The funeral

Gather at your house on a crisp May dawn

From far and wide they come to mourn

Tapping your coffin as you lie in state

Left with questions they thought too late
The cars arrive and it’s time to go

Cuddle your widow rocking to and fro

Hope is gone call off the search

Fill up the pews of the local church
The first hymn plays; a boy starts to cry

Wringing his fists and asking God why

Son, you’ll find no answers in the divine

Take my hand now; I’ll make your tears mine
Travelling down indifferent roads to the crematorium

The final journey from man to memoriam

Through the curtain you slide away from the crowd

And into the breeze drifting through the clouds
Head to the club for cold sausage rolls

A party on the precipice of a black hole

Sit awkwardly and smile through long conversations

With well-meaning, unknown, distant relations
Return to your house staring over the sea afar

As your daughter accompanies an acoustic guitar

Listen to the wind outside howling in anguish

As the flags flutter from here to Machrihanish
Night sets in and the mourners sleep

Seeking sanctuary in dreams, their sorrow steeps

I leave, for me, its time to go back

Through fields and hedgerows carved from the black
Search the darkness for the right words

To put into context what has occurred

What is the sense in the senseless?

Why take a man who defends the defenceless?
I say: Forget the priest and his empty words

Forget those that talk just to be heard

Forget the speed and intensity of the cancer

Forget the surgeons without an answer

Remember the man and what he stood for

Love, respect, and the rule of law

Live like him with class and endeavour

Do this and his spirit will live on forever
He may have gone on that crisp day in May

But his words still echo from yesterday.

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A massage from Nam

I was going to call this blog Good Morning Vietnam, but then I got a bit cross with the Americans and their bombing of beautiful people and also Robin Williams is dead. So it didn’t seem the cheeriest. I have every intention of writing regularly but let’s be honest, as soon as I go to the sunny South it’s looking dodgy.

I have seen a lot of things I can’t articulate well enough whilst in Vietnam. Today, it went next level.

I love Vietnam. I adore it, which is a very bold statement as it hasn’t stopped hammering down since I got here. I could talk all day about the rat intestines, or my apparent ability to get constantly ran over by shouty Vietnamese old men, or the number of times I have ended up inadvertently looking at a dead dictator, or the breastfeeding mother riding a scooter (I can feel Nigel Farage spontaneously combusting from here). I haven’t even got my head around the fact that the Vietnamese all sit on the most amazingly small chairs. They are so cool. When I get back to Newcastle I am throwing away my settee and replacing it with tiny chairs.

Hanoi was like nothing I had ever seen before. The locals call it Hanoi-sy and it deserves a blog all of its own but it’s Saturday night after all and PUB. Suffice to say it’s hectic and full of scooters and wonderful food and beautiful people and crazy water puppets.

I flew to Hue because in theory spending 14 hours on a train with chickens might seem exciting, but in reality, it’s a huge pile of torturous wank. Since I got here, it’s rained constantly, and as hardy and English as I try to be, it’s not much fun looking at dead people in old tombs in the rain. In fact, it’s not much fun looking at them in the sun either. After five days, I’m all templed out. I’ve done the history bit. I can only look at so much stone and think ‘oh, stone, yeah man’.

I imagine people blog because they are finding themselves or want to share the cultural stuff. I’m blogging because it’s raining and my brain feels like it’s going to explode and bits of vietnamese information will tumble out. I have spoken to all these people who apparently are all ‘zen’ and ‘totally digging the vibe man’ then are total tosspots to the lovely, shy Vietnamese people. And don’t get me started on hideous Western sex tourists.

I took a twenty four hour break from writing this as I have just spent the last day literally puking my guts up. I honestly thought I was going to die. So.

Yesterday now, I went for a massage. The weather was shit but it was Saturday and I had cabin fever. I wandered to a place which looked lovely, all of the therapists were blind, and apparently they are quite famous in Vietnam. In my head I had a picture of that film with Lionel Richie singing and him feeling her face. I have no idea what it’s called. You know the one I mean.

Anyway, I wandered in and settled for the ‘mooon package’, me thinking the fact it contained an extra o could only be a good thing. Plus, there was a photo of Jeremy Clarkson on the wall outside, and he’s treated like a god around here after that whole riding the bike thing. I was greeted at the door by a man who could definitely see, probably better than me in my specs. He introduced me to my masseur. She definitely COULD NOT see. She went to grab my hand and got hold of my left breast and pulled me into this room which I swear was darker than being down a mine (I imagine, I’ll check this fact with my pops).

‘Lie on the bed’ she said.

In a normal situation this would’ve been totally fine but I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. So I felt around for a bed like structure, clouting my already broken toes extensively. I suppose the light was irrelevant to her, but it was quite crucial to me. So Banh came over, once again grabbed my tit and led me to my designated place. I lay down on my tummy and put my head through the hole in the bed and looked down. To make it pretty for the client, they had lit candles and they were floating over a pool of water containing fish. Quite a few dead fish but also some alive ones, which was a bonus. I don’t suppose they can see so christ knows how long they’d been dead. I started panicking. All I could think about was had JC lain here and had a ‘happy ending’? I don’t know how people with huge bellies lie face down come to think of it. Do their legs just hover mid air? Next thing I know, Bahn jumps onto the bed and starts swinging on a rope and running up my back. Now. Had I known this was going to be the case I’d have been prepared. But in the toon, if this happened, I’d be crushed under fifteen stone of Geordie Shore orange tan and false nails. I had no time to object. She was tiny and it didn’t hurt, but I defy anyone to say that someone running up your back is relaxing.

Then my head. She started wrapping her toes into my head and ‘pinging’ my hair. Don’t get me wrong, I love people playing with my hair WITH THEIR HANDS. Not their feet after I imagine they’ve waded through dead fish.

So there’s me, face down, staring at dead fish, trying not to imagine Jeremy Clarkson naked, with a nimble blind Vietnamese woman stamping on my head. Last week I was buying cheap knickers in Primarni. All I kept thinking was ‘how will she get down?’

Half an hour this goes on. Then down she scrambles and starts pulling my fingers and toes. I swear to god. Had I been expecting this also, I’d have warned her about my BROKEN TOES. Honestly. I was weeping.

But it was all going to be okay because now she was going to wash my hair. As we (I) emerged into the light, I noticed she was just about ready to give birth. Next time I hear a pregnant woman whinging about having back pain, I’ll just highlight the fact that at least they’ll not have to run up my back and that they can see.

So she laid me down, again led by boob, in the basin. In England, I’m used to lying on my back and someone massaging my scalp and protecting my face. Not in Vietnam, oh no. No no no. I had to bend over whilst literally water was thrown over my head. Cold water. Then at least five hands scrubbed my hair like only your mother did when you were small, until it was literally squeaky clean. I was soaked. Absolutely soaked. And so were they. Imagine Stevie Wonder having to wash hair for a living? And then, then they’re blow dried it. Five of them with possibly the most useless hair driers I have ever seen. Seriously, three mice blowing on me with their tiny breaths would have been quicker. And the style, jesus, the style. They flicked my fringe out at the sides. The lovely girl from my hotel even giggled and said I had hair like a cow tongue, which is exactly the look I was going for.

All done. The definitely not blind guy came and took my money, a mere two dollars, and I hope more than anything the money does actually make it to the lovely blind people.

By the time I left, someone had nicked my umbrella and I needed a wine.

Oh VIETNAM, I love you HARD.

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Hug a nutter

I have OCD. That’s no secret. I’m not ashamed and I blog about it regularly. I find it easier to blog about that than anything else. I don’t know why. And I always blog when it’s bad. I think maybe it’s because so many of you relate to it and I feel less crazy mental.

When I was younger, when my son Michael was about 10, I remember my ex said to me I was that crazy that Michael would be put into care. Even now that sends shivers down my spine. He’s 24.

I’m 39 years old and have had OCD since I was a teeny tot. I have a brilliant well paid job, a lovely apartment and great friends. I adore my family. Why me?

In real life I’m quite flaky, and people tire of me. I’m hard work and complicated, and so the people who had no choice, ‘family’ I suppose, are my life.

So when I feel vulnerable or upset, I can’t put my feet on the floor. See, if I put my feet on the floor, one of these special people will die. I don’t know why. They just will. Today, if I needed to leave the settee, I had to lie towels on the floor and tiptoe on them, moving them as I went. I also washed my hands with bleach tonight as my foot had touched the floor.

I know tomorrow I’ll be better. I know nobody will die tomorrow if I put my foot on the floor or leave my apartment. But just for today, I’m keeping them safe and tying towels to my feet.

Weirdly, people often ask me why I’m single… I give you exhibit A.

Nobody is too clever, or funny, or sensible to have mental issues. Nobody. Hug a nutter.

And in the meantime, if anyone needs their floor cleaned, come and pick me up and attach mops to my feet and I’ll do a grand job.

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You dancing? You asking?

Yes, you’re right, it’s STILL not the exploding midget blog or the ‘time I got locked in a married man’s car boot for 8 hours’ blog.

This blog started off earlier in the week as canny depressing but it’s perked up a bit by the time I came to publish it. I don’t want to be known as TeenyBella, cracking tits, but fucking miserable. I’m not even sure I’ll post it yet but I guess if you’re reading this I did.

I’ve taken a little break from life at the minute. Someone I care a lot about told me I was more broken than anyone else they had ever encountered. Now haway. I know I’m a bit ‘unique’ but really? The only saving grace for me is they didn’t know me four years ago when I was washing my hair with bleach and kissing four strangers in a row.

Anyway, rewind back to the weekend. I was in London. London is busy and big, yet one of my favourite cities in the world. I was even considering moving there. To cut a long story short, some giant cuntflap tried to mug me and threatened me with a broken bottle and a knife. I’m consoling myself with the fact that whilst my favourite ring is gone, my London bus souvenir pencil and 50p clownfish ornament are back in the North East, unscathed. Yes, I know, horrid, no, I know, he should have his hands chopped off, but it was what it was.

Forward to me getting home and basically going a bit nuts. Physically and mentally. And whilst yesterday it had made me sad that I couldn’t leave the house, today it makes me angry that some little shitpacket could have such an impact on my life.

Now, this is the funny bit. I wouldn’t just blog that. Be jesus, that’d be canny boring and depressing. But talking about my OCD and depression when people don’t expect it gives me some (maybe misplaced) feelings that I help people who are hiding or ashamed of mental illness.


So there I was, mad as a pan of crabs, attempting to get to Tesco and be brave and buy milk. Easier said than done. I had no bra on, but I had brushed my hair so one was counteracting the other. Picture the scene. Teeny woman shaking like a leaf in Uggs and braless heading from Tesco past Newcastle Crown Court… Whilst at the same time 917349813749879 television cameras chasing Raoul Moat’s brother as he left the court, after trying to make us feel bad for some fucking nut who had shot people and scared people. I swear, I nearly died. I turned and fled, boobs flailing all over the place. Now the only way to stop the anxiety and sweat was to begin my ritual of ‘four’. It’s been ages since I did the four thing. In my bag I had five bags of crisps so I hoyed a packet of Monster Munch straight into the Tyne. Still panicking. Cue opening up each bag of crisps and eating sixteen from each packet. This went on a while. When I’m particularly stressed I also do this weird dance thing with my feet, which if you suffer from OCD is quite cool. People just think you’re shaking what your Mama gave you, and don’t suspect madness, Anyway. I then started dancing and trying to get onto the pavement whilst leaving the road with my left foot last. Only I had to do this sixteen times. Bear with me man, I’m getting back to tying in with the title as all good bloggers do.

So there’s me, dancing in the middle of the road like Irene Cara from Flashdance with saggy tits and PJ bottoms, Raoul Moat’s friends and family smoking Bensons and trying not to set their shellsuits on fire, soggy Monster Munch floating down the Tyne, and suddenly this busker approaches me. He looked like he had been in a fight with a toffee hammer.

“You dancing?” he says.

“Um no, I’m actually stuck” I reply.

And very slowly he grabbed my hand, starts to play ‘Crazy in Love’ and starts to dance with me in the road. People were staring. Even for Newcastle, this was a strange sight. I was that bewildered I forgot all about counting and just danced. For about three minutes, then he kissed my hand and I walked away.

There’s a point to my story. For every cunt there’s an angel. I have no idea if Beyonce the Busker had any clue what he was witnessing but the point is, he knew I was struggling and he helped me. He made me feel much better and helped reaffirm my faith.


PS. The court case is yet to conclude. I think Raoul did it though.




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Me, Myself and OCD

Firstly, sorry to those of you expecting to read a story about an exploding midget. I skinchie promise that my next blog entry will contain the words ‘small’ and ‘explodes’.

It’s a little bit more serious. People that know me know I don’t really do serious but recently on Twitter I have experienced a lot of you going through a hard time and often get messages telling me they wish they could be carefree like me.

I’m not carefree.

From the age of 6, when I was even teenier, I had OCD. Obviously in the olden days before electric, OCD wasn’t a recognised disease. All I know is every night before bed I’d get up and check  that all of the plugs were switched off and there was no light able to sneak through a chink in the curtains. My parents didn’t understand it. They thought I was just being an annoying brat and made me sleep in the bath. Nowadays I sleep in the bath, but in fairness that’s normally after 54654 pints of cider.

When I was 10 my Dad took me to Walthamstow to watch the dog racing. I always remember he whispered in my ear “you can’t go wrong with number 4”.

Fastforward double top marriage, exploding midget and teenage pregnancy to my early twenties. I couldn’t cope. I went to the Doctors and he actually told me to write down everything which I was compelled to do. And it was only when I made the list I realised how much this horrific disease had restricted my life.

I did everything in fours. It’s perfectly okay to laugh at this next bit.

I could only eat 4 beans at a time. I had to take 4 steps  before I left a room. I had to park my car 4 inches from the path. I could only buy things in 4. I had to keep my eyes shut for 4 whole seconds whilst driving my car down the motorway. You get the idea.

I remember once being in Tesco and trying to buy sausages. I put 4 packets of sausages in my trolley then PANIC. There were 8 sausages in each pack meaning in actual fact I had 32 sausages. This wouldn’t do. A quick calculation told me if I bought another pack I’d have 64, which is a prefect multiple of 4 x 4 x 4. So in went another packet. Only DISASTER. There were 9 in this packet. Odd numbers were becoming involved. By the time I called my Mam to come and rescue me I had 56 packets of sausages in my trolley, totalling 602 sausages. It wasn’t divisble. The world was going to end. I could feed a third world country for a month with sausages. I had a sausage mountain in my trolley.

Another time I went to the dentist. My mind had convinced me I had toothache. I didn’t have toothache. The dentist took my tooth out. But wait. See the flaw? That’s an odd number. So I pretended I had an ache in the other tooth and out came that one too. If you ever meet me in real life, don’t look in my mouth when I smile at you. It’s like a kid has hammered Wrigley’s Extra into my gums.

Fast forward to deep depression, boyfriend leaving me as he was unable to cope and me getting skinny. Aside – how comes you’re only every skinny when you’re mental? I was convinced that if I didn’t perform these rituals every day my son and my parents would die.

Now you and I both know that this is totally irrational. However, my stupid brain didn’t. I went to my GP and apparently as OCD had become a ‘popular’ disease there was a huge waiting list for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. The only way you could skip the year long list was if you were suicidal. Was I suicidal? Some days I didn’t want to wake up, some days I wanted my brain to sleep, to not have to count words. Books I think was the worst. Counting words on a page before reading it. Books were no longer my escape. But actual death. I didn’t want that.

I had to pay for treatment as I was going to go nuts. I lost my house, lots of friends, my fiance. Almost my mind.

And this is the point. I am okay. I got better. I didn’t lose my mind. I lost possessions. I lost teeth. I lost my dignity. But I didn’t lose myself. I’m still me. Claire. This is me. This is my heart and no imbalance in my brain can change that or who I am and who loves me. Every day I read about so many of you struggling. My Dad always said to me “tomorrow always comes Claire-a-Bella and the sun always shines”.

Next time you think you’d rather sleep forever, remember that. I’m happy and love being alive. Depression is horrid and nothing to be ashamed of.

And next time you see a teeny woman in a silver car hurling headlong into a lorry, it’s just me, counting to four…….

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Teeny World

I was going to write a blog about my friend Dan never having washed his hair for fifteen years, but there wasn’t really much else to say apart from apparently it’s very clean and does not smell. Personally, I don’t fancy it, but each to their own… He also fell in a fire whilst off his chebs on e’s but that’s another story.

So you got this instead.

1 I once pretended to an ex that I had a horse to impress him. I don’t know why on earth I did that. He asked what pets I had and I thought a fish sounded crap. So I said “horse”. We are no longer together.

2 I read about one book a day. I always read the last page of a book first, if it has a sad ending, I bin the book. Why depress yourself even more?

3 I can put both of my legs behind my head, at the same time.

4 I have crashed my car nine times. Once I just forgot to turn.

5 I abseiled off the Baltic. It’s very high. My legs are so short though that I couldn’t reach the wall to do that cool bouncing down thing in a James Bond style-ee. I kind of got lowered down, pathetically.

6 The more drunk I get, the higher my voice gets. After a bottle of wine, only dogs can hear me.

7 I can’t watch any movie rated higher than a “12”. I hate scary movies. Taggart is a no-no for me.

8 I believe in love at first sight. If someone doesn’t make my tummy flip, then I’m not interested. No matter how many times I get shat on, I still believe Richard Gere will rock up in a limo.

9 I once broke my hamsters back by bouncing with it on my trampoline.

10 I am the clumsiest person in the world. On my first date with Mark I dropped a plate of noodles down his settee.

11 I am scared shitless of thunder. I hate it.

12 I got stuck in a Hurricane in Mexico. Category five. It was so scary I honestly thought I was going to die. My room filled with the sea and the windows smashed. Throughout it all, I watched Castaway in Spanish. Weeeeelson…Oh, and my mobile bill was £770. I rang everyone to say goodbye.

13 I also spent £100 on a taxi in Mexico looking for the new Harry Potter book which has just been released, only to find when I started to read it, it was in Spanish

14 I used to have four rats. They all answered to their names and would sit on my shoulder whilst I watched TV. They woke me up in the morning for work. Buttons, my favourite, got cancer. It cost me a fortune

15 I once got married for no other reason than I hit double top on a dart board. A midget exploded at my engagement.

All of the above is true. Welcome to my world. Come on in.

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