Tag Archives: eavesdropping


It was quite a good day in the shop. Arrived early, got a parking space…

A good day can have such a simple foundation. Saw some regulars, wished them compliments of the season, bought a few bits, sold a few bits, had a mince pie, went home.

I picked Julia up and we went for a cup of tea and a toasted teacake, followed by shopping. While we were there we witnessed an unpleasant scene and an example of appalling parenting.

The parent in the example of appalling parenting was playing some sort of film on a telephone and holding a child in front of it with one hand while she ate a baked potato with the other. Whatever happened to talking to your kids?

The unpleasant scene was, to summarise, a middle aged daughter abusing her elderly mother, and dragging things up from years in the past. Not many daughters, she said, would put up with it. I won’t dwell on it because, unlike many of the conversations I listen to, there was no comedy involved. It was a tragic insight into the way your life could go.

It put a damper on things, and six hours later, it’s still depressing me.

I’ll leave you with a poem by Philip Larkin on child-rearing. It contains bad language.

Sorry about the downbeat nature of the post, I’m hoping to get back to normal tomorrow.

Scone Chronicles XVII

We went to Harlow Carr yesterday but decided not to repeat either the scones from the garden or the cost of the main tearoom.

I couldn’t get all the way down to the bottom of the garden this time, as going downhill (I refer here to my direction of travel, rather than in my accelerating physical decline), is tricky with a bad knee. So I returned to sit near the sycamore key sculpture.

As I sat, a robin played hide-and-seek and a blackbird perched on a dead tree turned it up to Number 11.

Here I eavesdropped on several bizarre conversations (which may have been more mundane if heard in their entirety) and waited patiently, taking a few photos, as Julia went to fetch tea.

Eventually she returned, and placed a cup of tea on the bench next to me. Then she sat down next to me and we talked of robins, rhubarb and whether she had anything in her bag. Knowing her as I do, it seemed unlikely she’d been to a tearoom and not purchased comestibles.

She had done us proud, with a pair of Fat Rascals.

Yes, make all the jokes you like. They are rock cakes with spice. My Mum made them like this for years. Betty’s claim them as a traditional recipes, add cherries, nuts and a daft name and suddenly a legend is born!

They were very nice. They were even better with butter (though the butter pat was a bit chunky and needed slicing rather than spreading.

Of all the things I’ve eaten in the Scone Chronicles, this was the tastiest. It was also the best dining experience. No sticky tables or dirty cutlery here!


Fat Rascal at Harlow Carr

Still no pictures, Julia pointed out that the netbook actually does have a USB port, but when I connected the small camera, with yesterday’s card, the computer refused to cooperate.

I’m beginning to hate this bloody netbook…

As you may have noticed I can now add photos…


The Things People Say…

I lost the remote control tonight. This was a nuisance because we’re already using the DVD remote to control the TV as I lost the TV remote some months ago.  The area around my chair is a bit of a disaster area, I admit, being piled high with my various collections, stock, notebooks, books and a stockpile of turmeric.

The good news is that No 2 Son proved not to be entirely useless and managed to find the remote control under my chair. The original remote, not the DVD remote. We haven’t a clue where that one has gone. I really do need to get a grip on decluttering.

However, that really wasn’t what I was going to write about. I was going to write about my Monday morning McDonalds experience.

After giving blood and other fluid, I still had time to kill as I didn’t want to get to work too early.

There’s really only one thing to do at that point – hit McDonalds.

I had the porridge with nothing. No jam, no syrup, no sugar. It took a bit of stirring, as it’s microwaved and was a bit crusty, but it is full of slow-release energy so has to be good for me.

As I stirred and ate I listened to the conversations around me. I’ve been cutting down on fast food recently, and when I have succumbed there have been no interesting conversations to listen to.

Today there were two.

The man behind me had had a tricky situation on Sunday night when he’d been on the sofa with his girlfriend. She had, it seems, been making inappropriate attempts on his virtue.

“…and I’d been waiting all week to watch that film.”

To my right there was another conversation going on, this time by phone.

She had clearly been going out with the person on the other end of the line for enough time for it to be steady, but she wasn’t quite comfortable.

“Why are you so mean to me?” she kept asking.

I’d be tempted to suggest that it’s because she’s whiney, needy and annoying. As she continued, she said: “It’s all new to me, being part of an emotional unit.”

Emotional unit? I presume that’s what we used to call “a couple”.

There was more too, but it seems a bit unsporting to report too much of an overheard conversation.

It’s just after 1 am now. I’m going to make sandwiches then go to bed ready for my blood test. This isn’t quite how I imagined my life developing.

Still, at least the other half of our emotional unit didn’t interfere with my TV viewing…


I went to McDonalds for breakfast a couple of days ago after my blood test. I’m drawn to junk food, and have no excuses. While I was there I indulged in several of my favourite pastimes, including procrastinating and eavesdropping.

Can you guess who I was eavesdropping on? The clue is in the title.

I’ll pause for a moment while you work it out. I bet Derrick gets it. He has that sort of mind.

Any way, there they were, talking loudly about husbands and work and friends and children. All pretty standard stuff, even though I did have to smile at the irony of a conversation that dwelt at length on diet, low-fat recipes and the merits of various slimming group leaders. McDonalds is not generally associated with slim people. Despite this they semed passionate about the idea of dieting.

This is an example of why I shouldn’t really listen to the conversations of other people, as I felt a growing urge to tell them they’d be better off staying out of fast food outlets rather than going to Weight Watchers.

Conversations can be a bit dull at times, I know mine often are, but then it became unexpectedly entertaining.

One of them, it seems, is in the habit of taking confidential papers home to shred them instead of shredding them at work.

“Why’s that?” One of them asked.

“Because they have a cross-cut shredder and it cuts the paper up into little bits. The one at home leaves nice long strips.”

“What difference does that make?”

I waited with bated breath, expecting some gem of wisdom relating to document  security and confidentiality.

“My pet rabbit prefers the long strips.”


Another Fat Lady...

Another Fat Lady…

Have you worked the title out yet?

It’s based on the bingo call for 88 – two fat ladies…