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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb




TODAY, around my kitchen table (my mother's kitchen table, actually, but we won't quibble) we were talking rhubarb.

I don't mean we were all extras in the background of Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes pretending to talk to each other - although to look at us, we could have been - but we were discussing that love-it-or-hate-it garden staple.

It's a truth, universally acknowledged in my family, that a single woman who comes knocking on my mother's door is in want of rhubarb (little literary reference there as the better-read among you will no doubt recognise).

She tries to foist sticks of rhubarb on unsuspecting visitors. I'm wise to her tricks now and refuse to accept any unless it is cooked, covered with pastry or crumble with a jug of custard beside it.

However, today I was reminded by my sister of the time I succumbed to her blandishments and took home a bundle of rhubarb.

Now, cooking is not my forte. In fact, anything that is at all practical and useful is not my forte. If you want a stiffly-worded letter written to a utility firm, I'm you're man, but don't ask me to look after your house plants while you're on holiday. Not unless you want to come home to plant carnage.

Mother wittered on about putting some bicarb in when cooking the rhubarb as it will soften it - so I did.

I made a very tasty crumble and the dearly beloved devoured it. He even had second helpings and possibly later that day, thirds.

Some time later my mother asked him if he liked rhubarb and he said he did - but unfortunately it gave him the shits.

Ah.

When we were alone my mother asked me how much bicarb I had put in the crumble.

How was I to know she had told me to add a "pinch". What the hell is a "pinch" anyway? I can't remember exactly how much bicarb I had added but it was more than a heaped teaspoon but less than a heaped dessert spoon. That would do it, said my mother while shaking her head in despair.

To this day, the dearly beloved has no idea why the rhubarb had such a bad effect on his internal workings and I'm not going to tell him now. All healthy relationships have their little secrets. Don't they?





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Saturday, 28 June 2014

Motivational Quotes


IF you spend very long on Facebook and Twitter, people will soon start sending you motivational sayings. I don't mind most of them - a metaphorical kick up the bum is sometimes appropriate. If Einstein has a bit of advice for you, it would be churlish not to at least cast an eye over it.

Sometimes they seem like good advice, but read them carefully. Are they really true? How about "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger"? Try being inspired by that when you're in a persistent vegetative state.

Here's one that a Twitter follower posted last week:  “Don't say you don't have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michaelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

Yeah, but I bet Michaelangelo didn't have to shower, load the washing machine, tidy up, feed the cat, make two packed lunches, get breakfast, put his make-up on and drive to work before he even aimed one paint-loaded brush at that Sistine Chapel ceiling.

When it comes to realistic advice, I'm more of a Homer Simpson fan. Here are two that will stand anybody in good stead for dealing with life:

1.  “You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson is: never try.”

2. "The code of the schoolyard, Marge! The rules that teach a boy to be a man. Let's see. Don't tattle. Always make fun of those different from you. Never say anything, unless you're sure everyone feels exactly the same way you do."

I'm joking, of course. Kind of.  You may laugh, but Homer's quotes are often as insightful as many a homily from a celebrity. Here's Kanye West talking about reincarnation:  “I won’t go into a big spiel about reincarnation, but the first time I was in the Gucci store in Chicago was the closest I’ve ever felt to home.”

Crikey. What was he in a previous life? A handbag?

Here's a good quote from Bruce Lee:


Mind you, he did die at the age of 32...

And here's one from singer Adele:


You can't argue with that.



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Thursday, 26 June 2014

Pay Day Loans

Pay day loans firm Wonga allegedly chased debtors with letters from fake solicitors.

I had a letter the other day on behalf of loan company Dosha. I enclose it here. Do you think it's genuine?




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Thursday, 12 June 2014

Poundstretcher Socks






These are the kind of conversations I have with the Dearly Beloved:

I bought him six pairs of socks for £5 in Poundstretcher. I know, I'm hardly one of the world's big spenders but they seemed like a bargain to me. Was he grateful? Was he buggery.

He put on a pair this morning and moans.

DB: What size are these socks? They're too bloody small.

Me: They are 9-13 (he takes a size 9).

DB: Well, they're too effing small.

Me: They don't know you've got effing fat feet.

DB: Where were they made? Japan? All those people have tiny feet. What happens if they are making them for fat Americans? They'll never fit.

Me: Perhaps they have two separate production lines, one for America and one for the rest of the world.

DB: (Sorry, this isn't very PC, but he puts on an appalling Japanese accent). No, no, these socksa for Hingland, not for Amerikwa. Smalla, smalla!

Me: (Sorry, the accent was catching...but turned into something kind of Italian) Those Hinglish have small feet, except for dat fat-footed fool in Devon. Letsa hope he getsa his socks from Jacamo, da shop for BIG men.

He half smiles. Wiggles his toes around.

DB: I suppose they'll stretch.

He sets off for work leaving me contemplating writing a script for a horror film. There's a packet of possessed socks...




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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

French and Saunders in Florida




I've posted this French and Saunders sketch before on my Facebook page but it made me laugh so much that I thought I'd put it here for those of you who haven't seen it. Coming from Devon, it was the accents and the mentions of Bideford that I loved.



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Sunday, 8 June 2014

Bernard Jordan: A Man On A Mission


My hero.




I HAVE a new hero.

He's not a handsome Clooney clone, dishing out the charm with the derring-do.

He's 89, somewhat bereft of teeth, with a white stubble which in no way could be construed as "designer".

The object of my affections is a Royal Navy veteran living in a care home in Hove, East Sussex, who when told he was not allowed to join the D-Day anniversary events in France, thought "bugger that for a game of soldiers" and set off anyway. Bernard Jordan hid his medals under his coat, told staff he was going for a walk and got on a coach that was Normandy-bound.

He checked into a hotel in Oustrelham, near Arromanches, and by the time anyone realised he was missing he was chatting to old soldiers on the beaches, no doubt moaning about the "younger generation" of 70 year olds.

Bernard is obviously compos mentis, physically capable and knows his own mind.

What struck me most about this story was not Bernard's ingenuity and sheer bloody-mindedness but what on earth gives anyone the right to ban a British person with freedoms that people of  his generation fought and died for to "ban" them from going on a journey, whether it is down the shops or to Timbuctoo.

At what age do people start treating you as a child again? If anyone said to me, "No, dear, you can't have another Cadbury's Creme Egg," that egg would soon be lodged where the sun don't shine still covered in its silver foil.

I appreciate he's in a care home and you can't have residents stripping down a motorbike in the bath or playing Vera Lynn records at full blast on the Dansette into the early hours of the morning, but to be refused to join old comrades on the Normandy beaches for a landmark anniversary? What kind of regime is that?

It's  the kind that Bernard risked his life to prevent.







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Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Chipotle In Adobo


Just getting round to reading the Sunday supplements.

Lots of recipes from the  lovely vegan Gwyneth Paltrow. There's one for chipotle in adobo. They didn't have chipotle or adobo in the Spar shop at the garage. I think I might use fatty bacon instead. I'm sure she'd approve.

By the way, for anyone as ignorant as I am, chipotle is a smoke-dried jalapeno pepper and adobo is a sauce of tomatoes, garlic, vinegar, salt, and spices. I found these definitions in Wikipedia so they are probably wildly wrong. It's probably whalemeat in yak's butter.

Here's one I made earlier:




One magazine suggests I could decant my washing-up liquid into a "cute" bottle. I think I might decant magazine into rubbish bin.


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