Bah humbug, Liz Bentley’s Xmas Tesco Delivery Man

Liz Bentley and Xmas Tesco Delivery Man

I struggle with Xmas, but try my best to do the ‘Merry Xmas’ thing. It’s exhausting to be happy, excited and full of joy, when inside the familiar feelings of isolation and detachment whirl around my head. I have to fight to them off as best I can, I don’t want to upset or have an affect on the merriment of others around me. Xmas is hard bloody work.

In the old days I would drink, but now I only drink when I’m genuinely happy, I can’t mask it in the same way. While I’m wrapping presents for others, I’m thinking of climate change, the homeless and all the stuff and how grateful I am that I can have all the stuff, but I’m conflicted, I hate the stuff. I’m thinking of austerity and racism and sexism and other things that are going on outside of Xmas cheer. At Tesco Metro (re my last blog) I gave the homeless man sitting outside, a pound.

“How long have you been homeless?” I asked.
“A year,” he said.
“What happened?’
“I was a carer for my granddad, I lived with him in his council flat. I wasn’t on the tenancy, I went away for four nights, a few weeks after he died, when I came back, I couldn’t get into the flat. I had nowhere to go. I’m waiting for a hostel.”

All the parcels I have ordered for Xmas have arrived. The only one that hasn’t, was a dress I’d bought to wear on Xmas day. It’s been signed by someone, apparently its been delivered, but I was here and I didn’t get it, no-one recognises the signature, most confusing, and sods law. I rarely buy anything new for myself, but I was making an effort, treating myself, nothing too special.  I tell myself it wouldn’t have fit anyway, it was a size small, I’m an extra small, but they didn’t have extra small.

I’m small because I’m small, always been small from birth with my defect of having a hole in the heart. I don’t eat much. I mainly stick with the MS recovery diet, but even before then, I was never a foodie. I don’t look forward to food, I don’t look forward to ordering it from Tesco, buying it or cooking it. I eat to live. But I enjoy my meaningful interactions with the Tesco Delivery drivers.

Food was always an issue for me, as a baby, a child and adolescent. When I was old enough to be really conscious of my appearance, I became bulimic. Xmas was a difficult time because of this. Here is my Xmas medley about Peace.


Xmas is coming, I won’t be getting fat
I’ll be far too busy, playing with my twat
(wrong song, I’ll start again)

Xmas is coming, bulimics don’t get fat
I make sure the sick doesn’t soil the bathroom mat

Back at the Xmas table, I’m smelling like a rose
But I’ve left a bit of puke that’s hanging from my nose

Food glorious food, hot sausage and mustard
While we’re in the mood, regurgitate the custard


On my plate one solitary brussel sprout is left
Dad talks of starving Africans and gives it to the pet
Dog, who swallows it in one and puts it’s head upon my knee
I wipe my nose with a serviette and the dog crouches down and pees

Eat the world, don’t they know its Xmas cake
Eat the world, salivate and masticate the peas

I wish you a merry Xmas, I wish you a merry Xmas
I wish you a merry Xmas, and a happy new year

Let’s throw up some figgy pudding, lets throw up some figgy pudding,
Let’s throw up some figgy pudding, and bring up good cheer

Peas on earth good will to men

Thoughts on the election and accessible shopping, at Tesco Metro

These last few weeks have been difficult. Chronic insomnia and flu viruses affecting me and most of my family.  The general election on Thursday falls on ‘Perverse Verse’ my show I host at the Ivyhouse in Nunhead. It was supposed to be our Xmas Stocking show, it’s changed into something more befitting to the occasion. I had no choice.

Liz with Tesco Metro staff

On ‘Int’l day of persons with disabilities’ I was due to host a night of celebration with ‘Hammersmith and Fulham Coalition against Cuts’ but I was ill. I was also supposed to be exhibiting my work at Wierdo zine fest at Science Gallery,  but because of the incident at London Bridge, it was cancelled.

The highlight of my week was popping into Tesco Metro, not to shop, I needed to get cash from the cash point, but I wanted a photo, and to have a meaningful exchange outside of my house.

The shop was virtually empty, it was like I had Tesco metro all to myself.

“Hi,” I said to the one cashier. “I write a blog for Disability Arts Online about waiting for the Tesco Delivery Man, they brighten up my day and today, I’m excited to be out of the house, and inside a real shop with other shoppers” I looked around and saw that there were a few people musing the isles. “And cashiers. I love cashiers,” I smiled at her. “It’s a shame that there are fewer of you, I notice that younger people prefer the machines, I think it’s to do with having grown up with computers, they struggle with intimacy and communication, I’m a psychotherapist and see more young people than ever before.” The woman nodded. “The few times I have used the machines, I’ve got it wrong and have had to call a cashier, so it seems like a waste of time, either that, or I have confirm that I am over 18. But I have MS, I rarely shop anyway.”

Liz with Tesco Metro store manager, posing for photo in the aisles

The cashier beamed at me and produced a Lanyard and a flyer from beside her till, she handed it to me. It read “The Sunflower Lanyard Scheme, some people with hidden disabilities such as autism, MS and hearing loss, might need help while in store…..” Within seconds the manager and another member of staff wanted to pose with me and here they are. I love that Tesco are now offering shopping help like this. As they say, ‘every little helps’, and it may result in me getting out of the house more often, although the traffic was road raged and I am a slow driver.

Now here’s a question, two families brought up in the same town, living in the same street, kids go to the same school, the eldest of the children vote Tory and the younger siblings vote Labour. Do you think this is because the youngest have always had to share and the eldest know what it’s like to have parental support all to themselves and want to recreate that feeling? Hmm.

We are in a state of ‘splitting’ as the psychoanalyst Melanie Klein might say.  It’s like being in labour, the intensity before the birth, then after the long and difficult pregnancy this thing comes out and we have no idea what it will be like.

Talking of babies, here is a poem I wrote and performed (my voice over while I was underwater with a breathing tank that lasted 7 minutes, in a dolphin patterned duvet, floating about, until I rebirth into the Edinburgh Apex hotel swimming pool, 2008, Edinburgh Fringe). The poem is published in my anthology “£500 a line and other poems”.

Birth Story

Thank God it’s nearly over, it’s been really stressful here these last few months, growing, sudden UV lighting and shit music.  If I ever hear “Building baby’s brains” or “Mozart” one more time I’ll do a stillbirth.

I wish she hadn’t given up smoking. I could do with a fag and I could murder a drink. Three glasses of shit CAVA at a wedding then dealing with her guilt for 8 months.That was worse than the gastro enteritis.

I’m really looking forward to going through that deep dark tunnel and getting into the pool.  Soon I’ll be pissing in someone else’s water rather than my own stinky sac, and it’s getting pretty stinky in here.  Just got to hold off from shitting, just for a few more minutes otherwise it could all go horribly wrong and I’ll end up with Dr Bari doing a caesarean, that’s what happened to my brother and he’s never recovered.  They took him to a cranial osteopath but he’s still got a flat head.  It’s difficult to airbrush baby’s heads.

I’ve done my stretch in this old cell, some have made it through the other side – some haven’t. It’s pretty hardcore to survive in these conditions.  It’s dark all the time and very basic.  She could have done it up a bit, she’s 41, she’s had plenty of time, some pictures on the womb wall, wouldn’t have to be anyone too raunchy, Helen Mirren perhaps.  An internal tattoo would have been nice, but maybe that would have stopped my concentration and deep exploration of my inner child.

Thank God the sex stopped. Most unsettling.  Then all of a sudden, it began again and she started taking it up the arse.  That was only two weeks ago and by then it had got so tight that I couldn’t move around, my arse was right by her arse.  I’m going to be a poet when I grow up and write shit like this….


I’m a baby stuck in a womb

I’ll be out soon

Thank God they rolled the dice again

Otherwise Boris would have been my name

Apparently, Boris Johnson’s buttocks are similar to those of Adolph Hitler’s

I heard that at a gig she did

That’s when the arse thing kicked off and my kicking stopped

Now it’s my turn to help her out

Otherwise she’ll have to shout – more

So, here we go, I’m really shitting myself now ….