New Year



Do not make ANY resolutions. If you do you’ll be setting yourself up for failure and humiliation and a miserable start to the New Year. Have a cigarette. Eat another pie. Drink your beer or wine or cognac or paint stripper and stop lying to yourself that you want to give up. You don’t, you just want to look good in  front of others.

Resolutions resolve nothing.


Christmas Dinner Easy Recipe


Christmas Shopping List

A turkey

Some veg

Some sprouts

Some roast potatoes

Some stuffing mix

Some gravy and condiments

Some mince pies

Some chocolates

Some cakes

A pig

A blanket

Half a sheep

A roasting spit

A goose

A partridge

A duck

More veg

More sprouts

More of everything else






First of all, empty all your chocolates, your cakes and your mince pies onto the kitchen table.

Light a big fire IN YOUR GARDEN, (learn from my mistakes). Wrap the pig in the blanket. Put all the animals and birds and roast potatoes onto the roasting spit which you should already have set up over the fire. Get a big, clean pot. Put all the veg in it. Put the stuffing mix in it. Put the lid on. Put it on the fire, making sure there is still enough heat and flames to cook the meat. Let the pot boil until there is no water left. Let the meat cook until the skins turn black, (test your meat and birds, particularly your pig in a blanket by sticking them with a clean carving knife – if they squeal or baa or tweet they aren’t done yet).

When it’s all done put it onto a large, clean plate. Take it inside. Put the kettle on. Make your gravy by opening the gravy granule tub and with a clean spoon take out half the granules and throw them in the bin. When the kettle has boiled, pour water on top of the other half. Stir. Pour over your dinner (don’t forget to put your condiments on, too). Enjoy.

When you’ve finished your dinner you can start on your treats which are already laid out for you on the kitchen table. Select. Eat.


NB: Best of all, there’s only one plate to wash up when you’re done, and the knife you used to test the meat and birds but if that came out clean you’re all right. And your cutlery. Wash that. The veg pot is fine, the water boiling away will have stripped all the germs off it.


Losing My Biscuit


I’ve spent the last however many days looking for my biscuit. It was a chocolate Hobnob with thick ridges of chocolate coating, thicker than usual. Triple thickness, even quadruple. It looked like the Pennines at night and I was looking forward to scraping my two front teeth across the ridges and pretending I was an alien invasion crash-landing on the hills.

I’ve been over and over what happened; there are gaps, but I remember most of it. I put my biscuit on my desk, (not on a plate). I turned away to switch on my laptop then I realised I’d left my coffee in the kitchen so I went to get it which took me one minute and thirty-two seconds, (I’ve timed it since). I put my coffee on the desk next to where I’d placed my biscuit less than two minutes before. My biscuit was gone. Only crumbs remained. I went back to the kitchen, thinking I must have taken it with me when I went for my coffee. I looked on all the worktops. No biscuit. I went back to my desk wondering if I’d just failed to see it, you know how sometimes you can’t see for looking. I searched through the notebooks and piles of old manuscripts and ashtrays and bits of paper and sweet wrappers and fluff and pens and stuff, but no, it wasn’t there. I looked on the floor. I scanned the carpet all the way back to the kitchen in case I’d dropped it. It was gone.

By this time I felt a bit panicky so I had to go and get a beta-blocker and a glass of water and have a sit down. After an hour or so I resumed the search but then I thought, “No, Dotty, just go and get a different biscuit from the packet and eat that instead”. So I did, but I couldn’t enjoy it for two reasons, one – the chocolate looked like it had been spread by a chocolate hating skinny bitch which meant I couldn’t play alien invasion crash-landings on it; two – I couldn’t stop thinking about my missing biscuit. I did wonder if I should ring 999 to report it but then I remembered you have to wait 24 hours unless it’s a child and though my biscuit was small it wasn’t a child. Plus, the panicky feeling came back when I thought the police would want to come round to take a description to put out an alert or an APB over the radio or whatever it is they do and I couldn’t cope with visitors, not the way I was feeling at that moment so I decided I’d wait and see if it turned up of its own accord.

But then it dawned on me. It might have been stolen. Someone could have broken in when I was in the kitchen getting my coffee. Or if not stolen, moved. By someone out to trick me, to mess with my head and make me think I’m mental. And whoever it was might still be here. I ran for the phone and dialled 999 and whispered to the police that someone was in the house, robbing me or stalking me or playing nasty tricks. They told me to stay on the phone, they were on their way. I did stay on the phone, but when they got here I couldn’t answer the door to them and the operator had to talk me through it before they rammed their way in. The police searched all through the house but they couldn’t find anyone. They didn’t find my biscuit either despite me giving the biggest policeman a note asking them to look for it while they were at it.

I had a little sleep. When I woke up it was dark. I ran round shutting the curtains before I put the lights on, (neighbours – eyes), then I made a cup of coffee and sat down at the table to have a good think about it all. “What would Dexter do, Dotty?” I thought. “He’d measure the blood splatter, Dotty,” I thought. “There is no blood, Dotty. What would Sherlock do?” I thought. “Do you mean old Sherlock Holmes, or do you mean modern Benedict Cumberlandsausage Sherlock?” I thought. “I don’t fucking know, do I?” That stopped that.

For the rest of the night I searched the carpet again, back and forth from the kitchen to the desk, from the desk to the kitchen. I knew the biscuit wasn’t there but I was looking for crumbs with my magnifying glass, comparing those I found with the crumbs left on the desk. I don’t own a deerstalker hat so I made one out of a mixing bowl and toilet paper. It looked quite the part, if I do say so myself, though it didn’t do any good, I couldn’t find any crumbs that I could distinguish as being Hobnob crumbs as opposed to any other crumbs there. By the time the sun began to rise I was knackered. And worried, very worried, in case I’d eaten my biscuit without knowing during the one minute and thirty-two seconds it took me to get the coffee. What if I had? Surely I’d remember biting, crunching, chewing, swallowing? Surely there would have been signs I’d eaten it, signs like that crumby mush that gets stuck in your teeth, or a crumb on my bosom, (I defy any woman to eat a Hobnob without getting a crumb on her bosom). I prodded round my teeth with my tongue and had a quick rummage down my cleavage but there was nothing. I did a bit of logic – there was no evidence to say I’d eaten it, nor could the police find evidence to say there’d been an intruder. I found no clues on the carpet. If I hadn’t eaten it and someone else hadn’t taken it, where could it be?

Eureka! My pocket!

The laundry basket!

I ran upstairs and tipped the basket out onto the landing. I’ll spare you the details, (and myself the blushes), by leaving out the next bit, but don’t let your imagination run away with you, my dirty washing wasn’t MINGING or anything, I just think it’s crude to mention your underwear to strangers. Suffice it to say my biscuit wasn’t there. I couldn’t understand it. Logic told me it would be. Should be. I didn’t remember until sometime late in the afternoon that of course it wouldn’t be in the laundry basket, I hadn’t gone to bed so I still had my jeans on from yesterday. DUH! I had a good laugh at myself, but you know what happens with laughter, it always turns to tears, so I spent the evening sobbing into the back of my sofa, wishing I could just find my fucking biscuit and get back to normal. I must have drifted off to sleep for a while because I remember dreaming I was a spaceship exploring the universe, zooming round faster than the speed of light, dodging red dwarves and black holes, having a great old time of it, when I spotted a funny little blue planet and zoomed in for a better look but when I got closer there was a load of shit in the atmosphere and something clipped my left side and sent me into a spin. I lost control of myself and hurtled towards the planet, shaky and unbalanced, and before I knew it I’d hit land and I was skidding through some hills, through them like teeth through chocolate, and when I came to a stop I was in some water in a land called Scot and a native named Nessie was trying to eat me.

I woke up thirsty. I got a glass of water and went to my desk. It was dark outside but the curtains were still shut from the night before so I didn’t have to bother with them and I’d forgotten to switch the lights off when day came so I didn’t have to bother with them either. I noticed the laptop was on standby from when this had all started. I turned it on and got a search page up. My biscuit had disappeared, vanished into nowhere, a nowhere that also contained the internet so I started searching to see if Google had seen my biscuit. I searched and I searched and I searched. Loads of biscuits were there, gazillions of them, but not mine. I kept searching, typing in every term I could think of, Dotty’s missing Hobnob, Dotty’s missing biscuit, Dotty’s kidnapped Hobnob, Dotty’s kidnapped biscuit, Dotty’s absconding Hobnob, Dotty’s absconding biscuit, (because, though I didn’t want to even consider the idea, I knew there could come a time when I might have to accept that my biscuit had run away from home). I searched for hours and hours, I don’t know how long. I fell asleep again at one point and when I woke up I was dying for a wee. In the bathroom I looked in the mirror. Tramp.

I had a bath and got dressed in fresh, clean clothes. It felt nice. I chucked my dirty things in the laundry basket and went downstairs to put it all in the wash. I made a cup of coffee and sat drinking it as I listened to the songs of the washing machine, restful and calming. When the last spin cycle finished I knelt down, opened the door and stuck my hand in for the clothes, but I whipped my hand right back out because something horrible touched my finger. Mush. I knew instantly what it was. I reached in and pulled out my jeans. Most of the mess was by the back pocket on the left hand side, brown and oaty, mushed into the material. I pulled out the other clothes, they were covered in little lumps of mush. My biscuit. It was in my pocket all along.

I felt nauseous; I could feel the sick rising into my throat. My heart began to race. Dizziness. Pressure in my head. “What have you done, Dotty, what have you done?”

I knew what I’d done.

I’d killed my biscuit.

I had to ring the police to confess …..



Dealing With Cold-Callers


Dealing With Cold-Callers

As you begin to recover you will start to answer the door, but try not to be puzzled when the cold-callers begin their spiel with, “Don’t look so worried, I’m only here to …..”, because cold-callers are compassionate people who feel your pain and will do all they can to alleviate the distress they see on your fear-stricken face. But you still have to speak to them. Don’t fret, it’s easy. All you have to do is, as soon as they say, “Don’t look so worried, I’m only here to ….”, shout NO and slam the door shut.

After a while, (weeks, months, years, who knows?), you might want to think about how you are portraying yourself to these people. Madness is no excuse for bad manners. Next time you have a cold-caller on your step, shout NOTHANKYOU before you slam the door shut. It’s still only one word, just a little longer and much more polite. You can practice the extra syllables before  attempting to use them if you wish.

It might happen that one day you don’t manage to get the word out in time and you become rooted to the spot, temporarily paralysed by fright as you peep round the door you are clinging to at a cold-caller who won’t stop moving his mouth up and down like a happy fish. In this situation the word can be dragged from your clamped lips with actions. It will take courage, but you can do it. Here’s how – with a rapid fling of the arms let go of the door at the same time as you do a little jump to the side. Bring your arms forward to chest height while stiffening your hands into a karate chop position. Let rip a feral scream followed by NOTHANKYOU then kick the door shut, hard. Voila, success. WARNING: when using this method some hermits find they are unable to stop shouting. NOTHANKYOU becomes NOTHANKYOUNOTHANKYOUNOTHANKYOUNOTHANKYOU on and on ad infinitum. If this happens to you, run to the kitchen and find a banana (see Healthy Recipes For Hermits). Peel the banana and stuff it into your mouth. This will work.


Letter to Gas & Electric Company


I should think this will do the trick until Christmas is over.


Dear Combined Gas & Electricity Supplier,

Yes, thank you, I did receive your third reminder that I have failed to pay my gas and electricity bills to date. It was very nice of you to go to the trouble and expense of sending it to me. I know how difficult things are for you financially in these doom-filled times what with your profits rising by only one hundred and eighty-three percent. I really do wish I could help you out, but I can’t, not right at this moment, because I have to go away for a while to care for my father’s second uncle twice removed on my mother’s side who has a rare case of beri-beri that he contracted last week when he was caught in a monsoon on the far-flung tundras of the Sahara Rain Forest.

I’m sure you understand what a predicament I was in. Do I pay my gas and electricity bills or do I use the money to dash across the world to tend to my kin in his most desperate hour of need? I hear he is bed-ridden, strapped to a hammock with a vine and a tiger bone, left to writhe and cry out in agony all day and all night. Tell me, what other answer than ‘Go, Dotty, go,’ could I have given myself?

On my return I shall recompense you in full if you do not cut off the supplies. I wouldn’t wish to return home with my mother’s grandfather’s sister’s wife only to find myself unable to give her yuletide warmth and sustenance after her brush with death – if she makes it through the seething fevers that wrack his old bones that is.

Bless you for your kindness and compassion, SouthernNorthEastWestern Gas & Electric Company. I love you.

Yours in eternal gratitude,

your ever adoring customer,

Dotty Headbanger

When Your Brain Is Trying To Kill You


We all have a brain. Some people have happy brains that are full of glitter and light and little fluffy bunnies and light and gamboling lambs and light and ribbons and light and kisses and light and sunflowers and light. The rest of us have brains that are out to kill us, sadistic lumps of gristle and electricity that plot and plan how to get us up on that bridge, or down on the train track or kneeling in front of the oven with a bottle of paracetamol in one hand and a razor blade in the other.

I don’t know why some brains are wannabe killers and others aren’t. It’s a well known fact that we use hardly any of our brain power, that most of the brain lies dormant and ignored for as long as we are alive. So maybe they’re bored and blame us. Maybe they’re sulking. But what I think is that they have their own universe, a secret world inhabited by the areas of the brain we don’t understand. And in that universe our brains live their own lives, a beautiful cerebral utopia, and the only thing that irks them is the fact that a little part of them has to bother with US.

So what can we do about it? We can’t go to their world and ask them not to be so horrible. We can’t write them a letter because it would cost too much in stamps. Maybe they get the internet, but until we know that for certain it’s not worth writing an email. And how would we find out their email address? Or their phone number to ring them? Satellites might be able to send them a signal but unless your name is the USA or Russia or China I doubt you’d be able to afford your own. The answer is …… dreams. We contact them through dreams, because what is happening when we dream is our brains are having their nightly knees up in their own world, showing each other the lives of their earthly hosts. But because most of our lives are boring, and because our brains have a need to show off to their friends, they spice up our dreams in much the same way as Tarantino makes films, a bit of reality here, a bit of surrealism there, mix it all up and bingo, you have a hit.

Because we can’t actually enter or control our own dreams it can prove difficult to contact our brains but there is one tried and tested (by me) way of doing it. Here’s how ……

The moment you lay down to go to sleep (after you’ve shuffled around and got comfy), imagine you are in a place of beauty, by a loch or on a mountain top or by a beach or in a lovely garden, just make the place as beautiful as you can because what you are doing is tapping into the life of your brain and it’s so glad that you’re bothering with it that it’s sending back images of where it really lives. The more details you imagine, the more happy your brain and the more likely it is to want to open up communications with you. Then imagine yourself there, in that beautiful place. Feel yourself there. Feel the ground below your feet, taste the freshness of the air. You are nowhere else but there. Look around, take in everything you see. Hear the birds tweeting. Touch the bark of the old oak tree, or let the sand run through your fingers. Go for a walk. You are THERE so you feel your legs moving one in front of the other, you hear the crunch of gravel or leaves or whatever. Walk around a bit. Run if you want to, feel the freedom and the safeness. No other person on this earth can touch you, or talk to you, or bother you in this place. Call out. Shout. Scream if you want to, feel the scream rise from the pit of your stomach, a physical thing that rises up into your mouth and out in a long, loud noise, as loud and as long as it takes until it all comes out. Do it again. Then stand still for a moment. Then levitate. Your feet can leave the ground, you are light as air, you ARE the air. Go higher. Whirl around a bit, like a little birdie about to leave the nest, get used to allowing yourself to fly. Go faster. Dip and dive and swoop. If it helps imagine a bird, or a fairy, or an angel, whatever, flying with you, teaching you. Follow it. Copy what it does. Do this for as long as it takes to fall asleep if you have lasted this long (sometimes I manage to fall asleep before I get to flying). Keep doing this every night, even if you don’t want to or your brain will think you’re not serious about contacting it. When you’ve become used to going there, when you realise that the infinity of this world is all yours to explore and enjoy, when you know that this is a place your brain WANTS to share with you, it’s time to notch it up a bit.

Is there a person you wish you had not treated in a certain way? Someone you love or loved, but who you believe you treated unfairly, or hurt badly, or did a great disservice to? Go to your place. Feel safe there. Sit in an area you love, looking out over a view you love. Now, imagine that person is sitting beside you. Speak to them. Tell them how sorry you are, how you regret what you did, or think you did. Tell them why you did it, or if you don’t know why, tell them so. Tell them how ashamed you feel, how the guilt never goes away. Ask for their forgiveness. They might refuse. That’s okay because what you are going to do is bring that person back each night to sit beside you and listen to what you have to say. You will make that person understand you are genuinely sorry and in time they WILL forgive you. Do this with everyone in your life who you believe you might have harmed in some way.

When you’ve done all your sorrys, it’s time to bring in the people who hurt you. This is more difficult because it might dredge up feelings you don’t want to feel, like fear or injustice or powerlessness. Don’t worry. In this place they can’t hurt you. This is a place of safety where you are in control of everything that happens. Bring someone to sit beside you. Stand up and move to stand right in front of them. Tell them what they did. Tell them again. Scream at them if you want. You might find yourself crying, that’s fine, cry, sob, let them know how much they hurt you. They can’t speak, or move, unless you allow them to. Scream at them some more. Then punch them in the face. Kick their legs. Pull the hair out of their head. I don’t care if you tell me you’re not a violent person, neither am I, don’t think about principles just punch the fucker. Beat the shit out of them here in this world and no one will know. Hit them, hard, keep hitting them until you feel the anger drain out of you. Then tell them to beg you to let them go home. Watch the humiliation on their face. Tell them you will only let them go if they crawl away from you. Watch. When they’ve crawled for a little while, snap your fingers and they will disappear, out of the world. Then bring them back the next night and do the same thing again, and each night after that and at some point the time will come when you are bored with kicking their head in every night and you feel a bit sorry for them, they are pitiful and weak and pathetic and not worth the bother, and anyhow you’d much rather be spending your time in the world doing nice things like flying off mountain tops or swimming in the loch with Nessie.

By now, months will have gone by. Months of nightly visits to the world your brain lives in, a communication that your brain welcomes as much as you do. You won’t have to ask your brain to stop trying to kill you – it won’t want to any more, it won’t be bored by you, it won’t resent that it has to do everything for you, it won’t have to exaggerate your life to its friends when it shows them your dreams because even if your daily life is more mundane than a brick, your brain has your nightly visits to brag about.

Do it and see what happens.

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