Thoughts from a Fried Chicken Shop

KFC Mapperley Nottingham

KFC Mapperley Nottingham

Julia had an appointment for lunch with some of her colleagues from work yesterday. She has more friends than I do, and no shortage of invitations. As a consequence I found myself in a familiar situation – dining alone at a fast food outlet. Fortunately I like my own company. and I like fast food. The choice was KFC.

My first thought on arriving was “Where are all the people?”. I know KFC suffered from bad press recently with their supply chain debacle, but I had thought there would be more than three people in there at 1.30pm. That number was reduced to two when one of us left with his food to eat it elsewhere.

My second thought was that I was surprised by the average age of the clentele. I always think of fried chicken being food for young people. Bearing in mind that I’m 60, and that I’m not wanting to be ungallant about the lady who was the other customer, I reckon that our average age was about 70. This did fall when a couple of youths came in, but not as far as the drop in the average IQ.

This brought me on to thought three – why do white youths adopt the lisping patois they seem to associate with black youth in the ghetto? Or should that be “lithping patois”. It completely seems to escape them that we don’t have ghettos in Nottingham, and that there’s a distinct lack of rap music. I’m not sure whether it’s a case of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery or some sort of condescending cultural appropriation.

Anyway, back to a thought with less potential for argument. Would it be possible to develop a vaccine, or maybe a yoghurt drink, to increase IQ?

Talking of dodgy liquids, I had the gravy. It isn’t really gravy, and Colonel Sanders once referred to it as  “sludge” that had a “wall-paper taste”. That was while he was acting as a brand ambassador for the company after selling it. His idea of an ambassador seems slightly at odds with mine. The company felt this too and sued him. They were unsuccessful, indicating that judicial opinion was on the Colonel’s side.

It’s better than that now, though I do think it’s been better in the past. This isn’t unusual, I tend to think everything was better in the past.

The final thought, as I stared across the road, was that 20 years ago Collectors Corner was still in business and there were none of those shops about that bought old clothes by weight. This is progress.

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A closed collectors’ shop – the very definition of sadness

And on that note I think it’s time to go.

 

As I stood in the shop one day

Yesterday afternoon the sound of “Greensleeves” drifted through the open door of the shop. It wasn’t the instrumental version, with its memories of school music lessons and a youthful Henry VIII, but the tinny ice cream van version. According to the Wikipedia entry for Greensleeves, it’s probably not by Henry VIII, and it is a common earworm.

Where do I go from here?

I could discuss Henry VIII. I could talk about the psychology of ice cream van music.  Or I could tell you that when I was working in Africa a letter arrived from my mother telling me my cousin had been killed on his motorcycle I had Linda Ronstadt’s Blue Bayou playing at the time.

Every time I hear the song it takes me back to that letter. Everytime I think of that letter, the song starts in my head. And every time the subject of earworms crops up the whole thing starts going round in my head. It doesn’t happen often, but like now, when it crops up the whole thing starts again.

Forty years have passed since it happened and though the image is fresh in my mind, it’s simply there and no longer evokes any emotion. This might be natural, or it may be I’m just not very sensitive.

It’s the same with the car accident flashbacks. After a lifetime of driving I’ve been in a few accidents and near misses as driver or passenger. With one exception, which happened nearly 30 years ago, they’ve not really made much of a mental impression on me.

One of them caused flashbacks. I don’t know why, but for a while I was getting two or three a week. They gradually declined over the first year until it was one or two a year, then none for a couple of years. However, when they did come they were quite disturbing. The last one was about five years ago and it woke me up with a feeling of panic just as I was drifting off to sleep.

Since then I’ve rarely thought of it and it no longer bothers me when I do. It’s now just a memory.

I suppose this is how we are meant to be – you can’t worry about everything in life or you’d break down.

Well, that’s been quite a journey – from ice cream vans to road traffic accidents. All I meant to say was that after two fire engines and a police car it was nice to hear an ice cream van.

The Excitement Continues…

Look what drew up outside our house tonight.

I’m going to get invited to the Fire Service Christmas party at this rate.

Fortunately they didn’t rush up to the door with axes. Instead they went to the house across the road and climbed in through an upstairs window as the owner had, it appears, locked himself out.

That took me back to the early ’60s when we were living in Blackburn. We went to the seaside and spent the day at Southport, which always seemed like a treat compared to a day in Blackpool. Even now I can’t tell you why I preferred Southport and Morecambe to the bustle of Blackpool. It may be something to do with the time we went up Blackpool Tower and I discovered I was scared of heights.

Whilst relaxing on the beach the shop keys fell out of my Dad’s pocket. We sifted a lot of sand but never did find them.

On arriving home we rang the fire brigade for help and, as today, they entered by an upstairs window.

The difference between the two events, apart from nearly 60 years and 150 miles, was that we had a dog, a Border Terrier called Pip. He had been left to guard the house and that’s what he did. Fortunately we were able to distract him while the firemen entered and opened the door.

Ah, memories…

As you may notice, we have lace curtains so I can twitch them whilst spying on neighbours. I didn’t need to do that today, I just sat in my chair and took the photo. It’s probably my laziest ever blog post.

Curiosities…

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The medal in the picture is a British War Medal from the Great War. It isn’t rare – 6,500,000 were issued. Over the years many have been melted during booms in the silver price but there are still many survivors. It’s one of the commonest medals we see in the shop and, generally, they aren’t very interesting.

The cartwheel penny is also a common enough item (the first order was for 480 tons of this 1 ounce coin – over 15,000,000) and is often found cut about or counter-stamped like this one. Some people actually collect this sort of mutilated coin. It looks like someone has been trying to make it into a cogwheel. They have also stamped the name “Gosden” into it.

So, two common items, why the blog post?

Well, the medal is named to Private O G Gosden, and this is the first time I’ve ever seen a penny and a medal named to the same family name.

In addition, the Medal Index Card shows that he is only entitled to the one medal, which is unusual, as it usually came in a group. Normally this indicates that the recipient served in India, as part of the force sent there to replace the Indian troops that went to serve in France and the Middle East. In Gosden’s case his unit – the 10th Middlesex Regiment – sailed from Southampton on the “Royal George” 30th October 1914 and arrived in Bombay on 2nd December 1914. It stayed there until the end of the war.

I found no information on what he did during the war, but I do know he lived from 1879 to 1959, was a solicitor in civilian life and left over £120,000 when he died. There’s more information to find, but I’ll leave that to the purchaser as I don’t want to spoil the fun of researching it.

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More Drama!

Here’s a trio of pictures of the aftermath of a car accident outside the shop.

Nobody was hurt and the other vehicle, a Land Rover didn’t show any sign of damage, though I’m sure it would have done if I’d been closer.

I’m obviously turning into a photojournalist. Or a magnet for disaster.

I’m not quite so hardened that I get up close, but I’m getting there.

Will write more later.

A Clumsy Day and an Accidental Arsonist

I woke in my chair just after midnight on Monday morning, feeling stiff and misshapen I’d missed the chance to post on the day I was describing so I forced myself to stay up long enough to add photos, but couldn’t be bothered with captions. Then I posted and realised, too late, that  then I I’d forgotten the title.

Fortunately Albert Schweitzer was there to supply the deficiency.

Things got worse when I started to get ready for work. My first clumsiness was to knock the sliced beef off the kitchen counter, where it landed with a slap on the floor. It probably picked up millions of bacteria despite my application of the Ten Second Rule. This, as most of you will know, states that food is still fit to eat if you pick it up less than ten seconds after it hit the floor.

I’ve also seen it described as the Five Second Rule. No way that’s going to happen. It takes me longer than that to bend these days.

Thinking sensibly, for once, I decided the risk wasn’t worth it and, regretfully, binned the meat.

Then I remembered what a doctor had once told me when I was discussing unpasteurised apple juice. According to an American website I’d read you have to pasteurise juice before drinking. We’d been happily pressing for years and feeding to all and sundry from 5 to 95 years old. He said that if you drink it immediately after juicing, the microorganisms haven’t time to multiply and cause problems, and told us there was no reason to stop doing it. So I thought. And I decided that if I ate the beef immediately I should be OK. Fortunately I’d just put a new bag in the bin so that was clean.

Anyway, with the addition of horseradish sauce I enjoyed beef sandwiches for breakfast and suffered no ill effects.

The second thing he told me was that I could safely disregard most food hygiene advice from Americans as they worry too much.

Of course, this was the same man who cut his finger tip quite badly with a power saw and tied it all back with a bandage which became quite grubby over the next few weeks. When I mentioned the possibility of gangrene he just muttered that it would either heal or drop off. And, remarkably, it did heal.

I also dropped the phone, knocked it out of Mark’s hand (twice) as we both tried to pick it up, rendered the scanner inoperative, dropped stamps all over the floor and generally had an uncoordinated sort of day.

All that was as nothing compared to the day suffered by the mother of the owner of the Chinese Takeaway between the old shop and the new shop. She was burning cardboard boxes in the back garden when the fire spread to a pile of dry conifer trimmings. It then spread to one of the dead conifers.

When the opticians on the other side noticed flames higher than their roof they decided to call the Fire Brigade.

That’s why today’s photographs show a fire engine, ash on top of my car, and some grumpy firemen. It seems they had better things to do.

 

 

Do not let Sunday be taken from you. If your soul has no Sunday, it becomes an orphan.

Albert Schweitzer

Unusually for me I leapt from bed like a salmon making for the spawning grounds this morning. I haven’t actually discovered a new enthusiasm for 5 am, I just overslept until the back-up alarm went off at 5.25. That left me with 35 minutes to get up and get Julia to work. Assuming that I get my socks on first shot and don’t get into a fight with my trousers, this is plenty of time as there is no traffic at that time of day.

Fortunately my clothing cooperated and all went well.

Just after 6.00 I was back home and catching up on WordPress reading. At 7.00 my alarm alerted me to the opening of the launderette. I have to set alarms these days as my memory is not great and I tend to nap at inconvenient times. After loading the big machine for a hot wash I had 59 minutes to kill, which I accomplished with breakfast at McDonalds, writing a shopping list and making holiday plans for September.

I haven’t been to Burntstump Country Park for five years or so; it used to have a pond with a colony of water voles. They were pushed out by rats, and I never felt as good about visiting after that. Today, I thought, was a good day for a visit. It wasn’t.

The woodland was full of birdsong and I even saw the occasional bird, despite the best efforts of assorted dog walkers loudly calling their dogs, training their dogs and squeezing squeaky toys at their dogs. It seems to be a favoured meeting place for people with loud voices and badly trained dogs.

They weren’t, before anyone jumps in, doing anything illegal. Individually they weren’t even that obtrusive, just a bit noisy and disruptive to my attempts at bird photography. Unfortunately there were dozens of them. Some worked in ones and twos, others formed a group in the middle of the park and made a lot of noise. Another group, numbering dozens, if not hundreds, gathered for a massed walk. It was canine bedlam.

I shopped on the way home, ate lunch (prepared by Number Two son) and watched Sharpe. King Solomon’s Mines then came on. I liked the book, but the Patrick Swayze film could be bottled and sold as a cure for insomnia. It worked for me.

Having picked Julia up from work we bought ice cream on the way home and are currently winding down. I’n good at winding down.

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