Sunday 29 May 2011

The Embarrassment of Living

A few months ago I spent a happy half hour musing about the blogs I follow and deciding on the bloggers who, in my considered opinion, were most deserved recipients of my Stylish Blogger Award.

I spent the next week, however, cringing about those blogs I’d plain and simply forgotten, praying, for once, that nobody would read my blog. Alas, it had the most page views ever at the time and the post is still ranked third most popular of my 37 posts to date. Typical.

So it was with great delight that I learnt that the lovely, Shawna Railey had presented me with another Stylish Blogger Award. Delighted, partly because I love getting awards, but also because it gives me a second chance to do the job properly. I apologise in advance for any fantastic blogs I miss this time; to those authors I say, it isn’t you, it’s my ageing brain cells. 

The rules state that I have to share seven random facts about myself with you. I’d love to pretend that I did all that last time but in truth, I shied away then as well, started waxing on instead about various landmark moments in my life, generally printed large on my psyche for all the wrong reasons. I tried to follow the rules this time, I really did, but I have to admit, even my mind started wandering around point two which didn’t bode well for the rest of the list.  I started thinking instead about the plethora of embarrassing incidents in my life - self-embarrassment is the one thing I’m exceptionally good at.  It would appear that I embarrass myself on average once a week and the older I get, the bigger the incident seems to be.


I struggle with my hearing. There are certain frequencies I can’t hear and some sounds which I don’t hear clearly. So it doesn’t matter how loud somebody shouts, if I can’t make out the individual sounds, there’s nothing raised decibels can do about it.  To save mine and the interlocutor’s unease, I find myself guessing, a lot. 

Standing proudly in front of my stand at an exhibition, our patron, HRH Princess Anne approached and we all performed our practiced curtseys and remembered in which order to say, Your Highness, Ma’am etc.  Princess Anne asked me a question. To this day I don’t know what the question was. I really couldn’t hear. Once I’d asked for a second time and was none the wiser, I drew on my, often reliable, sixth sense to decide between the affirmative and negative in response.  Yes, I said. Alas the correct answer was clearly no. I say, ‘clearly’ because HRH Princess Anne screwed up her face into a look of disgust and asked incredulously, ‘Do you really think that sludge, blooo, wahhh…?’ I couldn’t hear that either.  I shook my head; of course I didn’t think that! The wonderful Chief Exec of the charity for which I then worked followed behind, grinned inanely and winked at me. I think I just about got away with it, however, I never mentioned it to him, nor him to me.

Around the same time, (the more I think about it, my twenties must have been particularly excruciating) the conductor wanted to see my train ticket. The train was packed.  I took my purse out of my bag and out with the purse came a bunch of tampons. The incident alone wouldn’t have ranked worthy of a note on this page in the face of such stiff and substantial competition, more the fact that the conductor, bless him, set about picking up the said tampons as they rolled down the carriage much to the amusement of every single passenger. I would have been quite happy simply to glance away from the scene, feigning ignorance as to the source of the tumbling tampons, however the kind conductor retrieved every one, it would appear, and placed the pile on the table in front of me. And then he checked my ticket. 

I should add that I was going through a stage of blushing for the smallest of reasons. Sometimes I’d go red and didn’t even know the source of the blush.  I do remember turning a sort of deep violet colour on this occasion, so forceful was it, it actually caused my face to sweat.

Otherwise, inconsequential incidents take on a certain gravitas when performed in front of a new boyfriend’s parents, I find.  I break glasses frequently, my family barely even notice any more and I certainly don’t remember every breakage. However, the crystal glass which disintegrated in my hands as I performed my first every washing up stint during my first ever meeting with my boyfriend, now husband’s, parents makes me wince just thinking about it. I realised quite how expensive the glass was when my mother-in-law-to-be did her absolute best to say that it really didn’t matter but no words actually came out, just a sort of painful smiling grimace.

There are other boyfriend ones. I do remember for some inexplicable reason, falling off the pavement into the road as the whole school trooped down the road to church when I was about 13, right at the feet of Chris, my new ‘love’. Our relationship didn’t last long after that, in fact, I don’t believe we ever spoke again.  Teenage embarrassment is really hard to top, isn’t it!

I’ll stop there.  Will you share any with us? Go on, please, we'll keep it to ourselves...  

Many thanks to Shawna for the award. You can see Shawna’s blog over at Her award acceptance speech is great! I like the way she also studiously avoids any mention of random facts about herself. J

Here’s my list of great blogs to follow. Please take a look and for you five proud bloggers, here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
2. Tell us 7 things about yourself.
3. Award 5 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and let them know they have won!

Ooops, was it meant to be only five? Silly me…


  1. Eekles! Right, will have a go :)

  2. Talking of winners that was absolutely breathtaking, my heart was racing with each embarrassing moment! And i'm still feeling bad for you on the meeting of a princess front! Keep up the blogs they really are fantastic and you so deserve to be a winner!

  3. By the way me embarrassing moments -never! Well i did have one last week but i'm so embarrassed i couldn't possibly say! It involves my car and a recovery truck but I seriously can't divulge as i'm truly embarrassed just thinking about it!

  4. Antonia, you always say lovely things, thank you :) But please, you have to divulge! Come on, we won't tell anyone...

  5. There, my lovely. A little present for you:

  6. Ahhhh Stella, I haven't been able to access my blog for days - just kept getting a blank page - so was very happy to 1. regain access and 2. click your link to see my Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you! I'm ridiculously chuffed, of course :)

  7. Hi, Jackie. Great blog. 'Hope you're having a super week :-)

  8. Fantastic blog as usual but am far too embarrassed to comment!

  9. Thanks Tim! About to finally check out your blog...


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