Sally Hall: The innocent hen do which ended up with a trip to vets

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When you’re a pet owner, vet bills are a worry. But at least if your beloved fluffball is genuinely ill, the pain of stumping up the cash is leavened by a sense of necessity.

Sometimes, though, the damage can be self-inflicted. 
Like my friend’s dog – let’s call him Bruce.

Bruce has a voracious appetite. What dog doesn’t?

Although he’s previously ventured into rather adventurous culinary territory for a bulldog (scoffing leftover fish and chips, hoovering up chocolate cake, chomping on pasties), this time, Bruce met his match in something decidedly....inedible. 
My friend was tasked with organising a hen do for her best pal, and had been out to purchase some fripperies for the occasion.

As is the tradition, lewdness was the order of the day for these items, purchased from Ann Summers (or some other such purveyor of sauciness).

I’ve never actually attended a hen do that involved anatomically correct lollipops or male strippers, but I’m reliably informed these are often the first items to be included on the ‘to do’ list.

On this occasion, the ‘adult’ shopping bags included something that could have been mistaken for a piece of fruit by a particularly unobservant dog. 
After all, it was big. And it was yellow.

But whatever Bruce thought, it wasn’t a banana.

My friend got home from work to discover that Bruce had rooted around in her hen do shopping and discovered the-item-that-wasn’t-a-banana.

He’d wolfed down most of it. The batteries were nowhere to be seen.

In fact the only sign of Bruce’s feeding frenzy were strips of yellow rubbery material strewn all over the kitchen.

This time, when visiting the vet, it wasn’t just the bill that was a matter of concern.

More the dreaded question:
‘Just what exactly has he eaten?’

My friend squirmed as she muttered something about a ‘vibrating toy’.

The vet asked no further questions. The contents of Bruce’s stomach were removed, and the hen do was left one toy short of a party.

I don’t think my friend, or her pet, will ever look at a fruit bowl in the same way again. 
Sometimes, try as you might, you just can’t get away from smuttiness.

One Saturday morning recently, my boyfriend and I decided we’d like to hear a bit of poetry.

Yes, that really is the way we (rock’n’) roll. So he asked Siri (or the ‘phone maiden’, as I call her) to recite a poem.

In response to the request: ‘Can you tell me a poem?’ Siri advised: ‘The nearest adult store is in LS1.’

Maybe his German accent confused her. Maybe Siri thought we should be enjoying ourselves in other ways on a Saturday morning.

Either way, it’s so easy for something that starts out with perfect innocence (a hungry dog) to end up becoming a scandal-tinged misadventure (a trip to the vets).

Don’t even get me started on the time I (aged 13 or so) accidentally used a suggestive jelly mould I found in my auntie’s cupboard to make dessert for a family dinner...

I thought it was a lobster-shaped mould for seafood mousses or some other such fancy concoction.

I’d never seen a lobster in real-life. Or anything else resembling this jelly mould, for that matter.

Suffice to say, Grandma didn’t seem to notice the unusual shape of her pudding.

So Bruce isn’t the only unobservant diner in this tale, although at least my jelly was actually meant for human consumption – and the meal didn’t result in a large bill.

Sweatshop SOS but five years AFTER she bought the trousers

A shopper claimed last week to have found a ‘cry for help’ stitched into the label of a pair of Primark trousers. 
The label was marked ‘SOS! SOS! SOS!’ and alleged that the makers of the trousers were being forced to work in slave labour conditions in a Chinese prison.

The hand-written note claimed workers were treated ‘like oxen’; forced to work 15 hours a day making clothes in hot, dirty conditions.

Primark launched an immediate investigation, but it’s not known yet whether the claims, or the note, are genuine. 
Of course, Primark isn’t the only high street store accused of purchasing clothes made in exploitative conditions. 
Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to shop ethically on most British high streets these days – especially if, like me, you’re always on the hunt for a bargain.

The exploitation of clothing workers hit the headlines last year, when 1,100 people were killed and 2,500 injured with the devastating collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh.

Notwithstanding the abject tragedy of Rana Plaza, the element of last week’s story I found most surprising was not the accusation of poor treatment and exploitation.

As it is, I was more surprised when it emerged that the Irish shopper, Karen Wisinska, had bought the trousers in 2009 – and never worn them.

In Primark years, that’s as vintage as a 1920s Flapper dress. Who knows where the writer of the note could be now, five years later? It’s certainly going to be a challenge to track him down.

Motorway ‘Smash’ that left me in stitches

I don’t think it’s officially silly season yet...but I think we can all agree this year’s news hiatus has now been launched with the hard-hitting story about a spillage of instant mash on the A64 near Malton. 
Normally a road smash is not a laughing matter at all. 
But on this occasion, I couldn’t stop giggling as I read about the instant mash which piled up in mounds across the busy dual carriageway after a lorry spilled its load. 
I know, I know. There were serious tailbacks and highly annoying delays for hundreds of drivers as the road was closed for five hours to allow for a massive clean-up operation. 
I do feel sorry for anyone whose day was ruined by the ‘smash’. 
But I still think it’s hilarious. 
Clean-up crews used freezing chemicals, pressure hoses and snow ploughs to clear up the instant mash, which swelled up even more in the rain.

Anyone who can remember the ‘Martians’ from the Eighties TV adverts may be tickled by the absurd image I had of metal aliens tucking into a Smashing feast on their way to Scarborough.

Alexandra Shulman. PIC: PA

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