Pointless stuff I have bought.

While sitting here slowly roasting to death as the sun hits the big windows at the side of the office, heating it up like a giant greenhouse and melting my brain, I got to thinking about how much more money I'd have if I didn't fritter cash on stupid things. This thought then wombled it's way along my overheated neural pathways until it arrived at the room marked 'The most pointless things I've ever bought'. After having a good rummage around I have discovered that over the course of my life I've made some really pointless purchases, including but not limited to:

The Silver Trousers

When I was about 15 or 16, I bought a pair of silver trousers. This in itself sounds bad enough but at age 15 or 16 I was 5ft 10in tall and a UK size 8. This meant that my legs were very very long and very very skinny so when I wore a pair of tight silver trousers I looked a lot like a flamingo wrapped in tinfoil. Added to that, they were that annoying inch too short, which just made the whole ensemble even more attractive. I tell you, in those silver trousers I had them queuing round the block. Fortunately I fell over a fence in them fairly soon after buying them which wrote them off. Tragically it wasn't before some swine with a camera had captured for posterity an awkward looking, teenaged, tinfoil-wrapped flamingo in a park somewhere clutching her shoes and what looked suspiciously like a bottle of cider. Teenage years are rarely anyone's finest hour.

Price: About £15

Number of uses: Roughly a cringeworthy 4.


The pink Stilettos

They had 5 inch heels and were made of dusky pink suede and leather. They were in the sale: I saw them, I wanted them, I bought them. What I didn't think to check before heading to the till with them clutched in my excited little hand, was whether I could walk in them. Which, as it turned out, I couldn't. No matter how hard I tried, how much I practiced, whenever I tried moving in them I ended up walking like I'd been kicked hard in the arse by a horse. It was not a good look at all.

Price: £35

Number of uses: A painful and limping once.


Gym Membership

I decided to get fit and join the gym, so off I toddled, down to our local gym with dreams of a washboard flat stomach and impressively toned arms. I had my induction (almost giving myself a stroke in the process), and left with a dent in my debit card made by the cost of my year long membership and a programme of exercises that involved 3 visits a week to the gym. Which I managed to keep up for the length of time that I managed to convince myself that I really did like the gym and enjoyed my time on the cross trainer. I think it was about 4 weeks. After this honeymoon period ended, the truth slowly began to dawn on me – I bloody hate the gym. It's full of miserable people who are also only there because they dream of an unattainable body shape and are pissed off that 3 months later they are still the same shape as a King Edward potato. It smells of exercise.  There are naked people in the changing rooms, I'm British, I don't do public nudity and I've no wish to see a complete stranger's lady bits. Then there are the people who are on the cross trainer, going 4 times faster than you and who aren't even out of breath, while you are panting like a Newfoundland dog in a sauna and wondering whether you're having an actual heart attack. My realisation that I hated the gym and my attendence at the gym were directly correlated, as the former became clearer, the latter became less frequent until I was forcing myself to go about once a month, making the cost of each visit a princely £45. Needless to say, at the end of the year I didn't bother to renew the membership, opting instead for the far cheaper option of walking the dog.

Price: £540

Number of uses: Impressive to start with, dismal from 2 months onwards.


Exercise DVDs

Before the gym debacle I decided that the best way to get fit was in the privacy of own home, where people wouldn't laugh at me, so on the internet I went and came away happy with my purchase of some dance fitness DVD thingy. When it arrived I was initially perturbed by the pneumatic blonde woman on the cover, but then figured that she probably wouldn't be the one actually doing the exercises, no, surely that would be led by some ordinary shaped person. Wrong. It WAS led by the pneumatic blonde, who came complete with more teeth than is natural, an annoyingly cheerful voice that never seemed to get out of breath, a collection of half a dozen backing dancey women who all looked the same and who couldn't have had a combined weight of more than 12 stone plus a rather sweaty looking bloke who I think might have been Mexican. I never really did work out what his purpose was, other than to lech over the blonde. So I put my trainers on, put it on the DVD player (with the blinds shut) and away I went. I quickly discovered several things: The dog didn't appreciate the concept of personal space while exercising, no matter how often I kicked him in the head while flailing about, and had to be shut in the kitchen where he barked solidly until I'd finished; I was hopelessly unfit; I have no natural coordination whatsoever and all the suppleness of a mahogany sideboard; dance music gets on my wick after a very short space of time; while swinging my arms and legs about trying to get fit while fruitlessly attempting to copy the steps if the blonde, the skinny women and the sweaty Mexican I looked like a complete and utter twat. So I gave up on the exercise DVD and the one that came free with it which I believe is still in its shiny cellophane wrapper, gathering dust under the bed.

Price: £10

Number of uses: Not enough to look like the women in the DVD but almost enough to leave the dog with permanent brain damage.


And there's so very many more things than this. One day, if I ever have enough money to not feel depressed by the figure, I'll sit down and try and work out the cost of all the pointless crap I've bought and never used but in the meantime I'll just carry on as before. Go on, 'fess up, what's your most pointless ever purchase?  I suppose I should just be grateful that I never developed an Ebay habit, imagine the amount of useless crap I could have bought then. In fact, maybe I'll just go and have a little look, just in the name of research you understand….. 


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Decisions, decisions….

Sometimes you have to make a decision and now is one of those times. While driving around the nice part of our town the other day, on my way from our rather scruffier bit of town to a posher place, I spotted a house for sale. Not that unusual, certainly, but this one caught my eye for no discernable reason and so when I got back to my house I looked it up on the internet. It's going for a whole sackful of cash less than houses usually go for around there and it's not only big but it's on a huge plot with a big garden AND a little one storey, one bedroom flat attached plus the main bedroom has the most amazing view out across the city to the hills beyond. With a prevailing wind, a sympathetic mortgage lender and a HUGE dollop of good fortune we could possibly stretch to buying it. So what is the decision? Well it's this – there's a reason it's going cheap and that reason is that inside it is a complete fucking shambles. The place is a disgrace. It has shoddy wiring, the boiler is older than I am and is living in what looks like a chicken house out the back, the ridiculously huge trees in the front garden are within a few degrees of knocking over the front wall that retains the soil. The flat has damp because the damp course has failed and the flat roof needs patching. Cosmetically it is beyond description (who knew they made wallpaper with psychadelic ferns on and that someone whould actually not only buy a roll but also put in on all 4 walls of the smallest room?), if you washed in the bathroom there is every chance that you'd come out dirtier than you went in. It has mice and probably spiders the size of cats. Ivy is eating the fence posts in the back garden, the front door is knackered and the pipes are the original lead ones which are now illegal. There's damp in the truly hideous 1960s built in wardrobe in the main bedroom which is probably because the chimney hasn't been capped properly and a section of the bathroom is taken up by a fucking huge hot water tank. It's only one bar off being in the most energy inefficient building that it's possible to be (although apparently it does have hte potential to be more efficient) and some of the double glazing is knackered and wants looking at. As opposed to the revolting wood cladding and bizarre safety glass on the stairs which just want a crowbar and a lump hammer taking to them. In short it looks a little bit like the house from the money pit.

But I like it. I really, really like it.

I have a vision of how it could it look, given a bloody scrub, lord knows how much money and a huge amount of work and it could be beautiful. So the question is, do I leave my energy efficient, immaculate, clean, recently decorated and nicely furnished semi to move into a sprawling dirt pit with a view? Do I put all the work into de-cluttering, deep cleaning and stress that goes with getting a house ready for sale and attempting to get a decent price for it in order to move into a building that contains more species of wildlife than my current garden?

If I'm honest the answer is yes, I think I would, because despite the fact that it's a complete shithole, that house has got under my skin and maybe it isn't meant to be, maybe someone else will snap it up before I can get my finances sorted but despite the fact that I am terrified of the cost of heating the place and the sheer scale of the work that's needed, I want it. And I don't suppose that's going to change.

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Sign it, people, sign it!

Those greedy bastards in Westminster are looking to add another wodge of tax onto every litre of fuel we buy, presumably so that Jacqui Smith's husband can afford the deluxe premium porno channel and Alistair Darling can add another tax-payer funded property to his portfolio. In an attempt to have this stopped, the Freight Transport Association are looking to get MPs to put a stay of execution on this idea, as a lot of freight companies are struggling to stay afloat in the recession. The more it costs to transport goods and the more freight companies go to the wall, the more it's going to cost us all to buy anything that's transported by road. And let's be honest – if we give more money to the government they are only going to piss it up the wall or install a solid gold shower in Harriet Harman's bathroom with it. So if you've got a spare minute, please visit the Freight Transport Association's "Every Penny Counts" campaign site here and order some postcards. You just fill them in, get all your mates to fill them in and everyone in the pub and then pop them into the post. You don't even have to attach a stamp, couldn't be simpler! Go on, do it, you know you want to…….

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