Monthly Archives: May 2019

You couldn’t make this up…

I arrived home last night, parked and did what I believe is known as a double take.

The skip, that has been in the drive for the last few weeks, and which was far from full as we unclutter at the pace of a sleepy snail, had gone.

“What’s happened to the skip?” I asked Julia, who had arrived home slightly before me.

“Nothing, as far as I know.” she said. “Have people been putting things in?”

“Look for yourself.”

She ambled to the door muttering.

“Aaaaaargh!”

It was the heartrending yell of a woman who had been planning to fill a skip on Bank Holiday Monday. Skipless and bereft, she stood on the doorstep wailing and rending and doing whatever thwarted declutterers do…

She had, in case you haven’t guessed, been in a world of her own when she returned home, and had completely missed the fact that a large steel rubbish receptacle had disappeared from the drive.

And that is not the strangest thing.

The skip company, when we finally got hold of them, deny all knowledge of the skip being taken away, which means that we have clearly been the subject of a skip robbery.

It’s an unusual crime, as it’s hardly the same as slipping an unconsidered trifle into your pocket. You need a lorry with the correct lifting gear for one thing. So it’s either been stolen by a rival company, or we’ve hired it off a company staffed by incompetent idiots who have collected it at random. . Julia has been looking at the feedback on their site. Some of the feedback is slightly more forthright than my comments.

It is looking likely that we have hired a skip off a company of incompetent idiots.

Scone Chronicles XVIII – Bakewell Pudding

The header picture is Julia sitting outside the Bakewell Pudding Parlour. Last time she was left to her own devices here she ended up buying macaroons. I’d forgotten all about that, and, once again, failed to supervise her in an appropriate manner. She emerged with teas, bakewell puddings and cheese pasties. She keeps feeding me despite my diet. When I say pasties, by the way, they were monstrous. They were big enough to use as hats. It seemed rude not to eat it, even though it contains a possibly lethal dose of fat and calories.

 

However, I’m not going to talk about pasties, because this is a chronicle of scones. So I’m going to talk about Bakewell Puddings. There’s only so much you can say about scones, and I’m short of ideas for places to visit at the moment. My brain seems to be working rather slowly at the moment. I swear I’ve declined in intelligence over the last few months. Much more of this and I’ll have no option but to embark on a political career.

The Bakewell Pudding, as made in Bakewell, is not the same as the shop bought Bakewell Tart, which is generally an iced cake in a pastry case.  I’ve not made a Bakewell of any type myself, though I have made frangipanes with Cape Gooseberries (physalis, inca berries, ground cherries – it has so many names).

Today’s puddings were great – flaky pastry cases full of sticky deliciousness. Julia didn’t care for them, preferring something less sticky. It’s an ill wind that blows no good, or, in other words, I ate hers too.

In truth, they will never replace scones, but they are a pleasant change and it seems silly to go all the way to Bakewell to eat scones.

 

I also bought a few books, so it was a good day.

Truth Being Stranger Than Fiction

I was manoeuvering through a set of multiple lights with crossings and shrubberies this morning and contemplating the question I always contemplate at the same point each week. This question is “If I get a quick start, put my foot down and risk going through on amber, could I get through without having to stop at the second set of lights?”

The answer is, of course, “no”.

It’s the same answer every time.

However, I wasn’t the only one asking the same question this morning. A cyclist, his mind clearly on the same conundrum, though from a different direction, decided to test the question for himself.

He burst from behind some shrubbery and zoomed across the road in front of me while the lights were still in my favour.

Fortunately, resigned to the inevitable, I was already slowing in preparation to stop. If I’d been intent on bursting through on amber there could well have been an unfortunate meeting of machinery.

It would have been less unfortunate for me than for the cyclist.

At least he was wearing a helmet. He could be squashed flat, rendered comatose or confined to a wheelchair, but his head would be protected and his parting would still be neat as they performed the post mortem.

I’m thinking of writing to the Prime Minister with some suggestions for better road safety for cyclists, though I’m not expecting she will do anything about it.

Number one on the list is sumo suits. Alternatively, and needing slightly more development, is the lycra cycling suit with air bags. Under sudden impact the air bags would inflate and prevent serious injury.  The main problem would be carrying a cylinder of compressed air. I have some thoughts on where to put it, but the cyclists would probably not be keen on my suggestion. Anyway, not all bicycles have crossbars.

Scratch that – they’ve already been developed for motorcyclists and pedestrian airbags also exist (attached to cars to prevent injury, not actually fitted to pedestrians). I was looking up a history of airbags when I found them.

Truth truly is stranger than fiction.

 

 

Life and Times of a Couch Potato

I’ve not covered myself in glory today, as far as work is concerned. Starting with good intentions, I have fallen far short of my ambitions.

Dusk is falling now and I’m watching a documentary about the Durrell family.

I have been struggling to concentrate and have read a few poems from the new edition of Acumen, but little else. The magazine has just been turned down for Arts Council Funding and is starting to raise money for itself.

As someone who has struggled to raise funds for junior sport and people with learning difficulties I am in two minds. I do sympathise with the loss of funding, but I can’t help feeling that poetry isn’t quite as important as kids or people with disabilities.

Much of the day was taken up with a couple of Columbo episodes, including one where Dick van Dyke, in a beard borrowed from a Boer Farmer, performs a murder that could have been solved by a child who had once watched CSI. How times have changed…

Today’s plots revolved around things like telephone answering machines and altering the hands of clocks. There wasn’t a mobile phone in sight, and certainly no mention of DNA.

It was a refreshing change, but also slightly frustrating, as even I seem to know more about the forensics of gunshots than Columbo.

The coin in the featured image is a Dylan Thomas commemorative. I’ve mentioned poetry and I happen to have it stored where it’s available to the blog, so it’s vaguely suitable. Hopefully I’ll soon be back on track with computers, though I’ve made no progress yet.

It’s quite a good likeness, despite looking like he’s standing in a wind tunnel.

 

Quick Update

Number Two Son now has a bank account and a mobile phone. Mobiles are more expensive in Canada. He’s now searching for a job.

Number One Son set off this morning, had a few hours in China and is now back on the way to New Zealand.

We had a Chinese takeaway tonight. It’s cheaper with just the two of us. It’s also all the travelling we are likely to do this week.

That’s it for now.

I will have more time tomorrow.

Travellers’ Tales and an Auction Result

Number Two son is in Toronto, has already arranged his national insurance number and is on the track of a job. This is all good to hear.

Number One son, meanwhile, is somewhere down south preparing to take a flight on Saturday. When he gets there he will be spending the first ten days travelling round in a camper van.

Ah, the carefree days of youth.

Julia had to wake me up the other day when she left me in the car whilst shopping, but it’s not the same thing as camping.

Most of the day was spent researching medals to go on eBay. I found a couple of interesting stories, which I’m writing up.

The Genghis Khan coin sold for £16. It’s cheap for 800 years of history and a link to one of the most famous names in history. But, on the other hand, it’s expensive for a piece of dust-gathering junk. It’s just a question of perspective.

A Hectic Day

I’ve agreed a course of action with the dentist (who tried to avoid doing the work). I’ve had this before with dentists – I don’t think the National Health payment scheme encourages them to do too much.

I’m back in a few weeks to start the treatment and am hoping to keep the old crowns. It will be useful to have some gold when the western banking industry collapses.

It was a case of grabbing a quick breakfast after that (I don’t like eating before dental work as the job must be bad enough without seeing the remains of my breakfast stuck in the gaps.

We had a full, possibly over-full, day in the shop and I found my abandoned half cup of coffee still in the cupholder. The day was so warm that, if anything, the coffee was hotter at 4.30 this afternoon than it had been when I’d left it at just after 10.00 this morning. I may have discovered a new way of cooking.

We’re off to drop Number Two Son at Manchester  airport tonight. He’s staying over overnight as he has to be at the airport for 6am tomorrow.

Number One Son is leaving tomorrow – he’s flying on Saturday. By Monday both kids will be thousands of miles away.

Julia is a bit subdued about the whole empty nest thing so I’m trying to be supportive,

I’m not sure it’s working as she just told me to stop smiling so much.