pupils into Primark for a wander.  Finding the Underwear department I suddenly and involuntarily, let out a very loud squeal of utter delight.  I was a child in a toy store.  As much as I wanted to stop the ridiculous display of elation I was currently experiencing, I couldn’t, Gabapentin had me in its grip, I was possessed.  Hubby, who had taken to hiding behind the  Onesies and PJ’s on a nearby stand, cringed with embarrassment as I went on a verbal rampage trying knickers on over my jeans and throwing a rainbow of colours and lace into the air.

Twenty minutes later I stood in the queue at the cash desk, several pairs of mahooosive knickers in my basket and one pair hanging from my head.  This had occurred purely due to the sudden desire to dance to the piped music with a cerise pink firkler draped over my pony-tail which had then become wedged under a hair clip.

In my floaty state I didn’t care.  I shoved the basket towards the cashier, my heart jumping with joy with each bleep of the scanned panties.  Suddenly remembering the pair on my head, I thought, what the hell, in for a penny, in for a pound.  What’s an extra pair between friends.

Much to the horror of Cashier No. 4, I promptly slammed my head down on the counter, proffering the knickers and their price tag for scanning whilst my left ear got jammed in the security tag removal hole.

Two hours later, Gabapentin fading from my system, I was suitably chastised by hubby, who was currently making a meal of untangling the laced edged frillies from my hair.   I began to ponder my disgraceful behaviour.  I wanted to be embarrassed and cross, I wanted to feel horrified, and I suppose deep down I did, but there was also an overwhelming desire to giggle.

It couldn’t happen to anyone, because it would always happen to me.  I was the proverbial fool, the idiot, the dipstick, the dork….

….but do you know what.  I actually didn’t care.  Whilst I was laughing and being a fool, I was hoping others would giggle too, and in turn any pain, hurt or sadness I felt would be forgotten because their laughter made me happy.  In truth, a smile disguises everything.

Some days it is easy, on other days I do struggle a little, but I will always find time to find something funny in life.  I wouldn’t survive without that hope, that glimmer of humour in every day situations, it’s my safe place, my hiding place for my heart.

I truly do smile because if I didn’t, you’d ask me why….

Gina x

 

 

 

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A HUMONGOUS THANK YOU FROM MAVIS AND ME…

Less than three years ago I had the most amazing dream that consisted of three wishes, well, four really if you count my desperate desire to fit into the size 8 jeans I last wore in 1986.  My wonderful jeans have sat in the third drawer down in the spare bedroom, forlornly waiting for the day my waist would measure the same as my left ankle, thus rendering them useful once again.

Sadly, both me and my anorexic jeans are still waiting for our moment of glory whilst I play Homer Simpson faces with the excess rolls of tummy flab that have slowly crept up on me since I hit my fifties.

So, back to wishes 1, 2 and 3.

Wish number 1.  Write a book and get it published.  Simples really if you say it really quickly.  Being an ex-secretary I could type, I could spell and I knew some fabulous big words, although where I was going to fit supercalifragilisticexpialidocious into a chapter I had no idea.

Wish number 2.  Well that sort of followed on from Wish number 1.  If I managed to write a book AND get it published, I wanted to tread in the hallowed footsteps of Luca Veste, David Jackson and Jonathan Harvey by having my launch at the fantastic Waterstones in Liverpool One.

Sorry, just as a little diversion and to brag a bit, Luca Veste is my incredible nephew, David Jackson is my lovely neighbour and I spoke two words to Jonathan Harvey once AND I got a book signed by him.  I think the two words were ‘Eee Rita’ but nevertheless, I was beside myself with joy and hero worship for weeks afterwards and I still sigh in awe when I see his name on the credits for Coronation Street.

And finally…..

Wish number 3.  The potential for a ‘selfie moment’ in Liverpool John Lennon Airport with my book in the W H Smith Holiday shop.  Not a pouty, duck-faced one, as old age has given me lips like the arse end of a cat, so unfortunately lipstick and gloss bleed into the wrinkles and then come to a grinding halt at my carefully tended moustache.   The downside of my upper lip hair is my granddaughters now kiss the top of my head rather than suffer near fatal electric shocks from my bristles and nose hair.

Anyway, somewhere along the way, my Guardian Angel, who has been avidly following me around, ducking the occasional disaster or dilemma that had been flung my way, came up trumps.

After many months of frantic typing, coupled with copious amounts of biscuits, crisps and chocolate as I worked (ensuring those size 8’s would never, ever see the light of day or my chunky thighs again), Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong was born, followed by that email from Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications.

And the rest, as they say, is history!

This was the start of my amazing journey, a journey that has been made all the more special and magical by the lovely people I have met along the way.

I truly had no idea how fantastic the book world and Social Media could be to a novice writer.  From authors, readers, bloggers and reviewers to Facebookers and Twitterati, they all excitedly encouraged and supported me.  It’s a genuine support too, they love nothing more than seeing you succeed and helping to be part of that success.

 

I did worry what they would make of Mavis and her Humongously Large Thongs, I fretted over my own ‘likeability’ factor, I panicked about tweets/emojis/not tweeting/forgetting to tweet/saying thank you the right way/not saying thank you/retweeting/ballsing things up  and finally the horrors of predictive text that could turn a simple name like Georgina into a dose of the clap.

I wasn’t sassy and self-assured and I certainly hadn’t written a literary masterpiece that would be hailed alongside the works of Jane Austen and Mary Shelley.  I was also pretty sure that neither Jane or Mary had the added pleasure of packing 120 pairs of size 18-20 knickers from Primark that had their respective protagonists face emblazoned on the front as a PR exercise!  In the end, I plumped for being just me, accompanied by all of the above feck-ups.

To be honest, I don’t think Gonorrhoea Kirkham would be the same if she were sensible, full of her own self-importance and lost the ability to laugh at herself, do you?

It’s been a whirlwind of excitement, laughter, achievements and discovering new things about myself.  I have realised that you never stop growing (there’s those damn jeans again), never stop learning, never stop finding the fun in life.

I also discovered that even though I’m fast approaching sixty, with arthritic knees and a bad hip, I could, in a moment of unbridled excitement, almost do a cartwheel or some other physically impossible action.  

The cause of this geriatric excitement?

A completely unexpected nomination for The Guardian Not The Booker Prize 2017 from the lovely Mark Mayes, a fellow Urbanite.  If the nomination on its own wasn’t enough to send me into raptures, the fact it had come from Mark was the icing on the cake.  Can you imagine how it feels to have someone you greatly admire and respect as a writer to believe in you.  Forget the cartwheels, I cavorted like a retired lap dancer at a bus stop!

Two weeks later, once my hip had set itself back into the socket and I’d extricated my Thong from where the sun don’t shine, I had cause for another bout of elation.  I had made the Long, Long LongList.

Now when The Guardian says ‘long’… it means long.  If you hit the link below and keep scrolling, by tomorrow you might have found me, but to honest I couldn’t care less if I have to scroll off the end of the iPad…. I was there, Mavis Upton had made it to the List, and public voting had begun with earnest.

I’m under no illusions, there are so many wonderful and literary greats amongst those titles, and Mavis may be a little out of her depth, but I’d love to think she’s holding her own.   The chances of her winning with Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong is roughly the same as Cilla Black getting a straight answer on what it’s really all about from her mate Alfie but to have even the remotest possibility of reaching the shortlist is like having Wishes 5 through to 10 all at the same time.

The Guardian Not The Booker Prize 2017

After gratefully accepting wishes number 1 and 2 as granted by my harassed, borderline-alcoholic Guardian Angel, the Not The Booker nomination and the added news this week that W H Smith holiday shops are to stock Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong from August, I am feeling untold joy and eternal gratitude to everyone who has done so much for me along the way.

I truly wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 So, as I wish you a fabulous Sunday, I’m sitting here with my tongue hanging out in concentration using my trusty dried up Sharpie pen to cross Wish Number 3 from my list, whilst happily having visions of me grinnning inanely holding my book in Liverpool Airport.  The WH Smith sign is behind me as Loretta LoveHoney the blow-up doll on the front cover, bares her ginger ‘Dorrito’ to weary travellers and fellow holiday makers as I dance like there is no tomorrow hoping for a mention in the Liverpool Echo.

Gina x

 

©Gina Kirkham 2017

 

A DEAD END JOB…….

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”

Silence.

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

A PRIMARK THONG

 

image

A PRIMARK THONG

I can see the light… it’s getting closer…. oh I’m fading fast…”  Bob swiped his hand over his forehead dramatically feigning a swoon.

“Very funny, you wouldn’t be laughing if it had happened to you….” I slammed the kettle down, slopping water over the sides. “…it was a near death experience, a real proper one, I thought I was going to die. I was distraught!”

I gave him my best hurt feelings look, hoping to elicit at least some sympathy.

“It was your disgustingly shabby underwear that gave the paramedics the best laugh Mave…” he spat crumbs across the table as he waved his bacon batch at me. “…where they actually grey when you bought them?”

Blushing, I peered down the front of my shirt. He had a point, my bra had definitely seen better days.  The underwire was poking through the middle and a runner on one strap had broken giving a rather quirky lopsided look to my nellies.   I couldn’t even begin to imagine how my knickers had stayed in place as the elastic had started to perish on them weeks ago.

“Oh all hail Bob, the expert on women’s lingerie.” I snapped more from embarrassment than anger.

“Ah you may jest my little plum pudding.”  He wiped his chin with the back of his hand.  “Now take for example Primark knickers. They’re always at least one size smaller than it says on the label AND they shrink in the wash too. I have it on good authority…”

I quickly cut him off mid-sentence, dreading what was going to come next.

“Jeez you perv, what the hell do you get up to on your days off?”

Smirking, with one hand on his hip, he sashayed around the table before ending with an over-exaggerated pout and a subtle slut drop.

“You’d be amazed at what some of us wear under our combat pants on a night shift darling!”
                                                                                                                                     *****
I ran my fingers along the rail, watching the bright colours sway on the hangers.

I was braving the Lingerie Department in Primark. Knickers, G-strings, thongs and tiny shorts littered the floor where excitable teenagers had stretched lace and elastic for fit, admired, coveted and then discarded them before moving on to the Nightwear section for all-day pyjamas.

Holding a nice size 10-12 thong up to the light I could see I was going to have to bow down to Bob’s superior knowledge of women’s underwear.

It was absolutely miniscule.

I held it against me, pulling the elastic to its full extent as I caught a fleeting glimpse of my own rear end in a nearby mirror. It certainly wouldn’t take a genius to know it definitely wouldn’t fit my curvy butt. Well not without an awful lot of huffing and puffing and several indentations left on my thighs at the end of the night. There was also the distinct possibility that a pair of scissors would be needed to remove them at bedtime.

Size 14-16 wasn’t much better, in fact it looked pretty much the same as the 10-12’s. I furtively looked around before allowing my fingers to settle on a hanger which bore a label that screamed SIZE 18-20. Sneaking them down in front of me to check for fit, I began to realise with unfolding horror that these not so little beauties would be the only ones that could respectfully accommodate my very ample posterior, survive a bit of shrinkage in a 40-degree wash and not give me a deep vein thrombosis in one or both of my legs.

I surreptitiously stuffed several pairs into my basket and wondered off to join the checkout queue.

Absent-mindedly turning each pair over, I folded them so the size labels couldn’t be seen. I couldn’t believe I’d been reduced to buying knickers that resembled a deflated parachute. The only thing worse than the paramedics seeing my shabby faded grey undies would be for them to know I was wearing size 20’s to cover my hippo ass.

I inwardly cringed imagining them laughing over a mug of tea and a garibaldi biscuit.

The label on the top pair refused to be hidden, peeping out from behind the lace edging, mocking me…. and that’s when I had another one of my wonderful epiphanies.

I’d cut the labels off when I got home then even if I had another near death experience, no one would ever be any the wiser as to what size grundies I was currently clad in.

Mentally patting myself on the back for such a stonkingly good idea, I was in the process of allowing myself a smug moment, when my thoughts were suddenly broken by the dulcet tones of the Cashier.

“Next…. drag yer basket down ‘ere will yer.”

Now it was at this point I suddenly got a tremendous urge to explain to Miss Cashier No.3 why I had seven pairs of lacy black thongs in my basket and an even bigger urge to explain away their size.

As I shoved the basket onto the counter, and before I could even concoct a plausible explanation, I watched Miss Cashier No.3 pick up the first pair from the basket and check the label.  Scratching at a rather large, make-up encrusted spot on her chin, she inspected her fingernail, stretched her arm out to its full extent and swung my black lace, size 18-20 thong around her head.

In a voice that was loud enough to wake the dead, she bellowed across the store.

“Code 2, Code 2 Maureen…how much fer polyester thongs size TWENTY….”

Every head in the queue seemed to swivel towards me. One or two ladies looked me up and down and tutted loudly, either in disgust that I was big enough to wear a size 20 or that I could actually wear something that looked like the gusset from a pair of tights with the legs cut off.   The only guy in the queue who was proudly holding a T-shirt with the slogan Cool Dude emblazoned on the front, began to tremble and clack his false teeth whilst wiping sweat from his top lip with a crusty, creased handkerchief.  I watched in utter embarrassment as his beady eyes went from the thong, which was still being ceremoniously waved in the air, to me, back to the thong and then back to me.

My eyes darted back and forth between the thong, the cashier and the queue, before I indignantly announced in my best plummy stage voice. “Actually they’re for my Nan, you can hang suet balls for the birds from them you know, it was in the Homes & Garden magazine, she’s got lots of trees for them to hang on!”

Miss Cashier No.3 was by now stuck in a mannequin pose, thong still pinched firmly between her fingers with a look of absolute disbelief on her orange tanned face. I knew I would have to expound as she definitely wasn’t going for it.

“Don’t you see, if they’re massive you can fit bigger balls in them….lots of balls, the more balls the merrier….”  I waited for her to give a nod of understanding.

Nothing was forthcoming, just a slight twitch of one of her pencilled in eyebrows.

Oh shit, I couldn’t believe I’d just said that!  What a pathetic excuse for wanting to purchase seven humongous pairs of black lace thongs.   What was more, her loud announcement had revealed to all and sundry that they weren’t even pure lace, they were the awful sweaty-gusset-polyester type.  As I rummaged in my purse, I had to quietly concede that for 50pence a pair there must be some trade off on quality somewhere along the line.

I grabbed my carrier bag and turned to leave, only to find Mr Cool Dude waiting for me. He licked his lips and made a final defiant clack of his false teeth as he leered out of the corner of his mouth,

“Tell yer what love, it’d be more than balls for the birds hanging off them if it were me.”   

Recoiling in horror, I had a sudden mental image of a set of dentures hanging from the gusset of my newly acquired knickers.  Hastily sidestepping Mr Cool Dude I burst through the doors and out into the street, my Primark bag slapping wildly against my left thigh as I ran to the car park.

Sitting in my car I had another little peek at my spoils.  Huge they may be, but they were rather pretty and VPL’s in my combats would definitely be a thing of the past….

……but more importantly….

……I could have as many near-death experiences as I wanted now, if I had to almost die, I would at least be wearing a decent set of frillies!

Handcuffs, Truncheon & A Primark Thong (c) 2015

Gina Kirkham