Thursday, 23 May 2013

Cringe City

I seem to be morphing more and more into Miranda Hart. Not in a "is she a man or a woman" kind of way (I hope), but in a "it could only ever happen to me" kind of way. I seem to cringe my way through the week.

Yesterday was the latest of my "embarrassing moments". I'd left my course (I'm training to be a breastfeeding peer supporter for new mums) and headed to my new favourite charity shop.

It's six units rolled into one. Huge. It has furniture, clothes, accessories, knitting and crochet bits and bobs, it's basically divine.

As I walked in, I noticed the staff were laying out a table with sausage rolls and other, what I call, party titbits (see, there I go again with Miranda-isms). And jugs of drink and fancy flutes.

I carried on minding my own business, purchasing two gorgeous babygros for my sister's new baby (William Stanton was born two days ago and is a total peach) and seeking out vintage Ladybird books (none).

Suddenly a cake was brought out to the party titbit table. A rather swish cake. And a crowd of men in suits suddenly gathered along with lots of charity shop volunteers and a newspaper photographer. And I happened to accidentally find myself in the centre of said crowd...

 It then dawned on me that all the other customers had vanished from the shop and this party had become a more private affair.

One of the suited men walked up to me and handed me a glass of fizz and offered me some pretzels from his bowl. Obviously I accepted both graciously (free nosh/drink, never one to turn it down).

"Oooh, fab, you are a waiter for the occasion (*what occasion?*). How lovely!" I enthused with a shrill voice, laughing foolishly.

Turns out he wasn't the waiter. But of course the Chief Executive (and a rather handsome at that) of the entire charity. Who had visited the shop to celebrate its 15 years of being open.

And the party was to thank all the volunteers for all their hard work over the years.

And there I was, hobnobbing in the middle of it all in a bemused fashion, with the Chief Executive, glugging fizz, shovelling crisps and cocktail sausages down me, and panicking inwardly when I realised my error.

"So, how long have you worked here?" he asked me, with seemingly great interest.

Oh dear god. I knew the question would come. I started to sweat and suddenly felt faint.

I choked down my handful of pretzels and said, in a ridiculously high pitched voice: "Oh, well, I don't actually work here YET! Ha ha but I hope to be a volunteer soon. It's such a fab team."

All the while thinking to myself "how could I ever fit the time in? I am 80 per cent on my own with the kids, I have no cleaner, or dishwasher, no support network and have just started a course....there are barely any hours in my day to have a wee."

He commended me for offering to volunteer and excused himself to make a celebration speech to the gathering crowd. Meanwhile he'd had a brief word with the manager who came dashing over and showed her gratitude at my offering to volunteer. I have to go in next week to fill in the forms and work out when to start.......

Why does it always happen to me?

Still, looking on the bright side, I managed to spot this lush book before making a hasty retreat.

Other moments of cringe: Last week I did the school run with my dress tucked in my pants and no one told me. I passed builders, male joggers, school dads.......I could die at the thought of it.

Then last Saturday I met friends (including Kerry) in London and I made a fool of myself there too.

I overzealously took my coat off in an art exhibition and hit someone, so turned around to apologise profusely....only to discover  I was actually talking to a pillar. So embarrassing. What a doofus.

 I then ordered a "mo-jeeeeeeto" (so uncool).

The shame. Mo-jeeeeeto. No kidding.

In my defence, this was because I was distracted and not concentrating (OK because I fancied the barman).

I had earlier ordered a coffee and, thinking my friends were still standing behind me, turned round and did a silly impression of a coffee slurp and an "oooooooooh lovely" in a ridiculous accent and then realised they'd moved away to a distant table and I was talking to a total stranger who looked at me like I was nuts.

And then (and I haven't told the others this yet, as am mortified) on the way home, a lady got on the train and was doing a really crazy smile at me so I did one back, thinking we'd shared some silly joke or something.

Then I realised to my utter horror that her facial expression didn't change. And that close up, the poor woman either had had a stroke or some surgery and her face stayed in that position. I felt dreadful as would have hated her to think I'd mocked her. I spent the rest of the journey looking into my empty crisp packet (which I'd taken a hour to empty as the train was painfully quiet and my crisps were the noisiest in the world so as soon as the train driver made an announcement, I'd ram a handful in my mouth and chew them as fast as I could, until the next opportunity).

And then I nearly ended up in Eastbourne but I have no energy left to talk about it.

In other news, the Prince got himself a hair cut. He didn't move an inch for the 25 minute chop. I am so besotted with him and his gentle nature. He is placid. Unlike the Princess and I.

Oh and on a final note, who's hungry?

May I tempt you? Spotted in the window of a shop on my way to toddler group this morning.

Packed with flavour no doubt

Next week, I shall be cringe-free, it's my mission.


thriftwood said...

Oh Gem, don't ever change, will you! Such fun! Think of all the lovely things you'll get first dibs on at the charity superstore ....

I was in London last weekend too, drinking cocktails and suchlike ... That was such fun too

Love the prince's hair, he is a good little lad not wriggling so that he has a wonky fringe.

I quite like cock-a-leekie, but think I'll give yours a miss!

Enjoy your weekend xxx

Gem said...

I have to agree with Thriftwood's comment, don't ever let anyone change you, II seriously am in love with you.

It has taken me forever to read this post as I have been laughing so much (a little bit of wee might actually have come out at some point!)

You really are a true Gem x x x x

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...


GEM????????? You are UNBELIEVABLY FUNNY. I am here at my dinner time, alone, LOVING every word here. Woman, you just attract GOOD STORIES.

I have missed you so much! WHERE ARE YOU!

Love the story about the charity shop party...then the one about the woman and you making a face at her. Well, that happened to me once at the grocery Halloween evening, I was at the store picking up a few things when I saw a man approaching me in a BRIGHT ORANGE tunic. I laughed at him and said I that I liked his PUMPKIN COSTUME...he stared at me and then in horror, I realized he was from an African country where the men wear tunics!!!!!!

Oh, the fun never ends. LOVE! Anita

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh....and that SOUP!!!!!! WHAT IN THE WORLD?

Jay said...

Such a funny post, you do make me laugh! I wonder what will happen to you next week.....

Sheila said...

Oh how sweet, i love Miranda Hart!
Don't worry about being cringe free next week-you are perfect the way you are!! (And we all have Miranda moments!!)

Bronwyn said...

OMG! I'd leave you a comment, but I feel at this time, that I may pee my pants if I think about your stories anymore. Let me laugh for about half an hour, then I;ll come back calmly and leave you a note....

Nelly B-K said...

Oh that has just made my night. I rarely (read, 'never') read any blogs out to G Kisby since he hates being read to but that charity shop story had me properly laughing out loud.

Love it.
And apologising to a pillar. Excellent.
Nelly xxx

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...


I just about choked when I opened up my comments page and saw you! teehee

Oh, how I miss your humor! But I suspect you are having a lovely summer, busy as all get-out, and hopefully brewing up some new adventures of Gem on the Beach?

My writing adventure starts tomorrow. My husband and I are both registered to start a poetry writing class at The Loft Literary Center, a wonderful place just 10 minutes from our home in downtown Minneapolis. It is a literary arts center that attracts big names in the writing field, where classes are taught by wonderful published artists, and we just happen to live so close by. This class goes all the way through August 13 and it will be the second class I take at this center, so I know how demanding the curriculum is going to be. I will continue to visit blogs, but my writing time will be focused on the class.

Wishing you a lovely day and it really is wonderful to see you! Anita